See also Character class rules
The traditional game includes only combat challenges, using the concept of a basic game mechanic (when players are rolling dice) to define the term. But Colossus rules add four additional challenges. Each challenge represents actions taken by the character, so when a player decides to attempt to persuade an opponent politically, they explain to the group that their character takes a political round. If a character is attacking, the player explains to the group their character takes a combat round. Characters can use Challenge skills at any time and as many times as needed. There is no “drain” or “loss” associated to challenge skills.
|Exploration||Wisdom||Thief, Woodcraft, Dwarf, Wood Elf||Find traps, treasures, or secret doors in a hostile environment|
|Distraction||Intelligence||Bard, Mystic, Halfling, Aquatic||Distract opponents to remain unaware of you, evade while fleeing|
|Combat||Strength||Tournament, Crusade, Non-Human||Disable or destroy opponents|
|Mechanical||Dexterity||Mechanic, Alchemist, Drow, Gnome||Open locks or disable traps|
|Political||Charisma||Finishing, Temple, Twiggle, Grey Elf||Manipulate opponents perspectives to create specific reactions|
Exploration Skill is divided into indoor and outdoor skills. Indoor scores include cities and buildings. Exploration benefits from high wisdom scores and sometimes high dexterity scores. Exploration Skills include the following:
- ability to detect traps and other concealed items (wis)
• detect poisons, gasses, or lack of air flow (wis)
• the ability to conceal oneself (hide in shadows) and move silently (wis)
• tracking creatures (wis)
• climb walls (dex)
• swim and water movement (wis)
• tight rope walking (dex)
• seeing in the low light (movement at 1/2, not a skill)
• recovering from being lost (wis)
This is the standard dice-rolling activity of D and D. Fighters are the best at combat, and in combat rounds the goal is to kill your opponent.
If a player wishes to engage in a combat round, the first thing they need to do is roll their to hit dice. This combines with the armor class of their opponent to determine if their swing or shot or stab makes contact with their enemy. ‘To hit’ can be though of as aiming, while the opponent’s armor class says how hard they are to damage. A high armor class can be due to, literally, a large amount of armor on the enemy, or a high maneuverability. A fairy dragon might be unarmored, but its small and fast.
If a character successfully hits their opponent, they roll another dice to see how much damage they hit it for. When an opponent’s life points run out, they are unconscious and bleeding.
The weapon a character chooses effects the outcome of a battle as well, and different weapons do more damage and work better against other opponents. For example, arrows could be very effective against giant vultures but useless for golems.
This subset of combat is used if a character wants to deal non-lethal damage. Instead of passing out and bleeding to death when an opponent reaches zero life force, if an opponent reaches zero on their non-lethal hit points, they are knocked unconscious.
Distraction allows the group to sneak past guards or just normal residents in an area (like a shop keeper). This challenge is used when a player is trying to be sneaky. Mystics and bards are especially good at this skill, and it’s used when players want to pass by NPCs without being noticed. In a successful stealth round, an entire party could pass under a guard tower without setting off any alarms or disabling any soldiers.
In a stealth round, the ‘to hit’ roll translates to the ‘to distract’ roll. If the player rolls high enough, their target is successfully distracted and isn’t paying any attention. Obviously, the more people are watching, the harder this is. The number of observers is the ‘armor class’ of the situation. It’s much harder to totally distract a room of twenty people than just one guard. If the player rolls high enough to distract a given number of observers, they roll ‘damage.’ The ‘damage’ is how many turns the targets are distracted for. The ‘weapon’ a player uses is how they distract the opponent. For example, a player could throw a rock into the bushes, cast an illusion of a dragon flying overhead, or make the guard room become freezing cold. Different methods of distraction work better in different situations and with different numbers of observers.
Colossus is filled with dangerous and fantastic traps, and a mechanics round is the best way to deal with traps. Tinkers are very good at mechanics, and a mechanic round can be seen as tinker vs. trap. However, most traps are concealed and tinkers are not very good at finding things that are hidden, thieves excel at finding things.
When a tinker starts a mechanics round, they can attempt one of three things: to unplug the trap by removing or disabling the power, to engage the key mechanism and basically pick the lock, to fake the trigger and fire it harmlessly, or to numb the trigger to keep it from going off. Each of these can create problems on failure: damage from the power source, triggering the trap, or a combination of the two.
Political rounds are used to try and bring your target around to your way of thinking. Political rounds can be used to make allies, intimidate enemies, or gain information. Clerics are excellent at political manipulation.
When a player rolls a successful ‘to hit’ on a political round, they have convinced their target that the player is someone worth listening to. The less the player knows about the opponent, the more foreign they are to each other, the harder this is to do. Thus, it’s easier for a human cleric to earn credibility with a peasant than with an orc chieftain. This similarity is called ‘degrees of separation,’ and it’s the political version of armor class. If a player makes a high enough credibility roll, they roll again to determine how persuasive they were. Once an opponent runs out of persuasion points, they will be willing to cooperate with the party. The ‘weapon’ a politician uses is their method of persuasion. Do they try and win the person over with gifts, or do they frighten them into obedience? Different methods work better in different situations and with different opponents.