Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game...and life

Here we go, since we have established a topic it is time to wander a little. I have been working on my figures and scenery for table-top battle games recently. The thing is there is never enough time to follow the things that you enjoy in life and too many things that you enjoy to follow completely. Like a battle (how do you like that nifty little twist) one has a strategy that one hopes will prevail, one follows the strategy to the best of one's ability. And depending on how good the strategy and how close one was able to follow it, one either has success and glory or one is defeated by the evil life/work/events and is cast down to suffer shame and humiliation (or at least one's own derision).
Needless to say the figures have sat for a while with little change as the events keep happening and make time an ever shrinking resource. I hope to get back on to the painting tomorrow and also I hope to begin a series of posts to put the Battle Company rules for Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game up here as well. If you are lucky I will post a few pictures of my progress, mostly to document how far they have come to now and to see how much longer it takes me to finish them. I find the miniature scenes and figures fun to work with, pose and to create scenes and miniature "snapshots" of a fantasy world. The best models will tell a story of their own, and if done well the story can be understood by many people, not just the author.
Really, that is what makes a "good" story. The ability for one to have the audience identify with the story's characters. For better or worse the audience has to understand the character, and to suspend their disbelief in the character. We all start out disbelieving in a story, be it game, novel or picture. We then find in the story, things that we identify with, and if there are enough of them we willingly suspend our doubts and will invest a belief in the story, give it life from our imagination, and take the offerings from the authors imagination and build on it in our own way until we can see, smell and feel the story. From there we will defend it and unless given sufficient reason, we will support it and help it to grow, and eagerly await the next chapter of the story.
Until next Chapter then my friends, keep your strategy simple and give it your best...and I will try to do the same.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dragons At Dawn RPG: Courage, Friends, 'Tis Not Too Late ...

I finally broke down and purchased the pdf version of Dragons At Dawn yesterday. Dragons At Dawn (DaD) is a roleplaying-game (RPG) ruleset, developed and published by D. H. Boggs, a D&D fan and regular on the Original D&D Web-Forums.

In DaD, Mr. Boggs recreates a version of the fantasy rpg rules employed by Dave Arneson (the co-creator of the original Dungeons and Dragons rules) in the period 1970 to 1973, prior to Arneson's collaboration with Gary Gygax. That collaboration resulted in the creation of the original 1974 Dungeons and Dragons rules.

I will be posting my full review of DaD on A Paladin In Citadel. I wanted to talk, here, about Morale Checks. Mr. Boggs suggests that there are several morale "conditions" that existed in the Arneson fantasy game, affecting a combatant's ability to fight:

Flushed: fights at double strength and defence
Normal: fights at normal strength and defence
Shaken: fights at half strength
Disrupted (I know, you were hoping for stirred here): fights at one-third strength
Routed: Fights at one-quarter strength

If I understand Mr. Boggs correctly, in DaD, everyone starts at normal morale. Every failed morale check drops the combatant to the next lower level. It's somewhat vague how one moves up to a "flushed" condition, although he gives two examples of situations that could result in being flushed.

For our purposes, (if these conditions were to be applied in some way) I think there are too many morale conditions. If anything, I would eliminate disrupted and routed, and simply have Flushed, Normal, Shaken, and Surrenders.

As for our earlier exchange, regarding the use of a total wound pool, to determine when a company is broken, I think using total wounds, rather than number of combatants, makes sense. So if I have a company of 7, but two of the company can take two wounds, then my total wounds is 9. Therefore the company could suffer 4 wounds (for example, 4 henchmen could be disabled, leaving only 3 remaining in the company) and not have to make morale checks, as there is still 5 wounds between the remaining three, which means I still have 5/9 of my force.

Jury's still out, in my mind, on excluding fate. Is the existence of some uncanny ability of the hero to avoid wounds / death not known, in some fashion, to the rest of the company? If so, wouldn't that increase their confidence in their collective ability to ultimately overcome their foes?

Interested to elicit your feedback.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Start at the beginning...or whatever.

Okay, Okay I have been following my friend's blog for some time and I have finally decided to create my own blog. Not that I really have anything much to say, which is why I have never decided to create a blog before. My friend has a lot to say, being a child of the Dungeons and Dragons age of gaming. I was from the time preceeding RPG's and the role playing we did was outside with a stick for a sword and piles of wood for ships. We did go adventuring in our imaginations, so we do have that in common with the later D&D players. And we often came back a little worse for wear and loaded with loot, so that was similar too.
Really, the love of kids playing that kind of imagination game has been around for a long time. I would not be surprised to hear that ancient (to me) Egyptian children played adventurers of the day as well. What D&D did was make that kind of imaginative role playing possible on a tabletop and at any time of day or night, regardless of the weather. It also made it possible to keep the snacks within reach while running for your life in a dungeon, or on a cross country trek to the fabled dungeon of Muk. As a kid I would have appreciated that as well, it also gave a way of keeping score and track of your accomplishments. Keeping the story alive from session to session so to speak.
Anyway as the Blog says these are musings and since there is no topic for these thoughts this is all off topic.