Fail Forward


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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kpulv wrote:
I'm curious as to why that is a removal of agency

Sigh... This kind of feels like dead horse territory...

He likes a game that doesn't revolve around the characters but exists as it's own thing: As such, if something happens that wasn't already going to happen, the world isn't independent from the characters but changing to meet the goals of the DM. In the example, a failure was being heard: it was already a set event on failure. As such, the type of failure shouldn't change just because something affects it: It should still happen but the silence prevents the failure from being heard. He feels it takes away the players agency because it could circumvent someones plans to mitigate such failures by changing the universe so another failure happens instead.

So if the "climbing the wall makes a racket"is the because some pitons need hammered in and someone gets the idea to use a silence, the failure to quietly hammer is negated.


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graystone wrote:
In the example, a failure was being heard: it was already a set event on failure. As such, the type of failure shouldn't change just because something affects it: It should still happen but the silence prevents the failure from being heard. He feels it takes away the players agency because it could circumvent someones plans to mitigate such failures by changing the universe so another failure happens instead.

Exactly this. I wrote my own reply, but I've deleted it in favour of this. Why bother trying to alleviate negative consequences when the GM will make sure equally bad negative consequences happen no matter what you do? Might as well not waste the time or resources trying to avoid the negative consequence and just roll the d20 and hope for the best.

That doesn't reward creative play. That rewards tackling every challenge head on no matter what.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
graystone wrote:
In the example, a failure was being heard: it was already a set event on failure. As such, the type of failure shouldn't change just because something affects it: It should still happen but the silence prevents the failure from being heard. He feels it takes away the players agency because it could circumvent someones plans to mitigate such failures by changing the universe so another failure happens instead.

Exactly this. I wrote my own reply, but I've deleted it in favour of this. Why bother trying to alleviate negative consequences when the GM will make sure equally bad negative consequences happen no matter what you do? Might as well not waste the time or resources trying to avoid the negative consequence and just roll the d20 and hope for the best.

That doesn't reward creative play. That rewards tackling every challenge head on no matter what.

I think this is a very good point. A lot of the time I feel I disagree with you when you first state things, but I really appreciate you taking your time to explain your reasoning thoroughly, and even if I continue to not completely agree, I feel like I've learned a lot from the discussions and they've made me think more deeply about my approaches as a GM and why I run games the way I do. So thank you for your many contributions. Same goes for graystone.


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kpulv wrote:


I think I get what you are saying for the most part and this thread has a lot of interesting discussion. It seems that "fail forward" is something that is said a lot by the designers, but mechanically does not seem to be supported by the system. How is PF2 is fail forward while having checks for 10 minute tasks like treating wounds or repairing objects? I think every prerelease game I've listened to so far has hand waved these checks once the GM realizes that everyone is sitting there rolling d20s for every increment of 10 minutes against no real threat or consequence.

I think this is at the heart of why I find this thread so interesting and have continued following it. I feel like "fail forward" is currently operating like a buzz word and so far it seems like it is not something that has been integrated into game design, so much as is being presented as a GM SNAFU response. I am interested to see where in the core rulebook it is discussed and in what context because it does seem like the kind of GM strategy that can have wildly different results and sometimes be a very heavy handed way of enforcing rule 0.

People really seem to like to present "fail forward" as "about how failure pushes the fiction forward in new ways." But I still see a fundamental danger in the DM thinking they always have a responsibility to be the one pushing the narrative forward, especially when it might come at the cost of player agency. Personally, I think mechanics like Hero points are far superior for this than drastic AND uncorrelated changes to the situation faced by the players on account of a skill check failure, because it lets the player be in control of the mechanic that suspends disbelief.

Choosing to have a party where no one has a specific skill and no one spends any resources on having an emergency plan for what to do when that skill comes up creates its own challenging situation for a party, and giving them immediate access to an alternative route, after they chose to proceed according to a plan they knew they were ill prepared for, trivializes the choices the party has made and encourages the players to believe that the game world not only revolves around their characters, but will change to fit their whims.

It also strikes me as funny because very few GMs feel the need to do this in combat situations (although some folks here have argued for things like changing HP values in fight, so I acknowledge that some folks do stay consistent with this philosophy), but in exploration events, it seems like people are far less confident in the rules or letting the dice determine the fate of the players.

Again (when playing with small children), I can see times where it is necessary to do this to make sure that the game doesn't devolve into fights and extremely bad feelings, but it is not a principle to laud as a first response to player failure.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
graystone wrote:
In the example, a failure was being heard: it was already a set event on failure. As such, the type of failure shouldn't change just because something affects it: It should still happen but the silence prevents the failure from being heard. He feels it takes away the players agency because it could circumvent someones plans to mitigate such failures by changing the universe so another failure happens instead.

Exactly this. I wrote my own reply, but I've deleted it in favour of this. Why bother trying to alleviate negative consequences when the GM will make sure equally bad negative consequences happen no matter what you do? Might as well not waste the time or resources trying to avoid the negative consequence and just roll the d20 and hope for the best.

That doesn't reward creative play. That rewards tackling every challenge head on no matter what.

This depends on how you look at it.

For example, the silence spell still successfully prevented the guards from being alerted, where as they would have been if it had not been present. So the PC's effort to avoid alerting the guards in fact paid off.

Of course, you also should look at this in contrast to the normal rules for failing a Climb check: In the F>F version, the PCs dropped something and had to decide if they wanted to go back for it. In the RAW version, the PCs fell back to the bottom of the cliff, took damage, and have to start climbing again.

I would argue that the "is it worth going back for that?" situation is more interesting and allows for more player agency than the "let's do this same thing over again but roll better this time" situation, but obviously we probably disagree..

Which really brings to another point: F>F is best used exactly when PCs are determined to rush headlong into a situation. Here's a thing I have noticed about players: Once they decide on a course of action, they will stick to it until it becomes impossible. If the PCs fail to climb the cliff and fall, nine times out of ten (unless they failed on a 19 or something obvious like that) they won't look for another method; they will employ the gambler's fallacy, decide they can't possibly fail twice, and scale the same darn cliff again. I think this is related to a thing Mark often says about how players will "optimize the fun out of a game if you let them". Players will just sit there, rolling lockpicking checks until they succeed, even though it's not fun, because that is the only way to get the outcome they want.

"The GM makes you roll to until you succeed" is definitely bad adventure design. The place where I see F>F making sense, though, is when the players are determined to roll until they succeed. In which case changing the context of the roll from "do you succeed?" to "how well do you succeed?" saves table time and, I would argue, creates more interesting narratives.

Anyway, obviously not trying to convince you here, just sorta trying to explain my own viewpoint in a way that hopefully makes sense.


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Separate thought: I think I've come up with an idea to explain F>F in a simulationist game.

Suppose the PCs are trying to get past a locked door. The DC is high - they are capable of succeeding, but only on a lucky roll. You know that in 10 rounds, a guard patrol will have entered the room beyond the door and taken up station.

The RAW way to resolve this would be to have the PCs roll their lockpicking check however many times it takes them to succeed, counter how many rounds that is, and use that to decide if the guards are there or not.

The F>F method would be to ask the PCs for a single check, and use the result of that check to determine whether they get the door open before the guards arrive or not.

No narrativist changes to reality based on the PC roll, just using one roll to abstract a series of rolls - but that is completely within the principles of fail forward.


MaxAstro wrote:
"The GM makes you roll to until you succeed" is definitely bad adventure design.

I think we all agree on this principle. And I think you bring up an interesting point that players are often the ones who interpret a challenge this way rather than the GM having created the challenge to be this. GMs do need to think through how to help players move past this linear railroad thought process, when the game gets caught on it, but deciding how long to let them bang their head against the wall and when/how to put the ball back into their hands, with a push to trying something different seems like a matter of debate.

MaxAstro wrote:


Separate thought: I think I've come up with an idea to explain F>F in a simulationist game.
...
The F>F method would be to ask the PCs for a single check, and use the result of that check to determine whether they get the door open before the guards arrive or not.

No narrativist changes to reality based on the PC roll, just using one roll to abstract a series of rolls - but that is completely within the principles of fail forward.

Again, I am only speaking for myself, but I am fine with GMs deciding to present challenges this way to their players, if they explain it to the players that way and the players realize that they are making the check one time and committing to spend the time necessary to get it right, whatever consequences may come.

But I wouldn't do it myself as a GM and I wouldn't be thrilled about it as a player. As a player I would be inclined to ask whether or not I could quietly test the lock first one time just to get a feel for how difficult it is to open, making a stealth check and a disable device check). I would understand that on a critical failure I might break my tool off in the lock and prevent myself from picking the lock as a means forward, or fail the stealth check and bring attention to myself, but I would understand that it was because I failed to accomplish the actions that I intended to take, not follow up actions that carry me into a new encounter or situation without having the opportunity first to try a different approach if it doesn't seem like my intended actions are working.

But more directly to your philosophical point, I am curious whether or not attempting to abstract a situation that could be addressed with the GM requesting a number of different checks, into one specific check to determine the outcome of the situation is a core part of F>F (failing forward, right?) or if it is a separate aspect of how simulationist approaches to exploration/non-combat/non-social encounters, which are what is usually codified in rules about these challenges, are often boring for players unless they are planned beyond "the players succeed at this check and then move to the next chapter of the story?"


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Obviously this thread has seen many different definitions of fail forward. The one I personally adhere to is that "forward" does not mean in the sense of "towards victory" but rather in the sense of "moving the narrative".

If I had to give a one-line definition of fail forward, it would be "every roll changes the game state in some way; a roll never results in 'nothing changed but you can try again'".

I will also note that I don't think fail forward should always be employed - extended rolls can be fun by protracting the tension of success or failure, for example. But I think it's a very useful tool in a GM's kit.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

GM: "You want to climb this cliff, but the jagged rocks are tearing at your rope you've been carrying since 1st level. The DC is quite high because the rope is slick with rain, and fraying even as you climb as fast as you can. DC is 20. You're a good climber though, its more about keeping the rope steady so it doesn't become so frayed as to be useless."

Player Rolls: "15."
GM: "Okay you get to the top, there's a dramatic moment as the rope frays and breaks unfortunately when you pull the rope up after you, you find that instead of 50 feet, only 25 feet of rope remains."

Is it common for GMs to tell players the DC of checks? I don't do this and I suspect that Fail Forward would absolutely be seen as bad form for a GM that does because the players know they failed the check and Fail Forward was used.

For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.


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Fumarole wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

GM: "You want to climb this cliff, but the jagged rocks are tearing at your rope you've been carrying since 1st level. The DC is quite high because the rope is slick with rain, and fraying even as you climb as fast as you can. DC is 20. You're a good climber though, its more about keeping the rope steady so it doesn't become so frayed as to be useless."

Player Rolls: "15."
GM: "Okay you get to the top, there's a dramatic moment as the rope frays and breaks unfortunately when you pull the rope up after you, you find that instead of 50 feet, only 25 feet of rope remains."

Is it common for GMs to tell players the DC of checks? I don't do this and I suspect that Fail Forward would absolutely be seen as bad form for a GM that does because the players know they failed the check and Fail Forward was used.

For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.

Yeah I find telling players DCs is a weird thing to do. I might discuss them in the after game wrap up (new players like this sort of information so I find it useful in teaching) but never during the game. Doing so is just going to give stuff away at some point (or the obvious, "wait he didn't give a DC this time, somethings up."

Like one of the traps in an Illusionists tower I did was a pit that was actually way bigger than it appeared (so folks thought they could easily make the jump.) If I gave out DCs in the past then my options are either a) lie, b) not give the DC at which point it is anomalous behavior which will give the game away or c) give the true DC which ruins the point of the trap.


I often do give them impressions of what the DC might be, but only after telling them that it requires some kind of knowledge or skill check to learn the DC and that skill check is a secret roll.


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Fumarole wrote:
For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.

We give DCs and AC - often we’ll reveal AC at the end of round one.

Part of it is a belief that if you’re good at something, you know how hard tasks are and DCs or AC are one unambiguous way to convey that to the player (the PCs obviously don’t think in DCs).

Another part is probably my aversion to fudging, which is well known at my table. In my experience, the most common fudge is not actually changing the dice, it’s setting the DC after seeing what the player rolled (or changing hit points mid battle based on how the fight is progressing).


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Fumarole wrote:
For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.

I write the AC on a white board behind me, as you have noted the players usually have it nailed down within a round or 2 anyway, and this keeps combat flowing especially with larger groups.

DC's I never give out. You want to do that? OK give me a _______ check. I then use the results to describe what happened without telling them directly that they failed or passed. I might use something like "After several tense minutes you finally feel the last tumbler fall into place" or "After several minutes working on the lock, several broken picks and frustration are all you have to show for your efforts"


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Fumarole wrote:
For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.

I reveal both. They’ll figure them out anyway, though I started doing it after reading this article. I must admit my players do seem to enjoy their rolls a little more, but I digress.

I have two approaches for handling hidden information:

Knowing that there is a DC communicates information. In this situation, I provide a fake DC. Obviously, there are limits. I don’t have them make saving throws every ten feet to mask the existence of traps, but if they are actively searching for traps, then I’ll give them a DC that makes sense for the area regardless of whether there actually are traps.

Knowing that you failed communicates information. When that happens, the players need to establish some other way that their characters know they failed before they can act on the information they gleaned from that failure.

The second situation comes up frequently in my game when my players fail a navigation check to avoid getting lost. In the hexcrawl procedure I use, getting lost applies a hidden veer, so they never know which direction they are going until they can do something in-character that establishes they’re lost.

For the illusion trap described above, unless they are intentionally trying to overshoot the gap, I’d give them the DC it would take to cross the pit they see, since the DC is for the distance to be crossed and not the distance traveled. As soon as someone fell in, I’d expect the next person to want to jump further, and that’s fine. I’d give that PC the DC of however far they wanted to jump.


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kenada wrote:
For the illusion trap described above, unless they are intentionally trying to overshoot the gap, I’d give them the DC it would take to cross the pit they see, since the DC is for the distance to be crossed and not the distance traveled. As soon as someone fell in, I’d expect the next person to want to jump further, and that’s fine. I’d give that PC the DC of however far they wanted to jump.

This is how I’d handle it too.

Our shared understanding is that DCs are based on what we can know in character. There may be secret modifiers or something going on we’re unaware of. (This comes up a lot in social settings too, where they try to diplome someone who is secretly the villain, or somesuch).


Kendall, thanks for sharing that link. It makes me feel really good about the direction my own game design is headed.


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Fumarole wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

GM: "You want to climb this cliff, but the jagged rocks are tearing at your rope you've been carrying since 1st level. The DC is quite high because the rope is slick with rain, and fraying even as you climb as fast as you can. DC is 20. You're a good climber though, its more about keeping the rope steady so it doesn't become so frayed as to be useless."

Player Rolls: "15."
GM: "Okay you get to the top, there's a dramatic moment as the rope frays and breaks unfortunately when you pull the rope up after you, you find that instead of 50 feet, only 25 feet of rope remains."

Is it common for GMs to tell players the DC of checks? I don't do this and I suspect that Fail Forward would absolutely be seen as bad form for a GM that does because the players know they failed the check and Fail Forward was used.

For those GMs that do tell players DCs, so you also tell players enemy AC? I do not, but of course my players usually figure out the AC after a round or two of combat.

Several other people have answered but since Dudemeister hasn't yet, I will mention that he is rather famously known as a "total transparency" GM. My understanding is that in his games, DC, AC, and even monster stat blocks are player knowledge. He was very critical of the "secret rolls" mechanic in the playtest.

Silver Crusade

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MaxAstro is pretty much correct, I prefer transparency as a GM, unless there is an absolutely compelling reason to hide that information or provide misleading information (the illusion trap above for example). But I’d still give them the DC from the perspective of what the character would judge the distance.

I don’t know why people would hide information: you can find the DC of most checks in the skill section of the core rule book. This is explicitly information players should know.

I do also openly tell my players the AC and even attack bonus of monsters, some prefer to find out after they hit the first time, it also takes some cognitive load off my brain when players can explicitly track the debuffs they drop on foes.

Hell if my players are dropping a particularly delicious spell, I will ask the player’s DC, I’ll tell them the monster’s save bonus and roll on the table for that tasty drama.

Players make more interesting and reality anchored choices if they have a real idea of the odds. They can gamble with fictional positioning. The story and the narrative is not what happens at the table. The game happens at the table. The story is what gets told afterwards.

The only wrong way to GM/DM or run a game is one that does not take into consideration the desires of all players at the table.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
The story and the narrative is not what happens at the table. The game happens at the table. The story is what gets told afterwards.

It's very pleasant to see someone of a mind alike. I'd previously state the same idea as not as intelligible as you worded it...


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It seems many GMs do tell their player DCs, and I think for those GMs it would absolutely not make sense to use Fail Forward since the players would know it was used and that would be bad for verisimilitude. As I said above, I do not tell my players DCs (though I certainly describe to them how difficult such a challenge appears to them) and I will use Fail Forward if appropriate. During session 0 I will tell them it is possible that Failing Forward happens, but they won't necessarily know when it does. They may suspect, but they won't know.

I suppose it could be said that I prefer that player knowledge and character knowledge not diverge and try to limit player knowledge to what their character knows as much as possible. I feel this is more immersive and my players seem to enjoy being surprised, which is much more likely to happen with a new edition as none of them have read the Bestiary. Maybe this is me being an old fart who first ran games more than thirty years ago? C'est la vie.

I think this whole thread can be chalked up to table variance.


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Fumarole wrote:

Maybe this is me being an old fart who first ran games more than thirty years ago? C'est la vie.

I think this whole thread can be chalked up to table variance.

I don't think age has much to do with it. I've only been running things for 16-18 years or so. I did start with systems without hard and fast DCs and non-binary results so some of that might have carried over. Everything has always been framed by what characters know and experience for me.


Hmm I think that Fail Forward is not a matter of disclosing the DCs or of smoke and mirrors (I do believe some smoke and mirrors may be appropriate at some times, but that's beyond this topic). I think that Fail Forward is best used when the check it's being applied to does not completely describe the player's intention for the action his character is taking.

In the lock example, FF is a good technique if the players' intention isn't "open this door", but "open this door before somebody comes by". That way, the failure of the roll is technically applied to the player's intention, just not to the part that wouldn't be all that interesting. But reading the exact player intentions can be quite hard, and it will depend on a player by player basis. It's the GM's task to know when FF would work without causing too much ludonarrative dissonance, and it certainly does not work for every player or group.


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Fumarole wrote:
It seems many GMs do tell their player DCs, and I think for those GMs it would absolutely not make sense to use Fail Forward since the players would know it was used and that would be bad for verisimilitude.

That only applies to a particular type of Fail Forwards, the 'fudge it and move on' kind.

One of the classic ways of doing it goes something like this:

Make some social checks to gather information about your enemies. If you succeed, you find out where their base is. If you fail, you attract too much attention. Your enemies send out a squad of assassins to kill you. If you defeat the assassins, you find a clue on the body of one of the assassins to lead you to the next part of the story.

Your actions and abilities have had consequences, and the story doesn't grind to a halt just because you rolled badly. And it works even if the players know the DC for the social skill checks.


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Failing forward on every failed check is bad. Sometimes you just screw it up and that's that. That's why every situation should have multiple solutions.

The players don't need to always succeed in picking the locked door. They might have to break it down, get a passwall scroll, bribe/capture a minion, or find a way around. There's always another way. It just might be harder.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
It seems many GMs do tell their player DCs, and I think for those GMs it would absolutely not make sense to use Fail Forward since the players would know it was used and that would be bad for verisimilitude.

That only applies to a particular type of Fail Forwards, the 'fudge it and move on' kind.

One of the classic ways of doing it goes something like this:

Make some social checks to gather information about your enemies. If you succeed, you find out where their base is. If you fail, you attract too much attention. Your enemies send out a squad of assassins to kill you. If you defeat the assassins, you find a clue on the body of one of the assassins to lead you to the next part of the story.

Your actions and abilities have had consequences, and the story doesn't grind to a halt just because you rolled badly. And it works even if the players know the DC for the social skill checks.

This really leaves me to wonder whether fail forward is a GM tool or an adventure design tool? As an adventure design tool, it seems like making sure that there is always another path towards the players goal is just good design principles.

With the locating the base example. The Enemies realize the party is looking for them now so the element of surprise is temporarily lost, but it could be regained if the party goes to lengths to make the assassin attempt look successful.

To me this doesn't feel like failing forward so much as making sure that your game world is alive and responsive to the events initiated by the PCs, rather than passively having enemies sit back and wait for for the PCs to initiate every event. Because the enemies response is driven specifically by the party's failure, it is not removing player agency, but reinforcing the reality that actions have consequences. I like to incorporate this into adventure design by having the resources that the enemies spent to send out assassins (either their own troops or mercenaries) missing from a future encounter or event. For me this is a way of showing that actions have consequences even if the party don't see them right away, but when they do put it together, they feel like they have solved a mystery, and they realize that the world is starting to watching them and take notice.

Is there a difference between the principle of fail forward and just responsive GMing with adventure design that gives the GM tools for doing so?


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Also, the idea that many folks have put forward that Fail forward is about making sure every roll matters is not one that feels fully reflected in any D20 ruleset.

I have often seen RPGs defined by the core mechanic hat the GM presents a situation, the party declares how they wish to respond, and then dice are rolled to determine an outcome. But it seems like everyone here is arguing that GMs and players both need to realize that the third step is actually, the GM arbitrates the players response to the situation, asking for, or making their own, dice rolls to determine the outcome only when there are multiple possible consequences possible that are significant to the story being told.

It seems like a fair amount of debate in this thread boils down to:

If fail forward means that any die roll results in a significant and story altering change to situation described by the party, Does that change need to be centered around the action itself failing? or is it acceptable for the situation to change in arbitrary and unrelated ways, just because the die has been rolled?

And if the change is centered around the action itself failing, is that actually failing forward? or just an example of GMs asking for checks only when necessary?


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Unicore wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
It seems many GMs do tell their player DCs, and I think for those GMs it would absolutely not make sense to use Fail Forward since the players would know it was used and that would be bad for verisimilitude.

That only applies to a particular type of Fail Forwards, the 'fudge it and move on' kind.

One of the classic ways of doing it goes something like this:

Make some social checks to gather information about your enemies. If you succeed, you find out where their base is. If you fail, you attract too much attention. Your enemies send out a squad of assassins to kill you. If you defeat the assassins, you find a clue on the body of one of the assassins to lead you to the next part of the story.

Your actions and abilities have had consequences, and the story doesn't grind to a halt just because you rolled badly. And it works even if the players know the DC for the social skill checks.

This really leaves me to wonder whether fail forward is a GM tool or an adventure design tool? As an adventure design tool, it seems like making sure that there is always another path towards the players goal is just good design principles.

Its both. If you a writing an adventure (for public or own use) it is a good thing to keep in mind when setting up scenarios. If you are running the game (either from a prewritten adventure or off the cuff) it is a useful concept to keep in mind and apply judiciously.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I don’t know why people would hide information: you can find the DC of most checks in the skill section of the core rule book. This is explicitly information players should know.

I think we've had this discussion before, but in my case? Player request. I have weird players. For example, you might remember that in the whole secret rolls discussion, I mentioned that my players specifically asked me to use secret rolls as much as possible.

They have also expressed a preference of not knowing what DC they are rolling against unless there is an in-character reason they would know they exact success chance. I doubt any of them have read the DCs in the skills chapter. Just helps their immersion, I suppose.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
The only wrong way to GM/DM or run a game is one that does not take into consideration the desires of all players at the table.

1000% this, though. I would add that the desire/fun of the GM is also important - I've seen some newbie GMs who think that it's okay for them to have no fun at all if the players are having fun and that's not really healthy. But I think GMs that end up accidentally having fun at the expense of their players are more common, so yeah. This.


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Unicore wrote:
This really leaves me to wonder whether fail forward is a GM tool or an adventure design tool? As an adventure design tool, it seems like making sure that there is always another path towards the players goal is just good design principles.

True, but there's a difference between 'fail and you have to find another path' and 'fail and the other path finds you'. The latter is 'fail forwards'. The former is what I called 'fail sideways'.

Silver Crusade

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MaxAstro wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I don’t know why people would hide information: you can find the DC of most checks in the skill section of the core rule book. This is explicitly information players should know.

I think we've had this discussion before, but in my case? Player request. I have weird players. For example, you might remember that in the whole secret rolls discussion, I mentioned that my players specifically asked me to use secret rolls as much as possible.

They have also expressed a preference of not knowing what DC they are rolling against unless there is an in-character reason they would know they exact success chance. I doubt any of them have read the DCs in the skills chapter. Just helps their immersion, I suppose.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
The only wrong way to GM/DM or run a game is one that does not take into consideration the desires of all players at the table.
1000% this, though. I would add that the desire/fun of the GM is also important - I've seen some newbie GMs who think that it's okay for them to have no fun at all if the players are having fun and that's not really healthy. But I think GMs that end up accidentally having fun at the expense of their players are more common, so yeah. This.

GMs Are Players Too!

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