Quick Characters

The following is a table to help create characters on the fly, as needed for the campaign. These should be considered base value statistics, and do not include any bonuses from, say, armor and weapons.

Values with (X\Y) show the (High\Low) values. You should have an idea which defense should be higher or lower.

  • DV: Soak and Evasion

  • MDV: Guile and Resolve

  • Dice: High end dice pool / Low end Dice pool

             
Mortals (High|Low)            
  DV Dmg. Hp MDV Acc Dice
Child 1\1 0 5 1\1 2 3-2
Weak 2\1 0 8 1\1 5 4-2
Normal 3\1 2 10 2\1 7 5-3
Heroic 4\2 3 15 3\2 8 6-5
             
Wild Creature            
  DV Dmg. Hp. MDV Acc Dice
Weak 2\1 1 8 1\1 5 4-2
Normal 3\2 3 15 2\1 7 5-3
Tough 4\2 4 20 3\2 8 6-4
Heroic 5\3 5 25 5\2 10 8-6
Legend 8\4 7 35 7\3 12 10-8
             
Exalt / Minor God / Demon            
Ess Def. 1 Dmg. Hp MDV Acc. Dice
1 2\1 3 20 2\1 9 9-5
2 3\2 5 25 3\2 10 10-6
3 4\3 6 35 3\2 11 11-7
4 5\3 7 40 4\3 12 12-8
5 6\4 8 45 5\3 14 14-10
6 6\5 9 50 5\3 15 15-11

Quick Powers

The following powers are quick ways to bring an antagonist to life without the need for a full character sheet—almost all of the antagonists you have will probably be made this way.

These powers are not for player use, as they are intended to be as flexible as possible for the situation. These represent the various charms, martial arts, etc. of the system while letting you decide on the restriction level.

These should be used on top of base-level mechanics, such as Maneuvers or

Specialty

Choose something that the character is specialized in, and then add +2 dice/+1 defense to any rolls made in that specialty.

Quick Reflexes

You strike before the opponent can gather their thoughts. You may interrupt the natural turn order, taking your turn before a different character has a chance to act. However, this will cause you to take 1 action instead of 2.

Ferocious Bite

Spend a Maneuver focusing an attack. On the next Strike, deal an extra (+4) damage.

Target Defense

Spend a Maneuver preparing an attack. You must make this clear—be it setting up explosives, nocking an arrow at a target, etc. On the next attack, bypass a defense, targeting Soak, Evasion, MDV, or some other (Att+Abi)/2 combination, treating that as the targets DV on your next Strike.

It is suggested you pair this with Ferocious Bite, spending two Maneuvers and then Striking.

Cloak in Shadows

Perform an action to disappear from the senses of the group. You may perform a contested roll—if you fail, you only partially disappear. Weak versions can only stay in the shadows for a turn, and get revealed if they take an action. Advanced versions allow indefinite actions and time in the cloaked shadows.

This can take the form of a spirit dematerializing, animals hiding in the underbrush, or people disappearing into a crowd.

Making Interesting Combat

“Hard” combat is completely easy to make—dial up the numbers, attack the weakest character first with overwhelming attacks, and throw lots of creatures at the Party.

Don’t do that. At least, not all of them at once. Interesting Combat is more about making a puzzle for the Players to solve, rather than just a stat block to overcome.

Highlight Player Strengths

If a Player Character chooses a lot of groups-killers, combats should tend to have a lot of Groups to kill. If they have high defenses, there should be slow, powerful attacks. If they are all ranged, there should be a variety of Zones for them to dance around through.

When Players buy charms and customize their characters, they are telling you what they think is interesting and is cool to experience, so give them what they want. This isn’t to mean that every combat should 100% match exactly what they have on their character sheet, as that is swinging far too much in the other way, but most combats should have about 80% of it dedicated to how awesome the Player Characters are.

(Then, when the overwhelming fight or situation they aren’t prepared for shows up, the impact is heightened.)

Have a Mental Threat List

The more highly armored and battle-hardened a Player Character is, the more likely they are to be attacked – at least until another character shows they are a bigger threat by a massive attack.

You, as the Storyteller, may know that it is combat-optimal to go after the weakest character first, but your NPC’s don’t. Plus, that doesn’t highlight the Player’s strengths, as stated above.

The exception to this would be recurring antagonists—who learn after fights—or antagonists who are supposed to be supernaturally aware of tactics. But remember, this only works and has impact if these are the exceptions, rather than the stander.

Telegraph Actions

Whenever antagonists take an action, you should make sure your Players know what is happening, and what the mechanics are. While it is a nice to wrap the actions in a narrative description, that is simply bonus points.

“The swordsman rushes in, light glinting off his hammer as he raises it to the sky, bringing it down into you with a crushing force” is immersive and good, but “The swordsman uses a Maneuver to activate Ferocious Bite, and then Strikes you” is also perfectly fine. Don’t get trapped in trying to come up with clever descriptions for every single move.

Use and Describe Terrain

One of the fastest ways to get a combat scene ingrained into a Player’s mind is to describe the scenery—whether there are twisting caverns, bustling merchant streets, or an oppressively tangled forest, and how the antagonists interact with them. There need not be any mechanical effect, but describing how an archer sits on the boughs of an ancient tree lining up a shot is far more interactive than not.

Use a Mixture of Foes

It’s best to have a mixture of weak, medium, and strong foes in a single battle—your Players will naturally sort themselves to attack (and be attacked) the weak and strong foes.

As well, the Players have an advantage of numbers of Actions—something one large creature will not be able to overcome easily. Having small creatures around to harass and force the Player Characters to use their actions on helps make the large creature take its actions.