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 :-)  

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