Barf Forth Apocalyptica

the swamp provides => Freebooting Venus => Topic started by: Rafu on September 28, 2016, 10:09:38 AM

Title: The helpless are hard to kill
Post by: Rafu on September 28, 2016, 10:09:38 AM
Here's one more...

One of the PCs in our game is an assassin-for-hire type (he started with Stealth and Sword-binding). Sooner or later he's bound to notice that he can't actually manage to murder a healthy human being by rolling the Attack Someone Helpless move!
On a hit, when you "inflict harm per weapon and armor", that's 2-harm minus armor for all listed weapons. Even if you get to choose their bad experience, per strong hit, these are your only options against an unarmored human NPC:
They’re taken aback.
They’re wounded, and flee.
They’re wounded, but press on.
There's no "you murder them" option, you see... Was this done on purpose?

If your target is wearing light armor, you can at best hope to mildly annoy them, while military-grade, heavy armor makes you effectively immune to surprise attacks from nonmagical weapons.

Maybe the conscious design decision is that you want murder to require teamwork:
If another PC helps you, but does not strike a blow of their own, they can add 1 to the harm you inflict.

OTOH, I could see the bad experiences list for NPC humans being broader - like, including 2-harm options that render a person unconscious or leave them at their enemies' mercy.
Title: Re: The helpless are hard to kill
Post by: lumpley on September 29, 2016, 09:12:26 AM
It's true! He should expect to have to fight with people to murder them. Launching with a surprise attack will soften them up a little, so he should be happy to do that whenever he can.

Title: Re: The helpless are hard to kill
Post by: Rafu on September 29, 2016, 06:14:35 PM
Not what I would have expected, maybe, but fine for me. :)

BTW, do I understand it correctly that harm against NPCs works like cumulative hitpoints? Like, for example: I launch a surprise attack against an unaware, but armored, opponent: 1 harm. I have their full attention. I leap from hiding and fight them, dealing 1 more harm: it's their second harm so far. They're wounded and flee (a 2-harm experience). Right?
Title: Re: The helpless are hard to kill
Post by: lumpley on October 04, 2016, 11:34:19 AM
I'm pretty sure that's right. Almost positive.

Title: Re: The helpless are hard to kill
Post by: Rafu on October 10, 2016, 05:00:05 AM
"They're wounded, and flee" is a veritable engine of fun: an outcome which drives the story.
Sometimes, it's exactly what the attacker's hoping for, but sometimes it's actually the harshest deal you can give a PC on a 7-9 weak hit. But what I really loved was when, yesterday, Iago attacked an NPC from concealment to prevent her from attacking Dix in turn and, on a 10+ hit, chose to make her flee - it looked like the best tactical choice in the moment - but then had to regret it (the character did, not necessarily the player) when having allowed the NPC to escape made their situation much more complicated (and dangerous).
The availability of this one 2-harm option was what allowed me to set up a whole Thieves in the House situation with a dangerous, monstrous beast let loose to destroy the intruders: perfect swords & sorcery moment.

I wonder whether it's on purpose that putting armor on an NPC totally closes off such a development. Maybe there could be a 1-harm option to the effect that they cautiously retreat, uninjured, or something like that?