Dungeon Crawler for Rolemaster – Part 8: base attack spells

Last week I discussed already two of the three spell types:

  • non attack spells, and
  • elemental attack spells.

This week I will think about the third category: base attack spells.

Up until now there is no real need to introduce realms. However base attack spells change the tide. Now resistances against essence, channeling, or mentalism come into play.

Base attack spells
Resolving base attack spells include several different aspects. Depending on the spells realm it is important if the target wears metal, leather, or cloth armor. The target’s resistance modifier also comes into play. Then there is the caster’s level and the target’s level. And finally the target may resist the spell with a resistance roll.

In my opinion the original process is not very intuitive. First the attackes does his attack roll. This results in a bonus the defender has to apply to his resistance roll. Then the defender has to compare his result with a threshold. To make things easier for my group I already reengineered the process. While keeping the outcome exactly the same, I reordered the calculation a bit and converted it into a compatitive roll. Higher roll wins.Thus I have quite some experience with this resolution process already.

The first major decision is if I want to keep resistance per realm or merge everything into a single value. I want to keep the dungeon crawler as simple as possible. Since up until now it was not neccessary to introduce realms, I will stick with it. Hence I go with the option of merging everything into one joint resistance value.

The next decision is how to speed up things. Doing an attacker roll and a defender roll is quite slow. Especially if a spell targets multiple creatures.Therefore I go with a procedure where only the attacker rolls the attack and each target has its individual threshold. Let’s have an example. A caster attacks three targets. The attacker’s attack results in a 12. Target one has a resistance value of 14 and resist the spell. Target two has a resistance value of 10 and fails to resist by 2. Finally target three has a resistance value of 8 and therefore fails miserable by 4. With this system it should be possible to quickly resolve spells, even spells against multiple targets. This system is especially great if a player targets multiple monster. When a monster targets a player it is maybe better to let the player roll to resist. The player is more involved and has his fate in his own hands. Therefore I think about converting a 14 restistance value into a 1d20+4.


Conversion

So I start with the BASE SPELL ATTACK TABLE -15.1. First I compared the column „general“ with those for targets wearing leather armor and calculated a penalty for targeting foes in leather armor. Then I actually converted this penalty into a bonus to the target’s resistance that comes with its armor. I repeated the process for target’s wearing metal armor.

Then I moved to the RESISTANCE ROLL TABLE – 15.5. It seems that a higher level on the attacker side boosts the attack, while the same higher level on the target side increases the resistance equally. As a first step I extend the table’s range up to level 20. If a level 20 attacks a level 1 the value is 100. While if a level 1 attacks a level 20 the table shows a value of 0. This means if you have 19 levels difference you gain +50 points – either for your attack or for your resistance. I simple take the average 50/19 that is roughly 2.5 per level. Converting this from the D100 into a D20 system results in 0.5 per level or simply level/2.

Now I turned to the table BASE ATTACK ROLL MODIFICATIONS – 15.2. First bonus on attacker side is the level of caster. It only applies for pure and hybrid spell users and is 1 point per level. Since the dungeon crawler is D20 based I can only give out 1 point per 5 levels. I decide to give the first point at level 1, the next with level 6, the next with level 11, and so on. I will not consider items and spell especially. I also will skip the defender’s race as I never understood why it is applied twice – as a base attack modifer and as a resistance modifier. I still think this is an error. In our usual game we only apply it during the resistance roll. Together with the target stat bonus it is acually the essence/channeling/mentalism resistance. The target’s cover will be handled the same way as with weapons utilizing 5E’s disadvantage. And range – especially touching – will be handled using 5E’s advantage.

The last table to consult is the RESISTANCE ROLL MODIFICATIONS – 15.6. As before I will not consider item and spell especially. However for the race bonus I use the RACE ABILITY TABLE and take the average of the resistance modifiers for the three realms. Finally I convert the value from D100 to D20. Moving on. I think a bonus for a willing target will not be neccessary. If a target is willing it may choose not to resist. The next entry „same realm“ is a little bit tricky. Since I have not distinguished between different realms it is quite hard to determine. Anyway if there are no seperate realms every spell caster has more or less the same realm – the one existing. Therefore I will skip this bonus. The last entry is the target’s stat bonus. As a GM I always have my problems with that one. Since most of the monsters and NPCs donot have stats their resistance is quite low. So in reality only player characters benefit from this bonus. Anyway in my opinion this bonus should reflect, that a spell user has a higher resistance than let’s say a fighter character. Therefore I will use the same bonus as for the „level of caster“ above.

This results in the following rule set:

Base attack = 1d20 + level/2 + professionbonus

Resistance = 1d20 + level/2 + professionbonus + racebonus + armorbonus

professionbonus:

Profession
---------------------------------------
Pure/Hybrid spell users  +1 at level 1,6,11,...
Others                   +0

racebonus:

Race      Bonus      Race      Bonus
---------------------------------------
Humans     +0        Halflings  +6
Elves      -1        Orcs       +0
Dwarves    +5        Trolls     +0

armorbonus:

Armor Type                              Bonus
------------------------------------------------
AT  1- 4: Cloth & Skins                  +0
AT  5-12: Soft Leather, Rigid Leather    +1
AT 13-20: Chainmail, Plate Armor         +2

Finally! The last point left is how to perform maneuvers. I may take a week off – but surly will be back to finalize the rule set.

 

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