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Confusing Challenging Values vs Suffering Complications (to gain Determination)

posted Apr 08, 2018 13:56:52 by Elijah
If a Value would make a Situation more difficult the GM can give the Player 1 Determination and have the player suffer a Complication. The example given is Worf despises Romulans, so the GM gives Worf a Complication (since Worf's Value make the situation more difficult) to not help and the Romulan dies and Worf gets 1 Determination.
My question is, couldn't Worf instead have selected to Challenge his Value of despising Romulans and cross out that Value, gain the point of Determination and saved the Romulans life instead? At the end of the Mission Worf can even keep his Value and not change it. Am I confusing these two different ways to gain Determination? Can someone give more examples to help me differentiate these two ways of gaining Determination? (I've honestly never used the suffer a Complication option in a game, just had players Challenge their Values instead)
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3 replies
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 08, 2018 16:09:53
In theory, yes, Worf could have challenged his Value and chosen to aid the Romulan. The relevant Value gets crossed out, and Worf gets a milestone at the end of the session. The important part though, is - as we see in the TNG episode The Enemy - that Worf doesn't challenge his Values, and he does allow the Romulan to die. The example didn't come out of nowhere, and it (or many of Worf's other episodes) represents a good example of a character facing a personal dilemma and sticking to their beliefs.

Now, there's a couple of key elements that you've not accounted for. Firstly, you can only Challenge one of your Values (or a Directive, though that has different consequences) once per adventure. Secondly, at the end of the mission, if you've challenged a Value, you don't get it back. You cross it out, and if you spend a milestone on it (immediately, or at some later point), you may write a new Value in its place, which must be meaningfully different from the one that was there before.

Challenging a Value is A Big Deal, because it means going against the foundations of your self-identity and acting in a manner contrary to your beliefs. It means deciding that the problem in front of you is more important than your personal code of conduct, your ethics, and your honour... and that kind of "victory no matter the cost" pragmatism is a step on the path towards Section 31 coming to recruit you, because you're the kind of ruthless, amoral pragmatist they like.

The clearest way to differentiate the two methods (suffering a Complication from a Value vs Challenging a Value) is in the character's choice. It's actually possible to think of the whole thing not as two distinct methods, but as one situation with two clear outcomes. A character is presented with a moral, ethical, or personal dilemma, and they will receive a point of Determination as a result, but the question is how they respond to the dilemma: do they follow their beliefs (suffer a Complication) or do they abandon those beliefs (Challenge the Value, crossing it out and changing the character forever).
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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Elijah said Apr 08, 2018 17:08:41
Thanks so much Nathan, that actually makes it a lot clearer. Let me just see if I got it right if I give an example:

The Captain is terraforming a planet. It is discovered that there is some indigenous animal life that will die if the terraforming is continued the way it is. The Captain has a Value "All Life Is Precious."

The Captain can choose to follow their Value and protect the animal life, so they gain one Determination and a Complication. The Complication is now that the terraforming Task is increased in Difficulty (in order to protect to animal habitats) or that the terraforming Task is impossible (until a new way to terraform is researched that will not kill animals or the animals are evacuated).

The Captain can also choose to go against their Value and simply continue to terraform, so they gain one Determination and the Value is crossed out. The terraforming Task does not change and the animals are wiped out. The Captain now has to change their Value in some either significant way or a new Value has to be written instead, but either way the Value cannot stay the same.

If the same situation was happening and there was no Value to be Challenged, the Captain could again have the same decision to make. The difference being that they would not gain a point of Determination nor cross out a Value, as there was no applicable Value.

Have I used the rules in a correct way?
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 08, 2018 22:35:21
If the same situation was happening and there was no Value to be Challenged, the Captain could again have the same decision to make. The difference being that they would not gain a point of Determination nor cross out a Value, as there was no applicable Value.

If there was no Value, then it's not a personal dilemma, so you don't put up a point of Determination at stake, there's no risk of a Complication, and there's nothing to Challenge - it's just a normal decision made during play.

Of course, if there's no Value around that applies... there might still be a Directive. Remember, Directives function identically to Values, except they apply to the group and the mission as a whole, and Challenging them doesn't cross out the Directive, but rather has lasting roleplay repercussions (because you've gone against Starfleet protocol, or orders from a superior) and will count as a negative influence for renown later. The Prime Directive is always in play, for every mission, but the GM should come up with one or more other Directives for a mission.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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