Bloody versus - Kill or dispatch or else?


This is my first post and english isn’t my first langage so it’s possible this thread make no sense.

I’m starting my first BWG campaign via e-mail in a few days, i’ve read the books, the forum for advice and i feel pretty confident.

I intend to introduce every sub-system slowly until we master the basic and we are quite ready to jump into the details. In that regard, i want to use the “quick version” of every aspect of the game (just a few roll to resolve any non dramatic conflict).

One thing keep questionning me.

The Bloody versus test…

Is it fair to use it to kill or dispatch mook? The way i read, it seem that (i may be wrong) it’s almost impossible to dispatch a mook silently. The mook will scream in pain or else. What is your experience in that regards? How do you dispatch a foe quietly in the game system? Do you use the Bloody versus?

In the same spirit, do you often kill mook or the “gritty but non deadly feeling” is true in every aspect of the game?

Or else?



If you want to do something like dispatch a guard silently, use a straight Versus–say, Stealth vs. Observation. FoRK in Knife if you want. The important thing is to identify what’s really at stake: is it killing the guard, or doing so silently? That will color the failure. If the goal is to do so silently, and they fail, say “yeah, you kill them, but they scream as they die, and all the other guards in the area know you’re there.”

Bloody Versus and Fight are, at different levels of detail, for when the outcome of the fight is the really important thing. Fight gives more time and attention, and is usually reserved for when the combat itself is important to the characters, and the opposition is meaningful. Bloody Versus works well when the consequence of failure is defeat, although it’s not necessary for that.

Other tests are good for other things, and in campaigns I’ve played that are heavy on fighting most fights are normal skill tests with a few versus tests. If your competent commandos need to kill the guard (or just tie him up), you can roll Stealthy to get behind him and slit his throat. Failure could mean you still kill the guy, but he raises the alarm in the process. If your heroes are trying to fight through a mob of goblins while the Orcs flee with their captives, sometimes it’s reasonable to assume that the heroes will win and make the consequences the interesting part. Fail your Appropriate Weapons test and the goblins may delay you enough that you’ve lost your targets, or you could take some wounds that will hamper you in the fight to come (there’s a case for Bloody Versus there). You can try out various poison and herbal skills, possibly with culinary FoRKs, to get lethal toxins into your enemies’ food, and getting caught as a poisoner has plenty of meat for horrible failure complications. You could argue that killing from afar is easier than slitting throats and try using Throwing as your main skill, with Stealthy as a possible FoRK, and missing is really going to get you unwanted attention.

Thanks for your answer, it’s giving me a better idea of what to do (and what i shouldn’t do).

To stay in your example, i assume that everyone is proposing to resolve the matter of let’s say: sneaking behind a guard and take him out silently by linked tests of sneaking (opposed by observation) and appropriate weapon + bonus or malus (opposed by appropriate defense).

If i’m right.

What would you consider a sufficient success to dispatch the guard silently?

I guess it’s still a part of the game that don’t come spontaneously to me.


Well that’s one way to do it, but you might resolve the situation with only a Stealth vs Observation test, it’s all a matter of how important the situation at hand is to the adventure and how many time of the session you all want to spend on it. It even might be some flavor scene after a Let it Ride or a Say yes…

Stay cool :cool:

Yeah, I’d really use an opposed Stealth vs. Observation test. The sneaking player can FoRK in Knife if that’s what he’s using. If he succeeds, he takes out the guard silently. If not…

Remember how tests work in BW. You set an Intent (in this case, take out the guard unnoticed), and the GM decides what the appropriate test is. They should outline what the consequence of failure is–in this case, I’d recommend that you kill the guard but he gets off a warning, since the Intent is more about going unnoticed than killing them. If you succeed, you get your Intent. If not, the failure result comes about.

You don’t make a Bloody Versus Test unless both participants are agreed to the fight. If one is trying to sneak another, a simple versus test will do. Example of success and failure: Success: The character kills the guard. Failure: The guard hears the character and then -and only then- a Bloody Versus Test begins.

These are all good replies Bellysarius. Also, there is a chapter in the Adventure Burner which addresses this very question. “Intent and Task” talks about how the skills you use will change when you change your intent slightly (they even use the example of sneaking up on a guard). Or you could save money and use the replies given. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t use a linked test here because there’s really only one task and one intent. I use the possibility of having more than one actor as a kind of litmus test for linked tests: if you could have two different people carry out the two steps, whether or not two people actually do, they can be linked. It’s not always accurate, but I think it’s helpful. For example, killing the guard shouldn’t be a linked test, because one person has to sneak and kill. If a group wants to sneak in, you could link, say, Stealthy to sneak up on and kill the guard to Climbing for getting up the tower unnoticed. One person could kill the guard and then sneak up the tower wall, free from observers, or one could killl and another could climb.

For obstacles, consider what a reasonable character might have. The Observation skill is actually quite rare, so they might be rolling a B3 or B4 Perception against double the player’s successes on Stealthy. Or, if you think these are highly alert and competent guards, you might give them some points of Observation to roll against Stealthy. How many? Depends entirely on how hard you think this should be, which really has a lot to do with how important it is to BITs and how interesting you think success is versus failure. And, of course, what seems plausible. The king’s sworn bodyguards, raised from infancy to be elite, highly trained protectors, might have Observation as high as B6. A city guard who has walked his beat for decades, always with a sharp eye out for criminals, might have B3.