Dec 20, 2016

Raiders Preview: Luck

I've always thought of Saving Throws as just another way of saying luck.

In systems like Swords & Wizardry I think the single Save stat eliminates confusion and makes the save system much easier to use in the heat of play. One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the single Save stat is that it makes no sense and isn't fair; like a Fighter arbitrarily has a better chance against a Charm Person spell than a Magic-User. The point makes some sense until you see it as another balancing factor between the classes, and thematically a Fighter should get more chances than a Magic-User against dire events. Conan was always luckier than the spell-casters. This permeates the pulp fantasy genre.

The nature of Raiders calls for a very different use of the Saving Throw system. Since magic isn't ubiquitous which is usually one of the most common uses of saves, there is little need for that system the way it is traditionally used. However, luck is a huge element in pulp adventures! The logical translation then of the save system is to turn it into a luck roll. By redefining it as luck we can start repurposing it to better fit the genre.

In addition to the basic luck stat each class has, modifying it by the base ability modifier depending on the specific situation the luck roll is called for further binds the luck roll to the feeling of pulpy adventure. This makes luck not only class dependent, but ability reliant as well. This adds depth and texture to the system and it feels right for the genre.

Lucky rabbit's foot
This is the target number for the character trying to avoid something terrible. Sometimes, both during combat and out, a luck roll is required to determine whether a character sustains some ill effect or not. In such a case, a d20 is rolled, and the applicable Attribute modifier is added to the roll. If the character rolls the luck value or over, he or she avoids the damage or effect (or, in some cases, may take reduced damage or effect.)  This number is modified by the appropriate Attribute modifier depending on the type of terrible event.

Luck Versus Terrible Events
Strength: Crushing Events, Disarm Events, Knockback Events
Intelligence: Memory Events, Puzzle Events,
Wisdom: Perception Events, Deception Events, Mental Attack
Constitution: Death, Deprivation, Disease, Endurance, Poison,
Dexterity: Evasion Events, Balance & Coordination Events, Speed Events
Charisma: Ego Events, Emotion Events, Fast Talk Events

Lucky Break: on a natural roll of 19 or 20 (the die itself lands on 19 or 20) this is considered a lucky break and the Player and Referee coordinate to describe a fortunate series of events to the benefit of the character and his allies.

Bad Break: on a natural roll of 1 or 2 (the die itself lands on 1 or 2) this is considered a bad break. The Referee describes a terrible outcome for the character and/or his allies depending on the situation. Things go from bad to worse.

For example: your group is barreling down the narrow dusty streets of Cairo, having just grabbed the Staff of Imhotep. You are being pursued by a secret paramilitary group determined to return the glory of the pharoahs to Egypt. They pull along side you and toss a grenade in your jeep! The Referee determines everyone in your group needs to make a Dexterity luck roll or be annihilated by the explosion. Those who succeed jump out in time, perhaps taking 1d6 damage from the high speed leap. Those who get a lucky break perhaps they grab the grenade before it explodes and toss it back in the vehicle of the pursuers! If someone gets a bad break perhaps that’s it for them, or the referee may decide that when they bail from the vehicle they are immediately captured by the paramilitary group.