Low skill = poor assessment

edited April 2019 in Make Stuff!
The whole trap and perception thing might be a subset of this : unskilled individuals assess badly their probabilities of success/failure. Usually they are way overconfident.

Simulating this is easy with GM lies and ruthless reality twisting. "You can totally take them alone and disarm them. Do you want to do that ? Describe your first move (then interrupts:) only your first adversary is quicker than you and cuts your hand. What do you do ?"

Any other option with more "fun factor" ? And possibly not a specific assessment move ? I am stuck.


  • Ooh, yeah. That’s a pretty strong “unfun factor” (and also hard to implement when you have to engage mechanics - like dice or spends or such - to trigger its use, since the player knows).

    It might be better to handle via hidden odds somehow.

    For example, when you try to do something you’re bidding some cards (like a poker game). The GM has some cards hidden face down, and you have to beat those. You don’t get to see what they were; only if you beat them.
  • edited April 2019
    Blind betting uh ? I had that itching, and I didn't know why... That's clever and doesn't seem hard to do : it only takes hiding some info.
    To make it proportional to skill level, raise to see card after card. The more you commit, the more you know, until you know for certain, but that may be too late. Gee thanks !
  • You’re welcome! I’d love to hear some other ideas/approaches, though, too. Especially less mechanically-intensive ones. Let’s not let one workable suggestion kill this thread!
  • edited April 2019
    No of course, it's just that, when I posted this question I explicitely told myself it wouldn't yield anything suited for my game, but would be a good theoretical exercise.
    And your suggestion fits perfectly my auction resolution engine, giving meaning to a mechanism (hidden bets) I hadn't found a use for. Imagine my surprise !
    Oh but wait. That's Musette right here isn't it ?
  • Why doesn't just the GM describe the outcome? "You felt confident if your victory, stood too close to him, and lost a hand in a bite." Having the player act on false information doesn't sound right to me.
    A thing I want to implement in a game someday is have the players themselves list how do their characters often fail: whether they grow overconfident, act reckless, wait too much and miss an opportunity, etc. That way, even if the GM gets to describe failure, he's given fictional cues appropriate to the character's personality and has a better understanding of what might be each PC's Achilles' heel.

    Another possibility would be to relay the information BEFORE rolling dice, and hold the roll until the character acts on that information.
  • What would the last paragraph look like in the case of a 1 noob nibleman vs 4 scarred thugs fight.
  • I really like leaving it to the player. I had this happen in a AW game. I rolled badely on a read a sitch and he turned to me and asked "why would your character totally misread the situation?"

    It was great and helped me to define that character better. It became something we could come back to.
  • edited April 2019
    What would the last paragraph look like in the case of a 1 noob nibleman vs 4 scarred thugs fight.
    Uh, let's say "you realize the biggest of them constantly looks after who appears to be his younger brother, weaker in appearance. If you hurt or take him hostage he might give in"

    If he's successful in assessing the situation, the information above holds true and grants him an advantage.
    If he fails the roll, the information might also be true, but another hidden thing might factor into the outcome: "you try to grab the young brother, but the older one has far better reflexes than you expected, and instead grabs you by the neck and pulls you in the air".
  • edited April 2019
    Increasing the stakes. I like that !
    Sorry Kenny_J if the clarification was posted over your perfectly valid point on managing the assessment. Combine it with Khimus' and you have a sort of Devil's bargain (BitD).
  • edited April 2019
    My solution was to "make it possible" to get the same quality, with low and high skill, but not likely. And that in most cases give the more skilled part more options.

    Simplified example: As in roll a D6 vs roll several D6 and choose one, compare. Possibility to use several dice of the same kind as a bonus.

    Talking about player expectations, and that you could take the chance because it is there ...
  • Like in Scum&Villainy and BitD. It's a first step to make bad assessment possible, that the success be possible. It's a necessary condition.

    But in fact, not a solution, as it changes probability (tremendously) and doesn't touch assessment.
  • Another take would be that every test (skill, combat) is with a push your luck mechanics and that higher skills are equal to rerolls.
  • edited April 2019
    The idea is good in itself but it wouldn't simulate overconfidence in low skilled characters. Or rather I don't see how.
    Push your luck will make the character (maybe the player) want to risk more.

    (Edit was cross posted with next message
    Oh I see, your solutions are greatly enhanced when combined with Kenny_J's approach. The numerical simulation makes it possible and worthwhile for the player to make their character take risks, but on the narrative level, it plays as if the character had badly assessed the situation. I'd like to say "Collective thinking ftw." But maybe I misunderstood the mechanic completely.)
    (Collective thinking it was)
  • It would incentive players to be bolder (overconfidence).
  • I suppose you could create more situations where the players overreach by selling them “easier” steps first. Once they’re committed, then you raise the stakes and the difficulty. They’ve already made the first few steps, so they’re less likely to back out of the project...
  • "sunken cost guillotine" I am sure the "unfun factor" is going to appear to the players after some repetition of this. At least, it would have educational value.
  • The funfactor fix could be the gambling aspect.
  • "sunken cost guillotine" I am sure the "unfun factor" is going to appear to the players after some repetition of this. At least, it would have educational value.
    Perhaps! There are games that accomplish this to some extent. So long as the rules are known, there is buy-in. Some of Apocalypse World's moves do this (e.g. "Pack Alpha"), and my game about Eowyn has this kind of dynamic built in to the resolution mechanics:


    It's worth fooling around with, anyway! "Rock of Tahamaat" might be another title worth looking at in this sense.
  • edited April 2019
    Blades in the Dark also has a downward spiral and uses a mechanic Quadrante_Isegrim proposes. Tweaking heat or healing cost and entanglements. This shows in the first versions of Blades. But the simple fact that you must start desperate, as in Rock of Tiamat (sic) is a clue. Lovecraftian horror with gangsta sugar on it.
    In a way it's using cognitive biases (and player's sweet teeth) so that the players *who want to win* must assess probabilities poorly. That's how I understand it anyway.
    Btw, I finally understood what Rock of Tiamat (sic) was doing. Not on my own !
    *edited : I now see first version of BitD as tragedy, like Scarface or McBeth*
Sign In or Register to comment.