Here’s a quick little example of play and a couple of things I realise I missed, so consider this an ‘appendix’ to this set of articles.
I quite like a ‘per session’ method of doing experience, but for this I’m not sure that would work. Time spent playing would seem to work better. So…
You gain one experience point per hour of play but experience must be spent between sessions and/or when your character has some ‘downtime’. Customisations are gained immediately.
Increasing a stat costs a number of points equal to: (Stat x2)+1. Swap negative numbers into positive numbers for working out the cost. It’s hard to overcome a weak start or to refine an already advanced statistic.
Skills cost equal to the current level, or 1.
Customisations are the equivalent of levels, you gain a customisation at 2 hours of play, then another 4 hours of play, then another 6 – and so on.
Sample Monster – Goblins
Weak, simple creatures that often end up dominated by stronger, nastier creatures, goblins breed like maggots in the bowels of the Earth.
Will +1 (+1)
Dodge +2 (+2)
Toughness +1 (-1)
One-Handed +2 (+3)
Block +2 (+2)
Stealth +1 (+1)
Combat Defence: 12
Mental Defence: 10
Physical Defence: 8
Hit Points: 3/6
Customisation: Sneaky Bastards +1
Equipment: Shortsword +1 – Max Damage 10, leather armour +2.
Sample of Play
The ‘adventurers’ (let’s be generous and not call them looters) are searching The Great Dark Forest for the fabled ruins of Skor. The forest is notoriously overrun with goblins, not that they’ve found any yet. Nor have they found the ruins and they’re running out of food. Little do they realise – yet – that they’re on the patrol route of a small goblin unit.
Running low on rations they’ve sent Faliel the elven sorcerer out to trap small game on the grounds that ‘You’re an elf, you know about woods, n’ shit.’
GM: Game’s pretty scarce in the woods, between the goblins, predators and the lack of undergrowth beneath the thick leaf cover. You’re going to need to roll fifteen or better to catch anything.
Faliel: I don’t have survival or anything, but as an elf I get ‘Forest Hunter’ as a Customisation, so that gives me +1. I rolled 13, so that’s 14, not enough.
GM: It’s close. You’re in hot pursuit of a rabbit, charging through piles of dried leaves, when you make a dive to try and catch it in your hands it springs away, leaving you face down in the dirt. Could you make an Alertness roll for me please?
Faliel: *Tosses the dice* Uh… that’s a total of 18, assuming my Forest Hunter still counts.
GM: Cool. *Tosses a dice to see how sneaky the the goblins have been and only gets 11 total* OK. As you pick yourself up you notice that what you took to be an animal trail is not. Those footprints look humanoid. They also look fresh.
Faliel: Shit the bed. Goblins I bet. I’ll run back to camp as fast as I can to tell the others. Brigid! Derwen! Goblins!
Brigid: Shut the hell up you prancing gaylord, if there are goblins they’ll hear you!
Derwen: The hatchet-faced dwarf has a point Faliel. Come on, let’s go have a look. I know a little bit about tracking.
GM: OK, so what are you doing?
Brigid: Pack up our gear, stifle the fire, strap on our armour and have Faliel lead us back to the tracks. Yeah?
Derwen: Sounds good, let’s take it slow and careful though.
GM: OK, you break camp and slink through the forest, following Faliel’s directions until you arrive back at the spot he saw the tracks.
Derwen: I’ll check them out, you two stand guard.
GM: You don’t have Survival, but I’ll let you make an Alertness roll to see what you can find out. OK?
Derwen: Right *Rolls dice* 21 total.
GM: *Given that the goblins only rolled 11 the GM decides to spill the beans* You reckon it’s a regular patrol of five goblins, one seems a little bigger and heavier than the others. They come through here regularly and it can’t be too long before they come back.
Derwen: OK, I’ll repeat that to the others. Plus… I figure these goblins must have food of some kind. If we take them out we’ll be less likely to be interrupted in our explorations and we can keep them up for longer. If we set an ambush it shouldn’t be too hard. They’re just goblins.
Brigid: Sounds good to me, my axe thirsts for goblin blood!
Faliel: I’m… not a fan, but if you two protect me I suppose it could be OK.
Derwen: OK, so the plan is that we all hide around this path area, under the leaves or whatever. Me an Faliel catch them in a crossfire with magic and my crossbow. I’ll go for the leader. Brigid can charge whatever lives and keep them busy and off us.
GM: Alright, I’ll need you all to make a Stealth roll to see how effective an ambush you pull off. You’ll get to go first if you pull it off and you’ll get a combat pool depending how well you do.
Faliel: Ugh… 5.
Derwen: 8… man we suck at hiding.
GM: Well, they only get… shit, 1. So you have a massive advantage over this band of bored, chattering and squabbling goblins, so deep into telling a dirty joke about a milkmaid and a bull that they don’t see you, despite your shitty rolls. So that makes your combat pool… 22.
Derwen: Right, I ease up out of the leaves and let fly with my crossbow, aiming for the biggest one of the lot. I get… 22.
GM: Jesus fucking Christ… OK, that’s ten more than his defence so that’s ten points of damage. The goblin leader is just getting to the punchline when your barbed bolt takes him through the throat an he pitches over, gurgling and spewing blood. The other goblins start in shock.
Faliel: Shitbiscuits, how many more are there?
Faliel: I’ll unleash a blast of pure magic into the midst of them. So that’s 50 ft range, 10 ft radius should be enough to hit them all. That’s… -11. Going to need some of that combat pool I expect. I roll… 14, -11 is 3. That’s going to do nothing unless I spend some points, but I’ll keep some back in case there are any reinforcements. So… I’ll take 12 out of the pool, that gives me 15. Hopefully that’s enough to at least weaken them.
GM: It’s enough to bloody all of them. You make your arcane gesture and hurl the bolt of magic into their midst. It explodes and tosses them in all directions, scorched and smoking.
Brigid: My turn. These goblins are AXING FOR IT! I charge out of the woods and cleave the head off one of the survivors as he gets up.
GM: That’s a -5 penalty and it won’t actually cut it off unless you roll high enough.
Brigid: OK, with the penalties I get 8. If they’re bloodied their defence is only 7, right, so I’ll spend another two points from the tactical pool to take that over the top to 3. Is that enough to kill him?
GM: Sure is. You lop off the goblins head and send it sailing into the leaves nearby. There’s three left, bloodied and bowed.
Brigid: Aren’t they shitting themselves? This was some serious shock and awe and I just cut a head off.
GM: Good point, tell you what, make an intimidation roll.
Brigid: Eh, only three total… I suck at this stuff.
GM: Well then, they’re not cowed, rather they hiss and vow revenge, drawing their rusty little shortswords.
The game continues…
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Thank you for the effort you have put into this game system so far. I am really enjoying the series.
I was wondering how your Tactical Advantage / Combat Pool mechanic worked. Does the Ambush / Surprise / Initiative roll decide which side goes first *and* how much Combat Pool they have? Was this a special case, or is the mechanic not completely ironed out yet?
I ask because I’m running a heavily modified version of Warrior, Rogue & Mage that I think could really benefit from a system like this (to replace / augment Luck / Fate Points).
The situation of an ambush pretty much determines who goes first (the aggressor). The aggregate pool would help determine how successful an ambush was. If the attackers collectively failed and ended up in the negative, I’d probably rule the ambush blown and let the defenders go first, with an advantage.
Cool, and if the party just stumbled onto the goblins would it have been a contested Alertness roll for initiative? And the advantage to the higher total initiative roll? During the example you only rolled one time for the Goblin group, while the party each rolled separately.
I’m thinking, for my game, I’ll take the highest of each of the party’s rolls and compare them to the second party (unless there is a fumble, which tells me that one character distracted the others). There probably will not (often) be a large combat pool, of course, but individual characters could add to the Combat Pool by making successful Intimidation and Bluff rolls against their opponents.