Friday, June 10, 2016

Notes for BRP Encounters

Encounter profiles, or "stat blocks", can be a major stumbling block in scenario design for the busy GM. You're trying to ready an adventure. You have a location, you've sketched out the situation, considered the options and flow of events, and then you have to set up the details of the encounters.

RuneQuest is a fine game, but for any version of RuneQuest this would mean stopping to fill rows of characteristics, skills, and AP and HP for every hit location.

Even for BRP (without hit locations) or Magic World, if you go by the book you complete something like this:

Hill Bandit

STR 12
CON 10
SIZ 13
INT 10
DEX 14
APP 10

Move: 8
Hit Points: 12
Damage Bonus: +1d4

Attacks: Hand Axe 35%, 1d6+1+1d4, Recurved bow 35%, 1d8+2
Skills: Hide 50%, Move Quietly 50%, Ride 75%

Armor: 1d6-1 points leather

Notice the space it takes on the page, and the need to note every detail for a bandit who might be taken down by one or two hits. Of course, you could rely on a bestiary or a published scenario, but you're still scanning and copying out details when the encounter starts.

Now, in an old issue of White Dwarf, you might come across a Stormbringer encounter profile somewhat like this:

Hill Bandit
STR 12  CON 10  SIZ 13  INT 10  POW 9 DEX 14  APP 10  HP 12
Attacks: Hand Axe 35%, 1d6+1+1d4, Recurved bow 35%, 1d8+2
Skills: Hide 50%, Move Quietly 50%, Ride 75%
Armor: 1d6-1 points leather

Which is certainly much more efficient and easier to create. We can work with this to create an encounter notation that takes a fraction of the time a full stat block requires.

The Encounter Note

Here's the format for a compressed BRP note-style encounter line:

Encounter: description
HP x, DEX x, STATS x, Mov x
Attack % (damage), Armour (x)
Skill x%

Which for the bandit above might look like:

Hill Bandit: Tough, sneaky ambusher
HP 12, DEX 14
Hand axe 35% (1d6+1d4), Bow (1d8+2), Leather (2)
Sneak & Hide 50%


Encounter = basic title: description = how this encounter will be played and described

HP x = Hit Points come first; they matter most (and they also show roughly how tough this encounter is)
DEX x = DEX, because the next thing you need to know is the DEX-rank for actions in a round
STATS x = any other characteristics (STR, CON, SIZ, INT, POW, APP) that are significant in this encounter or exceptional for the character; if they're average or not likely to be used, leave out and make them up on the fly
Mov x = movement, but only if faster or slower than standard

Attack % (damage) = combat skill and (damage + damage bonus), Armour (x) = armour type (points)

Skill x% = any significant skills (don't worry about the right name; you know what they're for)

Notes = any other plays/notes that are relevant

The idea in this format is to keep the most important information foremost and minimize clutter and unnecessary detail.

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