A separate thread for the ongoing discussion of Extended Tasks, to stop it from overwhelming other discussion.
I've copied my conceptual overview of the mechanic below, for reference and to hopefully kick off some productive discussion.
The purpose of Extended Tasks is uncertainty. As we probably all know from experience with other RPGs, uncertainty plus peril is a good recipe for excitement. It's one of the reasons why combat is such a persistent part of RPGs in general - fight scenes are uncertain and perilous, and that can organically produce those memorable moments where everything comes right down to the wire. Extended Tasks are an attempt to achieve that sort of dynamic for activities which aren't combat.
An Extended Task is appropriate for a specific range of activities: if the activity is time-consuming, and occurs in circumstances where it must to be completed within a finite amount of time, or there is an increasing risk or hazard involved in performing the activity that makes it naturally undesirable to take too long. If there's no time limit or peril, then the fact that the activity is time-consuming is irrelevant - you should probably just roll a single Task for it, or even just let it happen after X amount of time, no roll required (this is one of the flaws with some of the Extended Tasks used in the first adventure - the need for an element of peril wasn't fully understood at the time).
The key is that specific intersection between "activity that will take more than one character-action to complete" and "situation where taking too long is particularly bad". These are situations where, ideally, victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat, or where success comes just in the nick of time.
And I don't think that this is something that can easily just be "roleplayed out". How long the Extended Task takes to complete is not something that anyone around the table (or any of the writers) should be able to conclusively decide: GM fiat doesn't work here, because it's one of those things that the dice should decide.
The ur-example of the Extended Task, for me, is characters trying to fix some vital piece of technology in the midst of a firefight. It might be that the Warp Core is offline and the ship is faced with an overwhelming enemy force, or that you need to get that subspace relay or transporter working so that you can beam out. Those represent situations where there's an ongoing, severe peril (a fight), but the fight itself isn't the objective (as should be the case in Star Trek - a fight is something that happens along the way, but it isn't the point of the story).
In this example, the fight will conclude when the Extended Task is complete, which means there's a finite-but-unknown duration to the scene. Nobody - not the GM, not the players, and not the writers - has direct control over this duration, but both GM and players can influence it in various ways: the GM sets the basic parameters (Progress, Magnitude, Difficulty, Resistance) and can adjust things on the fly with Complications, Threat, and the attacking NPCs, while the players can influence the outcome through use of skilled characters (putting the right characters in the right places), division of labour (some characters do the fighting, some characters do the repairs), and the spending of resources (Momentum, Threat, Determination) to try and make things as favourable as possible.
Now, while the rules may not be to everyone's tastes, can people at least understand what I was trying
to do in concept?
[Last edited Oct 10, 2017 23:51:29]
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures
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