When playing through any extended action, I've never had a single one fail, including the ones I set to high requirements, like 15 successes required. None of them have taken more rolls than the size of the dice pool either. Maybe it's just that the pools I have the characters create always end up being at least 5 dice. 5 dice, 5 times for 10 successes really isn't that hard to get, and the pools are usually bigger than that. Am I missing something? how should I make extended actions more challenging?

This is orthogonally related to making a Homemade flamethrower, in which I feel like even asking for 15 successes was super easy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Before I can answer this question: You are using the Extended Actions rules from GMC page 187, right? I want to make sure we're on the same page. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Feb 5 '15 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc yeah, or at least I'm trying to, I may be executing based on some misunderstanding of those rules... \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide Feb 5 '15 at 16:17

An Extended Actions Primer

  1. Figure out the die pool. (Attribute + Skill + Equipment)
  2. Decide the number of successes needed to succeed.
  3. Decide how much in-game time each roll represents.
  4. Decide how much in-game time the players have before success is impossible or irrelevant.
  5. Player rolls. Each die showing 8 or greater adds a success to the total. (With a die pool of five dice, the probability of getting at least one 8 is around 65%.)

a graph of the probabilities of a TN8 Storyteller roll

  1. ST determines the in-game effect of the roll, and offers the player the chance to repeat step 5, up to a number of times equal to step 1.
  2. If, at any time, in step 5 the player gets no successes on a single roll, the ST offers a choice: take a Condition and continue with step 6, or call the action a failure and abandon it.
  3. If, at any time, in step 5 the player gets 5 or more natural successes on single roll, this is an exceptional success, and the player gets a bonus as listed on page 188.
  4. If the player has run out of potential rolls in step 6 but has not accrued the number of successes determined by step 2 in the timespan set by step 3, the ST may use the "Near Misses" rule on page 188.
  5. If the player chooses to abandon an action in step 7 as a failure, they may choose to make it a "dramatic failure" instead and reap a beat.
  6. If, after making all the rolls available, the number of successes gathered equals or exceeds the total decided in step 2, the extended action is completed successfully.

Okay, given that, how do you make extended actions more challenging?

  • Be strict with steps 3 and 4. If you only have an hour to complete the task, and each roll represents 15 minutes of work, then your number of practical rolls is limited to 4 regardless of the size of the die pool.
  • Use environmental conditions to add penalties to the rolls themselves in step 5.
  • Are you letting each player roll to add successes to a single task? Stop that. Instead, make one person the lead and have the others use the Teamwork rules. (Not yet superseded by 2e rules, so go back to page 134 of the WoD core book.)
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