Posts Tagged ‘damage’

So now there’s a new “red box set,” a simplified version of the current edition of the D&D game.  Somehow, I don’t see this one sparking the same revolution that the original 1983 Basic D&D box set did.  Needless to say (?), my gaming blog is named for the original, but the contrast between story gaming and tactical wargaming is even starker when the current product is considered.

Managing Big Conflicts in Sorcerer

With every PC and NPC sorcerer having at least one demon, combat scenes in Sorcerer tend to involve a lot of characters, and all the demons are role-played as separate characters.  Our first few conflicts felt quite unmanageable, and a lot got overlooked.  Now at the end of our second full Sorcerer game (about 12 sessions total), we finally feel like we’ve had a major conflict that went smoothly.  Here’s how we did it.


  • Cards numbered 1 thru 15. Red on one side, blue on the other. After initiative order is determined, give everyone a numbered card showing their initiative rank – red side up.  Now everyone takes their turn in order.  As characters act OR roll full defence, turn their card over. This helps to track initiative order as well as who has given up their action to defend themselves.
  • Build dice pools from different coloured dice, for:
    • stats
    • ad hoc bonuses
    • carried-over victories
  • Immediately after winning an opposed action, put dice for carryover-able victories on the chr sheet, so next round you will remember you have them.
  • For tracking damage of NPCs and Demons without chr sheets, we used post-it notes: Stamina, Next-action dmg and Lasting dmg.
  • Don’t get hypnotized into attack-attack-attack, not everything is a fight to the death.  Each new round, consider the motivations of each chr.   Some of them are just trying to escape, rescue a hostage, destroy or capture an item, restrain someone, etc. etc.   Some of them aren’t invested and would rather break and run.

We also realized that we were doing a couple things wrong, but I don’t think I need to go into that here.  If you too are having trouble figuring out how to apply Sorcerer’s mechanics in all situations, you’re not alone.  The rulebook is not organized for quick reference, and some points have been redacted or changed since publication.  In my next post, I’ll go over some realizations and talk about some house rules that we’ll be implementing for our next game.


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(10th chapter in a “book” of thoughts and learnings from a GM who is studying Ron Edwards’ game of Sorcerer in preparation for his first game)

We had our Sorcerer planning session on Tuesday, and it went great.  In the coming days I’ll be sharing our One-Sheet and excellent characters, backstories and kickers.  For today, here is the last of the posts that I wrote while re-reading the rulebooks and trolling The Forge to develop a GM’s level understanding of the game.

-Johnny 0.

Damage Dice

The whole combat, damage and penalties thing was a bit confusing for me at first. Ron explains it forwards. I’d prefer it explained backwards…:

Damage, like everything else, is counted in “dice.” If you have 2 damage, then you suffer a 2-dice penalty to all scores (Stamina, Will and Lore) for as long as the damage persists.

How long does damage persist? There are two types of damage: “next-action” and “lasting.”. When you take a hit in combat, you’ll usually take a bit of both types (according to the Damage Table on pg.107).

  • “Next-action” damage applies as a penalty to your next action, after which it goes away. Think of it as you being momentarily disoriented after being injured in the fight.
  • “Lasting” damage persists until you get a chance to rest, after which it is halved. The remaining half of your lasting damage sticks around for a few days or weeks, to be determined by the GM and commensurate with the type of injuries you’ve received.

How much damage does an attack do? Take the number of victories of the attack and look it up on the Damage Table (pg.107). For example, attacking with fists does X next-action damage and 1 lasting damage, where X is the number of victories rolled.

How will we track two types of damage? See the paperclip method and the two-zones method, described on pg.109. To my players: given our small table, I recommend the former.

How many hit points do I have? Look at your Stamina score. While your total damage (next-action + lasting) exceeds your Stamina, “pain incapacitates movement or action,” but you still have options. If total damage exceeds 2x Stamina, you are “stunned into helplessness.” Notice there’s no explicit point at which death occurs. That’s a post for another day.

I hope that gives you a conceptual grasp of Sorcerer’s damage system. It’s not the whole story, but it should set you up to get more out of the rulebook’s Chapter 6. Go read it now.

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