Managing Expectations

Managing Expectations

A fight is a reveal. The cards kept close to the chest are shown to the adversary. But up until that point, especially during the planning that occurred (hopefully) before the fight, the cards and the hand are not visible.

My current reading describes the start of an insurrection. It was modelled on a similar insurrection lead successfully a few months before. The nucleus beyond the new insurrection had participated in the first one. They were expecting the patrons of the first insurrection to repeat their support for the second one. Actually, the adversaries were expecting the repeat as well.

The nucleus was left with no cards at all, while the governmental forces were expecting enemy special forces and potentially, within a month or two, the full weight of the patrons and the state behind them. The rebels had an easy start, the regulars were avoiding fight with them and laid a siege instead of assaulting. Hard to call such a non-bluff.

There is the often overlooked morale roll in some of our games. A referee that puts themself in the shoes of the opposition doesn't necessarily need to roll. If the party is preceded by rumours, it might modify the morale roll or dictate its result.

Checking the morale in the open, does it work? "Yeah, the orcs fled? Oh yes, why? Because they failed their morale roll!"

The orcs fled but you don't know why, you'll have to take a prisoner to learn that they think you're part of an army of veteran fighters wreaking havoc in their settlements. You might not even need to capture a prisoner, as long as you get the hint: "the orcs are afraid of us".

Beware of the "solution", the orcs are preparing to deal with your party, well to deal with the raiding army, they're setting up a trap... You might also run into the raiding army and you are no better than orcs for them.