On One Character Helping Another Character With Her Intention

For context, this was the question to which Jenna was responding:

Are there any rules or guidelines for one character helping another?


Ada: "I'm going to use my Connection to Cade to form an Intention to track her down."
Bob: "Oh, since I'm with her, I use my Well-Traveled skill to help Ada out, by showing her the secret shortcuts and such."

It seems obvious that "Ada with Bob's expert help" should be better off than "Ada on her own," but how does that translate mechanically?

Right now, my gut is that if Bob forms Intention 0-3, there's no effect on Ada, only on how awesome Bob comes across (or doesn't) via his help. If Bob pulls Intention 4-5, that should move things toward his goals in a tangible way, right? So Bob's help should count as a +1 Tool for Ada. At Intention 6-7, he's a +2 Tool. And at Intention 8-9, he's a +3. Is that a fair way to handle it? Or has this been previously discussed and resolved in a different way?

Originally posted by Jenna Moran on RPGnet:

Intentions and bonuses are not commensurate in this fashion! Bob helps Ada find Cade faster.

"But wait!" you might say. "What does 'faster' mean? I was just going to cut to the scene where they find Cade anyway. How can a player be satisfied with the effectiveness of his action, when I still just cut to that scene?"

Let's assume that Bob's action is less than or equal to Ada's.

In that case, the probably-technically-correct way to give Bob's action meaning is to say "Bob, it looks to you like she's going to find him in a couple of hours doing things her way. How much do you think you can cut that time down?"

That is, use the question to give his assistance meaning, rather than the number.

What if Bob's Intention is higher?

Then you resolve it first, so it's "Looks like you can help her find him in X time." Ada's action is then the one that's questionably useful, but she has the option to drop her Intention and leave Bob in the lurch, so her Intention still matters in the sense that if she doesn't do that, she doesn't.

The ideal scenario, of course, is one where she'd normally find Cade after three days, and there's some event coming up in two days when having found Cade would be useful, and Bob bridges that gap. However, you can't always have a case like that, and if you don't, the proposed solution is to define what the actual situation is for Bob so he can decide what he's trying to be effective at.

Best wishes,


P.S. the reason Intentions and bonuses are not fungible is an observation of reality: you can't brute-force your way from effective to productive, and definitely not to right. There's no assistance polygon that can do it! Otherwise everyone would be using it all the time.

P.P.S. You may be able to give a bonus in specific circumstances, when that's the best game mechanical representation of what you're actually trying to do. Heck, you may even be able to do outre things like fake access to miraculous Will. But that's not something you can do generically or by the numbers; it's all about the Intention itself. And the Intention that's most likely to turn into a Tool is "I support what you're doing and try to take the load off of your shoulders," which frees someone to do better themselves; trying to help with your own talents gets more done, or avoids trouble, or gets things done faster, instead.

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