Sunday, January 20, 2013

Greystar's Take on Experience and Combat

copyright 1984 by V Autumn, S Scherf, and K Autumn

Chapters III and IV of Scherf and Autumn's The Complete Works of Zorin Greystar - Book One regard 'Experience' and 'Combat.'  Although 'Experience' is the third chapter and appears before the fourth chapter, 'Combat,' page 40 reads “CHAPTER IV - Experience” and page 52 reads “CHAPTER III - Combat.”  Both chapters are 'narrated' by Lord Toran of the Dragonsback Mountains; however, Zorin chimes in occasionally via means of a 'Time Stop' spell (much to Toran's chagrin).

In the Greystar system, player characters start at “zero-th” level.  They have the same hit points as a first level character, but their capabilities are diminished:  they attack and save as 0 level fighters.  “Thief and assassin character types subtract 10% from all ability percentages.”  There is a 50% chance for successful spellcasting; this chance increases by 1% for each experience point gained, up to a maximum of 95%.

Regarding experience, each character class has a 'constant.'  Thieves have the lowest constant at 90 while mages have the highest at 150; this represents the amount of experience a character needs to rise to first level.  This constant is also used in calculating experience necessary to reach higher levels.  A mage needs 450 experience to attain level two, 900 experience to reach level three, 1,500 for level four, etc.

It may not seem that much experience is needed to gain levels, but experience is awarded differently using the Greystar way.  Characters receive one point per level/hit die of a defeated opponent, with up to double that amount depending on the effectiveness of the opponent's “abilities.”  Experience gained via combat is not divided among a party; each participating character receives the full amount.  'Participating' means “endangered by or interacting with the enemy.”  If a defeated opponent has “exceptional abilities” and has level/hit dice exceeds a participating character's level by at least ten, that character receives additional experience.  The amount of additional experience is based, in part, on which “abilities” the opponent possessed.  Experience is also awarded when a character uses class abilities (e.g., spellcasting, thief skills) either “in combat or in a non-repetitive fashion.”  Characters do not receive experience for obtaining treasure.

Speaking of combat, Toran explains that two 20-sided dice should be used when attempting to strike an opponent.  One die is used in the usual way to determine hit or miss; this is called the 'hit die.'  (This could lead to confusion, I would have called it the 'strike die.')  The second die is called the 'luck die.'  If the result of the luck die is '20' and a successful hit is indicated on the hit die, an 'exceptional hit' occurs.  If the result of the luck die is '01' and the hit die indicates a miss, a 'fumble' may occur.  There is a percentage chance equal to the character's level “of turning a fumble into an ordinary miss.”

In the event of a fumble, a d% roll is made on 'Fumble Chart A'; the result indicates the type of fumble and which of seven other fumble charts to consult.  For instance, a result of 56 – 70 states, “Weapon entangled, roll on Chart E.”  Chart E requires fumblers to make a dexterity roll; failure produces results like “knock shield from grasp” or “trip self.”

With a critical an exceptional hit,body placement is determined; the hit could land on the arms, head, legs, or torso.  (There are modifiers for targeting a particular area, but only an exceptional hit grants exceptional effects.)  Each area has its own table which is further divided into sub-areas.  For instance, with 'Arms' the sub-areas are:  arm (general), elbow, forearm, hand, and upper arm.  Most sub-areas have their own table; regardless, the effects are à la Hargrave.  (Yes, “buttock removed” is a possibility:  3-18 damage, unconscious for 1-3 turns, movement slowed to 30% normal rate.)

There are also rules on weapon breakage, which can occur as a fumble result “or if a weapon is struck against a hard object (of armor class 3 or better) with combat force (when an 18 or greater is rolled on the luck die).”  The chance of breaking is expressed as a percentage chance determined by a complex formula (or by consulting the Weapon Breakage Chart).  Whether using chart or formula, it is necessary to know the “weapon substance constant,” which can vary from 0 (stone) to 16 (adamantine steel).  Armor can also be damaged (due to falls, severe blows, etc.) and armor class thus worsened.

copyright 1984 by V Autumn, S Scherf, and K Autumn

1 comment:

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