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Can you really spend determination whenever?

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  • Can you really spend determination whenever?

    So say I'm attacked and I make a defend roll and find out the attack is a massive success against me, can I spend a point of determination to add two to my roll even after I found out the resulting effort? Just wanted to make sure "any time" really means after a roll and even after you know the results. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

    After a quick glance at the Assembled Edition, yes, you can spend Determination even after the dice have hit the table. It's usually not the best idea, but if your GM is okay with it, there is nothing in the rules preventing you from doing so.

    Of course, this is one of those cases where for the sake of expediency and suspense, a GM may wish to rule that Determination must be used before the dice are rolled. This is fine for such rulings are the GM's prerogative. But in the rules themselves? No, nothing stopping you. In practice? A GM may or may not allow it depending on the nature of the game they are running.

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    • #3
      Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

      Thanks a bunch.

      I ran my first Icons game Friday (which was super fun BTW) and allowed them to spend after the roll.

      That decision went ok but I think you are right about the suspense factor. I allowed it once for a player essentially to not be taken out but then I noticed all the players waited until after the roll to spend the Determination to activate a quality.

      If they made the roll they either did not waste the determination point or they could use it to increase the power/stat by 1 instead. I think this goes against the spirit so in the future I think it will have to be spent before the roll at my table.

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      • #4
        Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

        Originally posted by usgrandprix View Post
        So say I'm attacked and I make a defend roll and find out the attack is a massive success against me, can I spend a point of determination to add two to my roll even after I found out the resulting effort? Just wanted to make sure "any time" really means after a roll and even after you know the results. Thanks!
        Note that when you defend you don't make a Test, you only determine the difficulty (Icons AE p.18), so Improved Effort doesn't work but Push Ability does (p33).


        Ofc you are free to do as you wish at your table but the rules for Icons was inspired by Fudge/FATE where players get a lot more information than typical games. Instead of letting them get away with gaming the system try instead of forcing them to play out the narrative (which is 100% within the spirit of the game).

        Player: "I punch bad guy. Do I hit him?"
        GM: "Yeah."
        Player: "Ok, I'll spend a point to increase damage!"
        GM: "Not without you justifying why you get that advantage by using one of your character's qualities."

        If they aren't using Qualities properly then you shouldn't let them have Advantages. Start handing out points for good narration before any dice rolls and I find that the game will be less gamy and more fun allround. If narration is good and the heroes are winning then everything is working as intended.

        Also hand out trouble like crazy, Challenges/Compulsions/Disabilities/Lost Panels can make for really interesting and high octane action.

        And in my opinion suspense isn't really part of the Genre. Heroes use Determination to protect bystanders and stopping the Bad Guy. There's lots of drama on the way there but somehow they manage to pull through and save the day.

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        • #5
          Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

          Hey thanks a bunch for the tip on effort. Should have been clear to me.

          I think they got the narration of invoking qualities for advantages. They were good about that and actually a few times I asked if they wanted to and they declined saying there wasn't really anything at that point that applied without "forcing" it.

          I think suspense still fits. This group wants a bit of input into if they win and not just how they win, but that's on a spectrum for any system and I agree Icons leans more toward the latter. Still, this group would have fun with a character death or major setback and make it part of the story.

          One other thing I struggled with was Trouble. IMHO allowing the players to cause trouble for the enemies is pretty powerful, especially for a solo villain. So I did a quick house rule that they could not cause trouble for an enemy with their own character qualities. I allowed it if they used a scene quality well, a villain's own quality (once learned), or a quality granted by a power (emotion control, for example).
          Last edited by usgrandprix; 09-17-2015, 10:41 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

            Yeah the suspense part is more of a play style discussion, which by its nature is subjective and there are no right or wrong answers. I let my players know the Test Difficulty before they are rolling and only keep Qualities and powers secret until they come into play.

            I agree that they have to discover the Quality first before activating Trouble against enemies. But as the GM you can also avoid Trouble by handing over Determination to the player and say that you feel that crippling a solo villain is inappropriate in this scene. You should also use the same method for the Villain to Recover for Stamina or to shake effects to give the "oh this guy is tough"-feeling. Again it is completely justifiable in the genre.

            Imagine how fun Avengers would have been if Thor had created a "You shall not Pass" Quality on the portal to disable it. All sense of urgency and risk would have vanished and we would have lost all the drama in the Battle for New York. There are literally hundreds of examples of the same thing to justify using determination to keep the bad guys going. Heck, I use the bad guys vanish take a determination point trick or some variation every other game I GM.

            With rules light narrative games it's crucial to move away from the "GM vs players" mentality and towards the "lets create an awesome story" kind of thinking instead. If it was GM vs players, we would win every time since we can craft the ultimate NPCs but where is the fun in that?

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            • #7
              Re: Can you really spend determination whenever?

              Originally posted by lazygm View Post
              Yeah the suspense part is more of a play style discussion, which by its nature is subjective and there are no right or wrong answers. I let my players know the Test Difficulty before they are rolling and only keep Qualities and powers secret until they come into play.

              I agree that they have to discover the Quality first before activating Trouble against enemies. But as the GM you can also avoid Trouble by handing over Determination to the player and say that you feel that crippling a solo villain is inappropriate in this scene. You should also use the same method for the Villain to Recover for Stamina or to shake effects to give the "oh this guy is tough"-feeling. Again it is completely justifiable in the genre.

              Imagine how fun Avengers would have been if Thor had created a "You shall not Pass" Quality on the portal to disable it. All sense of urgency and risk would have vanished and we would have lost all the drama in the Battle for New York. There are literally hundreds of examples of the same thing to justify using determination to keep the bad guys going. Heck, I use the bad guys vanish take a determination point trick or some variation every other game I GM.

              With rules light narrative games it's crucial to move away from the "GM vs players" mentality and towards the "lets create an awesome story" kind of thinking instead. If it was GM vs players, we would win every time since we can craft the ultimate NPCs but where is the fun in that?
              Thanks for the advice. Good to hear from someone who's experienced with this system. Yeah I'd like more DP flying around at the table so those are good points.

              I think our group gets the cooperative story and nothing is very adversarial, but I think just as a matter of style this group likes to let the mechanics/dice/stats/builds/tactical decisions take over once in a while and let that guide the story too. Not always and certainly in proportion to other important aspects of this game, but to some degree. Sort of adds a random element to react to and removes the tendency toward scripting. I agree that can threaten the genre, but it's really a balance. And it's both ways: the PCs can take out the villain unexpectedly early or they can "lose" when it feels like everyone knows we are at the triumphal scene. Still both should be rare, but I like to keep players on their toes. Those are fun challenges for creative players to step up to regarding an interesting shared story.

              I think it's a testament to this rich game it can be so simple but still scratche a few different itches players bring to the table.

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