8.4   A COMBAT EXAMPLE

Since combat in Children of Fire is much different from the traditional round-by-round systems employed in many other role-playing games, we've decided to include an sample combat scene to help clarify it.

Jack Higgins has been convinced by a demon that his wife was murdered by his own brother, William.  In actuality it was the demon who dispatched Jack's wife, but this insidious creature has made jack believe it is his brother.    In a rage he confronts his brother in the kitchen with the intent of beating him to death.

Since the storyteller senses a combat scene is imminent he asked for a roll as Jack (a player character) enters the kitchen.  The player rolls 2d10 for Jack and receives a  9 (a slightly lower than average roll).  This number is added to Jack's athleticism score of 8 to come up with a final result of 17.  The storyteller, who is playing the character of William, also rolls using his athleticism score of 7.  He rolls a 15 making his final score of 22.   He has beaten Jack by five.   While not enough to kill Jack (Jack's health score is 9) it is still a decisive advantage for William. All things equal, William will come out on top of this situation.

Keep in mind, just because a combat roll is made does not mean combat must take place.   It is possible for William to convince his brother that he had nothing to do with Jack's wife's murder, though this is not the case in our example.

The scene begins

Storyteller:  "The kitchen door swings open and Jack is standing there.  There's a crazy look in his eyes, a mixture of both profound sadness and rage.   At the kitchen table, William looks up from the steak he was about to cut into.  Sensing that something's wrong, he rises from the table.  "Jack…What's…"

Player:  "Without a word I charge at him."

Storyteller:  "William's look of concern turns to shock as you barrel, shoulder first, into him.  The air is violent expelled from his lungs and he is sent cascading across the floor knocking his head against the side of the refrigerator.  He lies there struggling to get his breath. "

Player:  "I jump on top of him and start pummeling him in the face and driving his head into the floor over and over again."

Storyteller:  (still using the combat roll as a guide), "As you leap, William grabs for the refrigerator and pulls it open.   Your forehead connects with the corner of the door, opening up a large gash over your right eye. The blow stuns you as you drop to one knee over your brother.   Reaching up to the counter, William grabs for a bottle resting on the counter, and flipping open the cap throws a mysterious liquid in your eyes.   The pain is unimaginable.  Pushing you off him, he rolls to his feet as you struggle to get to yours as well    "Jack, what the hell are you…"

Player:  "I'm not listening to him.  I pick up a chair and swing it."

Storyteller:  "Your eyes are burning, the pain getting more intense with every second, your vision is blurry, but still you're able to lash out with the chair.   William, still trying to catch his breath is able to get a hand up in time to slightly deflect the chair.  The blow doesn't land solidly, but still William shrieks."

Player: "I swing again."

Storyteller: "William is ready for this second swing, He lunges forward on your back swing and drives you into the sink.  Then, pulling you forward he throws you into the table spilling its contents all over the floor."

Player: "I grab the knife my brother was using to cut his steak and swing backwards with it."

(The storyteller likes this move.  It's an innovative move that shows the player was paying attention to the scene.   He was about to have Jack get knocked out in a second or two, but he changes his mind.   This nice piece of role-playing deserves some credit).

Storyteller:   "The world is nothing more than a blur as your hand fumbles around the table and feels the handle of a steak knife.  Blindly you swing your arm backward, hoping in vain to strike your brother.  William sees the blade coming, but it's too late.   The knife rips through his cheek, the point scraping against his teeth.   He jumps backward spitting blood and runs for the kitchen door.   You can't see him anymore.  The world is almost totally black now, and the pain is unbearable.  You drop to the floor clutching your eyes and pass out." 

The storyteller was also set to let William really thrash Jack, but the player's nice move at the end was enough to convince the storyteller that Jack should at least do some major damage to William.   William still came out on top of the situation, but at least Jack got his licks in.


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