Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Devious Devices of Delvers

One thing I've always been at odds with in role-playing games are weapons which stun and capture characters.

In some games--like superhero ones. The idea is reasonable, and commonly a side effect of combat actions of any kind.

In other other genres, they're usually badly done, making disabling effects pointless. As it is often just easier to kill someone mechanically. If it isn't pointless then its a simple test, which steals the struggle, and challenge from a combat encounter.

With Derelict Delvers, I've got a few devious devices. I'll have to go into them in detail in the game but right now I'll simply give a brief rundown.

From a lowly Tangler to the wide area Web Gun, tanglers project basically synthetic webbing designed to immobilize a foe. A troublesome weapon that fits in perfectly with the game mechanics as written.

See Heroism points are lost first, indicating that the person or character made a narrow escape from being hit with the weapon. A Tangler hit drops HP just like a killing attack, but when it zeroes out HP, the person is entangled, and must struggle to free themselves. They're never damage--just trapped. They're out of luck/fortune and their skill has failed. (Agility or Brawn is tested.)

Needlers are small armor piercing weapons that fire tiny high velocity projectiles. (Despite my desire for the lethal Energy Needlers from some of H. Beam Pipers Works.)

In this case the shots work similar to tanglers,but instead of a test to break free when HP is zeroed. The character tests to resist the drug, rather than escaping it. (Using Brawn to resist.)

Sonic weapons have a similar effect to the other two, they stun when HP is zeroed and the target must resist going unconscious. (Perception Test to escape.)

Now this seems fairly traditional, but using these weapons can create environmental impact to the PC's. Even a near miss (which HP accounts for) still has a minor side effect.

The side effects offer a way to combine tricks and maneuvers with non-lethal weapons to create more tactical choices than just killing someone.

Side Effects:

A Tangler hinders movement. Agility is penalized if even one HP is lost! As you've hindered the person by restricting the area they are inside. A failed roll may mean they've snagged themselves on remaining webbing.

A Needler has a chance to puncture armor, even if the small darts do miss hurting the person inside. In Space this is a dangerous condition. They may need to take a turn to repair any damage to armor, spacesuits or the like with sealspray or tape.

A Sonostunner creates a focused cone of sound. Even dodging it and getting out of the way can set ones ears ringing, hammering the Perception of the character, making multiple shots even more likely to drop a foe.

Normal weapons will have some tricks as well, Suppressive fire, Burn effects, and the like.

The battlefield of a Derelict is a dangerous place even if you are a lucky and skilled person.

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