Commentary: Ks. Jim Ogle
.pdf of this article.
The coordination rules for both Torg classic and Torg
Revised and Expanded are more than a little involved:
When multiple characters are combining their efforts to
accomplish a single task, and when they must either succeed
as a group or fail as a group, use the following procedure
instead of the Many on One rules:
- A lead character is chosen; this is the character whose
skill or attribute value is best suited (i.e., highest)
for the task.
- All other characters whose appropriate skill or attribute
is within five points of the lead character’s skill may
add to the. [sic] Each aiding character makes
a Perception check against the coordination difficulty
of the task.
- The value of the number of characters who successfully
add their effort, counting the lead character, becomes
a bonus modifier for the lead character’s action total.
(Revised and Expanded Torg Rulebook,
Not only is this involved, it doesn’t seem to match real world
examples. When five people act together to lift a log, the rule
would suggest that one person uses their muscles (Strength check)
and the other five their ability to notice things (Perception),
when it would seem like all five would be using their muscles.
In addition, the above rules force the players to break character
to gather a lot of information- who has the highest skill total,
who is within five points of that, and so forth- just to make a
single skill check, like a find total.
The following rule is simpler, and more realistic.
Any time multiple characters are attempting the same task (such
as searching a room) they each make a separate skill (or Attribute)
total. The highest total is used as the base value, and anyone
else whose total exceeds the coordination Difficulty Number adds
a +1 Bonus Modifier to that Total. The coordination Difficulty
Number is a 10, or the task’s Difficulty Number -1 (as having a
coordination Difficulty Number that is higher than the task’s Difficulty
Number would be pointless).
Example: Three Storm Knights are searching
a crime scene. They all generate find totals: a
14, a 10, and a 9. The final find total for the
group is 15. Had the third Storm Knight gotten a 10 instead
of a 9, the group’s find total would have been a
For gamemasters who wish to take other circumstances into account,
they can vary the coordination Difficulty Number based on how difficult
they think it would be for the characters to assist each other
(see guidelines on pg. 109, Torg Revised and Expanded).
This Difficulty Number can be any value, as long as it is less
than the Difficulty Number of the task the characters are attempting
The Rule in Play
if the people aren’t trying to coordinate, such as
when they are arguing, they can aid each other.
take a common business meeting: five managers in
a room, discussing an imminent product rollout. The
goal of the group is to make the roll out successful.
game terms, does a lead character make an advertising check,
while everyone else coordinates? Of course not. Each
person makes their own advertising skill
check to generate their own ideas for different ad
campaigns- because no two people are going to see
things the same way- and out of the different ideas
a better solution emerges.
or compete, as long as two people are engaged in
the same task, and one can learn from the other,
coordination can happen.
To compare the above rules with the default, I’ll use the example
of the party searching a room, a common task in Torg (see the first
published module, Act 1, Scene 1).
Normally: All characters generate find totals.
The highest gets some amount of Success Levels, and the GM reads
the appropriate line. Everyone else finds nothing.
Using the Standard Coordination Rules: The players
compare skill values, pick a lead character, and that lead character
only searches, while no one else does, they “coordinate.” If the
lead character rolls badly, no one finds anything, no matter how
high their Perception totals were.
Using the Streamlined Coordination Rule: All
characters search (make find totals). Just like in the
standard rules, the highest character’s total is what really matters.
Those who did well searching aided him, because the more people
that do well at the task, the better the group did.
This rule makes coordinating nearly effortless and very quick
to play. Most of the time, each player with the skill is going
to be making a total anyway, so allowing this same roll to determine
if they work together simply speeds up play.
This rule also emulates how people work together in the real world
better than the original rule did. Usually, “coordinating” doesn’t
require intensive efforts. People work together by all of them
trying to achieve the same task, not by a lead character trying
the task, and everyone else trying- but possibly failing- to coordinate.
In fact, with most things, there isn’t a chance NOT to coordinate,
as long as someone is doing the same task and you can communicate
with them and the participants each contribute a minimum amount.
rules can even represent coordination and research-
the skill totals do not have to take place at the
same time. After all, research is little more than
a delayed coordination check.
can represent this (if desired) this way: The person
writing the book generated a skill total. The researcher
generates a skill total and if the book’s total exceeds
the coordination Difficulty Number, the researcher
gains a +1 bonus to their check. This bonus should
be restricted to no more than a +3.
Find: “You look in the closet, I’ll look under
Scholar: “Wasn’t that 1545, St. Germaine?”
“No, 1445, I thought.”
“Oh, right, just after the Church sold the abbey and the Monseigneur
Mechanic: “It looks okay to me, I checked the
battery and ignition.”
“What about the oil?”
“Damn! Give me a sec.”
Anyone who can add something valuable can help, and no “coordination
check” is needed. All they have to do to contribute is to make
a high enough skill check, which represents them remembering a
small detail the lead character forgot, pointing out something
the lead character overlooked, or looking in a place the lead character
This rule is quick, flexible, transparent, and doesn’t
distract players from the game. It allows players to play, rather
than compare skill values every time they search a crime scene
or track a villain.
Summing Mass Efforts
The Revised and Expanded Torg Rulebook, pg. 109, presents
mechanics to allow the gamemaster to quickly approximate the actions
of a large group of characters who are coordinating. A similar
system works with the streamlined coordination rules:
• Start with the value of the
number of participants
• Add their average skill value
• Subtract the Difficulty Number
of the skill check
• Subtract 2
= This equals the coordination bonus.
(This has to be less than the value of the number of participants,
if it is greater reduce it to match the value.)
• Add the average skill to
the coordination bonus
= This is the total effective skill
value for the group.
The gamemaster then rolls a bonus number and adds it to the effective
skill value. This is the group skill total. He then compares this
total to the Difficulty Number to see if the group succeeded.
The streamlined coordination rules work well for up to ten individuals
or so, but produce distorted results for groups larger than that.
For such groups, the gamemaster will want to use this procedure.
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