Comments on 2019-08-15 Deep Carbon Observatory Day 1

Sounds like a very busy session! 🙂

per my house rules if you bring an opponent to zero hit-points with a melee weapon that could conceivably be used to deal non-lethal damage, then the opponent is at your mercy.

This made me think of a rule in Blood & Bronze (but quite possibly originating elsewhere) that I have been flirting with:

A character can attack in melee any other character in her zone, making use of the Use Force [attack] skill. The skill allows for all-out attacks with the intent to murder, as well as attempts to disarm, subdue, crush, trip, be-hand and so forth. The target chooses whether to accept the outcome or to suffer damage instead.

It seems this can (and is intended to) preclude the need for any number of complicated special case rules (grappling being one not mentioned above) changing it into a question of “how badly do you want to resist being disarmed and what price in HP are you willing to pay?” which I think is interesting.

Note that I haven’t read the rules in full and at a glance it isn’t clear to me if damage is rolled/known before the decision or not.

– Björn Buckwalter 2019-10-01 13:05 UTC


That’s basically the same rule, as far as I can tell. Mine originated here: 2015-09-17 Combat Maneuvers. Enemies are always free to give up before they’re down to zero hp, of course, but they never do. All that matters is the last hit. And once we’re there, I think there’s no point in the gamble of having to agree to submission before damage is rolled. That doesn’t sound very interesting to me.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-01 14:27 UTC


Excellent blog post by @Halfjack on how to invoke fear and confusion at the table (limiting information, rushing decisions) and the dangers of doing that (annoying the people at the table instead of their characters).

It’s a story telling technique, not a game mechanism. When you rush or interrupt people, they get anxious. When they don’t have enough information they get the Fear. When they know the danger is real but don’t know the direction that is dangerous, they get careful.

I’d say there was definitely pushback from players to the idea of providing limited information and rushing things: they wanted to solved every single emergency. They didn’t want to save one person and have the others drown so they said: we have many henchman. A does this. B does that. And so on. So at the table, it got divvied up and ended up being not so scary.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-03 12:04 UTC


Thanks for providing the link to your original post to combat maneuvers! Indeed it seems your rule is the same as that in Blood & Bronze, and the fact that you are using it successfully at your table increases my confidence in that it could work well at mine too. That “Conan metric” is great too. 🙂

– Björn Buckwalter 2019-10-07 10:08 UTC


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