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Mobs Edit

At some point, an individual minion fails to be a meaningful enemy. The standard response is to add more minions, but gameplay slows as the GM has to roll dozens of attacks that rarely hit. Some way of abstracting large groups of minions is needed.

Mob Templates Edit

Mob is a type of template that can be added to any fodder monsters. Each mob template increases the effective size, attack skill, defense skill, and hit points of the underlying monsters.

All mob templates also grant Damage Immunity (No Head, No Eyes, No Vitals, No Neck), a nearly limitless number of Extra Arms and Extra Legs, Immunity to Knockdown and Physical Stun, and Peripheral Vision. Monsters with the mob template have special rules regarding attacks, active defenses, and grappling.

Mob Template Name Membership SM Increase Mob Bonus HP Multiplier Spaces for SM0 fodder
Squad 8 fodder +2 +2 x2 7 (radius 2)
Section 20 fodder +4 +4 x6 19 (radius 3)
Platoon 45 fodder +6 +6 x20 37 (radius 4)

Mobs and Maneuvers Edit

Mobs take their turns normally, and may use any of the available maneuvers. All members of the mob essentially take the same maneuver. Mobs move at the speed of the base minion, but are subject to terrain penalties if more than a quarter of the mob is in the terrain.

Mobs and Melee Attacks Edit

As an attack, a mob may make a melee attack against a number of foes equal to its HP multiplier within its melee reach of its edge. A melee attack by a mob is resolved as a Rcl 3 rapid fire attack with an attack bonus equal to the mob's Mob Bonus, rolled separately for each target. Each target may defend normally. If the mob's attack resulted in multiple hits, the defender avoids 1 hit by making the active defense roll, plus 1 additional hit per Margin of Success.

A mob may not attack the same foe twice in melee unless it makes a Dual-Strike, a Rapid Strike, or an All-Out Attack (Double) or has the Extra Attack advantage. If a mob can make multiple attacks, it can attack a number of foes equal to its HP multiplier with each multiple attack.

Mobs and Ranged Attacks Edit

As an attack, a mob may make a ranged attack a number of foes equal to its HP multiplier within its weapon range, measured from the center of the mob. A ranged attack by a mob is resolved as a Rcl 3 rapid fire attack with an attack bonus equal to the mob's Mob Bonus, rolled separately for each target. Each target may defend normally. If the mob's attack resulted in multiple hits, the defender avoids 1 hit by making the active defense roll, plus 1 additional hit per Margin of Success.

A mob may make multiple ranged attacks against a single target instead of attacking multiple foes. For each attack sacrificed, it can increase its RoF against a single target by half its Mob Bonus.

Example: A squad of goblin archers can either attack 2 foes with its bows, or attack 1 foe with an effective RoF of 2. A company of goblins archers can attack up to 20 foes. If it attacked a single foe, it would increase the RoF by 57 for an additional +6 to hit.

Mobs and Grappling Edit

Mobs cannot be Grappled. They can be slammed, but only for damage. Mobs cannot be knocked prone unless at least 1/4 of the hexes in the mob are knocked prone at the same time.

A mob can grapple, and gets twice its Mob Bonus as a bonus to both the attack roll and on any subsequent contests.

Example: Mrugnak is being attacked by a company sized Mob of Horde Zombies. At 45 to 1 odds, the zombies have a significant advantage. They get a +12 to attack, a +12 to resist his attempts to Break Free, and a +12 bonus on attempts to strangle him. If Mrugnak had been attacked by a mere squad of Horde Zombies, they would only a have a +4 to attack and the mighty minotaur would have a good chance of breaking free!

Attacking Mobs Edit

Melee attacks against a mob are resolved as an attack against an individual member of the mob for SM or posture purposes. Ranged attacks against a mob are resolved as an attack against a single target with the SM of the mob. The mob can use Active Defenses allowed by whatever maneuver it chose that turn. Mobs add half of their Mob Bonus to any Active Defenses to represent the cumulative defenses actions (Defensive Beats, sacrificial defenses, Defensive feints, and retreats) that individual members of the mob are taking.

Mobs and Spells Edit

A mob resists Resisted spells as though the spell targeted the underlying fodder monster. Mobs ignore the affects of non-damaging, non-disabling spells except for Area spells that affect more than 1/4 of the mob's hexes. Disabling spells (such as Sleep) do HP/3 damage per hex that they effect. The GM should judge which spells are disabling and which aren't, but generally only count spells that remove a combatant from play for at least 10 seconds.

Example: Lenia casts Retch on the squad-size mob of hobgoblins that is approaching her. The GM feels that Retch is a disabling spell, and the mob fails the resistance roll. Hobgoblins have 12 HP normally, so the mob takes 4 hits of damage: only 20 more to go until it flees!
Example: Wising up a bit, Lenia casts Mass Daze on 4 hexes of the hobgoblin squad. This is more than 1/4 the mob's hexes and thus the mob is affected by the spell. If the mob fails its Resistance roll, the entire mob stands in one place, dazed and confused.

Damaging Mobs Edit

Mobs are effectively immune to limb and extremity hits and effectively have no brains, heads, eyes, necks, or vitals. The only way to disperse them is to do massive damage to individual members and scare the rest off. This is reflected in the increased HP of the mob. Other than these limitations, mobs take normal damage from non-area attacks.

A mob that reaches 0 HP must make a Leadership roll every round or flee.

A mob that reaches -1xHP disperses in a rout. Half the original members of the mob may be eventually rallied; the rest are dead.

A mob that reaches -5xHP is nearly completely destroyed. 3d6% of the original members of the mob may be eventually rallied. The rest are dead.

A mob that reaches -10xHP is completely destroyed. 1d6% of the original members of the mob may be eventually rallied, but are badly wounded: at least HP/2 hits taken, and up to HPx5 at the GM's discretion.

Mobs and Large Area Attacks Edit

If a mob is subject to a large area attack such as a poison gas or an explosion, multiply the average per hex damage after DR by the number of the mob's hexes that are in the area attack.

Mobs and Fragmentation Edit

For simplicity, mobs subject to fragmentation take 7 hits, plus the number of fragmentation dice, minus the range penalty from the center of the fragmentation to the nearest part of the mob. Adjust for cover, posture and size of the underlying fodder monster as usual. Halve the number of hits if less than half of the mob is inside the blast radius.

The mass of bodies in a mob provide complete cover for any target on the opposite side of the mob from a ground burst. If the burst occurs inside the mob, no targets outside of the mob are affected by it.

Example: A 2d frag grenade thrown into the center of a mob causes 10 hits, each for 2d damage. A 5d bomb that lands 20 yards from a mob does causes (7 base, +5 for damage, -6 for range) 6 hits, each for 5d damage. A 2d frag grenade that explodes 10 yards away from an SM+1 ogre mob causes 3 hits (7 base, +2 for damage, +1 for size, -4 for ranged, and all halved because most of the mob is outside the blast radius).

Deploying Mobs Edit

Mobs should only be used in groups of 4 or more. A lone mob is not a particularly interesting combatant. 4 squad sized mobs are a definite hazard and a faster way of resolving a small group of PCs against 40 fodder monsters.

Mob on Mob Violence Edit

Some fights may involve mobs on the side of the delvers, fighting against monster mobs under the delver's direction. Ideally, this should be squad or maybe platoon sized units, as the Mass Combat rules work just fine for hundreds of fighters on a side as would be case for multiple companies.

When a mob attacks another mob in melee or at range, the target mob can only be attacked up to its Mob Bonus times in a single attack. FIXME make it make sense that sentence is horrible.

Example: A goblin company aims at a human squad. The human squad counts as only two targets, so the goblins choose to fire twice with RoF 54 each time. When the human squad engages the goblins in melee, the goblins can only use 2 of their 20 melee attacks to engage the human squad.

Revised Fright Checks Edit

Table lookups are a bad idea. Stunning PCs for multiple turns is unfun. The Fright Check Table has to go.

Failing a Fright Check gives a penalty to IQ (including Perception and Will but not Fear), DX, and all skills based on them equal to 1/2 the sum of the margin of failure and the situation's penalty to Fright Checks. Defenses are not penalized unless a creature caused the Fright Check in which case 1/2 the penalty is applied to Active Defenses against its attacks. On a critical failure, the character is stunned and must reroll the original Fright Check after each turn of Doing Nothing. Even when the character recovers from the stun, they still have the normal penalty to IQ, DX, and defenses.

Example 1: The delving band are assaulted by a corrupted Giant Eagle whose shriek forces them to roll unmodified Fright Checks. Lenia succeeds and has no penalty. Connell and Mrugnak both fail by 2, and suffer -1 to IQ, Per, Will, DX, and all related skills. Mordreona fails by 4, and suffers a -2 penalty to the same rolls; she'll also suffer -1 to defenses against the eagle if it chooses to attack her. Berkun botches his roll badly, and fails by 6; he'll suffer -3 to most of the rolls he makes, and -1 to defend against the eagle.

The penalty lasts as long as the character is in the vicinity of whatever caused the Fright Check, and fades at the rate of 1 point of penalty per ten minutes after that. Alternately, the character can attempt to steady their nerves by taking a Concentrate maneuver and rerolling the original Fright Check: success reduces the penalty by 1, failure has no effect. Critical success reduces the penalty by 3; critical failure mentally stuns the character as though they had critically failed the original Fright Check.

A good leader can rally her allies to help fight off the effects of fear. This requires a Concentrate action, a Leadership skill roll, and an appropriate (brief) speech. The skill roll is at a penalty equal to the highest fright penalty among allies the leader wishes to affect. Success on the roll reduces the fright penalty for all affected allies within earshot (including the leader) by 1; critical success reduces it by 3. Failure has no effect, and critical failure worsens the penalty by 1 for all allies within earshot.

Example 2: Continuing from the example above, Lenia tries to rally the delvers. Her Leadership skill is 20; she has no penalty for her own fear, and can soak up the -3 suffered by Berkun fairly easily. She rolls and succeeds. Connell and Mrugnak shake off their fear entirely; Mordreona is reduced to a -1 penalty (and no defense penalty); Berkun's fright penalty is reduced to -2, but he still has -1 to defend against the eagle. If Lenia's Leadership score were lower (say, 13), she might choose only to target Mrugnak and Connell, increasing her own chance of success for those two but leaving Mordreona and Berkun still badly shaken.

Influence and Voting Edit

These are optional rules for use with mature groups.

When a group of PCs needs to make a decision, player relationships come to the fore: whom likes who, which player is the best debater, and stuff like that. But a persuasive player shouldn't get his way when playing a shy and diffident character, and an inarticulate player of a master diplomat character should get her way even if she can't articulate way. These rules provide some game mechanical support for that.

Mechanic Edit

When a major decision comes up, such as "which delve site should we go to" or "should we attack the dragon from ambush or quietly sneak away", players total their characters' influence shares and vote with them. Whichever option gets the most shares is the favored option and all PCs must make an effort to execute on that decision.

Determining Influence Shares Edit

For every decision, each PC starts with 10 influence shares. Each PC gets another share for each +1 of positive reaction modifier that applies to more than half of the other PCs, and loses a share for each -1 of negative reaction modifier that applies to more than half of the other PCs. This is the PC's base influence share, which cannot be less than 0 but has no maximum.

During a decision, each PC can attempt to influence any other PC to her viewpoint. Start with the PC with the highest base influence share. That PC may make one contested Influence Roll against another PC. If the PC gets a Good Reaction, she gains 1 influence share and the target loses 1 share; the gain and loss is 2 for a Very Good Reaction. If the target resists, the PC loses 1 influence share but the target doesn't gain any; a critical failure causes the PC to give 1 influence share to each other PC, and a critical success on the Will resistance roll makes the target immune to Influence Rolls for the rest of the decision! No one with 0 remaining influences shares can be targeted and the target cannot lose more shares than she has. After a PC has attempted 1 Influence Roll versus 1 target, the player with the next highest base influence share may make an attempt. Continue cycling through the PCs until everyone has made all the Influence Rolls they care to attempt. Each Influence skill can only be used once by each PC on each target.

Example Edit

Arganyev, Beltarne, Loegaire, Lenia, Singeon, Sithis, and Thog are trying to decide which delve site they wish to explore. They are all beginning delvers.
Arganyev is Overconfident (+2 to reactions with inexperienced delvers) and Stubborn (-1 to all reactions). He has 11 base influence shares.
Beltarne is Overconfident, Honest (+1 to non-combat reactions), and Stubborn. He has 12 base influence shares.
Loegaire is a Loner (-2 to all reactions) and has a Social Stigma: Criminal (-2 to all reactions). He has 6 base influence shares.
Lenia has Universal Transcendent Appearance (+5 reactions), Charisma 5 (+5 reactions), and Stubbornness. She has 19 base influence shares.
Singeon has Attractive Appearance (+1 reactions), Charisma 2 (+2 reactions), Overconfidence, and Paranoia (-2 reactions). He has 13 base influence shares.
Sithis has Social Stigma: Minority Group (-2 reactions) and Loner. She has 6 base influence shares.
Thog has Hideous Appearance (-4 reactions), Honesty, Social Stigma: Monster (-3 reactions), and Stubborn. He has 3 base influence shares.
  1. Lenia begins by trying to convince Thog to go with her to the Caverns of Madness. Her effective Diplomacy of 20 crushes his Will of 8, and she now has 20 influence shares, while Thog has 2.
  2. Singeon succeeds in trying to Fast-Talk Thog into going to the Fens of Despair with an effective skill 11. Singeon now has 14 influence shares, Thog has 1.
  3. Beltarne has no social skills but tries to be Diplomatic with Thog anyway. He fails and is reduced to 11 influence shares.
  4. Arganyev tries to Intimidate Thog into going with him to the Tomb of the Bloody Baron. He critically fails, and everyone else's influence shares increase by 1.
  5. Sithis has no Influence skills and decides not to try to influence anyone. She has 7 influence shares.
  6. Loegaire uses Streetwise to bribe Thog into supporting his attempts to go to the Fens of Despair. Loegaire wins, increasing his influence shares to 8 and reducing Thog to 1.
  7. Thog knows he has no hope of influencing anyone and stays put, voicing his desire to go to the Caverns of Madness anyway.
  8. Lenia starts to work on Sithis...
After several more cycles of Lenia using Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, and Savoir-Faire; Singeon using Fast-Talk and Streetwise; and Loegaire using Streetwise, the totals are:
Name Arganyev Beltarne Loegaire Lenia Singeon Sithis Thog
Influence 9 11 2 35 8 2 0
Lenia puts 25 votes behind her first choice of the Caverns, and 10 to the Tomb. Singeon puts his 8 votes to the Fens. Beltarne puts his 11 to the Caverns. Arganyev puts 3 to Caverns and 6 to the Tombs. Loegaire puts his 2 to the Fens. Sithis puts her 2 to the Tomb. Thog has been so heavily persuaded by the others that he has no influence left. The final tally is 39 for the Caverns, 18 for the Tomb, and 8 for the Fens. The delvers prepare to investigate the Caverns of Madness.

Comments Edit

This system will allow persuasive characters to convince the others to do as they please. Note that Lenia had more than half the shares in the end, and could have chosen the delve site even if the others had united against her. Which is the point, but some groups may find the loss of autonomy frustrating.

It wasn't entirely shown in the example, but Sithis would have been penalized for her Shyness and Obliviousness: she wouldn't be able to easily persuade the others and would have been vulnerable to persuasion herself. Similar, Singeon and Thog would have suffered for their low Will scores.

Magic Edit

Minor changes to magic.

Magic Rituals, Energy Reduction, and Casting Speed Edit

Regardless of skill, there is no automatic reduction of energy cost, and the default casting ritual requires spoken words and gestures with at least 1 hand. Any changes to ritual or energy provide a modifier to skill. Effective casting time is still halved at level 20 and again every 5 levels after that.

Penalties for reduced Energy Cost or reduced ritual requirements cannot lower base casting skill below 10. Blocking spells cannot gain bonuses from extra time or from more elaborate rituals; as instant acts of will, they are already cast 'no gestures' and 'no words' at no penalty. Some other spells specify that they can be cast without gestures (particularly the 'breath of' spells); these also do not accrue a penalty.

Example: Lenia wants to cast Hawk Flight. Her base skill in the spell is 17; she can accrue up to 7 points in penalties from reduced fatigue cost or rituals, but no more, regardless of bonuses from other sources. In this case, she decides to reduce the Fatigue Cost by 2 and roll at skill 12.

Energy Cost
  • -2 penalty to effective skill for -1 energy cost; an additional -3 penalty per -1 energy cost
Casting Time
  • +2 to effective skill for taking twice base casting time
  • +3 to effective skill for taking ten times base casting time
Ritual Gestures
  • Elaborate Gestures: +2 to effective skill. Observers get +2 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast; the caster has an additional -2 on Will rolls to maintain concentration if interrupted. Increase Shock penalties by 2, if any shock penalties should apply. This requires both arms, both hands, and both legs free.
  • Sweeping Gestures: +1 to effective skill. Observers get +1 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast. The caster has an additional -1 on Will rolls to maintain concentration if interrupted. Increase Shock penalties by 1, if any shock penalties should apply. This requires both arms and both hands free.
  • Firm Gestures: This is the standard. It requires at least one hand free.
  • Subtle Gestures: -1 to effective skill. Observers get -2 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast or to notice that a spell is being cast at all. This requires one hand or both legs free.
  • No Gestures: -2 to effective skill. Observers get -4 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast or notice that a spell is being cast at all (and if combined with No Words, may not roll!)
Casting Volume
  • Shouted Words: +2 to effective skill, or +1 with Sweeping or Elaborate Gestures. Observers get +2 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast; the caster has an additional -4 on Will rolls to maintain concentration if interrupted. Increase Shock penalties by 2, if any shock penalties should apply. Penetrating Voice grants an additional +1 to effective skill, but also grants an additional +1 on identification rolls and another -1 on Will rolls to maintain concentration if interrupted.
  • Loud Words: +1 to effective skill. Observers get +1 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast. The caster has an additional -2 on Will rolls to maintain concentration if interrupted. Increase Shock penalties by 1, if any shock penalties should apply.
  • Spoken Words: This is the standard.
  • Whispered Words: -1 to effective skill. Observers get -2 to any rolls to identify the spell being cast or to notice that a spell is being cast at all.
  • No Words: -2 to effective skill, or -3 with No Gestures. Observers get -4 to rolls to identify the spell being cast or notice that a spell is being cast at all (and, if combined with No Gestures, may not roll!)

Most casting in combat is assumed to Subtle Gestures (to allow two-handed weapon use) and Shouted Words, for a net +1.

Spell Energy Costs Edit

Halve the cost of damaging spells, Regular spells cast on SM+1 targets, and all variants of Animal Control. If a spell fits into multiple categories, reduce the cost by a third. Halve the cost of non-damaging area spells before applying energy reductions.

Examples:

  • Normally, it takes 15 FP cast Mammal Control on an SM+2 Lion. Reduce that to 5 FP.
  • Normally, it takes 6 FP to cast a 3d Frostbite on an SM+1 Ogre. Reduce that to 2 FP.
  • Normally, it takes 3 FP to cast a 3d Frostbite on an SM-1 Gnome. Reduce that to 2 FP.
  • Normally, the base cost of Repel Mammal is 5 and casting it on a 4 hex radius is 20 FP. Under these rules, reduce the base cost to 3 and the cost for a 4 hex radius to 6 FP.
  • Normally, the base cost of distracting Hail is 1/5. Under these rules, it stays 1/5, but it only costs 1 FP to cover a 10 hex radius with distracting hail.

Rapid Strike with melee and missile spells Edit

A spellcaster may use the Rapid Strike rules to cast a jet, melee, or missile spell and attack with in the same round. Both the casting roll and the attack roll are at a -6 penalty; Weapon Master or Trained by a Master provide their usual benefits.

Three new advantages help in this regard

Combat Mentalist (25 points)
You have an innate talent or extensive training that allows you to Concentrate while doing other things. In combat and only in combat, you may take a Concentrate maneuver while taking a physical maneuver. You may not Concentrate twice in the same turn and you cannot Concentrate while stunned.
Note: This is basically Compartmentalized Mind (Emergencies Only).
Unflustered Mentalist (10 points)
You may take the Concentrate maneuver while being grappled.
Battle Magic Mastery (10 points)
You reduce the penalty to Rapid Strike with a jet, melee, or missile spell and an attack to -3. This reduction is applied to both the the casting roll and the attack roll.

Alternate Prerequisites Edit

Some Colleges have no base spells in Magic. For some Colleges, this is okay (Enchantment, Gate). For other Colleges, this is odd (Animal).

Animal Edit

Beast Soother
No prerequisites
Beast Rouser
No prerequisites
Spells that Beast Rouser or Beast Soother as prerequisites
Add Animal Empathy as an optional prerequisite

Ice Edit

This is alternate sub-college of Water, consisting of Cold, Frost, Freeze, Coolness, Create Ice, Frostbite, Ice Slick, Ice Sphere, Icy Touch, Icy Weapon, Melt Ice, Resist Cold, and Snow Shoes, Snow, Hail, and the new spells Shape Ice, and Create Ice.

Cold
Add Shape Ice & Create Ice as optional prerequisites instead of Heat.
Frost
Add Create Ice as an optional prerequisite.
Freeze
Add Shape Ice as an optional prerequisite.
Create Ice - Regular
Creates a block of pure ice out of nothing. This ice appears as a rough, cubic block. 8 gallons of ice weigh 64 lbs and take up a cubic foot.
Duration: The created ice is permanent, but will met normally.
Cost: 4 per gallon if created in above freezing temperatures, 2 per gallon otherwise.
Shape Ice - Regular
Sculpt ice into any form, and even move it about. Once given a shape, the water holds it without further concentration until the spell ends. Ice moved with this spell travels at Move 1. A useful shape is a wall of ice to stop fiery attacks – 20 gallons make a wall 2 yards high and 1 yard wide. This stops Fireball spells and ordinary fire.
Duration: 1 minute.
Cost: 1 per 20 gallons shaped. Same cost to maintain.
Time to cast: 2 seconds.
Prerequisite: Create Ice.

Easier Ritual Casting Edit

Instead of a having a -1 penalty per prerequisite, the first 3 prerequisites for a spell are "free". So spells with 0-3 prerequisites are cast at College skill, and -1 per prerequisite after that.

Hard spells
For spells with 7 or more prerequisites, the penalty is 1/2 the prerequisite count. This is not cumulative with the "first 3 prerequisites are free" rule above.

Implications: By gesturing, shouting, and taking a lot of time, a caster can get a net +6 on casting rolls. A typical NPC caster with skill-13 can routinely cast a spell with a -3 effective prerequisite penalty, or up to prerequisite count of 6. That's enough to cast more, but not all, useful spells.

PC casters, with expected skills in the 16 to 18+ range, can cast wacky hard spells like Utter Dome given enough time, or cast easier spells without taking extended time and shouting like a banshee.

Enchantment Edit

For purposes of ritual magic, the Enchant spell requires knowing 9 other colleges but has a prerequisite count of 0. Reduce the prerequisite count of other Enchant spells (other than Scroll) by 10.

Necromancy Edit

For purposes of ritual magic, the Summon Demon spell has a prerequisite count of 5. Critical failures on poorly trained demon summoning attempts usually result in either in a highly persuasive soul-buyer or a powerful, bloodthirsty ravaging monster.

For purposes of ritual magic, the Banish spell has a prerequisite count of 5.

Colleges as Prerequisites Edit

If a spell has a large prerequisite count outside its own college, reduce the effective prerequisite count by 1 for each college the caster knows at 12 or better. This also effects any spells in the college that depend on the base spell.

Example: Helga knows the Air, Earth, Fire, Making & Breaking, and Water colleges. If she wants to cast Find Weakness, it has a effective prerequisite count of 0 because she knows all the dependent colleges. If she wants to cast Weaken, it has an effective prerequisite count of 1.

New Spells Edit

Harden - Enchantment (Enchant College, Armor Subcollege)
Armor with this spell resists armor piercing weapons.
Energy Cost to Cast:
Hardening Energy
2 50
3 200
5 800
10 3000
Cosmic 8000

This spell may be recast to strengthen it as per Accuracy.

Prerequisites: Enchant.

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