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Everything posted by JonL

  1. What with all the alt-era Pendragons sprouting like weeds, has anyone given thought to taking a run at an actual 12th-15th century game where all the trappings would actually be period appropriate instead of anachronisms? A lot of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fictive Arthuriana seems to have been bent into molds that bare substantial resemblance to Henry II's rise, so there are a fair number of Angevin era themes baked into Pendragon already. The gamut of fictional resources includes Shakespeare's history plays, Ivanhoe, A Lion in Winter, various Robin Hood tales, and so on. Has anyone done this before?
  2. JonL

    Better Battles

    A lot depends on what your players are into and what position their PKs have in the realm. If they're an echille of Roderick's household knights, keeping the focus on their particular events makes sense. If they rise to being commanders in their own right though, it's a different matter. Even if the overall outcome lies upon the plot railroad, it can be a significant thing for players who to know what sort of losses each side took, especially if the PKs are lords with their own followers on the field. Some players will appreciate their decisions and Battle rolls having an impact on that.
  3. Here's something I came up with a few years ago. Our group was playing through the GPC, and became disenchanted with some of the dynamics in Book of Battle's framework. We found that repeatedly using Push Deeper to advance on the enemy camp became something of an I-Win Button due to the way it interacts with Intensity ("The Enemy Camp is down."), and the random rolls for intensity/events dwarfing other factors at times. This mixes the basic framework of Book of Battle (BoB) with a HeroQuest-inspired opposed-roll result matrix and force-tokens inspired by Savage Worlds's mass battle rules. It also allows meaningful choices and rolls for an overall Army Commander (AC) as well as individual Unit Commanders (UC). In a nutshell: Army Commanders make initial opposed Battle Rolls to determine field advantage for the first battle round. Each Battle Round, Unit Commander(s) roll Battle opposed by an Intensity roll based their Army Commander's success grade modified by field position (per BoB), and possibly other factors from BoB like being On Flank. Based on those results, UC(s) chose maneuvers as per BoB and fight their melee rounds. Based on the outcome of the melee rounds, apply a modifier to the AC's battle rolls at the end of the round. ACs make opposed Battle rolls at the end of the round, assess casualties. AC's success grade at the end of the round determines UC's base opposing Intensity for the next. Battle ends when one sides forces are all either casualties, withdrawn; unless one side surrenders or similar narrative outcome occurs. Details below... Before the Battle Identify the PK or NPC who will be the overall Army Commander for each side. Decide which Player Knights (PK) will be on the field as a single unit, commanding seperate units of their followers, or some combinations thereof. Designate a PK as Unit Comander for each relevant unit. (Usually the PK with highest Glory will be the UC, though other considerations might take precedence when appropriate.) Identify the order of battle for each side (including PKs, but generally not their Squires) , and compute the Footman Value (FV) for their forces according to the table below: Unit Type Green Regular Veteran Elite Knight 3 5 6.5 8 Sargeant 1.8 3 3.9 4.8 Hobilar 1.2 2 2.6 3.2 Ranger 1.2 2 2.6 3.2 Armored Foot 1.2 2 2.6 3.2 Footman 0.6 1 1.3 1.6 Bowman 1.2 2 2.6 3.2 Slinger/Skirmisher 0.40 0.66 0.86 1.06 Bandit 0.3 0.5 0.65 0.8 Peasant Levy 0.15 0.25 0.33 0.4 Berzerker 3 5 6.5 8 Hoerthgneight 2.4 4 5.2 6.4 Coerl 1.2 2 2.6 3.2 Fyrd 0.9 1.5 1.95 2.4 Assign the larger force ten tokens (stones, poker chips, etc), the smaller force gets a proportionally smaller number, i.e. if larger force has 500FV and smaller force has 250FV, the smaller force gets five tokens. Either Army Commander may initially commit some or all of their tokens. The margin of difference between committed tokens is a bonus to the larger Army Commander's Battle rolls and a penalty to the Army Commander of the smaller force. These tokens are removed when the AC's battle roll at the end of the round results in casualties being assessed; permanently when lost or maybe-temporarily when routed. Tokens not initially committed are held in reserve. Tokens held in reserve cannot be lost, but do not add to the force margin for determining battle roll modifiers. When reserves are finally committed, add +1 to that side's Battle Roll (total, not per token) for each round they were held back. ACs can also choose to Orderly Withdraw force tokens at the end of a battle round in lieu of inflicting casualties, one token for each enemy casualty they decline. Withdrawn tokens cannot be lost and do not add to the force margin for determining battle roll modifiers. unless re-committed by their commander. If a Withdrawn token sits out one or more Battle Rounds and then re-enters the fray, they add a +1 to their AC's Battle Roll that round, similar to fresh reserves, but to a lesser degree. Alternate token allocation when longer battles are desired: Determine initial engagement and reserve force breakdown first, and then asses tokens based on the initially engaged forces. This will give a slightly larger pool of tokens without changing the overall number scaling much. Downside: rounding, whether clever or incidental, can make some for +/- 1 token depending on how you split your force. Example: General A has 1500 FV of troops. He commits 1200 and holds 300 in reserve. General B has 1000FV of troops, commits 900 and holds 100 in reserve. Initial tokens: General A - ten commited tokens, 3 in reserve. General B 8 committed tokens, 1 in reserve. The original (and simpler) way, General A would have 7 tokens committed with 3 in reserve, while General B would have 6 committed with 1 in reserve. The token total proportions are about 1.4:1 either way though. (More to come in subsequent posts. I don't want to time out while typing this.)
  4. JonL

    Lady Knights and Romance

    You have the right of it there. And there's your continuing conflict. Bonus points if her parents have actually managed to arrange a marriage for her to a lord with a maimed leg or similar who would be amenable to minding the manor while she goes out a-knighting. Double bonus if said match got crippled while heroically saving Madoc's life in a battle. "The course of true love never did run smoothe."
  5. JonL


    I recall Stormbringer using (originating?) the Pendragon-style general HP + Major Wound Table concept. I never thought to compare its armor values, but it's probably worth a look.
  6. JonL


    Ivanhoe is a solid point of reference for Angevin-era heroic fiction, and actually does a pretty worthy job of highlighting conflicting loyalties, ideals vs practicality, tragically impossible loves, and the like. Also, calling out all five Norman champions at once in this scene is the stuff of epics. (Note Robin Hoode sliding into the cheering section as well.)
  7. Vargast & Harmast wrecked Lokamayadon's Taumath project quite thoroughly. There doesn't seem to have been anyone with similar influence or motive (Antirius revivalists?) in Dara Happa.
  8. It's the same sort of Illumination either way. The Lunars tout the Sevening regimen as a better way of preparing the seeker for their new outlook than just the riddles, aiming for more saints and less occlusion.
  9. It's also the case that slaying a dragon that has lost its way is doing it a favor. The Dragonbreaker is also the Dragonfriend.
  10. King Tarkalor had two problems. The Lunars working cultural imperialism angles on the Elmali communities on his northern frontier, enticing them with all their shiny armor, Solar art & festivals, etc. - hoping to peel them off and assimilate them into the provinces alongside Saird, and Aggar. On his Southern border, he has the Kitori acting up. He sets his Loyal Thane Monrogh about solving both problems. Lots of Elmali, weather disgruntled and looking for a different sort of life or not, magically supported Monrogh on his great heroquest - like ya do when one of your cult's great lights is on a mission from the King. For any of the Elmali who were magically supporting Monrogh's heroquest, his revelation/transformation became their reality as well. Some Elmali were itching to step out and kick ass as proud Golden Spearmen, but plenty would have been otherwise regular Loyal Thanes who were sucked along for the ride. That's honestly the only reason I can see for so many people who had up to that point dedicated their lives to protecting their families and communities to abandon that to move to a Sun Dome and become mercenaries/serf-oppressors. (That goes double for any who were in happy marriages at the time.) Reintroducing the Yelmalio cult into Dragon Pass (where it had been absent since the Dragon Kill) provided a way to co-opt the Lunars' subversion efforts, marshaling up his army of converts to move down South (far from any Lunar sedition) taking over the Elmal temple on the southern frontier (which was probably originally a Sun Dome of Bright Empire Dayanserus or EWF Sun Dragon little sun cults) and conquering the Kitori in Vantar (Light vs Darkness) - solving both of Tarkalor's problems. Unfortunately, Monrogh swore fealty to Tarkalor personally, but did not make Sun Dome County a vassal state to Sartar itself. Monrogh's successors felt no allegiance to Sartar, looked down on Orlanthi, and sold their services to the highest bidder.
  11. That brings this TGRoY passage back to mind again as well:
  12. That's kind of in-line with the way Sedenya is described as a sun that comes and goes in TGRoY. If the early Solar culture lacked any concept of a moon as a distinct sort of thing, what other proto-moon might they have also conceptualized as a sun-variant?
  13. Good eye there. I always saw this as Robin Hood + Little John, Gilgamesh + Enkidu, or the meet/fight/team-up cycle when superheros first encounter one another, but didn't catch that parallel. For values of Yelmalio that include Daysenerus. I don't doubt that the illuminated doodle (Palangio?) back on the first page was looking to subsume the Many into One. Balazar's Yelmalio dates to this period as well. I see a paralllel here between the Seven Mothers in the provinces and Sedenya in the heartlands. The Lunars clearly promote Yelmalio and ally with Sun Domers in their imperial expansion efforts, but I expect you see Antirius more prominent back up in Peloria as the Sun more accessible to those outside the high nobility, especially through Avivath's example. I think part of the frustration/pushback here is with moving from a normal and healthy Your Glorantha Will Vary space into more precarious Your Gamelines Will Vary territory. Previously, when I walked into a RuneQuest game, I knew things would be a bit different WRT the particulars of how magic plays out, but could otherwise expect more or less the same world I knew from my HQ books, TGRoY, KoDP (art aside) etc. If (when ) it was going to vary somehow, I'd happily trust the GM to call that out and otherwise be confident in what I have learned being useful and applicable. The fracturing of the common reference Glorantha takes away that baseline, the sense that it was a thing that could be known (insoluble mysteries included), and the confidence in one's knowledge that goes along with it. Without a stable foundation, it's hard to know where you stand.
  14. That's a solid assessment of what's described in GRoY, even as seen through the writing of a later Yelm-ist scribe. TFS's 111,111 date for the return of Yelm the Real Sun matches TGRoY's dates for Avivath's revelation in 111,110 and the 111,111 rise of Antirius as "stronger and brighter than that old sun [Kargzant]." This strognly supports your thesis. What conflicts somewhat with your No-Yelm in until the Bright Empire theory is that while this account from TFS places Yelm's restoration in lieu of Antirius at 111,375, TGRoY describes that as the culmination of Khordavu's ascendancy circa 111,211. While both support Antirius as the Dawn-era Dara Happan Sun God in opposition to the Nomads' Kargzant, TGRoY suggests to us that at the very least Plentonius & Khordavu were attempting to sell the idea of a mythic restoration of the Yelmic Imperial Sun Cult in their day. Whether or not they succeeded is another question. The FS's differing account suggests they perhaps they did not, or at the very least the author of the FS account was trying to sell the idea that they did not.
  15. There's a hair to split there. Nysalor isn't associated with Chaos by the Dara Happans. Arkat-allied perspectives aside, the Guide includes the Chaos Rune for Nysalor, Ralzakark is right over there, and I recall other in character Broo references to Nysalor as "our old boss" and the like. WRT to the Dara Happans though, it again doesn't seem that they previously had a concept of Capital-C-Chaos as a distinct thing the way the Theyalans did. As far as TGRoY describes the Darkness, it is acts of rebellion and injustice themselves that darken and chill the the word, deprive it of the Sun's blessings etc. There's are scant few references to anything we'd identify as Chaos beings as such (though digijelm/Trolls figure prominently), and in their tale the Glorantay (Celestial Court equivalent) are not undone by chaos assault or untenable paradox. They simply hand-off the world to Yelm when he is proclaimed emperor by the departing unity force. Revisiting that now, I consider a mythic parallel between the Ten Princes who restore the Antirian/Yelmic empire in the person of Kordavu and the Ten Glorantay enthroning Yelm. I've looked at the names/virtues of the Glorantay to see if they are reflected in the nature of Muzarharm's Ten Tests themselves, but they don't all seem to map cleanly. Further, the ten virtues among the Glorantay don't fully match those of the Theyalan/God learner Celestial Court either. You can maybe squint a bit for things like "Well, before Death, Kargan Tor could be Athletics rather than War per se." but you'll never find Disorder among the Dara Happan Ten, and their concept of Growth/Change is more one of guided maturation than Larnste's dynamism.
  16. TGRoY lists Sedenya the Changer as one of the Rebel Gods who take part in the coup in which Murharzarm is slain and Yelm falls. She appears again later, in opposition to Antirius: Interestingly, Lukarius's heir, Urvairinus, is said to be the son of Lukarius & Gerra. I expect that connection was useful to the alliance between Yelmgatha and the nascent Lunars. The conceptualization of Sedenya as a false or imperfect sun rather than any seeming concept of "moon" as a celestial object is also interesting in that context. That her changing rather than static (Stasis) nature lies at the heart of their critique is instructive as well. (If that excerpt is larger than is appropriate, I'll gladly chop it down & summarize.)
  17. Kazkurtum is listed as one of the Portions of Yelm. Dara Happan lore also doesn't so much acknowledge Chaos as a discrete thing thing the way that Theyalan cultures do. Rebel Gods, Darkness, and Chaos largely get lumped together in TGRoY (the word "chaos" appearing only once, and not capitalized).
  18. This makes perfect sense, given their Monrogh-ist origin and perspective. As described in the HQ Sartar books, that would be fighting-words in Runegate.
  19. This exccludes the quite functional status quo we have in the HQ books. The Elmal write up and Yelmalio write up both extant, complete, and good. The question of their relationship is presented an in-setting mystery and dispute among their worshippers. Monrogh's revelation is one perspective. The Hyalorings' legacy is another. There is no need for the rules to take a side. What is so wrong about that posture to make breaking trust in the Guide necessary? Morover, what is so wrong with that approach that it's worth breaking the trust people place in you when you write things like,, "The core canonical texts for Moon Design Publications and its licensees are..." and "the Guide to Glorantha must be the foundational document for all future publications"?
  20. JonL

    Prax Ostrich Combat Jockets = Terrible IRL

    Depends on the day, I suppose.
  21. JonL

    Better Battles

    The following chart compares the sequence of events as written in the Book of Battle with the Better Battle operation I outnined above: Book of Battle Sequence Better Battle Sequence #### Before the Battle #### #### Before the Battle #### Each player receives Player’s 1-page Battle Reference and Player’s Battle Record Each player receives Player’s 1-page Battle Reference and Player’s Battle Record Unit Leader receives Leader’s Battle Record Unit Leader receives Leader’s Battle Record Determine total Footman Value of forces. Force size tokens assessed. #### First Charge #### #### First Charge #### 1. Figure Opening Army Intensity 1. Commit Force Tokens 2.Figure First Charge Intensity 2. Army Commanders' Battle rolls 3. Army Commander’s Battle roll 3. Calculate Unit Intensity (AC Roll result + Zone mod) 4. Combat 4. Combat #### In the Battle #### #### In the Battle #### Step 1: Determine Player Knight Status Step 1: Determine Player Knight Status Step 2: Intensity Step 2: Prepare for Battle Round - a. Calculate Army Intensity - a. Commit Force Tokens - b. Check for Automatic Actions - b. Check for Automatic Actions - c. Calculate Unit Intensity - c. Calculate Unit Intensity (last-round's AC Roll result + Zone mod) Step 3: Unit Maneuver Step 3: Unit Maneuver - a. Unit Commander Makes Battle roll - a. Unit Commander Makes Battle roll - b. Choose a maneuver - b. Choose a maneuver Step 4: Melee Combat Step 4: Melee Combat - a. Determine Opponent - a. Determine Opponent - b. Calculate Player Knight Melee Skill - b. Calculate Player Knight Melee Skill - c. Determine Missile Attack Results - c. Determine Missile Attack Results - d. Determine Melee Attack Results - d. Determine Melee Attack Results - e. Take Bodyguard Bonus (Optional) - e. Take Bodyguard Bonus (Optional) - f. Determine Followers’ Fight Results - f. Determine Followers’ Fight Results Step 5: End of the Round Step 5: End of the Round - a. Determine Unit Results - a. Determine Unit Results - b. Calculate Player Knight Glory - b. Calculate Player Knight Glory - c. Attempt Squire roll and actions - c. Attempt Squire roll and actions - d. Extended melee phase (Optional) - d. Extended melee phase (Optional) - e. Adjust Army Intensity - e. Army Commanders' Battle rolls - f. Assess Casualties, remove tokens #### After the Battle #### #### After the Battle #### 1. Determine Victor 1. Determine Victor 2. Calculate Total Glory 2. Calculate Total Glory 3. Distribute Loot (Decisive Victory only) 3. Distribute Loot (Decisive Victory only) 4. Calculate Ransom 4. Calculate Ransom 5. Find Lost Squires 5. Find Lost Squires 6. Recover Lost Followers 6. Recover Lost Followers 7. Perform Healing 7. Perform Healing 8. Calculate surviving forces (if it matters)
  22. JonL

    Better Battles

    Attacking the Army Commander If an Army Commander's unit (PK or enemy) is engaged in a melee round and the AC is slain, the Army Commander should still make a final Battle Roll (as the round where he fell was still his commands being executed), but with a bump-down in success-grade: Crit becomes Success, Success becomes Failure, Failure becomes Fumble. That gets a high chance of units on the fallen commander's side routing. A surviving Unit Commander form the fallen AC's side may attempt a Rally the Battalion maneuver next round to become the new Army Commander. If the UC is in the same Battle Zone where the AC fell, add +3 to the UC's Battle Roll. Should no new commander arise, the army without an AC at the end of a battle round is considered to automatically Fail subsequent Battle rolls until one does or they are driven from the field.. If an AC is captured rather than slain, the remaining force may surrender if the GM deems it appropriate. Attacking the Enemy Camp If a PK unit manages to reach the Enemy Camp Battle Zone, add +/-2 to AC Battle roll to the results of any maneuver while in that Zone, and on a Triumph, add one routed token to any AC Battle roll result that inflicts casualties on the Enemy that round. After the Battle Half the lost tokens represent dead-dead forces. The other half are merely wounded and will recover in time. Routed forces should mostly survive unless the victor pursues them after the battle proper has ended, but may or may not be immediately re-deployable.
  23. JonL

    Better Battles

    Unit Action During the Round During each round, the Unit Commanders for PK units make a Battle roll. The GM makes an opposing roll with a TN of the Intensity determined by the previous AC roll results, modified by the Unit's position on the Book of Battle's Battle Zone track. Based on the results of that roll, the UC may chose among many maneuvers per the BoB. If their maneuver leads to a melee engagement (most do) the result may provide a modifier to the AC's Battle roll at the end of the current Battle Round. Attached to this post is a Word doc listing the BoB maneuver options with the results modified to fit into this framework. In a large battle with many PK units, or where the GM is tracking NPC "Enemy Hero" units the GM may decide to resolve some melee rounds by a quick opposed roll rather than playing out the skirmish. If so, use the following mapping to interpret the results of their maneuver: Critical Success: Triumph Success or Partial success: Win Failure: Loss Fumble: Crush In small battles, destroying a unit via melee may also remove a token from that side's committed force if the army is small enough for that unit's troops to have accounted for an entire token. In larger engagements, individual unit losses are noise in the overall battle. Similarly, the GM should decide based on the size of the engagement whether multiple PK units on the field should have their melee result modifiers summed or averaged together when applied to the AC's roll at the end of the round. If the PK units are a tiny part of a vast force, average them. If their units are proportionally large enough to represent a token's worth of troops, sum them. If the GM wishes to track the actions or position of significant "Enemy Hero" units independent of their interaction with PK units, optionally resolving their melee via a single opposed roll, the above modifiers can be used with their results as well. BBB_Maneuvers.docx
  24. JonL

    Better Battles

    Army Commander Battle Rolls Army Commanders (AC) make an opposed Battle roll at the opening of the battle, after commiting their initial force tokens) to determint the Intensity that the GM rolls vs Unit Commanders' in their battle rolls that round. At the end of the first battle round and every round thereafter, ACs make an additional opposed battle roll to determine casualties for the round and the Intensity Unit Comanders face in the upcoming round. ACs battle rolls are modified by the difference in their commited tokens, the performance of PK units during the battle round (details in follow-up post), and other tactical factors advantages such as terrain that the GM deems relevant. Tactical advantage due to troops and equipment is already factored into their Foot Value to a large extent. However, if there is a significant capability mismatch such as one side having no cavalry or archers that may warrant a +/- as well. As for how to gauge how significant a given advantage might be, recall that starting with 2:1 FV advantage is worth +/-5, 5:4 is worth +/- 2, and 5:1 is worth +/-8 (assuming both sides commit all their forces). Ballpark things from there. Compare the success grades of the ACs end-of-round battle rolls according to the table below. Lost tokens represent forces either wiped out or too wounded to continue the battle. Routed tokens are set aside separately, as they may be rallied and returned to the fray with via recovery results on subsequent battle rounds. (Such recovered tokens do not generate the rested bonus that reserves do.) Army Commander Battle Roll Results PKArmy/Enemy Critical Success Success Partial Success Failure Fumble Critical Success Lower crit loses 1 token, higher crit may recover 1 routed token if any.* N/A Loser loses 2 tokens, victor may recover 2 routed tokens, if any. Loser loses two tokens and has two route. Victor may recover 2 routed tokens, if any. Loser loses three tokens and half of remaining tokens route. Victor may recover all routed tokens, if any. Success N/A N/A* Loser loses 2 tokens, Victor Loses one token. Loser loses two tokens. Victor may recover one routed token, if any. Loser Loses two tokens and two tokens route. Victor may recover one routed token, if any. Partial Success Loser loses 2 tokens, victor may recover 2 routed tokens, if any. Loser loses 2 tokens, Victor Loses one token. N/A N/A N/A Failure Loser loses two tokens and has two route. Victor may recover 2 routed tokens, if any. Loser loses two tokens. Victor may recover one routed token, if any. N/A Both lose 1 token. Victor Loses one token, Loser loses one and routes one. Fumble Loser loses three tokens and half of remaining tokens route. Victor may recover all routed tokens, if any. Loser Loses two tokens and two tokens route. Victor may recover one routed token, if any. N/A Victor Loses one token, Loser loses one and routes one. Both lose one token and route one token. * In the case of exactly tied successes, both sides loose one token. For exactly tied criticals, neither suffers a loss In addition to the force token impacts, the result of the AC rolls also determines the base Intensity that the GM rolls opposing PK Unit Commanders' Battle roll during the following round: Unit Commander Base Opposing Intensity Next Round: PKArmy/Enemy Critical Success Success Partial Success Failure Fumble Critical Success 13 N/A 9 5 1 Success N/A N/A 13 9 5 Partial Success 17 19 N/A N/A N/A Failure 21 17 N/A 13 9 Fumble 25 21 N/A 17 13