... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You'll See Me Again, Mortal!

So, Zak suggested a pretty interesting trick: rolling vs. an indifference number to see if a villain decides to fight you right now, or just head off to do something more important and deal with you later. He subtracts the PC's level (or apparent level, if operating in disguise) from the villain's level to get the indifference rating, then rolls a d20: a result less than/equal to the indifference rating means the PC escapes immediate destruction.

I like the basic idea, although I'd swap around numbers and do it this way: have the player roll a d20 and add their PC's level to the result; if this is greater than villain's level, the villain perceives the PC as an immediate threat. Mathematically, there's no difference, but it feels quicker, and more importantly you can let the player make the roll while keeping the villain's actual level a secret. Or, for that matter, keeping a final result a secret; when the ArchLich says "I'll deal with you later," is it really going to deal with you later, or will it deal with you right now, but in a way that maximizes your torture by luring you into a feeling of relief first?

Anyway, Zak made a comment on G+: "(it's a dirty little secret of D&D that if you're just willing to compare two scores and subtract you can do pretty much anything)". And yes, this same comparison could be used a couple other ways:

  • PC asking bureaucrat for aid: PC Level + d20 > bureaucrat's level = immediate attention, otherwise d20 result = wait time before bureaucrat even responds.
  • Weak Villain, Strong PC: Villain Level + d20 > PC Level = lies about own importance.


  1. Isn't that the same thing as a Morale or Reaction roll?
    I suppose that, on a reaction roll, "Meh" is probably the closest thing to "friendly" you can expect from an omnicidal eldritch horror, for example.

    1. Not exactly... I'm interpreting Zak's intent as: you know this guy is hostile to the party, wants to destroy them, has the power to destroy them *right now*. Does he? Or does he have something more important to do?

    2. 'Something more important to do' can be the referee's interpretation of 'meh.'