Let’s say you were running a science fantasy game and introduced this item:

Let’s say you were running a science fantasy game and introduced this item:

Let’s say you were running a science fantasy game and introduced this item:

Bolt Thrower: Lets any character use the Ranger “Blot Out the Sun” move to do damage +1. On a 7-9, the weapon jams after firing and can’t be used again until repaired. On a 6-, the weapon backfires and the wielder takes 2x damage +1.

Now let’s say you’ve got orcs wielding these things – how do you handle the monster’s potential for backfire since the monster doesn’t roll to attack?

9 thoughts on “Let’s say you were running a science fantasy game and introduced this item:”

  1. Use it as part of the description when a player rolls high. Describe how the jam gives the player just the opening they needed.

    Describe the sound of a thrower jamming as a sign of approaching threat.

    Offer it as an opportunity with a cost or tell them the consequences and ask – e.g. the thrower jams, you can rush the orc but you’ll be separated from the rest of the party.

    Mention one jamming to establish in the fiction that they are unreliable weapons before the players get their hands on them.

  2. On a 6-, you could have one explode, killing the orc wielding it, but also hitting a PC with shrapnel and setting fire to the place.

    I can see a few interesting things to do on 7-9 too: What you just did triggered the orc’s bolt thrower and it’s about to fire. You have an opportunity to deal a mortal blow/cast your spell/grab the magic medalion, but you’ll be in the line of fire. What do you do? Quick, it’s about to blow!

  3. Just randomly describe an Orc having her weapon explode I their face when it is your time to say something. Then you ask the character you are adressi g how they use this situation.

  4. I’m sorry but I don’t quite get how a bolt can backfire; and if they could, the damage wouldn’t be that much since the bolt can’t accelerate for enough time, it would do half damage, at most.

  5. The damage would be from the explosive energy of all the science fantasy gobbledygook and gun powder – don’t think crossbow, think Warhammer 40k bolt gun.

  6. Hm. I have trouble thinking that such a device would be widely used except for really skilled people; that bad of a backfire could be serious issues, to the point that it wouldn’t be produced. Would you have any problem with leaving the 6- undefined?

  7. Well the idea is for it to be along the lines of a “Thundarr the Barbarian” style sword & sorcery post apocalypse thing, Dungeon World as Apocalypse World, if you will. So the orcs / mutants are using unreliable, poorly maintained technology of the “ancients,” but if the players want to take a chance for some extra damage, more power to them.

    But hey, if you want to use the idea without the 6- effect, go for it!

  8. “You take the bolter?  Okay, cool.  The whole thing is covered with dents, it smells vaguely of burned fingernails, and the coil of red liquid stuff wrapped around the barrel is cracked in a couple of places…. but you just saw the orcs use it, so it probably ought to work alright.  Right?”

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