13th Age is almost here! We’ve been on a little bit of a break (OK, Ryven has been writing up a storm for Pelgrane and I’ve been on a break!), but with the game soon to be released, I want to share some ideas I intend to use with my next 13th Age game.
Gamble! is a small sub-system for fast and low-effort stunting. While you can always do this in your games, it usually takes a bit of adjudication and thinking to figure out what the rule should be and what, if any, side-effects there should be. What is the power level of the effect? How hard should it be? Again, any GM with experience can determine this, but what if you are GM who is not yet comfortable with the system, or simply don’t want to spend mental energy on this? The purpose of Gamble! is to be there for you in these circumstances. It’s designed to be pretty simple and flexible and I’m sure that you can expand on it .
Once per combat, a player can make a gamble instead of her standard action. She declares this at the start of the turn, stating what in the game she is doing. She then picks an effect from the Gamble that she wants her action to cause. The GM then picks a risk. The gamble the player picks will determine the difficulty of the skill check the player needs to make. The player then makes a skill check. If the skill check succeeds, the player follows any further steps on the gamble. If the player fails, they suffer the risks determined by the GM.
Don’t spend too much time trying to determine the appropriateness of the description to an effect or risk. If someone wants to drop a chandelier to hit mulitple people (massive attack) or to gain a bonus (Gain Advantage) it doesn’t really matter. The player gets to do what they want, the GM gets to put the risk he wants, we’ve got a handy expression, let’s go to work!
Example: Susan’s ranger Nahai is being chased by an unruly mob. She’s apparently angered the wrong people with her investigations! She leads out the combat with a gamble. Nahai wants to intimidate the approaching mob with rapid fire fancy shots. She wants to knock weapons out of hands and make some intentional near misses of vital spots. She decides that will let her Gain Advantage, since the mob will be pretty intimidated by her. The GM nods and says that the risk here is that the shots will just incite the mob more and will leave Nahai Vulnerable for a turn. Nahai makes a moderate DC skill check using her Nehru Sharpshooter background. She succeeds, so she makes the mob deeply reconsider their attack. Nahai draws her twin spears and countercharges!
Massive Attack (Hard DC) You can make a basic attack against d6+1 enemies. If attacking mooks, roll additional dice equal to half your level
Change State (Hard DC) You create a zone on the board that (choose one): is impassable; deals ongoing 10 damage of an appropriate type for anyone entering the zone (save ends); causes enemies to have a -2 to hit when in the zone.
Gain Advantage ( Moderate DC) Until the combat ends, you get (choose one): You get +1 on attack rolls; you get a +2 to damage rolls; you expand your crit range by 1.
Increase Momentum (Easy DC) Raise the Escalation Die immediately by 1. It cannot be raised more than once in a turn by a gamble.
Reversal. You can make an immediate attack against the character.
Vulnerable. Until the end of combat, all enemies gain a +2 to their crit range against the character.
Lost Momentum. Lower the Escalation Die by 1. You can’t lower the Escalation Die more than once a turn in this manner.
If you use this would love to hear how it goes! This system should be pretty easy to run and is easily extensible.