Combat Walk-Through For
The muffled lady's cry could not be ignored by a gentleman; Smiling grimly, Fernando drew his blade. "Run to the ship for help!" he whispered to his servant.
Quickly stepping between the buildings, moving towards the sounds, Fernando was blocked by a low wall. Using his natural grace and skills as a sailor he quickly climbed over the barrier and continued until he came to a small courtyard. He saw the lady struggling; she was no match for the man holding her. Though both were dressed in finery, the three other rough looking men seemed to take the lead of the kidnapper. Fernando had heard of such men, taking ladies to sell as beautiful slaves in the harems of foreign nobles. This one was almost inside the door of a run down warehouse; a few more steps and she would be lost to Castille forever.
Relaxing, stepping forward, he said clearly, "I do not think the Lady wishes to join you, sir."
The dark eyes of the well dressed kidnapper fixed on Fernando. "Get him!" He hissed. Laughing rudely, the three brutes drew large clubs and approached the lone hero.
Our first dice roll is for Fernando to get over the fence. Since it is not made to keep determined people out, and there is always some level of debris in most towns, it is a feat of Finesse and climbing. If were a stone wall or natural surface to be climbed to great height, it might be Brawn instead of Finesse.
Characters have "knacks", that is, an ability to perform certain tasks at a higher than default value. Fernando has the climbing knack, so the wall should not be difficult. The basic roll for such tasks is "Statistic plus Knack, keep Statistic" Fernando has a three finesse and a one in the climb knack, so he rolls four d10 but keeps three. Rolling 9,6,4,4; he gets a score of 19.
The rolls are compared to a "Target Number" (TN). The average TN is 15, and that's what the DM was using. Although the fence was not that difficult, getting over it in a gentleman's ensemble is a little harder.
There are four actors in this combat. The lady will not struggle, she is, after all, a Lady. Being in the middle of swirling blades is not her forte. The three ruffians are considered a "Brute Squad", a single entity for combat purposes. Since 7th Sea is about heroes, brutes don't tend to last very long. The last two are Fernando, Captain of the Ship, and Valencio, kidnapper of beautiful ladies. Fernando is an NPC hero, following all the rules of the PC's. Valencio is considered a "henchman". More than a brute, less than a hero or villain. If there were a villain in this scene, they would follow the same rules as heroes.
First we roll for initiative and actions. Each actor rolls one d10 per level of Panache. Fernando, trained in the Aldana school of swordsmanship, can roll an extra die but he can only keep two. (3k2) The rolls are Fernando 6, 9, and 10. Initiative dice do not explode (why would you want them to, since lower numbers go first?), so he goes in 6 and 9. The brute squad has a Threat Rating (TR) of two, so rolls two d10. They go in 3 and 8. Valencio goes in 7 and 10. In general there are 10 phases to each round. There may or may not be actions occurring in phases that no one acts in.
Rushing forward, the three brutes swing at Fernando. Though they out number him, they seem unable to hit a quickly moving target.
"Obviously you gentlemen are not used to fighting men! Perhaps that's why it took four of you for one Lady!" Looking at the situation, Fernando sees how quickly Valencio could escape if the three ruffians delayed him. Drawing on his skills, he turns to present one side and then responds.
The brutes are not the meanest guys on the block, but not sissies, either. They roll one d10 for each person in the squad, but can only keep one die per TR. Thus their attack roll is 3k2. Since they have clubs, they will do 6 points on a hit, plus 6 more for every five points they make on the attack roll higher than Fernando's Defense. Since Fernando is armed with his favorite fencing weapon, and he has a Parry (Fencing) knack of 3, the brutes have to hit a Target Number (TN) of ( 5 base, plus Parry (3) * 5) 20. They roll 3 die, but score poorly, 5,2, and 1. Since they can only keep 2, they scored a 7. It does not pay to be a brute on offense.
Fernando goes. He has a Finesse of three, and three levels in the Attack (Fencing) knack. Although he can only keep the number of dice equal to his Finesse (3), he can roll 6. This gives him a good chance for exploding dice. Which leads us to:
House Rule on exploding dice: I'm not sure what the official word is on this, but here you explode all die fully before you pick which ones to keep. For example, if you roll two "0" die, but can only keep one of them, roll both. *Then* you pick which one you want. (Addendum: In an e-mail, Shadow Ranger confirmed that this is standard. SR also pointed out that you can choose *not* to explode a die, and you can chose whichever die you wish, not just the highest. Thanks!)
Fernando could easily deal with each brute in turn. However, as he needs to hurry, and as he is a fairly good swordsman, he decides to attack all brutes at once. This is a special disadvantage of being a brute, heroes can wipe you out in great numbers. The Target Number to hit one member of the brute squad is their TR * 5, plus 5. Thus he needs to roll a 15 to hit a brute. He can take a "raise" and try to hit more than one. A "raise" raises the TN by 5 for each target over the first, and since there are three brutes total Fernando needs to roll a 25 to hit all three. Risky, but the Lady is in danger and Fernando thinks at least one of his dice will explode.
With a faint smile, Fernando moves to the attack. In an inspiring display of swordsmanship, two of the ruffians are dispatched and the third is critically wounded but still standing. The remaining brute looks awestruck at Fernando, and whispers "Aldana....."
Fernando rolled well, and indeed one of his dice exploded. However, no matter how often a dice explodes and you re-roll it, it only counts as a single die. So Fernando's highest three dice were 7, 9, and the exploding 10. The second roll for the 10 was 3, giving him a total of 29. He made his TN to hit all three ruffians! Had he rolled 24 or less, he would have done *nothing*. Raises increase both risk and glory. However, this leads us to:
House Rule for damage on brutes: A brute can take 5 points of damage. Flashy shows of weaponry are nice, but you must be able to do something with it for real effects. In the original game, *any* hit on a brute knocks them out.
Fernando rolled to hit all three, but only did 14 points of damage. Thus two of the brutes went down, but the third was still standing with 1 hit point left.
Valencio laughed as he looked at Fernando. Kissing the woman rudely, he said "She is mine, boy! I will make sport of her while you feed the fish!" Drawing a pistol, he shoots. The heavy impact at close range made the young man stumble.
Who said bad guys have to fight fair? As this is a drama type game, you're allowed to make talk or do stuff to heighten the drama, as long as it doesn't really throw the game balance off. So Valencio can do these actions to show his true nature, the heroes can say things or do little things to show their disdain for the bad guys, etc.
Lets look at the mechanics of the shot. Valencio is, as we said, a henchman, so he has individual statistics. His finesse is 2, and his firearms skill is 2. So his pistol shot is 4k2. Unfortunately for Fernando, you can't Parry (Fencing) a bullet, so his defense is only 5. I'm doing this in fairly close range, so Valencio easily hits. Had he been more than 10 feet but less than 15 yards away his roll would have suffered a -10 for range. From 15 yards to max range of 30 yards, the range penalty is -15. Pistols are not accurate.
So the bad guy his the hero, and rolls a total of 18 points of damage in Flesh Wounds. Ouch! Fernando needs to roll to see if he took a Dramatic Wound or not. His Brawn is 2, and a poor roll gives him a total of 9. So he takes 1 Dramatic Wound and erases the Flesh Wounds.
Note that Fernando didn't roll well, he came close to taking 2 Dramatic wounds. Normally, if you fail the wound check by 20, you take an extra Dramatic Wound for each full 20 you fail by. However, for hits by firearms that number is 10. Had Fernando rolled one less, he would have taken two Dramatic Wounds. We hope the servant can run quickly 'cause Fernando isn't doing well here.
As the last brute moved in to finish the job, his step faltered when Fernando straightened up. Seeing the tight smile, ready sword, two friends on the ground already made the ruffian decide to seek easier targets.
Fernando moved toward Valencio, and taunted him "Do you always hide behind the skirts of girls?" Seeing the mans eyes look toward flight, his voice grew cold. "Fight me and you have a chance. Attempt to flee and I will kill you without remorse."
Snarling, Valencio pushed the woman aside. "Boy, you have picked a bone you cannot chew. It will please me to kill you!" Drawing his weapon, he quickly went on guard then attacked.
Yeah, I know Fernando has a move in 9 and Valencio can't move until 10. However, common sense tells me trying to skewer a bad guy holding a beautiful lady is risky. So Fernando holds his action to see what Valencio does.
Unfortunately, Valencio isn't a brute but a henchman. He has a Fencing skill of 2, plus his finesse of 2. His Brawn is 2 as well, so he hits at 4k2 and does 4k2 of damage. One of his attack die explodes, so he easily hits with a 27. Fernando can use Active Defense to try to parry, and since he has a held action he does so. He rolls 6 dice ( 3 for Wits and 3 for Parry (Fencing)), but can only keep (Wits) three. However, the dice are not good and he fails to parry. Now Valencio rolls damage. One of his damage dice explodes giving Fernando 17 points in Flesh Wounds. Fernando rolls his Brawn and again does bad, now he has 2 Dramatic Wounds. This is enough to put most people down, and even most heroes would feel the effect.
Flesh Wounds are the small scrapes and cuts heroes shrug off on an hourly basis. However, they can add up. Each time you take damage you roll the number of dice equal to your Brawn. If you roll equal to or higher than your current number of Flesh Wounds (including any you just took) you erase them all (Your Flesh Wound total is now zero) and take a Dramatic Wound. These are the serious wounds that will eventually knock your character out. Heroes can take their Resolve in Dramatic Wounds before being crippled. At twice their Resolve they're knocked out.
If you make the wound check, you do not take a Dramatic Wound but carry over the Flesh Wounds until the DM says you are healed.
Valencio's quick thrust bypassed Fernando's defense, and the blade bit deep. Returning to guard, and smiling while he waited for his opponent to fall, Valencio's mind was already back to the woman.
That was a mistake, as Fernando's blade caught him on the arm. Valencio grunted in pain, but the wound was not deep. Circling around, both men struck almost at once; Valencio felt the pain in his arm just before his own blade bit home in the boy's leg.
He enjoyed the way the boy limped now, and his confidence returned. Somewhat, anyway. "You've done well, boy! But surely you do not think you can stand much longer. Your wounds bleed, and I have a lady waiting for me. Perhaps you would care to leave us alone?"
Fernando held his action until after Valencio, then struck. He did 12 points, but Valencio rolled his brawn (2d10) and did not take a dramatic wound. However, he does carry the 12 points in flesh wounds for the next time, which comes quickly. The initiative rolls are 4 and 7 for Fernando and 4 and 6 for Valencio. Since they tied, the first blow goes to whomever has the highest *total* points on all remaining init dice. This means Fernando goes first. Perhaps fate is being kind.
Fernando strikes, again doing 12 points of damage (Flesh Wounds) to Valencio. Since the bad guy already had 12, he now has to roll his Brawn against a 24. He fails, and takes a Dramatic Wound. All excess Flesh Wounds are erased. Poor Fernando also takes a hit and again the boy fails his Brawn. He now has 3 Dramatic wounds, equaling his resolve. In game terms he is crippled; none of his dice can explode, and things don't look good.
Fernando steels himself, trying to ignore the pain. Looking at the Lady, he realizes she is young, almost as young as he is. "Can I let her be taken?" he asks himself.
Valencio's hint of confidence grows faint as he sees the boy's tight smile. He knows his chances are in the hands of fate, but he cannot run. Trying to mimic the bravado of the boy, he says "En Garde!" and again scores. There is a flurry of response and the singing of blades exchanging blows, and then the little courtyard grows quiet.
Smiling, weakly, Valencio says "Your point, Aldana." as he falls to the ground.
Limping, tending his leg as he moves to her, Fernando offers his cloak. "May I escort you home, M'Lady?"
The battle ensued, but since henchmen can only take Dramatic Wounds equal to their Resolve before they fall, Valencio goes down first. It pays to be a hero with a high resolve! Of course, it also pays to have friends who can fight, and that's what the game is about.