No excuse needed! Good luck, it isn't really a difficult game, but
it is very different from RQ and D20 and most other games out there.
> If a player (Humakti) says I want to 'Decapitate Foe' (Death
> Affinity) and scores a complete victory (through bumps, good dice or
> sheer mastery!) as a narrator do we assume the foe is decapitated if
> the AP's are not reduced to zero let alone -30 or more. And if
> allowed, what happens when fighting a major 'baddie'?
First of all, decapitate foe is a feat. So the hero either needs to be a devotee who knows that feat, or an initiate who improvises it (at -5 from the affinity score with concentrated magic, -10 otherwise).
First of all, is it a simple or extended contest? In a simple contest, if he scores a complete victory then yes, that head goes flying! Remember that you should use simple contests for most encounters. So while it may not matter much if the guard outside the princess's cell is knocked out, stabbed, poisoned, sweet talked, or whatever, if your player wants to decapitate, why not?
In an extended contest, there is one really important rule of thumb that keeps things from seeming stupid: the bid has to match the objective. So if you say "I try to cut off his head!" the AP that are bid should at the very least be enough to win the contest (maybe you only knick him if he is at only -10).
Actually, that raises another thing which is in the rules but maybe not emphasized enough. In a contest you have to both state what ability you are using, and what you are trying to achieve. In most other rule systems you only state what ability you are using, and the objective takes care of itself. This means you can use the decapitate feat with the objective of cutting off his head, but you can also state other uses. "I use 'decapitate foe,' calling loudly on Humakt to sever his neck, and try to make him fear for his life." would be perfectly valid by me--after all, with a sword magically homing in on your neck, wouldn't you seriously consider running away?
In general, you might also want to re-read the paragraph on "Pompous magic" on page 99.
Also note that this is using the feat as active magic. You could also augment your sword combat with your death affinity, or for more color with your 'decapitate foe' feat.
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