Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Watch Out For Falling Rocks! - Avoiding Hazards

Referees, you know you want to do this to your players!

Who hasn't seen a film or show in which the hero must navigate an area full of dangers? It could be a burning building, a collapsing mine shaft, an avalanche, or an artillery barrage. The hero dashes, dodges, jumps, ducks and otherwise displays their physical prowess by coming through without a scratch. This is also a way to get rid of the villain, who disappears in a shower of flying doom. 

I've worked up some simple rules to simulate these thrilling scenes.

Watch Out For Falling Rocks!

To determine the possibility of avoiding damage from collapsing structures, avalanches, rock slides, fires, etc., use the following throws. This can be used any time a character must move through an area of avoidable environmental danger or random gunfire. It will not apply to radiation, extreme heat or cold, or any other unavoidable condition.

The character moves at speed 1 (walking speed) representing the need to dodge and weave to avoid hazards. Expend one combat blow and make a throw every round until the character is out of the danger zone.

To avoid injury: 6+ DMs: +1 for DEX 9+ , +2 for DEX 11+, +3 for DEX 13+
If the result is:
6 - near miss, no movement this round
5 - 1-2 points damage
4 - 1D damage
3 - 2D damage
2 - 3D damage

Apply the First Blood rule to the first injury. If the character remains conscious, he can continue moving. Subsequent injuries can be distributed as per normal. If the character expends all his combat blows and is still in danger, the character is 'winded' and adds a DM of -2 to all throws. Double encumbered characters have a DM of -2, triple encumbered characters have a DM of -4. If a character is carrying another character, they are triple encumbered.

The Referee should be as descriptive as possible in narrating the character's desperate dash to safety. These scenes should be thrilling!

Example of play:
n.b. Upon reading this to my sons, I realized I did not do this correctly. Throwing 6 stops forward progress, which I did not record first time out. It is now corrected.

Graham Clark is exploring a subterranean cavern, when a tremor hits. The roof begins to collapse, but there is a lift shaft 100 meters away. That's 4 range bands (25 m per band) so at speed 1 it will take him 4 rounds to get there. Clark's DEX is 9, so he gets a +1. He is not encumbered. His END is greater than 4 so he will not be 'winded' before he gets to the lift shaft.

Round 1: Graham throws 10, he dodges falling rocks and moves 25 meters.
Round 2: Graham throws 6, much closer! A rock brushes his arm, startling him. He makes no forward progress.
Round 3: Graham throws 5! but his DM for DEX makes it 6. A timber drops right in front of him, and he pulls up short. He has to climb over it and loses time.
Round 4: Graham throws 7. He spins to avoid a crashing rock, but covers 25 meters. He's half-way to the shaft.
Round 5: Graham throws 5 again! His DEX saves him from that shower of stones, but he's halted from getting to the lift shaft. Maybe he will be 'winded' before he can reach safety.
Round 6 & 7: Graham throws 7 and 9. He gets some clearer ground to dash to the lift shaft. He escapes as the tunnel collapses behind him. He was 'winded' on the last round, but 9-2=7, so he made it to safety.

Whew! That was Close!
Under MgT or Cepheus Engine rules, the check is at the Easy level (+2). A Success of degree 0 would be the near miss, Failure at degrees -1 to -4 would mean progressively more damage. An Exceptional Failure means death. Combat Rounds are shorter in MgT/CE, so throws should be made every third round. Even at a lower Difficulty, throwing every round makes the probability of failure/injury much higher. The idea is to give the characters a chance to escape harm.

If you use these rules in play, please leave a comment and let us know what happened!

1 comment:

  1. We've play tested these rules some more. Here are some adjustments:

    Referee can choose a distance, or throw 1D+1 or 2D for a random distance when out of doors. Indoors it would be 1 or 2 unless it's a very large building.

    If you take damage, you do not get distance for that round.

    A throw of 2: 3D should read '2 or less: 3D'
    NPCs, especially villains, can be dispatched by poor throws.