Veteran’s Honors: Bringing Experience to Your Game
It’s Veteran’s Day here in the US, and it occurred to me that we put a lot of emphasis on not only honoring our veterans, but also on the benefit of that experience in differentiating proven soldiers from rookie soldiers. We see this in movies, books, games and just generally in real life. How do we bring that to a game like Pathfinder RPG without demonstrating a difference in level or other relative power? Sure, there is a reason why we call them “Experience Points” but here are a few penalties you might apply to the untrained farmboy picking up a sword for the first time:
Condition: Rookie – Characters 0-1st level suffer from the Rookie condition at the GM’s pleasure, and when heading into battle are forced to make a Will save based on 10 + (Opponent Hit Die) + (Opponent Charisma). Success leaves the rookie unaffected. Failure makes the Rookie subject to one of the following conditions (roll or DM’s choice):
01-10 Frightened – Character immediately makes a second Will Save based on the same DC. Failure indicates the character is so unmanned by the daunting adversaries before them, they attempt to desert. Success leaves the character Shaken.
11-20 Shaken – Character has mastered his fear, but it still shakes his hand. If character rolls Natural 1 on an attack roll or takes more than 10% total hit point damage during combat, make another Will Save or become Frightened.
21 -30 Sickened – Nerves about the battle to come lay hold of the character, turning their stomach and making their weapon arm unsteady. This lasts 1d6 rounds.
31-40 Unprepared – Character has prepared with such nervousness that the are subject to the “Don Hastily” penalties for wearing armor until they can take 1d6 to adjust (tighten straps, refasten buckles, etc.). For mages and other unarmored casters, this reflects disorganized materials, foci, etc. and requires a DC 10 + (Spell Level) Concentration check as they grope for materials and recall phrases on the tip of their tongue. This can bee offset by 1d6 rounds of adjustments to their spell component pouches, scrolls and foci.
51-60 Uncoordinated – Character is so intent on his opponent, he fails to work with other fellow combatants on the battle field. Character does not threaten for purposes of flanking for duration of the battle.
61-70 Hesitation – After Defendant commits to an action, defendant must make an additional Will Save if they choose to attempt a different action, or must continue in their present action for an additional round.
71-80 Overconfident – The character recklessly attacks the first available opponent by moving as close as possible to the enemy and attacking. While this carries with it no inherent penalties, it may put the character in a strategically undesirable position and subject to attacks of opportunity, etc.
81-90 Premature Celebrant – After felling their first foe, combatant must take a full round action to celebrate (perhaps prematurely), fists raised in glory, before taking their next action.
91-100 Death Before Dishonor! – The character is so determined not to be a coward, they cannot withdraw from an enemy without succeeding at another Will save, regardless of what is best for their fellow combatants.