︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ DEATH-MASTER ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎
︎ DEATH-MASTER ︎
As Death-Master, you control the narrative, environs & non-player characters of Reaper City. This requires quick wits & improvisation since the mechanical underpinnings of DEATHBLOW do not afford contingencies for every avenue of play. What follows is guidance & resources to aid the Death-Master in running DEATHBLOW:
DEATHBLOW’s Action System allows for a narrative approach to action resolution, since outcomes are not mechanically defined. Detailed below is a guideline for each of the five Action System results:
△ △ Snake Eyes: The desired outcome of the action is not achieved due to bad luck, resulting in disaster.
△ Failure: The desired outcome of the action is not achieved, resulting in either a stalemate or complication.
△ Mixed Result: The desired outcome of the action is roughly achieved, but results in an unforeseen complication.
△ Success: The desired outcome is fully achieved.
△ Extreme Success: The desired outcome is achieved to the highest degree & results in an unforeseen boon.
Further, the following Skills should be imparted as essential for at least one Warrior to possess in a Gang: Vehicle Handling & Observe Surroundings. Without them, Warriors will have a tough time staying alive in Reaper City.
Assigning Disadvantage is a tool which the DM should employ whenever a task is extremely difficult (even for an adept Warrior or NPC). If a Warrior or NPC does not possess an applicable Skill when given Disadvantage to a roll, any result of ‘1’ on 1 D4 is also considered Snake Eyes.
In DEATHBLOW, an Oath is a personal code & way of operating. As such, a Warrior’s Oath defines their core archetype. The Death-Master should aim to reward those that stay true to their chosen Oath (through extra rolls on the Power Advancement table, for example). On the other hand, inconsistency in a Warrior’s actions & roleplaying is frowned upon. Each NPC also possesses an Oath, defining their basic motivation & sense of duty. However, an NPC’s Oath does not have a mechanical bonus like a Warrior’s does.
Combat in DEATHBLOW — known as a Firefight — is swift & perilous. As such, each Warrior or NPC may attempt to shoot their Weapon once, then the Firefight is concluded. If it is unclear which side shoots first, one Warrior from each outfit rolls Observe Surroundings. Each successful shot during a Firefight deals 1 Wound (unless otherwise noted). Once a Warrior takes 5 Wounds, they are killed. Similarly, once an NPC takes their Maximum Wounds (abbreviated “Max. Wounds”), they are killed.
TERRITORY & INCOME
As a Gang advances & gains Territory, they will also gain Income — representing extortion & tribute exacted from newly controlled locations. The rate in which Income is awarded is left up to the Death-Master, but consistency is key. Monthly or biweekly collections from each Territory is typical (i.e. every other play session, or every session).
The machinations of the hidden rulers of Reaper City are unknowable. It is common wisdom not to trifle with the Innersanctum, though many try. Principally, the Innersanctum should operate to harry your Warriors during lulls — while, conversely, offer Favor once a Gang makes it through the gauntlet, so to speak. The Innersanctum monitors everything in Reaper City — no one is out of sight from its ever-watchful eyes.
Any attack to the Houses of the Innersanctum is met with swift retribution. An enduring alliance between a Gang & House disrupts the political balance of the Innersanctum & therefore never lasts for long. Any Gang worth its salt plots to usurp one of the noble Houses & take its place among the court of the Innersanctum.
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To expand your games, the full version of DEATHBLOW & the DEATHBLOW SOURCEBOOK are available now through Richardson Games:
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