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!


  1. Questions after trying to design some goblins for GW LotR Moria goblin figures.

    I'll have to think whether they are Size 2 Combat 3, or Size 3 Combat 2. Going with former for now.

    How do you buy Shoot dice in this system? Your Size doesn't come into it, right? Is there anything to allow a larger thing to have a bow that does more damage? Or do you just buy more Shoot dice? Can we separate shooting skill vs strength?

    For Wild Side, I think I would typically use Leader, Steadfast, and Stupid. I could see occasionally using one of the others, and some almost never. I wonder if one of these (Stupid?) should be given a name that indicates the closest thing to a standard level. Steadfast sounds very positive, and Stupid very negative. Nothing sounds middling.

    Besides Wild Side behavior, I guess that's suggesting that all ratings give some notion on what's typical, to help normalize the range. I was going to give my goblins (LotR Moria) one Armor die for all the metal they wear. But looking at the examples, armor is rare. I may still give it to those with shields.

    I'm skeptical of the Shielding rule for a real shield. I may try it, though. Not sure I can suspend disbelief. :)

    Nervous about rules with multiple effects, like Slow (change speed and add armor). What if I don't want both effects? For example, I never like rules about having armor affecting speed in a fantasy game. If I want an armored critter to be slower, I can make it so with a flexible system. But LotR elves look like they should have armor without losing speed. Your rule is the opposite, but it is a similar idea.


  2. So basically switching back to the previous version that had shoot level and shoot dice is good in your book?

  3. I'll have to look at the previous version. I basically started thinking about how I'd do my goblins, and ran into questions about the archers. 1) I couldn't find any way that I could make their bows weaker (or stronger if I had something large with a bow). 2) I couldn't tell how to price the shooting ability, since shooter's size didn't come into it.

    Are you asking about the shooting rule in 2.02? (That's the older version I have.) Could you spell it out, please?

    I like having a target's size enter into it, but I think a big thing should be easier to hit with a bow, not easier to kill with a bow.

    Let me try two different methods and compare the results. One is shooter's Shoot dice with target's Size as threshold. This mostly makes sense to me, but I don't know how to cost it, and it does confuse (for me) skill with strength.

    If you spell out the other version, I'll be able to get a better feel for whether it does what I expect.

    I'm having trouble coming up with a suggestion, because what makes sense is to modify the target number. But that's what you're avoiding, just modifying number of dice. I think this is one of those cases where you need to apply your design principles and say how it's going to be. For people that really want to have fun with a game, they're going to no matter what quirks the system has. I get stuck on the quirks sometimes, but if you read battle reports, those aren't what come up. It is the feel of the game that's important.


  4. At some stage a line must be drawn between realism and fun. The trick here is to find that line. Don't think about simulation, but enjoyment and feel.

    Accuracy and damage should be linked- up to a point. After all, give Legolas a goblin bow and he will take down a big armoured monster because he hits it in the eye. Give a drunk goblin a bazooka and he probably will still be quite dangerous.
    Making sure Skulldred can easily translate to pulp and futuristic is my concern- a fuzzy short bear with a bow certainly should not be able to harm an imperial walker.
    I would like to differentiate between weak shooters, snipers and tank killers.
    Shoot dice vs enemy size is the neatest- to score a hit- since this puts it in line with the combat system. It is translating that result quickly into a reasonable damage result that is the trick I suspect.
    Once work dies down I will focus on a few ideas I have that may answer the issue.

    Does a simple 'lots of shoot dice' reflecting both damage and accuracy really cut it?

  5. Simulation certainly isn't what I want. But one aspect of fun is whether that nifty figure has the feel you want it to. As long as nobody is specifically looking to tell that really accurate pixie archer from the troll throwing that rock, one dice pool will work.

    I was just asking for clarification of the rule, and how to cost it. Cost doesn't really matter for playtesting, so I'm just taking dice * 3 for now.

    I sent an email to you about the realism/fun balance. Do you really want all those rules for something like Long Strike?