Monday, April 5, 2010

Spirit of Greyhawk - Damage Revisited

On the heels of a prior post about damage and SoG, some information about a SotC mod known as "2/4/6/8 damage" was provided to me. Apparently the 2/4/6/8 modification was created to provide a grittier play experience. So we'll give it a go.

Irresistable non sequiter: "You know nothing of The Grit!"
(paraphrased from "The Mighty Boosh" who likely stole it from Winston Churchill)

Naboo: You've read all the books, but when it comes to the crunch - where are you?
Saboo: How dare you speak to me of The Crunch! You know nothing of The Crunch. You've never even been to The Crunch.
Naboo: I've been there once.
Saboo: Oh, a little day trip around The Crunch. We can all go as tourists.

(ahem) Anyway, bringing it back around...

I don't know if there's a real provenance for the 2/4/6/8 damage mechanic--it's in the community and I'm using it. I provide this writeup as I'm going to playtest it in this weekend's upcoming SoG game, along with psionics. Hopefully this weekend's game is where the merde hits the ventilateur for this particular adventure and plentiful opportunities to test out both modifications will arise (mu-hu-ha)!

Stress Tracks

For every creation phase for a "named" character, give them the usual base of 1 stress box per phase. All SotC stunt and skill-related modifications to the stress track still apply.

So the typical SotC PC would have 5 stress boxes.

Keep in mind that in application to the Greyhawk source material, my quick-and-dirty conversion factor is that each creation phase is probably good for about 2 AD&D levels of experience. In other words, the typical SotC PC with 5 creation phases would tend to imply a 10th level AD&D character.


Consequences work more or less as you know them in SotC RAW, in that a "named" character still has the baseline of being able to deal with 3 consequences before being taken out. All SotC RAW skills and stunts related to adding / removing consequences are still in effect.

However, there are now 4 consequences that could be inflicted...

  • Minor (treated as per normal)
  • Moderate (treated as per normal)
  • Severe (treated as per normal)
  • Extreme (receiving this consequence also creates a "permanent" damage-related aspect that would require something like Regeneration or Restoration to negate)

...but consistent with SotC, you can only have 3 consequences and only 1 of each kind (barring some stunt/skill adjustment). So for what this 4th consequence means, see the next section.

Applying Stress & Consequences

The process by which stress is applied is only slightly different.

Determine the amount of stress applied to a target. So let's use an example where a PC with 5 stress-boxes is thumped for 6 stress. Since 6 exceeds the PC's physical stress track, he is considered "taken out" UNLESS the PC accepts a consequence, which is pretty consistent with SotC. Remember that a PC can "trade in" consequences for stress boxes any time; it's at the player's discretion.

The severity of the consequence is related to a certain "reduction" of stress boxes:

  • Minor (worth a reduction of 2 stress boxes)
  • Moderate (worth a reduction of 4 stress boxes)
  • Severe (worth a reduction of 6 stress boxes)
  • Extreme (worth a reduction of 8 stress boxes)

So using the example above, the player who received the 6 stress has the option to avoid being taken out by either:

  • Accept a Minor consequence and receive 4 stress (6 - 2 = 4)
  • Accept a Moderate consequence and receive 2 stress (6 - 4 = 2)
  • Accept a Severe consequence and receive 0 stress (6 - 6 = 0)

All SotC stress roll-up rules still apply.

Recovery Time

Recovering from consequences is is pretty much the same as SotC RAW, but I'll show it here with the Extreme consequence:

  • Minor ("take a breather" for a few minutes)
  • Moderate (several days recovery to clear)
  • Severe (several weeks recovery to clear)
  • Extreme (several months of recovery to clear, but even still there's a permanent loss somehow, expressed by an Aspect.

Some examples of Extreme consequences might be:

  • Luke gets his hand cut off by Vader's lightsaber.
  • Frodo stabbed by the Nazgul's blade--even though Elrond "healed" him, he still carried the effects of that wound the rest of his life.
  • Harry Dresden's hand being burned during the showdown with Mavra's Scourge

So what I really like about this is the fact that it's such a small modification and how much fun and (oh I'm gonna say it) "grit" this adds without very much re-work at all.

Giving credit where credit is due: A huge amount of thanks to Bill Burdick for the research.

Psionic Effects coming up next!


Anonymous said...

provenance for the 2/4/6/8 damage mechanic

I believe that this originated in Starblazer Adventures.

Also, have you heard about the Dresden Files pre order. There is a load of interesting ideas on stress, consequences, and recovery.

And I'm absolutely in love with system for magic!

Mike Olson said...

-2/-4/-6 was pretty widespread in the FATE/SotC community before SA came out -- I remember using it in a "Spirit of the West" one-shot before I'd ever heard of it, and I know I didn't make it up. I'm actually surprised you weren't aware of it already, Guy!

But yeah, SA was the first published product to make use of it.

Anonymous said...


Yeah, 2/4/6 was around before SA but they where the guys who dialed it up to 8. I have often wondered if they where tempted to go all the way to 11. 8)

Unknown said...

Well I had heard of it vaguely, but I hadn't seen a public version of it that explained it sufficiently to grab me.

Biff, I haven't purchased it yet. I'm busy reading the new book now and am posting this on a break from reading! :)

Pertinent to our modding efforts, I saw a post that makes an important distinction about Fate, the OGL and the Dresden Files' property.

I'm not gonna summarize it here, but let's say my original plans to pillage DFRPG for the magic system are somewhat hampered unless SoG goes totally off the grid.

Plus to be fair anyway, the Dresden Files magic system appears to be a different vibe from what I'm going for in the Greyhawk recreation. So I'm gonna keep plowing ahead on the SoG Vancian magic system.

Worse comes to worst, I can always fall back to a "steal shamelessly from what will be Fate 3E" strategy anyway.

Mike Olson said...

Plus to be fair anyway, the Dresden Files magic system appears to be a different vibe from what I'm going for in the Greyhawk recreation.

Yeah, it's not like DFRPG's magic system and supernatural qualities and all that couldn't be adapted to another setting, but the implementation is kinda 45 degrees off from what I/you have been doing. I'm happy to use it for a DFRPG game, but I can't see using it as a base for anything else I'd want to do. It's a little too... listy for me.

Unknown said...

I'm happy to use it for a DFRPG game, but I can't see using it as a base for anything else I'd want to do.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

When I said I was absolutely in love with the Magic system I only meant that I was absolutely in love with the magic system! I was not suggesting it for your Greyhawk conversion.

But I believe that with very little tweaking it could be used for Greyhawk style magic. The system is simple, elegant, flexible and I love it. YMMV.

I intend to use it myself for a Diablo II campaign.

Anonymous said...


Rob and Fred discuss the as open as we can make it stuff you referred to.

They posit a fan produced SRD. In fact, they suggest that it would be useful to them in determining what people want to see in FATE 3.0 core. You just need to avoid DFRPG's and Jim's IP.

So instead of magic based on Evocation, Thamaturgy, Conviction, Lore, and Discipline you could have Spells, Ritual, Mana, Mysteries and Resolve.