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Morien

Simple Grand Melee (Tournament) Resolution

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Here are the simple house rules rules I use to quickly resolve our yearly Pentecostal Grand Melee.

1. (Eschille) Leader rolls Battle vs. Battle 15.

(While I have not implemented it yet, this could modify the other three skills, below. Giving bonuses to PKs is dangerous, since it can easily push them into the critting territory, which unbalances things severely. So perhaps just give the losing side a -5 modifier, if the difference is larger than one step: success vs partial = 0, success vs fail or critical vs partial = -5, success vs fumble or critical vs fail = -10. This would make successes much more common for the winning side, without pushing them straight into Criticals.)

2. Everyone rolls Horsemanship, Lance and Melee*, vs. 15. (* Melee weapon skill of their choice, although I would limit it to one-handed weapons, i.e. Sword, Spear, Axe, Mace, Hammer, that they can use from horseback.)

3. Each success grants 20 Glory, including Battle, and Criticals net 60 (vs. partial success) or 120 (vs. failure, you did very well!).

4. Partial success gives 10 Glory, Failure 5 Glory and Fumble 0 Glory. If opposition roll was a critical, downgrade the PK's result by one, as far as Glory is concerned. On Lance and Sword, roll Damage as normal (7d6 lance, 5d6 sword), but anything through the armor is halved, unless the PK fumbled, in which case the damage is not halved. Note also that opposition critical roll increases the damage as per usual. First Aid can be used on these 'bruises' as if they are a single wound each. On a fumbled Horsemanship, the PK falls off his horse and takes 1d6 falling damage.
 

The same system can be used for smaller, regional tournaments, but the Glory amounts should be halved.

Edited by Morien
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Nice. 

Regarding 1. Maybe you could just limit the players to adding the bonus to one of the three skills. In battle the unit commander usually gives a bonus to the charge, not the rest of the fight, so limiting to one out of three would keep the PKs in check. They would most likely want to shore their lowest skill rather than boost their best.  

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16 hours ago, Morien said:

2. Everyone rolls Horsemanship, Lance and Melee, vs. 15.

Is Melee a house rule skill in your game, or did you mean Battle?

Thanks by the way. This is 👌

Edited by SirMonkeyboy
stupid autocorrect

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39 minutes ago, SirMonkeyboy said:

Is Melee a house rule skill in your game, or did you mean Battle?

Thanks by the way. This is 👌

I think he means whatever melee weapon they prefer (i.e. Sword, Mace, Axe, Spear)

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I think he means whatever melee weapon they prefer (i.e. Sword, Mace, Axe, Spear)

Correct. Whatever their preferred melee weapon is. Although I would limit it to weapons that they can actually wield from horseback (i.e. one-handed weapons). I have now clarified this in the initial post. One of the dangers of just copy-pasting my own GM notes without checking. :P

Edited by Morien

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4 hours ago, Morien said:

Correct. Whatever their preferred melee weapon is. Although I would limit it to weapons that they can actually wield from horseback (i.e. one-handed weapons). I have now clarified this in the initial post. One of the dangers of just copy-pasting my own GM notes without checking. :P

Fair enough. I'd let someone use a foot weapon if they wanted to give up their horse, take a reckless check, and suffer the -5/+5 foot vs. mounted. But then, who  am I to stand in the way of player stupidity.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Fair enough. I'd let someone use a foot weapon if they wanted to give up their horse, take a reckless check, and suffer the -5/+5 foot vs. mounted. But then, who  am I to stand in the way of player stupidity.

I thought about that, but then he would not be part of the rest of the eschille, as they are dashing to and fro on their horses. The whole idea of the tournament grand melee is to try to be a mock battle, and the knights are primarily cavalry (at least until bows and bills become a thing...).

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45 minutes ago, Morien said:

I thought about that, but then he would not be part of the rest of the eschille, as they are dashing to and fro on their horses. The whole idea of the tournament grand melee is to try to be a mock battle, and the knights are primarily cavalry (at least until bows and bills become a thing...).

Exactly, but I've seen players who want to do something, until the realize exactly what they are actually doing.  I mean, fighting on foot like a commoner, really? No horse, and no shield painted with their personal arms? How's everybody supposed to know they are a knight?  Or why would the heralds bother to keep an eye on a footman? 

 

 

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I would also have the option of a knight who has fallen, try to secure a horse as well.  Squire roll, fight someone on a horse and take it from him, but agree he is not part of the eschille until he somehow rejoins it.  If the unit stays in place, then the knight immediately can rejoin. Otherwise, it will take at least one round when the knight is fighting alone.

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9 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

I would also have the option of a knight who has fallen, try to secure a horse as well.  Squire roll, fight someone on a horse and take it from him, but agree he is not part of the eschille until he somehow rejoins it.  If the unit stays in place, then the knight immediately can rejoin. Otherwise, it will take at least one round when the knight is fighting alone.

This seems to be a quick "one round" method of resoling a grand melee, so a fallen knight situation wouldn't come up. It's basically make three rolls and collect your checks and glory. 

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9 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

This seems to be a quick "one round" method of resoling a grand melee, so a fallen knight situation wouldn't come up. It's basically make three rolls and collect your checks and glory. 

Correct. Quick and easy, which means that we can focus more on duels and other feast events. This does show some of my bias as the GM, since I find the Grand Melee (or any other tournament combat) extremely boring, since usually, there are no stakes. And if there are real ransom stakes, then suddenly it becomes way too important, and it takes the whole session to work out. Rather than doing questing or moving the big plot forward.

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On 3/5/2019 at 12:47 AM, Morien said:

Correct. Quick and easy, which means that we can focus more on duels and other feast events. This does show some of my bias as the GM, since I find the Grand Melee (or any other tournament combat) extremely boring, since usually, there are no stakes. And if there are real ransom stakes, then suddenly it becomes way too important, and it takes the whole session to work out. Rather than doing questing or moving the big plot forward.

Given that, I'm curious: do you engage in full-on BoB battles in your campaign? With the infant campaign I've just started running, I'm a little nervous about battles to be honest. Both for the "I'm sure I'll f@#k it up" factor, as well as "won't they other fall asleep / be totally confused?" element. 😝 But battles are such a huge part of the GPC, it seems weird to just say, "nah, missed it. You guys were off saving damosels." Y'know?

Edited by Sir Mad Munkee
don't type gud

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If your nervous you can use the battle system in the core book. It works just fine. BoB gives you more detail and options but the core system can do the job. You can even simplifly the BoB system by eliminating most of the maneuvers and just go with:

Triumph= -2 Intensity

Win = -1 Intensity

Loss: +1 Intensity

Crushed = -2 Intensity

 

I'm a fairly experienced GM and have made some mistakes with the BoB, and still doubt that I got it 100% right. But, I don't have to get it 100% right. Just right enough to work. For the most part that all you need to do. As long as give the players a feel for battle and "big events" and stuff like that, you'll be fine. 

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12 hours ago, Sir Mad Munkee said:

Given that, I'm curious: do you engage in full-on BoB battles in your campaign? With the infant campaign I've just started running, I'm a little nervous about battles to be honest. Both for the "I'm sure I'll f@#k it up" factor, as well as "won't they other fall asleep / be totally confused?" element. 😝 But battles are such a huge part of the GPC, it seems weird to just say, "nah, missed it. You guys were off saving damosels." Y'know?

No, I don't use BoB. Most of the GPC battles are scripted anyway, so it tends to matter less on the whole battle scale what the PKs are doing. Instead, I try to focus on giving them 1 heroic extended melee per battle, whether helping/rescuing their liege or trying to take down an enemy commander (usually not the whole army commander!). The rest of the battle I pretty much just roll player eschille leader Battle vs. 15, to see if they manage to get/keep the initiative, or even gain an advantage, or if they are fighting at a disadvantage. If they have the initiative (i.e. win the Battle), they are free to maneuver, or go after a preferred enemy unit. If they lose the initiative (i.e. lost battle), then I might roll a random enemy unit from my own lists or just assign enemy knights to charge them (especially if they failed Battle vs. enemy success in Battle).

In smaller, non-scripted battles, I might roll the PKs' battalion (wing) commander's Battle vs. his opposite as well as the Army commanders' Battle, and use those rolls to craft a narrative of the ebb and flow of the battle. Which then the PKs get a chance to interrupt/ameliorate with their heroics. For instance, in a battle vs. Essex, one wing of the Salisbury-Cornwall army broke, but PK heroics by knocking out the enemy prince (who was also the battalion commander) was enough to turn the rout into a mere hasty retreat, as the Saxon advance stalled at the unconsciousness of their leader.

I also wrote up this thing: http://nocturnalmediaforum.com/iecarus/forum/showthread.php?1919-Variant-battle-system&p=16334&viewfull=1#post16334

But to be honest, I tend to go more for eyeballing the PK impact, crafting it more into the story.

As an example, at the Battle of Terrabil, the important fight was the grudge match between then-Prince Mark (de facto ruler of Salisbury due to his marriage to Countess Ellen) and the Praetor* of Levcomagus, Sir Gnaeus, who had married Lady Jenna during the Anarchy and now claimed Salisbury as his by the right of his wife, since Robert had died. The PKs supported Prince Mark, and they ALMOST managed to kill the Praetor (already in negative hit points), which would have change the course of the campaign. But in the end, a young no-name knight managed to take down three PKs one after the other, and was promptly named by the players as Sir Noob. Anyway, the survival of the Praetor & Arthur's victory meant that Salisbury was given to the Praetor, who had absolutely no love left for his would-be killers. Fortunately now-King Mark came through for his loyal knights with LOTS of money as ransom, and after they were stripped of their lands and exiled from Salisbury, King Mark welcomed them to Cornwall.

* In our campaign, Levcomagus is quite heavily Roman in culture, and hence a Praetor seemed like a better title than a common Steward. Sir Gnaeus started out as another young knight in 485, engaging in reciprocal border skirmishing with the PKs, until the Anarchy gave him the chance to take over the Praetorship with some adroit and timely Royal treasury seizing. He proceeded to conquer part of Salisbury in the chaos of 495, until the PKs negotiated a marriage alliance, and agreed to call those manors 'dowry'. This alliance was then put under strain with Salisbury's alignment with Cornwall, and relations went really down the tubes from mid-500s onwards, what with a few Cornwall-Saxon raids and sieges on Levcomagus.

 

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