Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Outcome of the Military Assault on the Temple of Elemental Evil

Our group got together yesterday to play out the military assault on the TOEE.  I had 5 players and myself.  I basically had 3 players play one side, and 2 play the other.  I like it that way when big game changing stuff is afoot.  I just sit back and make judgment calls on rules questions. 

Only myself and another guy had any experience at this sort of thing, and that experience was from 20 yrs ago.  Neither of us liked it then, and as it turns out no one really enjoyed that aspect of the game now.   We used Delta's Rules for miniature combat, which were 1000 times better than the old Battlesystem rules we used back in the 80's.  They were nice and simple, and I would highly recommend them to any who are interested. Everyone was able to grasp the rules in just a few minutes.

Of course there were kinks, mostly in keeping track of phases of combat.  We decided that if we do something like this next time, we just need to write everything down as we go.  I used army men for the troops (bought like 500 at the dollar store).  Another lesson learned---coins or colored flat glass chips work better than shitty army men from the dollar store that don't stand up well.   No big loss, as my 7 yr old nephew will do backflips when I give him all the army men.

One thing Delta's rules didn't address was the use of siege engines.  I turned to Ol' Reliable, the original DMG, and of course it came through again.  Ranges were used right from the book, as was the hardness value of walls (value = 20).  I just had to convert the dmg done by the engines themselves, which came to be 2 dmg per hit, and determined that a 6 was needed to hit the wall on a d6 based on what Gary stated about AC of walls.  A miss had a chance to hit each of the squares around the target square.  If the catapult to-hit roll on the wall was a 1 or a 2, a d8 was rolled to determine which square may have been hit around the target square, then a to-hit roll was made against the Armor value of whatever was in that square.  I figured that a 3, 4, or 5 roll on the original catapult to-hit roll hit the wall but in such a shitty way that it did no damage, perhaps to to where it hit or the hardness of the wall or faultiness of the siege engine.

All that being said, I doubt we will play again.  It was alright, but an exercise in gameplay we just didn't go for.  Everyone would rather have been delving into the dungeon.  However, all agreed that we had to try it once, just to see how it was, to get it out of our systems and decide whether we liked it or not. 

What came out of it in the aftermath discussion, was that if there was a simpler mechanic to determine the outcome without having to set up and move around the men and monsters on the board, one based on just the numerical values of the men and monsters involved, which also calculated losses on each side, that would be a great thing.  One player suggested:

"I am thinking that straight up opposed rolls - one unit against the other on d12 or d20 would work as "this side dies and this side wins on this round - period". The die rolls could be modified +/- by relative power level and (to keep initiative relevant) by the difference (perhaps double the difference on a d20) of the initiative rolls each round. Nothing too complex, but just to speed up the process."

However, if you need to have forces clash in a campaign, but don't take any enjoyment in determining the outcome with mini's, what do you do?  Basically a quick and dirty computer program  based on the forces strengths and weaknesses.  If someone could develop something like that, I bet it would sell well.