Re: Feats as Simple Contests in the middle of Extended Contests

From: JEFFREY KYER <jeff.kyer_at_...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 20:21:57 -0000

Good, basic touchstones for running HW!

> >
> > In each case, there is a narrative effect and an AP change.
> My real problem with this is that then all magic becomes just
another method
> to reduce (hopefully) AP. Thus there is no difference between
> sleep, flying, lightning, breathe Flame, etc. in combat. Only the
> changes.

No, not quite -- I take into account what the player is trying to DO... in quite a few cases, the player is setting up himself or another for something a little more clever. And I award bonuses/handicaps based on the situation.

A yinkini leaping up onto the roof of a stead before doing a 'death from above' attack with claws and teeth is a heck of a lot more interesting than 'I whack him with my sword' -- and I don't like being bored. Call it a personal preference in narrating, if you must.  

> Now, I agree that magic that is being directly used in an extended
> should fall within the overal context of the extended contest, but I
> don't know what I should be doing with each different type of
magical feat.

Ask yourself 'what is he trying to do' and then generate results accordingly -- blasts of fire and gouts of lightning (or acidic-laced borsht) might make the defender stagger back if successful or splash onto the attacker (or the sheer vigor of the defender wears out the attacker)

> This leads directly to my biggest complaint about HW, there aren't
> rules to guide GM's and players. Now I'm sure many people like that,

> that's fine. Many GM's have better imaginations than I do, and can
weave a
> fine story without any rules. I, however, like rules, they provide
> for me to hang my adventure on. For all the pages that the HW rules
take up,
> there is precious little in terms of real rules. Hey, they can be
> in 4-8 pages. And while there are some examples, they are mostly

What sort of rules are you looking for? Detailed combat descriptions? Nitty-gritty set-in-stone feat write-ups? Sadly, the rules-set is really terribly well designed for that style of play.

> examples. I do get tired of the response, sometimes, of well,
whatever works
> for your story. I do that for any game system, but I want rules to
> adjudicate critical parts of the story, and I am having problems
with the
> free form nature of HW.

The rules work in many different situations. If you really wish to dwell on the nitty-gritty particulars & minutate of combat, I am not sure you are in the right place. RQ had scads of rules, yes. But they all covered combat. And it was mostly 'throw a dice, tell me what happens' as a result.

(neat MAR stuff deleted)

> OK, enough of a rant, on with the conversation.
> I agree, this is important to many games, critical to HW. In
response to an
> earlier post, someone stated that the HW rules suggested that if one
has one
> full mastery level up on a foe, he could go against 3-5 as an even
> Well I did that, a champion with an skill of 20W, versus 4 skilled
> (skill of 20). Ignoring, edges, augmentation, and the like. It was
> contest. The champion who started the combat at 40 AP, ended with
> 100.

Two things -- you can't get more AP than your oppoent has (so if I transfer 40 and he's only got 9, I just get 9 (but he's down to -31 AP) and there's a multiple attacker penalty. That champion would be at a -9 (11w) ability when the 4th guy attacks him.  

> OK, so go for 6 adversaries you say, so I did. This time the hero
lost a few
> rolls, but in the end, the champion ended up with about 120 points
> you have 3 foes left, your AP total is 86, why not bid 20 and knock
out an
> opponent every round).

Describe a 20 point bid...? Its more than a simple 'I whack him with my sword' I suspect -- those are default bids (5 in our group).  

> I even tried to play fairly. Heck, with 20W vs 20 (x however many
> the champion probably should go for a big opening blow against a
> opponent, since he is almost guaranteed, not only a win, but a
transfer. So

Defenders can have HP if they are PC's. And 20 is a wierd number to start with.

> why not bid 39 on your first attack, you roll 18, the first defender

Describe a 39? And the person attacked can only give 20. Remember, you can only get AP if they HAVE the AP to give. Negative AP don't count -- except for the hurting and the aching and the smiting.

> 3. Both successes, but the champion's gets bumped to a critical by
> difference in mastery level. BAM! one opponent down, and the
champion now
> has 79 AP. Anybody can tell how this story is going to end, right
> baring some miracle die rolling.

HP are useful. And I tend to have 'mooks' act as followers for leaders-enemy types. The followers drop but the evil villian can keep fighting. he might even have an HP or two.  

> Quite frankly, I think that a person with a full mastery level can
know out
> a virtually unlimited number of opponents, if one rules (as HW

Nope. Not from my observed experience. its usually about 3-6 depending on luck. Rmember that multiple attacker penalty -- and remember that AP transfers can be done by your oppostion too.

> that only 6 opponents may attack in a turn. I personally have a
problem with
> that.

The rest can augment or encourage the folks in the front line. Healing. Rotating the battle-shaken out for fresh bodies. Chanting "kill kill kill" to incrase morale. Lots of things you can do.  

> It seems to me the only way to have a close contest is that if all
> cancel out (or if the total difference is less than about 6 if the
> don't cancel, e.g. 2W vs 18).

See above.  

> Now if the opponents can use a skill that requires a different
> roll than what the champion wants, say the 20W was a sword skill,
one could
> have the bad guys attack with magical blasts versus a defense of 14.
> that would be entirely different.

I think its been mentioned several times before but you might consider that you do not have to respond in kind to the enemy's attack -- IF it makes sense. If someone attacks me with close combat and I have a very nasty Wind affinity, I can use winds to block his blows.

But when it comes time for my attack, I decided to use my Wind affinity to suck all the air out of his lungs -- he's not going to be able to resist that with close combat. He'll have to think of an _appropriate_ ability or affinity to resist and say how it works.

Thus, your champion may be forced to resist with a 14 or something less useful. And no, close combat doesn't really appy -- (I whack him while he's using the magic is an -attack- not a defence -- and he's already attacked).

The game favors the clever mind, I've found.

Hope this helps,


> Thanks for listening.
> Bill Faulkner

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