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Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Jefferiot » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:43 pm

This is from the play of an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons campaign. By the way, no spoilers were harmed in the making of this recap, because this is more of an administrative review than an artful one. I'm not even going to mention that the campaign was called The Temple of Elemental Evil. :oops:

We used the Classic Fantasy rules to roll up the characters and play the first scenario--the one with the moat house. I challenged my players to use their own names and alliteration to name their characters, using another part of the name to describe the character. They then re-ordered their dice rolls and selected cultures, classes, and skills to fit the descriptive part of the name. Well--you'll see that up with which they came. :?

They were seven troops, in all. All were rank 1, except Mike the Mace, who was rank 0. Knowing this wasn't enough to know whether their strength matched the scenario, however. I needed to consider their equivalent levels in AD&D. So, I decided to use the lowest of their prerequisite skills on the following chart of my making to help adjudicate this.

Level 0 - up to 49%
Level 1 - up to 54%
Level 2 - up to 59%
Level 3 - up to 64%
Level 4 - up to 69%

I simply added up the levels of the characters, getting 11, which was right at the mid-range for beginning the moat house scenario--perfect. I figured it this way: The moat house scenario recommends a party of 5 to 8 with 1st and 2nd levels and at least 2x 2nd levels. That gave me a range of level totals from 7 to 16. The average is 11.5, so 11 is a little under the midpoint, suggesting challenge, yet a measure of safety from TPK. 8-)

Here's a list describing the characters we used at the start the campaign.

1. Tacitus the Tank was a barbarian fighter of level 1 according to my chart above. He tried to defend his allies with a spear, a scutum, and scale armor. He tried to take most of the hits while the rest of the party tried to harass and murder the enemies. He had a huge shield, so he was a defender troop, as well as the leader.

2. Mike the Mace was a barbarian lay member of level 0. He tried to defend his allies with a mace, a kite, and scale armor. He wanted to train his influence skill some day in order to qualify as an initiate, thus gaining level 1 in a hierarchy of cleric-ism. In the mean time, he had been in the party as a defender. No one knew that he wanted to be a cleric some day.

3. Jake the Javelineer was a barbarian fighter of level 2. He tried to harass the enemy with javelins, a pelte, and scale armor. He was a harasser troop with a shield and tried to provide a little cover for the other harassers.

4. Harold the Hammer was a barbarian fighter of level 3. He tried to murder the enemies with a great hammer and scale armor, while a defender tried to give him cover and the harassers tried to distract the enemies.

5. Saul the Slayer was a barbarian fighter of level 1. He tried to murder the enemies with a great ax and scale armor, while a defender tried to give him cover and the harassers tried to distract the enemies.

6. Crosby the Crossbowman was a barbarian fighter of level 2. He tried to harass the enemies with a light crossbow and scale armor. He tried to duck behind Jake when he was trying to reload.

7. Marvin the Magic-Mouth was a civilized journeyman of level 2. He tried to harass the enemies with a sling. He had convinced Tacitus that he was a skirmisher, though the side of a barn might be safe from his rocks and bullets. No one knew he was actually a magic-user. Marvin never ducked behind Jake. Even so, no one ever noticed his invisible magic shield had deflected all of the frog's tongues and enemy missiles from entangling him or harming him--except for that last one.


Moving right along: In strategic time, Tacitus scoured the job boards and canvased with streetwise for two weeks to find a mission from the merchants. Strategic time means two weeks passed in 20 seconds of real time. In local time, then, the merchants negotiated with one Tacitus the Tank, a barbarian of no mean skill on a battlefield (according to himself) over the price of a mission to search and destroy the bandit problem. Local time means that the 20 minute negotiations using several relevant skills in a social conflict with the crafting rule took 30 seconds of real time. 8-)

Then, Tacitus had in strategic time recruited for three weeks to assemble this mercenary band. Strategic time means the recruiting was done in 30 seconds of real time. He said how he was looking, how many he wanted, and in what order. I determined that in this order, it would 4 weeks to get that many men, but if women, children, and gnomes were acceptable, then it would take only 3. Then he trained them for three more weeks. He organized them into three types of soldier, then taught them combined arms tactics. By type, the defenders had huge shields (Tacitus and Mike), the murderers had pole arms (Harold and Saul), and the harassers had missile weapons (Jake, Crosby, and Marvin). Tacitus promised, "My tactics are what will make us unstoppable." What they lacked in skill, the tactics gave them in confidence? :roll: Uh-oh. I mean, would you warn your monsters if your players weaponized their characters with overconfidence in your game? Neither did I warn my monsters. :lol: They never had a chance.

In the wilderness, they moved on horses with reasonable riding skill for the task, but lacked stealth. Only their stealth skills were worse than their riding and tracking skills. Anyway, they tracked the bandits in strategic time for several weeks with eventual success. Strategic time means that the weeks passed in 30 seconds of real time, except for the social conflict wherein their own band was bluffing a wandering monster band out of doing battle, which took 70 seconds of real time. Anyway, to explain the tracking difficulty, they had started looking for tracks in the wrong place and it would take weeks to get around to the right place by their own plan, while their best tracking skill was only 33. :cry:

Yea, so, since they lacked any real cavalry skills, they ran away from needless fights on their horses, but if an enemy had needed fighting, they would likely have needed to do so on foot in order to avoid some serious skill cap issues. They did once manage to bluff some enemies into thinking they had cavalry skills in order to get them to back down. Marvin explained it, "The gift of gab might be mightier than the slaughter of swords," and Tacitus winced. :roll: That was the 70-second bluff above.

I wondered how if they needed horses to defeat the wilderness, how would they fare in an actual bandit lair. We found out. Do you want to find out too? :?:
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Jefferiot » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:41 am

To rehash the rehash, the first bag of Cheetos saw the character creation, the escape from the town, the getting lost in the wilderness, the evasion of the requisite random wilderness encounters by being on horseback, and the ruling out of all of the directions where the bandits couldn't be hiding.

Some things would have been faster in strategic time, if the cleric's social skills had been used to find the gig and gang or if they had had a ranger to do proper tracking, but in real time, it couldn't have gone any faster. And that's what really matters--getting the parts of the game out of the way fast that should get out of the way fast.

All said, the first bag of Cheetos had been converted into about 2 months of strategic time, about 1 hour of table time, and about 40 minutes of actual gaming time. Can we stretch a bag or what!

On opening the new bag of Cheetos, the warband finally explored the road to the old broken down moat house with reeds and a pool near the entrance, where they noticed some movement of the reeds on the reedy shore of the pool, which movement could not be accounted to the wind. Seeing no place to tether their horses in the swamp and having no horse guards, they went back to town to avoid conflict and to plan the assault. Since this was played in strategic time, the way there, the way back, and the way there again took mere seconds of real time.

They stabled their horses and the next morning very early they walked to the road's first dry possibility for the bandits to turn off from it into the firm flanking countryside, found a place to observe it from hiding, and waited. The characters may have been born yesterday, so to speak--or even that very day literally--but they had the veritable wisdom of the hyperbolic gods playing them like avatars, so it was a very easy tracking roll to confirm that the bandits had turned off the road there sometimes.

After the bandits passed them to go raiding, the warband marched down the road back to the moat house to try to set up a surprise party in the bandits' honor for their enjoyment on their return. It didn't occur to Cheetos-dusted minds that it might not yet be the bandit leader's birthday.

There was no random encounter table in the moat house scenario for the road. I used the one for the moat house proper for the road too, but lessened the chance from 1 in 12 every 10 minutes to 1 in 12 every hour and nothing came up. They were still brand spanking new characters never yet having been dropped into melee rounds for a spanking. What was I to do?

The game changed into the local time of minutes from the local time of hours when they could see the moat house on the right. They began prepping for battlefield conflict in their private ways before the first formal battle command was even issued--studying the landscape, steeling their minds, limbering their weapons, and warming up for action. One of the peltists lagged 30 feet behind to enunciate quietly but sharply in a strange tongue and comb the air with configured hands. Every one still thought Marvin was just another harasser with a sling, knowing nothing of the arcane.

On tacit command, the warband formed up on Tacitus in battle formation 600 feet from the reedy pool that is by the entrance to the moat house, where they had seen the reeds moving the day before in a way that couldn't be accounted to the wind. They were outside of arbalest range even though the players knew I didn't design this scenario.

Tacitus walked around the formation giving special instruction, took his position in the formation, and with another tacit command, they marched forward at a slow walk, with their shields up in a high warding and missile weapons tipped up for the trajectory to the reedy pool. I guess I put too much focus on the pool a couple of minutes before in real time when it was the previous day in strategic time and tipped them off.

As they seemed to know all too well, I had a little greeting party for the warband hidden in the reeds in front of the pool. At the behest of the scenario, I'd prepared 6 giant frogs -- 7-foot long ones that weigh 250 pounds each and have exceeding accurate 10-foot tongues. The scenario said they can jump 12" which means 120 yards (360 feet) outdoors in AD&D. That would have made them more dangerous than 6 trebuchets, so I toned them down to just being like the giant frogs in the Classic Fantasy book, which don't land on people like stones shot out of trebuchets. The frogs could grab warband members with their tongues, however, and if he were small enough--size 11 or less--swallow him whole where he would suffocate to death. I knew it wouldn't happen though, because the smallest member of the warband was size 12. I knew all the frogs would be able to do with their tongues is pin parrying weapons or pull warband members out of their formation to chew them to death and then swallow them.

Natural frogs can't chew, so these were very strange frogs that they faced. I don't know whether any species of natural frogs can't jump, so I don't know whether they were also strange on account of not being able to jump at all.

We were still early in the second bag of Cheetos when the first battle began. Of course we stayed in local time until something engaged something. Even when we switched from local time to melee round time, we were still in the same scene. This meant that the cantrips cast in local time remained in effect after the switch to melee rounds.
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby threedeesix » Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:36 am

Awesome! Makes me want to play... and have some Cheetos. Please, keep them coming.

Oh, and giant frogs can jump. Simply use the rules set forth under the Athletics skill. However, I would make it so that they don't require a 'run-up'. This would allow them to leap 18 feet horizontally.

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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Jefferiot » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:53 pm

Marvin actually came to this warrior business from a scholarly shut-in life surrounded by placid white walls and towering stacks of scrolls and codices, which wasn't good preparation for playing this role of a warrior. Marvin always had cast the calm cantrip on himself whenever he had gotten stage fright. He was not a hardened warrior and was facing the prospect of a real battle--not just words on a scroll painting a mental picture. He relied on calm to help him to stay in character.

Marvin had wanted to cast the shield spell as well. Alas, Tacitus' player couldn't resist suspecting the GM of deploying 30 arbalests against his party, so the band had formed up so far from a potential battle that shield would have needed a lot of power to maintain over the 3-minute march.

War Band Tacitus marched on down the road until it narrowed to 15 feet where the reedy pool was. There, the war band had to march within 10 feet of the reeds in order to keep a defense over those warriors that had no readied ability to parry missiles. The three members with readied shields screened the reeds while the others passed behind them, when suddenly, from out from the reeds darted some kind of perverse moist muscle missile, bright orange in color--a half dozen of them.

Two of the harassers were so fast that they got off shots at the orange missiles before they even reached the shields of the defenders. Crosby's crossbow bolt pressed the advantage on orange missile #6 for 2 damage, but none got through the armor. Jake's javelin impaled #3 for 11 damage through the armor, which caused the monster to make an endurance roll to keep from dying, which it made, though the orange tentacle still dropped to the ground where it laid motionless.

Two of the harassers were true fighters with ranged weapon specialization. This is what gave them their ability to shoot before initiative was rolled. The third harasser was really an actor whose sling was really a stage prop, so he didn't get to shoot yet.

Everyone said they wanted to engage the tentacles, so we rolled everyone's initiative. Marvin had the highest modified initiative, so acting first, he unleashed the bullet in his sling at one of the orange tentacles sticking out of the reeds, but it missed and clacked high up against the wall of the fortress and ricocheted into the pool, never to be seen again. I wasn't worried. That wasn't Marvin's only stage prop. I saw an authentic looking bag of them on Marvin's belt.

The player characters scored the following initiative ranking: Marvin, Harold, Jake, Crosby, Tacitus, Mike, and Saul. Tacitus and Crosby acted concurrently as did Mike and Saul. The tentacles had a better average initiative than War Band Tacitus had, so some of them acted sooner than some of the members of the war band.

The first orange tentacle to arrive was #5. It meant to menace Mike the Mace, but missed. Then #4 really meant to menace Mike the Mace and he feared it might entangle him, so he parried it. It pinned his shield anyway. Mike said yuk to the orange goop on his shield. Does anyone know why Mike would think getting next to godliness requires cleanliness? Why would a god be judgemental about Cheetos goop?

Harold, #2, and #6 simulcast their attacks. Harold hammered #6 for 16 damage points through it's armor, a major wound, but the orange tentacle made it's endurance roll and only became unconscious. Do you think an orange tentacle cares? Nope, because it still gets its simulcast attack before it goes unconscious.

I hope you realize these orange tentacles were really frog tongues, but the characters didn't know that yet. And now we can digress to guess what those strange frogs that can chew had been chewing, but where did they find enough Cheetos in a swamp to turn all their tongues orange? Do you suppose everyone wanted to engage the tongues, because they think how it's so rude to show Cheetos goop on one's tongue? Or, did War Band Tacitus think it the same orange squid in the pool attacking them that had previously mistook the fortress for a ship full of tasty mariners. The latter, I bet--nothing else would make any sense to them.

Anyway, to explain some of the strangeness, like the matter of the tongues having armor, it was really the normal 2 point armor of the frog's head. The weapon list for the frog said that the armor and hit points of the tongue are that of the head. And it makes sense when you realize just how thick the Cheetos goop coating their tongues was. Also, since the damage to the tongue was applied to the head's hit points, that explains why they sometimes died when their tongues got major wounds. We later realized this was totally realistic, though, when Marvin dissected one of the frogs and found that the central nerve that was the backbone of its brain ran though the tongue before it finished crossing the brain. Even so, the frogs turned out to be more normal than first I thought, because they could have jumped out of the reeds at the characters like normal frogs. I simply hadn't properly differentiated a lack of leaping from a lack of jumping. That partly explains why I had them do the ninja stealth thing from the reeds. Another part of the explanation was I had conflated ninja turtles with ninja frogs. Next time, the frogs will meet on an open battlefield in honor like hoppy samurai, hopping 7 feet vertically to land on war band heads like so many 250-pound ship's anchors or maybe leaping 18 feet horizontally to hit war band members like so many bowling pins.

2 rude orange tongues down and 4 to go. And I have to go. I'll write more later.
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Chris » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:59 pm

What fun
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Pentallion » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:24 pm

hahaha :)
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Jefferiot » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:04 pm

We left off in part two of the second bag of Cheetos with just one turn for Harold the Hammer and 2 turns for frog tongues having been taken, but already the tide of battle seemed decided in favor of War Band Tacitus. I can't really claim they won in a single cycle, though, because they didn't. You see, frogs don't have anything like morale and they didn't run away like rabble, though fully a third of their tongues had fallen. No, they just kept fighting to the last tongue. On the other hand, there were as yet no injuries sustained in the war band, save to Mike's pride.

Marvin was lagging behind a bit from having cast shield, so hadn't yet passed behind the defenders. This was lucky for the frogs. They prefer food that has already been unpacked from the tins, so, " . . . 4 of them couldn't resist Marvin." "What! Are you serious?" exclaimed Marvin's player. Can anyone figure why he'd say that, when he was the one sending an avatar into harms way with no armor and only a sling in his hand? It was his own fault and I was going for it! "Marvin is stuck where he shot off his bullet while every tentacle has its way with his nakedness," chided the GM in merciless tones. "Gulp!" as a dice bag hit the table and a mouth stopped chewing Cheetos. "I'm warding my head with my sling!" blurted a desperate player from behind a spray of Cheetos shrapnel. "Can I ready my staff in time?" "No." "Hiss!" "Does Marvin really hiss at the tentacles?" "No."

"Only 2 tentacles can still try to hit Marvin this cycle. The other 2 are already unconscious. #2 (rolls) hits." "I (rolls) fail my parry." "Marvin's dead!--no--Marvin's invisible magic shield parrys the tentacle for him and he doesn't even get Cheetos-begooped." "Nice. For my last action I want to pretend like I'm parrying everything with my sling." "Only #1 is left and it misses." "OK I'll parry it--missed." "Marvin takes no damage." "Sweet."

I had determined that the tongue didn't get through Marvin's shield, because the statistics for giant frogs say that the tongue doesn't do any damage, but rather only entangles a body part or pins the weapon of a successful parry. By the way, shield only blocks 4 damage from frontal attacks, but that's not an issue in this instance. No more frogs could do anything for the rest of that cycle.

Jake and Crosby had already shot off a volley before initiative was rolled, but they got to go again on their normal turn as well. I just assumed that's how it works in Classic Fantasy, because I didn't want to take the time out to research it mid-battle. Jake threw another javelin right away, because he already had 2 more javelins in his shield hand. Crosby decided to reload behind Jake for cover.

Jake impaled #5 for 9 damage through its armor. It made its endurance roll, so it was stunned for 2 turns and its attacks with its tongue became one level more difficult.

Tacitus impaled #4 with his spear for 6 damage through its armor. It made its endurance roll so it was stunned for 3 turns and its attacks with its tongue became one level more difficult. Mike missed #4 with his mace. Saul was completely behind the shield wall, so he wasn't able to attack at all until after he could move around from behind it, which wasn't immediately allowed in Classic Fantasy, but would have been in RuneQuest 6. Lastly, Saul moved next to #2.

So ended the first cycle of the first melee round. Only 2 frogs were able to act proactively in the next cycle. Because of serious wounds, one more had to wait 2 cycles and another had to wait 3 cycles. The frogs were essentially defeated in a single cycle. So, I changed the game into the local time of minutes for their automatic mop-up, the search for the treasure, and the hiding of their tracks from the bandits.
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Chris » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:50 am

HI
Mythras P 110
the victim cannot attack or start to cast spells (but can still parry or
evade) for the next 1d3 turns due to being stunned or distracted by
the pain of the wound.


So I do not think that the frogs can attack while stunned.

However love the story and the idea of magic uses pretending they are not
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Jefferiot » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:58 am

Chris wrote:HI

Hi, Chris. :)

Chris wrote:Mythras P 110
the victim cannot attack or start to cast spells (but can still parry or
evade) for the next 1d3 turns due to being stunned or distracted by
the pain of the wound.


Uh-oh. Was somebody a bad frog? Well, it got a good spanking. It'll never do that again.

Chris wrote:So I do not think that the frogs can attack while stunned.

That's true. :)

I was noting page 162 of the RuneQuest 6 core rules under Serious Wounds, the last paragraph, when I wrote the following.

Jefferiot wrote:Jake impaled #5 for 9 damage through its armor. It made its endurance roll, so it was stunned for 2 turns and its attacks with its tongue became one level more difficult.

For those who don't have RuneQuest 6 (they might have Mythras, Mythras Imperative, or RuneQuest Essentials), it's this rule.

RuneQuest 6 wrote:At the Games Master's discression, even
if the character remains functional, all tasks
requiring use of that body location will suffer
an ongoing penalty of one difficulty grade,
until the injury is reduced to a Minor Wound.

So I didn't really mean that the frog had ever actually gotten to attack again, but that if it ever had the chance, then any attack with its tongue (or even perhaps with its head for that matter) would have had one more grade of difficulty.

Chris wrote:However love the story and the idea of magic uses pretending they are not

I share the credit with my players. :)

It's hard being a magic-user in a setting where people want to burn them at the stake. Even in friendlier settings, one never knows which fighters have a passion to persecute, hate, or kill magic users. So, magic-users have to be careful. Besides, Tacitus was only willing to hire mercenary warriors and magic-users need not apply.
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Re: Administrative Review of Elemental Classic Fantasy

Postby Chris » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:23 am

Jefferiot wrote:
Chris wrote:

I share the credit with my players. :)

It's hard being a magic-user in a setting where people want to burn them at the stake. Even in friendlier settings, one never knows which fighters have a passion to persecute, hate, or kill magic users. So, magic-users have to be careful. Besides, Tacitus was only willing to hire mercenary warriors and magic-users need not apply.



A interesting setting.

Thanks for the reply.
I shall enjoy following the story
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