ACE · Writing Series

Writing ACE – Conflict Resolution

There’s three methods of conflict resolution in ACE. Opposed Checks, Metered Checks, and Pass or Fail Checks. I go into depth about what they are and what’s different about them in the ACE role-playing game here. So in this, I’m going to just talk about why I put three different methods and what their roles are within the game.

To start I want to clarify that the intention is to keep ACE narrative. The rules are supposed to stay out of the way and let the game develop naturally. That’s why there’s no mention of turn order. So things can just kind of happen organically without restrictions. It places a lot of responsibility on the player and the GM to kind of take their “turns” fairly and just not over do it.

Opposed checks are pretty obviously necessary for when another powerful force encounters the players. Something that should have the right to fight back like a chance at an even match with the player characters. Basically, I wanted a system in place for when the fight could go either way.

I thought metered checks would be a good way to increase dramatic tension whenever there was a time limit. Having to slowly fill a sort of invisible gauge while whatever action is going on around you felt like a good way to include checks not related to combat. If you had read Operation Hydra I could have made Clover perform a metered check when flushing out the dams spillways, but at that point in the night the game had dragged on a bit and I felt like it’d be better to focus the tension somewhere else. But that would have been the perfect example of when to use one.

Pass or Fail checks basically fueled the entire Operation Hydra game. There were a number of reasons for this. Correias soldiers protecting the dam were basically the worst of the worst and couldn’t keep up with the ACE agents so their resistance almost never called for an opposed check. Some of the players were new to roll20 and RPGs in general, and pass or fail checks are the easiest to grasp. And because our first outing broke the general golden rule (Don’t split the party.) it was important to save time and keep things rolling smoothly so nobody felt left out of the spotlight or forgotten, and pass or fail checks being one-and-done definitely saves time. So it’s easy to see why they’re included in ACE. They’re basic and familiar and work the way everyone expects them to.

The three methods of conflict resolution all come together to make a game that lets the rules kind of slide out of the way for the narrative. These aren’t strict rules that need to be adhered to, they’re more like tension resolution suggestions. Something that everyone can plainly understand and work to their advantage to make a memorable moment in their game.

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