Natural Approaches

Off to Metatopia tomorrow, so here’s a quick one for Fae and other approach based games.

When I use approaches, I may follow the rules as written for the mechanical effect (aspects, boosts, damage etc) but for the fiction, I do something else entirely.

First, I figure out how many approaches are relevant to the roll. It’s rare that they’re all relevant, but usually there’s at least 2 or 3 in play. Like, if the player wants to break someone out of jail, they probably want to be sneaky and careful (or maybe flashy and quick.

If they get a marginal success (0 or 1) then they succeed at whatever approach they took. Each additional step of 2 (so 0–1, 2–3, 4–5 etc) means than they succeeded in one more approach. So if the character rolls sneaky to bust out their friend and rolls a +1, then they succeed and are sneaky, but not careful, so they leave some evidence behind. if they roll a +3, then they’re sneaky AND careful, but it takes a while. if they roll a +4, then they’re sneaky, careful and quick.

I don’t necessarily articulate the mechanics of this because they’re a guideline. Instead, it all comes up in the fiction.

Note that when I do this, then the choice of approach matters insofar as a non-useful approach means your initial success is not going to help much. Let’s say I try to smash and grab my friend out, so I use forceful – even if I succeed with a 0 or 1, I’m not Sneaky OR Careful OR Quick so there are going to be consequences to this approach.

Effectively, it fills a similar niche to the *world 7–9 result, just on slightly more constrained lines.

Anyway, just a trick.

6 thoughts on “Natural Approaches

  1. Jim Dagg

    This reminds me an awful lot of John Harper and “GremlinLegions” The Wildlings, actually: in that one, you rolled a die from d4 to d12 based on the spirit in which you acted (Wolf, Owl, etc.) and picked a number of approaches based on your result (4-6 gets you one, 7-9 two, 10+ three or more) from Bravely, Carefully, Forcefully, etc.

    Interesting that multiple takes on the same idea get us to similar places, in that the mechanics are useful only insofar as they inform the story, and have little weight in their own right.

  2. Avi

    This is golden. I’m gonna keep a list of useful approaches at hand when GMing. I think this could work well with your ‘7-9’.

  3. Delgarde

    Just stumbled on this, and yeah, it does have a very similar feel to *W games… the whole “on a strong hit pick 2, on a weak hit pick 1” thing. I’ll have to give this a try sometime.


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