Elsethread, Bill wrote:
Yes. This hits the problem on the head, because the wording of the Honor-bound threat in the Organization is not written very thoughtfully in terms of how it interacts with the available moves in the system [^1]
Now, I’m not going to try to rewrite basic moves. No thanks. Also, as Dave pointed out, filddly close-readings of the basic moves is likely to lead to a lot of over-thinking and frustration in the long run.
But I can rewrite poorly written threats all I like.
So let’s review:
In general, this isn’t so much bad as just… lazy. The author knew what they meant so they didn’t bother with making better word choices. That’s mostly a problem with For My Honor and Mercy, from my take. Unrelenting is clear enough, but still doesn’t show enough thinking about stat-miscibility on the part of the designer.
- For my Honor: I don’t like how the invulnerability is expressed. Taken at face face value, it removes some interesting story options. Also, I get why they don’t spell out their code, but… yeah. It makes the whole thing a bit of a landmine.
- Mercy: In broad terms, the stat is clear enough, except it doesn’t say what “show mercy” means specifically as it applies to the threat’s own moves. I mean, you can’t spell out ‘mercy’s’ effect for everything, but you could at least say what that means for Unrelenting.
- Unrelenting. Umm… Okay, so this is, depending on how you read Mercy, the only stat you can outright damage by doing damage to the honor bound. So mechanically it’s the first stat to go, and tactically it’s a good stat to damage right away… and it’s maybe the only one you easily can damage… and the stat reads “the honor bound does damage twice to anyone who damages them”… and it’s on the stat that is going to be removed BY that damage… eh. Say more to address that.
Also the basic-concept-as-presented - unassailable person who can’t be meaningfully affected… until you find the auto-win button hidden behind For My Honor or piss them off with a three-card-monty scam - is less interesting to me than what I want.
So I’m going to take a shot at remaking the Threat into something I like better for the game.
Siflae the Honor-Bound: The most noble of the overlord’s servants, they have a strict moral code they will not break. This code grants them unbelievable strength (as does a thousand years of combat).
For My Honor: The Honor-Bound cannot be defeated in combat, by spell or arrow or blade.
- This stat cannot be damaged unless the Honor-Bound breaks their personal code. If they do, they are immediately Taken Out and will not fight for the rest of the scene.
- The first time a member of the fellowship honors their code, the Honor-Bound will honor a request they make.
- Some moves (certain options in Sting Like a Bee, for example) can remove the honor-bound from a scene (no ‘defeat’ implied), though prerequisites for a move must still be met. (For example: Courage or Wisdom-based Finish Them moves might work against the Honor-bound, at least for a time, but still require appropriate Advantage being established - simply surrounding them with troops or having a dwarf Keep them Busy with an axe and a big shield will not create the kind of Advantage you need to attempt to establish a bond, for example…)
Mercy: The Honor-Bound will always show mercy and compassion, even to their enemies.
- If Mercy is undamaged and Unrelenting is triggered, the Honor-bound will generally choose Damage options that target gear, resources, or companions, as appropriate (probably while admonishing their target and discouraging further attempts to cross them).
- When the Honor-Bound is tricked, deceived, or betrayed by someone in the fellowship, damage this stat. This stat can also be damaged by straightforward damage - the honor-bound is merciful and patient, but not infinitely so.
Unrelenting: The Honor-Bound deals damage to anyone Keeping Them Busy. The Honor-Bound deals damage twice to anyone who damages them. If damage taken by the honor-bound will result in damaging this stat, apply the effects of Unrelenting first, then damage the stat.
[^1]: I have other thoughts on the basic moves available in the system (and the stuff that isn’t), which I’ll probably get into in some other post.