Sunday, March 27, 2022

be67 Teaser: Full example of Combat in a Sixties Grindhouse Universe

So before we go into analysing motivations to play a bit more, I got to finish another important part of the rules for be67: there is a complete example of how combat works in the game and as of today, it is written. Since (I assume) lots of people reading this blog are familiar with the D&D RC or some clone of it, I thought it'd be a nice idea to share the example with you for reference and with some context, where needed. I think it is a good representation of how this will resolve at the table and can give you an idea why and how it produces a different playing experience than what you'd expect from a D&D game while using the same rules and principles. If nothing else, you might enjoy it for the story it tells ...

First things first, here is the character sheet of the game:

Open in new tab for more details ...

As you can see, all of it is D&D. Where it diverges, it does so to enhance it's themes. xp are mostly awarded for damage instead of for treasure, that's the main one. But the Token economy the game presents is important in that it allows to factor in two major features a "modern" game needs to address, which are, of course, guns and vehicles. Therefore, AC is opened up to be more flexible, if you spend the Tokens and they aren't countered and using machinery will give a character Vehicle Tokens to do even more in a round of combat (more damage, more movement, more protection, all depending on what you are using).

Long-time readers might be familiar with some of the ideas here from taht other game I'm writing, Lost Sogs of the Nibelungs (which is still happening, I assure you). If you'd like to see some more details, check out this post about be67. It explains the basics (some of it revised now, but it still will give you a more than complete picture). Echo and other little details explained here.

With the above and the example I'm about to share, you should get a pretty complete picture, so here we go (unedited, as of yet):

Example: Violet Flemming (The Spy), Sam O’Leary (The Saboteur) and Joel Maddox (The Outlaw) are attempting the assassination of a streetgang boss that dabbled in Voodoo enough to pose a problem for some Californian fey because Joel owed them big time (long story).

They decide for a low effort drive-by shooting. Joel is the driver, Violet is the one with the rifle riding shotgun and Sam is in a hide-out across the street observing that dive the gang uses as their headquarters.

The GM calls for Initiative when Sam informs the others via phone box that the gang is preparing their choppers to leave and Joel puts the pedal to the metal to get around the corner into the street the bar is in. They need to move fast now.

This fight has 5 Combat Units: Violet, Joel and Sam, 5 gang members (one Unit) and the Voodoo Gang Boss. Initiative is rolled and declared. Joel ends up with the lowest Initiative (3), Violet (7) is faster than the gang (6), but not as fast as the boss (9) or Sam, who is the fastest (12). Since Sam is in hiding and the car is not yet in the street passing the bar, this is handled as a Surprise Round.

Violet had already stated that she’d hide the gun until the last moment. The GM says it’s a tough one to call, since all the gang can be aware of is a car speeding around the corner and in their general direction, so the Saves will have a penalty of 3. Neither the gang nor the boss make their Save versus Supernatural regarding Joel’s intentions. However, the boss had also been faster than Violet, so he is allowed a second Save to see if more danger is afoot. A 19! Their eyes meet as the car shoots around the corner and he sees the death in hers ...

Next, the Actions are declared in order from slowest to fastest:

(Joel, Initiative 3, 2 Tokens, 3 Vehicle Tokens) Joel’s Free Action is driving the car fast and safe past the bar while bringing Violet into a good position to shot. He gives Violet 1T Aid and 1T Damage, uses 2VT for Movement and 1 VT for Armor Class, cowering behind the wheel for cover.

(The Gang, Initiative 6, surprised) They keep getting ready to hit the road, completely unaware.

(Violet, Initiative 7, 3 Tokens, 1 Vehicle Token) Violet’s Free Action is her Attack (since her cover is blown), she is using 2T for Armor Class, 1T Aid for Joel’s driving and uses the 1VT she got as additional Damage Die (it’s a drive-by shooting, after all … the GM allows it).

(Jamal The Boss, Initiative 9, 3 Tokens) Jamal’s Free Action is Casting a Spell on Violet to confuse her. He spends 2T for AC ducking for cover (just in case) and 1T Movement to draw his gun while shouting at the Gang that shit is going down.

(Sam, Initiative 12, 4 Tokens) Sam skips his Free Action. He wants to be on top of the situation next round if this goes sideways. He gives Violet 1T Aid for her Save versus Supernatural (the Spell Jamal is preparing) and 1T Damage, just to be on the safe side. The remaining 2T go into Countering Jamal’s ducking for cover completely. He describes his support and counter as “Shouting at Jamal from across the street and giving him the finger”.

Example (cont. from p. XX): Initiative is resolved from fastest to slowest. Sam skips his Free Action and uses his Tokens to hinder Jamal from taking cover and supporting Violet’s Save versus Supernatural (by shouting and giving Jamal the finger). Since he is the fastest, no one can counter his Combat Actions and it works out as described.

Next up is Jamal. The Spell can’t be countered with Combat Actions, since it’s a Free Action, so this happens unchallenged a well. Violet feels like she’s getting lost in Jamal’s eyes and starts hearing drums and ecstatic singing in foreign voices in the distance. To avoid the effects of the spell, she’s entitled a Save versus Supernatural and has Sam’s support, so she rolls 1d20+1d4 … an 18 and a 3! So she shakes it off and lifts her rifle to take her shot while Jamal is checking out who strange guy across the street is and why he’s so mean to him. Doing that, he totally forgets to jump for cover (no additional AC), but he manages to warn the gang and gets his shotgun ready for next round.

Violet is next, but since Joel’s driving roll is necessary to get her into position (and might fail at that), Joel has to resolve his Free Action first (driving the car as fast as possible past the bar).

Joel has a DEX of 13 and a bit of a past as a Demolition Derby driver that brings a +4 to the Skill Test and there's another 1d4 Aid from Violet as well, so the roll is 1d20+13+4+1d4 versus a difficulty the GM declares to be 30 … and ends up rolling a 3 with the d20 and a 4 with the d4, which leaves him 6 points short (3+13+4+4=24). Not good, but no one is offering to sacrifice Funk for this, so the group accepts this as being a failure.

The GM declares that Joel miscalculates the turn, overwinds the steering wheel, botches his gear shifting and ends up rolling down the street towards the bar with a stalled motor. Violet’s shot will get a -2 as well, as this, if nothing else, annoys her as hell.

Still, this might work out after all, them still having surprise, so next is Violet with her pistol versus Jamal’s AC of 9. She gets to roll 1d20 with a +3 for her high DEX, a +1d4 due to Joel supporting her (he at least steers her enough into position to get a proper shot) and the -3 for Joel being an idiot driver. Her d4 turns out to be a 1, but the d20 is critical, a 20! And she is on a roll, as the d12 for Echo is a 12, which leads to the second Echo Roll (a d10) and ends the streak with a solid 8. That is another 20 to her result of 21 (20+1+3-3), all in all a brutal 41.

There was much rejoicing at the table.

After a critical result like that, a lot is happening, so the GM starts with the 20 and its Echo results: the 12 is the death sentence and also comes with an extra attack. Jamal is gone for good. Since he had his declared Actions already, the Voodoo Priest doesn’t even get a chance for his Dead Man’s Ten. The 8 has Violet in the highest possible, so she receives Double XP for learning something there, earns a permanent +4 circumstantial bonus against streetgangs. She also gets to describe this fatal blow and all gang members in sight have to make a Morale Check with a penalty of 4 to not flee in terror. It even leaves her with a Nickname (the group is undecided between “Voodon’t” and “Voodoo Chill”) and she gets to have an additional 1d6 with her next Initiative, with enough time to have a victory dance as well. The GM makes a note that the fey will give her a special little something for the beautiful work she has done here. A death so beautiful, generations to come will tell its tale …

Anyway, next for the Damage proper, as there are xp to be had for it. Her Small Ranged Weapon Mastery is at d6, Sam had spent a Token to raise that, so for this hit it is a d8. The height of the result determines the number of d8, so that’d be 6d8 with her result of 41. But she’d used 1VT for an additional Damage Die, so she rolls 7d8 for 35 points of damage. Jamal was a 5HD+2 Voodoo Priest with 21 Hit Points, which means 14 Points are left as Environmental Damage.

The player’s description: “So while Joel is driving like an idiot, working hard on making this mission a failure, a great calm comes over Violet as she lifts her pistol and focuses on that priest. That spell does nothing to her. If anything, it helps her focusing. Time slows down and she sees the paths of the bullets before they leave the barrel. Almost leisurely, she empties the gun into the guy. The giant bar window in the background explodes around his convulsing body and I’d say she even hits some neon sign behind the window, adding sparks to the whole scene (the GM allows it). But the kicker is that the Voodoo gangster is standing right next to one of those bikes and the tank is hit as well, which makes the bike go ‘BOOM’ and engulfs him in burning oil. So now he’s also burning and stumbling towards his gang before he falls down twitching. He’s not screaming anymore, as his lungs are burnt, but the black smoke rising above the burning body looks like the faces of some damned souls or something because he’s a Voodoo Priest, you know, and there is a wheezing sound no one can explain … That should do it.”

And indeed, none of them make their Morale Check, they all flee in terror.

The player also announces that she’d use her second attack to blow up one of the other bikes as well, at best one in the middle so that an explosion could have them go boom as well. Since this actually resolve the whole Combat, the GM decides that no more rolls are necessary for that to happen. Joel panicky restarts the car with Violet screaming into his ear to get moving while emptying another magazine into the row of motorcycles while Joel is making a more subtle exit. They accelerate past the bar while the bikes start showing some flames from the hail of bullets and as they make for the corner away from the bar, all of the bikes explode in a ball of light and smoke while Violet is having her victory dance in the car.

It earns Violet the INSTANT KILL and the CINEMATICS AWARD (see Character Progression, p. XX). Fun was had.

Fun was had, indeed ... [source]

So now you know why I call it a "Retroclone Mutant" ... it is the D&D RC but with a twist (my revised house rules, basically). Players will get awards for spectacularly bloody murder and grindhouse-worthy theatrics in what plays like an adult sixties urban fantasy setting. It'll also feature 7+ new classes with some tools to do your own and rules to integrate existing classes into the game as well as rules to alter existing modules and gaming materials into be67.

If that tickles your funny bone, this will be a treat for you. For sure. It's a bit more complex than your average "old school" D&D, but not more so than, say, proper AD&D would be if played RAW. I like it that way. I know I'm not alone.

Anyway, that's it for today. I hope this will generate some interest for the game. As always, I'll be happy to get some feedback on this, so what do you guys think?


While we are at it: You can check out a free preview of Ø2\\'3||, that other rpg I wrote, right here (or go and check out the first reviews here). I'm still doing a sale on the game proper ...

If you already checked it out, please know that I appreciate you :) It'll certainly help to keep the lights on here! I'd love to hear about that, too.

Just look at that beauty ...


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