My only misgivings with “Gun” effort is the title. But it is a misgiving I have.
Mentioned above is better than anything I have to add to the topic. I’ll still add my -0.02 to the topic however.
At its core ICRPG is a great D20 mod that encourages DIY mods to fit your settings. I even believe it does this better than any D20 incarnation.
It is modular allowing that inclusion or exclusion of any mod.
However, timers and effort are strokes of genius, that leave me doubtful I’ll ever abandon them regardless of rule system, if I am running it for any length of time.
In my view each is superior to the “advantage/disadvantage” concepts popularized by D&D 5e.
I’ll dwell on each, but I propose them for a future blog.
For me the advantage of effort is the concept that things take time, regardless of skill. Picking a lock requires a practiced hand and knowledge of your tools…great familiarity with both…as well as the perfect tool for the job, it might take just a second more than the intended key.
But ask anyone about jumbling keys while adrenaline is spiking and you start seeing the difficulty.
Effort, makes it easy to guesstimate time required for a task…and offers alternative actions.
While not explored in the various incarnations of ICRPG I have seen…granting 2 or 3x effort for perfect tool/skill/power/trait/background for the job should be encouraged. Even if you only have them roll once and tabulated it behind the screen (I know blasphemy, but sometimes mystery is better than everyone on the same page). Other times just ask the player to roll effort 3 times on a success.
This should be done if this is a moment to shine for the character or it just fits.
The true glory of effort is in how it (at least in my brain pan) simulates real life, if someone is taking a quick peek down the corridor…not wanting to expose themselves and the enemy is not wanting to explain who they are…I use effort to figure out how much to explain to the PC.
Examples of details they might get at a gander…a 1 might get any base information but an exact score gets you the whole of the story.
1: surface info
2: Coriander special forces boots ( no longer used by the Corianders, but adopted or reproduced by dozens of mercenaries. Specially those with a Coriander in charge of troop training).
3: AmerMartian plate carrier ( universal among allies or Merca who have worked with the AmerMartians)
4: Gelcin visor helmets ( current issue, but users seem tall for Gelcin shock troops)
5: trying to hide origins ( not sure why, not adding up)
6: P7709 modular blaster ( blaster used by AmerMartians, but odd configuration outside city defense).
7: Coriander rank insignia ( Top Lieutenant stars, but not an angle that makes any sense for Coianders)
8: Arks text displaying on the Gelcin visor. (Gelcins never have Aliens in their basic troops).
9. Blanket building formation ( classic Coriander building incursion, two 5 person teams on top, 5 repel down to control last floor and penultimate floor, 5 keep roof clear, all others in teams of 3 flow up, announce progress only as they engage enemies).
10. 3 surface info
11. 2 surface and 1 depth info
12. Sillón Raiders. ( a merc group made of Coriander and Kriken forces forces that operate exclusively in groups of 30.)
14. Palpitan gloves + 8 (Palpitans never associate with others even in rebellion) Palpitans only work in multiple of 21. 21, 441, 9261, almost 200,000.
15. Nicer Raiders, (Palpitans who are considered heretical to all, only operating in groups of 49, 2401 if contracted in total). Also known as the 50 Legions. Only incredibly deep pockets can contract them all, even one legion of 49 is worth a princess heirs ransom.
In a set of 15 perception effort list I produced the core of an adventure or even a campaign arc.
But it can be much smaller that that. Most things can point to one faction, and more details focus more on the one faction.
1: round shield
2: blue on white heraldry
3: blue on white heraldry and round shields ( Lord Krickan or Duchess Simmon)
4. 5 blue feathers on white background (Lord Krickans warriors)
Allowing the other players to add their “knowledge” after peaking of one PC to inform the party. Depending on how you value “effort”.
As to advantage/disadvantage consider using them in effort. Huge implications here. Blue on white vs narrowing down to two possible antagonists.
In one round where background is of no consequence…not an issue, but if your sworn lord is sworn to Duchess Simmon…big distinction.
Players knowledge that in 2 turns another complication is about to occur leads to rash actions. For the most part I feel as a GM rash/quick should be rewarded ( not slowing down the game) occasionally forcing the team (PCs to think) is a good counter-pace to the usual (run for your lives) I place the group in. If it furthers the narrative all the better.
Lastly advantage/disadvantage for checks or for success/fail is boring. If a hard check equals advantage and an easy check equals disadvantage on effort. You have a new mechanic that entices players to try things.
I’ll take this at advantage for disadvantage with effort allowing the players to increase variables. In D20 mechanics, I’ll take this at +5 so I increase my capacity to hit Vs. my damage potential on a d12 is huge. But on a D4 is dismally inconsequential…unless the monster is 1 point from dying.
Exploring the totality of advantage in hitting versus disadvantage in damage done. Can be surprisingly important. While no cognitive load is added to GMing. It is all on the short layers side.
(This depends on if your players don’t take too much time to detriment the value of their turn. If so, straight D20 and effort is preferable)
You know your group vs complexity better than anyone. The more you tune into the reality of your group of players the better you are prepared to entertain them.
Ultimately it is about the GM being entertained by the players, and the players being entertained by the obstacles placed in their way. Not about the complexity of the situation.