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.