Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fantasy Experimentation

After publicly pondering the rules to use for my Anarendor project, Kaptain Kobold was kind enough to send me a PDF of the Hordes of the Things (HOTT) rules version 2.0. Although I am familiar with DBA, the forerunner of HOTT, I would like to study them more before giving them a whirl.

In the meantime, I had an itch to experiment with some rules I had in mind. To that end, I ran a small skirmish (my report was posted earlier today).

Rules Notes
Here are some notes on the rules I used:

I experimented with a dice pool, like many of my home brew rules. Attackers would roll a number of dice depending on troop type, hitting on rolls of 4+. Defenders would roll dice in order to negate hits. Beneficial terrain would increase the defender's dice pool. In a way, it is similar to the skirmish rules I have been using for much of this year.

Troops Types
These are the troops I used today:

  • Barbarian Hordes - strong in attack (3 dice) but tend to die in droves (0 defense dice and only take 2 hits, although I probably should bump it up to 3 hits)
  • Barbarian Chieftain - hardier than his hordes (3 attack, 1 defense, 4 hits)
  • Archers - not particularly powerful, but their range makes them dangerous. I used the same attack/defend stats for each side (2 attack, 0 defense) but the barbarians could only take 2 hits to the human's 4
  • Anardendor Levy - not as aggressive as the barbarians but strong of heart (2 attack, 1 defense, 4 hits. This probably should be 3)
  • Knights - strong and mobile (3 attack, 1 defense, 4 hits)
For the good guy army, I used the Song of Blade and Heroes activation method. Each unit could roll 1-3 dice to activate, needing to roll >= their quality value (4 for the purposes of this experiment). Two failures would end the turn.

For the bad guys, I wanted to take a new approach. There were 2 reasons for this:
  1. I didn't want to get into commanding the bad guy army, deciding what order to activate and how many dice to roll. Instead, I wanted to program their movements to a certain extent.
  2. I wanted to reduce the times that the bad guys failed to move. This was to create a feeling of an inexorable, seemingly overwhelming assault.
To achieve this, I simply rolled a D6 per unit every turn. On a 1, it remained immobile while on a 5-6 it moved an extra space. In general, the bad guys rushed toward their foe.

For this particular scenario, I added a wrinkle to the good army's activation. I rolled a D6 at the beginning of each turn. The knights could not begin moving until a 6 was rolled. This was to simulate the delay as they picked their way along a secret path over the ridge.

I thought about building some 3mm scale block armies, but decided against it. Instead, I ordered a couple of packs of the Magister Militum from Scale Creep (I highly recommend him). In the meantime, I used my 6mm medieval troops for today's scenario.

Final Thoughts
  • My new activation method for the bad guys worked as I hoped. In general, they rushed forward but there were occasional snafus where a unit failed to move.
  • I am increasingly pleased with the dice pool method. I especially like defense rolls. For years, I resisted them because I didn't want additional dice rolls, but now I like the variability they create.
  • I may need to play around with the troop stats, as mentioned above. I do think that giving hordes a defense of 0 creates the feel I want.
  • I did not try it out in this scenario, but I may experiment with replacing hordes, a la HOTT.

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