Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Peter Mork © 2012

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Welcome to the 158th edition of the Guild Companion (and my 12th editorial). This month we have the final installment of the Art of Fighting, which picks up where the last article left off discussing martial arts styles. However, next month we plan to publish bonus Art of Fighting material.

Given the paucity of new material, I encourage our readers to submit articles for publications. Our editors are standing by!

Last month we also noted that ICE's print-on-demand was up and running. So far it seems like this process is running relatively smoothly. Hopefully most of ICE's catalog can be made available in this manner.

Now, back to waxing game-masterly. Over the years, I've tried quite a few systems. Each time, I return to Rolemaster, but I try to bring some useful idea back with me.

From D&D 4th edition, I recommend borrowing the "skill challenge." Basically, a skill challenge is an alternative to a combat encounter in which the party tries to accumulate 4-12 successes before they get four failures.

A skill challenge is a great way to improvise an encounter where the players rely on skills rather than combat. In this example, the young gods were being chased by a squad of police in a sort of personnel carrier (we like to blend genres). The idea was that the highly mobile pursuers would spur the PCs to keep moving towards their goal.

Silly me! The PCs took one look at the vehicle, and decided that they wanted one, too. So, they began concocting a plan to acquire a police carrier. (I should have planned for such a possibility, but somehow I missed this one.) Based on the skill challenge framework, I decided that after four failures the encounter would be over. If they accumulated 4 successes, then they would maintain status quo. With 8 successes, they would hobble the cruiser, preventing either side from using it. And, with 12 successes, the PCs would be able to steal the cruiser.

The young gods did succeed at stealing the vehicle (but the next session they had to abandon it to scale the cogs of ascent). In any event, I find that skill challenges are a great way organize an encounter, especially when the GM is forced to improvise. What do you think? Join us on the forums.

Until next month, may all of your Large criticals be open-ended.
Peter Mork
General Editor