Red Ink Adventures: Alt. Damage

Red Ink Adventures has been talked about a handful of times on Discord recently. I was also scrolling through my random “shower thoughts” list of ideas and this one fit rather well.

A partnership welded in conceptual proximity by yours truly.

This is how the rules read, with the changes in bold:

After all characters on one side have declared a target to strike, each attacker makes an Attack Roll by rolling 1d and adding their Attack (AT) based on the weapon they use. Unarmed attacks have +0 AT. Light weapons have +1 AT. Heavy weapons have +2 AT. Ranged weapons have +0 AT. Attacking with a ranged weapon is impossible while in melee combat. Attackers wielding two weapons roll for both and keep the highest Attack Roll. Multiple attackers targeting the same opponent roll together and keep only the highest Attack Roll. An attack from a strong position may receive bonus dice, noted as +1d. This is rolled as an extra attack against the same target.

Only the highest Attack Roll total deals Damage to a target, equal to the difference between the Attack Roll and the target’s Armor. The target then increases their current Damage by that amount and rolls 2d. If the total roll is equal to or higher than their current Damage, they stay in the fight. Otherwise, they are incapacitated.

Each character’s base Armor (AR) is 0. Light armor and shields provide +1 AR each, while heavy armor provides +2 AR.
Special Attacks ignore normal Armor. Subtract Abilities from these Attack Rolls instead of Armor. When defending against…
• Body Attacks (poison, extreme cold, exhaustion), subtract STR.
• Area Attacks (fireball, volley, whirling blades), subtract DEX.
• Mind Attacks (insanity, psionics, stress), subtract CHA.

If a PC has 12 or more Damage, they are mortally wounded and can only take one last action. Nothing can save them. When a PC dies, create a new PC who inherits their items, property, and Debt. Then either increase the group Debt by 1,000 coins for funeral expenses or else their soul wanders with unfinished business. Ten minutes of uninterrupted rest or one dose of medicine restores
consciousness and removes 1d Damage.

Monsters that are especially tough would roll 3d or more whenever they take Damage. Weaklings would only roll 1d.

So? How does it compare?

More flavor? More tension?

It feels much more like Into the Odd than before. Before, there was a definite, “I will NOT die on the first blow” as even the strongest monsters could only deal 8 Damage max. There’s a little too much “fine when above 0 HP, then drop dead when below.”

The 2d dice roll is uncertain, but more predictable due to the bell curve (mark it on your “RPG designer Bingo cards”, folks).

This also removes STR danger rolls from staying alive. I like that more. Now, to remove DEX danger rolls from Initiative…


8 thoughts on “Red Ink Adventures: Alt. Damage

  1. I don’t like that this introduces a second roll into the mix.

    There might be some other solutions out there if you want uncertainty. Maybe exploding damage dice?

    1. Well, in Into the Odd (on which this was based) you have a second roll when a player or monster takes Strength damage, which happens often enough.

      Exploding damage dice are pretty scary. Saw a post the other day talking about how scary that d4 dagger would become…

      1. Yeah, I know that Bastionland has the strength save too.

        I’ve started following your blog after I stumbled upon the Red Ink Adventures while searching for an ItO hack that successfully removed the second roll 😀 So I’m especially interested in anything about this 🙂

  2. Yo, just commenting to register my embarrassment that when I first read this I somehow skimmed it so fast that I thought it was for Adventure Hour, not RIA, and I think I told you I thought it was too complicated for Adventure Hour. Woops!

    This makes a lot of sense for RIA, I think… it’s a shame that it requires players to have a second die on them, but it does add that uncertain element back in that you lose from removing Strength loss. I wonder if I should steal this.

    1. From Dragonslayer Adventures: Hits and Healing. Most attacks deal 1 hit with stronger attacks dealing more. Each time a PC or NPC takes one or more hits, one player rolls 1d6. If the roll is above their current hits, they stay in the fight. Otherwise, they are Taken Out. Armor prevents being Taken Out, but is then damaged and must be repaired or replaced before being used again. Stronger NPCs roll 2d6 instead and take the higher die. Weaker NPCs roll 2d6 instead and take the lower die. When resting, each PC removes 2 hits and one player makes an Encounter Roll.

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