Monday, August 11, 2014

A fun look at Aspects: Warrior

Part 3!

Preamble
Remember that most Heroes also don't display only one aspect. A Hero is usually a good blend of a couple/several. Someone with only one Aspect would be like Q from James Bond, Yoda from original star wars, or The Mountain from Game of Thrones. They definitely are still characters, but they aren't "the Hero" and one of the reasons for that is that characters with minimal skillsets are less interesting over long periods of time. They're definitely not uninteresting, per se, but hard to follow and write for for long periods of time. For this series though, when I look at pop culture figures, I'll be highlighting characters who are exemplary at their Aspect, whether or not they are successful at other Aspects as well. Also, remember that I'm not as eloquent as my better half... by like leaps and bounds.

Definition
The Warrior is a badass. The list of warrior types is almost endless and ranges from a knight to street brawler to Olympic gymnast. The Warrior is an athlete without peer and a powerhouse without limits. He is able to shrug off injury like another might remove clothing and is able to strike, shoot, throw and every other adjective against the greatest of foes.

Problems
Brawlers who fight with grappling and fists are a very real part of myth, pop culture and modern sports. How do we make picking up a sword not automatically vastly superior?

There is always a problem in tabletop gaming where rules don't really handle a ranged fighter who can also run fast "well." This can cause bad balance problems.

How do we make "punch" vs. "swing sword" different enough that they can be a whole stat unto themselves? Most games handle these with the same stat.

Solutions
Here is where we made a decision that works very well, but it's something you'll have to trust us on until you play. In HJ, unlike most games, weapons don't provide a mathematical or stat bonus. A character does not get an automatic bonus just from picking up a sword instead of using his fists. This makes sense for storytelling; in story terms, there is no reason a mace-wielding Hero should be inherently better than his non-mace-wielding brethren. However, there is a little bit of dissonance because it doesn't seem like that would make sense in real life, where everyone knows that guns beat fists. But one of the things we want to avoid most for this game is for particular ways of doing things to be mandatory, so we don't at all want having a gun (or sword, or whatever) to be the be-all, end-all of combat. Instead, we're working with a little suspension of disbelief: Warriors are warriors and are excellent at their job no matter how they choose to do it. Martial artists can be every bit as dangerous to enemies as gun-wielding assassins or sledgehammer-waving juggernauts.

Ranged fighters can sometimes cause the most problems in games. It took some time to make the fact that they can attack from range still be a powerful asset to them, but not be unbeatable. It's mildly complicated, though, so for this one it's best to wait and learn how range works in the combat section of the book.

Making Weaponry vs. Unarmed very different was a challenge. We wanted them to be similar in function, because it's easier to balance that way and they are both "parts" of the Warrior so it makes sense for them to be similar. We didn't end up having an overarching definitive difference, but hopefully you can see from the powers below how we tried to split them.

Powers
Normal preamble isn't needed here. We're fairly confident/finished with warrior.

Self-Sacrifice (Athleticism Blessing)
Labor: Episode
Roll: Athleticism
Speed: Instant
The Hero with this Blessing may leap into action to defend those around them, leveraging their superior athletic capabilities to intercept attacks meant for their allies. Using this Blessing allows a Hero to dive in front of a target and suffer the damage meant for them instead, which affects the Hero as if they only had half their normal Defense. The Hero must be able to gain more successes on an Athleticism roll than the attacker did on their attack roll; if they fail to do so, their would-be noble act is mistimed and the original target of the attack is hit anyway.

Toughened Hide (Unarmed Blessing)
Labor: Episode
Roll: None
Speed: Dedicated
The Hero with this Blessing has most likely survived countless scuffles and has the thick skin and calloused hands to prove it. When they use this power, they become more impervious to injury; they take a single fatigue damage for every two that would normally be inflicted on them for the rest of the Episode.

Rallying Strike (Weaponry Blessing)
Labor: Saga
Roll: Weaponry
Speed: Dedicated
The Hero with this Blessing is so skilled with their weapon that they inspire others on the battlefield, leading the charge so that others follow. When they successfully strike and injure an opponent, the Hero may use this Blessing; if they do so, all allies in their battle immediately gain an additional bonus of successes equal to the Hero’s dots of Weaponry to the next physical attack they make against a foe in the same Episode.

Characters
The number of Warrior archetypes in pop culture is overwhelming. Here are eight of MANY!

Conan: Conan the Barbarian
Xena: Xena Warrior Princess
Thor: Marvel Comics
"The Bride": Kill Bill
River: Firefly
Vegeta: Dragonball Z

Moments

My favorite gun fight scene of all time!



I love TROY!


So much good spearing!


Kill Bill. Warning, ridiculous blood and gore.


Athleticism and Unarmed combine well in elephant fights.


This is real life. Did you see this? First woman to ever finish Ninja Warrior (American).


Can't watch this without chills. Epic avoiding of lazers.


AAAAAAAA!!! So good! Faora Hu-Ul (also known as Anne's not even slightly secret crush)


I had to cut so many videos it made me sad. TV and Film does Warrior-ing very, very well.