In the previous post I outlined some general thoughts on creating environmental Stunts that take advantage of specific types of adverse weather or interesting locations. In this post I present a more fleshed out example of an adverse weather system that should be generic enough to show up in most fantasy campaign world, a terrible system called the Swordstorm.

Swordstorm

The dark clouds rolled in a few hours ago and churned incessantly in the sky until they disgorged their fury upon the land. The rain fell hard right from the start, driving at the earth with angry force, creating rivers of mud in seconds. The gray-blue twilight that had descended with the storm was only broken by the regular flashes of lightning cutting an electric swath across the skies and down to the ground. Wind blew from all sides, howling, tearing up the landscape. The booming sound of thunder seconds later shook everything to its core. This was no mere storm; this was one of the legendary Swordstorms that rolled in every few years down the mountains and across the plains. It would last for days and it would sow destruction that would take years to recover from.

Of course the enemy would choose this time to make their attack…

The Swordstorm is a type of monsoon that strikes every few years based on atmospheric patterns and leaves terrible destruction in its wake. The rain is constant and plentiful for days on end, falling down with great force, making it especially dangerous in areas prone to landslides. Lightning strikes every few minutes, and the thunder is so strong it can literally knock people off their feet. Flash floods and inundations are a destructive side-effect, causing massive damage and claiming hundreds of lives every time they strike.
Add the following Stunt options to those available during Heavy Rains. Any character may use a Swordstorm Stunt at any point by spending the listed amount of Stunt Points.

SP

Stunt

3

Flash of Steel: You time your attack perfectly with a lightning strike, reflecting the blinding light off your weapon as you hit your opponent. The enemy is now blinded (-2 to all dice rolls until the end of the encounter) and you inflict +2 points of damage on your attack.

4

Flying Debris: The roaring winds toss all manners of debris around. Your enemy takes 1d6 damage and suffers a -1 to all rolls until the beginning of their next turn.

6

Booming Thunder: You unbalance your enemy and use the force of the powerful swordstorm thunder to your advantage. You inflict an extra 1d6 damage on your attack. The enemy is also knocked prone and must use a major action to stand up again.

These three Stunts tie directly to features I described as iconic of the swordstorm. Tempted as I was to have a Stunt that had an enemy getting hit by lightning (and by all means, make that a 7 SP Stunt if you want), I opted for something more “realistic” with Flash of Steel; given the lightning strikes are fairly regular, being able to time an attack to reflect the flash seems like a neat cinematic trick. There are no rules for conditions in the Dragon Age game, so I opted to go with a simple penalty to reflect the blinding daze and a static extra couple points of damage to justify the 3 SP cost. Flying Debris does precisely what it advertises, keeping combatants on their toes as debris from the storm flies willy-nilly around.

The last one is a 6 SP stunt so I wanted something powerful. I based it off the description of the thunder and simply combined a couple of effects, dealing extra damage and knocking the enemy prone with an added penalty of needing a major action to stand up. Is it as powerful as Set 2’s Lethal Blow (5 SP, +2d6 damage)? I think they’re in the same league, but only playtesting will tell for sure.

Furthermore, based on where, geographically, a battle takes place during a Swordstorm, you could add some more Environmental Stunts focused on the terrain. If the battle is taking place near an overflowing river, then you could add the following:

SP

Stunt

3+

Dragged: The strong currents of rainwater flow directly into the overflowing river, dragging everything in their path. Any creature that is knocked prone must make a TN 10 Strength (Might) test or be dragged 5 yards toward the river. You can move the creature an extra 2 yards for every extra SP spent.

In combination with Mud Slip and Booming Thunder, this becomes a major environmental issue and a solid combat strategy: attack your enemy, get them unbalanced and prone on the mud, then carry them off to be swept away by the raging waters. Next!

How about you? What’s your neat environment for which you’ll build some Stunts next? Let us know.

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