5.2 Group Scored Contest

Group scored contests proceed as a series of scored contests between pairs of PC and opponents, interwoven so that they happen nearly simultaneously.

As in a scored contest between a single PC and an opponent, only one simple contest per pair of adversaries occurs each round. Usually the PCs make up one team, and their antagonists the other.

A group scored contest continues until one side has no active participants. If you defeat your opponent you can pair with a new opponent. The new opponent might be unengaged, but might also be engaged in an existing pairing. When you pair with a new opponent, you begin a new contest, even if your opponent is already engaged in a contest. Alternatively, if you are unopposed, you may choose to assist. Of course, you may be later engaged by an opponent who becomes free yourself.

You may lose some pairings amongst the PCs, but still win if the last participant standing is a PC; otherwise if the last participant belongs to the opposition you lose.

To determine the winning side’s victory level, as opposed to individual outcomes, if there is only one opponent, use their consequence of defeat, otherwise, use the second-worst consequence among the defeated opponents.

5.2.1 Procedure

  1. Your GM frames the contest.
  2. You choose a tactic, and figure your PC’s target number (TN) using the rating of your ability, plus or minus modifiers the GM may give you.
  3. The GM determines the resistance. If two PCs contend, your opponent figures their TN as described in step 2.
  4. The PCs to choose their opponents in order of their TN where it makes sense. Otherwise your GM will allocate opponents to you dependent on what makes narrative sense.
  5. Establish an order of the paired contests. There is no significant advantage to going first, but use your group’s TNs from highest to lowest if no other option presents itself.
  6. For each pairing your GM carries out one round. Then they repeat by carrying out more rounds in order, as necessary. The Group scored contest ends as soon as there are no active participants on one side of the conflict. The side with one or more participants left standing wins.
    1. A scored contest unfolds as a series of simple contests. At the end of each simple contest, the winner scores a number of resolution points (RPs) to their tally, which varies between 1 and 5, depending on the result. Tied results leave the score unchanged.
    2. Your GM decides which opponent in a pair has the initiative and describes what they are trying to do to achieve the prize, the ‘aggressor’. The ‘defender’ describes how they counter the aggressor’s attempt to seize the prize. If it is not obvious from the unfolding narrative, your GM should choose your PC as a the ‘aggressor’.
    3. Conduct a simple contest as normal, but once the outcome has been determined, it becomes a number of resolution points scored by the winning side.
    4. The number of resolution points the winner garners at the end of each round depends on the degree of victory they scored. They get 1 point for a marginal victory, 2 for a minor victory, 3 for a major victory, and 5 for a complete victory.
    5. The first to accumulate a total of 5 points wins; their opponent is knocked out of the contest.
      1. As one of a pair is eliminated from the group contest, their victorious opponents may then move on to engage new targets, starting new contests, which are then added to the end of the existing sequence.
      2. If participating in multiple pairings, each pairing is the first to 5 points, points already scored do not count. But the accumulated points do count when determining consequences in the climatic phase.
  7. Determine degree of victory based on rising action or climax (above).
  8. Determine benefits of victory or consequences of defeat.
  9. Describe the outcome based on the story obstacle.

5.2.2 Group Scored Contest Outcomes

In a group scored contest the side that has the last undefeated contestant gains the prize.

If the PCs won, determine the group’s overall outcome by using the second-best outcome obtained by the PCs, or if there is only one opponent, the outcome. If the PCs lost, determine the group’s overall outcome by using the second-worst outcome obtained by the PCs, or if there is only one PC, the outcome.

For example, your PC Lieutenant Jackson of the Royal Navy has led a shore-action against a French outpost. Lieutenant Jackson and two other PCs have victory outcomes at the end of the contest, so the Royal Navy wins the day. To determine how well the Royal Navy has done your GM looks at the three victorious outcomes for the Royal Navy, a major victory, a minor victory and a marginal victory. The second best outcome is a minor victory so your GM declares that the Royal Navy have a minor victory and have overrun the French outpost, but gained little else.

Later you lead your men in a spirited defense against a French boarding action of your ship. However, the French win the day, with Lieutenant Jackson and the other PCs suffering defeat outcomes at the end of the contest. Looking at your PCs outcomes there is a major defeat, two minor defeats and a marginal defeat. The French win the day with a minor defeat for your Royal Navy crew.

To determine individual consequences or benefits, in rising action, even if you engage multiple opponents in a rising action scored contest, only use the last opponent you engaged to determine your individual outcome. In a climatic contest total the resolution points scored against you by all your opponents. If you engage more than one opponent, be sure to add the resolution points scored against you by all of them. If you lost, add 1 to your total. Your GM cross-references the total against the climactic state of adversity table.

5.2.3 Unrelated Actions

If you are not currently enmeshed in a round, either after a successful disengagement, or after winning a round, you may take actions within the scene that do not directly contribute to the defeat of the other side. These unrelated actions may grant an augment to yourself or to a teammate. You may achieve a secondary story objective. This resembles an asymmetrical round, except that, as you are not targeted by any opponents, there is no additional risk.

5.2.4 Assists

You may take an unrelated action to grant an assist to a teammate enmeshed in a round. Assists are subject to the same restrictions as augments: they must be both credible and interesting.

Your first assist faces a moderate resistance. Each subsequent assist attempt to the same beneficiary, steps up by one factor on the table: high, then very high, then nearly impossible. The resistance escalation occurs even when another PC steps in to make a subsequent assist. This escalation allows the occasional dramatic rescue but makes it difficult for players to prolong losing battles to excruciating length. Your GM should make it seem credible by justifying the increasing resistances with descriptions of ever-escalating countermeasures on the part of the opposition.

Your GM may adjust the starting resistance up or down by one step to account for campaign credibility or other dramatic factors. If an assist as proposed seems too improbable or insufficiently useful, your GM should collaborate with you to propose alternate suggestions which would face moderate resistance.

The assist alters the score against your teammate according to the outcome of a simple contest

5.2.4.1 ASSIST TABLE

Contest Outcome Change to Score Against Recipient
Complete Victory -4
Major Victory -3
Minor Victory -2
Marginal Victory -1
Marginal Defeat 0
Minor Defeat +1
Major Defeat +2
Complete Defeat +3

Scores can never be reduced below 0.

5.2.4 Followers

You may choose to have your followers take part in group scored contests in one of three ways: as full contestants, as secondary contestants, or as supporters.

Contestant: The follower takes part in the contest as any other PC would. You roll for your followers as you would their main characters. However, your followers are removed from the contest whenever 3 resolution points are scored against them in a given round. An additional 2 resolution points are then scored against them, increasing the severity of any consequences they suffer.

Secondary contestant: To act as a secondary contestant, your follower must have an ability relevant to the contest. The follower sticks by your side, contributing directly to the effort: fighting in a battle, tossing in arguments in a legal dispute, acting as the ship’s navigator, or whatever. Although you describe this, you do not roll for the follower. Instead, you may, at any point, shift any number of resolution points to a follower acting as a secondary contestant. Followers with 3 or more resource points lodged against them are removed from the scene. When a follower is removed from the scene, an additional 2 resolution points are lodged against them, increasing the severity of consequences they suffer.

Supporter: Your follower is present in the scene, but does not directly engage your opponents. Instead they may perform assists and other unrelated actions.

Followers acting in any of these three capacities may be removed from the contest by otherwise unengaged opponents. To remove a follower from a scene, an opponent engages your follower in a simple contest. Your GM sets the resistance, or if it is another PC’s follower they determine the relevant ability of the follower engaging yours. On any failure, your follower is taken out of the contest. For consequence determination purposes, the follower has X+2 resolution points lodged against them, where X is the usual number levied by the resolution point table.

5.2.5 Risky Gambits

During a scored contest, you can attempt to force a conflict to an early resolution by making a risky gambit. If you win the round, you lodge an additional 1 resolution point against your opponent. However, if you lose the round, your opponent lodges an additional 2 resolution points against you.

If both contestants engage in a risky gambit, the winner lodges an additional 2 resolution points against the loser.

5.2.6 Defensive Responses

In a scored contest, you can make a defensive response, lowering the number of resolution points lodged against you in a round. If you win the round, the number of resolution points you lodge against your opponent decreases by 1. If you lose, your opponent lodges 2 fewer resolution points against you. The total number of resolution points assigned by a round is never less than 0; there is no such thing as a negative resolution point.

5.2.7 Joining Scored Contests in Progress

When you wish to join a scored contest in progress, you and your GM should discuss whether you accept the current framing. If so, you can participate. In a scored contest, you simply select an opponent and enter into a new round. If you want to achieve something other than the goal established during framing, you may instead perform unrelated actions, including assists and augments.

5.2.8 Switching Abilities

You may describe an action in a scored contest that is not covered by the ability that you started the contest with. There are two possibilities here: either you are trying to provide color to your actions in the round, without seeking to gain advantage, or you are seeking to gain advantage over your opponent with a novel tactic. In the former case, you can continue to use the ability you started the contest with, as you should not be penalized for wanting to enhance the contest with colorful or entertaining descriptions. In the latter case you should switch abilities, and your GM must decide if the resistance changes because of your new ability. Your GM is encouraged to reward tactics that exploit weaknesses that have been identified in the story so far with a lower resistance. Sometimes your GM may respond with a higher resistance because your tactic looks less likely to succeed due to conditions already established in the story.

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