Saturday, February 26, 2011

Us vs. the Goblins, Round 2

The polls being completed, the results are as follows:

Albrecht:  draws handaxe and throws it, drawing back one hex.
Brønn:  casts bless, drawing back one hex.

Cailaith:  casts magic missile, drawing back one hex.
Darien:  runs to the right, along the wall, seeking the darkness.
Englund:  plays pipes to produce martial music.

Depicting both the party's move and that of the goblins, without shadows but retaining the limitation of what the torch reveals, we have the following image:

The details are numbered 1 to 7:

1. Albrecht moves 4; he draws his hand axe (1 move) and throws (2 moves). Albrecht has a -2 to hit due to the distance (8 hexes). If the goblins were not running towards him when he throws, I would make it an additional -2, but we have to assume they are breaking out of the darkness from Albrecht’s perspective. The fighter rolls a 16, or an adjusted 14, hitting AC 6. The goblins are carrying shields only, so they are AC 6 (explain humanoid armor rules). He causes 4 damage; the goblin has 3 and dies, falling back into the darkness. Albrecht earns 30 x.p. (but he does not add it to his character at this time – he has to survive the fight first). Albrecht steps back one hex (one move).

2. Brønn also has a movement of 4. All spells require verbal and somatic components (never material), but Bronn can continue to hold his mace as he casts bless. The spell requires all of Bronn’s movement except one point. He uses it to move one hex, into the hex that Cailaith exits.

3. Cailaith has a movement of 5, but as she is casting a spell (magic missile), her movement is reduced to exactly the same as Bronn’s. She continues to cast as she moves back one hex, into the hex that Darien exits.

4. Darien moves 4, and uses all his movement to reach the destination hex indicated. This is his only action this round.

5. Englund moves 4, but in order to play martial music he must spend one round with no movement at all, preparing himself to play. This is what he does this round.

That covers the party's moves.  The goblins have only two actions.  As they move, the spellcasters are still casting their spells.  This gives the goblins a chance to break their spells, which they would have a go at if I were giving them any missile weapons. I’ve decided these goblins have none – though even a fist-sized stone would do in a pinch. But we’ll assume the goblins have no stones either, and move forward.

As I said previously, the goblins are running, so they are moving at double speed (six hexes).

6. Here’s where it gets tricky. Both Goblin 1 and Goblin 4 see the thief, Darien, break from the others and run along the wall. It takes Goblin 1 a move of four to get to the hex marked with a blue spot. It takes Goblin 4 a move of five to get to the same spot. Goblin 1 has time to swing with a weapon (it has 2 movement points left) but Goblin 4 is too late. However …

Both Goblin 1 and Goblin 4 elect to grapple. They have a better chance to hit, since the only have to hit AC 10, minus the target’s dexterity. Moreover, as long as no action is taken in a round except grappling and movement, the two are considered to be the same action. Both goblins drop their weapons to avoid a -2 penalty “to hit;” Darien’s defending AC is 7 against grappling; the goblins are charging and they get a +2 on the “to hit” die.

Goblin 1 rolls a 19, modified to a 21, which easily hits AC 7. Goblin 4 rolls a modified 12 (10+2), which also hits AC 7. (I don’t use the 1 minus 1 column; my goblins are 1 hit dice creatures with 1d6 hp per HD).

So, Darien is hit twice. Each hit does 1-4 damage. The goblin’s light weight would reduce this to 1-3, but their claws compensate for the reduced weight, so the damage remains 1d4. Together the goblins do 4 points of damage. However …

Because Darien is against a wall, when the goblins hit him, he hits the wall. The wall isn’t considered to have claws, so the damage is only that of the goblin’s weight, or 1d3. Darien hits the wall twice, at the goblins hit him in succession, so he takes 2d3 of damage: a total of 4. Darien has 9 hit points, so he is reduced to 1 … but he is now considered to be stunned. To stun him would require one quarter of his hit points to be exchanged for damage – or anything more than 2 (2 damage would be 22% of his hit points and he would not be stunned). This means that before Darien can take any action at all, the goblins must be given the opportunity to act again. As well, Darien is now considered to be grappled and held, since the grappling attempt resulted in his being stunned. In order to use his weapon, Darien will have to break the grip of both goblins. He would have to do this by grappling in return, and hopefully causing enough damage this way to free himself. For the present, however, Darien misses a turn. (But he does gain 160 x.p., if he lives to collect it).

7.  The rest of the goblins can do nothing except to rush forward.
The new, updated battle map is presented below, with shadows:

Pertinent facts:

Both the cleric and mage have cast spells, but to discharge them requires this round.  Each could hold the spells over and discharge them next round, but I don't think that's worth considering.  I can't imagine anyone doing it who wanted to live.

In discharging the spell, Brønn and Cailaith can only move 5', or one hex.  Brønn, however, is technically already blessed (without needing to discharge the spell), so if he does not want to bless anyone else, he can at this point move normally.  But if he wants to give the benefits of the spell to anyone else, he has to spend a round doing that.

Englund can move at half speed while playing the pipes, but cannot fight at the same time.

Cailaith does not have line of sight to attack the Goblins on Darien, unless she moves.

Only one character sheet requires an update: Darien.

Additional information about the characters and battle can be found here.  A sexier map of the first round can be found here.

I will be putting up the new polls as soon as possible; they should be in place by 11 a.m. Pacific.  Feel free to ask any questions.


SupernalClarity said...

I must say, it's really interesting to be able to see some of the nuances of your combat system. I wasn't terribly intrigued when I read the original post in which you tried to outline the system a while back, but actually seeing it in action is really helping me to understand the appeal of your changes.

Anthony said...

Seriously, who voted for the Thief to leave the rest of the party and run to his solo death? Sigh...

Alexis said...

46% of the voters.

SupernalClarity said...

Yeah, I was kinda confused about why people supported that idea... But hey, at least we got to see the grapple rules in action, right?

TrentB said...

Yeah... Darien. I think the most pertinent point of the terrain is that the tunnel is only two hexes wide. And we have two pretty solid fighters. Anyway!

I like the changes you've made to the combat system. Makes sense, gives real consequences to decisions and creates a much more tactical game than the original.

Anthony said...

I can only hope people were voting for consistent actions across the board. I voted for every option that called for falling back to get into that 2 hex wide tunnel.

So maybe decisions by committee don't work so well (as we know). It just so happens that out of all the overall strategies you might think of, the congruence of common elements between them creates an end result that is wonky to say the least...

Anonymous said...

The forms a little different, voting by poll, but I've seen similarly inexplicable decisions at the table because we all had different ideas of what the best plan would be, and settled for everyone's second choice as a "compromise."

And yes, pulling back to the tunnel when outnumbered would have been smart.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly tell you why I voted for the thief to separate from the party: these posts are a way for Alexis to describe his combat system. I like to play thieves and I was curious as to whether he had made any changes to Darien's most damaging combat contribution, the backstab. Also, I don't have anything invested in the example party, I just want to see where things go mechanically.

TrentB said...

Fair point, 7 =]

Tripper said...

And see things we did. Stay away from walls for one - each touch is like being stabbed and they're likely to knock you unconscious. But that's the lumps when you fight goblins who are HINDERED by weapons. I noticed none of the next round actions involve taking up farming.

That's enough detraction, just needed that off my chest. I am still a great admirer of your XP system, Alexis, and thank you for the work you've put into sharing this.

Oddbit said...

I have no idea what the thief would have done once it got to darkness. Can't goblins see in the dark? Sounds like suicide to me.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Hide in shadows can work versus infravision if there is a heat source nearby. Honestly, I havent looked up the rule in AD&D in a long time, so I may be mistaken. Further, having the flank can be a boon to an outnumbered group. But considering that the thief is probably get waxed next round, its all academic.

Alexis said...

I suspected that there were a number of people voting the thief’s separation from forensic interests. The best strategy with these things, however, is for the thief to make a hole in the enemy line and then slip through it ... not to run more or less at the goblins (at a 60 degree angle in this case), and then get in the backstab when the goblins are busy. I’ve noticed over the years that there is a tendency to treat “hide in shadows” like a magic spell, as though the thief snaps his fingers, steps two inches to the left and disappears into thin air. I’ve killed a lot of thieves who insist on ignoring the words in the Player’s Handbook which state clearly, the thief cannot hide in shadows while under direct observation. Whether he’d made it to the darkness or not makes no difference at all. At no time would he have been completely unobserved ... unless all the goblins were being kept busy by the rest of the party. That happens in the end combat, not the beginning.

As for Tripper’s joking comment about staying away from the walls ... it’s just physics. 75 lbs. moving at 2 ft./second equals 150 foot-pounds of force, against an object that’s 130 lbs., moving at 1 ft./second, redirected into a stone wall ... 1-3 damage is reasonable, no?

If the wall was full of stabbing edges, that would be more damage.

Yes, I know you were just making a joke, Tripper. I feel I need to make the point, however, that if Darien were ‘defending’ with his back against the wall, he would have had the longer weapon against the charge, and would have been able to strike first – but because he chose to run full out and not defend, he got bruised. The old combat system fails to take proper account of being ready for battle as opposed to taking actions that leave one wide open.

Thanks for the comments, people. Nice to see some deconstruction.

Anonymous said...

Anthony and I were on the same page it seems in round one... after I voted today for round two I see that not very many of the actions I desired were in the majority. I hope you guys know what you're doing. ;)

Anonymous said...

P.S. @ Mike: Having the flank and keeping the flank are two different affairs, though.

I was hoping for a fall back to the passageway to let the fighter and cleric grind it out, but again I was thinking more in terms of trying to win the day vs. test out the combat system.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

You know guys, the thief is the only one in real danger of sudden death... Why is the cleric moving to bless the people that aren't currently under attack?