Avignon Blod Theatre
Over the Top Action in the Middle Ages
Note that ABT is curently very much in development, and the following text is just a small step above notes. Many of the rules have not been fully developed, and much more fleshing out is yet to come.
This game transfers the over-the-top action of Hong Kong Blood Action Theater (and other films) into a medieval setting: instead of guns, swords; instead of leather jackets, poofy-pants and curled shoes. Think of it as Desperados: Medieval.
Characters are rated in appropriate skills in a number of dice. To do an action, they simply roll their dice. Any die that’s over the takget numebr counts as a success. The target nuimber is determined by the exact scenario, but is usually around 5. The main function of rolling is in combat, where the total number of successes amounts to the severity of wounds inflicted in a combat round. Note then that successes are not for any given teeny-weeny little action, but rather for a whole string of events that accomplish something, like killing everything that moves.
Close combat between two characters (meaning a combat when both people can defend and attack) goes as follows: both roll their dice, and whomever gets more successes wins: the margin is the damage, as usual. A marign of one or zero indicates that the combat has a momentary pause or deadlock.
There are two main kinds of opponents: mooks and villains. Mooks can be killed easily. All mooks who attack a main character do so together, with all their dice, and he in turn attacks them back with his dice; defending himself against all of them (with a small penalty if he is totally surrounded). Villains on the other hand, are much like main characters.
Over the top action is appreciated. Character are always protected by a barrier of herodom that makes lesser attacks fail miserably against them: any attack iroll s reduced in success number by two, unless the character is prone and is obviously in for it. Effects Points can also be spent during combat (and other times) to produce ridiculous effects, which include:
- That’s a big sword – Give extra dice to an attack
- I didn’t know you had that – produce an item out of nowhere for immediate use
- Convenient Prop – an ordinary item can be found on the ground, seemingly out of nowhere
- Whiff! – opponents miss for no good reason – more than they usually do
Characters can also do cool Maneuvers. Generally, they require a roll, like a normal action, and give some special ability to the character. At the same time they also apply a penalty on some other action the character is doing or is about to do; sometimes they also cost a few Effects Points ot activate. For example, flying through the air while shooting a crossbow makes you harder to hit, but puts a penalty on your own shooting; some extra expenditure of effects points could counter-act that penalty though.
Narration of events in a cinematic way – meaning with vivid and exciting descriptions, and attention to imagined camera angle, flow of time, etc. – is always welcomed. Players are encouraged to do so whenever they take action in an appropriately dramatic scene, and always with the spending of EP. The GM should waive some of the point costs for maneuvers and effects if the narration is really good.
Characters have basic equipment. They can have extra cool, powerful equipment by spending points during character creation. These special items can potentially be far more mechanical and sophisticated than is appropriate for the time period, and quite over-the top, like repeater crossbows, swords that fold out of shirt sleeves, etc. Characters generally carry a fair amount of equipment, but it’s often unseen. By spending EP they can also just pull it out of thin air later, particularly if it follows their style.
All characters have style. Some aspects of style are shared by all character: although the game has a medieval backdrop, the characters should have all the bravado, individualism, and bad-assness seen in modern action films. Each character also has a personal style however, that’s all his own. Every time a character does something that fits his style, and somehow fits the scene, he gets some extra EP to spend during that scene – the GM should probably hand out some dice or chips to reperesent these points. Alternately, an effect that a player wants to do, and which fits his style, should have a lower EP cost. If a character is very much in his element in an entire scene, he gets a bonus die on every action.