sobota 25. října 2014

Tweaking the Melee

The orcs and dwarves clashed again in the Goblin Slayer dungeon, as we tested my new modifications to Melee:
  • Damage comes from cross referencing Strength and weapon modifier in a table
  • Strength reduces armour penalty
  • Some weapons need less strength to use 
  • Armour protects less and gives lower DX penalty
  • Attack with both weapons is at -3
We wanted the games to be short, so the limit was two regular characters and a champion per side (champion got 2 more points to enhance stats). Because of the low number of charcters we chose quite cluttered environment.

  • Gorm the Heroic Leader: ST 15 DX 11 MA8, Chainmail DR2, Big Axe (broadsword) 3d6+1
  • Ragnar, Axeman: ST 14 DX 10 MA8, Chainmail DR2, Great Axe 3d6+2)
  • Grund, Crossbowman : ST 12 AdjDX 11, MA 8, Crossbow 2d6, Axe 2d6+1)
  • Obludd, the Green Menace: ST 15 DX 11 MA 10, Half-plate DR3, 2 choppas (broadsword) 3d6
  • Krutak, Warrior: ST 12 AdjDX 11 MA 10, Leather, Shield DR2, Broadsword 2d6+1
  • Krivak, Halberdier: ST 12 DX 12 MA 10, Leather DR1, Glaive (halberd) 2d6+1
Game 1: The clash was short and decisive - in a tactical blunder, Ragnar charged orc halberdier and got skewered, while the champions faced off. Obludd was assisted by a warrior and while Gorm's crossbowman missed, the two orcs brought the hero down with brutal efficiency. Krivak made short work of poor axeman, and Obludd with his aide charged the remaining crossbowman. Much to our surprise, he wounded and subsequently killed orc warrior before succumbing to the inevitable.

Reflecting upon the game, I returned both DR values and DX penalties of armour and shields to original values, and considering my work done I proposed another game. Basic stats remained the same, but there were more DX modifications from armour worn. 

Game 2: This game went almost completely another way: I sent Obludd to confront Gorm in a duel, while the grunts had their private party behind a wall. The dwarven leader hesitated for a while, but after accepting the challenge, Gorm first split Obludd's kneecap and then orc's skull in two rounds. The orcs proved their worth and as soon as the axeman fell, Krivak could try to avenge his leader, while Krutak stayed to finish off his usual victim. Crossbowman was dispatched again, but not before hitting Krutak hard and deep. After that, Krutak hurried to help his comrade in arms by encircling the dwarven champion. However, no tactical advantage is sufficient when frown upon by the dice gods: For once, the halberdier decided to forgo defence in favour of an attack - dealing whole three points of damage, but being split from head to groins in return. Krutak could still avenge the poor halberdier, had I not rolled snake eyes (so the whole damage dissolved into Gorm's armour). 'Nuff ticklin' growled the orc-slayer as turned, and one slash later the whole orc warband was a history.

This game was more satisfying, but another thing became clear - Melee is extremely balanced design. Add a character whole two points extra and he turns into a god of war (albeit not necessarily sexy and shoeless). Apparently I'll have to use no more than one free point, or add/detract to HP, MA or damage. As a next modificaton, I'll tune the damage from strength another notch down, so it falls somewhere between thrust and swing dmg in GURPS.

Summary: All in all, in two players Melee shines with 3 (or rather 4 or 5) characters per side - and I'm sure I'll keep playing it as such. Melee could even work with one character per player (then the morale rules work perfectly: There are none, but you surely want to stay in game, don't you?), but you'd need at least six players for this. Or less players and one GM :-)  

čtvrtek 23. října 2014

Orktober Retrospective

In the first post on this blog, I described a game of SoBH played with the contents of my Melee Box: 
  • 3 EM4 dwarves, 
  • 3 EM orcs (all plastic), 
  • a metal dwarf (Citadel, no idea about edition or type) and
  • 3 metal goblins (probably Altar).
The box also contains dice, counters, Melee charcter sheets and eight tiles for Goblin Slayer, which may have seen no more than 3 games of G.S., but served well for nearly a dozen Melee games (and one SoBH test).

It is almost a year ago that I last used the above mentioned minis - since then, I indeed painted the Empire Militia and Mantic Dwarves to form two warbands, and had some fun with them and SoBH. I also put together and painted some fantasy gladiators, because a) gladiators are cool and b) gladiatorial games need only a handful of miniatures. 

In that time, the Melee box collected dust... but then, Orktober came, and with it a notion of going back to the roots - and reinforcing the poor orcs, who were always one short vs the dwarves ('cause we all know those lil'gitz don't really count). So, here they are with all the blurr my phone can inflict - do NOT click:

Da reif.. reefen... oh, screw it. WAAAGH!

They are still more or less a WIP, but I hope to use them today, either in Melee or in SoBH. I have also further modified Melee rules, like made the damage dependent also on strength rather than just on a weapon, lowered the minimal strength required for the heavier weapons, reduced damage reduction of armour and shields and their DX penalty... looks like playtesting today :)

středa 1. října 2014

The crowd would be there to greet him with howls of lust and fury...

This time we managed to have a four player game, with two newbies into the pit. So, this should be rather titled as "Newbie's Luck" or something like that. And yeah, the crappy phone camera stays, so please don't click on the pictures.

The games begin...
The gates of the Pit opened once more, and the crowd cheered the four gladiators entering the arena. Mario the Undead gave just a silent, ominous salute, that contrasted with roaring of Ulrich the Orc. It was rumoured that Ulrich was in fact a wayward son of nobility who had himself written his own contract in hexameter, but those rumours were quite difficult to believe. The crowd also greeted Peter, who may or may not had something to do with the Greatswords. The last one to enter the pit was Dyre, a genuine northener fighting as Chaos. 

Surprisingly, the combatants went one on one
The combatants spontaneously paired off, Empire against Undead and Orc agains Chaos. Mario, being more agile than his counterpart succeeded in flanking his opponent, while both Dyre and Ulrich took more cautious approach.

Undead was thought to be the first to draw blood,
but both his attacks and the riposte were blocked.
The crowd howled as the first sounds of steel meeting steel rang, but the first blood was yet to be drawn - in a short clash, both Mario's attacks were deflected, but the greatsword also met just a parrying khopesh.
On the other side of the arena, the Orc nearly emasculated Chaos
only to have his legs taken from under him.
The first to bleed was Ulrich, when hooks ripped some skin from his arm - but roaring with pain, he was quick enough to return the favour. Right there! and Dyre was staggering away, only mere inches saving him from gaining fat and singing a soprano. However, in the North, the men were real men and knew where their shield was, so a follow-up from Ulrich thudded on a successfull block. Dyre's riposte was vicious indeed, as the hooks wrapped themselves around Orc's leg - and Dyre then pulled with all his strength. The next thing Ulrich remembered was a very sharp pain as a physician straightened his bones, and then he blacked out again.

All the reamining fighters then converged on each other...
The Empire then surprised everyone with a short sprint and an unsuccessfull attack on Dyre, but Peter himself was being followed. More blood was spillt, but rather than having a three-way stand-off, the combatants went one after another. form a vicious "cycle of death".
Peter attempted to break the circle of death, but he collided with Dyre, and thus exposed his back to Mario. Faults should not go unpunished, and the Undead saw to that. With Peter on the ground and only Undead and Chaos standing, the match was over.

Summary: This would be a great match - had not Peter's player been tired and slightly distracted by his cellphone, and had some players not taken so bloody long when planning their moves and attacks. The location system means that one wrong guess and you may be done for, but I wouldn't mind - if the game was as short as it should be. I think I'll postpone the PF campaign so far, focusing instead on a SoBH minicampaign with four players, probably inspired by this.