The Rumble as a Jumble
On a rare occasion―unless the players happen to be the feisty sort―the party may wind up in a fight. Now in most other RPGs a fight is usually known as combat, and most of them are stately, organized affairs. As somebody who’s been in an actual fight―twice, and I went 0 for 2―they are messy, confusing, and you really can’t keep track of them with any real confidence.
In the Dangerous Journeys system, which Mythus uses, fighting is designed to be confused and confusing, even though the mechanics for violent conflict are written to make it seem clear and organized.
An example of this illusion is found in how the steps used in determining the course of a fight can be seen below.
We start with the matter of the environment. Where does it occur? What do things look like? What can the players see? What do they notice?
The Encounter: The first thing the JM needs to do is to make note of where and when the encounter has taken place. Is it in a wide open location such as a rolling plain at high noon, or in a narrow corridor with only a dim, flickering candle as light.
In addition he needs to note how visible each party is. Are they trying to be obvious and get noticed, or are they sneaking about trying to avoid observation? There is also the matter of how noticeable they are under the local conditions, which may either be not really noticeable at all or more noticeable than they think they are.
Example: The party is making their way down an old tunnel far beneath a long abandoned manor. Their sole source of illumination is a poor quality lanthorn―they really weren’t prepared for this―but they are being cautious and suspicious.
Further down the tunnel a troll approaches. Having just had a fight with his wife he is irritable, on edge, and about ready to put the smack down on anybody who gives him a hard time. He also knows the area better than they do, and what with them being lit while he’s in the dark gives him some advantage when it comes to spotting the group before they spot him. The first sign the party has that they’ve encountered something is when they hear a snarl which sounds like somebody large issuing a challenge.
Up next is the matter of determining what everybody notices and can see, but that’s for the next post in this series.