Thursday, March 3, 2022

Resolute Play Testing: The Powerful Mage

Let's see how this game holds up with higher-level characters. Let's go right to an archage and an archfiend. Lots of arches here.

Pandarus the Might (Legendary Human Wizard; Renown 4)

Attack 0 | Defense 5 | Focus 6 | Resolve 7


the Staff of the Archmage (+1 Defense and +1 Focus; +1 spell per turn)

The Ring of the Troll King (regenerate 1 every other round)

Robes of Aliazar (+1 Defense and +1 Focus)

Spells: Dart of Arcane; all listed spells (he’s an archmage!)

The Fiend of the Pits of Entropy (Renown 4)

Attack 13 | Defense 12 | Focus 12 | Resolve 13

Whip (2x per round) deals 2 damage; on a foe’s Defense of 7 or less (or a natural 2), deals 3 damage

As a free action, projects an aura of flame every third round, dealing 1 flame damage to all in medium range who fail a Defense check against its Focus.

Okay, let’s see how these guys do. As Pandarus watches the prisoners he has just freed try to escape from their crossing of the Bridge over the Pits of Entropy, the Arch Fiend rises, challenging the wizard to battle. “I know of you old man… and I look forward to adding your staff to my collection of trophies.” The wizard replies,“The only trophy will be your desiccated corpse!”

Initiative. Round 1. Pandarus rolls only 11, so he fails to win initiative; The Fiend goes first, and Pandarus attempts to dodge two slashes: he rolls 12 and 17, narrowly being hit once. He suffers 2 damage, and is down to 5 Resolve. Pandarus uses his action to cast a haste spell, giving him two actions per round.

Round 2. The fiend continues to use his whip, and Pandarus rolls 10 and 14, getting hit once. He is going to go ahead and use his 4 points from his Renown right here, since he’s already feeling the damage; this neutralizes the attack that had hit. Pandarus gets to attack twice; he casts an arcane dart and an arcane bolt. He hits with the dart (16) and only gets 10 with the bolt, which is not enough to hit; and he already used his 4 points of renown. Drat. He deals 1 damage with the dart, leaving the demon at Resolve 12. Pandarus’ ring allows him to recover 1 point of damage, putting him to Resolve 6.

Round 3. Bad news: The fiend’s aura goes off, but Pandarus rolls 12 to resist it. He barely ducks in time as the circle of unholy flame washes over him. The demon slashes with his whip twice, and Pandarus rolls 12 and 8 for defense. Yikes!; he suffers 4 points and is down to Resolve 2. This might be over soon.  He attempts to stun the fiend, and gets 14 against the Defense of 12. Yes. The demon is stunned for one round. Pandarus casts three arcane darts (including this round and round 4), rolling 12, 14, and 16 against the stunned CR of 6. He hits three times, but unfortunately only does 1 point with each dart. The demon is down to Resolve 9. At the end of round 4, Pandarus’ ring restores another point, moving him up to Resolve 3. This is all good, but Pandarus only has two advanced spells left this turn, and then he’s going to have to go with his basic spell the rest of the fight.

It is Round 5. Pandarus rolls 10 and 15 against the attack of 13, getting hit once with the whip and suffering 2 hits. He is down to 1! Pandarus tries another arcane bolt, rolling 14, and scoring 3 points of damage! He also hits with his arcane dart, getting a natural 12, but only a 3 on the following die; he deals 2 damage, which is great. He’s just dealt 5 points, leaving the demon at Resolve 4. 

It is Round 6. The demon’s aura of flame goes off and Pandarus rolls only 13 to Defend (whew), so he stays at Resolve 1. He also has to try to evade two whip slashes, and gets 13 and 16, dodging both strikes! He rolled really well… Pandarus only has 1 advanced spell left; I kind of want to save it in case he needs to vanish the heck out of here, but he does have his haste still active… and he’s getting a point back at the end of the round… eh. He’s feeling pretty good. He will use both his arcane bolt and his arcane dart again, which will mean he is out of advanced spells entirely. On the bolt, he rolls 16! He deals 3 wounds; with the dart, he hits with 14, so that’s enough for another wound; the fiend is at Resolve 0! 

I use the solitaire framework to decide what the Fiend does… I really don’t know what his most likely option here is… he could fight to the death (but he’s thousands of years old, so the idea of going out with a bang is unlikely)... he could surrender, granting some favor to the wizard; he could try to flee. I feel like the most likely option is surrender and bargaining… The solitaire framework says no. Option two is fleeing; natural 1. That is totally his thing. He turns tail and flees, cursing the wizard as he goes. 

Satisfied that the mighty demon has been resigned to his pit, Pandarus turns to follow the prisoners he has just freed into the daylight beyond.


Wow this was close. Pandarus barely hung on there for a little bit. He has one extra slot for a relic that he doesn’t have, and I figure maybe he’d have a defender’s blade which would have given him advantage on his defense rolls. That would have made a big difference. As is, this was a solid combat between some of the game’s heavy hitters.

Haste made all the difference. Without that, he’s casting one spell per round, and has no chance. 

I didn’t have a LOT of strategic options, but I had some. I kind of wish that Pandarus had one spell left at the end, because he could have levitated that demon up and forced him to bargain with him or be destroyed; that would have been neat. 

Just for poops and giggles, let’s try Panarus against a weaker foe; an ogre:

Ogre Brute

(Dire Foe 2) Attack 11 | Defend 8 | Focus 7 | Resolve 10

On a Defense result of 6 or less (or a natural 2), the ogre’s club deals 2 damage.

Pandarus the Mighty (Legendary Human Wizard; Renown 4)

Attack 0 | Defense 5 | Focus 6 | Resolve 7


the Staff of the Archmage (+1 Defense and +1 Focus; +1 spell per turn)

The Ring of the Troll King (regenerate 1 every other round)

Robes of Aliazar (+1 Defense and +1 Focus)

Spells: Dart of Arcane; all listed spells (he’s an archmage!)

Pandarus wanders into a lair to find an ogre eating some of the sheep he’s been stealing. Pandarus warns him that his thievery cannot be tolerated by good and fair folk! It’s initiative.

Pandarus rolls a natural 12 on his initiative check, but a 1 on the following roll. Hmm. He should get some benefit for this… on to the solitaire framework. Does he get to take a free action? Nope (6). Does he have advantage on all rolls against the ogre for 1 full round? Yes he does (3). Okay. Pandarus will use his action to cast an arcane bolt. He rolls 16, dealing 3 wounds and leaving the ogre at 7. The ogre uses his action to run across the expanse (since they started at medium range).

Round 2. Pandarus has learned the value of haste. He casts it. The ogre attacks, but Pandarus never got the benefit of that advantage, so I let him keep it for this action (that makes sense); he rolls Defense and gets 11, which BARELY avoids the club attack. Pandarus would regenerate 1 point, but he’s still at full.

Round 3. Pandarus attacks twice, using a bolt and a dart of arcane energy; he gets 15 with the bolt (3 damage) and 16 with the dart (1 damage), for a total of 4; the ogre is down to 3. The ogre swings, but Pandarus rolls exactly an 11 again, which frustrates the ogre to no end. He’s barely missed twice.

Round 4. Pandarus stuns the ogre, getting 17 (so that ogre is really stunned), and then uses an arcane dart, getting a natural 12 for 2 damage, leaving the ogre at 1. The ogre drools. Pandarus would again regenerate a point, but nah. He’s good.

Round 5. Pandarus will just use 2 arcane darts (no need to use other spells now), and gets 17 and 13; he hits twice, and the ogre is at Resolve -1. He collapses in a pool of self-pity, weeping and begging for mercy. Pandarus tells him that he may live, but he must pick up his belongings and head east two days’ journey into the mountains; he can feed on wild mountain lions there, and leave the good folk of the village alone. He must also give up 10 coins for each of the six sheep he has already slaughtered, to compensate the good farmers who have lost livestock. The ogre agrees to these terms.


That was easy. It should have been easy. There was still a chance that Pandarus gets hit (he narrowly avoided getting hit twice), but he still would have defeated the ogre with minimal effort. I like it.


  1. Wonder how a high level fighter would fare against an NPC Archmage who has use of Haste

    1. Only one way to find out... consider that play test coming.