Reviews and Ramblings
MIDDENARDE - PART 7 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 6 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 5 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 4 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
View All Articles
GM Startup Guide by PurpleXVI - 06/10/09
View All Articles
DORF FORT ELLPEE by CAPSLOCKGUY - 10/19/08
View All Articles
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 6
07:23pm EDT - 8/16/2015
202 pages into Kromore and we actually get to the rules in any sort of concise format. We had a "RULES BASICS" at the start that only told us how many dice to roll, and nothing else. We had some scattered stuff in the Skills section on how skill checks worked and what a given difficulty of a check was. But it's not until 202 pages in that we hit the majority of the ruleset. Just to recap what we've already been told, though, because the game doesn't do that
for us even though we were introduced to them a couple hundred pages back... the basic check is a roll of STATd4+SKILLRANKS with no weirdnesses or complications, no critical successes or failures, you either beat a static number(for most checks) or an enemy's roll.
The first thing the chapter tells us is that we're gonna need a board or battlemat(informing us in the process that hex grids are vastly superior to square grids), this makes sense when we check the index and find that literally the entire rules chapter is combat, leaving the full extent of non-combat stuff as what we can do with skill checks and the few spells that aren't about throwing some variety of painful elemental energy at enemies(or summoning things to cut their faces wide open). Then we're told how to roll initiative, what a round consists of(five seconds of real time, split into three actions that we can assign as we see fit, unless we do a single thing that consumes more than one action, like some spells... and about half the list of default actions, like attacking with a two-handed weapon or just about any skill check. Some things, like putting on heavy armor, require up to nine
actions, meaning that they consume a total of three full rounds). All these actions are just actions
I'll note. No major, minor, free, bonus or whatever separation, removing the need to keep track of any such goofery.
In the game's defense, it's all pretty neatly organized. There's one table that contains all the default actions, you can quickly check if something provokes free attacks if done at melee range and how many actions it takes... attacking and defending is also relatively simple. Rather than having separate dodge and damage resistance, like most modern games, or having one huge dodge pool like D&D, there's just one big soak/damage resistance pool. First dodge subtracts from incoming damage, then your shield, then your armor and finally it impacts your life points. Shields and armor also have their own pools of hit points, which, when drained, mean they're coming apart and can no longer soak up anything, as well as a damage resistance stat indicating how much they can soak per round. It's a bit abstract, definitely not for anyone obsessed with verisimilitude, but it seems like it'd make combat flow pretty quickly since you're just rolling once to attack(weapon damage + Muscle or Agility + your combat bonuses), versus a static number(Dodge+Shield+Armor).
FINISHING A TARGET
A character can spend a 3 actions to kill an unconscious and immobile target with direct contact to Life Points of that target. This is a target unable to fight back. Considered a mercy killing or a murder.
Despite my moderate praise, though, the writing is still fucking awful. What does it even mean to have DIRECT CONTACT TO LIFE POINTS OF THAT TARGET? This is nothing compared to the next section which uses CRITICAL CALLED ATTACK so many times it's lost what little meaning it has, including all its permutations like "critical called area attack" and "critical call called attack." For some reason the mechanic for making targeted attacks isn't just "called attacks," it's critical called attacks. It's making me dizzy just trying to read these pages.
Any attack can deal critical damage. The amount of LP dealt in an attack to a region represents a critical hit to that region. A critical hit is a one time attack and the amount of LP taken at one time from an attack represents the devastating blow.
Sure, any attack can deal critical damage, but "critical damage" is something that only happens when you hit a specific region of someone, and you can only hit specific regions when making critical called attacks, not when just attacking normally(unless we're supposed to assume that normal attacks are critical called attacks to the torso/"body"? ...which it tells us several pages later, almost at the end of the actual combat rules). These sure are some words but fuck if they don't lose all meaning in this idiot writer's hands.
The rules for critical damage are surprisingly detailed and brutal, and reward having some sort of medic or healer in the party. Basically any attack will cause at least a temporary effect(in the case of limbs and body, most likely just a "scar" for low damage), but if you go more than 24 hours without medical treatment, a lot of them advance into becoming permanent effects(this also happens if someone completely fucks up trying to heal a temporary effect). The name is a bit of a misnomer, though, as "permanent" effects can still be cured by medicine(and for that matter, "temporary" effects aren't temporary either, they don't seem to go away with time? I can't tell). It... doesn't say whether permanent effects replace
the temporary effects, or simply stack on top, but I have to assume that they stack on top, otherwise broken bones would magically heal themselves after 24 hours.
Though either way it leads to some weirdnesses, like severed heads not causing death until 24 hours later, severed limbs not bleeding until 24 hours later, gushing arteries(which you'd be lucky to survive for a couple of minutes, 1 LP lost per round, 5 seconds, between 10 and 15 LP's in most cases, critical damage causing the bleeding likely already removing the majority of your LP's... a tourniquet can solve the problem temporarily, I suppose) turning into internal bleeding. A severed arm will, 24 hours later, cause the much slower internal
bleeding(1LP per hour), while a severed hand instantly
causes a gushing instadeath artery(likewise losing any "appendage," defined as an eye, finger, toe, ear or "other." That's right, losing an ear will make you bleed out faster than someone lopping off your fucking arm), yet broken
arms and legs also cause instant bleeding... okay there's something
fucking goofy here, though I can see what the author was trying to do.
Moving on to the section about movement and facing, which is largely just common-sense stuff about when someone is considered to be facing, flanking, etc. I also have to give Kromore props for illustrating everything
with diagrams. Most of it is, as said, pretty common sense, but it ensures that there's literally no doubt and everyone can follow along, even if they're relatively unused to RPG's and boardgames. It also starts to become obvious that Kromore is really
envisioned as a combat-heavy boardgame, more than an actual RPG, in most cases, especially in light of all the character abilities being, in 95% of all cases, aimed towards combat uses only.
Also we don't have falling damage in Kromore. We've got SASFAFF.
Surface & Stun From A Fitness Failure(S.A.S.F.A.F.F.)
I could literally not make this up. They invented an entire custom acronym for something that fills a grand total of half a page and consists of checking how far they fell(which requires paging back to the skills chapter, and seeing what height a given difficulty of skill check for climbing fits with), then referring to the matching row for what kind of damage they take(stun or lethal), how much damage and how many rounds they'll spend stunned. Despite the dedicated mechanic name, falling is actually reasonably safe in Kromore. Most people will have 10 to 15 Life Points, and a fall of 26 to 35 feet will do 3d4 damage(3d4+3 if it's on to a hard surface), which there are good odds of surviving(though you'll probably break your legs or something). The scale also isn't open-ended, damage caps out at 6d4(+5, for a hard or jagged surface), meaning an average of 20 damage from just about any distance(no special rules for atmospheric re-entry). With armor and shields being included in soaking falling damage... just a thick suit of platemail and a tower shield could let us survive a fall from near the edge of the atmosphere.
There are also a few weirdnesses here and there in the tables, being medium or large gives you a +1 to dodge, being one step up, huge, is a +2, then down to a +1 again for gigantic, 0 for enormous and -1 for colossal. Why that arbitrary bump for Huge?
More nice attention to detail in the combat rules, though, as we're told what side effects elemental damage has(rules for ice spells locking up enemy armor by freezing it, electrical spells breaking sensitive electronics, how long fires will continue to burn, and a handy table for converting ice magic damage to how much you can freeze solid, in case you want to use ice bolts to cross a river or something). Also standard damage values for various environmental objects exploding, like fireworks, gas tanks, etc.(according to the rules, the average person in Kromore is almost guaranteed to survive a "grill propane tank" exploding right next to him unless it rolls absolutely maximum damage. Most of my understanding of exploding propane is from videogames, but shouldn't that be relatively fatal? Of course, Kromore isn't too realistic. Cars in Kromore apparently explode like in Hollywood action movies, according to the table).
When something is frozen it requires time to thaw before it is useable again.
The table includes damage values for freezing warm-blooded creatures, but doesn't specify whether PC's survive cryogenic suspension or whether it kills them outright.
The end of the chapter is half a page of rules for time travel, which summarizes as follows: First we have to leave reality, then we have to use a captured soul of a Lovecrafty "Realm" creature as a guide to drag us back in time. We cannot go forwards in time beyond where we've actually been "naturally." However, any time traveller can bring along hitchhikers, and they CAN be brought further forward than they themselves have been. Unfortunately, all "technological" items crumble in the world outside the physical universe, so we can't smuggle plasma guns into the past and set ourselves up as a techno warlord. I've no idea what they define as "technology," though.
A character who alters a previous time will cause a ripple effect that generates a new time line.
This alternate universe exists within the realms and results in another matter realm.
Kromore’s history within this text represents the original history of Kromore, but that history has the potential for parallel versions if characters change the time line. This change allows for multiple versions and histories to exist within the universe of Kromore.
Coincidentally, the chapter titled "The Kromore Universe" begins on the next page, so I guess we'll shortly find out just what the canonical Kromore is like.
Right now, though, I'm kind of disappointed that Kromore wasn't more of an amusing clusterfuck in the rules section, so I'm taking a break.