Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shock and Awe

I completed my first 5k run today so what better time to take up blogging again.  I'll be keeping it short for right now as I get back into the swing of things.  Today I'm going to talk about Shock and Awe which I was originally planning on tackling in the A-Z challenge but unfortunately had to cut due to time constraints.

Shock and Awe
The Spy reduces the Morale of common monsters/men and forces a morale check after performing any action that will shock, inspire fear, or awe their opponent.

How does this work?  Well first the Spy needs to cause perform some act that will shock an opponent.  Here are a few examples of how it has come about in play.

  • The Spy performed a called shot on the leader of a troop of bugbears
    • The attack succeeded spectacularly and the arrow pierced the leaders eye.
    • The remaining bugbears made morale checks and surrendered.
  • After killing the Spider Queen Laraeth in the Moathouse the Spy brought out the severed Drider head
    • The barracks full of guards they conned their way past made Morale Checks
    • Half the barracks immediately emptied.  The rest left after the leader was killed.
  • The Spy dropped a torch in a cask of brandy to seal their escape from a patch of gnolls
    • The flaming blast was sufficient for the majority of the pack to give up chase
Mechanically any given monster or man has a Morale score of 3-18.  Most of the time their Morale will be equal to 1 plus their Hitdice plus a d6 plus any special modifiers.  For example, Gnolls might have 1/2 morale in the presence of fire, Hill Giants may have half morale against rodents, bloodspike Orcs may know no fear (double Morale), while hobgoblin shock troops have a +6 modifier.  Once the Spy activates Shock and Awe all nearby enemies make a Morale check.  If they've already made a morale check previously their Morale is reduced by the Spy's level.

A morale check works as follows.  Roll 3d6, roll under your morale otherwise the unit will flee, surrender or change sides.  Ordinarily morale checks are made when half of a units forces are depleted.  So in a given conflict the Spy can  force enemies to flee without needless death, and if their morale has already faltered the Awe inspiring Spy will almost certainly cause them to fail their morale check.

That's all for this week.  I have a lot of moving to do this week of me so next post should be coming by next Sunday.


  1. This is a fun ability, and a nice way to make Morale rules a more integral part of confrontations. How do you like to handle XP for cases where the PCs chase their antagonists away?

    1. I award XP for defeating monsters, not merely for killing them. So chasing off enemies gets XP as per usual. Ideally it will encourage better playing as the players will try to defeat enemies without risking loss of resources, rather than trying to chase down and kill every last one. Of course, letting enemies go does have problems of their own (raising the alarm, regrouping, etc.)

  2. Glad to hear you completed the run. I'm not as familiar with this spy class. Is it something you personally created?

    1. Kind of, I did a post on creating a class kit on the fly to personalize the three broad classes. The Spy, or double agent, is a class kit for the Thief class.

      The post is over here: