Friday, June 4, 2021

Beyond the Veil Draft Pt. V - Adversaries, Denizens, Encounters and Spoils

see the previous post in this series

Adversaries, Denizens, Encounters, and Spoils

A fair fight is a fight you are willing to lose. The Adversaries that an adventuring party encounters would very much like to stay alive, and live in places full of dangerous terrain, intelligent leaders, cruel beasts, perilous traps and scarce resources. From the best-forgotten underbellies of port-cities to crypts and barrows and every environ in between, Adversaries want, first and foremost, to protect themselves and their offspring, guard their resources and so on. They can potentially be bribed or bargained with to ensure safe passage or trade. They will not fight to the death unless they feel they must to protect something or some place, as a rule. Surrender and retreat are common when things get dire for them; it should be for Player Characters as well.

Denizens have no such fears. They are beings of inhuman motive and desire, originating Beyond the Veil. Monsters. Remorseless, dire, beings that spring into the world when the right conditions arise. All true monsters arise with good reason. Something wrong with the world, a transgression against the natural order and flow of the Veil. They cannot be defeated easily, not with steel and bullets. Knowing their weakness is little refuge, though, as exploiting it often means putting yourself or others in grave risk.

Adversaries Breakdown

Adversaries are the most common sort of opponent one might come across in the world, in or out of a combat scenario. They should have some level of agency in that they desire to live and be successful in their own right. The stat breakdown for an adversary is as follows:

  • Name,  Aspect and Score
  • Armor
  • Attacks (if any)
  • Active Turn (K, 10, 5, 2)
  • Spoils Tier (None, Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent, Unique)
  • Abilities (1 + Aspect Score number of abilities)

Example Adversaries

Poacher, Smarts +0
Armor: Leathers (HeALT, AV1)
Attacks: Shortbow (2H, 40yds), Knife (1H)
Turn: 10
Spoils: Poor
  • Hunter - Attacks against animals are Brutal

Brown Bear, Health +2
Armor: Tough Hide (All, AV 1)
Attacks: Maul (Brutal)
Active Turn: K
Spoils: (examples) 4 food rations, 1 large pelt (3 Flakes), 100 pounds of fat, other animal bits
  • Roar - All characters not allied  and within 10 yards must succeed on a Determination Check or become Scared.
  • A Mother's Fury - If the Brown Bear perceives a threat to its young, it acts on K and 10 for initiative
  • Animal Nature - Animals will always flee from combat after taking an injury, unless they are defending their lair, offspring, cornered, or sick.


Denizens Breakdown

In contrast to Adversaries, Denizens are, and should be, less common than standard encounters. An unsuspecting party of even the most prepared adventurers will meet their end at the hands of a Denizen if they are not approached correctly. They have no desires that can be used to bribe or extort them. They do not want anything in the way that is understood, and they most certainly do not want to make nice. Denizens are imbalances in the world, and often require some level of investigation to discover the cause of, and solution for, their presence on this side of the Veil. Someone, somewhere, knows about each Denizen, as they are caused phenomena, repeatedly; some scholars dedicate their lives to understanding where the most common varieties come from and how to quell the number of occurrences. All Denizens follow this template:

  • Name, Aspect and Score
  • Condition of Destruction and Limitations
  • Cause of Manifestation
  • Attacks
  • Description
  • Abilities (1 + Aspect Score number of abilities + Denizen)

Example Denizens

Drowning Mildew, Health +2
Condition: Drowning Mildew can only be destroyed by burning the corpse it originates from. It will not spread to areas exposed to sunlight. It will not willingly approach fire.
Cause: When a human is killed via drowning and not given a proper burial, there is a chance it invites the presence of the Drowning Mildew.
Attacks: Drown (Brutal, Ignores Armor, 0yd)
Turn: K, 10, 5, 2
Description: Wispy, like spider's silk, slime mold that undulates to an unknown rhythm. It is blue-grey and smells of sea air, rank cellars, and spoiled myrrh. It clings to surfaces lightly, and has no weight until it attempts to make a kill.
  • Metastasis - Any living creature killed with the Drown attack becomes a new instance of Drowning Mildew.
  • Creeping - Speed is 2 yards. It cannot move and take an action on the same turn. It cannot be flanked and fully occupies any space it has moved through or onto. It cannot be moved forcibly.
  • Fire Avoidant - Any space it occupies that is hit with a source of open flames clears that space until the fire leave that space. Attacks  it makes against characters bearing open flames are instead Red/Black Checks
  • Denizen - This creature knows nothing of remorse or fear and is obviously supernatural. It will not flee nor surrender and is immune to Scared.


Bean Sidhe (Banshee), Charisma +1
Condition: Can only be injured by implements made of pure gold. Only perceivable by the family they have attached themselves to. They only appear at night.
Cause: When a first-born daughter is killed in a violent manner, her spirit may not be able cross the Veil to the Other Side. 
Attacks: Keening(30 yds, Unavoidable)
Turn: K
Description: Lithe, nearly skeletal, wearing what they had on when they perished. They are pale, ephemeral beings that are often seen near water or swamps at night, futilely attempting to wash the fabric of the Veil and weeping. They do not pursue their prey; there is no need once they Keen into the night.

  • Baleful Wailing - Any who hear the Keening of a Bean Sidhe become Scared and are frozen in fear if they cannot flee. The Bean Sidhe fades from view after Keening.
  • Omen - The target fated to die after hearing the Keening of a Bean Sidhe suffers a heart attack after seven days unless the Bean Sidhe is destroyed.
  • Denizen - This creature knows nothing of remorse or fear and is obviously supernatural. It will not flee nor surrender and is immune to Scared.

Encounters and Spoils

Balancing combat can be a daunting task in any game, so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about that a bit with the disclaimer that I haven't had a group to test with and playing by myself has its own biases. The intent is that getting into a fair fight is foolish. Death comes quickly, and attacks are strong. For a party of four, a full on brawl with an equally well equipped group of bandits should be a tossup at the first few levels of play. Encourage players to ambush, use the terrain, bring hirelings, position themselves advantageously or at the least deny adversaries the same. 

Denizens, on the other hand, shouldn't need any backup to be a threat. They are centerpieces in their own rights; they are the sort of things that either exist in the environment or have adventures constructed around. The Bean Sidhe is not meant to be fought in a traditional sense- it is only a danger to those that can perceive it. Drowning Mildew is something that can be driven off and destroyed once you know how to do so, but it is most likely encountered incidentally, or perhaps as the result of a missing person case or some such.


Loot is the bread and butter of adventurers, tomb robbers, mercenaries and thieves. Usually, this is in the form of valuable objects, weaponry, ancient currency, art pieces and the like. Adversaries, and sometimes Denizens, also carry many things that might be considered valuable to the right buyer. Depending on the tier of those spoils, they will have valuables up to a certain amount. Some exceptions exist, being animals or even just occasions where you want to have specific items for whatever reasons.
  • None - Self explanatory, nothing of value here.
  • Poor -  Up to 1 Flake's worth of valuables.
  • Fair - Between 2 and 29 Flakes worth of valuables. 
  • Good - Between 10 and 50 Chips worth of valuables.
  • Excellent - Between 51 Chips and 2 Plates worth of valuables.
  • Unique - Determined on a case-to-case basis. See the above brown bear for an example!

What's Next?

Camping and Downtime things probably, unless some other inspiration strikes!

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