Friday, August 13, 2010

Witless Minion (Part Three)

Continuing from the last post (Witless Minion Part Two)-- essentially the game I came up with for the 24-RPG Contest at RPG Geek. Next part will be the last.

Combat signals the beginning of crunchiness in the system. There's a little more detail to handling combat operations, but overall the system follows the same rules.

Who Goes First?
If order of combatants doesn't matter the GM may go around the table. If it does matter, each combatant (or group of combatants if the GM wants to bundle some together) rolls 1d10. If they have an ability like Fast or Quick Reflexes they may add +1 to this roll for each ability. Actions happen from the highest roll to the lowest-- dice off again for ties. Turn order remains the same throughout the scene.

What Can I Do on a Turn?
On their action, a player may move and then do something. That something can be an attack, operating machinery, moving further or any other standard action. Incidental actions like looking around, shouting out orders, ducking, pulling out a weapon are free and don't cost an action.

How Do I Attack?
Declare a target and roll COMBAT plus dice for the relevant ability. If the target is unaware of the attack and out in the open, then a player just needs a single success. See below for more discussion about combat situation modifiers.

If the target is aware of the attack they may take a defense. This is either a Parry (based on Combat stat) or Dodge (based on Agility stat). In both cases they may add dice for a relevant ability. Missile weapons cannot be parried without special tricks or the like.

If the attacker rolls fewer success than the defender, the attack misses. If the attacker rolls more successes than the defender, the attack hits. If the result is tied, then the defender wins-- unless the defender is wearing heavy armor in which case they lose ties.

How Do I Determine Damage?

Weapons are broken into broad categories and each has a certain number of dice rolled for damage. For each ten the attacker rolled on the original attack, they may add +1 die to the damage roll. The GM may allow certain abilities to add an extra die of damage as well-- for example the Strong Swing ability with a baseball bat or Headshot with a pistol. In general these abilities only give a bonus if they weren't used for the original attack.

The roll needed to do damage depends on the target's armor.

Clothing/Naked 4+
Jacket/Heavier Wear 5+
Half-Armor (Vest/Jacket)-- Light 6+
Half-Armor (Vest/Jacket)--Heavy 6+ (Reduce Damage 1)
Full Armor (Suit)--Light 7+
Full Armor (Suit)--Heavy 7+ (Reduce Damage 2)

Heavy armor is pretty obvious and bulky and the GM may apply penalties to agility actions based on it. But it also subtracts an amount from any damage rolled. These are the standard armors-- special gear and devices may be different than these.

Each success rolled does one wound-- tens rolled on damage count as two wounds.

Yes. Each character has ten wounds-- when a character is down to their last wound they're really, really badly injured. They lose two dice from any physical actions and the GM may make them make a Physique test to see if they stay conscious if they do anything strenuous. When players go to zero or below, they have to make a Physique test to say conscious each round-- with a difficulty equal to 1+ the number of wounds they've taken past zero. Unconscious characters sleep happily, though medics may try to wake them up. If a player continues the be battered of beaten once they go out they may die-- the GM may call for Physique-based death checks at this point.

Players may heal the first five wounds they take pretty easily, damage after that may require more time and care (perhaps a Physique test)

The Highly Detailed Weapon Chart

Punch/Kick/Choke 5d10
Light Melee 6d10
(daggers, knives, swords, maces, hammers, sticks, etc)
Heavy Melee 7d10
(katanas, big swords, aluminum bats, chainsaw, large axe, etc)
Light Ranged 7d10
(bows, crossbows, thrown daggers, small pistols)
Heavy Ranged 8d10
(rifles, shotguns close range, big pistols, submachine guns)
Really Heavy Ranged 0d10
(rocket launcher blast radius, grenades, laser cannons)

Combat Complications
The abstract nature of this system means that all of the factor of combat won't be detailed. Here are some below are some general guidelines and some tip for specific situations.

Some things such as size, range, speed, whether something's on fire or not can make a target easier or harder to hit. Players may also ask to try to trick shots or special maneuvers to cause an additional effect: grappling, blinding shots, etc.

Rule of Thumb #1: All factors are relatively equal-- a penalty cancels a bonus. The GM can apply one or more of the following penalties or bonuses to the attack or defense.

*Increase/decrease the number of successes needed
*Increase/decrease the number need for success on an attack/defense roll
*Increase/reduce damage dice rolled
*Increase/reduce the number needed to cause wounds

Rule of Thumb #2:
For each additional effect a player wants to add on to an attack, apply one penalty.

Difficulty for Unaware Targets

If a target doesn't get a defense roll because they're unaware of the attack, the attacker generally needs one success to hit. However circumstances like cover, distance or speed may make that attack more difficult. Generally this shouldn't be too high-- so that not taking a defense, for example, becomes a more viable option than taking a defense.

Multiple Defenses
If a defender has to dodge or parry multiple attackers in a round, they lose one die for each attack after the first they have to defend against (so -1 for the second attacker, -2 for the third). This only applies to attacks made by opponents of the same Rank (see Hierarchy of Villainy). If the opponent is of a lesser rank, then the defender takes no penalty.

Minions exist at the bottom of a pyramid of power and ability. And they will always be there. Mind you there may be the rare minion irradiated on duty or who manages to steal top secret armor technology, but those are one in a thousand and even they really only move one rank up the food chain. No, minions have a tenuous and desperate existence-- balanced between a desire to advance and a desire for the boss to not remember their name and make them the subject of the latest experiment.

In the course of this game players will not rise in ranks on this hierarchy-- unless they want to retire their character. They may do well, accumulate money and benefits but for the purposes of play they will remain Minion/Normal Rank (Rank One).

In Witless Minions these ranks have a practical game effect. Minions might be able to take out characters one rank above them, they might even be able to slow or temporarily stop characters two ranks above them. But as the ranks great higher, the ability for a Mook to do something about these people gets more and more reduced. In some cases this is because they have superpowers or super-science gadgets at their disposal, but in others it simply comes from the NPC being more cagey or better trained.

Rank One: Minions, Everyday Normal Joes, Police Officers, Standard Military

Rank Two: Beginning Mad Scientists and Masterminds (Dr. Horrible), Villains with Problems (The Monarch), Named Lieutenants, Code Named Members of an organization (G.I. Joe), Inexperienced Sidekicks, Mooks with Super Gear

Rank Three: Mafia Capos, Standard Mad Scientist, Supervillains with Gadgets (ala Flash's Rogues Gallery), Themed Supervillains (The Riddler, Penguin), Experienced Sidekicks, Vigilante Adventurers, Inexperienced Mutants

Rank Four: Standard Superheroes with powers, Villainous Organization Leaders (Cobra Commander), Insane Non-Powered Supervillains (The Joker), Two-Fisted Men of Mystery

Rank Five: Paragon Superheroes and Supervillains, Legendary Leaders of Ancient Orders of Evil, David Bowie

Facing adversaries of a higher rank has a practical effect:

*If an adversary is of a higher rank, they don't have to worry about penalties for being ganged up on-- i.e. they do not lose dice for making multiple defense tests against lower ranked attackers.
*Characters may take a number of actions per round equal to their rank. The actions may be their own actions or activating other mooks, devices or traps.
*At Rank Two and Rank Four, the number needed to do damage to the character is raised by +1 and +2 respectively.
*At Rank Three and Rank Five, the difficulty to hit the character is raised by +1 and +2 respectively.
*Each rank gives above one gives the character +2 effective wounds.

That's in addition to any special abilities, tricks or powers the adversary may have.

Holy Crap.
The trick here for minions, should they have to face these kinds of characters is to find a way to equalize the playing field-- essentially the characters have to find ways-- through the use of flashbacks, capers or abilities to even the playing field. Part of the challenge of fighting (or escaping) higher rank adversaries should be coming up with dramatic plot devices and capers to use against them. The GM may have the characters play these out, make them a quest, simply require spending drama points, or have them based on a single or series of ability checks. Example plots for leveling: kidnapping a loved one, a cleverly laid booby trap, finding unobtainium-- which robs the adversary of his powers, setting up a rival to distract them, gaining additional specialized firepower.

Each effective and well played gambit reduces the effective rank of a single adversary by one for a scene. A target's rank may only be reduced by up to two-- to a minimum of one.

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