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.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Five Leagues - morale

The morale rules are changing a bit for Five Leagues.

This is a change intended specifically for 5L and won't be fitted into 5P (though you could adapt it just fine).

First, the players squad no longer tests morale. You're heroes right? (or scoundrels with only the gallows waiting for you but either way, nowhere to run).

You can bail from a fight by moving to the table edge and a new "Star" option will let you flee instantly (once per campaign).


For the bad guys, its also simpler:
You still roll a Morale Die for each dead bad guy but now there's nothing to track.
Instead, each 1 or 2 causes one of the bad guys to run away (starting with the guy closest to your table edge).

Note however that "Monsters" never run. So if you fight a giant lizard and 5 of its minions, you can scare off the minions but you still have to do battle with big mama.



Friday, 18 May 2018

Also coming to Squad Hammer soon

Multi-unit units (aka "platoons").

Intended to work with things like the Binary Damage option, this will also help those giant, mega-games with tons of units on the table.
There's a number of improvements, tweaks and additions coming, so I'd rather drop them all at the same time, instead of you guys getting like 7 updates in a row.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Squad Hammer - Weapons of lots of destruction

Consider this a test case for inclusion in the core rules later:

Buildings and their destruction

In some settings and scenarios, outright destruction of buildings (and other scenery) is a possibility.

This is often well suited to games where your units represent large forces, very powerful units (such as giant monsters or super heroes) or have weaponry specifically intended for the purpose (such as siege guns).

You should evaluate which units on your table will be capable of inflicting the required level of damage.

For example, you can't bring down a concrete building with machine gun fire, but a unit with a flamethrower could "destroy" a forested area.

In a game of infantry squads and light tanks, no unit may be able to inflict the required damage while a giant robot battle might see all of them so capable.

For particularly large terrain features, it's often more sensible to divide them into Blocks of 3x3 or 4x4 square inches.
If playing in 6mm (or similar smaller scales) each stand-alone building model or terrain piece is usually one Block.

Attacking a structure

Attacking a structure is done in the same fashion as attacking any other target.
Units armed with "Assault" equipment (such as demolition charges or power fists) must be within 6" (representing running up, placing the charges and getting away) while units capable of inflicting building damage at range can fire as normal.

A typical Hit roll is 5+ (demolition charges), 7+ (Weak/moderate structure under fire, powered melee attack), 9+ (reinforced/defensive structure).
As always, adapt as you need.
Trained engineers or siege troops should receive a +1 to their dice roll.

Inflicting damage

You may assign specific Damage rolls to anti-structure weapons. Typically, 1D6 is fine.
2D6, pick high for super-weapons specifically intended for the purpose.

Otherwise, simply take the basic Damage roll and scale it down once for vehicles and heavy weapons units and twice for infantry.
This means a vehicle/heavy weapons team will inflict 1D3 Damage while infantry would inflict 1 Damage.
Mega-units inflict normal damage.

As with other units, when 7+ Damage has been accumulated, the structure collapses.

Collapse

Any units contained within a collapsing structure sustains 1D6 Damage.
Buildings are replaced with a rubble field. Place any survivors there.

Other features are replaced with whatever seems appropriate to the situation.

Units representing a single character receive an Escape roll of 8+ on 2D6 (7+ for Hero-types).
A successful escape inflicts only 1 Damage, otherwise the character suffers 1D3 Damage.

Any unit within 1" per floor of a collapsing structure suffers 1 Damage.
Other terrain features typically do not inflict area damage when collapsing.

Crumble

At the end of each game turn, roll a D6 for each damaged structure.
If the roll is equal or below the accumulated Damage total, increase Damage by 1 point.


Conclusions

Give these options a try if you play a game where they might fit.
They are under consideration for inclusion in the core rules, so don't hesitate to get in touch.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Five Leagues from the Borderlands

The time from the re-release of Five Parsecs to "What about a fantasy version?" was about 2.7 minutes.

My main concern, at the time, has always been that systems developed for a scifi-game may not feel right when adopted to a medieval (sort of) setting and that this was something we'd need to solve first.

Well, I can reveal to you that "Five Leagues from the Borderlands" will be the next Nordic Weasel release.

The premise is pretty much "Fantasy Five Parsecs":
Create a group of adventurers, fight dudes and get loot.

Easy enough right?

It'll have the same broad strokes: Percentile dice tables, random encounters, solo mechanics front and center.

What sort of fantasy? Low-magic "gritty" fantasy centered around swords and axes. The sort of thing I like to read and that I like to role-play.

You'll fight bandits and rogue knights, you'll fight goblin hordes and you'll fight terrifying monsters, all in a days work.

So what is different?

Well, a lot of things, but let's start with the biggest one today: Combat.

First, we split up Toughness and Armor. When you are struck, you now roll to penetrate the targets armor before rolling against their Toughness.
This does introduce another dice roll into the equation, but given the small figure count, I don't feel it's slowed down things in testing.

The big take-away is that the two rolls aren't interchangeable: If a blow gets through your armor, you will feel it: Either through being stunned or wounded.
If the armor deflects the attack, you are fine...probably.

Melee combat is a lot more exciting too:
Instead of a single opposed roll, you now fight up to three "Exchanges" with initiative potentially switching back and forth.
Figures will move around more during the melee as well. A defender that is outclassed may attempt to back up and get help from their friends for example.


There is going to be a bit more detail in melee weapons as well, with an emphasis on providing interesting mechanics rather than simply a 1 point difference in damage.
Those things arent completely settled yet though.


Later this week, we'll talk about encounters and campaigns so stay tuned.


A few general questions I anticipate:

*Is this a full release?

This will be a full game release with post-launch tweaks and updates, just like other 5P titles.

*Will this be compatible with 5P?

Many mechanics will be similar or identical but strict compatibility was not a goal.

*What is next for 5P ?

I need to test it more, but I'd really like to do something regarding exploring unsettled worlds.
The big issue is how to make it sufficiently exciting.

*Will there be a series of "Five Leagues" games, similar to 5P ?

That's not the intention. I have some ideas for adding content, but I don't want to spoil too much (especially if the idea turns out to be stupid and I change my mind).