Re: Death Spiral and Multiple Opponent Penalties

From: David Dunham <david_at_...>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 20:56:16 -0800

On 6 Nov 2011, at 07:30, SARAH wrote:

> We're using the Death Spiral rules for physical conflicts, as I like combat to be very hazardous.

You could also use the climactic scene consequence table, which makes things more hazardous even when you win. (I do this on occasion, but I don't think I've ever used Death Spiral.)

> Now, when one of the PCs won an exchange with the fire demon, he inflicted RPs as normal, but also, according to the Death Spiral rules, he inflicted the actual damage that victory level would cause. So, for example, PC #1 (facing 10W) achieved a marginal victory, inflicting a Hurt which imposes a -3 penalty, as well as the 1 RP. So, the resistance he was facing was reduced from 10W to 7W next round.
> I then wondered how this would affect the resistance faced by PCs #2 and #3. I decided that the "Hurt" result was something which would affect the fire demon against *all* the opponents it faced (unlike RPs, which apply only to the single opponent in that exchange). As a result, PC #2 now faced 4W, and PC #3 faced 1W.

Yes, consequences are (relatively) permanent. And, this is why it's a death spiral -- once you lose, it's easier to keep losing.

> That's it! I'm enjoying learning the rules - we're using lots of Serial Contests (often a Simple Contest such as Ambush, Detect Ambush, Try and Avoid the Fire Demons (!), followed by an Extended Contest (Fight!)), and the contest resolution is working fine. The Pass-Fail cycle is still my default way of setting resistances, although in today's session I gave the Fire Demons a base resistance of "Very Hard", meaning they were +9 above the default 15 session resistance, ie 4W.

Right, demons are supposed to be tough to fight -- anything else would feel wrong.

If the context were different, like sneaking by the demons, then it might make sense to use resistance derived from the overall story. Which it sounds like you did.

Overall, this sounds like a textbook example of setting resistance. Make it simple on yourself by using Pass-Fail to get a bit of dramatic texture, but pick resistance when the story calls for it.

> In combat, I then modified that 4W according to the pass-fail modifier of each combatant - so if Hrothgar the Bull, our resident Storm Bull maniac, had 2 victories in his pass-fail chart, he was facing a +6 resistance in combat on the fire demon's 4W, and not on the default "background" resistance for the session of 15. It made the demons as scary as hell, which was cool :-)

I think I've mentioned this is overly complex, but if it works for you...

David Dunham
Glorantha/HQ/RQ page:

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