fredag 30 november 2018

Laws of the dungeon: Light and Darkness

A big part of GURPS DF and the tradition that it tries to emulate is the dungeon, it's even in the name of the product. A dungeon implies cramped, dark and creepy spaces, often situated below ground.

This means a lot of the story of a DF game (and of course the fighting) will take place in various degrees of darkness, and also that a lot of the monsters and humanoids that you meet there will be adapted to that darkness (and to varying degrees the PC's as well).

Me and my players have grappled with the rules for darkness penalties for a while, not satisfied neither with the way it's written in the Basic Set nor the DF-specific rules. For me as a GM it comes down to letting dungeon-dwellers with appropriate advantages enjoy an edge in their natural habitat compared to surface-living PC's unless the PC's find creative ways to mitigate that edge and maybe even turn it in their favor.

Dungeon rooms are rarely fully illuminated due to their inhabitants relying on various levels of Night Vision, Dark Vision or Infravision. So it's up to the PC's to illuminate them. This is what basic equipment the PC's have a their disposal:
  • Helmet Lamp, Shield Lamp - 5 yard Beam
  • Bull's Eye Lantern, Light Jet - 10 yard Beam
  • Torch, Lantern or Flaming Weapon - 2 yard Semi-Circle
  • Continual Light Stone or Glow Vial around neck - 1-3 yard Half Circle depending on strength of spell or amount of pills in vial
  • Sunlight spell - Area as big as the caster decides
  • Alchemist's Fire - size of fire +2 yards Circle 

And this is the rule I'm proposing: Give all dungeon rooms a darkness score ranging from -3 (torches or strong candles spread out all across the room or corridor providing passable back-lighting) to -10 (total darkness). On each attack (or other action based on vision) that penalty is used if the players haven't got extra light-sources affecting the target of their action. For the first light-source used the penalty will be lowered to -3. For each additional light-source or if the darkness score of the room already is set at -3 the penalty will be lowered by an additional point. So a total of four different sources of light is needed to completely mitigate darkness-penalties in a room that has no proper back-lighting to begin with.

Example: A knight and a barbarian is standing in the front row of a fight in a corridor with a darkness-score of -7 (candlelight along the walls), the knight has a helmet lamp and a continual light stone around his neck, the barbarians two-handed sword is enchanted with flaming weapon. Behind them a torchbearer is standing with a torch held up. This will negate the darkness-penalty for the knight (four light sources), the barbarian attacks the same enemy  from the side it will be a -1 to hit (three light sources: flaming weapon, continual light and torch). A target one hex behind the line of scrimmage will be at -2 to hit since the torch only affects a two yards radius.

Rule add-on for dazzle and light blindness: Just as easy as it is to be blinded by darkness it is to be blindness by sudden flashes of light when your eyes have adapted to darkness. Any light-source of at least 2 yards that is present in a hex between an attacker and his target or a beam of light hitting the front side of an attacker will give the attacker -2 to hit. A sudden flash of light can also cause Dazzle. Roll against HT with -2 for a beam of light, -4 for sunlight spell, -6 for Alchemist's Fire. On a failure you are dazzled for -4 to vision-rolls until end of combat. On a critical failure you are blinded for seconds equal to margin of failure then dazzled.

Anyone with Infravision is only susceptible to the negative effects of light-sources also emitting intense heat like a torch, flaming weapon and Alchemists Fire.

References: DFRPG Exploits p.19 "Light Sources", Gurps Tactical Shooting p.18 "Shooting in Darkness"

lördag 24 november 2018

Post-Session Report: KotB Session 08

Session Date: 2018-11-17

Another short session, but this one we pushed it a little to round up the delve. It was time to try and clear the "evil orc" lair. The PC's where the usual Knight, Amazon and Cleric and it included among other things:

* Two failed rolls for crippling, one critfailing for the two allies which made them unusable for the evening.

* Successful and effective Silence-spells

* A falling net trap which caused some problems

* Some gruesome scenes with pregnant berserk orc woman

* A naked orc leader, also berserking and crippling the Amazon's right arm.... twice!

* The Clerics healing really came into it's own for the first time, it was always nice but this was the first time they depended on it to win a battle.

* A human woman was found in the orcs common room, she was filthy and spoke only broken human.

* The biggest loot hoard in a single session thus far I believe, in part due to two good random rolls on the DF8 Jewellery Table

After the game a numbers of rules questions surfaced, the major one regarding "unjust" penalties to healing-spells for multiple casts. I've not decided if I will houserule it in some way yet but for the time being I will leave it as is.