A short while ago, Matt and I had a meeting with Ed Jowett of Shades Of Vengeance, where we took a look at the first draft of Crux as it exists, and tweaked some elements in the game mechanics, after a little playtest – hopefully the first of many.
Things that we have changed:
Stat ranges and skills, dice tricks.
We found that the dice tricks for increasing skill ranks didn’t exert enough influence compared to the effect of raw attributes, especially in very high instances, so, for example, a Stygian Diplomancer (maximum possible presence) could bruteforce their way through nearly any social encounter on the weight of the attribute alone, and any social skills didn’t have as much weighting in the roll as they ought to.
Consequently, the attribute ranges have been reduced to a maximum of 6, plus any bloodline bonuses, and the skills will be given equal weighting, ranging from 1-6 as well. This keeps dice pools about the same size overall, so difficulty ratings don’t need to be changed.
The exploding/cascading mechanic is still present, but is now simplified, and means that *any* use of Conviction will now drastically improve the success on the dice roll, not just at the highest skill tier.
Character creation needed something of a revamp to reflect some of this as well. We decided that using a similar skill allocation pool to what was used in Corporation would be the most efficient, as it has been proven to create competent, rounded characters.
Some skills were also clarified and merged together, and some pared away, to reduce redundancy.
Talents remain in 3 tiers, but the progression is a lot more streamlined, with non-combat Talents having one or two specialised progressions within them. We found that some Talents were surplus to requirements, as the skill already should have been able to cover their function. Out they go!
Combat Talents are still fairly freeform, and allow for a more ‘pick and choose’ approach to their selection. Given Close Combat is a single skill, there’s a fair bit to choose from – we’ve kept the weapon styles and keywords, and also added things on top of this.
Our rules for grappling, such as they are weren’t very substantial, and we didn’t see there being much of a call for them. Apparently not. In response, we’ve thrown together a new set of rules, plus a heap of combat Talents to allow characters that wish to grapple to capitalise on their skills. Armbars everywhere!
It works a bit like this:
1. Establish a clinch.
Roll either Strength or Agility (players choice) + Close Combat against the opponent’s melee Defence. This attack deals no damage but renders both combatants Grappled until the clinch is broken. Any net successes are added toward the attacker’s submission total.
(The Grappled condition means that the affected character is unable to apply their Defence to incoming actions, or use a Disengage action until the clinch is broken.)
2. Fight for position.
The combatants act in their usual combat order, and may choose to roll either Strength or Agility + Close combat for their attacks. Any successes on the attack rolls may be allocated to different tasks, as the combatant sees fit:
- To deal damage to their opponent. This bypasses worn armour, but not innate AV.
- To add to your opponent’s submission total
- To lower your own submission total.
- If your submission total is 0, a success may be used to break the clinch, and disengage from the grapple.
If either combatant’s submission total reaches 10, their opponent is considered to be pinned, and may only act to break the pin. This requires beating their opponent’s Defence on a grappling roll, after which combat returns to Fighting For Position.
Grappling and Wrestling Talents may take advantage of the submission total in order to deal additional damage, but break the clinch when doing so, requiring it to be re-established in a subsequent action.
While writing Crux, Matt and I have very much been detailing as much of the world as we can, and the scope is a little too much for a simple core book, our corpus being more of a systems reference document. Consequently we’re going to be moving some of the more ‘splatbook’ elements out to an expansion, along with some of the more esoteric factions. So, we’re working on not one book, but two!
Instead of writing a summary, I thought this Mitchell and Webb sketch seemed to cover all the bases.
Until next time, take care and Hard Love