@ Dashifen ...

*g* I somehow knew that this would happen ...

The problem is that in ranged combat staging is part of "Determine Outcome" after the resistance test. The staging is generally based on the successes generated in the Success and Resistance test.

It pretty much depends on how you interpret the comparison of the generated successes: Seperate or net successes?

First let's have look at Char A having 3 successes on his test:

- Situation 1: B scores 0 successes => Either A stages up once to S, B doesn't stage thus S damage or A has 3 net successes, thus stages once to S
- Situation 2: B scores 1 success => Either A stages once to S, B doesn't stage thus S damage or A has 2 net , thus stages once to S
- Situation 3: B scores 2 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages once down to M or A has one net success, thus no staging, damage stays at M
- Situation 4: B scores 3 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages once down to M or neither have net successes and damage stays at M
- Situation 5: B scores 4 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages down twice to L or B has one net success, thus can't stage .. damage stays at M
- Situation 6: B scores 5 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages down twice to L or B has 2 net successes thus stages down once to L
- Situation 7: B scores 6 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages down thrice to nothing or B has 3 net successes, thus stages down to L
- Situation 8: B scores 7 successes => Either A stages once to S, B stages dwon thrice to nothing or B has 4 net successes thus staging down twice to nothing

So it either takes 6 or 7 successes to avoid damage

Now let's look at situations where Char A has 2 successes:

- Situation 1: Char B scores 0 sucesses during resistance => Either A a stages once to S, B doesn't stage or A has 2 net successes thus staging once to S
- Situation 2: Char B scores 1 successes during resistance => Now you can say Char A scored 2 successes on his test, thus the damage is staged to S, Char B has had one success, thus he cannot stage down. Result: S damage.

Alternatively you can say: Char A scored 1 net success, thus no staging occurs, the damage remains at M - Situation 3: Char B scores 2 successes => Either character has now scored 2 successes => This again gives two possibilities (however with identical outcome): Either both scored 2 successes and thus A stages up and B stages down or A has no net successes thus he cannot stage. In oth cases damage stays at M
- Situation 4: Char B scores 3 successes=> (still identical outcome) A scored 2 successes and thus stages to S while B had 3 successes which are enough to stage down to M again. Alternatively B scored 1 net success and thus cannot stage down leaving it at M
- Situation 5: Char B scores 4 successes => Either A stages up to S and B stages down to M and then to L or B has 2 net success and thus stages base damage down to L
- Situation 6: Char B scores 5 successes => Either A stages up to S and B stages down to M and then to L or B has 3 net successes thus staging base damage by one level to L
- Situation 7: Char B scores 6 successes => Either A stages to S and B stages down to M, then L and then nothing or B has 4 net successes thus staging base damage to nothing

Either way you need 6 successes to avoid damage.

Now the same for just one success of Char A:

- Situation 1: B scores no success => A has one success, no staging occurs => Base damage
- Situation 2: B scores 1 success => Either A can't stage, B can't either thus base damage of M or B has one net success thus can't stage down => base damage M
- Situation 3: B scores 2 successes => A can't stage , B stages one level down thus L or B has one net success that can't stage down => base damage stays at M
- Situation 4: B scores 3 successes => A can't stage, B stages down once to L or B has two net successes that stage down to L
- Situation 5: B scores 4 successes => A can't stage, B stages down twice (M to L to nothing) or B has 3 net successes that stage down to L
- Situation 6: B scores 5 successes => A can't stage, B stages down twice (M to L to nothing) or B has 4 net successes that stage down M to L to nothing

So either 4 or 5 successes to avoid damage ...

Now the greyed situations make the difference:

Solution 1:

If you directly use the individual successes anyone will more easily take higher damage (Situations 2 in Example 1 and 2). And while the number of successes of A increase in a linear manner, the number of successes to avoid damage increase like this 4,6,6,8,8, etc.

Solution 2:

Alternatively, the increase of damage comes a little later, but it's harder to avoid damage overall, since now you need 1 more success that has to cancel out the attackers hit ... In this situation the required number of successes advances linearly just as the attacker's (5,6,7, etc.)

By the wording of the rules, solution 1 is closer to the wording of the rules: Staging nowhere mentions "net successes". However the example on p. 113 clearly uses the solution with net successes.