Tuesday 14 June 2022


When should you give the characters a bonus to their attack? This would be Enhanced in ITO or a Bonus Die in EB. 

Sometimes this can feel arbitrary, and it's just a game of "can I convince the GM". There's an element of that, but when I GM I try to look for one of three ways that the character is earning the bonus. In short, I look for something in return. 

A Note on Freebies: Sometimes a bonus just happens from a situational advantage if it makes sense. You're fighting cog robots that are winding down, and their description says attackers get a bonus against them once they start to flag. Orcs are vulnerable fighting under sunlight. The examples for this post are more for situations where a player might say "do I get a bonus because..."

What's Earning Your Bonus?

INFO: You've learned something that would help here. This how I might handle weak spots. Not glowing bullseyes, but a reward for going out and talking to hunters and those who have fought the creature before.  That stone mammoth has STR 19, Armour 3, so getting a +d10 to every attack because you learn of its hatred of fire is practically necessary. 

PREP: A good action now to reward good action later. The classic is "setting up" an ally for their attack. You could formalise this as a standard move, but I like keeping these things a little more open. In essence, if a player can point back to a previous action that specifically set up the current attack I'm happy to give them a bonus for it. 

RISK: Really there are a few ways this can go. The classic is "roll a save, if you pass then you attack with bonus if you fail then your attack whiffs and maybe you take damage" but there's a lot of fine tuning that can be done in there. I don't really like whiffs, so I'd probably just have the attack go through as normal, with either immediate damage to the character or, better yet, a bonus being granted to their target on their counter-attack. There are even cases where you might not call for a Save, and just allow a bonus in return for taking a hit yourself. Fight recklessly and both of you will get +d8 to attacking each other. If they join in the recklessness maybe it goes up to +d10! Here the Risk element is still present, even without a Save. 

How Much of a Bonus?

Now this is where it gets tricky. If it's something that can't be easily repeated I lean towards generosity, giving a +d12 bonus, otherwise I tend to go to +d8 if it's something that can be brought out again and again. Naturally that gives us +d10 to use as a middle ground if you're uncertain.

+d6 does work if you just want to throw them a bone, but I feel like I'd rather just grant the full +d8 or advise them to find a better approach. +d6 is better suited to passive ongoing bonuses instead. 

Sometimes removing a level of granularity like this lets the spotlight shine more brightly on player choice and agency. 


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