Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z Catch Up: V is for Vanquish

So I have returned!  Albeit a few days too late.  I can't believe it's Z already and I was out of commission for so long!  I have some free time tonight and if my stomach continues cooperating I plan on cranking out a few posts.   In the meantime it is time to talk about Vanquish.

Aside from being an absolutely stellar game that riffs on the current chest-high-wall burly action hero cover shooter  Vanquish is a very fun word to use.  It's also one of the most common words you can encounter in any sort of heroic fiction where our brave young hero rallies his resolve and vanquishes the villain.  So let's make Vanquish into a game mechanic.  And since I've been having fun playing around with Intrepid Dice, let's base it around that.

Here's a quick primer on Intrepid Dice.  You have a seventh stat named your Intrepid score.  It is determined randomly (d6 + level) at the start of every adventure.  You can use your intrepid score to add dice to any roll you're making (recall that we're talking 3d6 in place of a d20, and regardless of the number of dice you end up rolling you can only keep 3) as well as a host of other fun tricks you'll find in the link above.  Kevin of KORPG has swayed me from using levels as a carrot for players so the Intrepid Score is how I've been trying to resolve my conflict in a level-less D&D

Now then, on to Vanquish.  We can treat it as a class feature, perhaps for our Underdog class or we can treat like other Intrepid abilities, useable by anyone.  I can see it going well either way.  Here's how it works:

Whenever you would deal any Wounds you deal additional Wounds equal to the number of Intrepid Dice you spent during any step resolving your attack.

So what does this mean?  It means the more you invest into an attack, the more spunk, boldness and trust in luck you place in that attack, for each die you personally invest from your intrepid hero's pool of dice you are more likely to strike down your villain and smite him where he stands.  It's the perfect move for any last ditch move and hero very nearly beaten, one last chance before its lights out.  Due to the nature of Intrepid Dice (they don't refresh until the start of another adventure) it is very difficult to abuse.  It can be used as an Alpha strike but is quite the costly gambit.

So there you have it.  Let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for what I should do for X.  I'm completely blanking on what to do for that. As always, thanks for reading!


  1. I'm all for lights out victories. In fact, I'm only for them. If you're not making it through by the skin of your teeth, you'll get bored. Vanquish would be really good for this because, as you say in the original Intrepid article, it keeps players living close to the edge. So why not utilize it in a beefy attack to knock down the boss?

    I also had no idea there was a level-less D&D. Interesting!

    1. Indeed! Vanquish is intended to be a great way to spice up Critical Hits, without overdoing it. The other thing I forgot to mention is that it also discourages you from Alpha striking the first chance you get, because if you fail to take them out you'll be stuck for the rest of the fight without your neck-saving Intrepid Dice.

      Yeah it blew my mind when I first read about level-less D&D. I was very hesitant at first but as I tried to look through that lens when I ran games I started to understand it a bit more. Its more fun for players to do what they want to do rather than to be constrained because there level wasn't high enough. The other major boon is that you don't need to worry too much about power curve balance which is wonderful for when you want to use a perfectly themed monster which would ordinarily be out of their league due solely to its HD/Attack bonus. I haven't tried it out completely but I have been moving towards it bit by bit.

  2. Hmm, this sounds interesting. I remember when games were based on creativity and imagination. Tell us more about "Vanquish."

    1. There's an excellent article I was trying to find when writing this post to include about the Vanquish video game. Essentially, they were talking about how its creator Shinji Mikami, was essentially playing a game of telephone with western developers. If Gears of War is the West's take on the game elements introduced in Resident Evil 4 then Vanquish is Mikami's take on what they tried to do in Gears of War. While at the same time poking a bit of fun at the lumbering meat heads and their chest high walls by replacing them with a slick jet-propelled louge from a cybernetic commando.

      There's another article that talks about cultural perspectives and how in Vanquish the protagonist's weapons change depending on what he acquires and his own skill, reflecting the growth of spirit and the self which is of the utmost importance for the culture it came from. It was covered in a good bit of detail by the Extra Credits crew here: