Jan 12, 2009

I need another opinion, can I get a hand?

After spending two weeks working on this one, I am getting frustrated.  Maybe I just need a fresh opinion.  My personal thought is this:

Combat Encounter level of Party level +3-5
1 hard target per PC of = level
A nonstop flow of minions at a rate of, say, 6-10 a round.

At that rate, the party will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers in about 8 rounds.  All of the flashy powers in the world won't save you from an avalanche of meat and daggers.  Any opinions/advice/support would be welcome.  So, without further ado...

Mass combat. Simultaneously the most awesome part of a fantasy RPG, and the hardest to faithfully simulate. Here is an attempt to codify it with a skill challenge!


The implementation is a hybrid system that has the skill challenge happening during combat. Skill checks are standard actions that may be made in place of attacks on the player’s initiative.
_______________________________________
…adrift in a sea of flesh and steel…

What began as a simple hunt to cull a nest of Gibberlings, has turned into a battle for survival. Holding the van, Outnumbered 100 to one, you must use your wits AND steel to survive.

- Complexity 4 (7 successes before 3 failures)

- Encounter Level: PC Level+3

- Goal: Survive the onslaught by fight or flight before three failures are acquired.

- Powers of War - Players can expend powers to get bonuses to a skill check. When expending powers, have the players describe how the power is being used. For each type of power used, the following bonuses are gained:

At-Will: +0 to skill check
Encounter/Utility: +3 to skill check.
Daily: +5 to skill check.

- Skills Used: Acrobatics, Arcana, Bluff, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Diplomacy, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, Nature, Perception, stealth

Acrobatics – (Moderate DC) – By executing a precision series of flips, tumbles, and dodges you manage to stay ahead of your enemies blades – Or fall upon them!

SUCCESS Indicates that you have managed to avoid being damaged by the enemies actions. This check may be made more than once, with the DC increasing by 2 for each additional check made.
FAILURE Indicates that you have tumbled or jumped right into a waiting blade. In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Arcana – (Hard DC) – Using your keen intellect, you direct your powers exactly where you need them to be, hammering away at the enemies weakest points. Of course, any mistake could easily harm your fellows…
SUCCESS Indicates that the character has identified a weakness in the enemy’s defenses. Exploiting this weakness, you may give another character a +4 bonus to their next skill check. This skill is only useable once.
FAILURE Indicates that you are too preoccupied with survival to observe anything that would be useful. Additionally, you lose 1 healing surge, as you momentarily let your guard down to survey the field.

Athletics – (see acrobatics, above. OR Endurance below.)

Bluff – (Moderate DC) – Using every trick in the book, and a few made up on the spot, you try to misdirect the horde and turn it upon itself!
SUCCESS Indicates that you have feinted, mimicked, or otherwise bamboozled the mob surrounding you to zig, while you zag. As such, a number of the horrid beasts are trampled by their bretheren. This check may be attempted more than once, with the DC increasing by two for each additional check made.
FAILURE Indicates that you have failed to misdirect your foes. They leap upon you with sadistic glee, trying to drag you down. In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Dungeoneering – (Hard DC) – Understanding the enemy is key to defeating it. You have seen and studied these beasts before, even in a mob, they are somewhat predictable.
SUCCESS Indicates that you recall a tidbit regarding the behaviors of these beasts, say, an instinctive love of shiny objects. Exploiting this may well turn the tide of battle! This skill may be used only once.
FAILURE Indicates that you remember nothing of any practical use in your current situation. In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Endurance – (Moderate DC) – SPECIAL
USEAGE 1: Your arms may ache as much as your lungs burn, but you’ll sleep when you’re dead! Drawing on your inner reserves, you put up a wall of steel that sends your enemies falling back…in pieces.
USEAGE 2 – Dragged down by the horde, you struggle to regain your feet, and escape the dozens of cuts and stabs being inflicted upon you!

SUCCESS Indicates that you have either regained your footing (see “THE HOWLING MOB” below.) or managed to maintain your defensive footing.  This check may be attempted more than once, with the DC increasing by two for each additional check made. NOTE – USEAGE 2 does not increase in DC, or count against the checks needed for the skill challenge.

Heal – (Low DC) – Just as important as the Butcher’s work all around – the support and care keeping the men and women on the line alive!
SUCCESS Indicates that you have successfully tended to the wounds of one of your comrades, keeping them in the fight. Choose one ally, they may use a healing surge if they wish. Any bonuses to healing that you grant apply here as well. This check may be attempted more than once, with the DC increasing by two for each additional check made.
FAILURE Indicates that you have become a target yourself! In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

History – (Hard DC) – Even in the thick of this bloody battle, you recall your war schooling. In fact, Ser Reginald Blackplume faced a nearly identical challenge during his formative years. You recall he…
SUCCESS Indicates that you recall a relevant snippet of military history that is applicable to your current predicament. By directing your allies to follow this tested strategy, all benefit! All allies receive a +1 bonus to their next skill check. This check may be used only once.
FAILURE Indicates that you forgot that the maneuver in question led to a slaughter of the defenders involved. All allies receive a -1 penalty on their next check.

Insight – (See History, above)

Intimidate – (Moderate DC) – By unleashing your mounting rage, you roar out a challenge…one that is answered!

SPECIAL – (see “PRIMAL CHALLENGE” below.)

Nature – (Moderate DC) – By observing the terrain and it’s features, you see something that you may be able to use…
SUCCESS Indicates that your trained eye has detected a land feature you may exploit (rockfall, tree limb, bee hive, etc.). This check may be attempted more than once, with the DC increasing by two for each additional check made.
FAILURE Indicates your pre-occupation with your surroundings has made you vulnerable. In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Perception – (Hard DC) – Sometimes, surviving is as simple as knowing what is going on around you.

SUCCESS Indicates that you have been observant enough to stay out of the enemies path. In fact, your situation allows you to assist others – for the moment…You may assist another character with any one check (PHB pg.179) This check may be made more than once, at the same DC.
FAILURE Indicates that you have been blindsided by the enemy! In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Stealth – (Moderate DC) – Remaining unseen, you sneak about the battlefield looking for that one place where you can do the most good.
SUCCESS Indicates that you have remained unseen, and further, may intervene at any time during the challenge to grant a +4 bonus to a single check. This check may be attempted more than once, with the DC increasing by two for each additional check made.
FAILURE Indicates that youhave been detected, and are immediately set upon. In addition to taking damage (see “OUCH! THAT HURTS!” below.) there is a chance that the character may be dragged down by the howling mob! (see “THE HOWLING MOB!” below.).

Success: Like a wave breaking on the rocks, so the enemy breaks against your indomitable prowess. Broken and reeling, the enemy retreats in disarray, leaving only their leaders behind.

Failure: The party has been overwhelmed by the horde of gibbering beasts. Have they been killed? Captured? Forced to fight a wildly CR inappropriate battle? Hope they’ve been nice to their DM…

SPECIAL RULE MODULES:

- OUCH! THAT HURTS! : If A character fails a check, it is likely that they have been savaged by the blades, teeth, and claws of their enemies as a result. The recommended damage tables can be found using ASMOR’s Monster Maker 3.4 Available at: here. It is recommended that each failure be “rewarded” with an appropriate amount of damage. This damage is inflicted at the time of failure.

- THE HOWLING MOB: A character that has failed a skill check may be dragged down by the mob of ravenous monsters. They must make an immediate endurance check (same DC as failed check) or be pulled down by weight of numbers. Each round, the character may attempt to regain their feet (see endurance, above). Failure to do this results in additional damage.

- PRIMAL CHALLENGE: A well placed challenge calls out one of the beast’s leaders. The two of them will battle, with their combat actions taking the place of the character’s skill check. It is recommended that the creature be an elite of equal level to the character, or possibly N + 2 or 3 depending on how well equipped the PC is. Failure results in the PC being incapacitated (just like a combat encounter) and possibly dying. Victory awards two successes in the skill challenge, possibly tipping the scales to victory!

4 comments:

Jonathan said...

This is a solid start. I love it!

But, if I may suggest, instead of using Asmor's table I would recommend that failures be met with loss of healing surges either by the whole group or by individuals (depending on the skill check). Also, I noticed you grabbed the Power of War modification from Skill Challenges of War, did you also see our second mod "Blood from Stone" in "S.C. of War: Routing the Enemy"?

here's the block of it

Blood from Stone
Facing overwhelming odds, the players gamble with their lives hold back the tide of enemy forces. The party can elect for a member of the group to take damage equal to their healing surge value in exchange for a +2 bonus on an individual skill check by any other member of the group. This action can be taken more than once for the same skill check, and can occur after the die is cast but before the skill check is resolved.

squeezing blood from stone can really be painful...

Donny said...

Thanks Jon! I knew I still had some readers, SOMEWHERE. I like your powers of war so much, it is a permanent fixture in any challenge taking place during a combat.

Blood from stone will be a welcome addition as well, I thik that I will reword it though, maybe allow the player to freely spend surges to give them bonuses to their checks.

Thank you VERY much, I had missed that installment.

gamefiend said...

hey Donny! I like the look of this. I'll double what Jonathan is saying RE: healing surges for failures.

A couple of things I might add:

-let players make attack rolls. I like to include this in any combat challenge so that PCs who have invested more in having their ability to hit be high than their skills aren't punished in the aspect they are trying to be good at. You can add multiple levels of attack, with higher ACs in proportion to the risk reward. 'Unrelenting counterassault' might be 16+PC level, but will award two successes on success. Downside? You lose double healing surges if you fail.
-extend the complexity of the challenge. It's a pitched fight versus a small army, so give plenty of room for battling.

Other than that great stuff. Keep it coming!

Donny said...

@ Gamefiend - Velkommen! I agree. Attack rolls should be included in the challenge.

HEaling surges shold also be used as a currency (I fracking WROTE about it, you'd think I'd remember eh?) I will try and get this re-tooled before the weekend.

Thanks for the support guys, I mean it!