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Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - NPCs in Action

Artwork by Louis Glanzman
One of the most common questions people ask me about Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is how to handle NPCs actions, either when they are acting against PCs, against themselves or alone.

So in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, I decided to provide some guidelines for this.

NPCs in Action

Most of the tests in this game are focused on the player character's capabilities, as they are the main characters of the story being created during the game. It’s also much easier for the Overlord to rely on the character’s statistic than to create detailed statistics for every NPC and opponent the players might run into.

Thus, if a NPC is attempting an action against a player character, he rolls a d20 and needs to obtain a result higher than the pertinent Attribute score of said character. Note that the Powerful Opponent rule applies here, adding the difference between the NPC’s HD and the character’s Level.

Spotting a nearby ruins, Kaylia runs towards it and closes its stout metal door behind her. The giant worm was soon upon the door, pulling his weight over it. The Overlord rolls a d20 + 4 (since the creature has 5 HD and Kaylia is a 1st Level character) and gets a total of 13, which is the exact score of her Physique. Even though the worm is incredible strong, Kaylia manages to keep the door close for sufficient time for it to lose interest.

However, there may be times when the Overlord wants highlight the ability or proficient of some NPCs and opponents, and it is important to assign an Attribute score for them. A practical way to do this is assuming they have an Attribute score of 10 plus their HD, and giving them a Positive Die for tasks they should be good at or a Negative Die on tests they shouldn’t be very good with.

Inside the ruins, Kaylia found a terminal still functioning. Hoping to find any information that could lead her to find a way out of this planet. However since she activated her Complication, the Overlord decides it’s time to introduce her Evil Twin Sister in the adventure. He thinks about it and want to make her the reason all of this happened. She sabotaged Kaylia’s starship and is even interfering with her ability to search data in the terminal. Having 3 HD, her assumed Attribute score is 13, so the Overlord rolls a d20 and gets 12. Now, Kaylia’s has to roll higher than that on her Intellect test to actually get some useful information on the computer!

Finally, when a NPC acts against another NPC, they both roll a d20 and add their HD, comparing the results. The one with the higher result wins the dispute and gets to do what he wants. This is used especially when player characters have retainers and they are used to battle other NPCs and opponents.

Managing to use the terminal, Kaylia calls for help, sending a message to the stars. As guild of mercenaries owes her a favor and they send a small retinue of soldiers to aid her. As they arrive, they are received by Kaylia’s sister firing a machine gun at them. Both parties roll a d20, adding their HD. If the mercenaries win, they dodge the rain of bullets, if she wins, she will inflict damage on their vehicle.

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