[CONAN] Spooked!

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Supplement Four
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[CONAN] Spooked!

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Question: How do you think the Spot/Listen detection rules are meant to be played?

For example, let's say your PCs are moving through a forest. For whatever reason, one of your players gets spooked and thinks that there's something "out there". The player says, "I'm aware (his character is aware) at all times as we walk along the trail. I make a conscious effort to look in all directions, and I try to focus on what I can hear in the distance."

Now, you, as GM, may or may not have an encounter planned. Let's say that you do. You've got a pack of three bandits watching from atop a large, overgrown rock. The trail heads to a stream, and when the PCs start wading across the stream, the bandits will jump from the rock, rush to the stream, and attempt to ambush the PCs while they're in the middle of the water.

My question is, under the rules, how is this situation diced?

How many checks are made? One for the entire encounter? One roll for Listen and one for Spot? More than one roll for each, but when and why?
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Re: [CONAN] Spooked!

Postby Halfbat » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:10 pm

If a character is being cautious then oppose his Spot or Listen against the bandits, but for me adventurers wandering through such country would be on the lookout anyway - it's only in well-known locations they'd let their guard down. It may be worth mentioning that anyone being super-cautious slows down the group substantially, which may be important.

It may also work to allow such behaviour to act like 4e passive perception (effectively a "Take 10" on the dice).

Forcing multiple rolls does odd things with the numbers, btw, so try and avoid them.
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Re: [CONAN] Spooked!

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:37 pm

OK, so where do you make the opposed throws? When the party is on the trail, and the bandits are on the rock, motionless, watching them? What if the party is on the trail for several minutes, and range to the bandits on the rock is constantly decreasing? Each step favors the party's dectection. So, where is the throw made? At what point during the trip?

Or, is the check made later, as the party approaches the stream, which triggers the bandits' movement toward the party for ambush?

I agree that if you're going to make multiple rolls, it favors the dectecting party. The more chances they get, the more likely that they'll detect the bandits.

OTOH, if only one throw for the entire encounter is made, where should that throw be made? When, during the PC's travel, should it be made?
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Re: [CONAN] Spooked!

Postby Boneguard » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:59 pm

I would say it depends on the bandit set up. If they are well camouflaged and keep silent, I would do a spot/listen check as the PC pass by them...and the if the PC fail, a regular suprised check as the jump on them by the stream.

In the case of a badly prepared ambush I'd go with 3 checks. Upon entering 'spot, range, as they pass by, just before the ambush...and if your PC fails all 3, then suprise roll.

The other thing to consider is that a jumpy character might actually help the ambusher as he will not be able to fully focus on anything: jumping at every sound and shadow; getting spooked by a deer or a bird cry.
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Re: [CONAN] Spooked!

Postby Spectator » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:28 am

Fun Question!!!
OK for the Banditos:
#1 setting up an ambush, a roll should be made for Hiding or in the alternative Survival due to the fact that they need to cover up the tracks, camoflage themselves, cover up shiny objects that may reflect in the sun, etc. I'd give a small bonus for being on top of a rock (out of normal line of sight).
#2 Remaining in an ambush: This is where WILLPOWER is required. Why, because it sucks to be still and silent on a rock (not comfy), exposed to the wind, heat, cold, rain, etc... As a former Army guy, maintaining an ambush was as important as setting one up. Plus, being so quiet and still you have the ability (very EASY) to fall asleep. not like you can chat with your boys to your left and right to stay awake. PLUS being in the prone position is very conducive to falling asleep, especially if its pleasant weather. I'd make em roll a WP every 1/2 hour, a failure = giving a bonus to the Ambushees.
#3 When the ambush is sprung: Gotta make their Jump or Tumble rolls because if they don't not only will they not look Errol Flynn from Robin Hood, they will likely bust an ankle and become the carrion for the crows. I will allow the guys to practice for the ambush and each and every rehersal they do will gain them a bonus (as they figure out their limitations, which way to jump is the best, etc.) On the converse, the more they reherse the more the target area is going to be disturbed so definitely a bonus to the ambushees as they make their SPOT test near the ambush zone.
Also, just a thought jumping off a high ledge with bladed weapons is kinda risky, if you land wrong, or a buddy lands bad nest to your broadsword, the results are catastrophic. Definitely need to figure out a bonus or neg modifier for the tumble rolls if weapons are unsheathed/ sheathed, respectively.

#4 Definitely SPOT (light dependent), as I mentioned the target area if they practice will be different looking from a normal trail.
#5 Definitely LISTEN, remember what I said about the ambushers losing their discipline in maintaining their position.
#6 OPTIONAL: If you have a borderer/ barbarian in the party I would allow them to get a survival roll since they often look for ambush spots. When I was in the Rangers that was one of my ways I passed the time when I was tramping about in the woods. Good ambush spots are actually hard to find (eg: the rock ledge over the trail is bingo!). So I would definitely allow my Barbarian or Borderer (or people of that culture ie Pictish Shaman) get a Survival role to allow them to identify where good ambushes may occur. This roll SHOULD be done before the Spot or Listen Rolls. If successful it should give a bonus to Spot AND Listen. E.G.: BARBARIAN: Hmmm, this looks like a great place for an ambush (assuming they are within sight distance of it). -makes roll, and succeeds. Then Barbarian halts party for 5-10 seconds to scope out area If SPOT succeeds they see heavy footprints in the mud (from dudes doing their practice jumps off the rocks, A really successful Spot roll BARBARIAN or whoever may see Chainmail glinting in the sun or moonlight. On a listen roll, they may notice a lack of typical nature sounds, on a really successful listen roll they may hear a guy sniffling his nose, rubbing an itch beneath his mail, etc.

YEAH this is kinda obtuse and rules heavy but S4 likes this stuff, so I oblige.

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