Terrain Challenges

Written by Ginster.

 

TERRAIN CHALLENGES (v 0.25, November 2015)

The PCs will likely be in disadvantage in many encounters, because of the hostile wilderness they have to deal with. On the other hand most of the monsters they will encounter in the world will dwell in their home territory. They are perfectly familiar with it. Below are some ideas you can use to put some terrain challenges into your wilderness fights.

Why?

Because terrain is an interesting feature in a lot of battles. The 13th Age system does not focus on precise movement, using vague distances instead. This is great, but it makes it difficult to rule what difficult terrain actually means. If you like your game with a bit more struggle for the PCs, some unpredictable stuff or if you just like the idea of skill checks being a part of battle more often (without rolling too often) – terrain checks are something you should try.

How does it work?

The fight takes place in an area that is dominated by a specific kind of terrain, set by the GM. Players have to make an appropriate skill check (terrain check) at the start of the battle to see how the character can deal with the difficult terrain throughout the battle. The DC depends on the tier of play and the general difficulty, as normal. On a success, the PC in question can act normally, on a failure he must deal with a consequence, chosen randomly with a d6. So the character suffers the consequence of a failed die roll at the start of the battle without having to roll every time before acting at the start of his turn. While the battle unfolds, there is always a chance that the failed terrain check is triggered.

It’s narrative!

Terrain checks are meant to add a challenge to your battle, determined at the start of the battle, without pesky die rolls each round. The fun part should be the flavour. Flesh out what happens exactly. It is lame to say “you rolled an odd roll, so your attack misses”. Instead consider something like “you push your blade forward to kill the goblin, but you’ve forgotten how tricky these slippery rocks are … you lose balance and your attack misses.”

The outcomes are not really “balanced”. In fact, some are pretty nasty, but there’s a lot of luck in it anyway. That said, the following tables are merely a suggestion. Go write your own!

 

SPARSE JUNGLE/UNDERGROWTH/SNOW (normal or hard task)

1. When you roll an attack roll and the roll is a natural odd roll, the attack gets a -2 penalty.

2. When you take a natural even hit, you are also dazed until the end of your next turn.

3. Substract the escalation die from any odd save you roll this battle.

4. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll this battle, you are stunned until the end of your next turn.

5. When the escalation die is equal to the result of one of your attack rolls, that attack misses or you take 1d8 damage (your choice).

6. When you miss an enemy, you take miss damage equal to the level of the enemy.

 

DENSE JUNGLE/SWAMP/DEEP SNOW (hard task)

1. Once per battle, when you roll a natural odd hit, you have to roll again and take the worse result.

2. When the escalation die is equal to your Dexterity modifier, you are stuck this round.

3. When you roll a natural 1-5 on an attack roll this battle, you take 1d6 damage.

4. When both, the escalation die and your natural attack roll is odd, you don't add the escalation die to this attack.

5. When the escalation die is equal to the result of your attack roll, that attack misses or you take 1d8 damage (your choice).

6. This battle, when you miss an enemy, you take miss damage equal to double the level of the enemy..

 

TRICKY SWAMP/SHALLOW WATER (normal or hard task)

1. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Dexterity score, you are hampered until you succeed on a save.

2. When the escalation die is even, you are stuck, unless you succeed on an easy save.

3. This battle, every time you roll a natural odd miss, you take 2d6 damage.

4. When the escalation die is equal to the result of your attack roll, you miss or take 1d10 damage (your choice).

5. When you roll an natural 1 on an attack roll this battle, you are hampered (save ends).

6. When the escalation die is odd, you must succeed on a save or lose a recovery.

 

DEEP WATER (hard task)

1. When you roll a natural odd hit this battle, you have to roll again and take the worse result.

2. When the escalation die is equal to the result of your attack roll, you miss or take 1d10 damage (your choice).

3. You can't rally this battle, when the escalation die is odd.

4. When you roll a natural 1-5 on an attack roll this battle, you are stunned until the end of your next turn.

5. You have -2 on all defenses this battle.

6. This battle, when you miss an enemy, you take miss damage equal to double your level,

even if you would normally not deal miss damage.

 

EXTREME HEAT (hard task)

1. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Constitution modifier, you are stunned (save ends).

2. When the escalation die is odd, you are stuck, unless you succeed on an easy save.

3. This battle, everytime you roll a natural odd miss, you lose a recovery.

4. This battle, roll Initiative twice and take the lower result. If you already roll twice (as a human) you lose the Bonus die and just roll once.

5. When you roll an natural 1 on an attack roll this battle, you take miss damage equal to the level of the enemy you missed.

6. You take a -5 penalty to disengange checks this battle.

 

HEAVY RAIN/MIST/LIGHT SNOW (normal or hard task)

1. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Wisdom modifier, you are dazed until the end of the battle.

2. When the escalation die is odd, you are dazed, unless you succeed on an easy save.

3. This battle, everytime you roll a natural odd miss, you take 1d6 damage.

4. This battle, roll Initiative twice and take the lower result. If you already roll twice (as a human) you lose the bonus die and just roll once.

5. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll this battle, you are stuck (save ends).

6. You take a -2 penalty to all attacks this battle.

 

INCREDIBLE HEAVY RAIN/MIST/HEAVY SNOW (hard or ridiculously hard task)

1. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Wisdom modifier, you are weakened (save ends)

2. When the escalation die is odd, you are dazed.

3. This battle, everytime you roll a natural odd miss, you take 2d6 damage.

4. This battle, roll Initiative twice and take the lower result. If you already roll twice (as a human) you keep doing so, but still take the lower result.

5. When you roll an natural 1-4 on an attack roll this battle, you are stuck until the end of your next turn.

6. When the escalation die is equal to or lower than the result of your attack roll, that attack misses or you take 1d12 damage (your choice).

HURRICAN/TROPICAL STORM/ICE STORM (hard or ridiculously hard task)

1. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Strength modifier, you are stunned (save ends).

2. Make a save each round. On a failure, you are stuck.

3. When you roll a d20 and the result is equal or lower than the escalation die, you are vulnerable until the end of the battle.

4. When the escalation die is even, you are weakened.

5. You can't use the escalation die this battle.

6. The escalation die now works against you. Substract the value from your attack rolls AND skill checks this battle.

 

LAVA PIT/PLANE OF FIRE/BURNING BUILDING (hard or ridiculously hard task)

1. This battle, when you roll an natural roll lower than your Constitution, you take fire damage equal to this roll.

2. When both, the escalation die and your natural attack roll is odd, you take ongoing fire damage equal to the value of the escalation die (double at champion tier, triple at epic tier).

3. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Constitution modifier, you are weakened (hard save ends, 16+).

4. When you roll a d20 and the result is lower than the escalation die, you are vulnerable until the end of the battle.

5. This battle, as soon as the escalation die is higher than your Wisdom modifier, you are dazed (hard save ends, 16+).

6. When you hit with an attack with a natural odd roll, that attack only deals half damage. If you roll a natural 1, you take the other half of the damage.

 

 

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