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The rules from page 188 of the God Machine Rules Update read:

Near Misses

So what happens if a character accumulates most of the successes required for the extended action but has to stop due to running out of time or reaching the maximum number of rolls? All of the work the character did doesn’t just vanish, after all. That’s true, insofar as it goes.

Once the character has reached the maximum allowable rolls for a given extended action, however, he has exhausted the limits of his talent in the area. He can come back to it once his dice pool changes — if the player buys up the relevant Skill or Attribute or buys a new Specialty, the character can pick up where he left off (but he only gets one more roll unless the player changes the dice pool by more than one die).

If the character had to abandon the project before the maximum number of rolls was reached, however, he can come back to it and continue making the rolls until he reaches that limit, provided that it’s the kind of project that will “keep.” A character could continue working on a novel for years, but making a soufflé is probably a one-attempt project.

If the player has accumulated less than 25% of the total required successes (round down), the successes are lost. The character just didn’t get a good enough start on the project. If the player accumulated at least 50% of the total required successes (round down), the player can add a +2 bonus to the first roll of the extended action if the character attempts it again within the same chapter. If the player accumulated 75% or more of the total required successes (round down), the player can add a +4 bonus to the first roll of the extended action, if the character attempts it again within the same story. If the player rolled an exceptional success during the process and opted for the “end bonus” option, that option remains even if the character comes back to the action later.

Example: Sammy ultimately failed the action, but he did so with six out of seven successes. If he tries to fix that car again any time during this story, he’ll receive a net bonus of +2 on the first roll (+4 for the progress he made, –2 for the dramatic failure at the end). Also, if he completes it, he’ll keep the Souped Up Condition on the car. Since he only made four rolls on the initial project, he can make three more to finish this project. He only needs one more success — that should be plenty.

So as I interpret it the rules are:

If you are run out of rolls, you run out of rolls. That is it. Unless you up your skill/attribute/speciality to be allowed more rolls. If you do come back after upping the stat, you continue right where you left off. If you had to abandon it, without using up all your rolls . (I guess it is open to debate as to what counts as abandoning it, and what counts are taking a break.), if you later decided to continue you also come back to it right where you left off, but you will get a bonus for having a proportion completed.

So it actually seems to be that it is better to roll dice until you hit 50% completion , "abandon the project", come back to it with a +2 bonus, abandon it, come back with a +4 bonus and complete it. Is this correct? it seems silly.

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Cross posted to: forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/… –  Oxinabox Dec 16 '13 at 14:01
    
Notably the section on "Near Miss" is missing from Blood and Smoke. and if you ignore that entire subsection everything makes alot more sense. –  Oxinabox Dec 19 '13 at 16:09
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2 Answers

That interpretation of the rules seems correct to me. As long as you've reached 50% of the total successes needed for the extended roll, you keep your successes AND get the +2 (or +4) bonus due to the progress you have made. It seems like the only caveats are:

  1. You can't exceed the maximum number of rolls allowed, with or without a break.
  2. The project has to be one that will "keep" while it's not being worked on, like a novel or research attempt.
  3. The +2 bonus only lasts if you work on it during the same 'chapter' of the story, while the +4 will last during the whole 'story', so there's is a duration (of sorts) on the bonus.

It's a matter of opinion whether it's silly or not. I think they're trying to model the case of "I've worked really hard on a project and now I'm stuck. I'll come back to it later with a clearer mind and see if that helps." Something experienced all the time by writers, programmers and game designers.

Besides, any good Storyteller will find a way to make sure they either don't get to come back to the project, or that something happened to make them start over. (Destroyed notes, further damage, etc.)

EDIT: It's really splitting hairs, but the wording specifically says "has to stop" and "had to abandon". That implies that a player can't game the system by choosing to stop and take a break to get the bonus dice. It's still not clear how long they need to abandon the project.

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It makes sense to me if they are trying to model that, but it just doesn't read like they are to me. Otherwise this section would be called "Taking a break" rather than "Near misses", wouldn't it? –  Oxinabox Dec 17 '13 at 0:07
    
Yeah, my reading now is that "abandoning" is something you do when you fail, either because you ran out of rolls or because something else made you stop — in Sammy's case, it was because he ran out of time. The percentage bonus only comes when starting again after failure, not when "taking a break" between rolls. –  Jadasc Dec 19 '13 at 15:34
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The definition of "abandoning" is given on page 187. When you fail a roll, you can either accept a Condition and continue, or refuse it and lose all accumulated successes. In this case, Sammy has chosen to take the condition "Frustrated," so he keeps his successes and continues, since he has more rolls to make. He didn't "abandon the project" until he rolled the failure on page 188, which he turned into a dramatic failure for demonstration purposes.

Based on the text and the example given, the percentage bonuses are only available once you run out of rolls or "ultimately fail" in your action. In those cases, whether you took a condition or not determines whether you keep your accumulated successes when you start again. You get a bonus to your new starting roll that is proportional to the successes you had when you gave up, so long as you try again within a certain period.

  • If you had 25% or less of the required total, start from scratch.
  • If you had 26-75% and you try again in the same Chapter (session), +2 dice
  • If you had 75% or more and you try again in the same Story (plotline), +4 dice

The example here is a little weird, since there are many additional elements in the section not reflected in the excerpt. Sammy ends up making more decisions that have an effect on this. In any case, my understanding is that the percentage bonus for retrying and the keeping of successes are two separate choices one can make — one is to recover from a failure, and the other is in the course of staving it off.

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See loosing your accumulated successes (but getting abit of a pay back in a small starting bonus), make sense to me. But at the end of the example, it explicitly states: "He only needs one more success — that should be plenty." –  Oxinabox Dec 19 '13 at 14:53
    
The trouble with this is that this example comes at the tail end of a very long section, where the character has a number of restrictions on him that are imposed by the story and aren't made clear. In this case, Sammy is under a time constraint — he has enough skill for seven rolls, but only enough time for four. I've reread the example and have revised my answer. –  Jadasc Dec 19 '13 at 15:07
    
Can you clarify the "In those cases, whether you took a condition or not determines whether you keep your accumulated successes when you start again" Let me write out my understanding: chosing to take a condition is related to getting to continue after failing 1 roll (of the meany in the extended action). Choosing to take that condition mean you keep successes and keep working towards completing. Not taking a condition causes you to loose all successes, and "Abandon, with rolls still remaining". Thus letting you retry later with less rolls left, but with a bonus. –  Oxinabox Dec 19 '13 at 15:33
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This needs a flow chart. I might make one tomorrow. –  Oxinabox Dec 19 '13 at 15:33
    
So, he abandoned when he made the dramatic failure. Ahh right. And weirdly the rules for if you take a dramatic failure don't say you lose all successes. (Though you are taking a condition for the dramitc failure) –  Oxinabox Dec 19 '13 at 15:39
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