Fear in the Wasted West

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MGibster
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Fear in the Wasted West

#1 Postby MGibster » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:00 am

If I'm reading the rules correctly, any time a character makes a Fear check he is penalized by whatever the Fear Level of the area he is in. i.e. If he's in an area with a Fear Level of 4 he would suffer a -4 to his Spirit roll on a Fear check. Given that some creatures might impose a -2 penalty to Fear checks on their own this can make the penalty even greater than the Fear Level would suggest.

Has anyone had a problem with player characters consistently failing Fear checks? I'm about to start a campaign soon and I'm a bit concerned that nobody's going to have fun because they fail every Fear check they make.

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#2 Postby zarlor » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:47 am

It's worse than that because the negative modifiers to the fear check also become positive modifiers to the roll on the Fear Table. So the less nasty results are less likely to happen. In my experience this can be a really big problem early game. It can quickly mess with the characters and I very much prefer starting in some backwoods area with maybe a Fear Level of say 2 or 3 and no baddies with Fear modifiers, for Novice Rank anyway.

That being said it is Hell on Earth and Fear checks are a really big, and deadly, part of the setting. Your players are going to need to figure out really quick that a good Spirit score and the Brave Edge are almost a requirement as soon as you can grab them, at least if they want to have a chance to start dealing with most of the baddies out there. Lowering the Fear Level is also a big part of an HoE story, IMHO, so having a Tale Teller is a definite bonus, but their ability to lower the Fear Level is too often something that will happen only after the party has had to deal with the really bad Fear effects to begin with, so it only helps in further adventures in that same area.

So, yes I think it can be a problem (something I tried to warn my current GM about but he didn't quite get the hint and we've had some bad fear effects to deal with, but no no party deaths yet, surprisingly.) But I think it can be partially mitigated. Still, it's something your party is going to HAVE to prepare for if you really want to play HoE as written.
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MGibster
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#3 Postby MGibster » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:09 am

The SW rules say that you add the Fear Penalty of the creature to the roll on the Fright Table. I didn't read anything in the HOE book about adding the Fear Level of an area to the roll on the Fright Table though.

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Uthoroc
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#4 Postby Uthoroc » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:18 am

When I read the Fear rules, I was pretty concerned about the same thing, especially with saddling the PCs with a ton of minor and major phobias, which in my experience (mostly from CoC) isn't much fun in actual play.

I'm happy to say, that in actual play it didn't turn out so bad. Granted I started out slow with the supernatural stuff, but I played the rules by the book, and among 5 PCs, only one has the True Grit edge (DL:R version of Brave), and two didn't have the Guts skill to start with.

After six sessions, only one PC has a minor phobia (famine victims), but the players have learned that Guts is extremely important. With the latest advancement, the two remaining players took Guts, so all of them have it now.

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#5 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:09 am

MGibster wrote:The SW rules say that you add the Fear Penalty of the creature to the roll on the Fright Table. I didn't read anything in the HOE book about adding the Fear Level of an area to the roll on the Fright Table though.

That's because zarlor is wrong.

Fear Level is not added to the fear table.
Relevant Clintism.

Fear is nasty in Hell On Earth. The Brave edge helps a lot (core rules, background edge, it shouldn't take much justification for them to pick it up during play). The Veteran and Legendary ranked edges, Guts and Grit (halve fear level and ignore fear level, respectively), help a lot more.
Even so, expect that the possse will burn through at least 1 benny each when they have to make a Fear roll. Factor that assumption into your encounter design, and remind your players that they can spend a benny on the Fear check. Elan is also excellent for those rolls that simply must succeed.

In my HOE:R experience, fear was an issue but not crippling. One of the players had excellent dice luck, one had excellent fear check luck, one had Elan and an excellent Spirit type, and one was fairly average. The average guy took Brave, and eventually Guts and Grit, but he failed about half of Fear checks (after bennies) on his way to becoming immune to fear. The others would fail from time to time, though only a few of those rolls had to be kept.
Players learn pretty quickly that the Fear table is awful, and the best thing for their characters' survival is to pass the fear check.

Good luck! I hope that helped some.
Last edited by ValhallaGH on Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#6 Postby zarlor » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:45 am

ValhallaGH wrote:
MGibster wrote:The SW rules say that you add the Fear Penalty of the creature to the roll on the Fright Table. I didn't read anything in the HOE book about adding the Fear Level of an area to the roll on the Fright Table though.

That's because zarlor is wrong.

Fear Level is not added to the fear table.
Relevant Clintism.


Thanks for pointing that out, I completely missed it! (although you might have said it a bit nicer rather than bolding the daylights out of my name like that. ;))
Lenny Zimmermann

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#7 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:20 pm

zarlor wrote:Thanks for pointing that out, I completely missed it! (although you might have said it a bit nicer rather than bolding the daylights out of my name like that. ;))

You're welcome. :D As for the other part, don't take it personally. As a habit, I usually bold usernames.


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