Character Classes – Meet the Knight

There are four base classes in Let Thrones Beware, each corresponding to one of the four primary ethos – Defender, Leader, Controller, and Striker. Today, we take a look at the Knight, the defender.

What is a Knight?

Knights are chivalrous defenders of the downtrodden, sworn to protect the weak and helpless. Clad in heavy armour, Knights are proficient with many weapons and are well-trained surviving combat. Ferocious in battle, their impenetrable armour allows them to shrug off blows that would fell others, and this combination of technique and equipment allows them to intercede on behalf of their allies.

Why Play a Knight?
The purpose of the Knight is to provide players with a versatile, heroic figure that protects his allies. As a defender, several of the Knight’s actions are able to intercept attacks, counterattacks, and interrupts leveled against other players; the Knight is the only class with this capability. By intercepting and redirecting attacks, the Knight frees the other classes to focus on deploying their most potent attacks without being concerned with being countered.

Class Information

  • Knights gain +1 to Strength
  • Knights have a base of 6 hit points

Competencies

Light Melee Weapons
Basic Competency: Nimble and Quick – Entering threatened range does not provoke an engagement.

Heavy Weapons
Basic Competency: Rend – Whenever you do damage to an enemy, you may choose to reduce that enemy’s damage resistance by one.

Polearms
Basic Competency: Iron Thicket: If you hit an adversary moving from outside your reach to within, that adversary is stopped at the maximum extent of your reach.

Heavy Armour
Basic Competency: Steadfast: All forced movement effects imposed upon you result in one less square of movement.

Light Armour
Basic Competency: This is Pretty Light – Once per round, when engaged with an enemy, you may change your position to another space adjacent the adversary.

Actions

Deflecting Assault

  • Adventurer Tier – Interrupt – Melee
  • Momentum – Both
  • S3
  • Damage – [1W]/[2W]/[3W]
  • May be used in reaction to attacks made against other characters

Armoured Challenge

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee
  • Momentum – Both
  • S2
  • Damage – [1W]/[2W]/[3W]

Frantic Shielding

  • Adventurer Tier – Counterattack – Melee
  • Momentum – Both
  • S4
  • Damage – 0
  • May be used in reaction to attacks made against other characters

Mailed Fist

  • Adventurer Tier – Move
  • Momentum – Foward
  • S0
  • You may move up to [3 + Response] spaces before attacking
  • Damage – [1W]

A sample combat

Writing down my initial combat concept – this will need a pile of refinement, and it will work best on a grid, but we ought to see how the action interplay occurs with plain `ol theatre of the mind (to make things easier, we’ll handwave range).

Meandering down the road, Tobin decides to take a shortcut to get to his favourite hideaway, the Drunken Squirrel. Cutting through an alley, he’s acosted by two Street Thugs, who demand his money.

The encounter begins, with each side rolling initiative, which is determined by summing your tier die and Response attribute.

Sir Tobin the (Overpopulated) Human Rogue:

d6 (5) + 2 = 7

 

A couple of street thugs:

d6 (3) + 1 = 4

Round One

Tobin rolls a tier die to determine his force modifier for the round. He rolls a 2.
Thugs one and two roll a 5 and a 6, respectively.

Having won initiative, Tobin chooses to act first (if he was confident in his counter-attacks, he could decide to allow his opponents the first move); he uses a light missile weapon and the Pin-Point Accuracy attack against one of the Thugs (Thug One), who’s still at the opposite end of the alley. His attack has a total force score of 7 (Roll 2 + Response 2 + Action 3).

Pin-Point Accuracy:

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee, Ranged
  • Momentum – Both
  • R3
  • Damage – [1W]+1/[2W]+2/[3W]+3

 

Light Missile Weapon:

  • Ranged Weapon – One handed
  • Damage 1
  • Range 5

Since the street Thug does not have a counterattack with the deflect property, there’s nothing he can do about the knife. It hits, dealing 1[W] (1) + 1 damage. Thug One has 2 hit points, so he’s knocked out of the fight.

Pin-Point Accuracy is marked as exhausted; Tobin cannot use the action again unless it is refreshed at the beginning of a combat round.

The second Thug closes distance, attacking Tobin with Merciless Stab.

Merciless Stab:

  • Attack – Melee, Ranged
  • Momentum – forward
  • Force 2
  • Damage – 1

Combining his roll with the action’s force value, his attack a total force of 8. Tobin doesn’t have a class ability that he can use in response (his one high-scoring action, Shot in the Back, requires that someone else be engaging the Thug as well). He considers selecting a default action, such as Parry-riposte, but his roll at the beginning of the round was so low that his total force won’t be high enough to successfully counter the attack.

Tobin suffers one damage, dropping his hit points to 3.

Round Two

Tobin is able to refresh one action per tier. Since he’s only used one (Pin-Point Attack), it is refreshed by default.

Tobin rolls a tier die to determine his force modifier for the round. He rolls a 5.
Thug two rolls a 5.

Tobin still has initiative, and he selects Thrust as his attack.

Thrust:

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee
  • Momentum – Forward
  • WCTR 2
  • Damage – [1W]/[2W]/[3W]

Tobin’s total force for this action is 9 (Roll 5 + Response 2 + Action 2). As a default action, Thrust is not exhausted.

The Thug attempts to counter his assault, opting to use his defensive ability, Duck and Weave.

Duck and Weave:

  • Counterattack – Melee
  • Momentum – Both
  • Force 4
  • Damage – 1

The Thug’s total force value is 9 (Roll 5 + Action 4). Given that the force scores are equivalent, each adversary will suffer damage from their opponent’s action.

Not wanting to be more bruised than necessary, Tobin decides to continue the fight. Rummaging through his available actions, Tobin settles on Parry-Riposte, which is a default counterattack with a high Response score.

Parry-Riposte:

  • Adventurer Tier – Counterattack – Melee
  • Momentum – Both
  • W2R3
  • Damage – [1W]/[2W]/[3W]

Tobin’s force score for Parry Riposte is 10 (Roll 5 + Response 2 + Action 3). His force score is higher than the Thug’s, and with no further actions available, the Thug is hit, suffering the effects of the action.

The Thug drops to one hit point.

Round Three

Tobin has no actions to refresh this round, as he only relied upon defaults in round two.

Tobin rolls a tier die to determine his force modifier for the round. He rolls a 3.
Thug two rolls a 1.

Tired of all this fighting, Tobin selects Brutal Knifing.

Brutal Knifing:

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee
  • Momentum – Forward
  • R3
  • Damage – [2W]/[4W]/[6W]

With a force score of 8 (Roll 3 + Response 2 + Action 3), Tobin’s attack cannot be defeated by the Thug (his only available counterattack has a force score of 4, which is not sufficient to stop the attack). Thug Two suffers 2 damage, dropping his hit points to -1. He is defeated.

Exhausted, and bleeding from some minor wounds, Tobin limps off to the Drunken Squirrel.

Things that will need further shaking out:

  • Major actions that permit moving and attacking
  • The interplay of multiple attackers and a single defender

Skills, skill checks, and skill tests

During the course of an adventure, adventurers may attempt actions where success is not certain. In these cases, a skill check may be required.

Skill checks

To determine whether an action is successful, combine the player’s tier dice roll with the skill they’ve opted to use, and add an attribute modifier as appropriate.

Remember that skills in Let Thrones Beware are designed to be open ended; a rogue using her best thief in the land skill to sneak past a guard would add her Quick to the check, and might add Presence to convince a suspicious guard that there were only ever three barrels on the cart.

The group should work together to determine whether a given skill can be used to accomplish a task. In the event that a skill isn’t appropriate, a character can still make an ability check.

Skill tests

Characters may be confronted by obstacles that need more than one skill check to resolve. In those cases, a skill test may be carried out.

To successfully pass a skill test, the party must pass a number of skill checks before failing a number of times, with the number of failures and successes determined by the intended difficulty of the check.

The test is divided up into rounds; in each round, the party must surmount a number of obstacles equal to the size of their group through the use of skill checks.

The success or failure of a round is determined by the number of skill checks that are passed; if there are more passes than failures, the round is won. It is otherwise lost.

Winning a round gains the party advantage on a single roll in the next round; representing the benefits they gained from overcoming their trial so successfully. Losing a round means that the party has disadvantage on one roll in the next round, owing to the extra effort they must commit to make up the lost ground.

Building a Character – Part Three – class

Step four: picking a class

Finally, we get around to picking Tobin’s class. Ever since he lost his estate, he’s developed some rage issues, and is quick to rush into combat to express his emotional turmoil in the form of a stabbin`. As a speedy Rogue, Tobin gains +1 to Response and 4 hit points. He has learned Thievery (+3) and Stealth (+1).

He’s also picked up a few tricks in his time: Shot in the Back, Pin-Point Accuracy, and Brutal Knifing are all important abilities of his. He’s also quite competent in Light Weapons, Light Missile Weapons, Heavy Missile Weapons, and Light Armour.

Sir Tobin the (Overpopulated) Human Rogue posted:

Strength: 0 Response: 2 Wit: 2 Fortitude: 0 Presence: 2

HP 4

Skills

  • Court Intrigue (+3)
  • Thievery (+3)
  • Leadership (+1)
  • Stealth (+1)

Competencies

Light Melee Weapons

  • Basic Competency: Nimble and Quick – Entering threatened range does not provoke an engagement.

Light Missile Weapons

  • Basic Competency: There’s Always a Knife – You are never disarmed. You always have at least one light missile weapon.

Heavy Missile Weapons

  • Basic Competency: A Most Accurate Shot – You may fire a heavy missile weapon from the prone position without penalty.

Light Armour

  • Basic Competency: This is Pretty Light – Once per round, when engaged with an enemy, you may change your position to another space adjacent the adversary.

Actions

That Monotonous Sound

  • Adventurer Tier – Minor
  • At beginning of an encounter, you may impose the surprised condition on one adversary.

Commanding Voice

  • Adventurer Tier – Minor
  • Imposes Fearful condition (save clears).

Shot in the Back

  • Adventurer Tier – Interrupt – Melee, Ranged
  • Momentum – Foward
  • Q4
  • Damage – [3W]/[6W]/[9W]
  • Requires adversary to be engaged by another opponent

Pin-Point Accuracy

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee, Ranged
  • Momentum – Both
  • Q3
  • Damage – [1W]+1/[2W]+2/[3W]+3

Brutal Knifing

  • Adventurer Tier – Attack – Melee
  • Momentum – Foward
  • Q3
  • Damage – [2W]/[4W]/[6W]

Building a Character – Part Two – background

We’re going to tease this out a bit longer, and just do the background.

Step three: selecting a background

There are plenty of people out in the world, human and inhuman alike. Most of them are downtrodden, which is such a shame. Not Tobin though, he was lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family. Who died at the hands of another noble who wanted their forest. No wonder Tobin has sensitivities toward class.

Fortunately for Tobin, while they can take his estate, they can’t take his brains (unless they find him and remove his head).

As a noble, he gains +1 to Wit, owing to all of that formal education. He also gains the Commanding Voice ability. His time in the Royal Palace has left him quite is skilled in Court intrigue (+3), and Leadership (+1)

Sir Tobin the (Overpopulated) Human posted:

Strength: 0 Quick: 1 Wit: 2 Fortitude: 0 Presence: 2

Skills

  • Court Intrigue (+3)
  • Leadership (+1)

That Monotonous Sound

  • Adventurer Tier – Minor
  • At beginning of an encounter, you may impose the surprised condition on one adversary.

Commanding Voice

  • Adventurer Tier – Minor
  • Imposes Fearful condition (save clears).

Cool! So, how do we use those skills? What if Tobin wants to sneak into his enemy’s estate?

Basic Mechanics

Tier Die
At many times in the game, you will need to make a check to determine whether or not your character is able to accomplish a task.
A check is made by combining a die roll with skill modifiers, and beating a specified difficulty level. The die you roll will depend on the tier of your character.

Adventurer d6 – Champion d8 – Legend d10

Attribute and Skill Checks
The basic mechanic in Let Thrones Beware is the check. There are two basic types of check, the ability check, and the skill/action check.
The ability check is made by rolling the tier die and adding (or subtracting) your ability score.

Skill and action checks are made by rolling the tier die and adding the skill (or action value) and your ability score. In some cases, the choice of ability score may be up to you as the player. In other cases, it will be dictated by the skill or the GM.

Tobin doesn’t have any way to sneak right now (though we could just rely on an attribute check based on Quick), but there is another way – he could make attempt use of his Court Intrigue skill to cause a shift change at just the right time, allowing him to walk in the front door unimpeded. He would see how well he did by totaling the results of

Skill Check posted:

d6 + 3 (Court Intrigue) + 2 (Presence)

to see whether he’s able to pull the right strings.

Building a Character – Part One – abilities and race

In an effort to get this all straight in my head, I’m posting it here! Our concept is a Robinhood-esque human rogue from the landed gentry. We’ll call him Tobin.

Step one: assigning attributes.

The attributes are:

  • Strength
  • Quick
  • Wit
  • Fortitude
  • Presence

Every player has three attribute points that they can assign at the beginning of character creation. Character attributes begin at zero, and for novice adventurers, can range from a minimum of -1 to a maximum of +3 (factoring in race, background, and class).

To be as hoodish as possible, we want Tobin to be nimble (Quick +1), smart (Wit +1), and a hit with other humans of the appropriate gender (Presence +1).

Tobin posted:

Strength: 0 Quick: 1 Wit: 1 Fortitude: 0 Presence: 1

Step two: choosing a race

This is pretty simple. Tobin’s an Overpopulated Human. He’s certainly not one of those Speedy Insectoids or Formidable Dwarves. As a human, he gains an additional +1 to Presence, because people are worried that if they don’t listen to the nuance of his every spoken word, they’ll wind up losing their land in exchange for some worthless trinkets. Tobin also gains That Monotonous Sound.

Tobin the (Overpopulated) Human posted:

Strength: 0 Quick: 1 Wit: 1 Fortitude: 0 Presence: 2

That Monotonous Sound

  • Adventurer Tier – Minor
  • At beginning of an encounter, you may impose the surprised condition on one adversary.

Next time – selecting a background and a class.

The basic combat mechanic

I’m drawing inspiration from a couple different places – It’s a mix of sport fencing, rock paper scissors, magic the gathering, and street-fighter, with 4e’s powers template for organization and balance.

Essentially, every character will have a pool of actions, derived from race, class, and background, as well as default actions that everyone has access to at all times. These are assembled into a deck, and a player builds a hand of several cards. Each action has a force rating, determined by whether it’s a powerful attack, or a quick one, or a sneaky one, etc.

When an adversary is engaged, someone plays an attack card – by beating the force rating of the preceding card, the defender can try to counterattack – this alternates back and forth until a character cannot beat the force rating, or chooses not to – at which point damage is applied. If force ratings are tied, both participants suffer damage. At that point, all played cards are exhausted.

At the end each combat round, a limited number of actions are randomly refreshed for every adversary.

The world of Let Thrones Beware

This is the first post for the Let Thrones Beware role-playing game. In time, I’ll provide a more complete description of the game, but for now, here’s a very brief overview of what I’m building:

Design principles

  • Characters should be equally viable, no matter what combination of choices they make
  • Choices must be purposeful; a decision must have a significant mechanical impact, otherwise the details should be considered fluff
  • Combat and skill challenges must be crunchy, but quick – and easy to adjudicate

 

Why you might be interested

  • You are tired of inflicting damage by rolling to beat an armour class
  • You enjoy meaningful choices in character design
  • You don’t want to track a million modifiers

 

To do

  • Determine mechanics
  • Class abilities
  • Skill challenges
  • Weapons
  • Armour
  • Sample adversaries