Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

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TheMetal1
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Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by TheMetal1 »

So had a chance to do a face to face C&C Game on Friday night. 4 players, 3 of them hadn't game in 10+ years, the other never played a Table Top RPG (though familiar with the genre).

Party consisted of a Human Knight, Gnome Illusionist, Dwarf Cleric, and Half-Elf Assassin. Set in a variation of the World of Erde, the adventure was Brave Halfling Publishing's Ruins of Ramat (C&C Version - digest sized).

I typically roll in the open, 20's are critical hits and 1's are fumbles, I used the Paizo Crit and Fumble decks, I also use the Jeff Rients (of Jeff's Game Blog) Big Purple rule (each player can substitute a roll of a d30 for any dice before you roll it once per game).

SPOILERS:
Goal is to find a lost dog - in this case I made it not about the dog, but rather the terror that was gripping a town who's men in the militia all went off to war. The town elders simply wanted the dog found and someone to return saying there was no evil beast, but the animal was dealt with. The back story was really about setting a long held good artifact free. The party was doing well, facing the first two entry combats dispatching the Golem and Spider but instead of exploring the first level, the went right to the stairs and down a level. And no real exploring here, they managed to find themselves in the most difficult room in the entire adventure - ill equipped. Before they got to the room I advised them of the d30 rule and told them waves of evil were emanating from the room. As they entered the room, two Chaos Tenatcle fiends and 4 Skeletons appeared. The Knight even said to the group, you know we have the option to run if we want. But the didn't....

So they attacked, and every possible die roll they needed went bad. The Knight wanted to charge in (+2 to attack, -4 AC next round), try and draw all the beasts to him in the attack (Be the tank and absorb everything) and use his inspire ability. I ruled if he could give an inspiring speech to his fellow players I'd allow it. But after several minute deliberation there was only, "Follow me." Which didn't cut in my book. I did allow 1 Skeleton and the two Chaos things to focus on him though.

The Cleric then went to turn the Skeletons, his Wisdom was prime and had a bonus to his wisdom. The adventure calls for any turning checks to be 3 levels higher due to the evil there. But he managed to only roll a 3.

The Assassin, launched some flaming oil, missed, but I rolled a scatter and still managed to hit one of the beasts but only did 1 Damage. No one used the Big Purple, and I was rolling for the enemy fumble after fumble, but the Cleric, Illusionist and Knight all went down and are negative hit points right. The Assassin can run and make it out. We left it there for the evening.

So my questions are
1. Can a Knights Inspire be used inconjuction with other actions or is it a Standard Action itself?
2. Any thoughts on how to save this from a TPK, I'm all for letting the dice fall where they may, would like to see something salvaged as this is their first adventure in years. W

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Arduin »

TheMetal1 wrote: 2. Any thoughts on how to save this from a TPK, I'm all for letting the dice fall where they may, would like to see something salvaged as this is their first adventure in years. W
Sounds like it didn't go well for the party from the get go. Why didn't they retreat? Not to be harsh but we are talking GM to GM about players. There is NO saving throw vs. stupidity. Unless the situation was structured where they couldn't run away to live another day?
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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by NJPDX »

1. The text of the rule for "inspire" is loose enough that I think you could rule it however you like; realistically it doesn't take a ten minute speech to "inspire" others to greater heroics, it could just be a simple battlecry as he charges into the fray or his force of personality compelling others to act.

2. As Arduin points out, why aren't they running and reforming elsewhere? But if you really are dead set against a TPK, maybe describe a shift in the battlefield or have some other externality occur that opens up an opportunity to flee: A ceiling collapses on a part of the battle, another "monster" senses the fight and comes to investigate, etc. Just make it clear that this is their opportunity to flee and don't take away their player agency and railroad them. If they won't seize this window and instead choose to fight it out then they should have the right to own the consequences.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by mgtremaine »

I don't let the inspire occur with other actions. But it only to avoid the slippery slope of can I do x,y,z and attack? I hold to 1 action and 5 step that's it. YMMV

But I would not make a player come up with a speech, especially for a new character, That just seems doomed to fail.

-Mike

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by TheMetal1 »

This is one of the reason I like C&C - the community, thanks for your input and help!
Arduin wrote: Sounds like it didn't go well for the party from the get go. Why didn't they retreat? Not to be harsh but we are talking GM to GM about players. There is NO saving throw vs. stupidity. Unless the situation was structured where they couldn't run away to live another day?
1. No idea why, other than out of practice gaming. Their plan might have worked if they rolled better, but yeah, I would have run.
2. My house rule against Stupidity was the Big Purple, but they chose not to use it. I don't know if you can fix stupid.
3. They had a wide up 100 ft corridor for them to run back the way they came and up the stairs there was nothing preventing them from fleeing they made the deliberate decision to jump into the fray, literally.
NJPDX wrote:1. The text of the rule for "inspire" is loose enough that I think you could rule it however you like; realistically it doesn't take a ten minute speech to "inspire" others to greater heroics, it could just be a simple battlecry as he charges into the fray or his force of personality compelling others to act.

2. As Arduin points out, why aren't they running and reforming elsewhere? But if you really are dead set against a TPK, maybe describe a shift in the battlefield or have some other externality occur that opens up an opportunity to flee: A ceiling collapses on a part of the battle, another "monster" senses the fight and comes to investigate, etc. Just make it clear that this is their opportunity to flee and don't take away their player agency and railroad them. If they won't seize this window and instead choose to fight it out then they should have the right to own the consequences.
. [/quote]

1. Good point, it is a magically effect, so "Follow Me" could've worked. It was more an opportunity for Roll-Play to add a bit of tension. Wasn't looking for a big speech or anything. Regardless, the Inspire Ability would NOT have helped them as the rolls were just so very bad. 2s and 3s.
2. At present, there is only one that is conscious - the Assassin, everyone else is down.
mgtremaine wrote:I don't let the inspire occur with other actions. But it only to avoid the slippery slope of can I do x,y,z and attack? I hold to 1 action and 5 step that's it. YMMV

But I would not make a player come up with a speech, especially for a new character, That just seems doomed to fail.

-Mike
The Knight wasn't a new player, he's got a lot of experience as a GM, but hasn't gamed in quite a while - avid collector of games and sci-fi stuff.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

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TheMetal1 wrote:This is one of the reason I like C&C - the community, thanks for your input and help!
Arduin wrote: Sounds like it didn't go well for the party from the get go. Why didn't they retreat? Not to be harsh but we are talking GM to GM about players. There is NO saving throw vs. stupidity. Unless the situation was structured where they couldn't run away to live another day?
1. No idea why, other than out of practice gaming. Their plan might have worked if they rolled better, but yeah, I would have run.
2. My house rule against Stupidity was the Big Purple, but they chose not to use it. I don't know if you can fix stupid.
3. They had a wide up 100 ft corridor for them to run back the way they came and up the stairs there was nothing preventing them from fleeing they made the deliberate decision to jump into the fray, literally.
.
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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by mgtremaine »

TheMetal1 wrote: 2. At present, there is only one that is conscious - the Assassin, everyone else is down.
:lol: that will end well

-Mike

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Snoring Rock »

It is a shame that it seems like you had to work at it to find a group and then they go and TPK themselves out of the gate. They had every warning needed to figure out they were toast. I would let the TPK stand and discuss what went wrong with the group. Then start over.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by NJPDX »

Also it's helpful to let players know ahead of time that retreat is an option. I think there can be a tendency with newer gamers to see encounters simply as 'mobs' meant to be lined up and killed like it's a video game.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Lurker »

mgtremaine wrote:
TheMetal1 wrote: 2. At present, there is only one that is conscious - the Assassin, everyone else is down.
:lol: that will end well

-Mike
:o :lol:

Tooo true! ;)


Well, the best way I can see for getting by the coming TPK is to hit the reset button (you said it yourself, they are all rusty, and then on top of that they were very unlucky). If there is a next game, I'd start it with a 'boy that last game got mucked up. what do you all think about a good do over and restarting at a point before things went bad?' Of course with a restart like that, I'd change things up so they do not know what they are facing to face down in the corridor.
NJPDX wrote:Also it's helpful to let players know ahead of time that retreat is an option. I think there can be a tendency with newer gamers to see encounters simply as 'mobs' meant to be lined up and killed like it's a video game.
That too.

Now for inspire, I'd say it can be (limitedly) used with other actions, if it does make sense.
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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Zombieman »

TheMetal1 wrote: 1. Can a Knights Inspire be used inconjuction with other actions or is it a Standard Action itself?
2. Any thoughts on how to save this from a TPK, I'm all for letting the dice fall where they may, would like to see something salvaged as this is their first adventure in years. W
I'm GMing a knight right now too, I typically give just let the player use inspire as a 'free action', but the more I think about it the more I would like the player to at least give an inspirational yell or perform an action to inspire others. I won't require the Emancipation Proclamation, but I think the player can manage a battle cry.

As for 2, well what's wrong with a good old fashioned capture? The undead are there at the direction of someone (or thing) and it would be simple to say their orders are to bring captives to that person for sacrifice or to sell into slavery (Hey, an evil underlord has to eat, right?)

Or, if you are feeling particularly generous, the minions just dump all the 'bodies' in the designated 'corpse spot' of the old lab of the long dead/moved on necromancer. The group slowly wakes up on their own as they heal naturally. The assassin, if he runs, could shadow the skeletons and stand guard over the group, or join them if he fails his save against stupidity and stays to fight until unconscious. Of course there must be a penalty for such stupidity, I'd hazard a guess that the skeletons weren't smart enough to gather up weapons or shields or anything else that the characters may have had in hand, so all that equipment is still in the original room...not to mention what may have fell out of scabbards/packs along the long drag to wherever they are eventually placed.

You may have to overlook the bleeding rules or pull their ability to use the Big Purple Die for the session in exchange for not succumbing to their wounds if anyone went below -6.
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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Treebore »

I treat ANY class ability as a "standard action". The only way I wouldn't is if its description says it isn't.

As for being able to prevent TPK's, thats why I have my house rules on Fate/Luck points, whichever you like to call them, and God Call's. Still doesn't always prevent a TPK, but it does help to prevent some of them. I can't really say how it would have helped this situation without seeing all the rolls. At the very least they could permanently burn a point and hope I have the winning side strip them of their stuff and leave them for dead. Then I could see if a good healer comes along and actually brings them back to consciousness.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by TheMetal1 »

Snoring Rock wrote:It is a shame that it seems like you had to work at it to find a group and then they go and TPK themselves out of the gate. They had every warning needed to figure out they were toast. I would let the TPK stand and discuss what went wrong with the group. Then start over.
It was an effort to get the game off the ground all told about 2 months to get a group. TPK is still on the table, or at the very least, 3 PCs dead and 1 out of breath Half-Elf Assassin wandering back in to town confirming that there are indeed tentacle fiends.
NJPDX wrote:Also it's helpful to let players know ahead of time that retreat is an option. I think there can be a tendency with newer gamers to see encounters simply as 'mobs' meant to be lined up and killed like it's a video game.
Yeah, that was stated right before the fight started by one of the PC. He looked at everyone and said that as a party we can run away.
Lurker wrote:Well, the best way I can see for getting by the coming TPK is to hit the reset button (you said it yourself, they are all rusty, and then on top of that they were very unlucky). If there is a next game, I'd start it with a 'boy that last game got mucked up. what do you all think about a good do over and restarting at a point before things went bad?' Of course with a restart like that, I'd change things up so they do not know what they are facing to face down in the corridor. Now for inspire, I'd say it can be (limitedly) used with other actions, if it does make sense.
The good news is there most definitely will be next time. Feedback from everyone was that they had blast. The 1st Time RPGer was the teenage son of one of the guys and he loved it and he's playing the Assassin! We'll likely re-engage the last weekend in October so a couple of weeks from now. It will at least be a monthly game, but a couple want to play more often. Reset is an option as well. The cleric gathered everyone in the town and got them into the Church after the little girl who lost the dog scared everyone with tales of tentacle beasts. He had everyone pray for insight. So one option I was considering was a shuddering and say you've all just had a premonition of what was about to happen if you go in the room. Thus giving them the opportunity to fight the battle again or run away. The other option was to have the Half-Elf run with all the creatures dropping/leaving the downed PCs and shambling after the Half-Elf. The Cleric's deity would grant healing IAW the Cure Light wounds spell the Player hadn't used and have him deal with the other wounded and unconscious PCs. There is a secret door with an artifact that's in that room. The Dwarven Cleric would likely see this. So at least a place to rest.
Zombieman wrote:I'm GMing a knight right now too, I typically give just let the player use inspire as a 'free action', but the more I think about it the more I would like the player to at least give an inspirational yell or perform an action to inspire others. I won't require the Emancipation Proclamation, but I think the player can manage a battle cry.

As for 2, well what's wrong with a good old fashioned capture? The undead are there at the direction of someone (or thing) and it would be simple to say their orders are to bring captives to that person for sacrifice or to sell into slavery (Hey, an evil underlord has to eat, right?)

Or, if you are feeling particularly generous, the minions just dump all the 'bodies' in the designated 'corpse spot' of the old lab of the long dead/moved on necromancer. The group slowly wakes up on their own as they heal naturally. The assassin, if he runs, could shadow the skeletons and stand guard over the group, or join them if he fails his save against stupidity and stays to fight until unconscious. Of course there must be a penalty for such stupidity, I'd hazard a guess that the skeletons weren't smart enough to gather up weapons or shields or anything else that the characters may have had in hand, so all that equipment is still in the original room...not to mention what may have fell out of scabbards/packs along the long drag to wherever they are eventually placed.

You may have to overlook the bleeding rules or pull their ability to use the Big Purple Die for the session in exchange for not succumbing to their wounds if anyone went below -6.
Now the capture idea has some merit, wasn't even on my radar so thank you! I'll review the module to see what I could add in there, heck could be an intro to the TSR A-Series Scourge of the Slave Lords.
Treebore wrote:I treat ANY class ability as a "standard action". The only way I wouldn't is if its description says it isn't.

As for being able to prevent TPK's, thats why I have my house rules on Fate/Luck points, whichever you like to call them, and God Call's. Still doesn't always prevent a TPK, but it does help to prevent some of them. I can't really say how it would have helped this situation without seeing all the rolls. At the very least they could permanently burn a point and hope I have the winning side strip them of their stuff and leave them for dead. Then I could see if a good healer comes along and actually brings them back to consciousness.
I was just reading Tenkar's Tavern Blog and saw he was planning on using Luck for his upcoming S&W game as a house rule. I've seen it in a couple of places - IIRC, the Advanced Players guide from Green Ronin and in the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. And just now looked it up in the Castle Keepers Guide, all of which I'll need to take a read of again. How does it work in your game and what is the "God's Call's"

I've used in the past, instead of the Big Purple, the Dork20 Deck. While geared more for 3.5 and Pathfinder, just a bit more interpretation for the C&C. Basically 4 random Cards to use during a game session. They buff various rolls. Might revisit that at some point. Anyone else use that?

Great out of the box thinking by everyone and and thank you again for your input! It is extremely helpful.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Treebore »

As always, my house rules can be found in the online gaming forums, in the first page of every game I run.


"LUCK POINTS:

You get one luck point +1 per level. So two at level one.

Luck points are used to:

Get a re-roll on an attack roll, save, or SIEGE check. Only 1 re-roll allowed.

To turn a death attack to near death. If an attack outright kills your PC you can permanently burn a luck point to put your character at death's door instead.

You don't refresh your Luck points until your goal/mission is accomplished. This is defined as whatever over all goal your party is working towards. Such as recovering an item, escorting this person/caravan from point A to point Z, finding the daughter of the merchant, etc... NOT when short term goals are accomplished.

Lost/permanently burned luck points are regained anytime I witness you roll 3 Nat 20's to hit, make a save, or SIEGE check in one game session. So make sure I keep track of them, and make sure I witness your rolls. Otherwise its up to me to trust/believe you. I may just deny the validation simply to encourage/motivate you to make sure I witness your rolls.

Online games must use the online dice roller to get this benefit."

"GOD CALLS:

This rule is to be used when your character, or group, are about to die. IE to prevent TPK's and character death. Its a long shot, but I have seen it save a character and group from a TPK often enough to recommend remembering this when the party or your character is going down. Base 5% chance, Holy characters (Paladins, Clerics, Druid, etc...) add 1% per level. Generous contributions to holy institutions or causes can earn bonus percentage points. Only to the next God Call. They are lost regardless of success or failure."
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by TheMetal1 »

Tree,

Very interesting. Especially the God Calls. As the the service before they moved out involved most of the town and the Cleric PC was expecting some big insight about the dungeon. By the way my quest to check out the Luck Point/Fate Point in the CKG brought me to the Table 19.1 Impact of Negative HP. I remember reading this and might just use it in the situation. As a consequence to the actions, if I don't go with the TPK.

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Re: Knight's Inspire Ability and ideas for avoiding a TPK...

Post by Treebore »

TheMetal1 wrote:Tree,

Very interesting. Especially the God Calls. As the the service before they moved out involved most of the town and the Cleric PC was expecting some big insight about the dungeon. By the way my quest to check out the Luck Point/Fate Point in the CKG brought me to the Table 19.1 Impact of Negative HP. I remember reading this and might just use it in the situation. As a consequence to the actions, if I don't go with the TPK.
Yeah, the Fate point system are my own. I just recall looking at several systems for inspiration.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

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