Challenges are the situations that impede or actively block a character from achieving their goals.
To create a fun and exciting story, it is the director's job is to fill the game world with situations that challenge characters as they attempt to accomplish their goals. Whether it involves crossing a raging river or dodging an attack from a dangerous adversary during a conflict, every challenge is assigned difficulty rating:
You might notice that there are no easy challenges. When a player wants to perform an action, unless the outcome of the challenge is uncertain with a risk of failure, the character should simply succeed, and the director should narrate the result.
Challenges are broadly divided into two types, obstacles and adversaries.
Obstacles represent things that stand in the way of a character's goals or progress. These can include locked doors, treacherous terrain, complex puzzles, or deciphering a coded message.
Situations involving simple obstacles are typically resolved in one of two ways:
Individual Action: Crossing a slippery rope bridge over a chasm would require each character to perform an action roll to determine if their individual ability can exceed the difficulty. Obstacles require individual actions when the consequences of failure directly apply to an individual character rather than the group as a whole.
Group Action: Sneaking past a sleeping guard is an example of a group action. The consequence of failure, waking the guard and raising an alarm, impact the entire group. To resolve a group action, the director will typically request each player roll an action. The sum of the effect from each individual success or failure is used to determine the overall outcome and effect for the entire group.
Complex and Group Tasks
For more complex obstacles that may involve more than one action to overcome, directors can make it a task. Complex Tasks involve individual characters performing multiple actions. Group Tasks can be used when a task requires the coordinated efforts of multiple characters to succeed.
Adversaries represent things that are competing against, or actively opposing the characters. They may be non-player characters, supernatural forces, or intelligent machines. The defining characteristic that separates adversaries from obstacles, is that they can act independently, and initiate actions.
The game is player-facing, only players roll. When an adversary initiates an action, unless it is opposed, it succeeds, and the director narrates the outcome. If a character attempts to oppose the action of an adversary, the player performs the action roll to determine the outcome of the opposition.
This inverts the typical success and failure perspective. When a character succeeds in opposing the action of the adversary, the adversary fails. Consequently, if the character fails to oppose the action, the adversary succeeds.
Adversaries use the same rules and mechanics as characters. They can have skill sets, specializations, boosts, and gear, but generally don't need the same level of depth invested relative to a full character.
Adversaries can be divided into two types representing their significance to the story, and their overall power level and capability.
Common: Common non-player characters serve as extras within a scene. These are typically servants, merchants, guards, gang members and other types of non-heroic individuals. Common non-player characters have a single skill set but omit backstory hooks and any health elements. Commoners are typically taken out of a scene when suffering any adverse condition during conflicts.
Complex: Complex non-player characters are typically distinguished from commoners by having a name, backstory, health elements, and are generally more skilled with multiple specializations and boosts, specialized gear and other capabilities found in commoners. Complex non-player characters can have stress points appropriate to their power level and will generally require multiple hits before they concede or are taken out.