'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

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Showing posts with label 2d20. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2d20. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Tool Trunk Thursday: Spiked Pauldrons

Welcome back to another installment of Tool Trunk Thursday!  I hope everyone is doing well during the pandemic.  Remember to consider that everyone out there is experiencing and expressing their frustrations and change in life their own way.  Let us try and give everyone a little leeway.

Nothing says fantasy armor like spiky bits.  When I came across this icon I immediately wanted to include it in the Tool Trunk, but I wasn't sure how.  It certainly doesn't make armor more effective, and an argument could be made for it to be less effective.  I gave it some thought and asked myself, "why do people wear this, or like to pretend to wear this?".  My answer was it looks cool.  It looks mean, and so I had my answer.


These spikes are either riveted to the armor after it is built, or in some cases they are built right into the armor at the time of it's construction.  Their materials vary from steel, to wood to bone and everything in between.  No matter what they are made of they all serve the same purpose, to make the wearer look bigger and meaner and give someone pause before attacking.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Tool Trunk Thursday: Stygian Beans

Another Thursday and more equipment is shoved into the tool trunk! Today's piece of equipment comes from the dark anbd mysterious lands of Stygian. This works perfectly with the launch of Conan the Adventurer, the sourcebook detailing Stygia and the Black Kingdoms.

Stygian Beans


These beans have been cultivated in Stygia since time immemorial. The shrubs they come from are picked of their bright red berries, and then the seeds are dried and roasted in great clay ovens. Finally the now dark beans are ground and hot water is poured over them. At this point the Stygian beverage is ready to be consumed.

It is said that those that wield magic prize this concoction for it's mind altering and restorative effects. If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Tool Trunk Thursday: Quill & Parchment

The mysterious Stygian plague continues to haunt the countryside, but I remain safely locked away in my stronghold. I trust my fellow warriors are likewise safe behind locked doors. Brothers and Sisters, we will defeat this scourge sent upon us. Stay strong. Stay Healthy! It is, of course, Thursday and so today we open that mysterious chest once more to see what interesting piece of equipment we might find today.

Quill & Parchment



In the beginning of humanity we told stories around campfires, eventually we sought to record these stories on the walls of our caves with paintings. As we became more sophisticated we began to look to other ways to record our ideas and stories. Writing became available and so scholars and sorcerers began to record ideas and knowledge. Certainly some of these writings can drive someone to madness, but others are more banal holding only basic information about places and things.

These nundane parchments, and the quills to make notes, are far more commonplace and can often be found for little gold to provide information about a region. It is unlikely you will find scrolls with information about Vanaheim in Argos, but scrolls about the Forest of Ghouls between Argos and Zingara will almost assuredly be available.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Setting up 2d20 on Roll20: The Combat Dice.

I have been playing around with the free Roll20 for awhile, learning how it works and what we could do with it for Conan 2d20.

Conan 2d20 and other 2d20 systems use combat dice to determine damage and weapon effects. We can, of course, simple roll a d6 and note the results but we have a way to make it a little more automated if we desire. This is accomplished via the Roll20 roll table.

The process is pretty simple, and although it is not a perfect solution, it is easy to do and can be done completely with the free version of Roll20.

Step 1: Making the Table

On the top right of Roll20 you will find the Collection Icon. Clicking on it will bring up the tab that gives us control over a lot of the automated processes; macros, decks and rollable tables. Near the bottom you will find Rollable tables. The first thing we need to do is to create a new Rollable table.



Step 2: Naming the table and adding the items

Once we have the table created, clicking on the table name that appeared when we added the new table. This will open up the new table dialog. From here rename the table to "CD" and begin adding each of the following Items: "1","2","0","0","1 + Effect","1 + Effect".



Once you have completed adding your items into the table, it should look like this. When you are happy with it. Hit "Save Changes"



Step 3: Testing the roll

Switch back to the chat dialog box and type the following roll command into chat "/roll 3t[CD]", you should get a result similar to this image. This will show you the total damage that was rolled, but you will have to manually add in any extra damage you get from effects like Vicious(Conan),Sharp(JCoM), etc.



And that is all there is to setting up a roll20 rollable table to handle your Combat Dice in roll20.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tool Trunk Thursday: Rune Sword

Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters, welcome to another installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! We are 3 weeks into our self imposed isolation to slow the stem of the COVID-19 virus. One of the great things about the Hyborian Age is that we can see the monsters that need slaying, although sometimes maybe our heroes might need a keen edge to do it....

Rune Sword



Before the Hyborian Kingdoms spreads across the world in the west, before the mighty kingdoms of the east, before even Stygia there were people that dwelled in these lands. Their mark upon the world is largely erased by war and cataclysm. Still, some places hold glimmers of those long forgotten kingdoms and times, ancient ruins or tombs untouched by the shifting lands. Some of these even hold rare artifacts like this, an ancient sword forged by some unearthly metal. It's edge remains sharp even after the centuries; it's balance is unlike that of the swords of the Hyborian age.

Warriors using such a weapon gain an advantage in combat over their foes, how could they not?

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Tool Trunk Thursday: Bow String

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format.

WHAT!? It is Thursday again? Quick week! Here is another piece of kit for your characters! Check out all the equipment over at the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Bow String


Some men and women fling death from the edges of combat. Their weapons are under immense strain and at times their strings snap leaving them next to helpless. Given time they can get the materials to fix their bows, but in the heat of combat being able to re-string and continue to rain hell down can be invaluable

This is a replacement string, cheap and plentiful in pretty much every city, that can be used to restring a bow in the middle of combat allowing the archer to continue to fight. If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Wine

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Wine


Some of the finest vineyards of the Hyborian Age are found in the Kingdom of Aquilonia, likewise some of the best wine comes from this mighty Kingdom. Sharing a fine bottle of this exquisite drink is surely to loosen even the most stalwart tongue.


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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Fine Scales

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Fine Scales


Mixing unstable reagants together is a delicate and precise science. Get the ratios wrong and your carefully crafted explosive or blinding powder doesn't work. Alchemists are experts at this, but even the greatest of them can use some help. This beautifuly balanced set of scales from the trade masters of Zingara are sure to help any alchemist get those proportions correct to allow their pyrotechnic wizardy to entertain or.............

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Black Arrows

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Black Arrows


Occasionally stars fall from the heavens, and while most are undiscovered a few are found and the materials used by expert blacksmiths. This is one such case. Arrows forged from some material that fell from the heavens, perhaps from the outer dark itself. Whatever its origins the load of arrows it has created is sure to grant an edge in battle to the warrior using them.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Oil Flasks

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Oil Flasks


Flasks of oil come in many forms from skins of leather to vials of glass. It's uses can not be understated to the keen adventurer. It can be used to slow an enemy, by making the floors slippery or perhaps it's ability to burn is more up your alley? Either way I am sure these flasks will come in handy to those wise enough to carry them.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Persuade & Social Encounters in Conan 2d20

I often have players try and talk there way out of a situation. In one game the characters had been shipwrecked and a band of beach scavengers showed up with the intention of taking what was theirs and killing anyone in their way, the solution, "We should talk to them." In another example I had a group of players come across a barricaded path guarded by some Khitan warriors, they wanted to talk their way past the guards. It is almost like no one has seen 1984's Conan the Destroyer, which I only bring up because of the line enjoyed by Matt John over at Rogues in the House Podcast...


ENOUGH TALK!



Still despite that, it is an RPG and the characters have social skills like "Society" and "Persuade". This article is going be about a simple mechanic you can use to help control how a social encounter might play out using these skills. Keep in mind this is a mechanic for a time when a social encounter is appropriate, you probably don't want players to be able to negotiate with the skeletons that populate your tombs.

In the past when this has come up I have made it into a struggle and a single roll; either they convince them or they don't. It has the advantage of being simple, but it has the disadvantage of resolving something of importance in a very very simple way, which can take the spotlight away from players who excel in social skills, and while the struggle isn't slow to resolve, it isn't as fast as a single die roll.

For me, the heart of how the social encounter will go is going to be based on two factors; how open the NPC is to listen to the PCs and how easily their mind can be swayed once they are listening. A friend is going to be willing to listen a lot easier than the bandit leader attacking you, but it is possible your friend will be harder to sway than that bandit leader. With the system, I have in mind and momentum spends you still might be able to convince a friend to help you quicker than an openly hostile opponent.

Likely to Listen?

This is how difficult the actual negotiation is, and so it makes perfect sense to make this into the difficulty of the skill test, running from close friends to hostile enemies we can set up a simple difficulty chart.
  • D0 - Good Friends
  • D1 - Friendly
  • D2 - Neutral
  • D3 - Dislike
  • D4 - Veiled Hostility
  • D5 - Outright Hostile

This gives us a place to work from that we can apply to the social encounters the players find themselves involved in. You can either make note of them beforehand or implement them on the fly. Like all difficulties, feel free to modify these as you see fit by other factors. Are the PC and NPCs Good Friends, but the PCs failed to do something for them? Move the difficulty up 1 or 2 notches. Perhaps the NPC is generally neutral towards the party, but they have a high level of renown in the area, you can move the difficulty to 1.

Success and Failure: If the social test is successful, simply determine momentum and move on to resolving the effect, "Are they Swayed" of the roll in part 2 of the test. However, if they fail to move the difficulty of the test up by 1 notch. If they fail at D4 or D5, the test is an outright failure.

Complications: The simplest complication for these sorts of encounters is putting your foot in your mouth or offending the person you are talking to. Keeping in mind a complication is about 2 doom we have a few simple options.
  1. Increase the difficulty one step.
  2. Reduce the generated momentum by two.
  3. If the test was D3 and there was a failure with the complication, make the test an outright failure.

Are they Swayed

This part of the mechanic centers around convincing the NPC once they have heard what was said. It might take several rounds of convincing to get them on board, but anytime during that negotiation, we might see that NPC stop listening and have the communication break down. The easiest way to work this is with a "hit point" or "effort" system, which will require a point pool for the NPC to resist with and a way for the PC to whittle away at that pool.

Conan has a mental damage track that might work for this, resolve and trauma. Generally, we see this damage track in regards to actually trying to scare away or mentally break the opponent, or simulate the effects of fear and is soaked by courage. I don't think it is the perfect fit for what we are trying to accomplish. We also don't have a great "weapon" to use to try and convince the NPC. We aren't trying to Steely Glare them into seeing our side of things and convince them we are correct. This is supposed to be a social encounter and not a scare the pants off of the local b├╝rgermeister.

I think the Willpower attribute will work well for this number, which sits around 7-10 in most humans. Adding a simple modifier based on how easily swayed they are will let us make the NPC a little more interesting.
  • Easy to sway - -1/2 willpower attribute
  • Default - Willpower attribute
  • Difficult to sway - +1/2 willpower attribute

With that in mind, we still need a way to bring that value to 0 and convince them to buy into the social encounter. Give the players 1 combat die for each level of FOCUS they have in their social ability (generally Persuade or Society) and use the following momentum spends as a guideline.
  • 1M - add 1 to the combat die roll - repeatable
  • 1M - Re-roll any number of combat dice
  • 2M - Reduce the difficulty of the test by 1

Example

Example 1
Balor is trying to convince the local sheriff to let his friends go. They were captured and locked up after a night of drinking. You could of course just do a 100% roleplay if that suits your group better, but if you want to work it mechanically it might go something like this.....
Balor says, "Ah come on man, they didn't mean any harm to the village, they were just blowing off steam after all the horrors they have seen defending this place!"
The sherrif looks Balor up and down and says.....
GM - Balor, make a D2 Persuade test, he dislikes you and your crew, but will be neutral due to the aid you have rendered the village.
Balor - Ok my Persuade TN is 8 with a focus of 1. I will roll 3d20, and give you a point of doom....

Balor - 4,14 and 12...So 1 success. The Sherrif looks at Balor up and down and says, "no harm? they burned down the blacksmith and caused considerable damage to the tavern. You may have defended the village, but perhaps we would have been in better shape with the creatures of the dark!"
"Balor replies with, "Ah come on, you know that isn't true! It was only a little fire!"
GM - Ok, if you continue the difficulty will now be at D3. Do you want to continue?
Balor - I roll 4d20, and give you 2 more doom.....

Balor - 6,2,9 & 13! for 4 successes! and 1 momentum!
GM - Great! roll 2 combat dice for your persuade focus!
Balor - OK.....

Balor - I roll a 1, and a 2 for 3 points. I want to add 1 more point with the momentum bringing the total to 4!
GM - ok. The Sherif is easily swayed so he only had 4 points.
The sheriff shrugs, "Trouble follows your party around, but we do appreciate what you have done for us..", and tosses the keys to Balor.

Example 2
Ismene is working to try and sell some stolen goods, she is locked into negotiations with a local kothian fence she knows.
"Come on! This is the finest Stygian gold, This statue has to be worth more than a measly 3 bags of gold, how about 5? ", Ismene smiles slyly.
The fence looks at the statue and then at Ismene and says.....
GM - Ismene, make a D1 Persuade test, he is neutral towards you but knows of your skills, so we will treat him as friendly.
Ismene - I will give you 2 doom and roll 4d20.....

Ismene - 2, 17 and 2 20s...... GM - Ok, roll a combat die equal to your persuade focus.
Ismene - OK, I have a focus of 1, I roll..
Ismene - 2!
GM - Ok, you reduce is resistance to moving to your price by 2 points leaving him with 4!
The fence looks at the statue and then at Ismene and says, "The statue is truly of great quality, but I am just can't give you 5 bags of gold."
GM - But you rolled 2 complications.....
GM - During the negotiations, you mention the words "cursed temple" and "dangerous Stygian sorcery" one too many times...
GM - Negotiations are now at D3 as the Kothian fence becomes less certain he even wants this potentially cursed item and is growing untrustful of your intentions.

And so Ismene could continue the encounter attempting to get more money for the Stygian gold she has stolen or cut her losses and take the original gold offered....

Summary

This gives you a way to walk through social encounters in a fair and even manner, and may even convince a few of your players to spend a few points on persuade for reasons beyond simply striking at your opponents. As you can see in the examples it gives us a quick way to mechanically guide the narration between the players and the NPCs.

Games like 2d20 can be mechanically heavy at times, especially if all you do is roll the dice and apply the results. These games really shine when you narrate and work together as a group to not simply roll and apply, but roll, apply AND use your results to guide your narration.

If you thought this was interesting drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Is this something you would use? What would you change? Do you think the social struggle is already enough to accomplish this? Let me know.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Torches

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

Torches



Torches are as common to an adventurer as food and water. A length of wood wrapped in oil-soaked rags ignited to keep the darkness at bay. Although these are not the most reliable ways to illuminate the darkness or the most portable, they make up for it in cost.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Spy Glass

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to the next installment of Tool Trunk Thursday! The feature where I present a piece of equipment for Conan 2d20 and its effects in a friendly card-shaped format. You can find other pieces of equipment in the Blog's Equipment Chest!

The Spyglass



The spyglass is a rare, and expensive, piece of equipment most commonly found onboard ships. These finely crafted objects are most commonly made from a telescoping metal tube terminated by two glass lenses created by the most skilled artisans. These components work together to bring objects at a distance into view.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Tool Trunk Thursday: Lodestone

Welcome Dog Brothers and Sword Sisters to a new feature on the blog! Each Thursday I am going to present a piece of equipment for your 2d20 game! To start we will be focusing on Conan 2d20, but down the road, I am sure we'll see some items from the dying world of Barsoom as well! In general, the aim is to include items that aren't found in the core book or the expansions but to also give a direct use for each of the items as well.

It should be no secret by now that I like cards and find them useful at the table, and so it should be no surprise that these pieces of equipment are formatted for use as cards. The images should all be the correct aspect ratios for creating poker sized cards for each of these items.

As this is the first post I will start with the card with a legend on it. Each of the icons should be fairly self-explanatory, but just-in-case they are not I thought it would be a useful image to include with the post.


Without further pre-amble I give you the first item for Tool Trunk Thursday!

The Lodestone


These naturally magnetic rocks can be used for navigation much like the legendary Sun Stone from the Nordheimer lands, although it has the advantage of not needing to be outdoors and in view of the sun to do it. It has the disadvantage of being thrown off its bearing when close to other sources of magnetism as one might find in an alchmeical lab.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Action Momentum Spends in Conan 2d20: The Card Deck!

One of the things I always have trouble with when explaining Conan 2d20 is the Momentum Spends. Ok, not so much trouble explaining them, but trouble getting players familiar with them, and what they can do with that momentum.

I have a reference sheet I have used at conventions, but it is a lot of information in a small space.

So I have decided to try a deck of cards. Each player gets a card with a name, cost and basic description. Using this they will hopefully tie together some epic uses of the spends, and more importantly, be aware of them. I am including one of the cards below so you can see what I have in mind.



If you think this might be useful, I have a .PDF with the most common spends on it for players. You can find that here.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: Giant Nassarius Snails

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens! It has been awhile since the last posting but I am back! Hopefully I can get these to be more regular again.

Awhile ago now someone posted a video on Facebook that featured a water tank and a fish body being dropped into it. As it lay there you watched as this empty tank slowly sprang to life as these tiny snails began popping out of the sand and devouring the fish. So the inspiration for the giant carnivorous snail was born and after some time, has finally come to fruition!

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

in progress

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



If you would like a version on these with backs as well as fronts please check out my offering of this set on Drive Thru RPG. They are offered for the low cost of $1usd and and support is greatly appreciated. Thank you! If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp rpg gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Witch of the Screaming Woods

At the end of April 2019, I will be at the Calgary Expo GMing two games of Conan 2d20! I will run 4 players through an adventure, once on Friday and once on Sunday. If you are around and want to check out Conan 2d20 for real stop by and sign up!


The games will feature paper miniatures from Okum Arts, Kevs Lounge and Printable Heroes as well as tiles from Black Scroll Games.

Everything I will be using will be all self printed and assembled. Even if you can't play stop by the table and see what you can come up with for an ultra portable, but awesome kit!
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Monday, March 18, 2019

The Exploit: Conan 2d20, some thoughts.

When I read novels (ok I generally listen to them), especially Sword and Sorcery, I tend to think of how the combat scenes would play out using the Conan 2d20 RPG rules.

If the hero strikes and knocks the bad guy's axe away and then comes back for an attack, I try and fit it into the sets of skills a character might have. In that example I might decide as I read that the hero has the riposte skill, and has successfully parried with some level of momentum. This has allowed our Hero to parry the blow, disarm the opponent with a momentum spend and attack right away with riposte.

The Exploit action is described as the following.

The character takes additional time and concentration readying the next attack, seeking to find vulnerabilities in a single target’s defenses. The player nominates a target the character is able to perceive, and attempts an Average (D1) Observation test (modified for Observation tests by distance, lighting, etc.). If this succeeds, the character’s first attack before the end of the next turn gains the Piercing 2 Quality. If desired, the character may spend one Momentum from this test to add one bonus d20 to the attack’s skill test, and +1CD to the attack’s damage. This is Repeatable, but these bonus d20s count towards the normal limit of 3 bonus d20s on any skill test. The benefits of this action are only gained once per round.

First I want to establish that the exploit represents some way you have gained an advantage over your opponents, because of this it is used to represent being ambushed as well. In it's raw form you pause in the fight and look for an opening, find a pattern in the opponents guard and then "EXPLOIT" that weakness.

But what other ways can this be used by a player? There is a scene in "IMARO" where a an outlaw offers a bodyguard the chance to thrown down their arms and join them. The guard rejects the offer with derision and the comment of, "Better to die with honor than to live as an outlaw!", and then spurs his horse forward and attacks with ferocity. The blow is barely blocked.

My brain immediately went to figuring out how that could be accomplished in Conan. Bodyguard uses a minor action to speak and a standard action to attack, and that is just how the dice worked out? A successful parry, but maybe only barely? What if instead we used the exploit action? What if we look at the second part of that description, "GMs may allow characters to use skills other than observation to attempt an Exploit action".

What if the bodyguard rolls *PERSUADE* as the exploit action, is successful, and performs a swift action immediately afterwards? Now our bodyguard has spoken, caused his opponent to lose focus, falter, or similar, but be caught a little by surprise as the attack is launched. Now the attack is potentially more devastating.

Another obvious one that we started using at my table, after the thief type character discovered there was no backstab, was to exploit using stealth. The idea here is pretty straight forward, the character is using their ability to slip into shadows, and then use that momentary lapse in tracking to spring at their opponent from behind and deliver a deadly blow.

In an action scene there are plenty of different skills that can be used, play with them, figure out some cool things to do. What GM is going to say no to an Acrobatics Exploit when you say, "I want to try and tumble low and come up with my sword to catch a weak point in their defense?"

The exploit is a great catch all standard action that can be used for a multitude of different narrative effects. If you are not using it as a player, or as a GM, I encourage you to give it some thought to add even more flair to your combat encounters.


Finally I wanted to leave you with a handy reference card you can print out and give to your players to help them understand the mechanics behind the tool. It will still be up to the players to figure out how to use this to enhance the narrative of the story.

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