Sunday, May 1, 2016

Combat and Damage in The Adventures of Indiana Jones

In The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game (hereinafter Adventures), combat turns last five seconds each.  During a combat turn, a character can either attack, move, or do something else.  An attack – whether firing a rifle, using a whip, or throwing a punch – entails a Prowess check.  Various modifiers can apply to these checks.  Firing a weapon at medium range imposes a ×½ modifier; long range exacts a ×¼ modifier.  Attempting a “specific action,” like shooting “the knife out of a goon's hand,” imposes a ×½ modifier.  There are no weapon skills.  The only combat skill is karate.  With karate, a character engaged in bare-handed fighting can attempt special actions without the ×½ modifier.  Also, rolling a 'Lucky Break' when using karate means “your character automatically knocks his opponent unconscious, and he may attack another opponent in the same turn.”

Damage can be either Light, Medium, or Serious depending upon the degree of success of the check.  In Adventures, there are two forms of combat damage:  injuries and wounds.  Injuries (or brawling damage) “can lead to unconsciousness, but never to death...Injuries are always temporary.”  Wounds (or shooting damage) “can lead to unconsciousness and death...Also, your character must take time to recover from wounds.”  This damage distinction is similar to that in Crimefighters.

To determine hit location, the Action Results Table is consulted using the reverse of the Prowess check result.  (e.g., A '48' on the Prowess check indicates a result of '84' on the Action Results Table.)  Warhammer, published in 1986, employs the same concept.  The Action Results Table shows results for “shooting,” “wrestling,” “punching,” and “kicking.”  Brawling does not require determination of hit location but punching and kicking results are provided to “add color to your game.”

The Action Results Table also indicates what happens when a wrestling attack is successful.  The possibilities are grapple, hold, trip, and throw.  The effect of a 'grapple' is that “both characters fall to the floor and struggle with each other.”  A 'hold' means that one's opponent is prevented from using his or her hands (except to break the hold).  A 'trip' causes the opponent to fall to the floor while a 'throw' result means the opponent is thrown five feet in a direction of the attacker's choice

Rather than indicating if a weapon causes wounds (necessitating hit location) or injuries (hit location irrelevant), Adventures lists weapons as either brawling or shooting.  This results in the rather confusing classification of swords as shooting weapons.  Incidentally, a sword does the same amount of damage as a broken bottle.  The 'severity' of weapon may increase or reduce injuries or wounds.  Blackjacks – which cause injury damage – have a severity of +2; as such, they only cause Serious injuries, not Light or Medium.

Adventures characters do not have hit points; instead, wounds and injuries have effects.  For instance, a Medium injury requires that the victim must attempt a Strength check; failure means unconsciousness while success means that the victim's Attributes are at ×½ through the next combat turn.  A Medium wound on either leg causes a ×½ modifier to Movement Rating.  Multiple wounds can can increase the severity of damage.  Two Light wounds in the same location have the effect of a Medium wound (but heal as two Light wounds).  Two Medium wounds to a specific location have the effect of a Serious wound.  If a character suffers two Serious wounds regardless of location, a Strength check is attempted; failure means unconsciousness.  Three Serious wounds regardless of location causes unconscious and a failed Strength check means death.  Four Serious wounds causes death.

Should a character fall unconscious due to damage, every combat turn a Backbone check (at no greater than ×½) is attempted; success means that the character recovers consciousness.  Until the character rests for six hours, all Attributes of the character are at ×½.

Wounds heal in stages; a Serious wound 'heals' to a Medium wound and a Medium wound 'heals' to a Light wound.  To recover from a Serious wound, the character attempts a Backbone check three weeks after the damage is inflicted.  A successful check reduces the wound to Medium; otherwise, other checks may be attempted on a weekly basis (but the wound automatically becomes Medium after six weeks).  Medium wounds are handled similarly, except the initial waiting period is one week, other Backbone checks can be attempted every three days thereafter, and the wound automatically becomes Light after three weeks.  For Light wounds, the initial waiting time is three days, other checks can be attempted daily thereafter, but the wound automatically heals after a week.  A Lucky Break on a Backbone check for healing could mean that a Serious wound becomes Light or that a Medium wound becomes completely healed.  A Bad Break on a Backbone check for healing could mean the severity of the wound increases due to infection “or it could mean that [the wound] leaves a scar.”   Successful medical attention can reduce healing times.

Of course, characters can suffer damage outside of combat, like from fires or falling.  Such events have “Danger Ratings” which are the equivalent of Prowess with regard to determining damage.  For instance, a sixty foot fall has a Danger Rating of 120; this means a character who falls sixty feet is targeted by one attack at a Prowess of 100 and an additional attack at a Prowess of 20.

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