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Fear Levels and how do you handle it

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  • Fear Levels and how do you handle it

    I am wracking my brain to come up with a reasonable way to deal with Fear Tests and Fear Levels. With the old Grit system each rank offset one Fear Level. I have to be missing something. [Spoiler] A posse visits The Unity Fear Level 5 and is attacked by something with Fear 2. They make their Fear Tests at -7! Not to spoil anything but this may happen as early as Seasoned, maybe Veteran. Brave is a Background Edge so you can take that to nullify -2 penalty. Guts you can take at Novice but it only allows a re-roll in case you fail the first test it doesn't offset any penalties. Grit you can't take until you are Veteran which will offset another -2. True Grit at Legendary offset all penalties. Of course you have to survive to Legendary. Which seems a bit difficult if you are facing a -7 penalty at Seasoned and the best you can have is Brave, Guts, and maybe Spirit d10 if you have made that investment. My average test result will be a +7/+8 (5/6 for Spirit d10 and +2 for Brave -7 for Fear Level and Fear-2 Monstrous Edge) -7 for a net 0. Please tell me I am missing something. I am really tired.
    Last edited by Hellfire6A; 01-25-2020, 10:20 AM. Reason: Clarification

  • #2
    I can see why this has you concerned. It is pretty heavy.

    Short Version: They will most likely fail the Fear check but that doesn't keep them from winning the fight (unless they all have Heart Attacks). It just makes the start of the fight less pleasant.

    Penalties: You are correct, that's how the penalties work. Fear Level is an environmental penalty to all Fear checks in the area and it stacks with the specific penalties for a given creature or situation.

    Odds: Assuming your players have Spirit d6 / d8, their average results are going to be 4 / 5, for a total -3 / -2. Lucky rolls for exploding dice give a 9% / 13% chance of success. With Brave that jumps to 17% / 18% chance of success. A Reroll resets the odds, so Guts gives a Brave hero the best of two one-in-six chances. Not great but possible.

    Consequences: The allied Extras are almost certainly going to be Panicked, running away screaming or gibbering madly.
    The posse is mostly (roughly 5 in 6 characters) going to fail and have to roll on the Fear Table.
    The results range from 3 to 22* (-2 for Brave characters), going from Adrenaline Surge (combat buff) to Heart Attack; there is a 5% chance of Adrenaline Surge, 15% Distracted, 15% Vulnerable, 15% Shaken, 5% Mark of Fear, 10% Frightened, 10% Panicked, 20% chance of gaining a new Phobia hindrance, and a 5% chance of Heart Attack. Brave characters remove five percent from both Heart Attack and Major Phobia to increase the odds of Adrenaline Surge by ten percent.
    This means that most of the posse will lose their first turn to fear, and then fight normally. If they have a few bennies still, and you encourage them to save those bennies for Soak rolls, then they should survive the effects of fear and kill the monsters fairly quickly - especially if your descriptions (and maybe an Occult roll) highlight the requirements for victory.

    Options: Make sure to give out bennies for the complication of being ambushed by powerful supernatural monsters. Have one of the panicked marines illustrate the futility of certain combat choices. Remind players just how steep the Fear penalties are, encouraging them to save their bennies for removing Shaken and soaking Wounds. Be open to useful scene alterations, especially finding a useful weapon nearby.

    *Fear Level does not affect rolls on the Fear Table. Only the monster's fear penalty affects rolling on the Fear Table (Savage Worlds page 124).
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • Hellfire6A
      Hellfire6A commented
      Editing a comment
      RAW Fear Level does not add to the overall penalty on the Fear Table (page 124 SWADE), since DL:LC doesn't mention this specifically (page 100)? Which is what you seem to be saying in consequences.
      Last edited by Hellfire6A; 01-25-2020, 11:48 PM. Reason: clarification

    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      Hellfire6A Fear Level does not modifier the roll on the Fear Table. Savage Worlds only applies creature fear penalties to the table, and Lost Colony doesn't change that.

      The Fear Level setting rule has one explicit effect: penalizing Fear rolls. It does not interact with the Fear Table at all. It does make the Fear Table more likely to be used, but doesn't affect the Fear Table.

      It comes up enough that I felt the need to explicitly mention it. For future readers, if not yourself.

  • #3
    Welp. Looks like you are confirming what I thought. Surviving the first round against some of the enemies in the book when you don't get to shoot first (from Fear), the odds aren't high. Saving bennies would be critical. Rewarding bennies even more so. This was one of the reasons I was wanting to use Fate Chips. Well it is the "Way Out West". Embrace the suck.

    Thank you for the thoughtful response.
    Last edited by Hellfire6A; 01-25-2020, 07:31 PM. Reason: Clarification


    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      Good luck!

  • #4
    Sorry for 'necroposting' but Fear Level 5 gives a penalty of -3, not -5 like it is stated in OP (the printed book has an error, pdf and the errata-bookmark correct this).