Sunday, March 13, 2011

Round 4: Things Get Worse

Here are the results from the last poll:

Albrecht: Hacks at Goblin 3 with his sword, scoops up torch if successful. (81%)

Brønn: Attack Goblin 10 and stand over Cailaith’s body. (75%)

Darien: Move forward and attack Goblin 1, backing towards the party if successful. (55%)

Englund: Shout a Command at Goblin 9, “strip!”, then draw quarterstaff. (51%)

Now, before I get started with the results of those actions, I want to post part of the infrared image from the last round. I expected someone to comment on the odd appearance of something that looks like the edge of a goblin holding a sword, standing in the shadows behind Darien:

Note the arm sticking out from the shadows

In fact, if the reader will go back to here, its possible to see very dimly the outline of self-same goblin hiding in the corner. With the shadows, the boundaries of the room are not precisely as the torch reveals. This is constantly a consideration with flame light sources – something usually overlooked, since its such a pain in the neck. I’ve tried to give an impression of how eerie and black combat would be, particularly with the shadows being cast as creatures approach the light. I don’t do this for a campaign because I don’t have the time. Each of these images takes me a fair bit of work to get ready each week.

Regarding the lone stranger behind Darien, I had rolled surprise in secret and had determined that Darien did not see him. At a table, I would have asked a player to roll a d6 without explaining why … but since I’m rolling for all these participants in this simulation, I had to roll it. Darien got a 1, indicating “surprise” … so he doesn’t even know the second goblin is there.

Okay, the combat. Doing the main party, and leaving Darien for last:

Albrecht swings with his long sword. He has no strength bonus, but he has +1 to hit from the bless. He rolls 13, which becomes a 14, hitting AC 6. He rolls maximum for a long sword, 8 damage, and the goblin dies (bless does not influence damage). Albrecht uses his remaining move to drop his shield (he’s now AC 8) and grab the torch.

Brønn rolls a 10 against Goblin 10, modified to an 11 by the bless. He misses. He uses his remaining 2 movement to shift to Goblin 10’s right, ending his combat over Cailaith.

At the same time, Cailaith the mage recovers from the stun, climbs to her feet into the hex where Albrecht used to be, finding herself face-to-face with Goblins 5 & 8. She can take no other action this round.

Englund shouts “STRIP!” at Goblin 9, who then throws a d20 to save (it has a 7 intelligence). The Goblin rolls a 17.

Stupidly, the Dungeon Master’s Guide makes no effort at all to create a saving throw table for monsters as opposed to leveled characters. Thus, I treat every creature’s save as 1HD = 1 level. I consider the goblin to have 1 HD (with d6 hp/die, as according to my hp to mass rules), and so it needs a 17 to save. The spell fails. But Englund has his quarterstaff ready.

So they end their move in the following positions:

Did not go as well as expected.

Darien jumps forward and swings at the single goblin before him, Goblin 1. He’s not blessed and he rolls a 4, anyway, missing.

I’ll forego picturing his position for the moment – I’m sure it’s easy to see from last week’s post.

Now, before I get to the Goblin’s attack, I want to spend just a moment talking about morale.

There are 8 goblins left, from the original 11 (counting the one that was in hiding from the beginning). The goblins have a pretty low morale, that being 6, because they aren’t very bright and they are pretty bloodthirsty. Morale in my world is measured in numbers 2 to 12, and based on 2d6. In order for the goblins to attack at all, they must roll a 6 on 2d6, prior to their deciding to run out of the darkness. We can assume they have.

When will they roll morale again? I draw your attention to the below image, which is based upon a morale system devised for a game called System 7: Napoleonics:

3 dead so far.

As each circle is scratched out, the number above it becomes the revised morale. That revised number is then compared with a roll on 2d6; if the roll equals or is greater than the number, the goblins continue fighting.

This is a simple table to construct. Start with the initial morale, and then add 1 to that number and put it over the center circle on the monster list. If the number of creatures is even, then the number should be placed to the left of the dividing line. Remember, the number isn’t rolled until the creature under the number is scratched off, so you don’t want the first morale check to occur until half the creatures are actually dead.

The second number then occurs halfway between the second number and the end, following the same rule. The one exception is that there have to be at least four morale checks on the list (unless there are less than 5 creatures) … so any additional ones have to be crammed in at the end. Obviously, there’s no morale check on the last circle, because when that circle is blacked out, the creatures are all dead.

Here’s how an example would look if there were 5 goblins to start:

Simple, eh?

So, the party will need to kill 3 more goblins before they need to make a morale check.

Obviously, as a DM you can fool and fiddle with this morale system any way you wish, giving some races less morale checks or having some races required to make more. I’ve wondered about building up a format for creature intelligence, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

Going back to the combat, the goblins attack the party.

Starting this time with Darien, Goblin 11 steps up behind him and attacks with +2 to hit. It would normally be +1 from this angle, but Darien is surprised, so all attacks from the back three hexes are considered to be done at +2 (or +4 by a thief). The goblin is not a thief or an assassin, and it rolls a 7, modified to a 9, missing Darien.

Goblin 1 attacks Darien from the front, rolling a 14. This hits Darien, who takes 1 damage from the Goblin’s sword. Darien has 1 hit point, so he’s reduced to zero. He’s still conscious and battle able (he won’t die until -9 hp), but he’s stunned again. Where the stun rule reads that one quarter of the defender’s hit points need to be done to stun the defender, this is one quarter of those hit points above zero. Therefore, any damage to a defender who has 4 hit points or less will stun. Darien is knocked back a hex, and the two goblins prepare to attack next round.

Goblin 9 attacks Englund, rolling a 13. This will hit, causing 4 damage. Englund staggers back, stunned, and the goblin presses forward.

Goblin 2 and Goblin 10 attack Brønn. Disastrously, they roll a 14 and a 19, so that together they cause 10 damage (1-6 for each short sword). Brønn has 16 hit points, but he too is stunned. Goblin 2 hits him for 4 damage, driving him into the hex next to Cailaith; Goblin 10 then hims him for 6 damage, driving him even further into the hex next to Englund. The image below shows Brønn’s course:

The cleric gets bashed around.

The goblins then move in and take up the positions vacated by Brønn.

Goblin 6 sees the advantage to getting +1 against Albrecht’s flank and rolls, missing with a 3.

Goblin 8 rolls to attack from the front, and rolls an 9, again missing.

Finally, Goblin 5 rolls against Cailaith, rolling an 8. This, miraculously, also misses.

That’s the round. Three of the party stunned, the two remaining party members bracketed. Cailaith can’t hope to get a spell out, since she would have to stiffen and concentrate, and would not be able to parry attacks. The goblins would get all kinds of bonuses.

Things do not look good:

Can't hardly see the bard at all.

And here is the updated character data:

I shall get the two polls up (only Albrecht and Cailaith can take any action), though they are going to be awfully straight-forward.

UPDATE:

My apologies; I goofed when I set up the poll for Cailaith.  Some of you voted, but I had to take down the poll and correct it.  If you could please vote again, I would thank you.

4 comments:

TrentB said...

I saw that goblins arm, but there was no 'pissbolt back around the melee and into the safety of your own lines' option.

Alexis said...

Understood Trent. I took it for granted that people would make comments/write in votes if they felt I hadn't included a valuable option.

TrentB said...

Heh, thats perfectly reasonable. Upon considering the options presented I just decided that Darien was either bloodthirsty, happy-go-lucky or some combination of the two.

The situation actually very closely mirrors a game from the weekend, wherein a character with a great deal of stealth and a great lack of combat ability (or sense) chased a skeleton warrior for a kilometre or so and tackled it to the ground. He got upset when, in the ensuing grapple, he had has face eaten in half and was left blind and bleeding to death in the mud. I shall call him Darien. My point is that whilst Dariens actions arent what I wouldve done, they are clearly what someone would/did do.

For the record: I predict a party-saving spree of luck driven and death-dealing quarterstaffery from The Enigmatic Englund. You heard it here first.

Anthony said...

I like your morale system, Alexis. It gives me an idea on how to solve a problem I didn't realize I had until now.