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I am new to the Wolsung system and reading the rulebook, I'm not sure how conflicts play out when there are multiple PCs and enemies involved. At a guess I would say extras (or mooks, if you want to call them that) are acting in unison, which simplifies things, but other cases aren't clear.

The most problematic type of conflicts seem to be chases.

If a single PC loses all of their markers do they get caught if they were running away? If this is the case, what about the rest of the group?

I can sort of see how this works narratively if the characters are taking part in a car chase and are all in one car. However, this makes very little sense with foot chases or given the assumption that chases can change from one method of transportation to another. What, narratively, might happen to a character who lost all his tokens in a foot chase?

If there are more PCs than enemies, does it mean some PCs get away automatically?

There's nothing about numbers in the rulebook. If the PCs decide to run in different directions, than in theory some of them cannot be chased at all if there are fewer enemies (or the same scenario in reverse - if there are few PCs trying to chase a larger group of enemies). I have no idea about the mechanics or narrative in this case.

If there are more people chasing than there are running away, do those who are running away need to run away from every person chasing individually?

I'm inclined to think "yes" - a single character (regardless of whether they are a PC or an NPC) running away from a group probably needs to "outrun" everyone individually, but I would like to get a confirmation on this.


I'm inclined to treat chase conflicts like other conflict types, but this creates a narrative nightmare when you try to explain why for example, if the PCs are running away from something, one PC does NOT get captured if they lose all their markers (but the chase, as a whole, isn't over yet). There are various other more convoluted scenarios where I can see these mechanics breaking down.

Can anyone with experience playing Wolsung advise me on how the mechanics tie in with the narrative during chase conflicts? Specifically I'd like to know about the situations I've listed above.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not familiar with Wolsung or FATE so I'm not able to answer this question, but reading through it I can't tell whether you're asking about mechanics (as per your bullet points) or how to tie mechanics to narrative (as per your last couple of paragraphs). If both then they should possibly be asked as separate questions, otherwise it might be worth editing your question to be more specific. \$\endgroup\$ – Aiken Oct 17 '14 at 9:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a bit about both, @Aiken. I can try and edit the question to be a bit more specific, but I fear my understanding of mechanics themselves might be flawed - I'm a bit unsure if I should be asking more than one question really. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaamaan Oct 17 '14 at 9:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the narrative aspects are something you might have to work out in play. Based on my (very limited), knowledge of how FATE-like games work it's a fiction-first game, so what happens in the narrative is whatever makes the most sense after mechanics are resolved. The mechanics parts of your question should probably be the focus for now, and ask about the narrative if you have problems resolving it in play. \$\endgroup\$ – Aiken Oct 17 '14 at 10:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally don't see why this can't work with the narrative and mechanical aspects in the same question. Where the two are so closely intertwined, as appears to be the case with this system, it can be difficult and sometimes counterproductive to try a split them up \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Oct 17 '14 at 10:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aiken While I do think there's some similarity between FATE and Wolsung, these systems aren't the same. While FATE definitely puts the story first (and you basically create tests for it later as needed), Wolsung has clearly defined 3 types of conflicts in its rulebook and it doesn't appear that these rules can be made to fit the narrative so easily. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaamaan Oct 17 '14 at 12:03
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I am not very familiar with Wolsung (I, in fact, just downloaded and read the basic manual in order to answer your question) but I have some experience with similar games and I think I may be able to help.

Pages 4-5 of the Test Drive document state:

"When a conflict begins, the GM and players discuss what they want to gain in this conflict and what they are ready to risk. The stake must be known before the conflict begins...

...In addition, every character that lost a conflict, temporarily loses one level of the appropriate attribute (Brawn for combat, Agility for chases and Composure for discussions). If you test an attribute that dropped to 0 you cannot re-roll. The attribute regenerates at the beginning of the next game session."

So, unless this system is removed/significantly changed in the proprietary rulebook, when you negotiate consequences for a chase scene I think it makes sense to handle these issues. To use your examples:

A foot-chase: Escape from the super-goons as a party or the slowest party member gets captured

-or-

Scatter and test to escape from the super-goons individually and with a bonus, but get caught if you can't evade your pursuers.

-or-

Escape as a party from the super-goons, slowing down to help the slower members cover their backs, but risk getting caught as a party

All of these should obviously carry different positive or negative modifiers to the escape rolls for the various characters (I'd probably do neutral for the top, positive for the middle (but the party is separated), and negative but with a free re-roll to the lesser party members for the bottom). If, halfway through the case, the party decides to jump in the back of a passing truck and succeeds at getting in but fails to make their finisher roll, I'd have more super-goons show up in classy black Lincon Towncars and tail them, continuing the chase, but I would treat it as a new conflict (since the consequences have presumably changed) and renegotiate with the party.

As for how to deal with multiple characters, each rolls separately. If you had a BBG (3d10) and his nefarious apprentice (2d10) and their trained deadly ninja-monkeys (1d10 extras) fighting against the valiant Super Six (2d10 PCs) every character would roll their own dice except the monkeys, who act as a group. Each entity goes on its own initiative.

As for what to do when one of the players loses a challenge while the other players still have not: The players have lost. This is important and works both ways. When any member of a side has lost all their markers and takes another hit, that side loses and suffers the agreed upon consequences, which I would almost always make sure included phrases like 'the weakest party member', 'the tallest party member', 'the tastiest-looking party member' or 'the incompetent minion responsible for this unacceptable failure', 'the expendable monkeys, cause I'm more important', etc.

However, only those characters who actually lost the conflict take the 1 attribute point additional penalty.

As for what happens when there are more PCs than enemies: It depends on what the PCs try to do. If they run as a group (option 3 above) they can certainly all be caught but if they scatter (option 2) they certainly can't be. It all depends on what people decide to do and, more importantly, what consequences are negotiated as a result.

As for whether or not PCs (or enemies) need to outrun everyone in a group, the answer is actually no, technically. Like I mentioned above, once one part of a team is defeated in Wolsung the whole team has lost. The consequence for winning, however, probably isn't 'get away' but rather 'lose the slowest opponent'. If you find chases are taking too long, I suggest not refreshing challenge markers for the losing team between conflicts (but refresh markers on the winning team, as the sight of some of the pursuers falling behind/ the capture of one of the fugitives gives a boost in morale) and encouraging finishers.

The Car Chase Case

This would normally be a test made just by the driver of the vehicle against the driver(s) of the chasing vehicle(s), with a consequence agreement like "We escape or we are caught", however your specific situation may make this undesirable.

If the players decided to all roll chase tests (as opposed to having just the driver roll) I would first ask them to each describe how they are contributing to the chase in a meaningful way. If the agreed upon consequence for the group was "we are caught" then when one of them fell I would describe how X bad thing happened to them (got shot or whatever) and without their help the chase was lost. Again, a more reasonable consequence agreement for that (unusual) situation would be "We escape or the team member who did worst is incapacitated".

It seems to me (may just be my Shadowrun background here) that the most common kind of drawn out chase scene involves combat simultaneous to the escape attempt. In that case, which I expect would be reasonably common as far as car chases go, I would overlay a combat over the chase, with the drivers contesting drive (or whatever) and using Agility to determine Challenge while the rest of the group contests firearms with the armed goons in the other car and uses Brawn to determine challenge. The consequence agreements for each group (drivers, shooters) would be different.

In any case, the core of the issue is keeping track of 1) who is involved in the conflict governed by a given consequence agreement, 2) who/what should be effected if a conflict is failed, and 3) what the right level of detail for a given scene is. If you find some other possible interpretation of when conflicts end, you should add 4) the end condition of the conflict and its relationship to the conflict itself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "As for what to do when one of the players loses a challenge while the other players still have not: The players have lost." This part is quite baffling. In a foot chase, this makes sense. In a car chase (if the players / goons are in one car), it does not. :\ Also, I take it this is your interpretation of the rules, correct? Because I don't see any mention of this in the rules. (I'm just making sure I understand you correctly!) \$\endgroup\$ – Shaamaan Nov 1 '14 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, although I am unsure what other interpretations would be feasible (I don't doubt they exist, I just can't see any). In the car chase case, I am adding material to the answer so you see how the same methods apply there as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 2 '14 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the full Wolsung rulebook there's an example of a car chase scenario (unfortunately, it's only partial). In Wolsung one or more players (but not all) can resign from a conflict and assume a support role. In this example the car driver is the supporting character - he can lend another player a bonus if he succeeds a medium difficulty skill test. A player in a support role can't be "taken out", but they also cannot take out the enemy (obviously). As far as I can tell, they still suffer the global consequences for failing a conflict (just not the attribute drops) should they fail. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaamaan Nov 2 '14 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not saying that just one player/enemy needs to be captured just that you CAN negotiate that as a consequence when it's appropriate. All I'm saying is that when one member of a side has been "taken out" that side suffers the consequences of failure, and you should negotiate the consequences of failure with that in mind. I suppose more general advice, if you choose to reject my interpretation of when a conflict ends for some other possible interpretation, is that you need to negotiate consequences with the end condition of the conflict in mind. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 2 '14 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ahh, I see! That comment clears things out, yes. :) In other words - it's not the mechanics that are changed, it's the initial gains and risks are modified to take into account selected scenarios in cases of chases (ex. it's enough to catch one person). Thumbs up! \$\endgroup\$ – Shaamaan Nov 3 '14 at 16:47

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