Sunday, February 27, 2011

Size vs skill

So now we come to a good fork in the road!

Mr. Skinner thinks rolling SIZE dice vs combat skill makes more sense, and I agree with the logic.  It makes more sense in the damage results- at the cost of an extra stat and step in the warband creation.  Its also not as elegant to describe, but it does produce a more accurate representation of how fantasy creatures should behave in battle.  Bigger things do more damage, skilled things are more reliable and make better use of tactical bonus dice.

By adding a new combat option- evade- where a defender gets more dice to its combat hand in exchange for not being able to hurt the attacker if it wins the combat round, we get a better situation for small, nimble creatures going up against big lumbering monsters.

It's a big rulebook change, so I would really love everyone to take a go both ways and see what feels best.

Heres the system suggested:

Hand to Hand combat and Defending Against a Shot
Roll models combat dice.  This is SIZE+any combat bonus for being a particularly dangerous bad ass, carrying magic or heavy weapons etc.  To score a combat hit, you must roll equal or less than your models level (combat skill).  Level was 1 for fodder, 2 for militia, 3 for warriors, 4 for heroes, 5 for champions.

Roll models Shoot dice.  Target number is your opponents SIZE.

All usual bonus dice apply.

Adjusting 2.04 warbands to combat skill based system
 Make combat score their level (max 5).  If over 5- add the remainder to your size for combat dice.

Tora Frathaus - SIZE: 3 C: 7
Tora Frathaus - SIZE: 3   Level: 5(champion) Combat Dice: 5

That should allow you to quickly test the system, see if you like it.

To add evading to your games.
Models must have evade ability.  Costs (6-size) x 2 gold per level.  Max 3.  When attacked in hand to hand (not shooting), defender can announce he will evade.  Add one bonus dice per level of evade to hand.  If evader wins, attacker unharmed.  Evader must recoil or swing around on a win.  If model cannot do so, it cannot use evade.  Attacker may press an evader that recoils.

Let me know how it feels.  I have a hunch its the right way to go, costing a little elegance for a better representation.

Cheers Andy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Suggested Toughness and magic changes 2.05

Just incorporated a great little idea into the rules (thanks OldSchool- contact me to get your name in the credits)
Rather than Toughness -1 + armour, simply make any attack that equals toughness a kill, rather than higher than.  Duh!  Shame on me.

As Oldschool pointed out, one less sum is a good thing, and I am all for that as you know!

That means a size 3 needs 3 hits to kill.  Simple.

To clarify (I am rewording the book for this point) the rule is beaten by 1 = recoil.  Beaten by toughness = dead.  Beaten by less than toughness, but more than 1 = downed.
Therefore toughness 1 and 2 models both recoil on a 1, die on a 2.  You only down them only if they recoil into an obstacle.  An armour bonus for little folk is a good idea... as Frodo would no doubt testify.

Vulnerable models die instantly if beaten at all.

Wondering if changing the word toughness to To kill would clarify it.  "My dudes 3 to kill".  Abbreviated to TK.  Kinda like TKO...  :)     What are your thoughts?

A recent three way match also highlighted how magic can slow down the game.  I am thinking the best way to smooth this out is to limit each sorcerer to just 1 spell per turn.  The number of actions is the target number, you fire once and your done.  Perhaps dice splitting is still allowed?

Thanks all for playing- I am really loving the battle reports!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Skulldred 2.04 released

  After a soothing sunday back at the PC, I knocked the magic system into shape.  2.04 is now released in the download section.  I know Thantsants was looking to get into sorcery, so this should be fun to see.

So I have made magic much simpler, you buy a spell for a sorcerer.  It sits by his character card.  To cast a spell, you either cast through yourself or a portal.  Portals cost 1 action to place.  The number of actions you spend casting a spell is your target number to roll equal to or under on your magic dice.  Each spell has a level.  This is the number of HITS you need to roll on your magic dice for the spell to work.

Example:  Crowfester The Jester has 3 actions.  He moves for 1, then spends 2 casting a spell.  He has 5 magic dice.  If he casts a level 3 spell, he needs to roll 1 or 2 on at least 3 dice.

In response to the difficulty in casting spells, I am thinking of reducing the cost to buy a magic level to 5 per dice.  Try it and see how it feels.

So I have been painting a cover for the final Skulldred rule book- here is a small taster of what it could look like.  What do you think?

Skulldred book cover preview

Friday, February 18, 2011

Battle Report

 Howdy Dreadlings,

Thantsants, master of Somewhere the Tea's Getting Cold has posted a brilliant Skulldred battle report over at his blog.  Its richly narrated, funny and actually somewhat nail biting!  Dwarf miners battle orcs at the foot of a mountain...

Heh... Larder.   Rofl.

Thank's Thantsants- brilliant miniatures, brilliant table and brilliant report.  I hope you keep them coming!

Thanks also to all of you who posted feedback to me over the last week.  I have been away on holiday down the coast, and have been waiting all week to get back into mobile reception range to see what's been happening!  On the drive back, when I finally got a signal, I got all the feedback, and it was all very useful!

I am currently working on 2.04- which incorporates all of the feedback right now.  The next release will still be a week or so away, 2.03 system is pretty much unchanged though- so you can keep playing with the rules you have.  The main changes are...

Basic rules
  • Leaders can still lead models within 1 span and in LOS if engaged.  (Downed models still cannot lead)
  • Models can share out their action points to others within 1 span, for movement actions only.
  • Shoot rules clarified.  You defend using your combat dice.
  • Toughness clarified.  It is size-1 + armour bonus.
  • "Very Slow" added.  Slow now limits model to 2 moves. Very slow 1.  Being very slow gives you +2 or two +1 dices or armour levels.
  • Reload counter added to counters.
  • Sorcerers can have up to 3 portal counters in reserve for each sorcerer on the warband. (Lets you have custom looking ones for each model if you want- so a necromancer has bone portals, a firemage, fire etc.)
  • Sorcerers have 'open portal', 'cast spell' and 'charge magic' (add +1 magic dice) actions.
  • A warband can only have 3 portal counters in PLAY at once.
  • Yeah, all the costs for the sample armies where incorrect.  Bad me.  Apparently one play tester has made a spreadsheet for Skulldred that helps quickly price up models...nice one!

  I plan to overhaul and focus on the magic next, making sure that its as elegant as I can make it- as you can probably tell its quite hacked around at the moment from a couple of editions where the dice system changed.  Hopefully some time will land on my lap so I can play some sorcerer heavy games and really have a think about ways to make it slick and sexy.

Well, thanks again for playing- and I hope your all having fun with it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Skulldred 2.03 - super sleek dice stats return

Download 2.03 using the button and play THIS version.  Its WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY easier to get your head around.

I did not have time to do the army lists, but there is a quickstart stat card sheet for a generic humanoid warband.  Simply select mirrored sides and use these cards for your first few games, and your laughing.

I dropped the whole levels, hit dice rubbish and returned to straight forward dice.  You simply note the combat, magic and shoot dice for a model, and use its size for the combat target number.  Taught my wife to play in twenty minutes!

And then she beat me.

This version plays super fast, and we are testing with twenty as side battles.  Very quick.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Prefer Hit on Size?

I have had a couple of comments on email that think hitting on size was more elegant and easier to remember.

This was the main system for a while, basically- models had combat dice based on how good they where, and their target number was their own size for hand to hand (and defending a shot), their opponents for shooting.

My gut reaction is that this may be right- and is certainly easier to play- since you look to your character card for your combat dice, then look to your model to remember size.  Having to check hit dice, based on (size + weapon bonus) then check combat skill is much more taxing on the drunken mind.

So do you think it is better?

Andy Skinner pointed out that large creatures hit on a bell curve anyway- so the clumsy low stat- but big monsters fair well- which makes sense.  It muddies the odds you have to weigh in your head when generating warbands.

The second benefit of the 2nd gen  'hit on size' is that you can get combat stats that go up beyond 5- making a greater range of power levels you can field.

Thinking seriously about heading back to that version.  Comments warmly appreciated!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2.02 Point release

I had some time to edit down the book again, shuffling chapters and making it much clearer to read.
I revised the sorcery rules to streamline the experience and make it easier to understand.  Now you just say which spell you want to cast and how many action points you spend on it, roll the dice, if you get enough hits against your magic score, it happens- otherwise your wizard looses his turn.

I also added some quick start unit lists for players to get stuck right in.  Should make testing easier.

Armour rules have been revised too.  Toughness has been re-added in the wording, basically size+ armour.  So its as before, basically.  :)

Sample play demo

Following a great suggestion on Lead Adventure Forum, I have created this quick sample play document, so you can see a game in action.  I will include this in 2.01.

Sample Play Demo - Leonard vs. Raj

Errata 2.0

Spotted a silly mistake that will effect play testing.  Under Combat level, there is an extra entry for 'elite', which pushes heroes and champions up a slot.  I have corrected it in 2.01, but you dont have to print the whole thing out... just correct the following.

This is the correct levels for models.  You can only go up to level 5, not 6, as listed.

Model never hits.
Peasant rabbles, old men, children, Kobolds
Trolls, lesser goblins, green militia
War weary soldiers, sidekicks
Elite soldiers, adventurers
Legendary history makers

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

BETA 2.0 is here!

Skulldred beta 2.0 is now available in the download section.  This new edition combines several game mechanics into one with the introduction of the action dice mechanic.  I hope you find it elegant.

I have stripped it back until I am sure the core mechanics are purring along.
The action dice is just a regular D6 with stickers applied.  It should read 2, 2, 1, 3 and have two wild sides.  Use any symbol you like.  When the wild result is rolled and the model is not under the influence of a leader, it falls back on its 'wild side'.  Some models panic, some go catatonic, some remain stalwart- others go beserk!

The action dice.  Customise your own with some stickers.

New Character cards
Beta 2.0 also returns the dice to traditional D6, after several play testers found it gave too much variance in the results given.  Its a shame, because all those hit/miss dice where very pretty and it made the game extremely easy to teach.  However, its important to have calculated risks and sure bets!

I wanted to give a big shout out to Andy Skinner, who totally blew me away with the amount and minute detail of his feedback- the guy is an editing machine!  Its thanks to Andy that Beta 2.0 no longer uses rules lists, sticking instead to plain English sentences instead.  I think it reads so much smoother now.  Cheers Andy, I hope you continue to put me in my place :)

Another shout out to Christian, from lead Adventure, who I got to meet at CANCON!  Christian and I are going to meet at some stage and have a few games of Skulldred at some point.  I did have an early copy of beta 2 floating around, but someone accidentally left with it mid show.  Next year I am planning on having a full demo game table for people to come and play!

Well, I have to get back to things other than Skulldred for a few weeks, so hopefully that should give you all some time to have a read and hopefully a play.  I may be off the PC for a while too, so please forgive me if I do not respond on the forum for a bit!

I hope you like it!