Mixed Reactions

I am looking at a new reaction system for Crumbling Epoch to be used in random encounters and with NPC interaction. It is a single d6 roll, modified by up to 2 maximum either way.

In a dangerous area, rolls would be default -1. In enemy territory, rolls would be -2. Those rescued by PCs would be default +1. Suggestions?

-1: All-out attack.
0: Hostile, taking action against you.
1: Inclined to attack.
2: Uncertain, intimidated.
3: Uncertain, opportunist.
4: Wants to avoid conflict.
5: Open to consider offers.
6: May be helpful.
7: Wants an alliance.
8: Willing to risk and sacrifice for you.

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5 Responses to Mixed Reactions

  1. Aoi says:

    I like the idea: nice and simple. But, I notice a couple things. It seems the scale is such that a higher reaction roll is usually better from the PC’s perspective (as in, less likely to lead to them being attacked). If that’s the case, it seems to me that 2&3 as written might be more in line with the rest of the categories if they were swapped (i.e. the current 2 becomes 3 and the current 3 becomes 2).

    Also, I’m not sure what would make this system interesting at the table. That’s not a problem with just your system, but rather IMO with most systems I’ve seen that rely on random reaction rolls. Yours remedies this slightly, because presumably the modifiers you list would arise from the players’ decisions.

    If you want a random reaction, how about instead having a random motivation generator? This way, the PCs can investigate and use these motivations as leverage, and the NPCs’ reactions can make sense given a motivation and the PCs’ relative scariness (or whatever)

    Hope that’s helpful for you. Best of luck.

  2. fictivite says:

    Aoi: the idea with 2 and 3 is that an intimidated party is less likely to engage in conversation or further interaction than a party that is looking for some advantage.

    The real fun of a random encounter table for the DM is to think about how a general attitude is borne out in the situation of the moment at the table. It is far easier to repurpose a generic stance into a specific attitude for reasons, than it is to take a specific motive and bend it to fit the circumstances.

    It is difficult to come up with motivations that will suit a wide variety of settings and creatures. It is much easier to come up with why a specific set of creatures in a specific area might have the attitude the dice indicate.

  3. Black Vulmea says:

    I use the reaction table from the original Traveller game, solely because I know it by heart, but it’s pretty similar to this; however, it’s a 2d6 curve, which tempers the extreme results a bit. If you get the (free) Starter Traveller .pdf at DriveThruRPG, you can check it out.

  4. timdensham says:

    1. I like the idea of a random reaction roll. If simple and used at most first encounters it allows characters who have high Charisma (or whatever you want to call social interaction ability) to actually use their scores for some effect. Seems to help level the playing field a bit versus the combat guys.

    2. I’ll echo Black Vulmea’s post. Highly recommend using a curve. You get more “normal” reactions, and less extremes. Also makes an extreme reaction really stand out.

    Here’s a totally simple version using 2d6:

    3 or less Very bad
    4-5 Poor
    6-8 Neutral
    9-11 Good
    12+ Very good

    Good luck!

  5. fictivite says:

    I am not so concerned about the extreme results because basically the modifiers stake out a 6 point spectrum on the roll. Within that 6 point spectrum I think the results are good. The extreme reactions are less of an issue because they only occur when the modifier makes it possible.

    The only way to get an 8 result, for example, is to have a +2 and roll a 6. If you are already at a +2 on the reaction roll, then that seems like a reasonable outcome that does not need to be rare. The absurdity of having a dungeon prowler wanting to help you is mitigated because the dungeon prowler won’t have a bonus on the roll; super good results are not implausible, they are impossible.

    I feel randomizing should spice and flavor the DM’s inspriation and tool box, so the math of modeling curves is less important to me on a reaction chart. Not to say it should never be done that way, but I like the simplicity here, and it echoes some other elements in Crumbling Epoch.

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