Encounters in Mythus are not handled exactly as encounters in other RPGs are handled. In them the assumption is usually that encounters are going to be violent. It’s not that their rules say they are, more that what mechanics there are available for handling them point to violent resolutions.
In Mythus the assumption I make is that encounters can be either peaceful of violent, so I provide mechanics for both.
These encounters are those that do not involve violence. Violence may occur, but when that happens the nature of the encounter changes to that of a violent one.
For the most part the mechanics to be used in a peaceful encounter are not as straight forward as for a violent encounter, and most often their use relies on a fair amount of judgement and adjustment on the part of the JM and players. There are a number of K/S Areas which can be used in a peaceful encounter, but what the results of success or failure are open to interpretation.
For instance when using the Intimidation K/S how one handles a success is not exactly clear cut. Now should an HP succeed in a check against Intimidation then the JM can be expected to have his OP react appropriately to the situation. But when it is an OP that succeeds in Intimidating and HP then it can be expected that the HP’s player is going to be a bit put out when told he as his HP is told that he is intimidated. Now he may agree to play as if he were intimidated, but not everybody is going to be so agreeabl.
About the best one can do in such situation is to inform the player that his HP sees the OP as being somewhat intimidating, or scary, or impressive, or charismatic, or so on and so forth, and hope that the play responds appropriately.But the JM should be aware that not all players will play along, but rather may decide that he as his HP is not going to be so compliant. His choice, if he wants to play his HP as stubborn and contrary that his his business, but he should be aware that there will be times when a Casting or Power will overrule him.
It is also important that the JM remember that success in a social K/S area does not give him absolute control over an HP. For that matter not even Castings and Powers do that, unless it be to make the HP a mindless or will less object. Be that the case then the HP is best treated as an OP under the JM’s control.
Really, the best way to handle a peaceful encounter is pretty much how you would handle it in real life. The parties each say hello, engage in conversation, and may try using their skills in order to gain a favorable result from the other parties. When you get right down to it that requires role playing. That is taking on the role of the character you are playing at the time, and when you are playing the role of somebody who is supposed to be different from you that means emphathizing with him, which in turns means knowing and understanding him I realize this is not always going to be easy for people, all I can do is to advise the JM to accept this and carry on with the session.
Now here matters are usually more clear cut and more straight forward. They are also more extensive and require greater explanation. For that reason I’ll be going into the subject in the next post.
[toc title=”The Steps” level_begin=”2″ level_end=”3″]
Before we get started I feel it necessary to point out that something like fighting in an RPG is not as regular and organized as these guidelines make it appear. With that said we go on to those steps.
As with a peaceful encounter a violent one takes place in a specific location. That location will have an environment, with elements and features that determine various factors. These factors could include visibility, range and quality of perception, and cover and concealment among other things. The lay of the land, structural features, and plant life and ground cover all play a role. With skills such as Hunting playing a role.
You See That?
Once the JM has laid out the local environment where the tussle is going to take place he then gets to see if the HPs actually noticed anything.
In Mythus it was my decision to have the guide make the perception check because if the players don’t notice anything, naturally they are going to be taken by surprise. And with most people knowing that their HP has been surprised sort of ruins the surprise.
Who Goes When
With the surprised parties identified the players and JM get to see when their Personas get to do something. This is most often done by rolling a d10 and adding and subtracting certain numbers. It is possible for one’s initiative to be a negative number, which you could take as indicating that the person in question sort of anticipated through some subtle signal or sixth sense.
You Bash the Balrog
Now is when those who can try to do something try to do something. There are a number of attacks they can try, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual, with such as Castings falling under Physical. Now keep in mind that Mental, Physical, and Spiritual attacks are not separated into distinct phases in Mythus. Rather, they all happen at once with only separation being when in time they occur.
Of course along with any attacks the players and JM may either move their Persona or try to move him, though an opponent or two may take steps to prevent that.
That Must Hurt
Should an attack succeed and do damage the participants in the affray get to find out what sort of damage they did, how much, and the effect of that damage. In Mythus there are three kinds of damage, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual, each type having a specific effect on the target.
One More Time!
Should there be anybody left to fight the fight goes on. Initiative is determined again for those who need to determine it, perception is checked again for their is always the chance somebody has missed something they do need to be aware of, then actions need to be taken should it be time to take an action.
Should there be nobody left to fight the victors now get to take care of their wounded, check their prisoners and their dead, and generally assess the new situation and what just happened.
Now keep in mind that in Mythus you will have people surrendering. In fact they may even surrender before you even start fighting. They have permission to surrender.
In fact, I’m going to make that a rule in Mythus: Should any party, on either side, decide he’s going to yield, give up, concede, or surrender in anyway he has my permission to do so. How the others handle this is up to them, but they should be aware that how they handle prisoners reflects on them and will give them a reputation in the world around them. It may not be a reputation they want. Then again, it may.
And that is the basics of how fighting is handled in Mythus.We will go into detail later in this series.
This post is being posted because I forgot something. That something being the matter of how the participants, JM and players, reacted to meeting other people.
In Mythus the reactions can be put into one of the following categories.
- Both sides friendly.
- Both sides hostile.
- One side friendly and one side hostile.
As a complication it could be a case where the players’ side consists of some who are friendly and others who are hostile, in which case you’ve got the ever popular party conflict. That’s always fun.
And then you have the following possibilities:
- Encounter starts out peaceful and stays pvinknoweaceful.
- Encounter starts out peaceful and become hostile.
- Enounter starts our hostile and becomes peaceful
- Encounter starts out hostile and remains hostile.
Now here’s the thing, a peaceful encounter can involve conflict. It’s just that this conflict is really not apt to become violent. A hostile encounter most ofter includes conflict, but it doesn’t have to include violence. However, a violent encounter is hardly what you’d call peaceful. That’s the thing about us as a species, our relationships can get complicated.
As an example of an encounter Marvin the Cavalier and Rachel the Wisewoman meet Herman the Ogre. Marvin knows ogres and knows how dangerous they can be. Rachel doesn’t really, all she knows is that ogres are nasty and they hurt people. Hurting people she doesn’t like and she’s all for dealing with the ogre in a definite way.
Now ogres are rather dumb, but Herman is smart enough to realize that he’s facing a pair of measely humans, with the female looking rather belligerent and the male more than a tad hesitant. At the same time the ogre is also smart enough to understand that humans can be dangerous and actually hurt a fellow. For the ogre it is pretty much a question of how to take advantage of the two without getting himself hurt.
Should Rachel’s player have his way the outcome is most likely violence. Marvin’s player has his way the outcome is most likely peaceful. As Herman the JM really wants a peaceful solution, at his advantage. A peaceful solution doesn’t always have to favor all sides after all. And all parties should be aware that no outcome has to favor any side, for in Mythus your fate is not set in stone, but rather is a slow river on a rather flat plain.
So either Rachel gets her way and that’s a scuffle. Or Marvin or Herman get their way and they work things out either in favor of the humans or the ogre’s favor. Or, things work out in everybody’s favor.
Though one should keep in mind that peaceful resolution doesn’t have to be boring. Nor will violent resolutions always be exciting. It all comes down to how the participants handle matters, and peaceful conversation can be tense and exciting, while battle can be staid and boring depending on how each is handled. Don’t know about you, but in my experience endless rounds of “You hit, you damage. He hits, he damages.” soon gets trite.
And now that this post has gotten a little long I’m going to cover the subject of personalities and personality clashes in the next post.
In any encounter how matters go is pretty much a matter of attitude, and that has a lot to do with personality. In general different species have different personalities. Specifically different individuals will have different personalities. By and large wolves will tend to avoid you, but it is always possible to meet a wolf who will approach you as a long lost friend. You get right down to it, how they handle matters is up to the individual.
In general a species will tend to act as a group in a certain way. Among those ways could include:
- Aggressively Friendly
- Mildly Interested
- Very Cautious
- Aggressively Hostile
In addition there are matters such as; hungry, in heat or rut, and seeking safety. As an example one could meet some orcs, who in general tend to be very cautious. These particular orcs could be hungry and seeking safety, which could lead them to being friendly so long as they say the HPs as a potential source of assistance.
How party handles matters also plays a role. Are the HPs friendly, cautious, or hostile? How do they see the other side? Do they see goblins as a threat or a source of amusement? Are they cautious around ogres or belligerent.
As a rough guideline the JM or players could roll 2d6, with a roll below 7 indicating a negative response and so a negative adjustment in attitude. While a roll above 7 would mean a positive response and a positive adjustment in attitude.
For instance: The party meets a gnoll. Gnolls, being bonkers by all accounts, generally start out being aggressively friendly. But friendly in a way that could include pain and injury. And in this case this particular gnoll decides he is going to be aggressively hostile—the JM rolled a 2 on 2d6, indicating a very negative reaction.
Or the HPs could meet a friendly demon. Demons don’t have to be hostile. Demons can be friendly indeed, offering assistance and guidance. But the thing to remember is that demons as a group are manipulative, sneaky, and corrupting. Demons always look out for what benefits them, and if they can get you to buy into whatever they propose to do, then all the better for them. That means helping you save a village from a danger, then the demon will help you, but his assistance always comes at a price.
Keep in mind that some encounters will always be simple. Meeting a Vargaardian wolverine for example, for these animals tend to be cautious and most often react to how you behave with suspicion and aggression. Then again, he may actually be friendly, depending on how previous encounters have gone for him
The smarter the soul encountered the more complicated his behavior. We tend to see the ogre as being stupid and violent, but there are ogres smart enough to understand the value of subtlety and to practice it.
Then there is the matter of keeping play fun. That is, interesting. Which is best done by giving the players different experiences. Meeting a dockalfar band doesn’t have to end in violence, while encountering a party of elves won’t always be a pleasant one—.sometimes an elf’s optimism means he’s optimistic about trouncing you. And always remember that being optimistic in general doesn’t mean a person can’t get angry and out of sorts. While the generally gloomy orc can still have a sense of humor and be friendly.
My advice in general is, don’t constrain yourself and allow stereotyping to keep you on a certain path. You want those hobbits to be mean and rude? Then maybe they’ve just had a bad day and the HP’s just happened to show up at the right rime to get some grief. Or that fire drake just saw the runt of the litter actually take flight just when she thought it was a hopeless cause and was about to kill the pup so he wouldn’t suffer.
Always remember that Mythus is about adventure and adventures don’t always have to follow a certain set course. How you as the JM handle matters is your business, as it is the business of you players.
So don’t stereotype your Personas buy let them be individuals, and always consider current conditions, for there can be times when otherwise friendly gnomes maybe having a bad day and are looking for somebody to take it out on.
In real life things not always happen in a neat order, and they most certainly don’t happen all at once. In that an RPG is a sort of simulation of real life as in real life things won’t always happen in a neat order, and they most certainly won’t happen all at once. Thus it is with Mythus, which is why the participants determine initiative when such determination is necessary.
When to Determine
For the most part initiative is determined when matters are critical. In short when play happens during the critical turn—CT. A CT is 3 seconds in length and is most often used when a situation is critical and events can and do happen rather quickly. This is when events will happen at nearly the blink of an eye.
A CT is further divided into 20 beats, each beat being 1/15th of a second, which is about how long it takes a human to react to a stimulus.
How to Determine
Initiative is determined using the following steps.
- Roll 1d10
- Subtract Appropriate Speed
- Melee: Muscular Speed
- Missle: Neural Speed
- Mental Power or Casting: Reasoning Speed
- Spiritual Power or Casting: Metaphysical Speed.
- Add item or action Speed.
- Attack Weapon Speed Factor
- To use a weapon artificial or natural to harm another.
- Action 2
- To take an action
- Casting: Begin/Activate 2
- To start casting or to activate one
- Casting: Ready 10
- Making a casting ready to cast
- Change Action 2
- Changing what you’re planning on doing
- Change Target 6
- Changing who you’re planning on doing it to
- Dive 5
- Leaping for the ground, or body of water, etc.
- Draw/sheath Weapon 7
- Pulling a weapon from a sheath or like item
- Putting a weapon back in a sheath or like item
- Enchanted Item* 1
- Speed factor of 1 applies to small items such as a brooch or wand
- Higher speed apply to larger items such as a rod or staff
- Use Power 3
- Other than an attack form
- Move Persona Movement
- Depends on the Persona’s movement, which at a CT amounts to 1/10th of his movement in a BT. Movement per Beat is 1/20th of a CT’s movement
- Switch Hands 2
- Moving item to the other hand.
- Natural Weapon cf chapter 7
- Reload 9
- Pulling ammunition from a bag, pouch, or quiver and putting it to the bow, xbow, or sling pocket
- Rise 4
- Getting to one’s feet.
- Tumble 12
- Using the Tumbling sub-area of Acrobatics so as to make hitting the Persona harder
- Turn 3
- Turning in place cautiously so as to face in a new direction
- Hesitate varies
- Holding off taking an action so as to take advantage of a better opportunity
- Cost depends on the situation and most often requires a good guess.
- Attack Weapon Speed Factor
Example: Fred, a gentry Cavalier, is facing Ronald, an aristocratic orc scholar. Fred’s player rolls a 5 on the d10, minus 14 for his Muscular Speed, and +7 for drawing his foil and +2 for attacking with said foil. His final initiative is effectively 0, which means his action takes place on beat one of the CT.
On the other hand Ronald’s player rolls an 8 on the d10. With the orc’s Muscular Speed of 16 that means his initiative is a -8, which gives him the initiative. Since his player wasn’t really expecting a fight he decides that discretion is the better part of valor and opts for Avoidance. Avoidance we will cover in a later post.
Avoidance is used when a person or party would much rather avoid an encounter. When doing such the Persona uses the Speed Attributes appropriate to the situation.
- Mental Combat: Mnemonic + Reasoning Speed
- Physical Combat: Muscular + Neural Speed
- Spiritual Combat: Metaphysical + Psychic Speed.
Then the DR applicable to the situation is applied
- Total Surprise: Easy
- Surprise: Moderate
- Initiative Held: Hard
- Not Held: Difficult
- Surprised: Very Difficult.
- Very Surprised: Extreme.
Example: In our last post Ronald the orc scholar had initiative on his foe. We’ll say that the orc has a Muscular and Neural Speed total of 31, which with the Hard DR he gains for having initiative gives his player a target number of 31 to succeed in Avoidance. A roll of 42 on the percentile means he failed, and that means he now needs to succeed in outrunning the Cavalier.
In the previous post on initiative in Mythus I forgot to include an important part. What I covered was initial action, forgetting subsequent ones. This post is to correct that omission.
The difference between determining initiative for initial and subsequent actions is this: First, that initial initiative is determined as described in the previous post. However, when players and JM are determining initiative for any action following their first whatever initiative they get has a minimum value of one. That is to say, you just can’t perform your second action before you have performed your first.
So let’s say, what with all the shifting of position, drawing of weapon, and movement a player gets an initiative of 5. He performs his action and then decides he will be doing a follow up one. This time his initiative comes to to be a -4. But since a -4 is lower than a 5 it means his Persona will be acting at one point later than 5, meaning his effective initiative for his second action is 6. What it comes down to is, he is able to follow up his first action with another immediately. With the luck of the dice for all intents and purposes a Persona can perform a flurry of blows, so to speak, without having to follow a special rule for such.
Furthermore, while it is possible for two parties to act simultaneously, doing that isn’t always a good idea. For the time being I’m going to assume that the two parties are aware of what the other is doing, and so can decide to change his action to counter the others. That is, he may choose to perform a defensive action such as parry, block, or dodge.But by choosing defense instead of offense he has pretty much lost his turn and must therefor determine initiative again. Later I may require the two parties to check against Perception, Either (Notice) at a DR of Hard in order to notice that the other guy Is attacking them at the same time so that either, or both, can choose to defend instead. And since both in this case have had their action interrupted they would then have to determine initiative once more.
It comes down to this, in a fight you’re going to see a lot of hesitating and pausing. Which is pretty much what happens In real life, so why not an RPG?
Balrog Bashing and the Art of Rough Persuasion.
Here now we get down to the matter of fighting in Mythus; what another RPG would call combat. But combat as a term indicates something formal, something regular and regulated, when fighting at the least is rude, crude, and certainly not exactly regulated. But since Mythus is not exactly real life by any stretch of the imagination, we find that we do need to provide guidelines for handling it.
In the coming posts we’ll be looking at Mental, Spiritual, and Physical fighting, in each case covering what is involved, how it is handled, and what happens because of it.