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  • Tests (time limitation)

    I posted this on the official answers on core rules forum but wanted to open it up to everyone to get their opinion on this.

    So I was reading about tests and how it encourages to be creative. I've often seen the example of throwing sand in the eyes and that one makes sense. But, I've been listening tot the official PEG Show podcast and another Savage Worlds podcasts (forget the name) and there have been a few episodes of them using the example of a character using the healing skill as a test. The idea is she explains in a medical sense, all the bad things that would happen (i.e. infection causing something more serious etc). if they didn't get to do something. But, considering a combat round is 6 seconds and an average party of 3-4 players and 3-5 NPCs, each characters action won't last much more than one second. Before the character can say a couple of words, the enemy is going to be try to take their head off. There is no time to do a long explanation. That's why I don't think using skills like persuasion, healing, or anything that requires saying a bunch of words make any sense because there is just no time for that.

    Sorry for the long winded question but I wanted to get the official take on this. At what point does the GM say, sorry - as creative as that sounds there is just no time to do that test in one action.

  • #2
    It's a matter of GM's preference. If the player wants to achieve some sort of special benefit not covered by the rules. (Like I'm stalling him so he shouldn't be attacking as well), it's a big no. But if it's only a Test and the explanations takes a little bit longer, why not?

    Think of it another way. I wouldn't penalize a player that describes his attack in a way that would take more than 6 seconds, as long as the attack is nothing more than an attack roll in the end.

    Comment


    • #3
      Your assumptions are flawed, but your point has value.

      Regarding Your Assumptions:
      Each Round is 6 seconds long. But while Turn resolution is in sequential, that's a convenience of game play; all Turns happen in the same period of time, we merely resolve them in a specific order to keep it playable. So a given action can be five or six seconds and still fit within the Turn.

      (I have told players that they couldn't take multiple actions because their described main action was too long and involved. No one has expressed problems with that ruling.)

      Regarding Your Thesis:
      If the GM decides that a Test takes too long then the GM can disallow that Test. That's completely within the rules.
      Antithesis:
      If the GM disallows Tests that take more than a moment to complete then players will generally become less creative. All tests will become a snarl (Intimidation), a smirk (Taunt), a weapon flourish (Fighting), or a minor environmental interaction (Athletics). You'll lose out on the clever and creative uses of other skills, which are a great change to role play characters, develop character arcs, and make the game that much cooler. Role play and combat are not mutually exclusive.
      Synthesis:
      You have to find the intersection between simulation, 'rule of cool', and your table's tastes that best fits your group and your campaign(s).
      Remember that the goal of a game is to have fun. The Test mechanic is a fast way to resolve creative interactions. You'll find the balance that works best for you and yours with some experimentation.

      Good luck!
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses.

        VahallaGH - I'm not sure if I agree that my assumption is flawed regarding sequential vs all turns happen in the same period. If it's the case that turns happen in the same period of time, if I get to go first and I Incapacitate the enemy on my turn, should the enemy get to attack me back on his turn even though he is "dead" since it's roughly the same amount of time (I guess you can argue that your attack hit first before his could reach you but if we are shooting at each other, couldn't his gun go off before your bullet hit him?) If I start bleeding out due to an enemy attack, should another player be able to use the healing action later in the same round to stabilize me? If we are to think of things happening all at roughly the same time and each turn is lasting 5-6 seconds then it wouldn't make a lot of sense to allow characters to react to something happening in the same round. In that case everyone should announce what their action is before the action cards are dealt since everyone is acting at the same time. It's like the defend rule, I asked in the official forum. If 2 enemies get their turn before mine, and I decided to defend for that round I don't get the bonus for those 2 first attacks and only goes into affect when it's my turn. That sounds pretty sequential to me.

        Even if we go with your premise of each action can take 5-6 seconds, that still doesn't give much time to do things like giving a medical explanation of what can potentially happen to try to scare the opponent. They wouldn't be listening to you anyways since they would be trying to attack you at the same time.I think tests is a good game system idea to make combat more varied, but to me it doesn't make a lot of common sense other than for quick simple tasks like the examples you gave.

        Comment


        • ValhallaGH
          ValhallaGH commented
          Editing a comment
          Like I said, resolution is sequential. But that doesn't mean everyone else stands around for six seconds while a Turn is resolved. They're trying to act, but their attempts may be cut shorty by Incapacitation, missing targets, missing allies, or other changing circumstances.
          Each Round happens in a 6 second period. Each Turn is not 1 / 54 of that period.

      • #5
        Dude, it's a game! Don't try to overanalyze it, just have fun.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
          Dude, it's a game! Don't try to overanalyze it, just have fun.
          Eh, one of the things that attracted me to Savage Worlds is the right level of crunch for combat using minis but still has a simple system for little prep work. It has detailed rules for different combat situations and most of them make sense and I can overlook some things because it is just a game. But this one example was just a little bit out there for me to just accept. "My character uses my performance skill with my very attractive edge to perform a sensual dance as a test to distract the enemy, all while they are trying to hack my arm off doesn't fly with me."

          edit: well on second thought that example I made up might work, but something like using my knowledge to explain something to the enemy in a scientific way wouldn't.. you get the point.
          Last edited by basic_element; 05-21-2020, 08:02 PM.

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          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, I get it. I just don't think it's a big deal.

        • #7
          ValhallaGH is right that a character's action can take 5-6 seconds, and is not restricted to 6 divided by the number of characters in seconds. But basic_element is also right that this can lead to logical/temporal inconsistencies. If Character A performs an action that should take about 6 seconds and then Character B on a lower card does something in reaction Character A's action, and Character B's action is also something that takes about 6 seconds, then the round as whole logically should take around 12 seconds. But I think we just have to live with that inconsistency to keep the game playable.

          As for the original question, ValhallaGH again hit it right on the head with "You have to find the intersection between simulation, 'rule of cool', and your table's tastes that best fits your group and your campaign(s)."

          You are right basic_element that logically a detailed description of the medical consequences (aka the Healing Test) will take longer than 6 seconds. And if you and your table are more of the simulationist bent then it makes sense for you to restrict such usage. But many tables run more towards the "rule of cool" and allow it, especially as it allows non-combat characters a chance to do useful things in combat. Neither side is right or wrong as it really boils down to personal preferences. Though it is something you should discuss with your table, to make sure everyone is on the same page.

          Comment


          • ValhallaGH
            ValhallaGH commented
            Editing a comment
            You have the same flawed assumption: a person can react to a thing before the thing begins, let alone before it completes.
            Try to punch an aware boxer. The boxer will react to the blow before it swings, if not before you finish forming a fist.

            Logic founded on faulty assumptions is the way to be confidently wrong. In any reasoned discussion, always start with the assumptions; if they are flawed then the entire argument fails, and if they are solid then the logic based off those assumptions is relevant.

          • JamesG
            JamesG commented
            Editing a comment
            You are assuming that I am assuming something that I am not.

            Yes, sometimes you can start reacting before something completes. But sometimes you can't.

            Example:
            Monster A attacks Character A with a complicated attack that would take about six seconds to complete. After Character A takes damage from that attack Character B attempts to use the Healing power on Character A. For the sake of this example lets assume spells in this setting require material components and it takes 4-5 seconds to pull them out of a pouch.

            Since Character B does not know he will need to cast Healing until after Monster A's attack results, he can't start preparing before those results are known.

            And please don't argue that Character B could be reflexively preparing the Healing components just in case. If he does not need Healing he'd use a different spell, whose components are in a different pouch.

          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            Schrodinger's Spell... it is both healing and not healing until it is cast.

        • #8
          Originally posted by basic_element View Post
          the official PEG Show podcast and another Savage Worlds podcasts (forget the name)
          The other podcast was probably Savage Interludes.
          http://savageinterludes.com/

          Comment


          • #9
            In the particular example discussed, I believe she was using Healing to support an Intimidation roll outside of combat. That's totally valid; if you're not in combat, there's no reason to use the combat timing rules.

            In combat, it's up to the GM to decide if a Test or Support is valid. (I'm lumping them together because the decision process is pretty much exactly the same.) You should *generally* err on the side of your players, but if you think it's not valid, would take too long, or doesn't make any sense, it's completely up to you as the GM to decide what is and isn't a valid Support or Test roll at your table and at the moment. That's why the system is pretty freeform - it's meant to have a large degree of GM ruling at the time. Keep in mind, though, that the genre SW tries to emulate is cinematic action, which tends to work best if you're pretty permissive about this sort of thing. Few things will kill player interest faster than the GM kvetching about how long a cool-sounding Support or Test action would "really" take.

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by SteelDraco View Post
              In the particular example discussed, I believe she was using Healing to support an Intimidation roll outside of combat. That's totally valid; if you're not in combat, there's no reason to use the combat timing rules.
              I actually found the same example in the SWADE World Builder and Game Masters Guide, page 83 I believe. It clearly states that she was using the healing skill as a test, not a support roll. From my understanding tests are only used in combat since it just gives the distracted or vulnerable status. Using it as a support roll, I see no issue with.

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              • #11
                Some gaming systems attempt to address this "temporal inconsistency" by breaking up Initiative into two parts: Declaration and Activation.

                During Declaration, the character with the "slowest" initiative describes their actions first, but does not resolve them until the Activation stage. This means that "the fastest" character that round knows what everyone is doing and can react to anything, while the slowest character is essentially functioning blind.

                Personally, I'm not a huge fan of this approach, since it really slows things down, but if it's something you want to try, just know that it completely invalidates the Hold mechanic.

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