Saturday, November 18, 2023

GOZR: Threat Dice


I just listened to an actual play of GOZR here and it was a hoot, a blast, and a lot of fun. The GM was quick-thinking and had a nice old-west voice going on. He made some good choices too, such as when a player used the vulgar spell Doubt. He had the player make a Magic Roll and if successful he was able to declare what happened.

Anyway, one thing they did kind of surprised me. The GM said that NPCs and monsters basically can't attack or anything unless it is indicated on the Threat Dice. I am not sure if this was a house rule or just a misinterpretation of the game rules.

I went back and re-read page 41 (Creatures). My intention for Threat Dice was that they represent extra things a creature might do. In a sense, this is like GOOZ points for monsters but isn't a limited resource and is less potent. Examples given: Take half damage, take instant action, resist vulgar magic.

But creatures are actors in a scene, just like PCs, and should be able to attack and move and use items normally, regardless of Threat Dice rolls. If your crew is attacked by water-dwelling krolguin, which they were in the actual play, the creatures would get to make attacks each round. They have 2d6 Threat Dice. So the GM would roll 2d6 each round an if a 1-2 is indicated, then one or more of the creatures would do an extra thing, such as shake off half damage on an attack or something unexpected like whip out its own vulgar magic spell.

Also, the special abilities listed for each creature are not limited to Threat. For example, the ickmuck's claws cause sickness. This is not a Threat action, it's just what happens. Any time a gooz is clawed by an ickmuck, they player should probably make a Prowess check to avoid falling sick. If they fail, then they should roll on the Sickness table on page 8 to see how bad it is.

One thing I noticed in this actual play was that the PCs were slaughtering singular enemies with ease. This is because I wanted combat to go quickly! I wanted to have one-shot-kills. The balancing factor is that creatures, especially in numbers, can quickly destroy the PCs via Threat and by high damage rolls.

Let's look at the krolguin again.

You encounter them. GM rolls 3d6 for pack size and gets 12. Each one has 4 HP (or 1d8). If you're using a 1d6 damage weapon, you're going to be doing about 7 to 10 points of damage per hit, on average. You're probably going to kill a krolguin with each strike.

But there are 12 of them. Each round the GM rolls 2d6 for Threat, so very frequently a Threat will occur. Maybe a few of them grab the boat and capsize it. Maybe one of them is a wizard and casts something nasty like Lightning Strike. Things can go wrong very quickly!

But PCs are resilient and have GOOZ to spend. Also, monsters may fail a Morale Check and run away (this happened in the actual play). There are many ways a GM can leverage the rules to make encounters more brutal or less brutal, as the game-story needs.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts. I should start considering a revision of the rules with a few clarifying bits. What is in my head doesn't always come across on the page as clearly as I think it does.

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