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"You got gobsmacked", or How to Tell Your Player He's been stunned


Boll Weevil
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You've all been there. Your hero has the defenses to take a punch from the big bad and stay on his/her feet but the dice and your CON conspire against you. You've been CON stunned. 

 

As a GM, especially since I tend to play with people unfamiliar to the game, I try my best to narrate the shenanigans and goings-on using as little game talk as possible. Some things are easier than others to do this with. One aspect of Hero System gaming that is easy to describe in game mechanical terms but not so easy in plain english is being stunned.

 

Let's put on our GM caps (I know you have one) and discuss how you describe to your players how their intrepid heroes have been stunned.

 

From seeing stars to "taking a knee" to taking a moment to get your bearings, there has got to be some novel ways to tell them why they have to spend their next phase shaking off an attack that didn't knock 'em the hell out.

 

Talk amongst yourselves :) 

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Depends on the attack.

 

Fire "And the quarterback is toast."

 

Light "And you've head is spinning like a disco ball." 

 

Sleep Gas/Chloroform "And it's nap time for you."

 

Darkness "And it's lights out for you."

 

Water "And you're all washed up."

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You've all been there. Your hero has the defenses to take a punch from the big bad and stay on his/her feet but the dice and your CON conspire against you. You've been CON stunned. 

 

As a GM, especially since I tend to play with people unfamiliar to the game, I try my best to narrate the shenanigans and goings-on using as little game talk as possible. Some things are easier than others to do this with. One aspect of Hero System gaming that is easy to describe in game mechanical terms but not so easy in plain english is being stunned.

 

Let's put on our GM caps (I know you have one) and discuss how you describe to your players how their intrepid heroes have been stunned.

 

From seeing stars to "taking a knee" to taking a moment to get your bearings, there has got to be some novel ways to tell them why they have to spend their next phase shaking off an attack that didn't knock 'em the hell out.

 

Talk amongst yourselves :)

 

I usually say. "Your character has taken Stun in excess of his Con score. He is Stunned. He will need to spend his next phase recovering from being stunned." I put into straight Game Jargon terms so the Player will get used to the correct terms."

 

PS I assume that most players will know how to RP their character being stunned :D

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OH that's the other problem with this thread. The player takes the Damage total, subtracts defenses, then Compares it to the Character's Con Score. I don't tell the Player their Character is Stunned. THEY tell the GM their Character is Stunned.

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I usually say. "Your character has taken Stun in excess of his Con score. He is Stunned. He will need to spend his next phase recovering from being stunned." I put into straight Game Jargon terms so the Player will get used to the correct terms."

 

PS I assume that most players will know how to RP their character being stunned :D

 

yeah, that's where your and my GM styles differ. I also don't say to the players, "You were hit with a 10d6 Blast doing 38 stun and 10 Body". If possible, I prefer to offer a narrative to describe the fire ball, with sights, sounds and smells. The people I have played Champions with are comicbook fans, not war gamers.

 

Being Stunned is merely skipping a phase to reorient oneself. You can tell the player his/her character is Stunned or you can describe the sensation that is causing the effect. Not all Blasts (and subsequent Stunned conditions) are alike. Being Stunned from a punch to the noggin should feel very different than being consumed by a firestorm attack even though the game mechanic is the same.  I think combat can be more descriptive, especially in a group with differing levels of comfort when it comes to role-playing vs combat time. As always, your mileage may vary.

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How the heck do your players know when they are stunned or KOed or anything?

Are you one of those GM's that roll for the players? I REALLY hate that style. It takes all of the accomplishment out of it. The game might as well become diceless at that point. For me Rolling the dice cements in my mind that the Character is actually doing the action. If the GM is doing everything it become really detached from the action. Which is probably an artifact of my ADD, where my brain drifts when someone speaks too long.

I tell players how much damage they took. Ask if the damage after defenses exceed their Con (if they are Hero Noobz) then I tell them they are stunned. Then I might describe how being stunned looked/felt to the character. I depends on how inspired I am which is directly proportionate to how tired I am at that point in the game. You can say that the Fireball is all burney and smells like sulpher as it engulphs the PC, either before or after you tell the player the damage it does. Sometimes you wimp out  on the damage roll and have to say "you seem to have been lucky and found a pocket of cooler air in the fireball"

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How the heck do your players know when they are stunned or KOed or anything?

 

Are you one of those GM's that roll for the players? ...

Ha, no. As much as I try to hide the game mechanics from the Noobz, I would never deprive them of the joy of rolling dice. In the interest of saving time, I once used a dice-rolling program insead of dice (to tell you how long ago that was, I did it in BASIC on a Texas Instruments TI-994A computer :snicker: ). It did save a lot of time but we all hated it. Never again.

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