Certain activities require a long and variable period to complete or demand segmented progress, possibly against a time limit or while under fire. In the Spycraft 2.0 system, these are called “Complex Tasks.” Disarming a bomb is an example of a Complex Task — especially if the bomb is set to go off in a matter of minutes or rounds. Though less tense, conducting a thorough study of the type of mud found at a crime scene is another example. In both cases, the activity is lengthy enough that a single skill check is inappropriate, and intricate enough that having several manageable objectives along the way is helpful.
Each Complex Task is comprised of 2 to 10 “Challenges” (potentially more, in the case of extremely involved activities) — the higher the number of Challenges, the lengthier and more intricate the activity.
A Challenge handles 1 discrete objective or step in a Complex Task activity with 1 skill check. Each Challenge operates exactly like a skill check, and is subject to all the rules for a standard skill check, except that it’s linked to a larger project, and must be completed before the character may move on to the Complex Task’s next Challenge.
With each successful Challenge, a character completes 1 objective in his Complex Task.
With failure, he makes no progress. Further, the error range often rises — usually by 1 or 2 — as the pressure of the Complex Task mounts and the seeds of doubt take root.
Complex Task skills, along with additional rules, Challenge modifiers, and result effects, are noted in individual skill check descriptions.
Optionally, the GC may choose a separate relevant skill for each Challenge. In this case, he does not need to inform the players of the nature of each Challenge until they reach it.
Each time a Challenge results in a threat, the Task takes a turn for the better. Often, the current Challenge’s cost or time requirement is reduced. The specific effect of each threat is detailed in the relevant skill check description, or determined by the Game Control.
A critical success with a Challenge always has a set effect — the character finds a shortcut or other way to skip a step, completing 2 Challenges with the current skill check.
Each time a Challenge results in an error, the character hits a serious complication. Often, the character’s tools are ruined, money is squandered, or the project careens down the wrong track. The specific effect of each error is detailed in the relevant skill check description, or determined by the Game Control.
A critical failure with a Challenge always has a set effect — a number of completed Challenges equal to the number of action dice spent to activate the critical failure are undone and must be retried. Should this reduce the number of completed Challenges below 0, the Complex Task fails and may not be reattempted.
Each time a character begins a Complex Task, the GC may decide the character is “under pressure.” Any palpable threat to the character’s chance of success should prompt this decision. Combat is considered pressure for nearly all tasks, while other pressures are conditional. It’s commonplace to hear constant nearby shouting
when erecting a building, for instance, but it’s distracting when coding computer software.
When under pressure, any character wishing to attempt a Challenge must first make a successful Resolve (Con) check against the Challenge DC. With success, he staves off the strain of the process and proceeds with the Challenge, suffering no ill effects. With a critical success, he need not make Resolve (Con) checks again during the same Complex Task.
With failure, the character suffers 1d6 stress damage, and with a critical failure, the error range of each Challenge he attempts during the current Complex Task is increased by 1.
Completing a Complex TaskEdit
When a character completes the final Challenge before the Complex Task’s time limit (if any) elapses, he completes the Complex Task, with an effect noted in the appropriate section of this chapter, the appropriate skill check description, or per the GC’s discretion.
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