Monday, 31 March 2014

A different take on miniatures.

Reviewing Open Adventure turned out to be a bigger task than I expected, in a good way, so for now, here's a quickie to keep you guys entertained.

Last rules article we did was about knocking enemies backwards and today we will talk about unusual ways to move around during a battle.

Movement in OSR combat tends to be fairly basic. You move up to your movement allowance, until you are in melee, at which point you mostly stay there. Some people envision the melee as a big, sprawling affair, while others tend to keep the combatants fairly stationary. This can work with or without miniatures as well, though I find that using mini's will encourage the "static" view of melee combat. I.E. your miniature represents fairly accurately where you are physically located.

Here's a few tricks to keep miniatures fun and exciting, without getting too bogged down in their use.

You'll need to determine a good ground scale. Since movement is in increments of 10 feet usually, 1" = 10 feet is usually decent, but you could do 5 feet without too much trouble either.

In most cases, you can simply translate distances and movement rates without issue, and most OSR combat rules will work as is, with no modification.
Some movements will be exaggerated a little, to make them more interesting when using figures.

What we are concerned with here is how to do the fun stuff. You could probably incorporate some of these options in a game not using miniatures as well.

Note that as is usually the case, I aim towards simplicity. Some groups will want to add additional modifiers to the process, to get the experience they want.

Push backs - We already covered this in the Knock Back article. When using mini's, I rule a knock back as 2", with the attacker having the option to "follow up" 1 ".
This makes it a fairly dramatic move to attempt, and also serves to separate the combatants from melee in most cases.

The target can be pushed backwards diagonally or straight away but must move "away" from the attacker.

Slam - A more aggressive version of the Push, a slam occurs at the end of a charge, instead of conventional attacks.
Roll 1D6, on a 1, the attacker stumbles and is knocked prone adjacent to the target. On a 4+, the target is knocked 2" out of the way (determine direction randomly or as appropriate by the GM) and the attacker may continue moving past the target.
Heavier / Lighter figures in the same size class (a fighter in metal armour knocking past a mage) is a +1/-1 modifier.
Each size class (small, medium, large) is a +1/-1 modifier.

Targets knocked away must make a Save vs Paralysis or be knocked prone.

Needless to say, the target of a slam will have any spell casting interrupted.

Maneuver - A combatant in melee may maneuver up to 1" in any melee round, for each melee attack made. Any combatants in physical contact may follow up, remaining in contact.
Maneuvering cannot displace an opponent, unless that opponent is a smaller size class.
For example, an Ogre could displace a human.

Force back - Any combatant losing hit points from melee attacks, without inflicting damage on the attacker will be forced back 1".
The attacker may elect to follow up, or let the melee be broken.

Slip through - A character wearing no metal armour may attempt to slip through the space occupied by an opponent. Against opponents of the same size, this is a difficult prospect, requiring a D6 roll of a 1-2.
Apply a +1 for each of the following conditions: If the target lost hit points this round, is surprised or has been knocked back/forced back/slammed.

Slipping through the space occupied by a creature one size larger receives a +2 bonus to the roll.
Creatures two sizes larger (a man sized creature slipping through a Huge creature, like a dragon) can always be done, with no roll required.

The character slipping through can take no attacks as they do so, and may not end their movement in melee contact with the creature they are slipping through.

The above should give you some basics to work with. Let me know what you think.

Leave a comment if you want to see more of this stuff, or combat mods/rules in general.

Thing of the day:

Snazzy translucent dice always seem to roll better for me.
Go ahead, grab a set, and help keep the blog going.