Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rescue the Priestess - SBH game

Saviors of the Savage Lands – Rescue the Priestess

With the priestess in the hands of the Wolfen, Jareth and his band knew they have but one chance to save the priestess from a grisly fate. With only Pip slightly wounded, they stalk Onyx and his gang back to a heavily forested location and wait for their forces to split up before rushing in to save Verlia.

Everyone in the band was healed except for Pip who was +1 Quality. I don’t have any Fame points and my money is fairly low so I press on with what I got. Hopefully there won’t be any major issues…

Scenario Rules:
I decide that for the rescue that the Wolfen warband is split into two forces. Half are guarding the priestess and the other half off doing ‘something’. I also decided to play with the 400 point Wolfen warband I created in the previous game (see that post for the Wolfen stats). For reinforcements, I’d roll 1d6 at the beginning of Onyx’s turn. If the die roll plus the turn number was 7+, the reinforcements would arrive in the middle of the left or right side of the battlefield and activate normally. In order to free the priestess of her bonds, a single model in base to base contact must take two actions in a single activation. If I can manage to free the priestess and get her off the board without her fleeing or being killed, I’ll receive 50 silver pennies once I get her to the shrine. Models killed before the reinforcements will only grant half their cost for VP purposes (rounded down).

The Wolfen (399 pts)

Guarding force
1x Hunters @ 57 (56 was a typo)
3x Fangs @ 51

Onyx @ 132
1x Hunter @ 57

Okay, this being my third or fourth game of SBH, I am still learning the strategy for the system. I haven’t played much DBA/DBM so the doubling method isn’t my strong suit. So when I set this game up and play it, I got killed in turn 2! Yep, turn two. I think the entire game (including set up and writing down the action) took 10 minutes TOPS! My problem is that I placed Jareth in front of Erdan and Durgon as a screen and a Fang attacks Jareth knocking him down. I roll 2 dice for Jareth’s activation and I fail both. This passes the turn over to the Wolfen and the Fang in combat with Jareth makes short work of him (6+5 vs 2+4). The resultant leader loss makes two of my models flee off the board (I’m only about 1 long on the field anyway). The 50% warband check results in everyone but Durgon retiring from the field.

So, I do what any person growing up in the computer age does… I press the ‘reset’ button and chalk that up as a learning experience and reset the game to play it over. No one (including myself) wants a 2 turn battle report! For all results below, the die roll is the second number for all combats so "5+4" means that I rolled a 4 adding to the modified combat score of 5.

The terrain is set up as a nice wooded area that the Wolfen can get plenty of ambushes if they can manage it.

Turn 1 & 2: The Heroes move up and so do the Wolfen (no reinforcements).

Turn 3: Erdan aims at a Fang and knocks him prone [5+4 v 2+4]. Flashfire engages the lone Hunter. Durgon moves and power attacks the fallen Fang killing it [6+2 v 2+5]. No reinforcements, but the Hunter attacks Flashfire after a Fang moved up to help (I rolled 3 dice, but only got a single success), but the Hunter is knocked prone [4+1 v 4+4]!

Turn 4: Durgon moves and attacks fallen Hunter, but are evenly matched [6+3 v 3+6]! Erdan moves to attack the same Hunter, but manages to kill it [6+6 v 2+5]! Flashfire attacks the Fang and kills him outright [5+5 v 3+2]. The single remaining Fang makes a morale check and moves back a move (50% total warband). The reinforcements arrive on the right side of the board and both begin to move into range.

Turn 5: Erdan and Durgon move to help free the priestess. Onyx attacks Pip knocking the Halfling prone [5+6 v 3+5].

Turn 6: Durgon frees the priestess and the Heroes surround Onyx. Erdan power attacks Onyx, knocking him down [5+6 v 3+3], but the heroes can’t capitalize. Onyx attacks Jareth after a Hunter moved into contact, but they are evenly matched [3+5 v 2+6].

A huge melee occurs. Flashfire must be busy cleaning her claws after the kill (note the new bases)!

Turn 7: Xaria casts a Power 1 transfix at the Hunter and he fails the check becoming transfixed (I rolled a 1). Erdan power attacks Onyx, but they are evenly matched [3+5 v 2+6]. Jareth attacks the transfixed Hunter killing him [4+6 v 3+5], but he ends the turn due to two failures. Fang attacks Erdan but are evenly matched [3+3 v 3+3]. Onyx attacks Jareth, but is knocked down [3+1 v 3+4].

Turn 8: Erdan power attacks Onyx, but again they are evenly matched [5+3 v 2+6]. Then Jareth attacks and Onyx is wounded [5+3 v 3+2], but the turn ends due to two failures. Onyx gets up and attacks Jareth pushing him back [3+5 v 2+3].

Turn 9: Durgon power attacks Fang, but is saved by his heavy armor [4+3 v 3+5]. Xaria casts a power 2 transfix at Onyx, but he shakes off the effects. Jareth attacks Onyx, but is pushed back [3+2 v 3+5]. Erdan power attacks Onyx knocking him to the ground [3+6 v 3+2]. Pip power attacks Onyx, but it knocked prone [5+3 v 3+6]. Pip uses his last action to stand. Onyx attacks Erdan, but again is knocked prone by his actions [4+1 v 2+4]!

Turn 10: Durgon lunges at the Fang pushing him back [4+5 v 2+6]. Both Erdan and Pip attack Onyx wounding him [6+4 v 2+4] and [5+4 v 2+5]. Onyx again tries to hit Jareth, but is knock prone [3+3 v 3+6]!

The final moments of Onyx as he is seriously wounded (at 6+ quality), fallen and surrounded by heroes!

Turn 11: Erdan finally kills Onyx [6+1 v 2+2]. The heroes surround the lone Fang and Durgon moves up and knocks the Fang to the ground [4+2 v 2+2]. Jareth makes the killing stroke ending the game [5+5 v 1+5].

Wrap up: What a difference the reset made. I think I’m starting to figure out the strategy - at least a little bit. Of course, good die rolls helped out a ton (the reinforcements coming a bit late and all the fallen results on Onyx when he was attacking). In hindsight, I had an action remaining in turn 2 to engage Erdan with a Fang and I should have done that instead of staying at range or moved so he was outside 1 long. The result would have been the same (Erdan would have been combat 4 to the Fang’s 3), but I probably would have moved Durgon first to help the combat values a bit. A model with tough and hero is a very rough combatant. Even when the model is at a quality 6+, you can’t count them out due to the free success!

I was awarded 50 silver pennies (and 50 fame points) due to freeing the priestess and I gained a whooping 318 VPs. Since all my heroes survived, I have 6 shares so everyone is awarded 5 XP. After paying for upkeep, I have 99 silver pennies remaining. Perhaps I need to make rules on how you can buy magical items and the like in this campaign. Currently, money is only used for upkeep and to purchase Mercs.

XP values after this game:
Jareth: 9
Xaria: 11
Erdan 12
Flashfire: 7
Durgon: 7
Pip: 8

I might spend 10 XP to make Erdan a personality. Then I can buy Hero once I get enough XP, but I’m torn on my own rules. I want ‘personalities’ to be rare which is why you have to spend XP just to become a personality, but I only have 12 XP after 3 games.

Final Thoughts: Now I know that some people would scoff at the reset that I did since I’m playing a campaign. Don’t worry; I feel a little bit dirty about it as well. Once I finished my first turn with Jareth in the lead, I remembered how brutal the Wolfen in combat were. I thought of moving him behind my front line (like what I did in the reset), but decided to just roll with it (see where that got me). So, I still had some time to play and I already had the game set up so I just started over (plus, who would have thought that I would have done so awesome in the second attempt). My second reason for the reset is that I needed a write up for my battle and a two turn game would have been pointless. At least with that much XP, I can start testing the campaign system (even if it is my personal creation). I did roll to see what happened to Jareth just in case I wanted to use the original results (he would have suffered a minor wound being +1 Quality for the next game).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Sorcerer's Manor - Savage Worlds

At Origins this year, I picked up the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition rule book. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of the system and the book was a reasonable price so I figured what the heck. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to play any games with it, not even any Savage Worlds Showdown (their miniatures game based on their RPG rules).

Fast forward to November of this year when it was announced that Dark City Games was going to release their great solo adventures for the SW system. Imagine the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, but for wargaming! I jumped at the chance to purchase Crown of Kings and immediately started to figure out the SW rules and make four novice characters. Recently, the fine people at DCG re-released one of their free sample modules for SW. I couldn’t pass the chance of take a test drive with the rules before jumping into a full module.

My characters are based off the pre-gen characters available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group (PEG), the makers of Savage Worlds:

Merula Lanus [Human]
Agility: d6, Smarts: d8, Spirit: d6, Strength: d4, Vigor: d6
Fighting d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d8, Spellcasting d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Streetwise d6, Taunt d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hinderances: Curious, Death Wish, Habit
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Attractive, Power Points
Powers: Light, Bolt, Defection

Marcus Twohands [Human]
Agility: d8, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d4, Strength: d6, Vigor: d6
Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Lockpicking d6, Notice d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Throwing d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6
Hinderances: Greedy, Overconfident, Outsider
Edges: Ambidextrous, Thief, Two Fisted

Janine Blackhair [Human]
Agility: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d4, Strength: d8, Vigor: d10
Fighting d10, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Taunt d6, Throwing d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 8 (2)
Hinderances: Bad Luck, Outsider, Pacifist (Mi)
Edges: Berserk, Trademark Weapon (Battle Axe)

Ramel Ramelson [ Dwarf]
Agility: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d8, Strength: d4, Vigor: d6
Faith d8, Fighting d6, Healing d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6,Persuasion d6, Streetwise d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 6 (1); Toughness: 7 (2)
Hinderances: Arrogant, Big Mouth, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), Power Points, Low Light Vision
Powers: Boost/Lower Trait, Healing

Here is my set up. I bought a plexiglass sheet so I can write notes if needed.

Since this is a downloadable programmed adventure, I don’t want to spoil any of the fun if someone wants to check it out and play it. For that reason, I will only give some of the highlights!
Against a living statue: Ramel gets a second joker (two in a row) and hits. Both damage dice Ace (An ace is when a die rolls the maximum number – in Ramel case two sixes. Any die that aces is rerolled and the amount is added to the final total) and the resulting damage amount is 19 well enough to crumble the statue.

Against Spiders: Ramel critically fails a vigor roll for poison. I state that it doubles the potency of the poison. Ramel, his body wracked in pain scores a might hit and scores a killing blow (I aced a damage roll). Then Merula moves up and attacks a spider and amazingly hits doing an unheard of 15 points of damage killing the spider.

Against the shadows: Janine rears back with her battle axe and crushes the shadow with a 26 damage points enough for 5 wounds (If you equal the toughness of a model, you score a ‘shaken’ result. For every 4 over the toughness is a wound. Most models have only 1 wound. Wild Cards (like all of my characters) have 4 wounds. The toughness of the shadow is 6, so 6-9: shaken, 10-13: 1 wound, 14-17: 2 wounds and so on). Since the shadow was a wild card, this was an amazing help!

Here's a shot after the final battle before the characters make their way out of the manor. Notice all the notes scribbled about including the map, turn counters and the shadows damage.

All in all, it was a great time. I really like the Savage Worlds system and it really makes the Dark City Games really shine! The only issue is that it’s a 'long' adventure. This sample game took about 6 hours to play from start to finish. I hope that the actual adventure will be faster since I'm more confident on the rules and the like.