So, you’re rolling dice pools to hack your way through door locking systems or swinging through trees on ropes to escape cannibalistic war-bands. You come to a stop, realising that you’re surrounded on four sides and it’s time for you and your friends to face the enemy in an extreme gun fight…
How does it work?
Pulp RPG is about normal people in extraordinary situations, fighting to survive or rid the world of evil! But there’s danger in the hills and the forests are alive with terrors. You’ll hope you want to go first!
Today we’re going to look at combat, focusing on competitive rolling and the initiative sequence.
Initiative works differently from what most players may be used to; the players party and the games master each select a character from their sides of the combat. That character / non-player will then choose which attribute they want to base their initiative roll on. This is important because the character that wins the initiative roll will only be able to commit to a skill of that attribute.
We think it works because seizing the initiative is not always about how fast a person can move, like in some dexterity / celerity initiative systems. It could be as simple as pulling a trigger, outwitting an opponent or just being damn lucky. Since all starting characters will have a single attribute at 4 dice, it means that no one will be selected repeatedly for their high dice pool – it will come down to what action they wish to take.
When the winner of initiative is determined, the winning player goes first. After this point, the initiative is handed back and forth between each side of the combat until the last character or non-player has taken their turn.
It’s a little less natural but it allows for a little bit of planning without spending precious minutes deciding what combo of abilities the party wants to use, and since the roll is performed each round, it essentially stops initiative being one sided.
How do we roll competitively?
It’s as simple of rolling your dice pool and counting the successes compared to that of your opponent. Using your physical attribute with your close combat skills? Simply declare your action, roll your dice pool and compare the results to that of the opponent’s dice pool. If the result is an equal number of successes then the combat is a stalemate, if you beat their number of successes you score the hit, maybe with added bonuses.
OK, lets bloody some noses!
Damage will vary depending on what your weapon of choice is. Currently every weapon in the game will come as a standard unit with applied tags. Tags can add to the damage of the weapon depending on the target, add bonuses to abilities and provide role-play opportunities. A great example is the whip, in the hands of our protagonist, Tom Raider Jones:
Whip – Hand Weapon (tags: prehensile, slashing).
Not great against a single Nazi zombie:
Creature – Humanoid (tags: zombie, military training, well equipped, Will of the Fuhrer, Inexorable.)
That about sums up our little sojourn into the combat of Pulp RPG, tomorrow we’ll be looking at a couple of things from the games master point of view, looking at the categories and tags of players and monsters, with a little more depth to the weapon tags and damage in Pulp RPG.