Character Skill Focus and NPC Fields of Expertise for Difficulty

I just wanted to share something I started doing in my game. It’s similar to someone else’s idea for “saving” versus Complications underneath a character’s Skill Focus (to mitigate the high number of Complications rolled by PCs during the average game).

In most cases wherein there would be a Struggle between two characters, I have opted to use a character’s Skill or Field of Expertise for the Difficulty (modifying it as necessary, of course). For example, instead of an NPC “sneaking” with a Movement roll and a PC using Observation, I have used Movement for the Difficulty of the PC detecting the NPC.

In another situation, in which a PC decided to grab (Acrobatics, Minor Action) an NPC and restrain (Athletics, Standard Action) that character, I used the NPC’s Movement as the Difficulty for each.

It seemed to make even more sense to me, because PCs go first. These Actions could be resolved as Struggles, of course; I grant that. But, to resolve them as such, I would prefer to use a point of Doom, because the PC was acting, and my NPC was next to act.

I know that this seems “rules lawery,” and that maybe Struggles are the better way to go. I’m wondering, though, what others think of this approach. And does anyone see a potential design pitfall for me?

1 Like

Do you mean Focus if a PC?
Maybe some number examples.

In short, yes, but here’s a number example you asked for:

A Panther is sneaking up on a PC, its Movement is 2. That would be the base Difficulty of a PC Observing its approach, probably adjusted up, if the scene were in the cat’s natural habitat.

Recently, in a game of mine, PCs lay in ambush for PCs. Pict Movement is 1. I added another 1 for natural environment and another 1 because they had plenty of time to hide for D3 to detect them (the PCs did, with 2 Momentum to spare; they decided to spend it to locate two more of the five hiding Picts).

For these examples, I found myself moving directly into NPC Fields of Expertise, so your request reveals to me that I most likely won’t find many situations in which to use PC Skill Focus for a similar benchmark of Difficulty.

1 Like

Thanks, interesting idea. Hopefully playing again soon, in a home brew sandbox game.