Grandstanding and Mugging
XCrawl is performed on camera and many of the rooms in a Dungeon are built to accommodate the viewing of a large in-person audience. Pleasing the crowds and trying to keep the attention of the cameraman are things an XCrawl player who wants to be a star just naturally does. If you’re a dead fish on television, someone is bound to give you a talking-to.
Grandstanding is what you do in front of a live audience, posing and waving or presciently pointing to where that orc head is going to land to get a few cheers. You can only grandstand in combat or other situations of physical risk. Grandstanding is a Standard Action.
Mugging is done for cameras, a little bit of showmanship such as fancifully twirling your thieve’s tools while picking a lock when you know someone is looking for something interesting to broadcast. Mugging in combat is a Move Action.
Fine, fine, what do we roll?
For both Grandstanding and Mugging checks, what you roll by default depends on your Turn. Faces roll Diplomacy for Mugging and Grandstanding, and Heels roll Intimidation for these checks. This reflects the image each type of player constantly projects to the audience; Rargo Bloodskid the half-orc roars about how he’ll feed his opponents their own livers (which the crowd loves) and Theophilus Brightson dedicates a hard-won victory to glorious Apollo (which the crowd also loves).
You can use the following skills as well, but at a -5 or -2 penalty depending on the situation; Streetwise, Acrobatics, Bluff. Obviously, running an obstacle course or dodging a trap’s deadly blades is a good time to use Acrobatics to Grandstand, and a bad time to try Streetwise. Bluff can make for some great television when you’re in a room filled with intelligent Common speaking monsters.
Grandstanding DCs are determined by the audience’s attitude.
- Hostile Crowd: Hard DC
- Lame Crowd: Moderate DC +2
- Normal Crowd: Moderate DC
- Good Crowd: Easy DC +2
- Whole World is Rooting for You: Easy DC
- Home Town (The team operates from the city you’re crawling in) – +5
- Good Timing (dropped the Hydra, just rode a Bulette like a pony) – +2 to +5 bonus to roll
- Bad Timing (Slipped and fell in the last round, a teammate just died) – -2 to -5 penalty to roll
Mugging DCs are always Hard DCs of appropriate level, modified by the Timeslot of your Crawl. It’s harder to do something that’s gonna entertain people who weren’t there, some trick that impresses in perpetuity on film.
- Daytime TV – +4 DC
- Prime Time – -3 DC
- Nighttime TV – +2 DC
Let’s bring our previous example characters back for this section. Rargo Bloodskid (the Heel) and Theophilus Brightson (the Face) really have their eyes on the prize – they wanna be famous. When they enter a room and hear the cheers of a live crowd, they know they need to put on a show. Let’s say they’re at a pretty average game with an Normal Crowd – it’s not the playoffs or anything special, just your normal Monday Night Melee.
Rargo picks his moment and plays to the crowd after a Barbarian Rage-fueled kill, flexing and snarling. It’s totally in line with his persona, and after a kill using a class-defining ability is good timing. The GM rules that Rargo gets a + 2 bonus because while it’s good timing, people sort of expect to see him kill orcs; this is good but not spectacular. Rargo is level 4 and trained in Intimidate, and let’s say he has a mighty + 1 Charisma bonus, so he rolls 1d20 + 2(level) + 5(trained) + 1(Charisma) and + 2 (Timing Bonus) for a total of + 10. With a Moderate DC for a level 4 character (which is 14), he has to roll a 4 or more to wow the crowd at this stage; if he does, he tracks another Grandstanding success on his sheet, and if it’s his fifth such success, he’ll gain a point of Temporary Fame.
Theophilus, on the other hand, took a couple of psychic blasts to the head too many and thinks he can Grandstand after pratfalling into a trap. Theophilus is much prettier than he is smart, with a +4 Charisma bonus. He also has the Crowd Favorite feat for a + 2…maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all. He’ll roll Diplomacy for 1d20 + 2(half his level of 4) + 5(trained) + 4(Charisma) + 2(Feat) and – 5(Worst timing ever) for a total of + 8. Because of his timing, his chances of out-rolling Rargo are lower, but with some slightly better decision making, he could be raking in the Fame.
Damn, this is a Tough Crowd..
Sometimes a crowd will require some buttering up before you can really succeed at Grandstanding. To do that, you’ll need to succeed at a Sway Crowd check, which is described on the Teamwork Pool page!