You know what helps a lot of people “get” a system? Actual play. I love podcasts for this (I have a fairly long commute – they fit nicely into my schedule), and it’s my main exposure to some of the systems that I’ve studied for this project.
But, nobody’s played Edge of the Dungeon yet, have they? I’ll just have to make something up. But before that, let’s get some terms straight. Unless you’re totally confident with either your familiarity with the multiple games I’m using as inspiration, or with your abilities to read my mind, check out the Edge of the Dungeon Glossary.
So any resemblance to blah blah blah… you get it. You know how hard it is to come up with names of people you don’t personally know? Well, seeing as I’m writing this from Portland… So Lisa’s the GM. Bart’s playing a dwarven holy warrior called Krelus, Milhouse has an elven archer named Versillen, and Martin has built Faldon, a human caster. Let’s see what happens, shall we?
|Lisa||So now that you’re traveling along the Queen’s Road, what do you do to find your quarry?|
|Milhouse||I’m looking for tracks. Survival, plus… Wisdom?|
|Lisa||Great. Anyone who wants to help can try a Notice against 15, with Int or Wis.|
|Bart||Oh, I got that. *clatter* Nineteen, with 4 Advantage.|
|Milhouse||Sweet, thanks! *clatter* Ick. Thirteen total, even with Krelus’ help. But the same help gets me to ten Advantage.|
|Lisa||Well, in that case, the brigands evade you for today – *clatter* – but the total of 8 Advantage is good for finding and orienting a stellar campsite. You don’t have to burn any resources and can replenish things like rations and arrows.|
|Martin||Can I put together another Flamebomb?|
|Lisa||Sure, but there aren’t Alchemical resources available here. You’ll have to use your own stores.|
So not only do you see the Advantage mechanic in play, you get to see my initial setup for aiding another. A couple things to note here – the skill bonus and attribute bonus don’t travel together. Divorcing those is something I’ve always been an advocate for, since it increases the breadth of creative skill use. For example, a warlord-type character could totally find a way to put Athletics and Intelligence together.
Also, because Martin’s Flamebomb has the descriptor “Alchemical” Lisa’s offer of free natural resources doesn’t apply. On to the brigands!
|Lisa||As you approach the rag-tag band of mercenaries, the obvious leader steps forward and draws a curved blade. “Bounty hunters. *spits* What makes you think we’d go without a fight?”|
|Bart||Krelus shifts his hammer, but does not ready it. “We have you outclassed, and we have the backing of the crown. And I walk with the authority of my god Grabthar.” I’m not bluffing, so Menace, Charisma, right?|
|Lisa||Do it. *clatter* Threat is seven. Beat a 21.|
|Bart||*clatter* 17, so fail, and my Advantage of six just isn’t there. Ok, so Krelus’ hand shakes a little on his hammer, and his eyes waver over the number of mercs.|
|Lisa||“Ha! But we have you outnumbered. On our turf. Men – take their throats!” The other five bandits draw similar curved blades, grin wickedly, and settle into practiced fighting stances. Initiative time, boys! Nobody’s surprised, so anything goes.|
|Milhouse||Notice, Dex – 24 with five Advantage.|
|Martin||17 and two with Tactics, Int.|
|Bart||Eight!? Even with six Advantage, I’m still last to the party.|
|Lisa||*calculates, draws different-colored circles on a whiteboard* Well, Krelus can still go first if you want. Versillen saw to that.|
Initiative? Yep. There’s a few ways to do this. Standard D&D (3.5e and 4e) uses a non-skill Initiative stat that you can advance with feats, and pretty much always keys off Dex. Marvel Heroic Roleplay (and therefore Fantasy Heroic) lets the active player decide who goes next – quite simple, and in the arena of comic books, pretty much perfect. Here, I’m emulating Edge of the Empire as closely as possible. Different skills (using the same progression as other skills) can be used, under different circumstances. The check determines order, and Advantage breaks ties. Then, the order determines “sides”, and characters from each side can act whenever they choose, during their side’s turn. This is a comfortable middle ground between the hyper-tactical D&D and the heavily story-focused MHRP.
|Bart||Actually, Faldon should go first. We seem to have a much easier time with fights he starts.|
|Martin||If you insist. Are they all near each other?|
|Lisa||They certainly are. A tight-knit bunch they are. The five who aren’t the leader are right next to their campfire, too.|
|Martin||Are you trying to make it easy? Flamebomb, of course. Faldon spends a Move Action to pull one from the bandolier, and a Standard Action to lob it into the fire. Oh, and he fires off something like, “You’ll find these throats difficult to take!” Oh, that sucked. Well, pretend he said something cooler. *clatter* 21 versus Reflex, not bad, and five targets for Advantage?|
|Lisa||Ouch, that hits them all. Yeah, five. Let’s roll ’em together. Wait, you’ve got 2d10 for Advantage?|
|Martin||Yep! Part of why I can only make one of these a day. *lots of clattering* Fifteen fire damage, and looks like I can inflict a -5 “On Fire” Condition on three of them, and a -2 on the others. I’ll use any leftover Advantage for extra damage.|
|Milhouse||Geez. I almost feel superfluous. One o’ them goes next I suppose?|
|Lisa||Yep. The bandit leader scoffs at his band, raises his sword high, levels it at Faldon, then charges the mage.|
|Bart||Hold up. As he Engages with one of my allies, I get a Counterattack – and before you ask, drawing my hammer is an Incidental on Counterattacks.|
|Lisa||Take it. AC’s 20. *clatter* Threat is only 4.|
|Bart||*clatter* Holy cow! Nat 20, and max Advantage! 18 damage, and… he’s prone before he gets to Faldon. As Krelus swung his hammer from his belt, he basically clotheslined the bandit. With a massive hammer. Ouch. He looks down and repeats, “Outclassed.”|
|Lisa||Well. That’s… well, that’s the end of his turn. Krelus or Versillen next?|
|Milhouse||Totally me. Flaming bandits make great target practice. Twin Strike on a couple of those -5 guys. Then a Move to get behind cover. *clatter* Only 17 against AC, but I’m counting on those penalties. One and three Advantage, and eight damage.|
|Lisa||Those both hit. *clatter* But they soak a fair amount of that damage with their Threat.|
|Milhouse||Um, even if soaking damage costs two extra against my attacks?|
|Lisa||*frowns* No. Ok then, those two drop. Now for some flaming mooks!|
Wow. A lot going on here. Lots of uses of Advantage and Threat, we get to see a Critical Hit, use of Range Bands instead of squares, a Counterattack, and the Inflict Condition application of Advantage.
Looks like the party is going to mop up these brigands, and bring in the bounty. Good for them. They’ll probably have bonuses on social skills against the next bounty they hunt, due to their new reputation. Not sure what I’m gonna do next time yet. Tune in and see!
- Love Letter to D&D – Where I outline the intent of the as-yet-unnamed Edge of the Dungeon
- Edge of the Dungeon Part 1 – Core Mechanic and Skill advancement
- Edge of the Dungeon Part 2 – Starting Hit Points, Defenses, and other Career features
- Edge of the Dungeon Part 3 – Session 0 methods, collaborative character creation
- Edge of the Dungeon Part 4 – Creating a rogue character
- Wiki Page – the rules repository