Thursday, April 1, 2010

RPG Ability: Faceblock

The Ogre Half-Zombie gave a phlegmy chuckle and strode forward, swinging his coffin-shaped club easily over one shoulder. "Who will face me?" he asked, his voice like the slam of a crypt door echoing through empty corridors.

While the rest of the party cowered, the Halfling Cleric strode forward, hands on hips. "You will not triumph here, villain!"

The Ogre stooped down to look the halfling in the eye. "You think you can stand up to my strength, little man?" he asked.

"Bring it," the Halfling responded in a brave voice.

Shaking his head in amused surprised, the Ogre stood and swung his weapon. To his amazement, the Halfling took the blow straight in the face.

The Ogre's jaw dropped as he stared at the halfling-shaped smear on the flagstones. "No-one has ever blocked my attack before!" he said in shock. "Truly you are mighty warriors! Allow me to serve you instead of my dark master, and we will soon rule the world!"

Image by Kai Lim, showing a Gungan Faceblock master demonstrating the ability

Faceblock gives the player character the ability to receive blows to the face. It allows the character to voluntarily transform an attack that would have missed the character into a blow that connects and deals damage as normal.

The ability starts out by allowing the player character to voluntarily lower his/her AC, making it easy for opponents to hit him/her. Each time the player takes damage from an attack that would have missed him/her if he/she hadn't chosen the lower AC value, the character's Faceblock ability advances.

At higher levels, the character can transform regular hits into called shots to the head. A master of Faceblock has the devastating ability to cause an attack that would have otherwise missed to become a critical hit instead.

Note that DMs should be careful about allowing players to choose this ability for their characters, as a tricky player could easily use it to stack a number of effects on his or her character. A player who can pick and choose which blows to take will soon be able to be stunned, dazed, and even knocked unconscious at will.

If players start abusing this power too much, it can be countered by having monsters voluntarily miss. If this proves insufficient - Faceblock masters can throw themselves in the way of a surprising amount of attacks - the DM shouldn't be afraid to have the monsters' spells backfire and damage the monsters instead of the party.


bluefish said...

This put a huge smile on my face. Thank you, sir. If I ever make a fantasy character based on a certain fictitious boxing champion from Philadelphia, I will be sure to include this excellent and highly useful ability.

Brian Schulman said...

That JarJar beatdown is... so gratifying