Crux: The game mechanics, part 1.
Most of the previous articles have been concentrating on the worldbuilding aspect of the project. The mechanics were being constructed in parallel with the lore and the setting, as we hashed out what we thought characters should be able to do, how they should behave, and what kind of feel that we thought the game should have. Initially, a lot of the values were decided on either an an ad-hoc basis or just a rough value kept in there as a placeholder until the mechanics around it could shed some light on the matter. After some time, and rather a lot of head-scratching, we’re finally at the stage whereby we have a near-enough complete system suitable for initial playtests.
So…how does it work?
Most challenges and tasks are resolved through the use of skill checks, which work as follows.
Roll (ATTRIBUTE) number of D6, and add a number of extra D6 equal to the appropriate Talent’s mastery level, from 1-3.
Dice that roll 4 and above count as a success. A greater number of successes equate to a greater margin of success at your chosen action.. Your GM will allocate a number of successes required for a task to succeed. A routine challenge would require 3, while truly heroic tasks may require 8, or more.
Mastery in talents allows for a dramatic increase in the potential for rolling successes, on several levels.
A Fistful of D6s (Dice Tricks)
So, depending on your level of mastery with your Talents(Your skills, powers, and what makes you special), you can make your dice pool (All the dice you roll) either Explode or Cascade.
Exploding dice means that any that roll above the target number are rolled again and any successes scored on those dice counted toward your total. These dice are not rolled again, even if they scored above the target number.
Cascading dice are like the exploding dice, only more so. Every 6 that you roll, roll again, counting the roll towards your total successes. Keep going until you stop rolling 6s. In this case rolls of 4 count as successes and rolls of five still qualify as Exploding for one more roll – which can begin Cascading again. This particular trick has the potential to generate a massive amount of successes, and because of this, it requires Conviction to access(more on that later)
Proficiency 1 – dice rolls of 6 Explode
Proficiency 2 – dice rolls of 5+ Explode
Proficiency 3 – dice rolls of 5+ Explode, a point of Conviction can be spent to convert any dice rolling 6 to Cascading.*
The Combat System
We’ve been hoping to keep combat streamlined, and it plays out a little differently to how things normally go.
- Each participant declares their action.
- They make their attack (or suitable skill) roll, noting successes, and add their weapons’ Initiative Modifier, as well as any others.
- The highest initiative acts first, followed by the others in descending order.
- You may deviate from your declared action, but doing so incurs a 1-success penalty on your attack roll.
DECLARING ACTIONS – CLARIFICATION
While actions can be declared by participants (player characters and NPCs) in any order, and they can be changed in response to anothers’ right up until the combat rolls are made, it is probably most effective to have the players to declare their actions together, and choose whether they wish to act impulsively, or to react to the intentions of their opponents. This adds the feeling of a little more agency as battle is joined, and groups can pick their style to suit, whichever version suits them best.
Attack rolls, that is skill checks in combat, run as follows:
Roll (ATTRIBUTE)+(Talent Proficiency Level) vs. Opponent’s Modified Defence
(Defenders add their melee TPL to Defense in melee, and applicable cover value to ranged combat rolls)
If you beat your opponent’s modified Defence, each net success is added to the damage you deal.
Most melee attacks tend to use AGI as their base skill, while ranged combat is most dependent on Reflexes or Perception, depending on whether you’re in a quick-fire gunfight, or are lining up a long-distance shot.
Weapons and Damage:
To explain this, let’s take a look at how weapons work:
They have values in the following categories:
Weapon type: Their basic group; this defines the Close Combat Talent Trees – in this case, the styles, that are available to the weapon group.
Initiative Modifier:(+xI) How quick, or responsive the weapon is. Adds to your Intiative, as we covered above
Base Damage:(+yD) This, normally static value is added to your net successes for your attack. The total is dealt to your opponent’s Resolve
Keywords These describe the special properties that each weapon has. You also have the option to add more, through customisation or enchantment, or a combination of both, should you be particularly wealthy.
Awesome: Your opponents suffer a -2 initiative penalty for the first round of combat. Costs 1 Conviction to ignore this effect.
Spin-up The weapon’s Base Damage increases by 2 for every successive round it is fired (Spot the gatling gun keyword)
Righteous +4 Base Damage, provided you are not benefitting from any cover bonuses. (Shields/barricades count)
Chaining Every two net successes cause the attack to jump to another hostile target, losing two levels of damage per jump.
Unstable +2 Base Damage. If no successes are rolled, the weapon explodes, dealing double base damage to the wielder.
Entropic Each hit degrades the targets’ cover or armour value (in that order) by 1. When it has a value of 0, consider it to have either melted or disintegrated into a pile of dust.
While we’re on the subject of armour…
The Armour Value reduces incoming damage, and can negate it entirely. However, the weight and bulk of armour, along with shields and suchlike, reduces your AGILITY, often penalising your attack rolls, and consequently your potential to seize the initiative.
As you can probably gather, you can choose to trade off speed for greater resilience or survivability to outlast your opponents, should you want to go toe-to-toe. Alternatively, you could plan for a faster attack, and use the cover you find in your environment to your advantage, as seizing the initiative can often dictate the flow of the battle…
Called Shots and Status Effects
It’s perfectly possible to trade your common-or-garden strikes until you wear down your opponent’s Resolve and they drop. Or, you could spice things up with a tried and tested kick to the crotch. Perhaps you’re something of a pacifist, and don’t have the stomach for killing, but know the scriptures are fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps. Called shots are more difficult to pull off, requiring more successes, but have additional, and often debilitating effects, depending on where, how hard, and with what you choose to make their day with.
Your Talents also will give you the option to inflict status effects on your opponent, ranging from stunning them, or having them staggering around dazed, knocked flat on their figurative arses, or bleeding profusely(internally or externally, your choice), these can be applied in succession, and can really put a damper on someone’s day, and easily spell a sticky end if you’re not careful.
So, that’s a quick overview of the crunchy parts of Crux. Coming up next time, we’ll have a look into Talents and Conviction, and how your character’s special skills, along with faction and bloodline powers, allow you to be Big Damn Heroes.
Until then, Take care and Hard Love