Saturday, September 19, 2020

Minimalistic D&D part V: Hirelings and Morale without Charisma

First and foremost, I've retooled the 2d6 morale roll to a 1d6 roll (roll equal or lower to stay in the fight). The real reason is that all the other mechanics I'm writing use 1d6 too, so it makes the rules prettier overall, but its hard to admit this vain part of me. The reason I tell myself is that it allows me to change the 2-12 range of morale in monsters to one with less granularity and that makes it easier for me to adscribe a rating to a monster based on their description.
morale 11-12 becomes 6 (mindless undead, never flees) 
morale 9-10 become 5 (really brave or mad warriors, dire animals, uruk hai or dragons)
morale 8 becomes 4 (monsters with martial training, annoyed predators, etc)
morale 7 becomes 3 (annoyed peoples, common predators when not overhungry, 50% chance to flee)
morale 5-6 becomes 2 (if a monster is sort of coward-ish, herbivore animals, etc)
morale 4 becomes 1 (mostly not combatants, rust monsters, etc)

Then we get to the next part: This rules I'm writing in this rule series have no attribute scores for characters, so I don't have charisma to determine number or loyalty for hirelings. 

For the number, I don't yet know what to do. Maybe base the cap on gold alone: if you can pay them, you can buy them. There is something I like about independizing charisma from hirelings, which is that I can treat hirelings as belonging/following to the whole party instead of a single PC individual, which makes more sense to me. This and reaction rolls I feel that could work better if adressed by the group as a whole.

The downside is that being "communal" and independent from charisma, PCs might lose some agency over the behavior of their henchmen. The upside is that when you die and must roll a new character, you can pick any of your common hirelings instead of your personal ones. Is like a common pool for second characeters.

For the loyalty: Whenever you find a tavern/inn/town in which 1dX hirelings are available, you roll for their morales secretly: 3d6 keep lowest. Sum the other 2 dice: that's the price he reclaims per month/adventure/whatever. The idea is that it gives you an idea of his morale without really telling you.

Morale 1 or 2 for torchbearers or sages, 3 and 4 for bandits or men at arms. Morale 5 is for this mysterious strangers smoking on the dark table by the bottom room. Maybe I could make a table of hirelings or something, with one special trait for each, like "+2 morale when tainted with jewels" "will steal from you" "morale drops to 1 in presence of spiders" etc.

When confronted with danger, they roll morale, not loyalty or anything. Their morale increases overtime somehow, with 5 being the maximum. 

When you give them an order that is not obviously dangerous they probably accept, mostly if it falls within their expected job. 

Loyalty takes two shapes: +1 to any morale roll derived from your orders if they have survived an adventure with you and +1 if you have some relevant special feat that allows you to be more charismatic than common people.

This rules can apply to Searchers of the Unknown or Here is some Fucking D&D, which I tried to scourge for hireling rules being both of them attribute-less. Just to find they hadn't any.

Alternativelly, there is another approach: to ditch all this post entirelly and to have monsters roll for reaction again at 50% hp left.

On the next chapter I'll probably steal something to abstract distances and get rid of counting feet altogether for this game.

Monday, September 7, 2020

High on grid // "allweaponsdod6damage but..."

 I'm running a game for friends who want to play D&D because they saw it on Stranger Things. They are in for the minis and they want to play with them because they use them on the show, no negociations. At first I tried to tell them that miniatures are optional, that I never used them. But they passed it on me in the end: I thought "what the fuck why not" and now I'm searching for cheap second hand warhammer Rohan warriors. 

Though I started playing rpgs with grids by drawing little combats in a squared notebook, I've trained myself to use abstract combat afterwards. But now that I'm bound to use it, I'm trying to devise ways in which to use it to its greater potential. I don't want to change things that are not broken (not re-defining combat or anything). But there are nebulous things that could be improved.

As in Basic D&D all weapons do d6 damage, the distinction between weapons could be how do they behave on a grid (ranged weapons already work that way with the "short-medium-long" ranges)

Spears, for example, could use their long shaft to strike in all directions, including diagonals (red and yellow arrows) while shortswords can only strike in the cardinal directions (yellow arrows). This makes swords and spears equally functional on 1 square wide corridors (which makes a lot of sense). You can make spears so they can also attack things 1 square away in the cardinal directions. Maybe is too unrealistic but if it follows game logic its OK for me.

Two handed swords and greataxes can affect all guys on an L shaped area around the wielder (because an L looks to me shaped like a slash), like in this picture, highlighted in green. This can work with systems with variable weapon damage by having the sword doing d8 damage to one target OR d6 to all in that area. Or maybe straight d8 in area.

Certain magic swords can also strike on cone or square area (a sword capable of summoning whirlwinds or sending flame waves, maybe) and certain magic items could improve your movement rate by some squares per turn (all the humanoid monsters/pcs have similar movement rates: 2 or 4 feet in combat, though I abstract it in 2 or 4 squares because I'm european and I dont want to learn what a feet or a yard are). Having a +1 square per turn is the edge to outrun that monster that moves just at your same rate.

Every other problem that arises with the game, I'll try to solve it or balance it by making up shit with the grid. Let's see what happens.