5.4 Chained Contest

Chained contests do not defer consequences to the end of the contest, instead your GM applies the consequences of defeat to the loser in the contest immediately following a round. This leads to a grittier feel to the contest, but at the price of a death spiral: once you lose the consequences of defeat make it likelier that you will lose again.

To run an extended contest your GM runs a simple contest as normal, and then applies the outcome according to the following table, with the consequences taking immediate effect.

You decide if you wish to continue the chained contest, and your GM makes a similar determination for the resistance. Both you and your GM then express your intent. If your or your GM wishes to continue, play out another simple contest.

If you, or your GM, wishes to disengage, then on any victory you leave the contest, without inflicting consequences on the opposition. If both you and the GM wish to leave the contest, then you both disengage, and the contest ends. If any contestant is reduced to a complete defeat, the contest ends automatically.

Chained contests are the simplest form of long contest, and you may prefer them for that reason. They also tend to produce the most extreme outcomes, as participants tend to continue until complete defeat.

Chained contests are symmetric, in that they indicate the outcome for the loser, and as this is applied in steps, give the GM no freedom to interpret the outcome for the loser when narrating.

5.4.1 CHAINED CONTEST TABLE

Roll Critical Success Failure Fumble
Critical Worse roll is hurt. If tied, no effect. Opponent hurt. If already hurt in this contest, Injured. If already injured, Dying Opponent Injured. If already Injured in this contest, Dying Opponent Dying: player has them at complete mercy. Contest is over.
Success PC is hurt. If already hurt in this contest, Injured. If already injured, Dying Worse roll is hurt. If tied, no effect Opponent hurt. If already hurt in this contest, Injured. If already injured, Dying Opponent Injured. If already Injured in this contest, Dying
Failure PC is Injured. If already Injured in this contest, Dying PC is hurt. If already hurt in contest, Injured. If injured, Dying Worse roll is hurt. If tied, no effect Opponent hurt. If already hurt in this contest, Injured. If already injured, Dying
Fumble PC Dying: opponent has them at complete mercy. Contest is over. PC is Injured. If already Injured in this contest, Dying PC is hurt. If already hurt contest, Injured. If already injured, Dying Both make a mistake. No effect on contest. Side effects at GM’s discretion

5.4.1 Group Chained Contest

In a group chained contest opponents pair off and fight a series of chained contest rounds with each other.

Your GM should determine the order of action, but as all rounds represent actions by both aggressor and defender there is no advantage to be obtained by going first. If there are surplus characters on your side, you may engage an already engaged opponent in a second contest; your GM may choose to apply a penalty to them as they are already engaged with one opponent. Alternatively you may choose to augment an existing player character, reflecting aiding them in their fight instead.

5.4.2 Group Chained Contest Outcomes

In a group chained 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.

Individual consequences or benefits will have already been determined by the chained contest outcomes on each round.

5.4.3 Followers in a Chained Contest

Followers may augment your character in a chained contest.

In addition, if you suffer a defeat in a round of a chained contest you may transfer that outcome to a follower, but they suffer a state of adversity one level worse than you would do, so marginal becomes minor etc., and the follower is removed from the contest.

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