Pushing the Limits
The reason for having limit values is that real human beings are only capable of so much. Of course so are heroes, trolls, Giants Dragons. The problem comes with heroes who are human or close to human. We want the characters to be heroic, but at the same time we want the world to make sense, to seem real. This is a tall Order, and it requires a little bit of complication. If an attribute value is translated directly into a measure of time, distance or weight, we quickly run into problems with characters that can perform ridiculously powerful feats. For example, if a Strength attribute of 13 was directly translated into the weight value that character could lift, he would be lifting without even breaking a sweat! So the limit values represent the most that can be done by a character without significant effort. Instead of being able to lift , our Strength 13 character can only lift up to his limit value without strain. For a human, the lifting limit is 9, which is . If our strongman wants to try and lift more than , he’s got to put a little effort into it. To exceed a limit value is an action, called apush, with a base difficulty number of 8. When rolling for a push, any bonus number generated that is less than +1 is treated as +1. The acting value depends on the limit being pushed. The limit values and the associated attribute or skill used as the acting value are as follows:
Running: Dexterity or running skill
Swimming: Dexterity or swimming skill
Long Jumping: Dexterity or long jumping skill
Climbing: Strength or climbing skill
Lifting: Strength or lifting skill
Hold Breath: Toughness
Flying: Dexterity or flight skill
Lifting pushes use the Power Push column of the General Results Table. All other limit pushes use the Speed Push column. When a character attempts a push, the result points are read on the appropriate column to get a modifier that is added to the appropriate value. There will also be a number in parentheses. This is the amount of shock damage the character takes from overexerting herself. The damage is assessed at the end of the round, so a character can accomplish a superhuman feat, and then collapse. This type of damage, known as fatigue, is cumulative with shock damage taken in combat. Shock damage is covered later in this chapter under “Damage”.
Example: Terrill is running for his life from a horde of angry, heavily armed Vikings. Alan declares that Terrill is pushinghis running speed this round. Terrill does not have the running skill so he uses his Dexterity of 9 and generates an action value of 12. The difficulty was 8, which means he has four result points. On the Speed column of the General Results Table this is a +1(3) result. The +1 is added to Terrill’s running speed value, which is 9, increasing it to a value of 10. Instead of covering (value 9) that round, Terrill puts on a burst of speed and covers (value 10) that round. However, the table indicates that Terrill takes three points of shock damage from the push; he’s tiring himself out by running at this speed. Nothing serious yet but he’ll need a little while to recover and catch his breath once he gets away from the Vikings. If he keeps pushing himself though he might exhaust himself and eventually collapse. If the character’s attribute or skill value exceeds the limit value, the full value is used to generate result points but the modifier is added to the limit value instead. In other words, attributes in excess of the limit value are still useful, but cannot allow a character to perform godlike feats.
Limit Values for Characters
The table above lists the limit values for humans involved in the Dark Ages Campaign. Limit values can be determined for other races by adding one to the category's that the character put their enhancement package in. For other creatures if they are not already provided in the creature’s description, use the table below, “Avg.” means the known average attribute for the creature in question; if this is not known, use human numbers or your best guess. In obvious problem circumstances (a sparrow’s running ability, for example), use your judgment.
Limited Activity Limit Value
Running Avg. Dexterity
Flying Avg. Dexterity
Swimming Avg. Dexterity -2
Long Jumping Avg. Dexterity -5
Climbing Avg. Strength -5
Lifting Avg. Strength +1
Hold Breath Avg. Toughness +2
Add +1 to the limit value of the creature’s primary mode of movement (the ways it travels most often). Example: Thegamemaster assumes that a dolphin’s average Dexterity is 10; it therefore has a swimming limit value of 9 (Dexterity 10, -2 for swimming, +1 for primary mode.)
'GENERAL AND PUSH RESULTS TABLE'