Sunday, March 6, 2011

Round 3: Darien's Hope

I have been sick for a week and a half now; I had a brief period when I felt human in the middle of last week, but for the past four days it has been like dying. I’m only emerging now, starting to feel vaguely human. I hope this trend continues, since I have to work tomorrow.

Sitting at my computer is a strange sense of unfamiliar familiarity. I just haven’t been able to get any work done ... and for a workaholic like me, that’s the meanest thing. I’m looking at a backlog of things I haven’t done. I have to start somewhere.

The polls are in. It is quite clear now that a number of people are more interested in seeing what happens if a particular dumb thing is done than in the survival of a meaningless party. I grant the party has no substantive value. However, if the party dies quickly, I’m not going to get much of my combat system described.

Albrecht’s choices were split (47% each):

1) Step one hex towards Brønn, so he can be touched and thereby blessed; then turn to defend against the goblins.
2) Move four hexes between Brønn and Cailaith, being blessed as he goes by, to rescue Darien.

I did say I would break all ties, so I will pick the survivalist option, number 1: getting blessed and defending.

80% voted for Brønn to bless Albrecht, Cailaith and Englund by moving back one hex into the space between them.

45% voted for Cailaith to move one space towards Goblin 10, and discharge missile towards Goblin 4.

And 46% voted for Englund to play pipes, moving one space right behind Cailaith.

After they move, the organization is thus:

Party finishes moving.
Brønn succeeds in touching everyone, moving back to the right as he sees Albrecht shift towards him. Sadly, Cailaith’s decision has inadvertantly left the mage defending against the right side goblins.

The only attack is Cailaith’s, and the magic missile hits automatically (sorry I forgot to add a magic missile graphic ... that would have been cool). The damage is 1d4+1, and Cailaith rolls a 2. Goblin 4 takes 3 damage, and dies. Cailaith gains 30 x.p.

Darien, because he’s stunned, doesn’t get a move.

This leaves the goblin attacks:

Goblin 1 grabs sword and Goblin 9 attacks
Goblin 1, left alone against Darien and being only slightly greater than half the weight (75 lbs.) of the thief (130 lbs.), leaps off to retake his weapon – if he tries to pummel or grapple the thief and fails (and damn, this thief is slippery), Darien will almost certainly throttle him. He grabs one of two weapons, turns around and readies to face Darien.

Goblin 9 runs straight at Cailaith. He is still charging – and Cailaith is not ‘defending’ against the charge. The rules I play by say that the charger gets +2 to hit if the defender is either armed with a shorter weapon or is not in the act of defending. In Cailaith’s case, his weapon is shorter AND he isn’t defending, so Goblin 9 gets +2. He rolls a 15 (which is reduced to a 14 by the Bard’s singing) and hits AC 6. He’s using a short sword, which does 5 damage (again, made 4 damage by the Bard).

Cailaith spins away and falls to the ground in front of Brønn and Albrecht, stunned. He falls into this hex because of the direction of Goblin 9’s movement, away from the direction of the blow. He has 4 hp left. He drops the torch and it falls to the ground behind him – and the room gets darker. Goblin 9 has 1 move left (move 3/attack 2/move 1) so he enters the hex next to Englund.

Cailaith drops the torch and Goblins 10 & 2 attack
Goblin 10 attacks Brønn as Cailaith drops to the floor. Brønn has been passing the bless spell around, so he isn’t defending either. The goblin rolls a 6, which is reduced to a 5 by the Bard, and the Cleric is missed.

Goblin 2 moves 4 and attacks Cailaith as he’s falling. Obviously still getting the +2, he rolls a 12, reduced to an 11 by the Bard, and misses.

The rest attack.
Goblin 6 also gets a chance to attack Cailaith as he’s falling. Miraculously, he rolls a 9 and misses also.

Just as a note, I tend to run my battles from right to left, and not in definite temporal order. You can quibble over which goblin hits who in what order, but Goblins 2 and 6 are going to attempt to hit Cailaith no matter what. There’s no penalty to Cailaith’s armor class for being stunned; he’s still considered to be defending, even as he gets bashed around like a pinball.

Albrecht is waiting for the other three and has a longer weapon, so they do not get a +2 attack against him.

Goblin 3 strikes first. He doesn’t get a +2 to hit and rolls a 4, reduced to a 3 by the Bard. Since he doesn’t stun Albrecht, he can’t move past the fighter, and due to his momentum he can’t strike and step back. He stays where he is.

Goblin 8 moves four and attempts to strike. He rolls an 8, reduced to a 7, missing.

Goblin 5 can’t attack with a move of four, so he moves five and attempts to flank Albrecht. Unless Albrecht is stunned, he can keep Goblin 5 from moving past him and towards Englund.

Those are all the moves.

The battle updated.
Darien is considered to have picked up his weapon at the end of the round and to have ceased being stunned. He’s just barely visible on the left; the goblin isn’t visible at all to the rest of the party. See the accompanying picture of Darien’s Infravision below.

Darien's infrared view, distorted by the torchlight
Englund cannot keep singing and defend at the same time, so he must put aside his pipes at this point and draw a weapon. Cailaith can’t take any action at all, as he is stunned.

The party is in deep, deep trouble, since the torch is almost certain to be doused by the goblin’s next move, leaving Albrecht and Englund entirely in the dark. Albrecht’s must, if the party is to survive, somehow snatch up the torch. If I offer any other choice in a poll, the dumbest option is sure to be chosen, so I’m not going to. Others may not want the party to survive, but I do.

Oh, a couple of other notes.  You might want to read this old post on unarmed combat.  Goblin 9 chose not to overrrun Cailaith due to weight considerations.  But since I'm adding overbearing to Albrecht's actions, the reader should have a look.

The new polls will be put up in the next hour or so.  I will try to accurately make them end by Friday this time.


Alexis said...

Doesn't anyone want to talk about how the thief's initial idiocy led to the mage getting thumped trying to save him? These things work just like dominoes.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite. As the only person to own up to doing the dumb but (potentially)interesting thing; what about the aletrnative? If the whole party backs up into the cavern mouth and the cleric and fighter stand shoulder to shoulder to defend against the goblins(which I would advocate if I were at your table), what is learned from that? The scenario of the fighter and cleric beating down goblins until they fail morale would be boring. I dont want the party to die, but the skirmish as its playing out is, to me, much more compelling.

Alexis said...

Hey Mike, thanks for the reply.

Things that could have been learned:

1) that goblins don't automatically fail morale.
2) that there are ways for the goblins to foil that "pulling back into the tunnel" tactic

Really, I'm not worked up. Sometimes I think, however, that the forensic interests of players to 'break the boredom' often destroy the continuity of playing a game that has the potential to be more complicated than the simplicity-tactics tolerated by some DMs.

The weakness of making assumptions ... about how a particular combat has to go because a particular tactic is employed.

Aren't 4 players jammed together in a tunnel a fine target for a molotov cocktail?

Anonymous said...

Alexis, I respect how seriously you take the game, but there isn't any continuity to destroy in this tutorial. I think you may miss your online campaign.:) Also, I didn't mean to dismiss the tactically sound scenario as a boring resolution. I will say, however, that I like the drama of how things are unfolding: torch on the ground, the cleric (hopefully)standing over the mage and defending her, the thief's failed gambit-good stuff.