Saturday, March 8, 2014

Age and Treachery vs. Youth and Superstrength

We've all seen this: Hypertrophied Man decides to throw down with Crossbow. The fight takes place on a crowded street. Hypertrophied Man decides to use his Infinitely Muscled (4) cliche. The type of combat he choses is Power based. Crossbow's best cliche is Baron of Broadpoints (4). H-Man has a Power Cliche and Crossbow's is Movement/Skill. Using my diagram from 'A Good Cliche Is Never Inappropriate' we find Crossbow is screwed since his cliche is inappropriate against H-Man's. H-Man might just have to beat him in one exchange or just exceed a target number to haul the master of Archaic Archery in. This makes some sense as a steel tipped bolt won't bother a man who survives a tac-nuke going off in his hand.

What can we do to remedy this unwanted realism? Without too big a Risus hack?

Off the bat Crossbow could sacrifice one or more Lucky Shot dice to change the nature of the combat to Movement/Skill at the gm's whim. H-Man has to fall back on Faster Than a Speeding Kestrel (3). Crossbow beats him by loosing a flurry of shots at innocent bystanders. He distracts H-Man long enough to escape! The referee could make it a bidding war to decide the nature of the combat.

Or we could give the street itself a cliche: Innocent Bystanders (4). Crossbow can attack the bystanders instead of attacking H-Man. In effect Crossbow uses the street's cliche. If H-Man wins the combat he gets all the people to safety (innocent bystanders rarely hang around when capes and masks throw down.) If he loses Crossbow gets away (and optionally someone got HURT.) In a case like this you might want to cap the location's cliche at the character's cliche level. So Inadequate Man with B-Villain (2) could only use 2 dice of the street's cliche.

A location could also give a number of Questing Dice. Ducking Behind Innocents (5) would let you add a die five times to your cliche (or brevet dice) roll or absorb five hits.

Finally you can use the idea of relative success. Set a target number for the location Innocent Bystanders 20. Win or lose if you roll under that number you either lose the fight or cause an injury. This works for both characters using appropriate cliches particularly well.

There are other features that could allow a character an advantage; Cluttered Location, Delicate Machinery, Bad Visibility, Electrical Storm etc. A location might attack all the characters fighting in it: Burning House (3) or Poison Gas (4.)