Monday, March 29, 2010

Epic followup

Over at I was asked how the mechanics worked for the story. I only gave a little glimpse in my writeup so here goes...

The mechanics forced the fiction to go the way it did. The PCs absolutely had to sneak up onto every encounter and try to gain absolute surprise. If you gain complete surprise and land your first strike then it's a critical. While a critical may not take them out completely it puts them right at death's door and virtually precludes them swinging back or doing pretty much anything else which was crucial. Neither of the PCs were armored up very heavily. If either one would have taken a hit or two and the alarm sounded then they would have been in big trouble. There was no chance that they could have waded through the outlaws. In a way the game's vibe felt like The Riddle of Steel. Perhaps it was the fact that if you work the combat options to your advantage you really do have an advantage. In combat you declare your intent at the top of the turn. If something in the game environment changes and you want to change your intent you have to drop an action option to do so. In that sense it felt like a few games but Burning Wheel in particular. It doesn't clone BW but carries a bit of that spirit.

Running the NPCs was pretty straight forward. 2D10 + Skill + Modifier > 5 = success in a static style test. When it's versus someone else the winner is he who rolls higher. Back in the cave with the small waterfalls splashing down from the ceiling (with the help of Mythic) we determined that the the difficulty modifier for hearing someone move was +5 or threshold 10. At several points we just figured that our PCs were doomed. The dice were not kind to the outlaw bandits.

Just to round out a bit of the mechanics even though they didn't show up in the session, a natural 2 is a fumble (low critical) and a natural 20 is a critical success (high critical). There is a small chart for each type of critical. The table is enough to give you the big picture of the crit and you fill in the rest. It's not as specifically exhaustive as Rolemaster or The Riddle of Steel. It's a good middle ground design choice. I really liked it.


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