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As characters travel the land and sea, they are likely to encounter dangers along the way. They might run afoul of dangerous environmental hazards.
Characters can be harmed by more than just their enemies swords or spells. They can slip and fall into a ravine, drown in the ocean, or get trapped in a raging forest fire. The environment can be a character’s worst enemy in the proper circumstances.
Characters can travel on foot, by cart, by horse, or by sea. Each mode of transportation has a base Travel Speed.
There are also several factors that could make a character’s trip take longer or speed them along the way.
As a general rule, each thing that speeds characters up is offset by something that slows them down. If things are in their favor, they travel 50% faster. If things are working against them, they travel 50% slower. Of course, the GM is free to adjust these speeds even further if there are special circumstances, such as being in enemy territory during a snowstorm while one of your group members has a broken leg.
Things That Slow You Down
Unsettled territory, rough terrain, enemy territory, traveling stealthily, inclement weather, slow group members
Things That Speed You Up
Favorable winds, clear weather, familiar territory, great roads, a fast horse, a fast ship, a great guide, a map
Problems while Travelling
If there are problems while traveling, they can be broken down into individual Challenges or as an Involved Challenge representing the entire journey. It really depends on which is more important to the story – the journey or the destination.
Most trips through unsettled territory are an Involved Challenge to make it through safely. Possible Skills to include would be Navigation, Nature, Archery, Academics, Stealth, and Athletics. Failure may indicate that the trip just took much longer, the characters ran afoul of some wild creatures, or they could fall ill.
While characters may run into trouble traveling through civilized territory, this trouble is unlikely to be due to poor navigation ability so rolling Challenges is usually not required.
There are no definite ranges for perception. Instead, the GM must judge how difficult perceiving an object, sound, or smell would be and set an appropriate CR according to the Challenge Rating chart. Range never applies Advantage or Disadvantage but instead modifies the CR.
This gives the character the ability to see in and through Dark and Magically Dark hexes as if they were Normal Lighting.
This ability allows characters to sense objects within their range. They can tell the general size and shape of the objects, but cannot make out fine details. They can recognize people that they know, but cannot discern details beyond the general size and shape of someone they’ve never met. They can sense objects through solid matter as well. They are never Blind within their Spatial Awareness range and receive Advantage on any roll to detect Hidden creatures within range.
There are 3 different levels of light:
- Normal hexes provide no benefits or drawbacks.
- Dark hexes provide Cover and make characters inside of them or interacting with them Blind.
- Magically Dark hexes provide Cover and make characters inside of them or interacting with them Blind.
Magically Dark effects and Magically Bright effects cancel each other out, giving the hex Normal lighting. Magically Dark hexes suppress any natural lighting inside of them. Magically Bright hexes cannot be darkened by covering the light source (if there is one).
Characters might run into some ways to get themselves hurt outside of combat. Any damage that is not specifically stated elsewhere can be judged based on how deadly it is according to table 6:2. Characters may attempt to avoid this damage with the appropriate Challenge Roll set by the GM. Even things like swarms of animals attacking or trying to avoid a volley of arrows in the middle of a battle, which are not specifically combat encounters, can be handled with Environmental Damage.
When characters fall they take 1d8 damage for every 2 hexes (2 meters) they fall. This amount of damage taken is also rounded up. If a character falls 10 hexes they take 5d8 damage, but if they fall 11 hexes they take 6d8 damage.
A character can hold their breath for Brawn minutes but must start rolling Athletics after they become fully submerged in water. The CR to swim is set by the GM and based on how difficult it is to swim in the waters the character is in. Failing an Athletics roll to swim means a character begins drowning. That roll and each additional failure on an Athletics roll reduces the amount of time they can hold their breath by 1 minute. When they cannot hold their breath any longer, they must roll Brawn + Resilience CR: 4 to hold their breath for an additional minute. The CR for this roll increases every minute. Failure means they are Dying.
Hunger and Thirst
If characters go without food or water for an extended period of time they may begin to suffer from hunger or thirst. It is up to the GM to keep track of how long the characters have been deprived of sustenance and decide when to apply the negative effects. When a character is suffering from hunger or thirst, they must roll Resilience CR: 3 every morning. If they fail, they are Weakened and have Disadvantage on all rolls until they eat or drink.
When a character is dying from hunger or thirst, they must roll Resilience CR: 4 + 1 per day without food or water every morning. If they fail, they are Dying.
Most characters can go for three days without food or one day without water before they begin suffering. Characters usually begin dying after seven days without food or three days without water.
Characters might need to bust down a door or break open a chest full of treasure at some point. Objects do not have Vitality the way living things do.
Breaking an object quickly is done by rolling a Challenge, usually Brawn + Athletics against a CR set by the GM according to the CR Chart on Table 6:3 Other Skills may be appropriate as well, such as Magic Skills. More complex or tougher objects may require a longer time to break and are handled by an Involved Challenge.
Characters trying to break an object in combat must use their Primary Action to roll Brawn + Athletics. However, a GM can rule that characters do not need to make the roll if their actions would destroy the object anyway.
At some point, characters might come across a trapped door or even a dungeon littered with traps. Some characters might even want to build their own traps to protect their homes or their things.
Traps can have a single effect or several different effects depending on the nature of the trap. If a character triggers a trap, they can roll or Athletics to avoid the trap’s effects.
Noticing and Disarming Traps
To find a trap, characters must roll Detection or Thievery against the trap’s CR. If they find it, they can then avoid it or attempt to disarm it by rolling Thievery against the same CR. Great care should be taken when disarming traps as failure to do so will trigger them.
Players who wish to create traps should follow this process:
- The player states the intentions for the trap, including activation style, damage dealt, affected area, and any Status Effects they wish applied. The GM will then determine a CR based off of the example traps listed in Table 6:4 and if the character will need any special materials.
- The player needs to make a Build or Thievery roll.
- If the character fails the roll they must make an Athletics roll at the CR of the trap they were attempting to create to avoid taking damage from their own trap, and the trap is not made.
Encounters at Sea
When characters are out at sea they might be engaged by a hostile ship. Other times the characters might be piloting the hostile ship. When conflicts at sea happen, the fights between ships can be broken down into Opposed Involved Skill challenges.
Fighting at sea is not a simple process that involves ramming into each other or haphazardly firing off arrows and ballista. Ships that are poorly maintained or do not have a trained surgeon can be massively hindered in combats with other ships. Every person on the ship has a role to play and if they fail at their roll the entire ship suffers.
Every ship is different and each ship can play to their strengths. When rolling for the encounter each ship may choose three skills from the list below to roll in an Opposed Involved Challenge against their foe. Each ship rolls three Opposed Challenges against each other and the side that wins the most rolls is considered the victor of the encounter. The character that possesses the Skill must roll but other characters may Assist. Skills may be rolled in any order but the same Skill cannot be used twice during the same encounter. Characters may roll multiple times with different Skills.
- Carpenter’s Upkeep – the ship’s carpenters can roll Build to see how well the ship has been maintained.
The Captain’s Plan – the ship’s captain can roll Academics: Tactics to formulate a strategy of attack or retreat.
- Rallying Speech – the captain or the bosun can give a speech using Impress or Convince to rally the crew to do great deeds and push themselves.
- Helmsman at the Ready – the ship’s helmsman makes Sailing rolls to gain the best positioning.
- Master at Arms – the ship’s master at arms rolls Heavy Weapons or Archery. Archery is always rolled with a Disadvantage. If the ship’s crew is comprised of creatures that can swim or fly Melee may also be rolled. If the characters or their opponent uses these skills they cannot choose the Escape action at the end of the encounter.
- Healing Hands – the surgeon can make Medicine rolls to keep the men patched up and in the fight.
At the end of the encounter, the victor chooses one of four actions and decide how the encounter played out.
- Board – Boarding the losing ship might result in Combat between the two crews or the other ship surrendering to the victor. When the losing ship is first boarded the crew may decide to fight, surrender, or parlay (negotiate for better treatment from their attacker).
- Debilitate – Debilitating the losing ship will result in the losing ship drifting at sea until the crew makes the necessary repairs to the ship, or they are rescued.
- Escape – Escaping from the losing ship means that the victor is able to disengage entirely from the combat without harm to either ship. Neither ship rolls on the Battle Losses chart. If the winning ship used Archery, Heavy Weapons, or Melee during the Opposed Involved Skill Challenge they cannot choose this action.
- Sink – Sinking the losing ship will result in the complete destruction of the ship, the loss of all its cargo, and, quite possibly, the death of all the crew. If the victor decides to sink the losing ship the captain or crew may choose to surrender completely to the victor and may signal their intent to do so by waving a white flag or giving some other signal. Recovering anything from the ship that does not float is nearly impossible unless the ship has been sunk in very shallow water. Choosing this option gives a -70 to the roll on the following table.
At the end of the encounter, each ship rolls a percentile die on chart 6:6 to determine what kind of damage the ship’s cargo and crew have sustained. The winning ship adds +10 to the roll. Surgeons and magical healers may also reduce the number of crew lost by rolling Medicine or their Magic Skill. Each success reduces the number of crew lost by 5%. Only one character may roll Medicine or their Magic Skill, but others may Assist.
Special Ship Properties
Finely crafted ships will grant their crews certain benefits during encounters or when sailing in general. Most of these upgrades to a ship should cost anywhere from a Bag of Gold to a Coffer. Players and GMs are encouraged to work together to build a ship that makes sense. Characters that own a tiny yacht only have so much space to customize, therefore, the GM might put a limitation that the yacht can only have one customized room and cannot take the Extra Heavy Weapons property.
Special Ship Properties always add Aces to Successes on the Skills that they modify.
The following list is only a few examples of the ways in which characters can customize their ships. If a player wishes to change their ship in other ways and gain bonuses for it they should discuss the changes with the GM, work together to find an appropriate bonus and cost, and then proceed.
Here are some examples of some special ship properties and the Skills they give Aces to Successes to:
- Work Room – Build
- Map Room – Navigation and Academics: Tactics
- Decorative Sails and Woodworking – Intimidate, Convince, and Impress
- Large Sails – Sailing
- Extra Heavy Weapons – Heavy Weapons
- Infirmary – Medicine
There are times when it just won’t make sense to roll out every combat on the grid. When large forces go to war it requires a different set of rules than when small groups fight. Mass combats use an Involved Challenge that the leaders of the forces roll against each other. There can be multiple leaders of a single force, allowing different players to participate in different parts of the combat. If characters are not participating in leadership roles within the combat it is recommended that the GM narrate the combat and let the characters navigate the mass combat as it happens.
When two forces engage each other the outcome is determined by an Opposed Involved Challenge. Each side rolls three Opposed Challenges against each other and the side that wins the most rolls is considered the victor of the combat. There are a few factors to consider when rolling.
Advantages in Mass Combat
Leaders can gain Advantage on their rolls based on three aspects of the forces they are leading.
- Numbers – the force with the greater number of troops gains Advantage on this roll.
- Training – the force with more experienced soldiers gains Advantage on this roll.
- Equipment – the force with superior equipment gains Advantage on this roll.
If it is unclear which side has superiority in one of these aspects no Advantage is given to either side. The GM may also take other things into consideration such as supernatural soldiers or magical equipment.
Giving Advantages – Numbers
There are two armies that have a nearly equal number amount of troops. The characters’ fighting force is comprised of Delk and Flen. The characters are facing off against an army of Small Folk and Big Folk. The number of soldiers in each force is roughly one thousand each. The GM determines that no side has Advantage.
If a Drake had decided to aid the Folk in the battle the army of Small Folk and Big Folk would gain Advantage against the characters’ army.
Giving Advantages – Training
If the characters are leading a group of peasants against a group of battle-hardened pirates the pirates would have Advantage on this roll. If the pirates turned out to be nothing more than a fleet of fishermen down on their luck who had no idea what to do in combat no Advantage would be given to either side.
Giving Advantages – Equipment
If the characters are leading a ragtag group of barbarians with nothing but bone spears and hide armor on a large raid into a civilized city with metal workers and well-equipped guards the guards of the city gain Advantage on this roll.
If the characters had seized a shipment of well-crafted swords and finely crafted leather armor (that the barbarians have the proper perks to wear) and equipped their force with these items neither side would gain Advantage.
Begin the Battle
When sides make Opposed Involved Rolls against each other they can choose from the following list of skills: Academics: Tactics, Heavy Weapons, Impress, Insight, Intimidate, or Medicine. Characters cannot use the same skill twice during the same combat but the same character can make different rolls. Other characters may Assist.
Roll once for the Numbers, Training and Equipment aspects of the battle in that order. The side that wins the most rolls wins the battle and may decide what to do with the remaining enemy forces.
The winner of the battle may choose one of four options for the survivors of the losing force:
Annihilation – completely wipe out the remnants of their opponent. Choosing this option gives a -50 to the roll on the following table.
- Press – force the survivors to serve them.
- Scatter – disband the remaining forces and send them off.
- Imprison – bind the remaining forces in some way in which they cannot escape.
At the end of the encounter, each force rolls a percentile die on Table 6:7 to determine the losses they have suffered. The winning force adds +10 to the roll. Field medics and magical healers may also reduce the number of fighters lost by rolling Medicine or their Magic Skill. Each success reduces the number of warriors lost by 5%. Only one character may roll Medicine or their Magic Skill, but others may assist.
This chart is just a general guideline for how Mass Combats might end. If the GM feels that the numbers are not realistic for the type of Mass Combat that has occurred they are free to fudge the numbers if they see fit.
Making Sense of Mass Combat
If the characters are leading a force of one thousand well trained and well-armed troops and come across a force of three hundred barbaric Shadow Folk a Mass Combat should probably be rolled out to determine what, if any, losses the characters’ force might take. The characters gain Advantage on all of their rolls and due to their overwhelming superiority in combat the GM decides that they get a +50 to the roll instead of the usual +10. The characters have bad luck and roll a 1. Without the GM’s modification to the roll the characters would have lost 50% of their force to the Shadow Folk but since the GM decided that would be unrealistic they only lose 25%.
Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for one group to be able to defeat another group. A force of 50 will never stand a chance against a force of 1,000. If the GM decides that one side is hopelessly outmatched they may still roll an opposed challenge as normal but the greater force will still win no matter the outcome and adds +70 to their roll on Table 6:7. The only thing the lesser force can hope to accomplish in victory is to remove the Annihilation option from the larger force’s list of choices at the end of the Challenge.