Fantasy Wargaming, cover to cover (XIII)

I’ll be off on my second summer vacation this coming week, so what ever gets posted will just be the things already “in the hopper.”  I finished reading FW and taking notes on the 4th but am pretty far behind typing them up.  I’ll check in to see if there are comments or questions but I’ll be mostly out of touch.

The rest of chapter seven covers all the remaining rules: combat and adventuring, magic and religion, and the monsters.

The first mechanic discussed is Luck rolls, which are used in pretty much every other mechanic.  A d6 is rolled and 1=-2, 2=-1, 3 or4 =0, 5=+1, 6=+2.  The plus or minus is added to whatever calculation of factors is being made and then the total of the factors is indexed against a table.  There are a number of tables, some with just two possible results (success or failure) but some with a range of results, usually failure, partial success, substantial success, and total success.  A few other tables are more specific, although I think the range of results is usually about 2-5 possible outcomes, so I think there may be a way to combine all the tables onto one master chart.  If you’re curious about the charts and want to see the factors listed in detail, the rule handouts here reproduce most of the tables.  What they don’t reproduce — the warrior table, the ethereal hosts, and the full table of physical correspondences for magic, the weapons and armor tables — are some of the best bits, though.

Anyway the Luck roll seems a little silly at first glance, since you are also rolling another time on the chart, but I suppose the shift from one column to another caused by a +/-2 could affect whether success or failures are possible.  It plays a big role in the mass combat rules where it is really the only roll made to resolve melees.

Next up is the leadership rules, which are incredibly detailed.  I don’t remember ever using these, but then we only ever had smallish parties.  The leadership score calculated in character generation is used to decide who is party leader, and deputy leader (second highest overall); since your highest level is added in, it is possible to distinguish the leaders of warriors,  mages and clerics too within a party, being the highest leadership score among each sort of character in the party.  So there will always be at least two leaders (party leader and deputy leader); if the party leader is a warrior, say, the mage and cleric with highest leadership will be the leaders of their respective classes in the party, and one or the other may be the deputy too.  If only one or two classes are represented in a party, there might only be the two leaders, but it is possible in principle for there to be four leader types, if the leader and deputy are the same class and the there two other classes in the party!

The leader seems to have the “caller” role from early editions of D&D, and there are rules for challenging the leader if your character disagrees with the orders.  These may be violent, and no other characters may interfere when the leader is “called out” because, the text says, the cultures covered all respect single combats.  The challenge may alternatively be settled in a magic duel, or clerical appeals, and lastly it is also suggested that the party may vote.  Each character’s Leadership is counted as his vote, so that the election of a new leader is weighted.  Also, if a character’s leadership increases above the leader’s, he must challenge the leader.  Those who lose these challenges suffer a loss of prestige (Leadership) for the rest of the adventure.

The game also gives serious XP bonuses to leaders (50% for party leader and 10% for each subleader position, which may be cumulative if the deputy is also leader of a class), so there are plenty of reasons to vie for leadership.  While this seems destructive of party unity and harmony, it does make some sense for simulating the hierarchical culture of the settings.

Next there are “temptation” rules, to bring the vices into play.  If a GM feels a character is not being played well, he may use these rules to compel the character to succumb to temptations.  I know this sort of GM interference in role-playing is frowned on in some circles but I think this would work ok.

Then there are “persuasion” rules, for when a character resist a reasonable and persuasive argument of another PC r NPC, and the GM feels it is out of character to do so.  It does make me wonder how the authors were playing if these rules seemed necessary, but in truth I guess we all know of players who are “difficult”…

The next rule regards “temporary handicaps” and this could be ported to any game.  Roll 2d6 daily and on a “12” the character is sick, hung over, has a headache or diarrhea… whatever you decide.  This gives a -1 to all luck rolls in FW.  The text says that to really simulate the eras covered you could also make checks for disease transmission when characters are exposed to risks, but does not go into much detail.

Then, rules for fatigue are covered, and a list of actions that produce exhaustion, and the times required to recover are given.  These will actually matter some since certain activities that mages and clerics perform to accumulate mana and/or piety are exhausting, as is combat obviously.

Then rules for starvation, dehydration, and fasting are given.  Fasting is obviously a part of medieval life, and less obviously a source of mana!
Basically, starvation causes a loss of 1 point of each physical attribute per day, and dehydration takes 1/3 of one’s endurance points, so that three days without water will kill.  Fasting causes the starvation losses at 1/4 the rate.

Published in: on August 7, 2010 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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