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Author Topic: Threat resolution for Sorcerer  (Read 2969 times)
Blind Hero

Posts: 14

« on: January 31, 2004, 11:34:43 PM »

So tonight I was running my Highlander Sorcerer game.  The major conflict came down between a handful of thugs, a pair of vampire neophytes and a full vampire against a very capable immortal (the PC).  Battle ensues and I look down and realize I have to keep track of 7 different dice pools, each with their own penalties, bonuses, Boosts, etc.  Oi.  What a nightmare.  I need a demon just to organize the darn thing.  I almost ran out of dice.

So I was thinking, since the dice system in Sorcerer is intended to resolve conflicts, not tasks, would it work to combine several opponents of similar ability into one threat against one target.  Combat, initiative and damage resolution would be handled with just a few minor changes.

To determine the Threat of several opponents against one, use the highest Stamina (or whatever is being used) and add one die for each extra opponent.  So four thugs with Staminas of 4, 3, 3, 2 would have a Threat of 7, rolling 7 dice against the one opponent.

Combat would then proceed normally with regards to initiative, damage and the currency.  When the threat defends, the threat can either abort as a whole or tough it out with a number of dice equal to the number of opponents in the threat.  So in the example above, the threat can tough it out with 4 dice.  When taking damage, the opponent that was the declared target takes the damage.  If that target is brought to 0 Stamina dice, he's removed from the threat pool.  Either one die is removed (if he was not the highest Stamina) or the threat is re-calculated (if he was the one with the highest Stamina).

As for doing damage, I'd say the threat would use the Damage Type that makes the most sense at the time.

This is just my little idea on how to "simplify" opponent heavy combats.  It's still in the incubation phase.  Comments are VERY welcome.

Posts: 5574

« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2004, 07:25:34 AM »

It is certainly acceptable to treat groups as single opponents.

However, if you pick up the Sex and Sorcery Supplement there is a good discussion in the back about drawing up dice charts (quickly whipped up on a piece of scratch paper) which are invaluable in keeping track of who's doing what to whom in a multi party conflict.

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2004, 08:55:29 AM »

Hi there,

Couple things ...

1. There are, in fact, mook-rules in Sorcerer, at the end of the combat section in Chapter 6. They identify certain opponents as essentially disposable and make running them much easier.

2. If you want, you could group up such characters into single batches of dice, but I actually don't suggest doing so unless you're talking about a swarm of rats or perhaps (say in a Moorcock-style game) a horde of mutants. That sort of thing.

3. It's true - you do have to roll little piles of dice distributed around your tabletop and recall who is who. I find doing so to be much easier than managing initiative, movement, then rolls-to-hit and defense rolls and so on, for equivalent situations in (e.g.) Champions, Feng Shui, or Cyberpunk.

Hint 1 is simply to identify part of the tabletop with an NPC. "This is Balgor's spot, I roll his dice here." Since I always roll dice openly, the players can be invested in this too and help you keep track - their demons' dice, for instance, can be rolled next to theirs.

Hint 2 is to economize on the announcements: go by order. Tens? I got two. I got one. OK, you first, then you. (Those two people are out of the discussion at this point.) Nines? I got two, etc.

Hint 3 is to use the diagrams that Ralph is talking about - before the dice are rolled, just sketch out a little bubble-name diagram with arrows, saying who is doing what to whom. The roll sets the order of the arrows, and lots of the arrows will be cancelled, so you actually don't have to track most of the dice that are rolled anyway.

Blind Hero

Posts: 14

« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2004, 11:14:57 AM »

Hmmm... good advice.  I'll try it with a little more organization.  I think I'll write down the results of the rolls instead of having little piles of dice all over creation.  My own clumsy hands tend to knock dice around sometimes.  I'll give the diagram in Sex & Sorcery a shot as well.

I do love the look of expectant fear in everyone's eyes as all the dice hit the table and high order is established.  It's great when the high Stamina PC doesn't roll the high die and ends up aborting, grinding his teeth in frustration.  Then I point out that binding another demon with Boost Stamina could fix that.  Ahhh, the look of desire...... and fear.
Michael S. Miller

Posts: 846

« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2004, 06:26:31 PM »

It doesn't help when combats get really big, but different colored dice help, too. (Yes, I own too many dice...)

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!

Posts: 51

« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2004, 04:50:57 PM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
It doesn't help when combats get really big, but different colored dice help, too. (Yes, I own too many dice...)

Can you ever REALLY own enough dice?

Posts: 503

« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2004, 03:17:28 PM »

What I would do if I ran mass combat in sorcerer(A derivitive of what I usually do for any mass-combat involving game.), is treat them as singal identities modified by how many members are in it, penalities it recieves are reflected by it's members being knocked out.

Group Stamina = Lowest member's stamina +1 for every time the group doubles in size. So for most it would be:

2 - +1
4 - +2
8 - +3
16 - +4
32 - +5

Group Will = Lowest member's will + 1 for every time the group quadruples in size.

4 - +1
16 - +2
64 - +3

Group Lore = Lowest member's Lore +1 for every time the group is magnified by 8.

8 - +1
64 - +2


A few justifications: It's based on the group's lowest member as a result of the group adjusting for more disorganization. If the group's organization isn't effected by a weaker member, than I wouldn't consider it part of the group.

Will reflects things like the group intimidating/resisting intimidation, and I think that there's definately an enhancement from being in larger numbers but less so than pure fighting ability.

Lore reflects the group working from their shared knowledge of the occult, I wouldn't use this syetm for group sorcery since there's already a rule for that that works, this is for the other uses of Lore. It doesn't increase very fast as a result of my belief that sorcerer knowledge is fittingly thought of as a steeply inclining knowledge base.
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