The Red Hand of Doom
Stunts In this game, the rules reward players with additional dice for describing their characters’ actions in an evocative manner. The out-of-game rationale for a stunt bonus is that well-described actions keep the game interesting for everyone and help the GM set the scene. In game, stunts represent the capacity of epic heroes to be truly spectacular when they take risks and act like heroes.
At the lowest level, one-die stunts require a good description of an action, adjudicated by the GM. In return, the player gains one additional die – in this case, a d6 or a d8, and the character may perform feats that border on impossible (such as running across the heads of people in a crowd, defl ecting a blade or arrow barehanded and so on). Example: Anoria snaps her razor-fan open with a soft click across the guard’s throat. She then watches over its bloody edge as he collapses in a gurgling heap at her feet. the environment in some notable fashion, taking advantage of the scenery that the Storyteller has provided. This can be physical environment or things the character knows about the world, like an enemy’s phobias or a lover’s favorite flower. The player gets two bonus dice (again, d6 or d8) and may perform a very limited sort of dramatic editing; no detail of the scene may be contradicted, but minor details may be “revealed” in the context of the character’s actions. For instance, a character might leap off a parapet to escape a hail of arrows, and the player could use a two-die stunt to reveal a banner fortuitously hung on the wall, which the character grabs to save himself. The Storyteller may veto any editing that he feels strains belief or is otherwise inappropriate (such as an edit that contradicts a major detail he has not yet revealed). Players cannot generally use a stunt to draw a “hidden” weapon from nowhere, although some assassins might well have shuriken or throwing needles hidden all over their person, leaving exact placement vague until a good stunt opportunity arises. Example Two: Anoria watches the two guards charging her from each side, intending to pin her between them. At the last moment, she crouches and flips back against the wall. In the instant she stands horizontal, her fans flash out, catching both men in the face. She then falls through the double arterial spray, landing catlike as her two attackers crash blindly into one another. bravado and visual poetry, defined by their capacity to leave the other players slack-jawed in astonishment. If any doubt exists as to whether a stunt merits three dice, it isn’t a three-die stunt. In addition to providing three bonus dice, these feats allow for the same measure of dramatic editing as two-die stunts. The demon swings his burning fist at Anoria, and she leaps straight up in a somersault, balancing in a tentative handstand on his massive hand. Her feet connect with the chandelier above, tilting it to pour oil on top of the spirit’s head. As she hoped, the glittering drops burst alight as they land on the creature’s superheated fl esh. The fl ames do not hurt him, but distract him long enough for her to release a hand and grab a fan from her belt. Still balanced on the monster’s swinging arm, Anoria shoves her folded razor into the demon’s mouth, twisting it up through his brain.
Three-die stunts are singular acts of greatness, stunning
Players should note that the preceding examples set the scene as well as providing the action. In the first, the stunt is the description of the attack as something more than “I hit him.” In the second, the stunt is Anoria’s use of the wall as a springboard and arranging for her opponents to crash together. In the final, it is her audacity to perform acrobatic feats while perched on her enemy as she sets him up to expose his one point of vulnerability. During play, the Storyteller should have already set the scene by the time a character acts, so a stunt does not need to be a five-minute narrative. Without exception, short and flowing is always better than long and clunky. Merely stringing adjectives and adverbs together isn’t good enough. The description must be interesting, without interrupting the flow of play. . Stunts can be used to enhance static values like armor class. Thus, a character with an AC of 19 or who had used an ability in respone to being hit described his defense spectacularly and received the three-die stunt bonus would have an AC increased by the rolled value; probably 3d8. . Characters don’t have to stunt their dodge for full attack actions. Just have them make one stunt out of their defensive antics and apply the bonus before the first attack.