Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blood on the Sand II: The Finale

Here's the finale to the fight I posted about previously.  As before, first the mechanics and then the narration.

Melee - Admago attacks Wild Man 4. Rolls 8+2+10. Near miss. WM 4 attacks in return and gets 6+2+8. Nope.

Because he is so wounded, Keendo's decides he will Dodge and head toward Aban Dar (the fallen sorcerer).

Deal attacks WM 3. His first roll is 3+5=8 and misses. But his second (he's fighting with two daggers) is box-cars, for a total of 12+5=17. He pushes his multiplier from x1 to x2 and does 14 points of damage; the bugger is dead (several times over), but the pit-fighter looks cool). WM 3 strikes at Deal and gets snake-eyes! His spear is broken, which would suck for him, except that he is dead and so it's not the worst thing that has happened to him lately.

Missile - none.

Magic - none.

Movement - Admago circles around to see Aban Dar bleeding and Keendo rushing his way.

Deal heads toward Admago and WM 4.

Aban Dar lies still and bleeds.

WM 4 decides to make a run for it, giving Admago a free attack at his back. Admago rolls a lousy 4, though and misses.

WM 6 is gone.

The Desert Man and his foe circle each other - sword feinting against spear, spear clashing with sword - but neither finds an opening.

Further on, Keendo takes the opportunity to slip away from the melee and run toward the bleeding Sorcerer, hoping to avoid any further injury. Dea-laidir watches him go, while warding off his foe's spear with his twin blades. As the Wild Man makes a powerful thrust, the pit-fighter jumps aside and hears, with satisfaction, the sound of the spear splintering against the hard ground. At nearly the same split second, he strikes with both blades: the shaggy barbarian manages to dodge one, but, in so doing, places himself right in the path of the second bone dagger and Dea-laidir claims his second throat of the day.

Rather than savouring his victory, though, the sicarius is immediately off towards the embattled Admago. But even as he does so, that Wild Man, seeing the hopelessness of his situation, begins to run off the path, into the underbrush, in a desperate attempt to save his own life. The Desert Man attempts to strike at the suddenly exposed back, but misses.

All is silent.

What I Learned
All in all, I feel pretty good about the fairly substantial changes I have made to the combat system.  It actually shocks me that I have added complexity to the basic, abstract system of Ye Auld Game; I almost feel like I should turn in my Rules-Lite Gamer card.  But, I dunno, this is all working for me.  There were a couple of intriguing dice results in this combat: a PC got box-cars while an NPC got snake-eyes in not one but two rounds.  The result in the round was inconsequential but made the PC look awesome (14 points of damage in one blow!); the sorcerer's box-cars in the previous round was nifty and had a cool double-kill effect.

But there are some kinks that need working out:

First, I should make clear that in table-top play, you can announce your intentions per phase, rather than all at the beginning of the round.  The Ref should say, "Anyone doing Melee?" and resolve that; then "Anyone shooting missiles?" and so on.  That way, if you had intended to charge someone, but they die in the Melee Phase, you don't have to charge their corpse. You could certainly say that this simulates fog of war and whatnot, but I don't find it much fun. I definitely don't want scripted combat, which is the result otherwise.

Second, I totally made up that parting shot for Admago on the spot, based on a rule in the S&S Combat section that I had heretofore ignored (it is kinda buried a bit in the book).  It occurred to me that melee could become a game of leap-frog otherwise: move in on Round 1, attack and then half-move back to your friends. I don't like where that heads.  So here's the expanded idea for movement in melee, taking cues from the B/X iteration of YAG:

Any character who attacks or is attacked during the Melee Phase is engaged. An engaged character cannot move in those rounds in which he is engaged with 3 exceptions:

1. His opponent dies during the Melee Phase, effectively disengaging the character.  The character can make a half-move the same round.

2. He dodges during the Melee Phase, which also effectively disengages him (a "Fighting Withdrawal").  Half-move possible in the same round.  This also disengages the opponent, who is thus free to make a half-move following the character and re-engage him next round.

3. He forgoes any attack or dodge, doing nothing and thereby disengaging (a "Full Retreat").  The character is free to make a full move at the same phase, BUT his opponent gets a "parting shot": a free, extra attack at the character's retreating backside.  The character in full retreat cannot apply a Shield or a Parry to his Defense against this parting shot (although his natural, level-based Defense still applies).

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