Character-based Special Attacks

So, I’ve decided to implement a house rule in my current campaign. I call 'em Special Attacks (original, I know).

Special Attacks are powerful attacks that you may script during combat. They are meant to add flavor to your character’s combat style. They should be (relatively) powerful and they should define how your character fights.

Here’s the catch: It costs a persona point to activate them. Also, they must have a cool and/or fun name.

I’ve asked each of my players to come up with ONE special attack for their character’s. They may earn more later. Below are two that I devised for a pair of NPC allies. It should give you an idea of where I’m going with this.

Ariunaa’s “Trip Hazard”

Restrictions: Trip Hazard requires one persona point to activate and costs two actions to perform. Ariunaa must be wielding a weapon with WL of longer or longest.

Effect: Ariunaa sweeps at her opponent’s legs and trips them. If successful, her opponent has fallen and must fight from the ground or spend actions rising.

Obstacles for Trip Hazard
G/S - Spd
Str - Spd
Avd - vs Spd

Azagri’s “Pillow Fight”

Restrictions: Pillow Fight requires one persona point to activate. Azagri must be wielding “Kila,” his battleaxe, and he must strike his opponent in the head.

Effect: Zag bonks his opponent with the pillow-side of his battleaxe. The opponent – expecting to be utterly annihilated by a Dwarven axe-blow to the face – must make a Steel check for hesitation.

Obstacles for Pillow Fight
G/S - Ob 1
Str - Ob 1
Avd - vs Spd

The “Pillow Fight” thing can be done with an Intimidation roll FoRKing in Axe, but being able to use your weapon when “pushing” - essentially what you’re doing when you trip someone - is strangely absent in BWG. Interesting. So I guess if you’re gonna do this, make sure that it really is something you couldn’t narrate in a Fight.

Yes. The general idea is to add some fun flair to the combat that is “owned” by the characters. It’s definitely more “cinematic” than some might like, but it works for our game / players.

You just have to use Brawling instead of Power for the Push (BWG p. 439) and than you can FoRK your weapon skill into the roll to represent that you are using your weapon to trip your oponent.

But you are still forced to switch to your hands and cede advantage. If you were trying to trip someone with a spear, that seems a little off.

Please keep your comments on topic – and relevant to the proposed hack.

I kind of like this idea. I never considered artha-triggered special moves in BW.
I think if you keep them very simple and not too silly, it could work.

So Leonides, how are you planning to allow your players to earn Special Attacks? Are you giving them Traits that allow them to use these new moves? I could see trying to play out earning these traits in play as a fun little side path.

May I ask the rationale for it costing a Persona point? I mean, practically speaking Persona points allow you to cheat death and neither of the examples you gave are in that category. I suppose really powerful moves might be in the realm of Persona, like say… an earthquake stomp, but I’m making the argument that these should cost a Fate point, especially since it might not even get you anywhere if you blow the roll.

Yes, I am, Verrain. Not too many, though. As Luke warned, it could get very silly very quickly. I like your idea that they have to earn a new trait for a new Special Attack. For instance, Ariunaa could have the trait “Trip Artist” or something. Fun!

That’s a good point, Zelbinian. The rationale was that the attack is based off of a character’s Fight! persona… but I admit that is pretty weak. I think will definitely consider changing it. Thanks!

Perhaps use training skills to represent the ability to use special attacks. Seems to me to fit a bit better. That is, unless you want them restricted to trait vote time. They just seem more like learnable things to me.

On other notes, I’d just make Trip Hazard 1 action, but that’s me. Unless it qualifies as a strike, too.

No, it doesn’t. I think you’re right. 1 action it is.

I can see it both ways. As a skill you can use the instruction rules and do the whole ‘seek out a master’ sub-plot. I suggested using traits because Burning Wheel Gold turned some trainings, like Sprinting and Precision Training, into traits, and these special attacks seem in line with that.

I second the trait suggestion. This is exactly what traits are for - making your character unique.

Doesn’t just have to be a Trait Vote thing either. You could work with players to design a trait for each of them, and start them all off with that. Make it something small to start with, and let the player lobby to advance it during the trait vote.

Yeah, that’s what I ended up doing. So the players now have the Traits: Trip Hazard, Pillow Fight, and Dis-Arming Disarm. :wink: