Fright

(House Rule - Tom Clare)

In my opinion one of the weakest and clunkiest rules in Dragon Warriors* is the fright attack. I use fright attacks a lot, and not just for Ghosts, and so I have developed an alternative. This method uses the house-rule characteristic of mettle (mettle = rank + nine), but intelligence works just as well - it just won't increase as the character rises in rank.

Method One

A character faced with a dangerous or frightening opponent or situation may need to make a fright roll in order to see whether they can stand their ground. The player rolls 2 times the monster's listed fright attack die (i.e: 2d12 for a Ghost*; 2d8 for a Hag*; 2d4 for an Eaves Phantom*) and compares the total with the character’s mettle; they may subtract 1 from the roll for each time this source of fear has been successfully faced down before (i.e. that particular Ghost*, that particular monster).

On a successful roll, the character carries on as normal. On a failed roll he is badly frightened and suffers an effect from the fear table below, determined by the amount the fright roll was lost by.

Method Two

Alternately, one could employed the rather under-utilized difficulty factor concept (found on pages 64 and 69 of book one/ page 64 of the new book).
The party encounter some supernatural menace. A number between 3 and 18, depending on how 'fearsome of aspect' the creature is, is assigned. Each player checks their character's intelligence; if it is equal to or more than the difficulty factor, that character is unaffected. If not, he must roll under his intelligence on a 1d20. If he fails, he suffers an effect on the fear table,
determined by the amount the fright roll was lost by.

Sorting the various fearful creatures listed in the books (along with a few sugestions) results in the following table. The first difficulty factor listed is a more balanced one for use with intelligence or mettle. The second is a direct rank-based translation of the original fright attack mechanics for use with mettle. I prefer the first one.


Creature

Difficulty Factor #1

Difficulty Factor #2

The Elves*

5-

Goblins*, etc

7-

Ogre*, Troll*, Gargoyle*

10-

Mummy*, Ghoul*, Zombie*, Revenant*, Barnacle Man*

11-

Eaves Phantom*

1213

Spectre*

1315

Hag*, a Caitshee's* black cat curse, a Dragon*

1417

Hellion*, Mere-Gaunt*, Wraith*

1517

Mordu*, Jumbees*, Cloudspider*

1619

The Malgash*

1719

Ghost*, a Barghest's* bark, Skullghasts*, the evil eye

1821


For Example

Sir Grimwald is faced with a gibbering tomb-Spectre*. The thing has a fright attack with a difficulty of 14; unfortunately Grimwald's intelligence is 12 - he must roll equal to or less than on a d20. His player rolls the die, and gets a 15. 15 minus 12 is 3; Sir Grimwald is shaken, but prepares for battle.

Ghosts

I feel that the incorporeal undead should have variable fright attacks depending on their visage and attitude, especially Ghosts*. While Spectres*, Wraiths*, and Eaves Phantoms* are, by definition, evil or malign, Ghosts* may easily be sorrowful or simply unfortunate. The Ghost* of a small girl who died of exposure might be 14, while that of a savage Knight*, head riven by an axe, might be an 18.

Failure rate
The Fear Table
1
Startled
The character takes a step back, losing one round of action.
2-3
Shaken
Trembling: add two to every roll for 1d6 rounds.
4-5
Routed
The character flees in the opposite direction; he must roll against his mettle/intelligence on 1d20 (checked each round) in order to get control of himself.
6
Petrified
The character is frozen to the spot with fear; he must roll against his mettle/intelligence on 1d20 (checked each round) in order to get control of himself.
7-8
Fainted
He has fallen to the ground, senseless. There is a 1 in 6 chance of waking each round.
9-10
Traumatized
The character has been profoundly affected by the fright. He faints, as above, but upon waking he will have lost 1d6 points of intelligence.
More than 11
Death
The character’s heart gives out, killing him instantly.

More pages