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Failing Forward

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 172
When designing any type of social conflict event, it’s always best to allow the PCs to advance the plot even in the face of a critical failure. Of course, there should be consequences for failure, but that should never be the end the story. In other words, a success moves the PCs toward victory and a failure moves their adversaries toward victory, but you shouldn’t plan a result that creates a deadlock and stalls the flow of the action. So long as a defeat doesn’t lead to the entire party’s death, it likely brings with it a variety of exciting ramifications—sometimes more so than a success might. Feel free to use the PCs’ defeats as springboards into new plots and more rewarding future victories.