Thursday, October 20, 2022

Violence as an Escalating Threat

 "Player-relevant social traditions" for GLoGtober 2022

One idea that I've been coming back to over and over is the reinterpretation of a core gameplay procedure through the stringent social mores of a fictional civilization. Player would have the expectation that their characters and almost all NPCs are the kind of people who would adhere to the mores, such that there's not gameplay option to ignore them-- they're a simple rule of the game like dungeon Turns or making a save when you get poisoned. There's a lot of directions you could take the idea, but the following is a fairly straightforward implementation of a combat procedure.


Class features

  • Thief: Can ambush people as though they were animals and monsters. Can attack with killing intent in an ambush. Extra knick.
  • Fighter: Other fighters must accept your challenges, but not necessarily your terms. Attack before non-knights. Extra guard.
  • Magic-User: When ambushed, you start with the moral protection of a noncombatant. Your spells may escalate violence out of order. Extra lifeblood.
  • Cleric: +1 moral protection. Can not participate in butchery against any but the worst. Extra vitality.
  • Barbarian: You have different strictures in combat, more onerous but allowing for special opportunities.

Violence (Once per round, you may escalate by one step. Unless you have a special ability, you must start at 0 and work your way up.)

  • 0: Engagement. Grabs, footwork, getting in measure, blade upon blade. Damages Guard (conditional DR, peasants surrender when depleted)
  • 1: Melee. Strikes, bruises, kicks, creating openings, blade upon armor. Damages Knick (AC and fatigue, yeomen surrender when depleted)
  • 2: Deadly combat. Slashes, stabs, headshots, blade upon flesh. Damages Vitality (precious HP, knights surrender when HP below morale)
  • 3: Butchery. Running through, mercy strokes, artillery, blade upon the marrows. Damages Lifeblood (your very attributes, tyrants cease when depleted)

Moral protections

  • 0: Monster/animal. May butcher on sight. May ambush.
  • 1: Outlaw. May kill on sight. May ambush.
  • 2: Enemy. Cannot escalate violence out of order, must give quarter and pay traditional respects.
  • 3: Official/pledged to same lord. Cannot escalate past melee.
  • 4: Noncombatant. Cannot escalate past engagement.
  • 5: Sacred. Cannot initiate or escalate violence against them.

1 comment:

  1. Is this intentionally inspired by Dogs in the Vineyard, or?