I’ve been encountering this quite often in play. Let’s say we get into a violent and conflictual situation and the players or the GM wants to create adversity with a fight without going into Fight! using Bloody versus instead. So the player’s intent is : Kill and the minion’s intent is: kill…that happens often after playing all the othe rpossibilities dozens of times killing is still the most important and common in this kind of situation. How can I stop getting myself into that situation?
Do you really kill the player on a bloody versus? Or never have kill as an intent for a minion…just in case? That seems kinda flawed and railroaded somehow…
What do you guys do? Have you ever kill a player on a bloody versus roll?
Personally, I prefer going into a Fight! Maybe i’m missing something but I feel like you have more chance to survive in a Fight!
“Killing a guard” is generally a vs. test. It’s probably not even a weapon test. It’ll be something like “I want to sneak up on the guard and kill him before he sounds the alarm” “roll stealth vs. observation. Succeed and he’s dead, fail and he’s still dead but he’s able to ring the warning bell first.” If the two opponents both have the intent ‘Kill’ - someone isn’t walking away from that fight.
Having a small-scale fight (but still a fight) is a Bloody Versus. Note that in this case (just as the former) killing usually isn’t the goal unto itself. Instead, the goal should be something else to which conflict is a means to an end.
As for your specific questions: I’ve almost killed a player on a Bloody Versus roll. I had a dude with an axe land a superb blow and the armor failed to work. One shot traumatic wound. The intent was something else (I don’t remember exactly) but the intent right /after/ that point was “get our buddy to a surgeon as soon as possible!” The important part is that the Bloody Versus started because they had a disagreement that could only be resolved through violence, and that the near killing happened because someone hit really really well.
The only one where death has any place being the primary intent is a straight up vs. test. For the rest, go for something else with the expectation that killing a dude is a thing that just happens.
Our last campaign ended with a simple vs. to the death between my character Vincenzo and his crossbow against a charging demon summoned from the pits of hell to punish the wicked nicknamed the mist of knives for its habit of silently slaughtering it’s victims and littering the ground with their eviscerated and dismembered bodies. It was pretty intense.
As for Bloody Versus, we haven’t had a character die in a Bloody Versus test yet. But, that’s just the luck of the draw. If you don’t want to get hurt, you shouldn’t play with knives.
In a Versus test, you might decide that your intent is to kill someone. But Bloody Versus tests are more constrained. You get to damage your opponent as per the wound effects in the Weapon rules. Unless you’re very strong and using a knife, it’s actually pretty difficult to kill your opponent in a Bloody Versus test.
So the Bloody Versus is a little more “chaotic” dans other rolls in BW : usually, the random factors only affect the resolution of the Conflict, not the outcome of the Conflict (the two possibles outcome of the conflict is the result of a social agreement amongst the players). With the Bloody Versus, the outcome is chaotic (actually, more than in Fight!, where a player can “outsmart” another player if he’s a better strategist - like any traditional RPG, or even any kind of game, where there is tactic and strategy involved). Is there other conflict resolution like Bloody Versus in BW (with a chaotic outcome?)?
We use Bloody Versus a lot. We like it so much that we have a “Witty Versus” for one-rolling DoW-type situations.
In my opinion, &c., &c.:
Asymmetrical intents are fair. “I want to kill the guard”/“The guard wants to subdue you,” “I’m going to gut that lying bastard Stephen”/“Stephen’s gonna show you up and make you look like a lunatic in front of all your friends.” Don’t try to softball the PCs just because they’re PCs, but try to represent NPCs and their goals honestly. Is killing their real end, or just one of the means of achieving it?
Hurting someone beyond the wound you do within the rules is fair. The way we’d actually do this is to treat the intent as “I’m gonna put you at my mercy.” You do the conflict and dish out wounds as normal, and then if you win and they don’t manage to run off, they’re helpless.
I’m not a huge fan of “versus test to kill the guard.” Because I think violence is a big deal. If you’re actually committed to crossing swords with someone and making them bleed, Bloody Versus even if they’re a “mook” (note that what I consider typical BW really doesn’t have “mooks” —*your simple combatant with a B3 or B4 weapon skill is still a major threat to a 3-to-5-LP character).
I am, however, a fan of not having to test for everything. If it stands to reason that you can just go ahead and cut someone, you do. Stabbing a guy to death in his bed isn’t a Knives check unless there’s something else at stake in the situation. That’s kinda the spirit of the point above, really — it’s not so much that Bloody Versus itself should end with me killing you, it’s that I think BV can legitimately create a situation where the follow-up isn’t much of a test, or a situation where killing someone is just one simple/versus test away. Fiction first!
If you want to make combat gentler for the PCs, I’d start with the optional Persona Complications rule rather than watering down the stakes.
Alex, those are fine hacks, if you prefer to play that way. Out of curiosity, have you bolted on a compromise system to Bloody Versus? If not, how do you determine which side gets its intent if both characters score a hit on the other? Or if both sides fail to penetrate the other’s defenses?
Err, we just follow the rules in the book (like the part about who “wins” or who gets to pick the follow-up conflict)? I wasn’t aware we were hacking Bloody Versus, especially. I always just interpreted it as being kinda intent-based out-of-the-box.
(My understanding of it was that it’s intent-based but “dirty,” so to speak: you’re still fighting over whether you get your goal or not, but the situation may become moot due to wounds or Steel tests or whatever. That’s certainly why I like it!)
So, this actually makes perfect sense to me now that you’ve pointed it out. Both based on how the chapter is structured and based on our own experiences with “Witty Versus” (same inputs/outputs as DoW, just a shorter/simpler resolution step).
I always naturally read BV as “here is another way to do an opposed check, with a bit more stuff to guide the outcome.” But it definitely is clearly positioned as “here is Fight, but shorter” in the text.