There is a single mention (I am aware of no others; but I'm no Blackmoor expert by any stretch of imagination!) of the act of Ferocity, to be found in the TSR D&D Supplement II, Blackmoor on page 3. Appearing in a subsection, describing the use of Poisons by assassins, ferocity is the state of which a character--about to be attacked by an assassin bearing a poison dripping blade--is taken over by, thus allowing him or her to retaliate against the attacking assassin, with a +4 bonus to hit and damage the offender; within the combat round/turn (whatevah) where the victim- character is actually hit/struck by the assassin.
To all those running Arneson/Blackmoor campaigns:
Do you utilize this action in your regular game play? And if so/not, how does it work out for you?/ why not?
To all others:
Does this kind of action seem interesting to you? Would you consider trying it out? Would you rather modify it to account for other factors, instead of just a specialized action vs. an assassin with a poison dipped blade? If not, why?
I will admit that I have never used the rule (+4 is significant!). However, I like the "flavor" and implication of it.
I think for most, poisoning is just another means of murder for assassins. It's certainly true if one ignores the +4 rule. But the rule as written indicates that poisoning is viewed by the inhabitants of a typical D&D world as a wicked and dastardly act - perhaps worse than knowing another person is of the opposite alignment. Why wouldn't a character be just as ferocious about facing almost certain death from an un-poisoned assassin's blade? What is it about the poison (with respect to the game world) that inspires that ferocity?
Post by howandwhy99 on Aug 21, 2017 8:43:34 GMT -6
This was used in a long running OD&D game I played in a dozen years ago. Help me, but I remember draping a tarp over the cave entrance of KotB cave C (or B) and burning the poisonous wood of a special cask or chest just inside. "A brilliant plan" for killing way too many orcs for us to fight, at least we thought at the time. Smoke began poring out of another cave when we did that ...but so did CRAZY FEROCITY rolls happen as several of us failed what I thought was a Save, became enraged, and attacked those of us lighting the poison. (IIRC only one of us had Poison Use and that a well kept secret from others).
I thought it was a confusion effect or unique to the ref's game at the time, but clearly your rule is what he was using. Very useful for balancing poison as a weapon. And even for keeping Assassins from using it openly. Poison is far too powerful otherwise.
PS: the caves were full of orcs (XP), but also innocent prisoners they had stolen (XP, but with major alignment problems).
EDIT: I believe we had the option to run or attack after failing, which is why it was a "confusing" effect. I mean, it confused me.
It's come up a couple times in my games - usually to a players disadvantage. I think your pointing to it as a "Ferocity" rule, rather than the poison rule as I have usually thought of it, makes it much more interesting - it really could be applied in any situation where a PC/NPC is cornered and desperate as in Howandwhy99's cool story. Which point makes me suddenly realize that SuPP II Ferocity rule is a translation of Arneson's frequent use of "double", or "triple" etc. value attack for creatures in desperate situations, like a mother Roc defending her eggs, forx.
Maybe Arneson wrote it exactly this way, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Kask or Blume had changed attack at Quadruple Values to +4 in the editing process.