15 April 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Mask 02 - Packs

This is the second 4E Anatomy of a Mask, part of an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index..

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

The Pack Mask is an attempt to handle groups of opponents as a single entity within combat (other than occuping space—occupying the same space is a swarm and that's in progress). This can also be applied to groups of Namegivers built in the same fashion as creatures, referred to as a "squad." It's sufficiently different from how typical encounters work to require a lot more explanation. However, it's not completely different and should run smoothly once you get the basics. And it doesn't require as much bookkeeping on the gamemaster's part. Particularly if you want to run a massive encounter against the PCs.

This still needs testing to see how it functions out in the wild.

Edit: Thank you to Brett Bowen for putting together playtesting on this and an as-of-yet unrevealed Mask. Also assisting in design.

Pack

Creatures with this mask represent a group of creatures (or Namegivers designed as creatures) working as a single group. They have numerous special mechanics to simplify their actions and allow for large groups of weaker opponents to challenge adventuring groups without intensive work from the gamemaster to account for all their actions and keep track of their damage totals. Very large groups may be better represented by multiple smaller packs, rather than one very large pack. The numbers listed for each Mask are suggestions and ultimately at the gamemaster’s discretion.

Packs act as one creature and at the same time, but still move and occupy space as the number of creatures the pack represents. This can cause Harried as usual and lead to opponents being Overwhelmed. They can use their actions against any target within range of any member of the pack. All pack members must be in the area, but are not required to be directly engaged in combat (there may not be enough room). Area of effect abilities must be able to affect at least two members of the pack to have the benefits associated with the area of effect abilities noted below.

Packs and Damage


Packs do not track Current Damage and have no Unconsciousness and Death Ratings, but do track Wounds. Packs can suffer a number of Wounds as indicated in the Mask used. Damage inflicted that does not cause a Wound gives a +2 bonus per success on the Attack or Spellcasting test to the next Damage test against the pack (see Finish Them Off! special maneuver for details).

Attacks and spells with an area of effect can cause multiple Wounds, with each full multiplier of the pack’s Wound Threshold inflicting an additional Wound.

For example, if a Fireball spell causes 22 points of damage to a pack with a Wound Threshold of 10, the pack suffers 2 Wounds. Inflicting a Wound is the equivalent of downing a member of the pack and when the full number of Wounds is inflicted, the pack is either eliminated or retreats.


When the pack suffers a Wound, remove a member from play.

Applying Penalties and Bonuses Against Packs


Abilities that inflict a penalty on a single target (e.g. Mind Dagger’s Physical Defense penalty) or abilities that provide a bonus against one opponent (e.g. Maneuver, Pack Tactics) cost an additional success against the pack. If the penalty is a “rider” on the damage (e.g. Earth Darts) and no extra success on the test, it inflicts damage but not the penalty.

The pack is considered a single target for abilities with a variable difficulty based on the number of targets (e.g., Battle Bellow). A knocked down pack member automatically stands up and has no penalty to the pack’s action(s).


The Pack Mask is not appropriate for animal companions.

Band (+1 Circle; 3-4 Creatures)
DEX: 0        Initiative:                  0       Wounds:                         3
STR: 0         Physical Defense:  0      
TOU: 0        Mystic Defense:      0       Wound Threshold:     +3
PER: 0        Social Defense:       0        Knockdown:                  0
WIL: 0        Physical Armor:     0        Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:         0       
Movement: 0
Actions: 0; Attack +4 (Damage +4)
Powers:

Mob Mentality: The band cannot be Harried or Blindsided from positioning. Abilities still cause these as usual.
Strength in Numbers: The band gains +2 to Attack and Damage tests against Harried targets, and +4 to Attack and Damage tests against Overwhelmed targets. This bonus applies to Teeming Violence.
Teeming Violence: Grappled opponents take Damage Step equal to the number of adjacent members in the band. Armor does not protect against this damage.

Special Maneuvers:
Finish Them Off! (Opponent): If the attacker did not inflict a Wound on the Damage or Effect test, each success gives a +2 bonus to the next Damage or Effect test that inflicts damage against the band This special maneuver is applied retroactively. Only additional successes spent to increase damage can be used for this special maneuver.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Sweeping Attack (Opponent, Close Combat): The attacker may spend two additional successes on an Attack test to treat the attack as an area of effect attack; they must be adjacent to at least two band members to use this special maneuver. This special maneuver only costs one additional success if the attacker is using a two-handed weapon.
Teeming Attack (Band, Close Combat): The band may spend three additional successes on an Attack test to automatically grapple the target. This special maneuver costs two additional successes if the target is Harried and one additional success if the target is Overwhelmed.


Throng (+2 Circles; 5-7 Creatures)
DEX: 0        Initiative:                  0       Wounds:                         5
STR: 0         Physical Defense:  0      
TOU: 0        Mystic Defense:      0       Wound Threshold:     +3
PER: 0        Social Defense:       0        Knockdown:                  0
WIL: 0        Physical Armor:     +1      Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:         +1       
Movement: 0
Actions: +1; Attack +5 (Damage +5)
Powers:
Mob Mentality: The throng cannot be Harried or Blindsided from positioning. Abilities still cause these as usual.
Resist Pain (+2): As the creature power, Gamemaster's Guide, p. 251.
Strength in Numbers: The throng gains +2 to Attack and Damage tests against Harried targets, and +4 to Attack and Damage tests against Overwhelmed targets. This bonus applies to Teeming Violence.
Teeming Violence: Grappled opponents take Damage Step equal to the number of adjacent members in the throng. Armor does not protect against this damage.

Special Maneuvers:
Finish Them Off! (Opponent): If the attacker did not inflict a Wound on the Damage or Effect test, each success gives a +2 bonus to the next Damage or Effect test that inflicts damage against the throng This special maneuver is applied retroactively. Only additional successes spent to increase damage can be used for this special maneuver.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Sweeping Attack (Opponent, Close Combat): The attacker may spend two additional successes on an Attack test to treat the attack as an area of effect attack; they must be adjacent to at least two throng members to use this special maneuver. This special maneuver only costs one additional success if the attacker is using a two-handed weapon.
Teeming Attack (Throng, Close Combat): The throng may spend three additional successes on an Attack test to automatically grapple the target. This special maneuver costs two additional successes if the target is Harried and one additional success if the target is Overwhelmed.



Herd (+3 Circles; 8-12 Creatures)
DEX: 0        Initiative:                  0       Wounds:                         8
STR: 0         Physical Defense:  0      
TOU: 0        Mystic Defense:      0       Wound Threshold:     +3
PER: 0        Social Defense:       0        Knockdown:                  0
WIL: 0        Physical Armor:     +2      Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:         +2       
Movement: 0
Actions: +1; Attack +8 (Damage +8)
Powers:
Mob Mentality: The herd cannot be Harried or Blindsided from positioning. Abilities still cause these as usual.
Resist Pain (+6): As the creature power, Gamemaster's Guide, p. 251.
Strength in Numbers: The herd gains +2 to Attack and Damage tests against Harried targets, and +4 to Attack and Damage tests against Overwhelmed targets. This bonus applies to Teeming Violence.
Teeming Violence: Grappled opponents take Damage Step equal to the number of adjacent members in the herd. Armor does not protect against this damage.

Special Maneuvers:
Finish Them Off! (Opponent): If the attacker did not inflict a Wound on the Damage or Effect test, each success gives a +2 bonus to the next Damage or Effect test that inflicts damage against the herd This special maneuver is applied retroactively. Only additional successes spent to increase damage can be used for this special maneuver.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Sweeping Attack (Opponent, Close Combat): The attacker may spend two additional successes on an Attack test to treat the attack as an area of effect attack; they must be adjacent to at least two herd members to use this special maneuver. This special maneuver only costs one additional success if the attacker is using a two-handed weapon.
Teeming Attack (Herd, Close Combat): The herd may spend three additional successes on an Attack test to automatically grapple the target. This special maneuver costs two additional successes if the target is Harried and one additional success if the target is Overwhelmed.



Mob (+4 Circles; 13-20 Creatures)
DEX: 0        Initiative:                  0       Wounds:                         13
STR: 0         Physical Defense:  0      
TOU: 0        Mystic Defense:      0       Wound Threshold:     +3
PER: 0        Social Defense:       0        Knockdown:                  0
WIL: 0        Physical Armor:     +2      Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:         +2       
Movement: 0
Actions: +2; Attack +10 (Damage +10)
Powers:
Mob Mentality: The mob cannot be Harried or Blindsided from positioning. Abilities still cause these as usual.
Resist Pain (+8): As the creature power, Gamemaster's Guide, p. 251.
Strength in Numbers: The mob gains +2 to Attack and Damage tests against Harried targets, and +4 to Attack and Damage tests against Overwhelmed targets. This bonus applies to Teeming Violence.
Teeming Violence: Grappled opponents take Damage Step equal to the number of adjacent members in the mob. Armor does not protect against this damage.

Special Maneuvers:
Finish Them Off! (Opponent): If the attacker did not inflict a Wound on the Damage or Effect test, each success gives a +2 bonus to the next Damage or Effect test that inflicts damage against the mob This special maneuver is applied retroactively. Only additional successes spent to increase damage can be used for this special maneuver.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Sweeping Attack (Opponent, Close Combat): The attacker may spend two additional successes on an Attack test to treat the attack as an area of effect attack; they must be adjacent to at least two mob members to use this special maneuver. This special maneuver only costs one additional success if the attacker is using a two-handed weapon.
Teeming Attack (Mob, Close Combat): The mob may spend three additional successes on an Attack test to automatically grapple the target. This special maneuver costs two additional successes if the target is Harried and one additional success if the target is Overwhelmed.



Horde (+5 Circles; 21-30 Creatures)
DEX: 0        Initiative:                  0       Wounds:                         21
STR: 0         Physical Defense:  0      
TOU: 0        Mystic Defense:      0       Wound Threshold:     +3
PER: 0        Social Defense:       0        Knockdown:                  0
WIL: 0        Physical Armor:     +3     Recovery Tests:            0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:         +3       
Movement: 0
Actions: +2; Attack +14 (Damage +14)
Powers:
Mob Mentality: The horde cannot be Harried or Blindsided from positioning. Abilities still cause these as usual.
Resist Pain (+8): As the creature power, Gamemaster's Guide, p. 251.
Strength in Numbers: The horde gains +2 to Attack and Damage tests against Harried targets, and +4 to Attack and Damage tests against Overwhelmed targets. This bonus applies to Teeming Violence.
Teeming Violence: Grappled opponents take Damage Step equal to the number of adjacent members in the horde. Armor does not protect against this damage.

Special Maneuvers:
Finish Them Off! (Opponent): If the attacker did not inflict a Wound on the Damage or Effect test, each success gives a +2 bonus to the next Damage or Effect test that inflicts damage against the horde This special maneuver is applied retroactively. Only additional successes spent to increase damage can be used for this special maneuver.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Sweeping Attack (Opponent, Close Combat): The attacker may spend two additional successes on an Attack test to treat the attack as an area of effect attack; they must be adjacent to at least two horde members to use this special maneuver. This special maneuver only costs one additional success if the attacker is using a two-handed weapon.
Teeming Attack (Horde, Close Combat): The horde may spend three additional successes on an Attack test to automatically grapple the target. This special maneuver costs two additional successes if the target is Harried and one additional success if the target is Overwhelmed.

2 comments:

  1. Does each member of the Pack attack separately, or does the Pack attack only once?

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    Replies
    1. The pack acts as one creature with the listed number of actions. If there are five war dogs, any can launch attacks and they occupy five spaces, but are limited to two actions.

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