'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Conan 2d20 RPG Overview: The Struggle: Momentum, Not success.

Previous articles in this series: It's time to look at "The Struggle" at it's most basic this is an opposed roll. This is the mechanic we use when two entities are in direct competition with each other; Running a race, arm wrestling, tests of persuasion, as well as a myriad of uses in combat.

This mechanic is simple. I repeat, this mechanic is simple and I will do my best to not overcomplicate it. As I said. It is an opposed roll, or in other words, an opposed skill test.

So how does it work? Both entities roll their skill test and determine how much momentum each of them generated.
The entity that has the most momentum wins the struggle.

In the case of ties, the tie goes to the player, but the GM can spend a point of doom to win it in favor of the NPC or Monster. That's it in a nutshell.

There is one final mechanic that is important to the struggle. The winner has their momentum reduced by the momentum generated by the loser. It is possible for a player to win a struggle and end up with zero momentum. This means that losing a struggle, but succeeding very well at your skill test will result in your opponent's success being less successful

For example: Less Effective Success,
Scenario 1: Conal attacks a skeleton! ((Success 4 points of momentum))
Now Conal has 4 points he can use to add penetration, extra damagem re-roll dice, strike again etc.
Scenario 2 : Conal attacks a skeleton ((Success 4 points of momentum)), but the skeleton parries! ((Success, 3 points of momentum. Struggle Winner: Conal, remaining momentm 4-3 =1))
Now Conal only has 1 point of momentum, although his attack is successful it is FAR less effective.

One of the most common struggles you will come across in Conan 2d20 is the attack/defense dynamic, so we will use that as another basic example.

For example: Simple Struggle,
Conal strides forward, confident in his fighting prowess, the gladiator he faces is equally confident in his superiority. With a cry Conal strikes down at the Gladiator ((Success: 2 points of momentum)) who raises his shield and deflects the blow with ease. ((Success: 3 points of momentum. Struggle Winner: Gladiator, remaining momentum 3-2 = 1))

It is important to remember this test is a comparison of generated momentum, NOT SUCCESSES!, and because of this each side of the struggle might have different difficulties for their skill tests.

For example: Momentum not successes,
Conal creeps through the dark crypt, the only light comes from his torch. Ahead he hears the rattle of bones and soon an undead horror emerges out of the gloom. Conal casts his torch aside as he draws sword and shield to defend himself from the fiend. The only noise from the skeleton is a slight rattle as the ancient spear it carries is leveled towards Conal. Conal springs forward swinging to his sword to move past the spear of the skeleton ((D3 attack, 3 successes, 0 momentum)), with the click of bones the skeleton easily fends aside the misaimed attack in the darkness ((D1 Parry, 2 successes, 1 momentum. Struggle Winner: Skeleton, remaining momentum 1-0 = 1))

The Struggle gives us a mechanic to directly test two entities against each other, with varying skill levels and varying levels of success. The ability to opposed the test, lose it, but still have your efforts affect the outcome is a cool idea. The Struggle is pretty quick way to handles this. As always drop me a comment and let me know what you think!

If you are interested in checking out the Conan system why not head over to DriveThruRPG and pick up a copy of either the Conan 2d20 core book or the Conan 2d20 quickstart pdf?

2 comments:

  1. Oh man, loving the read so far, the struggle sounds like an awesome mechanic to work with.

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    1. I am a fan, obviously. I think it really helps if your player group can get into the idea behind it. Buying piercing is cool mechanically for a player, but it allows them to more specifically hone in on a description of what they are doing.

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