Wednesday 24 May 2023

Taking Damage

No plan survives getting hit in the face. How does that work in Mythic Bastionland?


Tal and Moss have decided to stand and fight against a Warband of raiders from a belligerent neighbouring realm. They’ve already taken a little damage from arrow fire. 

Ref: Okay, now it’s the Warband’s turn. As you’re both individual combatants, they get +d10 and gain Blast, attacking both of you.

Ref rolls d6 and d10 for each target, taking the highest single die against each. The dice against Tal are 4 and 8, the dice against Moss 6 and 6. 

Ref: The horde of attackers surge onto you both as you try to stand firm, spears and axes coming from all directions. Tal is looking at 8 damage, and Moss 6. Actually, with your armour we can knock that down to 7 and 5 respectively. 

Tal: I’ll stand as firm as I can, using Endure to remove the 8 rolled.

Ref: Sure, so you gain Ache from the exhaustion but manage to deflect the worst blows away. That leaves the roll of 4, down to 3 with your armour. 

Tal: Wait, can I use Endure twice? I have two Burdens now. 

Ref: Yeah you can, but remember at 3 Burdens you become Exposed, so you’d go down to 0gd and couldn’t use more Feats. 

Tal: Right, let’s not do that then. 

Ref: So you’ve got 3 damage coming in against 2gd and 11 VIG. With your Guard depleted you’re wounded, losing 1 VIG. One spear strikes just well enough to draw blood. Meanwhile, Moss, you’re also on two Burdens, but using Endure once won’t actually help. You’re on 2gd and 6 VIG, right?

Moss: Yeah…

Ref: 5 Damage means 2 to your gd and the remaining 3 off your VIG. As you’ve lost half of your VIG in one go that means a Mortal Wound. Moss is overwhelmed by the Warband, kicked to the ground, an axe buried in their gut. They’ll die if left untended, and I wouldn’t expect mercy from these raiders. What’s the plan?


Keeping your Knight alive involves managing a few different resources. Armour and Guard are the first lines of defence, with Vigour and Burdens (usually taken from using Endure) as more precious resources. 

The Referee has to balance keeping the players are aware of these while also indulging their senses in the description of the actual battle. Too much focus on numbers and resources and it becomes just a dice game, too little and you risk the players not being able to make informed choices on how to proceed with the fight. 

Ref strikes a decent balance here, but as I’m writing this for an example of play, there’s perhaps more explicit explanation of the numbers than I would expect at the table. 

As a general procedure I describe what the attacker is doing, roll their dice out in the open, give a chance for the Knights to use Endure or other feats to modify those dice, and then tell the player how much damage they’ve taken. 

The player can then report back whether the attack caused a Wound (VIG loss) or Mortal Wound (half of current VIG lost), and I can describe the attack and its impact accordingly, shifting the focus back to what’s actually happening to the characters. 

As players get more experienced they’ll feel more confident weighing up their options when faced with damage. The dilemma faced by Tal here is a good example. They could have used Endure a second time to prevent damage altogether, so going down to 0gd would actually be a slightly better position than where they ended up here.

Still, that extra Burden would linger after the combat is finished, leaving them effectively on 0gd until they can relieve at least one Burden somehow. 

More urgently, keeping that final Burden slot free might allow a use of Endure later on in this combat, perhaps to prevent taking a Mortal Wound themselves, or could be used to attack with a Frenzy, being more effective against the enemy warband. 

Still, I’m not optimistic about their chances in this situation. Perhaps a chance to consider whether surrender is Knightly.


Art by Midjourney

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