Wednesday 27 April 2022


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ITO and EB have three types of defence. Pretty bloated system, right?

I wanted to talk briefly about how to use them both alone and in combination with each other.

Hit Protection (HP)
A guaranteed buffer of "safe" damage that can be taken before getting wounded. Easy to recover once the fight is over. It's the most abstract of the defences, but usually represents a general sense of skill and stamina. 

Strength (STR)
Raw physical endurance. Both the mass to soak up hits and the vigour to keep on fighting when wounded. More debilitating and difficult to recover, losing STR is always painful in comparison to losing HP. 

Armour (A)
Anything that lessens the effect of an attack against you and give a chance to shrug it off altogether. 

Now things get more interesting when you use them together. What does that look like?

For these examples, assume that the defences not mentioned are unremarkable. 

High HP, High STR: If you want to make something tough, this is probably the safest way to go. They're going to stick around, but gradually get worn down. I'd use this for most typical scary monsters that you want to pose a real threat and not be easily taken down. 

High HP, High A: I've seen discussions around whether something fast and small should use Armour to represent their ability to dodge. In general, I'd save that sort of thing for another category, but I can see the temptation to put them here. Instead, I'd use this category for the skilled, armoured opponent that frustrates the characters until they can land one decisive blow on them.

High STR, High A: The classic big monster profile here. In general terms, before considering actual armour-like protection, I give +1 armour to big stuff, and +2 to REALLY BIG stuff (maintaining the maximum of 3). Just be aware that this profile is vulnerable to a lucky one-shot if the players roll high and you roll badly. 

High HP, Low STR: THIS is the fast, small monster profile. They can duck and dodge safely until you land that blow which will likely take them straight down to instant death at STR 0. 

Low HP, High STR: Just a dumb brute. Good for your orc-likes. 

Low HP, High A: I've used this for both untrained-armoured-grunts and automaton-like monsters. It's interesting in that it can feel a little more like the classic D&D combat with lots of swinging and missing, with one or two decisive blows. It has a use, but I wouldn't make this the standard. 

Low STR, High A: I like this for skeletons and the like. Fragile enemies that can be shattered with a good hit but are surprisingly difficult to land a good blow on.

High Everything: Use with caution! I mean, you can use it, but just make sure it's something that you're prepared to have stick around for a long time. In particular, make sure it has interesting things to do while it's out there surviving for so long. 


  1. I ran a giant scorpion recently that had High everything, only because it had to fight the whole party solo. It had 2x pincers attacks, a grab attack, stinger that would inflict poison on a hit and a swarm of infant scorpions to crawl over the PC's. It worked pretty well.
    Usually I run high HP + Str monsters.

  2. What would you say is high Armor in these examples? Would it be 2 or 3, or is just having 1 point high in and of itself?

    1. For me Armour 1 feels more common, while 2 or 3 is something that needs a bit more consideration, so fits with these examples.

  3. I do like how even a tiny shred of Armoire is so impactful considering how light the rest of the system is.

    I ran a shock troop assault on a feast this week: five orcs and an ogre trying to assassinate a wizard. The orcs were 3hp; the ogre 4hp, 1A, STR 16 and it was notably just how much effort it took them to bring down the brute (even two enhanced attacks didn't drop it)