Thursday, August 30, 2012

Using the Stealth System for "Wandering Monsters"

As I try my hand at something that is largely a pure dungeoncrawl with NGR  (the Northcote/Hogswamp sci-fi game)   I've been working with an alternate solution to wandering monsters.

Currently I've been using the Stealth System  (mess up on stealthy actions or make noise,  build suspicion, get caught) to work as a "build up to wandering encounter" check.   This has been working pretty well so far,  players are free to crank radios, use dynamite, rev chainsaws and fire guns all they want, and slowly it builds into someone or something coming to investigate.

This also works well as a balance for rogues in a game where everyone can disarm and detect traps.  It has the advantage of letting PC's freak themselves out about the amount of noise they are making in a concrete way, adding to a rising sense of tension.   What is about to crawl out of a pipe or through the air vents towards them?  Convicts? Trained Killers? A stray cat? Nothing?  They know something is about to risk appearing if they take 1 more suspicion..

What do you do?  Take the risky action?  Burn through your luck to avoid being caught (but be weaker when something does appear when you push into another room in ten minutes?) , or do you fall back to a safe haven and recoup?

10 comments:

  1. How do you vary the chance of encounters by location using this system? For example, might a dungeon have an ambient amount of anti-stealth already, representing how likely a random encounter is if the PCs don't do anything to poke the hornet's nest?

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    1. In my case I have monsters roaming about the dungeon, they themselves being the level of threat.

      If a PC does nothing but sit still and hide, I wouldn't have them run into anything unless they were sitting in a through way of some sort.

      There are then two different measures of "random encounter" danger. How dangerous the thing is, and how perceptive it is. A sleeping dragon versus a hungry dog.

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  2. I'm guessing this is a mechanism from the NGR rules? Does Suspicion build up to a threshold and then you're caught, or does it burn off in small bursts of "getting caught"?

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    1. It builds up, until you are caught, then (for this instance as a wandering monster tracker) it builds back up. Being in a fight too long and firing too many guns can bring wave after wave upon you.

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    2. One thing: this does not seem to support back to back encounters like the traditional random encounter check does.

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    3. It does, but only if the PC's (or the people they are fighting) keep making noise. It happened where one PC in the last Northcote game had a chainsaw and dynamite. The dynamite created so much suspicion it looped over and brought several groups at once (a whole swarm)

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    4. I'd want to see more specifics on it, but I like the idea that makes "wandering monsters" not "random encounters," and allows for player activity to make such encounters more or less likely.

      Does suspicion ever "wear off," or is an encounter inevitable?

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    5. Not in the time frame the players are on the drifting spacehulk, though it is specific to the regions of the ship. If they hop on the tube system and zip over to another part of the ship, their suspicion resets in the new area.

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  3. It also supports having three "encounters" at once due to said chainsaw.

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  4. I like this idea, it would work for most types of worlds. very flexible.

    http://mooriaworld.blogspot.com/

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