[RSBMats] AAR: A New Challenger Appears IV ! Aw crap.

It's a world of pain,
you just live in it.
"'Ere we go, 'ere we go, 'ere we go!" as the orks would say, back into the whirl of steel cage (if we could afford one) and the screams of the crowd (or at least the shouts of assembled rednecks), and the fate of our hero(?) A'yero the Snake and his krav maga, facing the inhuman bulk (seriously, this guy's stats are insane) of The Other Guy.

It's been pretty darn exciting so far. We've had four big exchanges, one of which A'yero got out of without a scratch purely by the rampaging gods of luck and really strong forearms. There's a lot of real powerful ugly going on here and this round might put it all out there on the line for us.

At the end of the last round, A'yero had 6 Bonus Dice left, while The Other Guy had 9. That in itself is an amazing bit of holding on for A'yero, who started out heavily disadvantaged there as he was in the stats department. (14 BD to 21? C'mon, that ain't fair.) The gap is closing and the time to move is very likely going to be in this round. Because if it's not, A'yero just won't have anything in the tank for the next one.

Ugly. Like I said.

Round Three, Get 'Cher Popcorn!

Last we looked in on the lads, they had a little distance between them and the choices for action were getting limited. Let's see who says "boo" first.

A'yero: 4, TOG: 6.

Aw maaaaan.

I thought for a moment there that A'yero would get to Catch His Breath and maybe get a few Bonus Dice back in the pit, but the fates are not so kind and having knocked A'yero back at the end of the last round, we're going to see him ... ah ... what is he going to do? (2 vs Savvy on the NPMA Movement - Grappler Table.) Hmm, no Leap or Flyer, so no jumping like a crazy person, good ...

Oh. Of course. He still has Bonus Dice left, so he moves in and goes for Try For Lockup. Which gives us the octagon looking like this:

Oh yeah. Not pretty.

So, Trying for the Lockup, TOG has to figure out how many BD to burn on this. 5 + 5 + 1 + 6 + 6 + 2 + 4 + 3 + 2. Looking for 1s, and we see ... 1. The Other Guy is feeling confident; he's going light and ends up with 8 BD in the tank. That's a pool of 7d6, +1d6 for being a Grappler. Well, that ain't cool. 8d6 total.

A'yero starts with a pool of 5 for Savvy, gets no bonuses for jack-anything, but ... well, it's worked out so far. Living the life of the lucky and the blessed, A'yero burns a big fat goose-egg in BD.
TOG: 5 + 6 + 5 + 1 + 3 + 6 + 4 + 4, looking for 1s, 2s, and 3s ... 2 successes. A'yero: 5 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 1, which comes to ... 4 successes! Whaaaaaaat?

A'yero has 2 successes more than his opponent, which is amazing. If A'yero was a Grappler, he would have just grabbed TOG himself in a standing Lockup which would have just been ugly for TOG because he would have gone straight to an attempt for Submission ... but hold on.

This table is badly worded.
"Otherwise roll on Maneuver Table."
Who rolls? There's an argument for either one; TOG is the active guy right now, it's his turn, so he might convert a failed attempt to grapple into just a simple attack. But I know THW game-design and they are extremely fond on non-linear turn sequencing, with play going back and forth during an activation in response to a bad roll. And that's a perfectly reasonable narrative here, too, with the blown grab by the Sambo master letting the guy get inside and mess him up.

I actually prefer the latter interpretation, so I'm going to go with it. I'm not in any way certain that it's the correct one. This is a design point I'd love to see clarified.

So, A'yero goes to the Maneuver Table, with all that entails! 5d6 for Savvy, -1d6 for Slow, and ... still holding to the plan, he's going to burn 2 BD (leaving 4 BD) to take it to 6d6 total. TOG checks to see how many he deploys: 5 + 6 + 6 + 4 + 4 + 6 + 3 + 2. Looking for 1s, he doesn't use any. Maybe he's starting to worry a bit? 6d6 for Savvy and nothing else.

A'yero: 4 + 3 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 6, 2 successes. TOG: 6 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1, 4 successes.

Oh ... my eyes.

TOG has 2 more successes, even after adjusting for Wary and Guile. He becomes the Attacker and gains advantage.

Er ... OK. Gaining the advantage appears only to be meaningful if you have the Combos Signature and while we're not directed to move to the Attack Table, that seems sensible here. Again, insufficient clarity in both the table and the text back on p17.
"When directed from the Maneuver Table opposing Martial Artists will roll on the Attack Table."
That is the quoted text. Note there's absolutely no actual direction to roll on the Attack Table in the Maneuver Table. "Becomes the Attacker" is not the same thing, guys.

Ah well. Moving on to the Attack Table because I'm crazy that way,  TOG is about to go for a hard blow. First we see how much BD he's throwing, looking for 1s and 2s; 6 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 3, so 3 and leaving 5 BD. That Savvy 6 turns into 9d6 and even at his worst, Resolute means he'll never count less than 1 success. Yeah, right. A'yero have Savvy 5, and Vicious won't count, and with only 4 BD ... well, maybe be can pull it out again, and burns 2, leaving 2 BD for his turn later. That's 7d6 to go against TOG's 9.

TOG: 1 + 4 + 5 + 3 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 5 + 6, 3 successes. Fate just keeps squirting on this guy. A'yero: 4 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 1, 5 successes! Jesus Hammerlocking Christ! Seriously?

No mods to either side's results, A'yero has a 2 success advantage, so ... Counterstrike! The defender becomes the attacker! And we ... go back to the Attack Table!

It's a brutal, brutal counterattack, but it puts us right back up at the top of Attack with A'yero aggressing.

A'yero has 5d6, and just can't afford to burn that last Bonus action. TOG has 6d6 ... oh, right, and has the Weight Class advantage of +1d6. There has to be a better way to structure this table readably! And, right, Bonus Dice ... 4 + 6 + 2 + 2 + 4, only using 2 and leaving 3 BD for himself. That's 9d6 going into the attack again, but this time as the defender!

A'yero: 5 + 2 + 4 + 5 + 4 for a fat 1 success. Ut-oh. TOG: 4 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 6 + 1 + 6, 4 successes.

3 successes advantage is always massive in a THW game, and this is no exception. Attacker goes zipping by the defender, and ends up with his back to the defender. And A'yero gets a shot from the big meaty arms of TOG, whether he likes it or not as he goes by.

Where does he hit? 1 + 4 = 5, right arm! No damage! Again the nimble A'yero gets a forearm block in there.

Man, what happened this pass?
The hulking brute swung around and started moving much as a freight train doesn't, barreling forward arms spread to grab the smaller man in a grip that surely wouldn't end with dinner and a movie. The tiny combatant deftly lets him come then grabs the strap of his filthy wife-beater and tries to maneuver himself to a position where the bigger man's bulk isn't blocking him, but the redneck is having none of that. He raises a huge arm with A'yero dangling off his wrist like a kitten and WHAM -- just flicks the smaller man down and behind him, A'yero only still standing because he twisted in the throw and kept arm-contact with the man-mountain. Now A'yero's tired, facing the wrong way, and has to make a decision. How far does he go?
 And here's what it looks like in the ring, just before A'yero decides what to do:
Oh, so stinky.

But this isn't entirely bad. He gets the next Movement, so it could be much uglier.
(Aside: There's no discussion of turning to face an opponent outside of one of a couple of the Attack Table results, which is probably a terrible oversight. I'm going to assume that if you can move a zone away, you can change your facing as desired. Because otherwise, it'd be silly.)
A'yero turns around, because he Is Not a Fool(tm), but decides to Catch a Breath rather than go charging back into TOG's zone and risking more pain right now. Any Bonus Dice that he recovered would just be extra awesome in the upcoming exchange.
(Aside: The text also doesn't say if Catching a Breath or Playing to the Crowd actually takes the place of movement or just occurs before movement. I'm going to assume that it takes the place of movement here because the NPMA Movement Tables seem to make it exclusionary with movement. That seems fair and reasonable, but it's not spelled out. Actually, there is one bit of explication on p3, under Catching Your Breath that points out that the MA does not move. Ah, and on p4 under Playing to the Crowd, which specifies that you have to have done damage the previous turn, be in an unoccupied zone, and not move. It'd be nice if all these little bits were in the section on the Combat sequence where you'll be digging.)
No movement, Bonus Dice for A'yero go to 3 BD, and he relinquishes control to the start of the next exchange.

That leaves us here:
Whoever goes first next exchange will probably go charging into combat, looking for blood. A'yero has 3 BD, The Other Guy has 3 Bonus Dice as well, making it surprisingly more evenly balanced.

What comes up next? Is there blood in the streets and bile in the colon? Does A'yero manage to crawl away or do the action gods smile on him and bring triumph to his brutal elbow shots? Does The Other Guy take a proper beating, just like he deserves? Tune in to the continuing drama of the dirt circle!

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