The Siege of Akaris
Iron Heroes Stunts
Borrowed from Iron Heroes, and edited to include Pathfinder terms as best I could.
see Stunt and Challenge Cheat Sheet for quick use tables.
A stunt is an action in combat that falls outside the normal bounds of the rules.
Iron Heroes defines a wide variety of different combat actions you can take. The stunts cover everything else. These rules are a tool to help you come up with imaginative, clever, and exciting actions in combat. If you can imagine it, the stunt rules allow you to attempt it. You might throw a fistful of sand in an opponent’s face to blind him, run along the narrow top of a wall to maneuver around a foe, or crack open a keg of beer to send a stream of liquid into an opponent’s face. Stunts reward you for coming up with interesting and visually engaging actions in combat.
The mechanics behind a stunt are relatively simple. When you attempt a stunt, first you pick out the effect you want to create. The following sections list several different possible results for a stunt, broken down into three categories: offensive stunts, defensive stunts, and maneuver stunts. Next you describe the stunt. How do you attempt it? Do you use the terrain and combat situation to your advantage?
What do you expect to happen if the stunt succeeds? Think of the game as if it were a movie, and describe the scene as you put the stunt into action. As part of this step, you must choose the mechanical effect you want to gain from the stunt. For example, the inflict penalty offensive stunt allows you to force an opponent to take a penalty to his defense or attacks. When you attempt the stunt, you announce the total penalty you wish to inflict. A small penalty calls for a much lower Difficulty Class than a higher one. In the case of an opposed check, seeking more powerful effects forces you to accept a penalty to your check.
The DM then picks one or more skills for you to use for the stunt. You make this “stunt check” against a Difficulty Class chosen by the DM or one determined by the effect you are seeking. Some stunts allow one of your opponents, such as the target of an offensive stunt, to make a skill, ability, or base attack check to foil your stunt. If the stunt check succeeds, you gain its benefits or your foe suffers its effects.
STUNTS AND ACTIONS
Listed next to the name of each stunt is the action required to complete it. Most stunts require a standard action to complete, but a few qualify as attack actions. The attack action stunts require either a standard attack or a full attack action.
STUNTS AND SKILLS
The DM chooses the skill you must use to complete a stunt and the skill your target uses to oppose your efforts, if applicable. He can also decide to replace a skill check with a base attack/defense check or an ability check. Each of the stunt types includes a short list of skills that are a good match for its effects. While the DM can choose any skill he wants, he should pick one that makes logical sense based on your description of the stunt. Remember, though, that the DM has final say on how a stunt works.
When you announce a stunt, you can choose to cancel it and use a different action if you do not agree with the skill the DM decides to use. Never argue with the DM on this point. Wait until the game session is done if you have any concerns. For DMs, remember that the players trust you to make fair, impartial decisions. Don’t pick skills simply to penalize the players or make stunts more difficult than normal. By the same token, be consistent when the NPCs attempt stunts. If you consistently force the PCs to make illogical skill checks to defend against stunts, particularly if you choose skills that they have few ranks in, the players will quickly become frustrated with your game.
The new options provided by challenges and stunts may seem a little confusing at first. In some ways, they grant you the same basic effects but deliver them via different methods. However, the various methods they use are an important part of how they work.
Challenges are designed to give you more options when attacking. They allow you to take a penalty to an attack or defense in return for a temporary bonus. They all focus on attacks and are the easier of the two systems to use. Think of them as pseudo-feats that any character can use. They give you benefits similar to Power Attack and Combat Expertise, but they are less efficient. The key to remember with a challenge is that it is a simple variation on an attack or defense.
A stunt is a more elaborate type of action. It can take almost any form and allows you to create a free-form method of achieving a variety of different ends. While challenges focus only on attacks, your attack bonus, and your defense, stunts allow you to use your skills to gain an advantage in a fight. While challenges are focused, defined, and limited to modifying your attack or defense, a stunt can achieve a much wider spread of effects. Think of the stunt rules as a flexible package of benefits that you can use to create an effect. You then wrap that effect around a description of the stunt that produces it. You can also do the opposite—describe a stunt, and then pick effects that match the description. Both these options exist to add variety, excitement, and choice to the game. When you first play Iron Heroes, don’t be afraid to experiment. Stunts and challenges take some getting used to.
There are three types of offensive stunt. All of them count as attack actions.
ATTACK STUNT (FULL ATTACK)
You use a full attack action to combine a stunt with an attack. Usually this stunt check requires you to make an acrobatic maneuver as you deliver an attack or somehow use the environment to improve your attack’s potency. The target of this stunt makes a skill or base attack check opposed by your own check. You gain either a +1 bonus to your attack or a +2 bonus to damage. You can increase either of these bonuses, with no maximum limit, in return for a –2 penalty to your stunt check for each point of increase. You cannot gain both a bonus to an attack and a bonus to damage. You must choose one or the other. You enjoy this bonus until the end of your action against the foe who opposed your stunt check.
Failure: If this stunt fails, you attack without the bonus to your attack or damage.
Special: If you use Climb, Swim, or Acrobatics with an attack stunt, you may move up to half your speed as part of this stunt action. For example, if you use Climb to scramble up a wall and then, in the next round, jump down, sword first, to impale a monster, you could move half your speed following the attack to represent you rolling away from the beast or bouncing off it after the strike. This movement does not draw an attack of opportunity from the stunt’s target if the stunt succeeds. It draws attacks of opportunity from other creatures as normal, regardless of success or failure.
Fast Stunt: At higher levels, you might want to use a stunt to improve your attacks while still gaining a full attack action. In this case, you can attempt a stunt as a free action. You cannot move as part of the stunt (as described under “Special,” above), and you suffer a –5 penalty to your stunt check. If you fail the stunt check, you suffer a –2 penalty to your attacks as your stratagem fails to trick your foe. Otherwise, use the standard rules given above.
Examples: Use the Jump skill to leap over a foe and attack him from above. Use Acrobatics to run along a giant’s club and slash at its arms. Use Acrobatics to dodge between an ogre’s legs while slashing at it from behind.
DISRUPTING ATTACK (FULL ATTACK)
You fire an arrow into a dragon’s maw, leaving it unable to breathe fire for a short time. You splash ink onto a basilisk’s face, nullifying the effect of its gaze to turn your friends into stone. These are example of disrupting attack stunts. The disrupting attack stunt works a bit differently from the other offensive stunts. You must bid on the Fortitude save DC your target must beat to continue using a supernatural ability or an extraordinary ability. Once you pick the DC, you then must make a skill check with a DC equal to the chosen save DC + 10. If you succeed, your foe loses the use of the attack mode of your choice for 1 round. If the creature randomly determines how often it can use an ability, increase the time it must wait by 1 round. For example, a dragon might be able to breathe once every 1d4 rounds. If you successfully used this stunt against it, it would have to wait 1 extra round before breathing again.
Failure: If this stunt fails, the creature continues to use its special ability as normal.
Special: If you use a base attack check to complete this stunt, you inflict your attack’s damage without any bonuses. In this case, you trade brute force for accuracy and precision. If you use an improvised weapon, you do not gain this benefit.
Use a base attack check to injure a creature’s eyes, preventing it from using a deadly gaze. Use a Spot check to target a gorgon’s throat before firing so that your arrow disrupts its breath weapon.
INFLICT PENALTY (STANDARD ATTACK)
You attempt to inflict a penalty to an opponent’s attacks, defense, or skill and ability checks (your choice). You throw sand in his eyes to disrupt him, tangle him up with a length of rope, or otherwise confuse his efforts. Your foe opposes your check using the same skill or ability, or with a base attack check. (The target chooses one of the two.) You inflict a base –2 penalty for 1 round. You can increase the duration by 1 round and/or the penalty by –1 by accepting a –2 penalty to your check. There is no limit to the total penalty or duration.
Failure: If your stunt fails, the target suffers none of the penalties you attempted to inflict.
Examples: Use a base attack check to throw sand in an ogre’s eye. Use Bluff to trick an opponent into letting his guard down for a moment. Use a base attack check to slam your shield into a foe, knocking him off balance. Use the Use Rope skill to lasso a foe and hinder him for a few moments.
The defensive stunts all count as move actions. Most of them provide a benefit to you if you complete them on your turn.
Before you attempt a stunt, remember that many of the skills allow you to complete challenging actions in combat. If you want to run along a rope that stretches from the ground to the top of a castle’s wall, that’s merely an Acrobatics skill check. If you need to leap into the
saddle of a speeding horse, make an Acrobatics (Jump) check to land on the horse and a Ride check to control it. Stunts are meant to supplement normal skill checks, not replace them.
DEFENSE BONUS (MOVE ACTION)
You use a combination of the terrain and your abilities to improve your defense against a single opponent. Your stunt check is a skill or base attack check opposed by your foe’s check. If you succeed, you gain an active bonus to defense. You gain a +2 active bonus to defense if you succeed at this stunt. You can increase this bonus by +1 in exchange for a –2 penalty to your check, with no limit on the bonus you bid on. This bonus lasts until the start of your next action.
Failure: If this stunt fails, your opponent gains a +1 bonus on attacks against you until the start of your next action.
Examples: Use Bluff to trick an opponent into thinking you dodge left when you break to the right. Use Acrobatics (Jump) to leap into the air and over an opponent’s attack. Use Sense Motive to see where an opponent aims his attack. Use Acrobatics to dodge around the statue that stands behind you.
SAVE BONUS (MOVE ACTION)
You take action to foil an opponent’s special attacks. Maybe you cut your thumb on your knife, using the pain to throw off a witch’s charm. Or perhaps you hold your breath rather than breathe in poisonous fumes. You must make a skill or ability check as your stunt check. You gain a +2 bonus to one type of save against a single effect or opponent of your choice with a DC 20 check. You increase this bonus by +1 for every 5 points you increase the Difficulty Class, with no limit on the bonus you can gain. This bonus lasts until the start of your next action.
Failure: You suffer no special drawbacks if this stunt fails.
Special: Unlike other stunts, the save bonus places limits on the skills and abilities you can use to gain its benefits. To gain a bonus to Reflex saves, you must use a Dexterity or Dexterity-based skill check as your stunt check. For Will saves, use a Wisdom or Wisdom-based skill check. For Fortitude saves, use a Constitution or Constitution-based skill (in other words, Concentration) check.
Examples: Use Concentration to ignore a poison’s crippling effects. Use Acrobatics to dodge a lightning bolt. Use Sense Motive to resist a medusa’s attempt to ensorcel you.
The single maneuver stunt makes it easier for you to move across the battlefield.
IMPROVED SPEED (SPECIAL ACTION)
You spring off a wall, swing along a length of rope, or use a steep slope to increase your speed. You may make a skill check (DC 20) to gain a +1 square bonus to your speed for the round. You can increase your speed bonus by +1 in return for a +5 modifier to the DC. You cannot increase your speed by more than double in this manner. You make this check as part of your movement, and the bonus applies only to your current move or standard action used to move. You can use this stunt once per round.
Failure: On a failed check, reduce your speed by the amount you attempted to increase it.
Special: You can only use skills based on Strength or Dexterity, or those two abilities, to attempt this stunt.
Examples: Use Acrobatics to sprint down a slope or to roll across a slippery bridge. Use the Climb skill to swing across a ship’s rigging. It might be a bit confusing to have so many options available to you in combat.
Skill Checks: You make a skill check to take advantage of the options available within a skill’s description or if the DM judges that a situation calls for one. If you need to scale a wall, you make a Climb check, since that skill gives you the ability to clamber up walls.
Skill Challenges: You, and only you, can choose to take a skill challenge. You never take one against your will. A skill challenge adds an additional benefit to a skill check, one that you gain in addition to the normal benefits from a successful check.
Ability Checks: Ability checks work just like skill checks. They usually cover situations where none of the skills apply.
Combat Challenge: A combat challenge is just like a skill challenge, except that it is designed for use as part of an attack. It gives you added benefits to a successful strike in addition to inflicting damage.
Stunt: A stunt is a free-form skill check. You make it by attempting a stunt check, and you determine the end result of a stunt by picking from various stunt benefits.