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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shadow Squad of Syracuse: Mechanics, Combat, Will Points


The mechanics are taken directly from Dungeon Squad! (see link in original post.) In general, only roll when there is something interesting at stake and not every single time. In many cases, it is clear that the PC can succeed without uncertainty.

When there is some doubt about an outcome that is important to the character, the GM determines which attribute is required to succeed at a task and how difficult the task is. (Ex. Lifting a heavy gate would be a TUF roll while trying to sneak past a guard would be a STW roll. ) Then the GM assigns the task a difficulty rating: 2 if easy, 4 if average, and 6 if hard. Tasks may be harder than that. If the PC is competing with another character, the difficulty rating is half the die assigned to the relevant attribute or half the monster die. (Ex. If Pauli is trying to to sneak past a guard, he must roll STW against half the guard's ATN die value to see if he succeeds.)

A task is successful if the attribute roll is equal to or larger than the difficulty rating. (Ex. The guard's ATN is d8. Pauli's STW is a d4. Pauli rolls a 4 and just squeaks by the guard. He's definitely not cut out for this sort of thing.)


Sometimes a PC will face another character in a fight. Combat is handles as a series of tasks. These tasks take place in rounds of combat, which are assumed to take up 6 minutes of time in the game world each.

Step 1: Surprise

There may be a chance that not all would be combatants are aware of the other being around. For for each player character, roll ATN against the other character's ATN or monster die, to see if they either succeed in surprising or avoid being surprised. All surprised characters player and otherwise do not get to attack on the first round of combat.

Step 2: Initiative

A combat round starts when each character rolls "initiative" to see what order characters attack. Each character rolls their STW die or monster die and records their number. The highest goes first, the next goes next, and so on until the list gets down to "1". A person may attack on the number of their turn and every fifth numbered turn after that. (Ex. Pauli rolls his d12 for ATN and gets 8. He may attack on turn 8 and also on turn 3.) A player may decide to refrain from acting on his turn in order act later. But if their actions are not used by turn 1, they are lost.

Step 3: Attack

On his turn, a player who wants to attack must pick a target in range of his attack and roll TUF if a close combat attack or a STW if an attack with a ranged weapon against the target's TUF or STW respectively, taking the difficulty rating as half the attribute die. If he equals or beats the difficulty rating, he hits the target and may do damage. (Ex. Pauli wants to cold cock a corporate ninja whose TUF is d8 - difficulty rating 4. He rolls a 5 and hits.) A character may move anywhere within the immediate theatre of combat before attacking to get into position.

Step 4: Parry (optional rule)

An attacked character can try to parry a blow as many times as they may attack in that combat round and without costing an attack action or waiting until its their turn. If an attack is successful, the defender may parry by rolling the relevant die to match or beat the attackers roll. If this happens, the hit applies to the defenders parrying device and that alone takes damage (sword, shield, arm).

Step 5: Damage

In the case of a successful hit, the attacker rolls the die for his weapon or power and takes that number off the HP of the defender. If the defender, has armor or parries with a weapon or shield, the device die is rolled and the number is taken off the total number of hits. If the defender is wearing armor, roll the device die for the armor and reduce the number of hits taken from the attackers damage. The rest of the damage is taken off the defenders HP.

Step 6: Start again

After all characters have had their turns, the round is over. Assess damage and see if anyone is dead, unconscious, or unable to fight. If not, start again at step 2 (or step 3, to save time).

Breaking off from combat:

If someone wishes to escape from the theatre of combat, they may use their turn to do so. However, their opponent has a free attack at +1 that does not count against their attacks allowed for that round with no chance of parring. If the character survives the attack, they may escape.


If a character's HP goes down to 0, they are unconscious and will perish if not given appropriate first aid in time. Normal first aid with a kit or training may stabilize a character at 0 HP. If the character applying the first aid makes a successful first aid roll (STW against a difficulty number that is 8 - half the patients TUF die), the patient is stable but not able to fight or do anything until some HP are restored. A full night's rest plus first aid will bring back 1 0r 2 HP each full wight hours of undisturbed game time. A healing power will also restore HP.

HP may also represent loss of sanity. If a character loses HP in a mental or certain magical attacks, 0 HP represents not unconsciousness but a complete mental breakdown. The victim will need to be restrained and receive special treatment before functioning properly. This can only be provided by a specialist but does not die (unless they attempt to fly off a building - without a flight power - GM's discretion).

Weapons are devices of either melee, ranged, or armor. All receive a device die or provide an attribute boost (to the next die up above the normal die for that attribute when the character uses that weapon). See Dungeon Squad for details about melee, ranged, and armor weapons.


Will Points express the PC's will to power and their determination to see to it that life goes according their chosen values. The can be spent for various purposes or lost or acquired.

A person can spend a WP (a) to raise the die on one roll one rank before the die is rolled, (b) to re-roll one roll but must take whatever the re-roll is, (c) in exchange for cash to support training or research.

A person can acquire a WP (a) for as a reward for either great role playing or a great contribution to the game, (b) when either the player or the GM invokes a PC's weakness to the PC's own detriment in the game.

Rolling a 1 on two consecutive die rolls loses 1 WP. Rolling the max value on two consecutive die rolls with any dice gains 1 WP.