Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fantastic Combat: An Example

Here are a few examples of the Fantastic Combat system I proposed earlier.  I want to reiterate that it is important to keep the base odds against the players (so a target number of 8+ or worse).  This is mainly to keep fantastic strikes the exception and not the rule, so that players resort to them in a last ditch effort to turn the tide.  This ratio also keeps the dice rolls more fun, as players are generally only upset when they botch a roll where the odds were in their favor, and die rolls are more exciting when they rely on a good deal of luck.

Gimbusk and his company of dwarves have retreated into a small mountain crag, pursued by what is most likely an enormous troll.  As the creature stretches its hideous arm into the chasm, Gimbusk declares his intention to drive the monster off, perhaps by severing its limb.  The referee agrees this is in the purview of a hero, and as Gimbusk fights as a Hero -1, he may roll two dice against the target number with a -1 penalty.  The referee sets the difficulty at 8 or higher, and they agree that if the roll is not made, the troll will grope around the crevasse and cause a cave-in, trapping the party in the gorge.

Brøtfr has been badly wounded in battle against Brannolagolan.  As a last desperate attempt, he declares his intention to smite the wyrm.  The referee agrees that Brøtfr, who fights as a Superhero +1, can attempt this task, rolling two dice against the target number with a +1 bonus.  Furthermore, since Brøtfr is using Glamrill, a magical sword +3 vs dragons, he gains another +3 bonus to his roll.  The referee decides that the stakes are not very high (Glamrill's point will break on Brannolagolan's scales if the roll fails) but the attempt will be difficult (needing an 11 or higher).  Brøtfr rolls 2d6+4 and gets a total of 11, a partial success.  The dragon is merely driven off with a wound.

Solon stands before the ruins of Caer Dòmril, but is unable to find the secret entrance.  Without recourse to other aid, Solon attempts invoke the peculiar positioning of the stars to magically divine the door.  The referee sets the target number, but threatens that a mistake in the incantation will draw the horrible creature from below the lake, just a few paces behind the party.

Thus, while instant death certainly remains a noble stake for the heroic feat, the loss of equipment or change in tactical or strategic situation also provides a lot of opportunity for interesting gaming and storytelling.

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