Decaying Escalation

Written by John M..

Decaying Escalation

Rationale: The escalation die represents the characters' tension, and determination to overcome the deadly situation facing them, and their confidence in their own abilities. Events which impact any of these should decrease the escalation die. Moreover, peak effort cannot be maintained forever - the escalation die cannot remain indefinitely at maximum.

Rules:

  1. If the opposition consists of nothing but mooks (of less than or equal to the player's level), and the number of mooks is less than 3x the number of player characters, the escalation die will not activate.
  2. ..., and the number of mooks remaining is less than the number of player characters, reduce the escalation die by one, to a minimum of 0. Repeat each round this is true.
  3. If the opposition is equivalent to more than the number of PCs, for each whole multiple, delay the start of the escalation die by 1 round. E.g. if there are 8 monsters and 3 player characters, the escalation die will start at the end of the 2nd round.
  4. If the PCs, as a group, suffer a number of failures equal to twice the number of player characters, reduce the escalation die by 1.
  5. If the foes receive reinforcements, pause the escalation die.
  6. ... and those reinforcements are equivalent to at least one player character, but no more than half the number of player characters, reduce the escalation die by 1, to a minimum of 1.
  7. ... are equivalent to more than half the number of player characters, but less than double, reduce the escalation die by 2, to a minimum of 1.
  8. ... are equivalent to more than double the number of player characters, reduce the escalation die by 3, to a minimum of 0.
  9. If a player character falls unconscious, the escalation die pauses.
  10. If a player character dies, the escalation die is reduced by 1.
  11. After the escalation die has been at its maximum for a number of rounds equal to its maximum (i.e. 6 rounds at +6), it reduces by one per round, every round, regardless of circumstances, until it has reached zero. Once at zero, the escalation die can activate once again.

Comments: The overall effect of these rules will be to make combats a little harder and potentially a little longer. Primarily, though, these are intended as benchmark suggestions for the kind of situations suggested in the "Escalation Die" and "Unfair Encounters" sections. Adjust or ignore them as appropriate for your group.

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