Fighting with Saving Rolls Part 5: Large Battle Example
Brion and his comrades enjoy a week of feasting and celebrating in the village of Dunbrooke after their victory over the two ogres that had been raiding the surrounding homesteads and farms. They set out after hearing a rumor of a ruined keep two days to the north. Eager to fill their pockets with gold, the band packed their gear, checked their armor, and oiled their weapons.
About two hours out from Dunbrooke, the delvers found trouble. Standing in the road was a pair of heavily armored goblins flanked by two more goblins. Then from twelve more goblins came out of the woods on either side of the road, each holding a javelin ready to throw. The goblin warband had been tracking them since they left the borderlands between the Kingdom of Tindel and the territories of the goblin tribes. Brion had a rather large price on his head for certain activities in the recent border war.
The delvers have little chance to escape the ambush unless they want to expose their backs to a javelin volley, and negotiation seems unlikely. Weapons are drawn, lines are formed, and the goblins advance.
Brion is a 2nd level Warrior. He has a CA of 18 (ST22 DEX16 LK16 SPD16), 22 Personal Adds, 2 Warrior Adds, and 14 CON. He wears mail armor and carries a kite shield (36 hits total) and a war hammer (5D+1).
Freya is a 1st level Warrior. She has a CA of 15 (ST17 DEX13 LK16 SPD12), 10 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 11 CON. She wears scale mail and carries a heater shield (26 hits total) and broadsword (3D+4).
Olaf is a 1st level Warrior. He has a CA of 14 (ST16 DEX13 LK16 SPD12), 9 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 11 CON. He wears scale mail and carries a heater shield (26 hits total) and broadsword (3D+4).
Horace is a 1st level Warrior. He has a CA of 14 (ST15 DEX16 LK13 SPD12), 8 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 10 CON. He wears scale mail (16 hits total) and carries a medium bow (4D+0) and a saber (3D+4).
Cirreth is a 1st level Rogue. She has a CA of 10 (ST10 DEX14 LK16 SPD10), 6 Personal Adds, an INT of 14, a WIZ of 12, and 10 CON. She wears soft leather and carries a buckler (8 hits total) and a rapier (3D+4). Cirreth also knows the spells Take That You Fiend and Dem Bones Gonna Rise.
The goblin leader has a MR of 30 (Level 3, CA 30, +15 adds), wields a broadsword (3D+4), and has a target shield and mail (16 hits total).
The goblin sergeant has a MR of 20 (Level 2, CA 20, +10), wields a broad axe (4D), and has a target shield and scale mail (12 hits total).
The 8 goblin soldiers each have a MR of 15 (CA 11, +8), wield a javelin (2D) and spear (3D+1), and have a target shield and leather armor (9 hits total).
The battle begins with an exchange of missiles and magic.
Horace fires his bow (L2SR on CA14, +1 level, +5 adds to hit, +4 damage) and strikes one of the goblin soldiers (rolled 7) although it does not fall (scored 7 hits after armor, armor reduced by 1).
Cirreth casts TTYF on the goblin leader, hoping to take him out early and demoralize his troops. Unfortunately she loses focus (L1SR on INT14, +1 level, rolled 4, failed) and cannot hold the strands of magical energy together.
The goblins reply with a volley of javelins. Brion, Freya, and Olaf raise their shields and actively defend against the attack (commit 12, 6, and 5 adds respectively). The incoming javelins are mostly deflected (L2SR on CA15, rolled 4, 6, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 11), but Horace and Cirreth are both hit. Horace's scale armor absorbs most of the impact (take 2 hits to CON, armor reduced by 1), but Cirreth is not so lucky (takes 8 hits to CON, armor reduced by 1).
The goblins charge while the warriors form a ring around the badly injured rogue.
Brion faces the leader and one soldier, Freya faces the sergeant and one soldier, while Horace and Olaf each face three soldiers. Cirreth prepares herself to cast TTYF one more time.
Brion puts 12 adds toward his attack and 12 to defense against the goblin leader. He therefore needs to make a L3SR on CA18+2+12 to hit the leader. He rolls an 11 and hits! His warhammer does 20 points of damage which smashes through the goblin leaders armor reducing his MR by 4 points and armor by 1 point.
Freya puts 6 adds toward her attack and 5 to defense against the goblin soldier. She attacks the goblin sergeant, needing to make a L2SR on CA15+1+6 to hit. She rolls a 6 and hits dealing 11 points of damage with her broadsword. Unfortunately, this is not enough to get through the sergeants armor, but she does inflict 1 point of spite damage.
Olaf puts all 10 adds toward damage, hoping to quickly cut down one of the three goblin soldiers facing him. He needs to make a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit and rolls a 9, dealing 24 points of damage. Olaf's sword slices through the goblins leather jerkin and it's belly. A moment later the goblin is on the ground.
Horace, feeling slightly vulnerable, puts 4 adds toward defense against one of his opponents and 5 toward damage. He focuses his attack on the goblin he shot with his bow. Horace needs to make a L1SR on CA14+1 to hit. He rolls a 10 and hits dealing 21 points of damage. Horace slides his saber past the goblin's shield and through it's throat. A second goblin soldier lies dead.
Cirreth does her best to ignore the pain of her wounds. She channels her power and focuses on the goblin leader (L1SR on INT14+1, rolled 10, success). Crying out "TAKE THAT YOU FIEND," Cirreth sends out a wave of energy that nearly knocks the leader off of his feet doing 14 points of damage.
The goblin leader attacks Brion, need to make a L2SR on CA30-12. He rolls a 5 and misses. The goblin soldier then attacks, needing a L2SR on CA15. He rolls an 8 and also misses.
The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-5. He rolls a 5 and hits. The sergeants broad axe does 28 points of damage, crushing metal scales and slicing open the leather backing of Freya's armor. She takes 2 hits and her armor is reduced by 1. The soldier moves in next, needing to make a L1SR on CA15-5. He rolls a 6 and misses.
The three goblin soldiers facing Olaf attempt to surround the warrior. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15. They roll 23, 9, and 9. All three goblins manage to stab Olaf with their spears doing 22, 19, 21 (1 spite) points of damage. Olaf's armor saves him from any major wounds, but he does take 1 point of spite damage from the third soldier.
The three soldiers facing Horace also try to hem in and cut down their target. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15, but the first has a -4 penalty. They roll a 5, 9, and 3. Only one goblin is able to hit Horace, but his spear does 19 points of damage slipping through the scales of his armor and into the warriors ribs. Horace takes 4 hits to CON and loses 1 more point of armor. Horace begins to wish that he had a shield.
At the end of Turn 2, the goblin leader (MR 12/30) and sergeant (MR 19/20) are both wounded and two goblin soldiers are dead. Freya (CON 9/11), Horace (CON 4/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded.
Brion continues to actively defend against the goblin leader allocating 12 adds, but puts 12 adds toward damage against the goblin soldier. Brion shifts the focus of his attack hoping to catch the smaller goblin off guard. He need to make a L1SR on CA18+2, rolls a 9 and hits for 36 points of damage (2 spite). Even after the goblins armor and shield are accounted for, he takes 27 hits to his MR. Brion's blow crushes the unfortunate goblins skull killing him instantly.
Freya also switches her target. She allocates 6 adds to defend against the sergeant and 5 adds to damage against the soldier. She needs to make a L1SR on CA15+1 and rolls a 10, dealing 21 points of damage. The blade cuts deep, but the goblins armor saves it's life...for now. The goblin takes 12 hits and it's armor is reduced by 1.
Olaf continues his all-out-attack tactic and uses his 10 adds for damage, putting all of his energy into dealing deadly blows. He needs a L1SR on CA 15+1 to hit and rolls a 7. His strike is less powerful this time, dealing 21 points of damage. The goblin takes 12 hits, but fights on.
Horace now faces two goblins. He shouts to Cirreth to move up and aid him. He puts 3 adds to defense against one goblin, 2 against the second, and 4 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA 14+1 to hit, rolls a 8 and does 27 points of damage (3 spite!). Horace skewers his second goblin then turns to the third.
Cirreth holds back for a moment. She knows that if any of the goblins hit her, she likely would not survive. Instead she waits for an opportunity.
The goblin leader attacks Brion, need to make a L2SR on CA30-12. He rolls an 11 and hits for 19 points of damage. The blades of the goblin's sword easily turns by Brion's mail. The goblin soldier then attacks, needing a L2SR on CA15. He rolls an 10 and also hits for 14 points of damage. Brion deflects this strike with his shield.
The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-6. He rolls a 5 and misses. The soldier moves in next, needing to make a L1SR on CA15. He rolls a 19 and hits for 22 points of damage (1 spite). Freya's armor is able keep the point of the goblins spear from her flesh, but she is still injured by the impact taking 1 point of spite damage.
The two goblin soldiers facing Olaf maneuver around the body of their fallen comrade. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15. They roll an 8 and 8, both hitting. Their spears do 22 (2 spite) and 18 (1 spite) points of damage. Olaf's armor saves him again, but the repeated blows take their toll dealing 3 points of spite damage.
The two soldiers facing Horace attack their target a bit more warily. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15, with a -3 and -2 penalty. They roll 31 (!) and 6. The first goblin makes a masterful attack catching Horace completely unaware. His spear does 16 points of damage, cutting though Horace's armor again. Horace takes 2 hits to CON and loses 1 more point of armor.
At the end of Turn 3, the goblin leader (MR 12/30) and sergeant (MR 19/20) are both wounded, two goblin soldiers are wounded (MR 3/15 each), and four goblin soldiers are dead. Freya (CON 8/11), Olaf (8/11), Horace (CON 2/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded. Brion remains unscathed.
With the goblin soldier down, Brion is able to put all of his attention on the leader. He puts 10 adds toward his attack and 14 adds toward damage. Brion trusts his own armor to protect him so that he can put enough force into his own attacks to get through the goblin leaders mail. Brion needs a L3SR on CA18+2+10, rolls a 7 and hits. His warhammer does 42 points of damage (2 spite); even with his mail and shield the goblin leader takes 27 hits. The goblin leader's neck snaps and he joins his soldiers in the dirt.
Freya is still facing two opponents. The goblin soldier is heavily wounded so she decides to finish him off. She applies 6 adds to defend against the goblin sergeant and 5 adds to damage against the soldier. She needs a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit and rolls a 14, hitting for 25 points of damage (2 spite). Freya puts her sword through the goblin's heart. He takes 17 points of damage and expires.
Olaf also faces two goblins and he too moves to finish his wounded opponent. He once again allocates 3 and 2 adds to defense against the two soldiers and 5 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit, but rolls a 3! Olaf is overconfident and his attacks are easily deflected by the goblin.
Horace has managed to reduce himself to one adversary, but he is gravely injured. He puts 5 adds to defend against his opponent, 2 to attack, and 2 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA14+1+2, rolls an 11 and hits for 18 points of damage (1 spite). The goblin takes 9 hits and loses 1 point of armor; wounded but still fighting.
Cirreth sees that Horace is in trouble. She draws her rapier and moves in to support. She puts 3 adds to defend against the goblin and 3 to attack. She needs a L1SR on CA10+1+3 to hit, rolls a 5 and just barely misses.
The goblin leader, before Brion lands his killing blow, growls at Brion and spits in his face. He lunges with his broadsword needing to make a L2SR on CA30. He rolls a 10 and hits for 19 points of damage. Brion's armor and his skill with his shield still prove too much for the goblin.
The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-6. He rolls a 5 and misses again. The soldier, on the verge panic, needs to make a L1SR on CA15. He rolls a 22 (wow) and hits for 12 points of damage. The spear point is turned by Freya's scale armor.
The two goblin soldiers facing Olaf press their attack, but they too seem to be reconsidering the situation. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15 with a -3 and -2 penalty. They roll an 6 and 6, both missing.
The last goblin now finds himself outnumbered facing both Horace and Cirreth, although both are leaking. Because both Horace and Cirreth allocated adds to defend against the goblin he attacks at a combined -8. He chooses to attack (random roll) Cirreth, needing a L1SR on CA15-8. He rolls a 7 and his spear misses the rogue.
At the end of Turn 4, the goblin leader lies dead, the sergeant (MR 19/20) is wounded, two goblin soldiers are wounded (MR 3/15 and 6/15), and five goblin soldiers are dead. Only one goblin is not injured. Freya (CON 8/11), Olaf (8/11), Horace (CON 2/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded. Brion stands unbloodied.
The goblins have lost half their number including their leader, are now outnumbered 5 to 4, and two of the soldiers are terribly wounded. Time to retreat.
As the goblins break and run, each character can make a L1SR on SPD to try to get an attack in before they are out of range.
Brion rolls a 11 (SPD16+2), Freya rolls a 3 (SPD12+1), Olaf rolls a 6 (SPD12+1), Horace rolls a 5 (SPD12+1), and Cirreth rolls a 6 (SPD10+1). Only Brion reacts fast enough. He attack the goblin sergeant in order to completely remove the leadership of the demoralized goblins. Since the goblin has his back turned, Brion only needs to make a L1SR on CA18+2 to hit. (Note: Brion does need to make some kind of Saving Roll to see if he hits even if the goblin's back is turned. I ruled that it would be 1 level less than normal given that the goblin was fleeing.) Brion puts all of his focus on delivering a killing blow and allocates his full 24 Personal Adds to damage. Brion rolls 9 and hits for 42 points of damage. Since the sergeant is running he can't really use his shield to block the attack, so it is only worth half of it's protective value (another House Rule). The sergeant takes 32 hits and drops with a crushed skull before he can flee. The three soldiers manage to run for the tree line and vanish from sight.
Brion's crew wastes no time in looting the bodies of the fallen goblins. Their armor and weapons will fetch gold in any town they come across, and they'll need that gold to help tend their wounds. Horace and Cirreth are tended as well as they can be and they set off the road once again; just a bit more cautiously this time.
For their actions in the battle, Brion earns 83 AP, Freya 39 AP, Olaf 25 AP, Horace 48 AP, and Cirreth 25 AP.
I used all of the new tweaks from my last post in this example. Most important were the means of determining the Saving Roll level of a successful attack and limits on the number of Personal Adds that could be applied to attack and defense. Both of these worked well and I will make them standard rules in this system.
I think that this combat example did a great job in demonstrating the value of having both body armor and shields in combat. Unlike their battle against the two trolls, the party of delvers faced armored opponents; this can be a challenge to deal with even with a 3D+4 weapon. An opponent in leather armor with a target shield can take 9 hits without damage and that's without applying the Warrior armor doubling bonus. I could have made this battle even more of a challenge by stating that the goblins were all warriors. I tend to not do this, however, and leave those sorts of bonuses to player characters or major NPCs. The armor of the delvers certainly helped them, not only body armor but also shields. Those extra hits of protection make a big difference in this combat system especially since you are not "shielded" by fighting with a second weapon as in standard T&T combat. Brion's kite shield (worth 12 hits of protection with the Warrior bonus) saved him from injury the entire battle. Cirreth's buckler, while worth only 2 hits of protection in her hands, saved her life. You can believe that Horace will make use of one of the fallen goblin's target shields.
The battle also provided a good example of how Personal Adds (PAs) can be divided. PAs may be applied to attack Saving Rolls, defense against an opponents Saving Rolls, or increasing damage. Determining how you are going to divide those PAs takes some practice and some thought, but can add a lot to the combat experience. This adds a good component of player skill to combat in addition to character skill. How many adds do you really need to apply to your attack? Do you gamble on need to roll a slightly higher number for the opportunity to do more damage? Should you put as much as you can into active defense or do you rely on your armor to protect you. Do you take a hit so for the chance of delivering a killing blow? These are all questions that need to be considered. To avoid getting too bogged down in these decisions, and to add some excitement, I would give each player a time limit on deciding how to allocate adds. Perhaps only a minute or less?
Combining PAs toward defense against a single opponent is critical, especially when two or more characters are outmatched by a single opponent. This was shown to be very effective against the ogres in the previous examples, and worked well for the gravely injured Horace and Cirreth here as well.
The differences in Adventure Points earned for each character may cause some concern, but I think that it is a fair distribution based on the contributions of each of the characters. Brion faced and prevailed over the toughest opponent and was able to cut down the second toughest in the route so he earned a significant number of APs. Horace managed to slay two goblin soldiers single-handed and wounded a third so he earned the second highest. Olaf and Cirreth had tougher times and made low rolls on low level Saving Rolls so they earned the least number of APs. However, with the exception of Brion, the characters earned a similar number of APs that might be awarded in standard T&T combat. If all the goblins were counted as defeated, a GM might award 170 AP divided among the five characters or 34 AP each.
In the end I think that this system of combat has great potential. Some may view it as too crunchy for T&T, but I simply see it as a logical extension of the Saving Roll system, and Saving Rolls are the defining aspect of T&T. The application of Personal Adds can make for a lot of numbers to deal with (especially for the GM), but it really is not that difficult. Using chits, or coins, or beans to keep track of add distributions can make it even easier.
Next up will be the final set of rules for my T&T Saving Roll Combat Method.