18 Jul 2010 05:16:11
Category: Gods And Monsters
In the game of Gods and Monsters by Jerry Stratton, there are three scores that determine your characters survival in a game session, verve, survival, and injury points. Gods and Monsters has a very unique way of dealing with surviving in a high fantasy game.
Here's how it works.
Each archetype (think "Class" in games like Labyrinth Lord) has a certain number of verve points. Verve is the ability of a trained professional to recover gracefully. The dictionary defines verve as enthusiasm or vigor. Verve points absorb damage when you are doing a archetypal activity. If I'm a warrior and I take 6 points of damage in combat, it all comes off my verve until I don't have any left. If I'm a Thief and I fail a climb check the fall damage comes off of my verve total first. Verve is important in the game of Gods and Monsters because it encourages player characters to play their archetypal role. If I'm playing a Thief, I'm less likely to engage in combat because a hit will come right off my survival points. Which are not as plentiful and are difficult to recover. Verve on the hand is easy to recover. It all comes back to the character after a single night's rest. Verve points are increased when a character gains an even number level. Points are increased by 1d10 at 2nd, 4th, 6th level and so forth.
Survival points are the unit of health in Gods and Monsters. Every archetype starts the game with just 5 survival points. At each odd numbered level the amount of survival rises by 1d10 regardless of archetype. When a character's survival points gets to 0, the character may fall unconscious or even die. Survival points are restored at the rate of level per nights rest.
Injury Points and Death
When survival points reach zero, further damage is added to your injury points. When the total number of injury points is greater then or equal to the character's survival point total, the character runs the risk of dying. They have to make a contested Endurance check where the roll is penalized by the total number of injury points they have received. Overall this is refreshing way of handling death. Every advantage is given to the player to survive death short of making death impossible. Yet there is still a certain randomness to the event. Even if the player misses his roll and is considered unreversably dying they can still make a "Last Heroic" effort and make yet another roll with their level as a bonus.
Compared to traditional games likes Labyrinth Lord or Basic Fantasy, the game gives every advantage to the characters survival. Where in Labyrinth Lord 0 hitpoints = death, in Gods and Monsters death is more elusive. I would point out that I haven't found a judge of Labyrinth Lord that rules it that way. There's always house rules to make death a bit more difficult to attain. Still Gods and Monsters addresses this difficulty on the outset and sets up some rules. I'm interested to see how these death rules plays out during a game session.