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Momentum, individual or group?

I’ll be starting my Infinity game later this week and I’m curious about other people’s experiences with the different ways of handling momentum. For those that have tried both individual and group momentum, which did you prefer? For those that have only used one or the other, were there any specific reasons you chose the one you did?

Another question, specifically about individual momentum rule… In the advanced rule pop out box on page 33 it says that the momentum can be spent “at any time to assist the actions of other player characters…”. During the Modiphius Plays videos they said that those momentum points could not be spent to directly affect another player’s, but could be used to boost a roll that was being made to assist another character’s action. Just curious for those that have used the individual momentum rule, which way did you go with it and did it work out?

Thanks again,

For my part i use group momentum. My players play vastly different characters, and using the group momentum allow them access to momentum no matter if they are good at something or not, because someone else is likely to generate momentum for the group even if they don’t. It also limit the total of momentum in play, from 6 time the number of players to 6 maximum.

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I have not used the individual momentum rules. Having GMed quite a few sessions of Infinity, I can say that I would be scared to do so.
My players realize the strength of Heat, and they strive to give me the least amount of Heat possible. In contrast, it’s relatively easy for players to accumulate Momentum. Using group momentum, as a GM you’re dealing with your own unlimited Heat pool which starts at 6, versus a group momentum pool with a maximum of 6. If you go to individual momentum, then as a GM, you have a single pool of heat against a possible 24 points of momentum!
As a GM, I typically run out of Heat during a scene, and when I run out of Heat, the players have considerably more freedom!
As far as the rulebook goes - I think the confusion comes from using individual momentum for the “Create Opportunity” momentum spend, versus the “Group Test” rules on page 31.
No offense to the Modiphius Plays videos (I’m so happy they did that!) but they got some rules wrong.
If you are using individual momentum, there are two ways you can assist your ally. You can spend a point of momentum from your pool for “Create Opportunity” and give him an extra d20. Or you can use the Group Test rules, pick a relevant skill, and roll a single dice to assist the person.
To confuse matters, you could spend individual momentum on your assist to the Group Test rules, but keep in mind, even with individual momentum pools, you’re only allowed to get a total of +3 d20 dice for the test. Individual momentum rules allow you to spend a max of 6 momentum, but you could only use 3 of those for bonus dice.

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checks notes

I’m sitting at 23 Heat vs 1 Momentum across 5 players.

My players are all relatively new so haven’t quite worked out how to minimise Heat and maximise Momentum yet but even then at -5 Momentum per scene change their Momentum rapidly depletes.

I’ve been fairly lenient with what constitutes a scene at the moment, but I can see their pool rapidly depleting in combat.

I’m finding that Group Tests are the surest way to generate Momentum. I try to restrict “I’m going to Assist” with dudicious use of “Sure, tell me how and I’ll permit it”. The downside to that is it can rapidly end up with 1 character with a lot of Momentum (medium difficulty test where there was time and sense for lots of assistance, that rolled well) and others with not much.

That is why I only use group Momentum, not individual Momentum.

My Infinity players are not that much into hard PvP, so we use the “softer” variety of Wilderness of Mirrors and no individual Momentum pool, but only group Momentum. So successes with a lot Momentum feed into the group pool for everyone, not into individual character’s pool.

If you want to keep individual Momentum, consider having a group Momentum pool in addition to individual pools. Any Momentum generated by cooperative actions feeds the group pool, only single-character actions can feed into their individual pools. That could take care of this.

Are you using group momentum too?

On a personal level I actually have difficulties to generate heat as a gm. My players are very conservative about generating heat and tend to generate a decent amount of momentum, especially in combat were the one or two combat oriented characters are good enough to generate momentum for the who’e group. Nonetheless I still prefer group momentum as it allows characters to be useful in most situation even if they aren’t the best at a situation.

If your having trouble generating Heat you need to increase the Difficulties of the tasks you throw at your players or increase the strength/number of adversaries, you can also have NPC’s taking the Exploit Action as spotters… or make judicious use of Expert systems.

it also help to remember that spending Heat is aimed at the GM adjusting an encounter based on the performance of their players, you don’t need to spend it to make an encounter happen, which I have seen a lot of GM’s think they have to do. If you want a thing to happen it happens, the Heat is for altering the agreement after its made an for your players “pray I don’t alter it further”.

For my choice it took me a while to gell with the idea that adding Troopers to a scene is the best way to see Players suddenly want to grant heat, each trooper is +1d20 so a group of 5 Troopers is a 5d20 Dice Pool and that’s before you roll extra dice from heat as all those 4 additional troopers are adding assistance dice which aren’t capped by the +3d20 limit.

Also, another good piece of advice is to make your failure results harsher. Yes its always good for a GM to run a game with the idea that players constantly need to “Fail Forward” to keep the plot moving, but there is nothing like saying “If you fail this test, you will receive the info you want but your opponents will also know your investigating them”. Things like that should see your players buying more Momentum with Heat in order to avoid those complications.

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Complication tests are the best for ‘failing forward’. It avoids the situation of having to make multiple meaningless tests until you eventually pass, but still maintains the tension.

It’s something I’ve brought into other RPGs. There’s nothing more frustrating then having to just keep rolling to overcome a test. I’ve done it to my players before (in a different RPG), but only when there’s a clock so each failure eats away at their time… but even then, in hindsight a single complication test where a failure just cost a significant chunk of time would have been much more cinematic.

Yes, that is the main way for doing a “Fail Forward” in infinity, but I was mostly pointing out its not the only method to “Fail Forward” and if your looking for a way to bring in more Heat you can present any type of test as a something to fail and still progress the story with by using complications with a lower-case “C” as opposed to the mechanical “Complication”.

I don’t think that distinction (between general difficulties and Complications) is necessarily important.

2 Heat spend as an ‘information leak’ isn’t an unreasonable Complication on any research test. So to my mind saying: “If you fail this test, you will receive the info you want but your opponents will also know your investigating them” is the same as saying: “This is a Complication test; if you fail I’ll still give you the information you need but your psywar action will become Noisy.”

True, but they were asking how to get more Heat going your way and I find that if I say to my players “Make a D3 Complication test” is less effective at getting me Heat than saying. “This is a D3 test. Failure results in you tripping an alarm as you extract the information you need.”

I don’t like to just add Heat to my pool as the result of a Complication, as the book suggests, that’s the boring option and I’d rather any complications generated change the narrative and instead present my players with the full gamut of results for their tests up front.

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That’s a fair point, but its just player psychology. A vague future difficulty is normally going to have less of an impact than a specific threat now.

I know one of the questions my players ask prior to paying Heat is “how much Heat do you have?” They’re fairly blase about giving me 1-2 Heat when I’m sitting on 20.

Basically, mechanically it’s the same thing. It’s just a question about how you want to screw with your player’s minds / how the player-GM language has developed at your table. Part of this is establishing that Complications matter, which means using them (when thematically appropriate) and not just always banking them as heat.

Oh, that brings up a good point. I keep my Heat Pool out in the open at all times, I don’t see a reason to keep it hidden. When it’s low they tend to be willing to give me points because “meh, the GM’s obviously not saving up for anything.” and when it’s high its “meh, whats the difference between 20 and 21 Heat?”. its usually only around the 10 Heat mark that I see players worrying on if they should add to the pool or not, but you can always just add points when your players are slow or spend points to make them paranoid, that works best for me when players can clearly see it happen.

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I have done the contrary, I’ve hidden the pool and said, “do not mind heat, simply play, it’s just there to balance things out and add cool things”.

Yeah, I don’t hide it. It’s just I track it more closely than them. So it’s easier for them to just ask then to check the numbers.

I have 5 players though, so 15 Heat is just seed funds. I also ascribe to the “save up heat for climatic scenes” school of thought, so I’m trying to keep 20 Heat in hand for a fight that’s about to happen. I almost certainty don’t need that much, but I’ve ended up with 0 Heat before (in Conan) and it’s a bad place to be, so I’m happier ending the adventure with Heat in hand.

I stack my Heat always in the open. It creates a sense of urgency and threat when it grows, and when I spend a lot of Heat for NPCs etc. then the players see, that they accomplish something to - well - reduce the heat.

My group tried individual momentum in Conan and it was OK, but not worth continuing with so we went back to group momentum. It sounded great in theory, but over voice only it didn’t really work out.