Saturday, 14 July 2018

Squad Hammer V2 Initiative

Squad Hammer is a huge success (for a tiny company, I mean) which means there's a lot of excitement about tweaking and improving the system.

In the interest of trying new and exciting things, I am going to open the "black box" a little bit, so you can peek inside.

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/247297/Squad-Hammer-v2--Initiative

The link offers you a 3 page "drop in" replacement for the rulebook initiative chapter, offering an improved and cleaned up version.
Download it, give it a spin, get stuck in and most importantly let me know how you get on with it.

If you want to fund further development, you can contribute any amount you like by paying for this download.
The better I can pay my bills, the better I can focus on updating older titles.

If you want to just download it for free and see what's shaping up, go for it.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Renegade SCout updates

Work is proceeding furiously on Renegade Scout, so I thought I share a few glimpses of what is happening on the way to Stage 2.

One of the big realizations after talking to people is that "compatible" for a lot of people seems to be less about an exact clone and more about a game that has many of the same beats and lets you use the same figures.

In other words, we can be a bit more daring with the rules design, as long as the overall feel remains the same.
This is important, because it also lets us simplify a few things that are too clunky currently.

As such, let me present what close combat currently looks like (on my notepad, I mean).
The example below will use the legacy names for ability scores, so it's easier to follow along. More on that later.


Figures still line up man to man, similar to the Stage 1 system.
Since close combats don't happen that often, I think this is an acceptable approach (versus having unit vs unit combats).

Each player rolls their number of attack dice and picks the highest.

Compare the highest die to each other. Higher score wins and inflicts 1 hit per attack (you will recognize this is pretty similar to how the LOTR mini's game does things).

On a draw, Strength will act as a tie-breaker (NOT initiative).
This offers two things:

*First, most melee weapons in RT had their own strength value, meaning the figures strength is almost never used.

*Second, it means that high strength, low weapon skill figures (many RT monsters, 2nd edition Demons etc.) go from being walk-overs in combat to being quite dangerous.

But what about Weapon Skill? What does that do now?

Easy: It offers re-rolls.
After rolling your dice, you can re-roll any dice that add up to your WS or less.

So I have WS 4 and roll a 2 and a 5. I could re-roll the 2.
If i rolled a 1 and a 3 I could re-roll both of the dice.

Multiple 6's will add +1 to the score as well, allowing a lucky roll to exceed a 6.


From testing so far, this system speeds up combat a good deal, creates a pretty fun "dueling" mechanic and makes big monsters feel quite scary.
A Bloodthirster (using 2nd ed stats) will be nearly unstoppable in hand to hand, as it should be, while fights between figures at comparable level of skill will be pretty swingy (which is also as it should be).

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A couple tiny Renegade Scout updates

While tinkering with a better magic system, vehicle rules and a bunch of other things, I made a couple of small additions to the system.
Go download your updated file.

First, the simplest thing: Razor grenades. This is just a "high-tech" frag grenade. Same Power but a -1 Save Mod.
Keeps things simple but gives an option for more high-tech forces.

Second, two new skills: Dodge allowing any hit to be avoided on a roll of a 6 and Loner, which prevents the character from joining a squad.

These combine in the new character added: The Chem-Head: Drugged out mercs (inspired somewhat by Rifts Juicers) they have both the above skill, combined with high movement and good close combat capabilities.
They can only be included as independent characters: The sort of thing you include as hired help for a tax collector or mad scientist.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Magic, the supernatural and Five Leagues

So I wanted to chat a bit about the world of Five Leagues.

Like Five Parsecs, it certainly exists in a place (Unified Space), but it's painted in pretty broad strokes, so you could use your own imagination or borrow from the likes of Traveler and Firefly.

The intention of the world of Five Leagues is to be hinted at, rather than clearly described.
For example, it's unlikely that we'll ever detail specific names of cities and kingdoms.

Rather, we aim to give you a sense of the place, which can be adapted as you need for your miniatures collection and personal tastes.

The implication is a fairly gritty place where the cities and villages look much like we'd expect a early middle age society to look.
But as you venture beyond the boundaries, things get a lot darker and more uncertain.

Strange cults, remnants of the Old Gods and the world of fog and shadow, malevolent forces. You know, the good stuff.

For now, we'll call this the world of Mirk.

So I thought I'd take a moment to answer a few general questions about what sort of place it is:


Is civilization an oppressive hell-scape (in the game)?

In the sense that living in a feudal society was pretty oppressive and rigid, yeah, but it's not a grim-dark world in that sense.

If we have bands of adventurers roaming the lands, presumably social hierarchies are more permissive than in real-life feudal societies.

Are the adventurers noble heroes or callous murder-hobos?

That's really up to you. I haven't tried to paint that too closely either way, but my feeling is that your characters are fundamentally trying to help people out, while making a bit of Coin on the side.

Does spell casting exist?

Yes, it is possible to learn forms of sorcery in Mirk.
It's rare enough that the average person has never encountered it (or met anyone who truthfully has either) and tends to revolve more around summoning things to do your bidding, than slinging lightning bolts.

Do orcs and goblins exist?

Goblins exist and I hope when I get to cover them, they'll end up suitably threatening and vile.

Orcs is unlikely.

Is there an ultimate evil?

We've hinted at a malevolent force underpinning all of creation.
Along the way, you will get some more hints about exactly what it might entail.

It isn't an "evil god" or anything of the sort though.

Are there gods? 

As far as a scientifically minded alchemist could tell: Probably not.
But faith can still move mountains.

Where do magical items come from?

They may have been created by the Fey.
Some may have become magic over time, as faith and folklore built up around them.

For example, a legendary hero used the same sword in every battle.

If someone finds that sword 50 years later, it might well be a magical weapon now.

Will we ever be able to play non-human characters?

Straight up D&D style dwarves and lizard people? Probably very unlikely.

But down the road, I'd like to address things like people with a bit of Elfin blood in their veins, families who dabbled in arts better left unknown and that sort of thing.

Will you include [insert x here]?

Maybe.

Is this all based on [insert x here] ?

There's an inspiration list included in the book, so you can just read that, but if I had to pin it down to only a couple things, I'd say a mix of Middle Earth and the Black Company novel, while listening to the discographies of the bands Summoner, Isole and Falconer.

Mechanically, it's obviously based on the Five Parsecs system.
Combat is heavily influenced by the Swedish Eon role playing game.

I'd like to give credit to some awesome fantasy miniatures games here, but the truth is, I don't play a lot of fantasy miniatures games outside of the GW LOTR rules.
The goal was to bring an RPG campaign "feel" to a miniatures setting.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Five Leagues - the campaign turn

So Five Leagues is out.

Did you grab it yet?

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/244516/Five-Leagues-from-the-Borderlands?src=newest&filters=40102_40202_40201_44510

But hey, if you didn't, why don't I walk you through what a typical campaign turn might look like?

Similar to Five Parsecs we have some time to take player actions. Rather than commit every character, you simply take 2 each turn regardless of how beaten up the party is.

In town
For this turn, we'll send one of our characters out to forage for some healing herbs, while someone else is gambling at the inn to get us some money.

For foraging, I roll 3D6 with every 6 giving me a dose of herbs.
Since one of my characters happens to have FORAGING skill, I can roll two more dice.

I get two 6's, so I pocket a dose of healing herbs and a dose of protective herbs.

The gambler rolls a 1, earning a single Gold Coin. Woo.

We can also do any buying and selling of gear at this stage.
I do roll well enough to get a rare trade item offered for sale: A set of Fine quality full armor.

With our business done, we set out on the road.

Travel
You can travel to another village in the region, to a new region (basically starting a new campaign) or go adventuring.

We'll do the latter and we roll a 82, giving us both a Character and a Combat encounter.
Busy day!

The character encounter
The dice tells us we've encountered a Scholar. Maybe a local scribe on his way somewhere.

We stop and have a chat. They react "Friendly".
This is handy, if we meet another Scholar later, we can say it's our old friend and we'll roll for some sort of favor or advantage.

There's also a chance that a road encounter could lead to an ambush or they might be spying on us, so we got lucky.

The battle encounter
The area we're in has Border Tension of 2, Outlaws 1 and Dark Secrets 1.
I roll for each, adding the Threat levels and we'll be rolling on the Border Tension encounter table.
Higher chance of military types that way.

I also end up having to increase Border Tension by 1. Its getting grim out there.

The actual encounter is with a band of 9 Brigands, led by a brutal Killer and we encounter them while traveling.
Looks like we're in for a stiff battle!

The aftermath

Three of my characters went out of action during the battle, so I'll have to roll to see what shape they are in now.
One suffers a Moderate injury and will have to rest for 2 campaign turns.
One is dead and will be resting for a very long time.
The third took a Light wound but will need 3 turns of rest.

Certain items, skills and traits can influence these things.

Next, we roll for a post battle effect. Turns out a random character broke one of their weapons, so I'll need to source a replacement.

Rolling for an Unusual Find, we find some Evidence of ill deeds on these guys.
We can take that to the local nobles and get them to send out some cavalry patrols, reducing the Border Tension threat by 1 point.
Obviously the Brigands were hired goons from a rival noble.

Finally, we get to check for some loot. That's why we are here right?

I get 2 rolls:
The first is 1 Gold Coin and a bonus roll.
The second is a vial of holy water.
The third (bonus) is a hand weapon.

Not exactly a chest of wonders, but it'll do.

I tally up experience points for my characters but none of my heroes have earned enough to level up.
The one follower I have still standing rolls to see if he's had a flash of insight, but nothing earned there either.

Voila
That's more or less what the turn looks like:
Do your business in town, plan and prep, set out, see who and what you meet and fight a battle (most of the time).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Five Leagues - how magic?

So this is where things get controversial:

The initial vision of Five Leagues is going to be very low-magic.

Does that mean it's just a historical game? No, but it means it's going to be in layers.

The world we're envisioning is one where life in and around the cities and villages is pretty much like we'd expect in a sort-of-realistic medieval setting. Mostly.

However, as you go poke around the foggy swamps and the deep woods, all manner of horrors might lurk.

I have a number of ideas for how the more fantastical and mystical elements will arrive in the game, but much of that will depend on the initial reception of course.
The aim is to lean into a bit of a horror route there: So less unicorns and orcs and more cultists and strange creatures.


A benefit of this is that you don't have to go get a bunch of fantasy figures (which are often pricey).
Medieval miniatures ranges are brimming with figures that make outstanding low-fantasy characters and opposition, often at pretty affordable prices.


Tomorrow, we'll talk a bit about the village system and how you'll be able to progress your campaign, as well as your characters.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Five Leagues - Weapons and figures

Weaponry in fantasy games is of course always a challenge:

We want something more interesting than "hand weapon" but we also don't want to drown in dozens of polearms, AD&D style.

For Five Leagues, we're going with the following approach, based on your figures.
Look at the miniature and pick a "fighting style".

Single weapon style - Armed with a single-hand weapon and a free hand.
This also applies to figures two-handing a small weapon.

This style lets you move quicker around the battle field.

Shield style - Single hand weapon and a shield.

Offers a saving throw from blows and projectiles.

Two hand style - A large double-handed weapon.

Inflicts more damage.

Pole arm - Spears, halberds and other long staff-weapons.

Lets you attack at a distance.

Dual weapon style - A weapon in each hand.

Increases the chance of gaining initiative in combat.

Missile style - A bow, crossbow or gun power weapon.

Lets you shoot fools in the face.


The idea is that you can assign figures at a glance and have it mean something in the game, without having to tinker with stat lines for each variation of sword.

Some weapons may require some interpretation (quarterstaves f.x.) or might be able to fit multiple styles (hand-and-a-half sword f.x.) but we'll include notes for those.