Underground Caverns + Swamp

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Underground Caverns + Swamp

Post by shai-hulud » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:16 am

The underground caverns is annoying. Spending time trying to find your opponent is less than fun. The tactical map takes too long to get anything accomplished, and it causes most matches to turn into, "I move here. I hide. I move there. I attack." It is rather uneventful, especially at low levels. The issue might have something to do with the notion that adding in flavorful combat would upset the already tenuous balance among characters. So, how about we find some other way of handling combat in larger arenas?

Here are some ideas:
  • Underground caverns are always difficult terrain (all squares require two squares of movement. Charging is impossible):
    Natural Stone Floors wrote:Natural Stone Floors

    The floor of a natural cave is as uneven as the walls. Caves rarely have flat surfaces of any great size. Rather, their floors have many levels. Some adjacent floor surfaces might vary in elevation by only a foot, so that moving from one to the other is no more difficult than negotiating a stair step, but in other places the floor might suddenly drop off or rise up several feet or more, requiring Climb checks to get from one surface to the other. Unless a path has been worn and well marked in the floor of a natural cave, it takes 2 squares of movement to enter a square with a natural stone floor, and the DC of Balance and Tumble checks increases by 5. Running and charging are impossible, except along paths.
  • Do not go in round-by-round combat until combat actually ensues. This can take several forms:
    • If neither combatant is attempting to hide, then they find each other without trouble.
    • If one combatant is hiding while the other is seeking, then it is as simple as stealth rolls (hide and move silently) opposed by perception rolls (spot and listen) rolled once. The hider declares the location of the ambush. This includes the distance from the hider in which the seeker would be when he would spring the ambush. Example:
      The hider PMs the Judge that he wants to set up an ambush hiding at T14, his attacker is within 30 feet. His normal hide bonus is +7. Because he is declaring the ambush at 30', the hide bonus increases by +3 (it is +1/10 feet). His total bonus is now +10. He rolls his hide check. He rolls a 10+10=20. The opponent's Spot check must beat that Hide check in order for the ambush to be detected.
      The possible outcomes:
      1. The seeker rolls higher than 20. For each point above 20 that the seeker rolls, he spots the ambush that much further away (so, if the ambush was within 30', and the seeker rolls a 24, he has spotted it from a maximum of 70' away). The seeker gains a surprise round versus the ambusher at any distance from greater than the ambush distance up to the maximum distance. Obviously, factors like line of sight or range of darkvision may limit this distance. For instance, if the seeker found the hider with a spot check because his darkvision spotted the ambush, it has a maximum of 60', regardless of the actual spot check.
      2. The seeker rolls exactly 20 for his Spot check. If the seeker has a HIGHER bonus than the ambusher's Hide modifier, the seeker still gains a surprise round versus the ambusher.
      3. The seeker rolls exactly 20 for his Spot check. If the seeker has a LOWER bonus than the ambusher's Hide modifier, neither party gains a surprise round. Initiative is rolled as normal. The loser is flat-footed.
      4. The seeker rolls less than 20 for his Spot check. The ambush was successful, and the ambusher gains a surprise round.
    • If both parties are attempting to hide, then they both roll hide and move silently. Ambush points are determined by whomever detects the other first. It is a roll-off to see who will defeat the opponent's stealth first. Once stealth is defeated, that party is treated as the seeker in the above option.
  • A successful Listen versus Move Silently can spoil the ambush, as well. Here, surprise is simply negated, but does not grant the seeker a surprise round versus the ambusher unless the Listen check exceeds the Move Silently roll by 20 or more (enough to pinpoint the ambusher's location).
  • This allows complex tasks, such as a hider who wishes to remain hidden while climbing the cavern walls, tying flasks of oil to stalagtites such that as he passes, he can pull strings that would go unnoticed causing oil to fall in the passage behind him so that he can throw alchemist's fire and ignite his foe behind him. Such actions would require several rounds to complete. So, several rounds of spotting and listening would ensue. Listen checks would be used to guide a foe towards his target. A particularly stealthy character might be able to remain hidden for many minutes setting up elaborate traps for his foe. This would simply be a great multitude of skill rolls. Since they can be compared round by round, it is fairly simple to determine if a character will be detected amidst their stealthy activities.
This is just a beginning to my ideas. I'll have more later for the swamp. In general, I don't think that round-by-round combat is working out well in either the Underground Caverns or the Swamp.
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