Unopposed Tests - UC

#1
"I´m sure you guys have reflected upon this for a terribly long time, but every time I read this it still boggles me. Either I´m getting this all wrong OR the system for unopposed rolls simply does not take into consideration, at all, the objective rate of the testers making the it directly related to the characters dice... Meaning a higher "rated" character will have the same chance at a High difficulty test as a lower rated character because the number they have to beat it´s directly related to each characters rating... e.g. Character A has Rating 5, 1d10+1d4, and Character B has much weaker, only rating 2, 1d6. Both must need to make a very hard climb test. Since the Difficulty number ain´t absolute and applied to both, quite the contrary (A will have to beat , each will have a separate number directly related to their rank, and with the rising dice structure, it actually means the higher ranking character will have a lower chance to pass,since A nest to eat 14 with a 1d10+1d4, while B needs to beat 6 with 1d6....

Am I seeing this backwards? I sincerely hope I´m missing something...."

I´ve brote this September 2016 after reading one of the beta files. While discussing several systems with some friends I found out that this basically still stands in the released edition, meaning it still ain´t clear from the text that the difficulty is objectively AND independently determined by the GM without any direct link to the rate of each character.

More, it seems that some of the UC in some cases are terribly high, so much so that there simply ain´t no chance to reach unless you have mid rating, a rating above what seems to be attainable at the start. He mentioned specifically the case of conditions like diseases, of which the lowest UC is 8, with many above 12 or 13. Is this true?

That´s one of the core problems with systems that adopt a step evolution in terms of dice rolled. Great care needs to be taken to avoid this issues, which in some cases is offset with the use of exploding dices.

Is this really an issue on the final version and how is this solved?

The setting always attracted me but I must say the system, from what I read in the beta file I studied, stopped me on my tracks. Has this changed in the released version?
 

Tex

Lore Master
Staff member
INDE Staff
#2
Thanks for the question @Thorgarth. As a disclaimer, I tend to stick to the worldbuilding over the crunchy numbers for a few reasons. Mainly, I do it at work and I don't want to do it on my off time. As such, I didn't have as direct a hand in the UC system as others.

Our UC (Unoposed Checks) Table is, to borrow a phrase from Pirates of the Carribean "more of a guildeline". I would liken them to the unopposed DC checks in D&D 3.5 for those who have played it. In D&D 3.5, the GM determines the roll the character must beat to achieve success in picking a lock, not drowning, etc. In Shattered (see below), the GM determines what rating they want the characters to beat (in this table, 1-20) and then the difficulty of that rating (low, average, or high).

Screenshot_1.png

Eventually, the GM instinctively knows what difficulty to throw at the players and the values given on items in D&D 3.5 or this table from Shattered become unused. For us, this abandonment of the UC table was intended. Again, it's merely a guideline, a tool for GMs to use. It is not set in stone and the word of law.

If you have any more questions please let us know. I'll try to get one of our numbers guys to respond here either this weekend or on Monday when we have our weekly call. Until then, I'll do my best to answer them.
 
#3
Tex the Difficulty rating in 3.5, as well as in pretty much every other system I know, is an "absolute" number not related to the rank/level of the character trying to achieve a certain effect. The GM, pondering a number of relevant factors adjudicates a given Difficulty value to meet or beat.

What this tables point out to, because it´s not clearly stated otherwise or explained correctly, is that the UC is based on the rating of the character attempting a given roll, which then can be of low, avg or high difficulty. Which in effect will give us different UC for the same task for different characters attempting it.

As for the high UC given in the rules for some checks, like diseases, high enough to make them completely impossible (mathematically) to resist or succeed for some if not most beginning characters (which translates to impossible resist/succeed for the vast majority of the populace). Is this true or did I got the wrong impression from the discussion I had about the rules?
 

Konrad

Administrator
Staff member
INDE Staff
#4
Thorgarth, I'm sorry if there's any confusion, but allow me to pull directly from the book. On page 81, under Checks: Opposed and Unopposed, the final paragraph in that column states:
Not every check in Shattered is against active opposition. These unopposed checks (UC) are static difficulties. They are determined by the situation or device at hand. For example, if a character is attempting to pick a lock with the Security skill, their check must meet or exceed the UC of the lock, which is determined at its creation. When attempting to Climb a rock wall, the UC is determined by the terrain. Below is a chart to help GMs determine UC difficulties on the fly. It indicates what is considered easy, average, and difficult for every possible skill rating.
(Emphasis added on the final line)

The chart is meant to help the GM by indicating how difficult something is for players according to their relevant skill rating. Also, your examples (1d6 must make a 6, 1d10+1d4 must make a 14) is a little confusing to me. Our chart does not reflect those numbers. The recommended "high difficulty" for a rating of 2 (1d6) is a 5. Like D&D, it is a meet or beat, meaning the character has a 33% chance of success: hard, but not impossible. Likewise, for a rating of 5 (1d10+1d4) our chart marks 10 as the "high difficulty." This is actually slightly easier, coming in at 35% probability. So the system is fairly consistent in terms of what is considered high, average, and low difficulty.

One of the unique things about the MDS, however, is that it means characters that lack training or aptitude will find certain tasks impossible. This was intentional. If you don't know how to Survive, chances are you won't last long in the wilderness. If you've never held a sword a day in your life, you are going to fare poorly in melee combat. We feel this adds a touch of realism to character progression and keeps in line with our desire to have a dangerous and lethal world.
 
#5
Can´t remember if the numbers reflected the chart of the beta file at the time or was the fact that the task as hand was VERY difficult, and hence with a UC value higher than the High difficulty.

I love gritty and lethal, hence my interest in the setting, but there´s a diference between difficult and hard chances to no chances at all. For instance, a disease that has a UC of 10 or 12, and from what I gather those are not the toughest by a long shot, means that a rating 3 character has NO chance to resist a UC 10 disease and a rating 4 also the same vs the UC12. How would the Pre-generated characters (if the book has any) fare against this diseases?
 

NKdotzip

Administrator
Staff member
INDE Staff
#6
Some of our pregenned characters can contend with the lowest level diseases. Others cannot. Though admittedly that was kind of the point. When I rebuilt diseases into their current iteration the intent for them, if used by the GM, was to be deadly and in some cases impossible to resist. As a real world example, Smallpox doesn't discriminate, it has a 30% mortality rate and without the medical treatment we have available today, it would be a death sentence for all but the strongest and healthiest of us. That was the primary reason for the UC's being what they were. A GM of course is not required to bring diseases into play at all.

This system also plays into the balancing act of character development. If you focus on say, Intelligence and Arkana, making your character an excellent caster, you are going to find yourself deficient in other areas like mental and physical resolve. The opposite being true as well.
 

Tex

Lore Master
Staff member
INDE Staff
#7
@Thorgarth
Tex the Difficulty rating in 3.5, as well as in pretty much every other system I know, is an "absolute" number not related to the rank/level of the character trying to achieve a certain effect. The GM, pondering a number of relevant factors adjudicates a given Difficulty value to meet or beat.
Not entirely. At level 1 in D&D 3.5, without any racial bonuses and assuming there is no critical success at 20, the maximum the player can roll is 24 (20+4; where 40 is the Rank in a class skill and it can't exceed Level + 3). If we take into account racial bonuses like with Elves, they can't roll higher than a 26. I'm sure there's some racies with +4 to some skills in certain situations but that's neither here nor there. As a GM, if you were to throw something at them with a UC higher than 26, there's no way (other than a critical success....if the GM decides to honor that) for a player to make that roll. Since we don't have levels, we as a team had to find a way to give the GM something similar: a tool which shows the GM target rolls for a certain Rating. Can the GM choose to make it easier or harder? Sure. That's the same with any system. But without a baseline, since again we're missing the level component, there's no cheatsheet our easy math like with D&D 3.5. So instead of forcing the GM to add up all the player's dice together to find the maximum or near maximum roll for each rating, we gave it to you.

As for diseases, that difficulty was intended. In the real world, even God level doctors can't cure my fiance's lupus and fibromyalgia. The same goes for Ebola in the regions of Africa. The best they can do is put a bandaid on a wound and hope for the best. In Shattered, a baseline Session 1 character should not know how to cure a difficult disease. Shattered is not a fantasy style game in that sense. You're not a hero in Shattered. You're just a poor sap born on a shit planet that's trying to kill you at every turn. You do your best to survive and lose the least number body parts while you're at it. As my fiance put it "Shattered is a Dragon sized seagull that flies over the players and shits on them at every turn."
 
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