Friday, March 4, 2022

Barbarian vs. Sorcerer Play Test

Gordak the Barbarian has finally hunted down the False Philosopher King, who has been building an army by claiming he is one of the Philosopher Kings of old returned from the beyond. This is not going to help Gordak's trust issues with sorcerers...

Gordak the Barbarian (Human Legendary Savage 4)

Attack +6 | Defense +3 | Focus +1 | Resolve 9

As a savage, Gordak can elect to add 1 point of damage to any attack; there is a 3 in 6 chance he also sustains 1 wound.

Wields the following artifacts:

The Axe of Carnage (deals 2 base damage)

The Cloak of Vigilance (+1 to both Defense and Focus)

The Gauntlets of Uk Anok (+1 to Attack and Resolve)

The Girdle of the Stone Giant Jarl (+1 to Attack and Defense)

False Philosopher King (Human Legendary Foe 4)

Attack 10 | Defense 13 | Focus 13 | Resolve 10 

In the first round, he will cast Haste

Each round thereafter, he attacks with a necrotic dart with his first action, and one of these spells with his second (Roll 1D6). He has four uses of special spells before he uses the necrotic dart exclusively throughout the combat.

1-4 Necrotic Bolt (Deals 2 damage; 3 on a Defense check of 7 or less)

5-6 Stun (lose 1 round on a failed Defense check CR 13)

Gordak has infiltrated the False King’s inner circle; he reveals himself during a ritual, throwing off his cloak. The King’s minions flee, recognizing Gordak’s Axe and cowering at his name. The False Philosopher King laughs, welcoming this opportunity to let the world know that his power is unparalleled. Gordak rolls 8 for initiative (ouch) and loses. In round 1, the False King activates haste while Gordak charges across the chamber. 

Round 2. FPK (I’ll use that as his abbreviation for now) uses his necrotic dart and necrotic bolt. Against these Gordy rolls 14 and 12, respectively; he suffers 2 wounds from the bolt, and is down to Resolve 7. Gordak swings his mighty axe, getting 15 and dealing 2 damage. He will add a point to get to 3, leaving the FPK at Resolve 7. Gord rolls a 3, and sustains 1 point himself, down to Resolve 6.

Round 3. FPK uses necrotic dart and bolt again. Gordy rolls 10 and 13. He only gets hit by the dart for 1 point, leaving him at Resolve 5. He swings his axe again, getting 17 and dealing 2 wounds. He again adds a wound, leaving the FPK at Resolve 4. Gord again suffers 1 wound, leaving him at Resolve 4. 

Round 4. FPK uses stun this time, so goes stun first, then dart; against the stun, Gord rolls 11, so he uses his +4 from being a legend (that status pays off) to shrug off the stun. Against the dart, he rolls 8. He suffers 1 wound, and is at Resolve 3. He swings his axe, getting 17 again (he’s rolling well), and deals 2 damage, leaving the FPK at Resolve 2. He is going to hold back on the Savage gift, since that has a 50/50 chance of leaving him woefully unprepared for the next round…

Round 5. FPK is out of special spells (that might be the difference here), and uses 2 necrotic darts. If he could stun, he would win… as is? Gordy rolls two Defenses, getting 11 and 12; he gets hit twice, and is down to Resolve 1. Glad he didn’t use that ability… he’d be defeated right now if he rolled poorly. Gord gets to attack, rolling 12 and 14. FPK has a defense of 12, so he only hits once! Dang… he deals 2 wounds, leaving the FPK at Resolve 1. Okay… if he waits until the end of next round, there’s a good chance that he has suffered the final wound and is defeated; if he goes for it now with his special ability, there is a 50/50 chance they both fall. He goes for it, adding 1 point and lopping the head off of the False Philosopher King. He rolls and gets a 6! He falls to his knees, exhausted, with Resolve 1 remaining, and the warm blood of the fallen False Philosopher King pools at his knees.


Again, this was a good fight that went down to the wire. The numbers still scale nicely; it feels like the dice matter, and a few points in either direction make the difference. 

Building an NPC is different from a hero… for example, the False Philosopher King’s Focus would be +6 as a hero, which is the equivalent of 12… however, he would also have advantage, so bumping it to 13 seemed to be a reasonable compromise on that. I feel like a few points were wasted on attack, since he would never invest those points as a hero, but I also need to distribute points somewhere, and 13 seems pretty good. Resolve of 10 is huge, and I cannot justify going any higher than that with him.


  1. Great write-up, I like how features like the savage gift and being able to draw on your renown encourage decision making so its not just down to stats and dice.

  2. Thanks. I do particularly like that gift... which I might change to ability, and then change the title of the four core attributes or traits or whatever they end up being. I like 'ability' as a general catch-all rather than 'gift'.

  3. Dr. D, this combat had me on the edge of my seat reading it. Is Gordy gonna make it? When you had him go for it with Savage, that is RPG gold. Enjoyed the write up and hope to sit at the table with you as the GM for a game with you some time!