Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Creeping up on sentries

We all make mistakes while gaming. I've made plenty. There are times where craziness happens, or where one mistake leads to another. Hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes all you can do about it is learn not to make the same mistakes next time.

Advice for the next time you're creeping up on the sentries around an enemy camp:
  • Don't split up the party if you don't have to. If you do split up, don't get impatient and head away from your agreed rendezvous point without permission.
  • If you happen to know that your groups Tank / Fighter is prone to wandering off and stirring up trouble, and you see him wander off, follow him. Don't do your own thing instead.
  • If the sentries are of a race that has infravision, your stealth precautions need to be more significant than putting out your torch, and carrying the smouldering remains of it with you. This goes doubly so if the system in question doesn't put a limit on infravision range, it just says "Goblins and Orcs suffer no penalties for darkness".
  • If you don't know the total numbers of the enemies at the camp, dispatch their sentries with something silent, like a knife or a bow, not an area-effect stunning spell.
  • If you do use the area-affect stunning spell on the two sentries you can see, arrange the area-of-effect so that it includes both of them.
  • After you use your area-affect stunning spell, and it alerts a huge crowd of orcs to chase after you, if you can cast it again, do so. Don't spend several actions standing around trying to make a persuasion roll against the two dozen orcs that are charging you. They're not listening.
  • When the resulting chase lasts so long the GM asks for a Vigor roll to resist fatigue, AND you roll double-ones on it, use your last bennie to reroll that. Don't save it for "if things get really dire later". Double ones on your Fatigue-resisting roll when dozens of orcs are chasing you is dire.
In the end, all the PCs survived, but extricating themselves from the situations this caused took over 6 more hours of play, and a lot of die rolls. It was ugly.


Erik said...

Hm, interesting thought. While I assume that this is Savage Worlds and the trappings for the stun spell are noise and light, it is really what SW has in terms of a sleep spell. At least in the DnD games I've played in, sleep is silent, and instantaneous and thus really great for taking down guards quietly, and when you don't want to kill them.

Hunty said...

"If you do use the area-affect stunning spell on the two sentries you can see, arrange the area-of-effect so that it includes both of them."

hahaha. :)

Hunty said...

I would add to your list, from bitter experience:

- When creeping up on sentries, try not to be a dwarf cleric in plate mail.


I did a great job of taking out the two sentries, and then hid inside a nearby rock wall, but things went badly when an ogre mage showed up and ordered that the wall be torn down in the process of searching for me.

r_b_bergstrom said...

@Erik - It's really not a sleep spell at all, if you read the Stun description.

For one thing, it can't put anyone to sleep, it can only make them Shaken.

Suggested trappings in the book include "Bolts of energy, stun bombs, sonic booms, burst of blinding light".

Then it says "Stun shocks those within a Medium Burst Template with concussive force, sound, light, magical energy, or the like."

In particular, this character's version of it had Trappings that included Deafening the targets if she got a raise on her spellcasting roll.

So, I stand by my opinion and ruling that it's not subtle.


There is a Savage Worlds equivalent of Sleep in the new(ish) Fantasy Companion. It's called Slumber, and does specifically put people to sleep. It's definitely not the spell the PC had or used.

Anonymous said...

You misunderstand me Rolfe. I wasn't suggesting that you had made an error. As I mentioned, the rules are pretty clear that the spell goes boom.

I was wondering if the player may have made a mistake. Say coming off of years of DnD where they used sleep for this sort of thing all the time and quite successfully, and mistaking stun for being like sleep. I've switched systems and system editions enough to have made that kind of mistake. You come to the final part of your master plan only to find that in this system driving a truck is a completely different skill than driving a car and you don't have it. Roll. Crash.

Since the player had set up the spell to deafen people their mistake was not one of system. So much for giving them the benefit of the doubt :)

r_b_bergstrom said...

It's been pointed out to me (by my wife, who was one of the other players at the table) that their version of the "Stun" spell had been retitled "thunderclap". The PC probably thought it would pass as just a mundane storm.

I'm not sure that would have mattered, had I parsed their intent. The goblins and orcs were aware of them due to infravision. And it's not like anyone confuses the lightning bolt spell for a mundane storm. When in a magical setting, if something weird happens, your first assumption should be magical danger. Orcs may not be bright, but they are violent.