Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fantasy AGE: Pelayo the Warrior vs. an Orc

I've got a habit of stress-testing low level characters in what some might call an unfair manner (just ask my players) so this time around we're going to check out the basics of Fantasy AGE combat by taking our fighter rolled up in the last blog (Pelayo) and pitting him against a single orc. With a pie. Also, a rusty maul so he's not gonna give the pie up easily.

Pelayo's stats for reference:

Human male warrior (outcast wanderer)
Health 36; Defense 14; AR 4 (leather); Speed 12

1 Accuracy (focus: brawling)
0 Communication
4 Constitution (focus: stamina)
2 Dexterity (Focus: riding)
4 Fighting
1 Intelligence
1 Perception
2 Strength
0 Willpower

Languages: common
Weapon and Armor Skills: brawling weapons, axes, bows, spears
Warrior Talents: Archery (novice), weapon and shield (novice)

Equipment: backpack, clothes, water skin, heavy leather armor (AR 4), throwing axe (1D6+2+strength damage), battle axe (2D6+strength damage), long bow (1D6+3+perception damage), quiver with 20 arrows, and a medium shield (+2 bonus)

Goals: seek out fortune, slay the ogre king who killed father, become a prince among men
Ties: owes money to the crime lord Bossadan of Aelghast

The orc is on page 111 of the Fantasy AGE rulebook. He's a tough hombre, and can deal 2D6+3 damage with his battle axe. He's got 30 health, Defense 10 and AR 5.

Setup: assuming the orc lives in a small room of about ten feet by ten feet, standing in the middle with his pie, then when Pelayo kicks the door down the orc is not all that shocked since Pelayo has no stealth talent whatsoever.

FAGE uses static initiative (as most games after 2000 are prone to doing), and you figure initiative by rolling 3D6+dexterity. For the orc that's a straight 3D6, but for Pelayo that's 3D6+2. Everyone rolls for initiative and we get 8 for the orc and 15 for Pelayo. score! Pelayo goes first.

The FAGE action economy is simple: you can do one major and one minor action in a round, or two minor actions (and no major). Moving (walking) is a minor action but running is a major action. Regular and full attacks are generally major actions but conditional attacks (such as prepare or press the attack) are not. As it happens, readying a weapon is a minor action....the player would argue that he's been walking around the dungeon with axe and shield ready, but the GM wants to know how he can see the player calls for a minor ready action to drop the torch and ready his axe; the GM will be nice and assume the shield was already readied.

For his follow-up action it seems prudent to wait (prepare action) and strike if the orc approaches....walking up to him now will leave Pelayo open to retaliation by the orc. The prepare action lets you prep a major action (for the cost of a minor, apparently) that triggers by the end of the round or just before someone else's later action. Okay then.

The orc goes. He readies his mace and the GM makes a quick difficulty 11 intelligence test to see if he's smart enough to wait for Pelayo to close or if he moves over to the warrior. We roll a 15! The orc stands firm, maul in hand.

Next round Pelayo loses patience and closes the gap with a charge for a +1 to his damage. Because a prepare action triggers by the start of your next round the orc can still strike! He must do so prior to Pelayo executing his attack, so the orc makes an attack roll: he rolls 3D6, gets +2 for his fighting score, another +2 for his focus on bludgeoning weapons, for a +4 total modifier. He rolls a 14 for a total of 18...much better than Pelayo's Defense of 14! Worse yet, he rolled doubles for a 5 and 5....a stunt triggers! The stunt die shows a 5, so that means the orc gets 5 stunt points. The GM elects that the orc spends 2 points to attempt a disarm and another 3 for a lighting attack (a second attack). These are two of 15 options in FAGE.

First the orc and Pelayo make opposed attack rolls for the disarm. The orc rolls 3D6+4 for 15 and Pelayo gets 3D6+4 (thank goodness for that high fighting score) for 19. He does not lose his axe!

Second the orc makes his second lightning strike, getting a total of 16, another hit. Even if he had rolled doubles a second attack triggered by a stunt does not lead to more possible stunts. He has now landed two hits on Pelayo and rolls 2D6+3 twice for damage, getting 7 and 7 damage on each...kinda low. Pelayo can soak 4 AR from each so he takes only 6 health damage total, dropping from 36 health to 30.

Now it's Pelayo's turn. He strikes, rolling 3D6 and adding his fighting score (no focus unfortunately) getting 18 total...well over the orc's defense. He rolls 2D6+2 for damage, dealing 12 points (with the charge bonus) against the orc's health of 30 and AR of 5, dropping him to 23 health after armor.

Now it's the orc's turn (remember, his earlier attack was from a ready stance provoked by Pelayo's impatience). The orc does an All-Out Attack to get a +1 to damage and a -1 to Defense. He rolls a total of 15, hitting Pelayo and also rolling double 4's, but a stunt die of 3. He burns all 3 SPs in another lightning attack, rolling a total of 17 for his follow-up attack and dealing two blows totalling 11 and 13 damage each! Pelayo takes 16 damage....ouch. Pelayo now has 14 health.

Starting the third round Pelayo tries for an All-Out Attack as well hoping to get lucky. He rolls to hit and gets a middling 10, which still hits the orc's reduced defense of 9, but good news! He rolled double ones and a stunt die of 4. He spends 2 on a mighty blow to add +1D6 damage to the attack and another 2 to try and disarm the orc. The damage total is now 15, so 10 points get through to reduce the orc to 14 health.

The disarm is a contested attack roll: Pelayo gets 18 and this time the orc rolls a total of 9....he's disarmed! The stunt indicates that the weapon is knocked 1D6+strength distance in yards away. The player rolls 4 yards. The orc panics!

Pelayo still has a minor action so he decides to Press The Attack, which means if the orc moves away from him he follows immediately; this minor action requires an adjacent target that you've already injured...the orc fits the bill.

The orc's turn is up for round three: he does indeed run over to grab his maul, using a minor move action to move 4 yards, then another minor move to ready his dropped weapon.

On round four Pelayo has a decided advantage since the orc lost an attack opportunity rearming himself. Pelayo pushes for another All Out Attack, rolling a normal 11 to hit but dealing 12 damage. The orc is now down to 7 health....

The orc retaliates, making a normal attack, rolling a 16 and connecting once more with Pelayo's 13 Defense (reduced due to All Out Attack). He rolls 11 damage, of which 7 gets through to drop Pelayo to 7 health....they are both equally battered and bloody it would seem.

Pelayo makes one more push to slay the orc before he perishes first: he rolls another All Out Attack for a hit total of 12, still enough to hit the orc. He deals 13 more damage, dealing 6 points after armor. The orc has 1 health!

The player still has a minor action and asks the GM if he can make a threatening "Yield!" noise at the orc. The GM assents, figuring this is a contested roll...orc's willpower (1) vs. Pelayo's strength (for intimidation) of 2. The orc rolls 15...not bad! Miraculously Pelayo rolls 16 so might makes right. The orc relents, dropping the pie before Pelayo and running off.

Interestingly, stunt points work for social and exploration encounters, too. Pelayo's roll was actually two 6's with the stunt die being a 6, so he technically has 6 SPs to spend on a social stunt. The GM has granted success to Pelayo already, but with his SPs he could have probably swayed a crowd of orcs to hand over their pies.

If that last roll the orc made had been an attack instead, it could have connected and the orc may well have dealt 11 damage, enough to kill lucky Pelayo, eh?


Level 1 fights are hard. One orc is enough to kill one warrior 50% of the time. Keep this in mind when designing adventures for FAGE....the system is not built to assume low level PCs are combat monsters at this stage in life.

Health totals are sufficiently high that no one is likely to drop in less than 2-3 blows. I can see how being ganged up on by several foes could be a quick death.

Getting stunts is easier than it looks as a chance of doubles on three dice isn't bad....but if you get unlucky for a stretch I can see this being a source of intense frustration for some; it seems to me a trigger mechanic, some sort of "hero point" system which lets you force a stunt every now and then would be both useful and help swing balance to the players in terms of who suffers most for stunts. Unless monsters don't prompt stunts, and I've just missed that factoid.

Pelayo at level 20

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