The high-flying, daring antics of swashbucklers can make for an exciting combat.
The sword fights of Errol Flynn and the other actors from the era of swashbuckling movies are still exciting to watch. The combat is not at all static, and the rapid pace is a great approximation of what combat might “really” look like in our Dungeons and Dragons games. Today’s set of terrain powers are inspired by the movies Errol Flynn and the creative fight scenes they produced.
The Rope Swing power is useful for encounters that take place on sailing ships, in elven tree cities, and even in the bell tower of a grand cathedral. It is also designed to have special synergy with the Falling Chandelier terrain power in the article on terrain powers involving light sources.
Swagger allows a character to clear out the field a little after achieving some success in battle. Include this power in encounters where the heroes are being cheered on by a crowd. The arenas of Athas are a clear example of this power, but bar fights with hecklers in the balcony are also a good choice. If you want a cinematic quality to your battle, have the heroes in your game interrupt a stage production, and have the audience respond as if it were all part of the show.
I use Death from Above more than any other terrain power in my game. Any time I have a battlefield with a drop of ten feet or greater, the player of the barbarian in my game gets a wicked grin on her face. Besides making great use of three-dimensional terrain, Death from Above is also a stealthy way to speed up combat. Dealing more damage to both a hero and a major enemy means the battle will end that much faster.
These new terrain powers are a bit more wordy, but they includes any skill checks that are also needed. I prefer this method because it means I do not need to slow down play by looking up an esoteric rule. Try using them in your game and let me know how they work out.
Special thanks go to Eric W, who suggested the next set of terrain powers deal with movement in combat.
Do you plan to use these terrain powers in your game? Have you approached these scenarios differently in your home game? What themes you would like to see in future articles on terrain powers?