I saw Thor this weekend, and though I have a few nitpicks, overall I liked it. I mean, I got exactly what I went in expecting to see: the god of thunder being boisterous and arrogant, hammering his way through problems and letting fly mighty Mjolnir all around. All that plus frost giants, Asgardian deities and Hawkeye? Yeah, I can forgive the rest.

Naturally, as I watched the movie, I thought about how some of those elements could be brought into a game. d20 and all its derivatives, from 4e to Pathfinder, have tons of published and fan material out there to emulate a lot of what the movie showed, but given the newness of Dragon Age/AGE we still have the opportunity to create new stuff. And in keeping with the simple and elegant design stylistics of AGE, rather than create complicated and exhaustive designs, I’m choosing to highlight only two elements here. Perhaps you will create some other elements and share them as well.

Note:There are minor movie spoilers ahead. Nothing major, just some cool scenes, but be warned.

Thunderwave Strike Stunt

One of the coolest moves in Thor’s arsenal is when he strikes the ground with mighty Mjolnir and a seismic wave bursts forth, tumbling all enemies down. In the movie Thor does this while in Jotunheim, realm of the frost giants, and ends up demolishing the land for what seems miles around. While a mortal hero won’t be able to restructure landmasses with this feat, it nonetheless lends itself well to a cool stunt to be performed in battle. There would have to be some prerequisites in order to have this stunt achieve the desired effect without it being too powerful, but it shouldn’t be anything that a mid-level warrior can’t achieve.

SP Cost  Stunt
6+ Thunderwave Strike: You strike the ground with all your might, sending a seismic wave all around that knocks prone all creatures within 2 yards of you. Any character making a melee attack against a prone foe gains +1 bonus on the attack roll. You may increase the thunderwave radius a further 2 yards for an extra 4 SP. Prerequisites: Strength (Might) 6, bludgeons group weapon.

This is essentially a “mass Knock Prone” stunt. There are some variations on Knock Prone that have appeared as creature abilities in Set 2 (Drake’s Tail Lash, Ogre’s Stomp) which I used to build this stunt around. Knock Prone costs 2 SP for one creature, so I upped the cost all the way to 6 SP for the effect to spread 2 yards all around (2 yards being the equivalent of 1 square on a battlemap). The Drake’s Tail Lash costs 3 SP for a combo Knock Prone/Mighty Blow; given the Drake’s Strength of 5, I find the combination of SP cost and prerequisite that I went with just fine. The bigger problem for me comes considering the Ogre’s Stomp, which does exactly the same as my stunt but in a 6 yard radius. The Ogre has a Strength of 9 and the Might focus and its Stomp costs a major action to pull off. Should this be a stunt at all? A stunt means that it is something that can, in theory, be done a few times each combat. Is this too powerful? No, I don’t think so. The Ogre’s Stomp is not a stunt, it’s an actual ability so the action type restriction is needed to keep it in check. As a 6 SP stunt, this is already a feat that won’t see much use so it’s okay to let it have  some oomph.

And if you’re wondering about that extra Stunt Point bonus on top of the 6 SP basic cost? That’s cause we have some rules we’re playtesting…

Thunder Hammer

While Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is a bone fide artifact of legendary power that should not fall into the player characters’ hands willy-nilly, a weapon that has somewhat similar abilities should not be a big issue to introduce into a campaign.

This masterwork maul has a large rectangular head etched along the borders with elaborate knotwork and large runes carved onto each of the flat faces. It is said to have been forged in honor of mighty Mjolnir, hammer of the Lord of Thunder, and shares some of its power. When wielding Thunder Hammer, a character gains a +1 on attack rolls. Thunder Hammer may also be thrown as a minor action; it has a short range of 4 yards and long range of 8 yards. Thunder Hammer always returns to its wielder’s hand at the end of the same round when it is thrown. When using Thunder Hammer to perform the Thunderwave Strike stunt, it costs 2 less SP.

Thunder Hammer is more or less balanced for 6th-level heroes and above. It has three different abilities which clever Game Masters can stagger in order to perhaps introduce this weapon to a hero of lower level, allowing her to discover its powers little by little (in which case I would suggest introducing the powers in the order they are described above). The biggest power I see Thunder Hammer having is the reduced cost for the Thunderwave Strike stunt; at an effective cost of 4 SP, that means that on a lucky roll of 6 on the Dragon Die, the wielder could do Thunderwave Strike and expand it to 4 yards. It may be a bit overpowered, yes, but I love the image it conjures. Throw in a special effect of thunder booming every time this stunt is performed with the magical hammer, and you’ve got yourself a colorful legend for your game.

Got any other ideas for new rules inspired by Thor? Got some playtest feedback after using the above in your game? Let us know in the comments.

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