Tuesday, July 29, 2014

XX. Dealing Checks

New Talla Kellerman art by Sam Alcarez,

Broken Contract utilizes a robust selection of Stats to handle in-game situations. One of my favorite Stats is Dealing. I think it adds something different to miniature board gaming. Dealing demonstrates how well a Character interacts with others. In 2300AD, trust has been severely broken down and not following protocol almost certainly means grave repercussions so there isn't a whole lot of negotiating in the mines. However, in extreme circumstances, it is possible to get someone to seemingly swing your way.

"Stand Down!" - Typically used by the Prods, but it could be just as easily be used by Breakers, any Character can burn an Action to yell "Stand Down" at another Character within 8". A successful Dealing Check to "Stand Down" will convince the Character to hesitate, losing an Action Point. Additionally, if the Character yelling "Stand Down!" rolls a natural 6 when making the Dealing Check the opposing Character must either drop their weapon or Go Prone. 

This can be extremely useful if a Character is wielding a particularly dangerous weapon and has their Actions late in the Initiative Order. Forcing a Character to lose Actions from relative safety can be the difference between life and death in the mines.

Beg for Mercy - Typically used by the Breakers, but just as easily used by Prods, any Character can burn an Action to Beg for Mercy. Beg for Mercy is an Interruption, so it is played out of Initiative order in response to any number of Combat Actions. If you successfully make your Dealing Check you halt the Combat Action and Go Prone.  

During play testing, whenever a new player sees Beg for Mercy on the Action card they chuckle and think, "Why would I ever do that?" This can be a great ruse if you have Actions remaining late in the Initiative Order. A particularly nasty Character like Officer Hickley is Walking up to Attack you and you Beg for Mercy to halt their Attack. You are successful and it wastes Officer Hickley's last remaining Action. You used an Action Point to perform the Beg for Mercy Interruption, but might still have 2 Actions remaining to Stand Up and Rush off, or to Stand Up and Attack. Additionally, if the Character Begging for Mercy rolls a natural 6 when making the Dealing Check the opposing Character loses all of their remaining Actions.

Finally, Dealing will make an appearance during scenario specific goals. In the Act, Get Kellerman, the Breakers must get to the Progen Mechanic, Talla Kellerman, and try to convince her to join their escape attempt. Talla, as a Progen, is afforded small luxuries by FerrumSky and has a lot more to lose by breaking than the other Tracted (indentured workers). For that reason, Kellerman must be found and convinced to come along. It only takes one successful Dealing Check to convince her, but with every Character needing a 5 or a 6, it might take some negotiating (ie repeated attempts) to succeed, adding another layer of tension to the mission as the other Breakers are in the middle of fighting off the Prods while someone is preoccupied with getting Kellerman to join up.

I feel options like these add a cinematic touch that you see in action movies that don't normally make it onto the tabletop. Thanks for reading!

-Nick

What do you think? Do these sort of options add an extra level of interest beyond straight up fighting, shooting, and moving? Are there any other movie moments like these you'd like to see in a game like this? Feel free to comment!

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