The Dark Roads (Minimum Viable Product Edition) Looking For Feedback!

So after beating my head against the wall with The Dark Road's character creation and basic resolution mechanics over and over and over again, and watching this Extra Credits Video on Minimum Viable Product (also again and again) I've mocked up the absolute core of the Dark Roads for your perusal and feedback including character generation, play, and advancement.

For reference's sake, let me start with the elevator pitch and premise:"Firefly meets wagon train in post-apocalyptic Ottoman Ravnica."

Players portray Thunderers, ragged outcasts and misfits who aren't content to live their lives under the heel of the Sultanate that rules the world-city that was built over Eden during the war between God-that-was and the rebellious Jinn. Thunderers take jobs that no one else can or will: delivering goods, people, messages, or engaging in a little principled crime for folk not willing (or able) to take their business opportunities or troubles to the Janissaries. They run these jobs along the Dark Roads, great obsidian roads laid down by angels in the days of yore that connect the reclaimed fortress cities that humanity now inhabits. Upon the Dark Roads there are monsters, fallen Jinn, broken and abandoned angels, and worse. But a little imminent peril is nothing next to freedom. Or so say the Thunderers.


  • MVP: Elements of a Character:

    1. Player Characters are all members of a Thunderer crew that know and at least tolerate one another and that work jobs together whilst traveling in an armored wagon.

    2. Player Characters are defined by the Paths they've walked which showcase what they did before they struck out on the Dark Roads. These are rated numerically from zero (haven't walked it yet) to six (a master or veteran).

    Paths Define Your Equipment

    Your character is assumed to have a reasonable amount of equipment related to her Paths (so a Brigand no doubt has a sturdy yataghan, a bow or a matchlock arquebus, some scavenged chain, etc; a scholar has a wide variety of classical texts, the robes of their office, a writ of non-interference that opens some doors, that sort of thing).

    Paths Define Your Expertise

    When your Thunderer acts to overcome the inevitable obstacles that life on the Dark Roads will put between you and your Crew's Job, you'll rely on your Paths (plus some help from your crewmates and circumstance) to deal with them. A Path encompasses how familiar your Thunderer is with all of the skills and expertise someone who's walked that Path of life would reasonably be familiar with.

    If you're negotiating a contract for mercenary or assassination work, you'd use you're Mercenary Path. Likewise if you were trying to look up an old buddy that you served with in an ancient mercenary company. Or if you're trying to kill someone with a genuine weapon of war.

  • The Paths (and the descriptions following them) are:

    There are nearly as many reasons to turn Brigand (or be branded as such) as there are brigands haunting the dark alleys and lonely places of the Citadel. Back-alley artisans censured and exiled by the Most Honorable Guilds, janissaries that dared to love, murderers and thieves branded and disfigured for their crimes. Innocent or guilty, they all partake in the same fellowship now: one of bloody coin and sharpened blade.
    Now you share a new fellowship, have a new chance. A place on the Dark Roads, where your misdeeds) can be forgotten. Given the work you and your companions get up to, they might even work to your advantage.

    Caller to Righteousness

    Each morning the Citadel resounds with holy song that erupts from leaning adamant towers, songs that tell the tale of humanity’s exile from the Garden and of a God who has not been forgotten. Your voice joins them still speaking the truth to power, and counseling the common folk; giving a silent book and hidden God a voice to speak.
    Whether that voice is a measured whisper or a wild shout that speaks of final judgment speaks to which of the manifold schools or wandering masters you studied under. But what makes a Caller is not a colorful robe or tutelage under a revered master but a fire in one’s heart. You’ve chosen to speak those words, to sing that Call along the Dark Roads. Considering the heathens you’ll be working with, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

    You come from a life of wealth and luxury, favored of a Bey who was pleased enough by your faithful service or pretty words to pluck you from the life of a Floorholder and set you amongst gold and silk, fine wine and sunlight. But to you, it’s always felt much like a gilded cage. The intrigues and dalliances of court have lost their savor, and you’ve begun to wonder how much of your success, how much of the praise lavished upon you is because you’re some nobles pet.
    They let you go, confident that this slumming, this rebellion, this wandering about the Dark Roads would pass. You were as well. But now, caught between the privilege of your exalted position and the life you’ve found on the Roads you’re not so sure. Still, you’ve got the wit, the cunning, and the charm to figure it out. More than that, you’ve got brothers and sisters to help you.


    The greatest of the Beys, the guildmasters, and great sorcerers with armies of Jinn at their beck and call claim entire spires and fortresses for their own use. You are not so lucky, renting a single floor or a handful of tomb-like rooms from your Bey, paying them for the privilege with the sweat of your brow and a share of what crops you can grow or what crafts you can produce.
    While the sun burns bright and your Bey is merciful, their life is a pleasant one, if simple and filled with few of the refinements a courtier could expect. When they’re are not, they live on the edge of a blade, just a scant few steps from the stocks and whip or turning brigand out of hunger. Just a few steps, in fact from the Dark Roads.


    The song of the Callers ends where the Jinn roam, in the Lonely Places where monsters hold court. That is widely known and accepted by all but the most zealous faithful. What is seldom discussed is that not all who live amongst the shining adamant and torchlight of the fortress cities hear that song in their hearts.
    There are other Gods upon the citadel, beings who never left, who never forsook humanity like its so-called Creator did. Or so say the Hierophants at their moonlit masses and before their secret altars to small gods long forgotten by the folk who heed the Callers words. Those who learn of their existence and who are brave enough to speak of it call them heretics, poisoners, bloody-handed witches who whore themselves to the fallen Jinn. Your fellow Thunderers know enough to call you Hierophant instead.

  • Mercenary
    There are no more armies. The purge that followed the rebellion of the border cities saw to that. But there’ll always be some courtier who needs a noisy relative silenced or a fat merchant prince who needs a sword-bearer to guard him while he sleeps. Always someone who’s looking for folk skilled at killing, who don’t ask too many questions about what or who. That’s always been you, whatever code you might have. So when these misfits, these Thunderers offered you a commission and a cut of the profits you signed on in an instant. Coin is good enough for you, but comrades that won’t slit your throat in the night are even better.

    The Exalted Guild of Traders, Brokers, and Merchants expect returns, big returns. They always take their cut. Considerations to be paid for your suppliers, your brokers, the man who weighs your goods at every checkpoint, plus any bosses who took a shine to your profits. For years you put it down as just the cost of doing business, like the whispers of “usurer” and “jackal” that follow you about like old debts.
    That changed. The protection you were offered by your comrades just wasn’t worth the cost and pain of being “respectable”. Well, you’re still respectable. Mostly. You might carry stranger goods now, and down channels and roads you never would have considered travelling down just a few years ago. Might make bargains with people (and other things) that would have been escorted out of the Guildhall with pointed glances and sharp swords. But you’re still respectable. Better yet, on the Dark Roads, you’ll be profitable.


    Their faces and voices are a distant memory, drowned out by the iron will of Sultan, the endless hours of training and marching, the laughter and camaraderie of your brothers and sisters in arms. You were a slave, but exalted, respected, and feared as an arbiter of the law and as the Sultan’s right hand.
    Then you began to remember the life you left behind. The life they took from you, when you were a scared child clinging to your mother’s arms. Began to question your life of service and duty; saw things and did things that left the honor of the corps tarnished, if only in your eyes. There are no ex-Janissaries, just dead pretenders who don’t know it yet. That’s what the old veterans of the corps told you. You and your crew? You’ll endeavor to prove those bastards wrong.


    It doesn’t matter who you used to be; just that you were one of the many ground to dust under the heel of the central cities. Just that you were one of the few whom decided to fight back, you fool. You abandoned everything and everyone for ragged banners and a single dream: for the folk of the border cities to live free.
    When the flames died and the last of your comrades were led away in chains or dragged away to a shallow grave, you remained. The revolution might be dead, and your old life forgotten but you’ve never been one to give up easily. You’ll live free on the Dark Roads, and mayhap spit in the eye of the Sultan every now and again.


    It is a simple thing to know. It is another thing entirely to understand. It’s what you’ve sought out since you first joined the ranks of the Scholars of the Citadel and swore their oaths, but has always eluded you. The answers to the questions you’ve asked are not found in the wisdom of the ancient philosophers, or the rhetorical flourishes of your fellows.
    You have your sash, your commission. The Sultan’s agents are bound from interfering with your research by sacred oath and ancient decree. So you will ask the questions that keep you up at night whilst your candles burn to stubs and the parchment of your tomes wears thin. Ask, and find them answered upon the Dark Roads.

    Before the might of Heaven and Hell, the emanations and motions of the Stars, humanity is nothing. Pawns, subject to forces vast beyond their comprehension; you know this all too well. It compels you, drives you to things that the Callers forbid and the Floorholders tell horrible stories about by the light of their flickering fires. Your mind filled up with sigils that bind the Jinn to your service, your cloak filled up with nightshade and graveyard dust. But these Thunderers understand your reasons, even if they do not understand your Art: humanity’s only power lies in what it takes.

    Street Rat

    Your family doesn’t have a floorhold. Doesn’t want one, doesn’t need one. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself when your feet are warm and your belly’s full. When the rubes aren’t feeling generous, or when the Jannisaries get on you, it’s a bit harder to be a descendent of the folk who backed the fallen Jinn. Ignored by the Beys and hated by the common folk, you’ve turned to the Dark Roads for your living. After all, rubes come in all shapes and sizes; and the jobs you pull with your new crew aren’t too much different than any other back alley con.


    The Most Honorable Guilds would rather you and your ilk didn’t exist. You’re careful to never violate the prohibition against craftwork outside the guild, but the improvements you make, the “patches” you add toe the line. How can they not, when your materials are dredged from the depths of the Mist Sea Tunnels and torn from the corpses of ancient cities?
    These ruined pieces speak to you, always have. Begging to be what they once were, to be more than that. A bit like yourself; and enough like the folk you travel with now that they’re willing to overlook the stink of black powder and the unholy screech of iron and iron when it comes time to patch the wagon. After all, someone’s got to look after the old girl.

  • MVP: Play

    1. Every session constitutes a Job, either one found (using a roll, see below) or decided upon by Crew. This Job tells the Crew what they need to accomplish in order to get paid and keep on riding. How they do that is up to them.The choice as to which is determined by crew-vote, with the acting captain serving as tiebreaker.

    2. During the Job, the Crew will travel the Dark Roads, possibly visiting various Fortress cities on the way to their objective and encounter various obstacles: murderous scoundrels, monsters left over from a Flood that never happened, broken angels, demonic tricksters, and the agents of the Sultan.

    3. Describing the surroundings and situations in which the Crew finds themselves, portraying and playing characters not portrayed by other players, narrating the consequences of character's actions, and building on their repercussions is the Job of a player called the GM. It is the job of the GM not to pre-plan outcomes or story, to play the characters under their control to the hilt, to build off of the actions of the Crew, and to make the Crew's Job interesting with suitable complications and obstacles.

    4. When a character tries to do something risky in the course of completing their crew's Job (or when one of the GM's characters is doing likewise as part of being an obstacle/opportunity for the crew) they must state how they're going to do it, and what they're trying to accomplishthen they roll for it to see what the repercussions of their actions are.

    Putting Together Your Dice

    To do this, they take a number of six-sided (d6) dice equal to the Path that relates most closely to their action and hold back as many as they want, rolling the rest. If another crewmember is available to help out and their player describes how they do so, they can offer dice from one of their Paths for the acting character to hold back as well. The issue being that if they fail, they'll suffer a consequence as well with a severity based on how many dice they granted (1 being minor, 5 being super nasty).

    Having The Odds On Your Side

    If the character has significant advantages on their side in the judgement of the table they roll between 1-3 extra dice: one for each significant advantage.

    Success and Failure:

    If the dice they've rolled come up with at least one 5 or 6, they've succeeded at what they were trying to do, modified by the number of dice they held back:

    0: They get what they want, but the GM gets to name a nasty consequence or price associated with it.
    1: They get what they want, but the GM gets to name a significant price or consequence associated with it.
    2: They get what they want.
    3: They get what they want, and the GM will offer them a slightly better outcome.
    4: They get what they want, and the GM will offer them a significantly better outcome.
    5: They succeed beyond their wildest dreams.

    If none of the dice they've rolled come up as a 5 or 6, they've failed or succeeded at no advantage to them.The GM will declare a nasty consequence, price, or escalate the situation. Failure is never a dead end: just a recipe for interesting times.

    No matter what the result of a roll, the GM will narrate the consequences of their efforts, state how the situation has changed, and then ask the players what their character's do next.

    5. Eventually the actions of the Crew, the actions of the GM's characters, and the interactions between the two will point to one of two outcomes: the Job they were tasked with being successfully completed or botched.

    6. If the crew completes the Job as agreed, the beginning of the next job will find them flush with cash, happy, and prosperous: the crew can decide on one useful upgrade to be made to their wagon, one useful contact they've made, or dictate the exact sort of Job that they'll face next (winners can be choosers).

    Botching A Job

    If they've failed or botched their last Job, then the GM will narrate how they're down on their luck, their equipment in ill repair, and the Jobs on offer being desperate affairs or fools errands.

  • MVP: Character Creation

    1. To create characters, describe where your character was born and what their life was like as a kid: friends, enemies, personality, that sort of thing. The GM and 2 other players of your choice will describe a Crossroads for your character that sums up a difficult situation and tense choice that your character had to confront at some point in their life.

    These can be set at any point in a character's life, so long as they give a character a chance to act freely and make a substantial and interesting choice that would have significant repercussions if it's not addressed.

    2. The player whose character is facing the Crossroad then narrates what their character did to deal with the situation, picks a Path that relates to their approach to the situation, and increases it's rating by 2. Alternatively, the player may increase two Paths that both relate to how they dealt with the situation by 1. Either way, the Player should narrate how the situation their soon-to-be Thunderer was faced with pushed them down that/those Path(s).

    3. Once this happens, the player facing the Crossroads rolls for their action using the same rules for rolling for it that get used during regular play (see above) The Path they use for this roll should be one of the Paths that they increased in step two.

    4. Using the same criteria for success or failure as any other roll, the person who narrated the Crossroads will describe the consequences of your character's failure or success at what they set out to do, and then pick one of the other two people responsible for setting up your character's Crossroads to set up the next one.

    5. Subsequent Crossroads must take into account the events of previous Crossroads. They don't need to directly follow from them, but they should incorporate details from them, and never contradict what happened in a previous Crossroad.

    MVP: Character Advancement

    When a crewmate helps your character do something by giving your Thunderer dice to hold and and the number of dice they give you is equal to or higher than your current rating in the Path you were using put a check mark next to the Path you were using or the Path that your crewmate helped you with. If at any point you have more check-marks associated with a Path than it's current rating +1, erase the checkmarks associated with that Path and increase it's rating by one.

    On the Dark Roads, the only way to learn and grow is to support and aid your fellow thunderers. They may be strange. They may be as annoying as all hell. But they're your crew. And that makes them family.

    So that's the long and the short of The Dark Roads: Minimum Viable Product Edition.

    Here's what I'm looking for as far as feedback:

    Is this basic chassis compelling enough to build upon?
    If so, what is compelling about it?
    If not, what could be rejiggered about the basic chassis to make play/resolution/what have you more compelling?
    Is the chassis (rules, procedures etc) thus far fairly clear? If not, what is unclear about it?
    With this basic chassis in mind, what mechanisms or permutations of this basic framework do you think would reinforce the basic premise/conceit of "Firefly meets Wagon Train in post-apocalyptic Ottoman Ravnica?" Or "plucky misfits in a rag-tag wagon train doing anything they can to keep the old girl rolling and their spirits free."
    Any other comments, concerns, or thoughts you might have.

    I eagerly await your feedback, bearing in mind that this is an extremely rough (remember, minimum viable product here) framework that I'm looking to expand on in an effort to slim my somewhat-bloated Dark Roads beta document down to a manageable level of size and complexity.
  • edited February 2015
    I don't see the Minimum Viable Product (I dislike that Most Valuable Player - MVP - abbreviation). There is a lot you can scratch from this. The only thing you need is MVP: Play and then something that put a color on it.
  • My apologies. I was under the impression that it was obvious as to what MVP stood for in this context (Minimum Viable Product).

    I disagree however with the idea that all that's necessary here is the Play section. Crossroads and Advancement (the only other two sections present) are intended to reinforce one of the main themes of the game: choice and consequence. The choices you make during your Crossroads (and the Paths you follow during play) impact the Jobs that you'll find, the obstacles you'll face along the way, and the way that you'll attempt to overcome them. Which as I've said, reinforces the central theme.
  • Well, if you're going to be defensive and not take in opinions, why present the system at all for comments?
  • edited February 2015
    I'm not trying to be defensive. If my expression of disagreement came off that way, I apologize. What I was meaning to do is to inquire as to why you believe that the other portions of the game can be stripped out, as opposed to my own (previously stated) position that they're core to the game's process and themes.

    My disagreement was meant to start a discussion, rather than to end it. :) So with that in mind, can we have a back-and-forth about this?
  • I really like the premise of "Firefly meets wagon train in post-apocalyptic Ottoman Ravnica.". I also like how "narrow" your scope is. If you have released this today, with good background info, word fluff and decent art, I would buy it just for that.

    Now for some feedback:
    • The Paths need (desperately) some simple, fluffless description of what they are. Maybe even a soundbite. It is quite difficult to remember what which Path does from skimming the text. This might prove to be an issue when new players are tasked with creating characters. While most of the paths are self-explanatory (Mercenary, Sorcerer) others (Jannisary) is less straight forward.
    • Some Paths seem to serve the same function. Brigand and Mercenary have very similar feel. I would much rather see more narrative paths (Mercenary of XXX campaign) or less Paths all together. I would enjoy more narrative paths, think how different factions add to flavor of Planescape... that sort of thing.
    • I like the narrative character creation. It makes the players know more about each other's characters, which is always a good thing.
    • The core dice mechanic is good. It is a good representation of being reckless (save no dice, hope for the best) and cautious (save plenty of dice to hope for a better outcome). This however could be improved to be more narrative. Adding Yes, and and Yes, but to the mix. I will elaborate on it another post soon, I have an idea.
    • The mechanic for character development seems a bit convoluted. No, not the mechanic, just the wording of the rules. I see what you are trying to achieve here (learn from the others on the road), but I will need to think a bit about how to rephrase your rules. I will probably come back to that when I have some solid idea.
    Overall, I think you have something good here. Make sure to add a lot of world fluff, this will be the thing that makes the game stand out. On the mechanics side of things, I would like to see some oracle mechanism (Near East themed tarrot like cards would work amazingly!) for the GM. Both to generate the Jobs, and even generate what happens on the road (think Oregon Trail randomization). On top of that, I would like you to put some spotlight on the equipment. I guess it will be hard to come-by on the dark road, so when something breaks or gets stolen, it should feel like a loss.

    P.S I understand the MVP from video-game design, but the truth is that, if you never got into video game design, you will read it as the "something, something, sport reference".
  • So here's an alternate setup that I was thinking of for the basic resolution mechanic, as a result of some feedback that I've gotten both here and on RPGnet:

    A success with 0 Held dice results in the character accomplishing their goal. For every additional die held, the character accomplishes an additional thing related to their goal.

    After the character selects how many dice to hold back and has received any help that they're going to get, they can get between 1-3 additional dice by taking on a Complication: 1 die for a Minor Complication, 2 dice for a Significant Complication, 3 Dice for a Serious Complication.

    This still ensures that if a pampered Courtier decides to crack open a grimoire and try to conjure a Jinn that unless they elect to deal with some significant fallout (or have a lot of advantages on their side) that they're not going to have a prayer while making characters who have extensively traveled a Path quite formidable at whatever they're doing, especially if they have preparation and other advantages on their side to give them additional dice.

    This is more or less the way that I saw it panning out in play:

    GM: The lyre's delicate music stops abruptly, and patrons scatter as four people with the lean and scarred build of career criminals and rusted swords at their belts barge in.The leader, a woman with a shock of thick black hair and a murderer's brand over one eye looks at you Balisah Bint Fatima and says "Jakar Al-Karima sends his regards" and draws a matchlock pistol, leveling it at you. She means to use it. What are you doing?

    Basilah's Player:
    "Crap. Maybe Hakim was right about following through on that job...I mean it's not like those grimoires weren't going to find their way onto the black market without our help. Oh well..."

    My hands are raised, an appeasing smile on my face. "Friends, business partners, that guy over there. Yeah. You with the missing eye. This is a misunderstanding, easily resolved with some coffee and a bit of palaver..."

    :You're trying to negotiate with them?

    Balisah's Player:
    Nope. Just trying to catch them off guard. I'm inching closer as I say this and I plan on taking the leader's gun.

    GM: Cool. I figure you know what's going to happen if you fail?

    Basilah: Yep. Bullet in the chest cavity. Squish.

    I figure Merchant works pretty well for this (GM nods), since I'm using my charm and such to catch a business partner off guard. I'll hold 2 dice. I'm rolling 2 dice, and I'm going to accept a complication...I'm thinking that Jakar isn't ever going to let this go?

    GM: (Smiling) You're Goddamn right he won't. Even if you get out of this, he's not going to stop. That's a moderate complication.

    Player: Rolls 4 dice, succeeds. "I inch towards the leader, and she's keeping her eyes trained on me like a hawk, but at the last moment, her guard starts to lower just a bit...and that's when I snatch the gun from her and snap off a shot, downing one of her friends (one extra thing), the rest of the thugs look at me with a newfound respect and more than a little fear (another extra thing). I look over at the leader and say "See, this is what I was talkin' about. The power of communication. You and yours give my regards to Jakar when you see him. Oh and take that one with ya. His leg is looking a mite tender."

  • On the subject of the world fluff, I'm hoping to convey much of that through the rules and examples scattered through the game text so as to avoid "PAGES AND PAGES OF SHIT NO ONE'S EVER GOING TO READ" syndrome ala the old World of Darkness books.

    I've found that the most effective way to convey setting detail; especially if said setting details are really fucking strange. That being said, I've also got an extensive amount of setting detail already written up and established.

    I'll make sure to add one or two sentence summaries to the Paths that give a snap-shot picture of what they do and what they say about a character, and to distinguish Paths like Mercenary and Brigand more clearly from one another.

    For what it's worth, I saw the Brigand as one who operates very much outside of Citadel society: they're the ones skilled at wilderness survival, setting traps, tracking merchant caravans, setting up ambushes etc. Mercenaries on the other hand I see as very much a part of society, even if the Beys and Courtiers treat them with disdain.

    I really love the idea of a random job generation tool ala In A Wicked Age's Oracle cards but feel like requiring (or recommending) the use of a Tarot deck might prove a hassle. That being said, I've struggled with putting together a random table/generator of sorts that provides the sort of variety that I'm looking for without a big-ass list of possible jobs.

    The closest thing that I've seen to what I'm looking for is Monsters and Other Childish Thing's Random Entanglement generator (for spontaneously generating relationship conflicts), but I'd rather not slavishly imitate another game's mechanic. Any thoughts on mechanisms that might fit my goals there?
  • I like the original mechanic more than the one you proposed. It feels more sleek and less convoluted.

    My idea for your mechanic is that: Instead of a static table of how well you succeed, make it more fluid. Introduce a threat rating. So if you have less dice saved than the threat rating, you have complications, if you have more you get advantages. Your table from few posts above would be a difficulty of 2. GM would assign the threat/difficulty rating per test, or maybe per scene? (I am super tired, let me know if that's not clear, so I can make more sense after some proper rest).

    On the fluff, I don't want tomes upon tomes of lore. Something along the lines of Lady Blackbird would work, but I would personally like to see lore weight around the one of Vow of Honor.

    The tarot cards would be a cool addition, but only if you have an artist and funding to do so. I think they would be very thematic. Well, maybe not as thematic, as we are dealing with sultanate and I am not sure how prolific tarot would be there. I would be happy with random tables as well.

    I honestly need some rest now, but I will reply again soon with some more thoughts.
  • Well, Tarot only began to be used for divination in the late 18th century, and while I don't doubt it that it spread to the Ottoman Empire, Divination (to the extent that it was practiced) was usually done by casting lots or by drawing horoscopes.

    As much as possible I'd like to avoid dedicated fluff sections beyond a few pages, but I would count myself lucky if I'm able to cram in as much evocative detail as VOH's worldbuilding managed to.

    On the subject of your suggested resolution mechanism, are you thinking something like:

    1. The player proposes a course of action for their character (task and intent)

    2. The GM says how difficult it is from 0 to 5.

    3. The player chooses how many dice to hold back, with the proviso that if they don't hold back at least as many as the GM specifies they also suffer a complication (even if they succeed).

    4. The player rolls their remaining dice. If they get at least one 5 or 6, they succeed and accomplish what they were looking to do, plus 1 additional goal or perk for every additional die held.

    If so, I'm somewhat conflicted. On one hand it does make complications more pervasive, and keeps bonus dice relatively uncommon. On the other hand, it makes characters overall less competent, which I'm not sure I like; even assuming that their are strong restrictions on what sort of Difficulties can be declared.

    What do the rest of you folks think? I'm looking to playtest this game in the next few weeks, and as such really need to nail down which version of resolution to start off with.
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