Monday, 25 April 2011

'X' is for ?

I'm drawing a blank for 'X' ... anyone? Bueller?
Posted by caffeinated at 8:19 PM in d10

U is for Ulric's Fury

In many games there exists a mechanic of "the Critical Hit." A Critical Hit is generally the rule abstraction in combat that represents superior swordsmanship (fantasy), the perfect grenade throw (modern), or phaser blast (sci-fi).

WFRP 2e introduced Ulric's Fury. Urlic is the God of Battle, Winter and Wolves and in this aspect during a fight he may "bless" a combatant with a powerful, and often brutal, blow. The damage can be 2x, 3x, even 10x, normal. In WFRP, this is typically a killing blow.

The "Rules as Written" follow:
When the player rolls a 10 on the [damage] die, the character may have struck a particularly brutal blow. Roll to hit again, using all the same modifiers as for the initial roll. If this second roll is successful, this unleashes the fury of Ulric, the ancient and revered God of Battle. The player can roll an additional 1d10 and add the result to the Damage Total. Should the result of this die also be a 10, Ulric has indeed smiled upon the character.

The player may immediately roll a third 1d10 and add that to the Damage Total as well. This process continues until the player rolls less than a 10. Only then does Ulric's Fury come to an end.
How this is actually played in a game is another matter. While I cannot speak for other GMs, I'll speak for myself: I never require the second "weapon skill" check. If you roll a 10 on the damage die, you roll again, ad infinitum, until you don't roll a 10.

Generally, my "house ruling" follows because I hate a mechanic that "steals" the success of the player character at the table. There is a moment of explosive excitement, in a particularly tense combat between the hero and some thrall to the Ruinous Power, where the player rolls a hit and is determining damage rolls a 10. YES! Table is engaged at that moment in the action, setting, and role play (yes, I believe that combat can be soil for great role play).

Then to have a mechanic essentially take that from the player by "confirming the hit' is depressing. It literally sucks the excitement from the table. I've seen it happen.

The argument against my house rule will typically fall into three buckets: 1) The Rules as Written are sacred, 2) Balance!, 3) godly favor should not be 10%. In rebuttal, I offer:

Many GMs may argue The Rules as Written are "guidelines," not the Word of God. Hence I liberally adhere to or modify the rules as my game or players see fit, but not so as to create another game. As far as balance is concerned, what is good for the PC is good for the NPC. Their deities may well bless them with Khorne's Killing Knock. And finally, I'm not sure I have a problem with the higher percentage. Balanced against having to hit first, given Dodge, Parry, and other environment modifiers, the actual opportunity to roll a damage die is an appropriate attenuation to the modified rule.
Posted by caffeinated at 10:00 AM in d10