Additional observations, now that I’ve had time to sleep on our session:
* The three players who had spent Hope last session were absolutely terrified to spend any this session. The fourth one, you know, he’s new! So he was perfectly okay spending Hope (especially once he got Weary and the failboat set out to sea). So that was interesting. But the ever-dwindling Hope economy is the big reason why I think I was wrong to diddle with the advancement point system: as Hope goes down, I think the incentive to use Traits for non-great successes goes way up already. Messing with the APs just speeds that process up. I don’t love that, because it mirrors similar (boring) results in other (success/failure oriented) games where character capability becomes so fail-proof that rolling is pointless.
* Feeling iffy about instant-success Trait use. Like, why not just skip the Journey phase rolls entirely if you can be Hearty (or Bold or Herb-lore or whatever) the whole way? Don’t risk hazards, don’t risk extra Hope spends. Counterpoint: I do get that earning Advancement Points is the main reason why players need to keep rolling. And that filling up AP tracks is probably a practical countdown to how long an Adventure Phase “should” be.
I feel like it could easily become an undesirable GMing challenge for me to cook up situations where either Traits don’t really work (unlikely, there are too many of them) or where extraordinary successes are needed.
* I’m feeling dissatisfied with Encounters as written. The more I mess with them the more undercooked they seem. Like…having both the pre-encounter Insight (for bonus) and the Introduction roll feels narratively redundant: two rolls before things start happening? I mean that’s not a show-stopper, it just feels bloaty. And then I’m not super sure what to do with the Introduction roll results. Does failure mean the encounter doesn’t happen? It probably should, right? So then return to falling back on no-fail Trait use. I can’t find any reason to generate great/extraordinary successes in the introduction, other than for advancement purposes, so yeah, that’s probably gonna happen.
Adding up total successes and running a tally against Tolerance also seems pointless. Rolling and rolling and rolling, to my Burning Wheel damaged brain, also feels dumb once you’ve established your intent (which, you know: yay! I’m glad TOR does this). Basically Encounters are an oversimplified Duel of Wits. Boo.
I think that’s everything. Yay insomnia.