Discuss creative ways to handle a 7-9 in “Hack and Slash” when the damage rolled by the player kills the opponent…

Discuss creative ways to handle a 7-9 in “Hack and Slash” when the damage rolled by the player kills the opponent…

Discuss creative ways to handle a 7-9 in “Hack and Slash” when the damage rolled by the player kills the opponent first.

18 thoughts on “Discuss creative ways to handle a 7-9 in “Hack and Slash” when the damage rolled by the player kills the opponent…”

  1. I always play it as both doing their damage…then based on the damage done I narrate the fiction.  For example, if the opponent does some damage, and the hero kills them, it is something along the lines of the opponent unleashing a fury of blows, which bleeds the hero, but the hero then plunges his sword into the chest of the attacker killing him.

  2. Yep. It’s an exchange. I do not see either as happening first. “As” you deal the killing blow the goblin sneaks a knife in under your guard…

  3. Your enemy’s momentum wrests your weapon away, or causes them to impale themselves on it, or they bowl into/over you.  

    A spellcaster, spirit, or demon utters a curse or spell as it dies.

    A giant foe teeters, then falls, threatening to crush you. What do you do?

    You kill the beast that was gnawing on your arm/ensnaring you with tentacles/squeezing you to death, and in its death throes it just clamps down harder.

    It lurches forward as it dies, slashing the strap on your pack. Your pack is now hanging free on one shoulder, getting in your way.

    You’re covered in a spray of venous/corrosive/diseased ichor. Get it off!

    (A stretch, but…) It howls a cry for help with its last breath. You hear cries of alarm in the distance. What do you do?

  4. You impale the orc with such force and ferocity; and look it in its eyes as it passes on into the afterlife, but you can’t help but notice he has a nasty smirk. Oh wait thats it. “Ouch” he left his blade in you too. Take your last breath roll. 

  5. Don’t forget to zoom out with Hack N Slash. A single roll could be minutes of sustained combat or a few blows.

    You struggle, beating the wind out of each other. They match you blow for blow as you circle the room. You feel a slice in your ribs. You nick their cheek. Parry. Riposte. Parry. You see your opening. How do you slay them? 

  6. After a flurry of blows, the orc grins triumphantly as he know’s he’s landed a good hit. The grin turns to puzzlement and then slips as half the orc’s face slides onto the floor.

  7. I have found that once my players got used to the whole 7-9 is a fundamental success with a cost or compromise . . .

    I just started asking them to describe what happens.

    It’s amazing how creative they can be in coming up with ways to complicate their successes. They think of ways to screw with their success that I never would have. They seem to delight in making things miserable for themselves!

    Cooperative story-gaming in action.

  8. Are you limited to the enemy dealing damage on a 7-9? 

    “You run the gnoll through, but you’re having a tough time pulling your sword free of its spine.”

  9. You are definitely not limited. 🙂 You don’t even have to do damage. As I see it, the backlash from a 7-9 in combat can be any of these things (or others not listed):

    Monster move: like wrapping you up in its coils.

    Damage: the monster or one of his friends makes you pay for your damaging strike. In the heat of combat you both take damage.

    Clock tick: time passes and the thing you are trying to prevent from happening gets closer to happening. For instance, something is about to explode and the boom is now closer to happening, or the super-bad-boss is trying to escape and slips out the door, or you are trying to buy time for a friend to escape but something gets past you. 

    Combat disadvantage: dropped weapon or lost footing or getting trapped in a niche so that the only way out is through the monster or …

    More pressure: the time it takes you to dispatch the enemy meant reinforcements arrive.

    Pretty much the only thing it really can’t be is “nothing.” Otherwise you undermine the 10+ roll. 🙂

  10. With so few hit points, I feel that it is important to vary it and get a bit of variety.  An enemies goal may not be to kill you, at first.  He may want to draw you into a trap and capture you later.  I have been given larger groups to run too so it is good to use the opportunity to get someone else involved.  Open up a route for the bad guys to escape or even take the time to get a healing potion down or something.  There are many options. 

    “Ok, so you got your damage but the victim he was holding has been tossed over the chasm.  What do you do?”

    I love putting more pressure on them and setting up a danger or preventing something that I know is going to tip the balance in their favor later. 

    “Ok, so you run through one of the goblins, easily killing him, the other goblins begin pushing you around, from one to another, to another, to another while you were trying to get that shot in.  You are dizzy, fighter, and the world is spinning with the enemy all around…Wizard, what do you do your fighter is looking a bit dazed and being overun by gobblins and in a moment they will move on to you, so what do you do?”

    In the above example, the 7-9 roll gave a “Dazed” effect with a -1 Hack&Slash next turn if he gets an attack, and brought the focus back to the Wizard to help out. And now we have teamwork if the Wizard takes the bait.

  11. I often find myself getting trapped in the ever exchanging blows of damage, but it’s important to remember that is not your only move in this scenario. Have the mysterious wizard your player cut down look into the distance and whisper “rosebud” in the players ear, sending them on a mission to figure out what that was all about. Or the orc shaman curses the player with a talking pimple on his chin that they need to deal with or suffer consequences, etc. Trigger a danger move off screen such as a family member of the fallen felt the disturbance in the force as their kin were slain and now seeks revenge.

  12. Pay attention to Impulse. I always think that’s the most underutilized and most vital bit of a monster’s stat block. What does it want? What drives it? This will tell you whether it wants to trade damage or do something else like steal something from the character’s belt, or envelope her in it’s slimy mass, or whatever. 

  13. “You drive your sword halfway through them.  Their snout snaps still, lunging forward towards your face.  With a mighty grunt you lift them from the ground, their body weight dragging them down through the sharp blade.  In the last, their growl turns to a yip, and they collapse towards you, taking you to the ground.  As you hit the ground you hear and feel a pop from your left shoulder.  Take (x-dee-y) temporary damage from the shock, and remember your left arm is crippled until you figure out how to relocate it.”

    “You plunge your sword halfway through them, but a moment later their partner slams into you from the side.  The sword wretches inside them, twisting, spraying a fountain of blood, but the hilt slips from your grip as you and the (enemy) go to the wall in a violent embrace.”

    “You impale them with your sword, and both a shower of blood and a crack of violet light splatter and shatter against the wall behind them.  As the light drains from their eyes (recent ally fictionally tied to the enemy) begins screaming, shrieking, orange light pouring from their mouth.  “THE VOID!  I CAN SEE IT!”

    “A kick from out of nowhere sends your sword flying across the room, and its snout is in your face in an instant, aiming to rip your nose from your face.  Instinct puts a hand around it’s neck as the two of you go to the floor, checking it’s bite for a moment.  You could stay there, mutually pinned, waiting for someone to come help you.   Or you can grab his mouth from the inside, driving those nasty lower teeth into your palm, and rip the jaw off.  What do you do?”

  14. In addition to what the others have said, look carefully at the monsters moves and see if any of them could be interpreted as a death rattle. For example:


    * Attack with the element of surprise

    “Your strike lands true, the Gargoyle’s eyes roll back in its head and it collapses.” Pause and let them do something. Then, as soon as they turn away “You hear the rasping of stone from behind and see its stone tail/claw/weapon whipping out at you, what do you do?” Then as soon as they avoid it (or don’t), it finally dies and melts into the stone.

    * Take to the air

    “You plunge your sword deep into the creatures stony hide. In it’s death rattle it screeches in pain and launches itself off the [roof/cliff/straight into the air], pulling you with it.”

    *Blend into stonework

    “You impale your sword through its heart. Its eyes roll into the back of its head and it releases its last breath of air. Then its body returns to the form of a statue, with your sword still deep inside it.”

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