06 March, 2015

Assorted Gribblies


WITH all this tutorial business I haven't had much chance to post up anything else recently, but needless to say behind-the-scenes I have been steadily chipping away at the leaden cliff face that perpetually looms over me and it is my efforts from this modest quarrying that I want to share today.

First we have a shambling mound from Oathsworn Miniatures. A great sculpt from an equally great company, although I wish they'd do more classic D&D monsters! I'm definitely going to pick up their Owlbear next. To be honest, by his very nature this guy required some perseverance to get painted. In one regard he's pretty easy because there's no call for pissing-about with any freehand action, but all that intricate detail in which he's clothed takes an incredibly long time to paint and highlight. I believe this is also an issue with the Otherworld 'mound too, but I think you'll agree that the end result makes the time taken worthwhile!


Next we have a slime from Reaper Miniatures which I've had kicking around for years. Not an especially exciting miniature, but indispensable dungeon fodder nonetheless! I went for a mucus-green, which I think worked.


Finally - miniature-wise, at least - we have a couple of Ral Partha 'Giant Rat Swarms', sculpted by Bob Olley. I must admit that the gloss varnish finish doesn't really do much for these rodents, although they look much better in the flesh than the image below would suggest. Again, not especially exciting, but mandatory dungeon gribblies!


Aside from miniatures I have also been working on some new terrain. I've always thought that marshes are an especially fantasy-friendly type of terrain. This may largely be because of Tolkien's famous Dead Marshes, although I have walked many of the mires on Dartmoor which in the mist can be incredibly eerie locations. Regardless, they are a place of potential peril even in the real world, never-mind if haunted by marsh trolls, shambling mounds, will-o'-wisps and the like! 

The marshes below were created using 2mm foamex as the base, which is sanded lightly on one side (to help adhesion) and then cut into shape with a Stanley blade. The trees (from the sadly defunct Fantascene) are then glued on and Milliput is used to blend them into the base. PVA glue is then spread over the bases (and covering the Milliput), leaving gaps where the water is going. Aquarium sand is then sprinkled on and later, when dry, watered-down PVA is used to seal it. Once dry the whole lot is then primed black. At this point he sand is dry-brushed to taste and the trees likewise painted. The 'marsh' areas (represented by the primed foamex) are then painted and when dry covered with vile-smelling yacht varnish, or some other suitable water-effect product. When dry static grass and reeds are added and voilĂ ! 


04 March, 2015

Trapdoor Tutorial III: Ranged Attacks


THIS latest instalment of guides for Trapdoor, my dungeon crawl rules, looks primarily at ranged attacks and the Ranger hero class. Please note that what follows will make much more sense if you first read this prior episode, which explains the Exploration and Encounter phases in greater detail.  

A quest begins! Dwarf Knight Farin and Elf Ranger Olon Owleye peer down a darkened corridor. A door lies to their left and beyond who knows? It is decided that during the Exploration phases Olon will go first. With this established Olon's first action is to declare a search of the corridor. Rangers begin their careers with the Tracker trait, which allows them to roll an extra d10 and choose the highest result when making OBS Rolls for Searching. Thus the player rolls 2d10, with the results being show above. Obviously he selects the highest result ('10') so the Search is successful. The GM duly informs the players that the corridor section up to door contains nothing of interest (this GM has decided that a search encompasses an entire tile/section). With this done, the Ranger uses his move to reach the doorway, followed by Farin. 
Turn 2. Olon's player decides to open the door and the GM lays-out the area beyond: a room inhabited by a Rat Swarm! As discussed in Tutorial I this automatically triggers an Encounter phase. The swarm is 'alert', which means the player who discovered it must pass an OBS Roll to  go first (6+ on 1d10). However, the Tracker trait means that in this situation the Ranger may also roll an extra d10 and choose the highest result. So the player rolls 2d10, with the results being shown above. He chooses the highest result - '9' - so the OBS Roll is passed: the heroes may go first. 
As Olon is already at the doorway and has a Bow its is decided that he will make a ranged attack against the swarm. The target/defender is within the weapon's short range (1-7) so Olon gains an extra d10 towards his Accuracy (ACC) Roll. The target also has the Large trait, which means that Olon gains another d10! The Ranger player rolls his 3d10, choosing the highest result ('9') and adding his ACC characteristic (3) for a total of 12. The GM simultaneously makes a RES Roll on 1d10 and adds the swarm's Resilience characteristic for as total of 9.
As with melee (see Tutorial II) if the attacker's roll beats the defender's then damage must be immediately calculated. This is done in exactly the same manner: the losing score (9) is subtracted from the winning (12) and the difference (3) gives us the Margin of Victory (MoV). The Damage table is then consulted and the MoV is cross-referenced against the weapons Damage rating (DAM), which in this case is 2. The result is a '1', which means the defender loses that many VIT. Olon gains 2 advancement points for this achievement.  If Olon wishes he can now move out of the way so that Farin may charge the rats.
Having successfully dealt with the Rat Swarm, the duo move onwards. Moving onto the end of the corridor reveals a passageway to the left. At the end of this is a small room and door, guarded by two Goblin Warriors. The goblins are relaxed, so the heroes take the first turn of this fresh Encounter phase. Olon's player decides to loose an arrow at one the foes. However, the goblins are just outside of the Bow's short range and are in its medium range (8-14). This means that Olon does not receive an additional d10 to his ACC Roll. Added to this goblin's have the Small trait, which mean that they may roll an extra d10 and choose the highest result against any ranged attacks. The Ranger player makes his ACC Roll: 4+3 = 7. The GM makes a RES Roll: 9+1 = 10. The goblin is unharmed by the attack!
Farin moves beside Olon and play passes to the GM, who moves his goblins down the passageway towards the heroes!
Play passes back to the hero players. Olon shoots at one of the onrushing creatures. This time the goblin is within the Bow's short range, so the Ranger gains and extra d10. However, the goblin still gains an extra d10 for being Small. Thus both sides roll 2d10, choosing the highest result.The goblin's RES Roll is: 5+1 = 6. Olon's ACC Roll is: 9+3 = 12. The MoV is 6 and on consulting the Damage table, the Ranger player discovers this causes the loss of 2 VIT. Goblin Warriors only have 1 VIT so the creature is instantly slain and Olon gains another 2 advancement points.
The next lesson will look at Mages and casting spells and shall probably conclude this series for the moment, having covered most of the system's important aspects. If you wish to know more please contact me or purchase a copy of the rules (see banner below):

15 February, 2015

Trapdoor Tutorial II: Melee


THE last tutorial left our budding and garishly-coloured adventurers - Human Knight Sir Pubert and Dwarf Barbarian Ardkill - about to get up-close-and-personal with a couple of Orc Warriors in some noisome catacomb, and introduced readers to the basic concepts surrounding the Exploration phase in Trapdoor. New readers are encouraged to follow the aforementioned link where they will not only be able to retrace the steps that led our adventurers thus far, but also find an introduction to and overview of the system so that they may make sense of what follows. Without further ado, let us continue: 

Recap: At the end of the last tutorial the plucky heroes opened a door which revealed a couple of Orc Warriors and established that the heroes would go first. As previously mentioned as soon as any enemies are uncovered the Exploration phase ends and an Encounter phase begins: any remaining movement or actions relating to the turn in which the GMinions were discovered are lost. Note that during Encounter phases the heroes may break from the strict order of march required in the Exploration phase. Encounter phases consist of alternating turns (heroes>monsters>heroes>et cetera) which last until all of one side has been slain. As soon as there are no longer any monsters on the uncovered playing area the Encounter phase ends and a fresh Exploration phase starts.


It is the first turn of a fresh Encounter phase and the heroes may go first. Sir Pubert decides that he should lead the attack and moves onto a square adjacent to the nearest orc. Movement that ends next to an enemy is considered a deliberate Charge. Charging models receive an extra d10 when making Melee (MEL) Rolls. This means that Sir Pubert rolls his normal d10 for making a Melee Attack and rolls an additional d10 because he charged: he then chooses the highest result ('10' in this instance) and adds his MEL characteristic (3) for a total of 13. 
The Orc Warrior is defending itself and so makes a standard Resilience (RES) Roll with 1d10. It rolls a '6' to which it adds it's RES characteristic (2) for a total of 8. 
Clearly the Knight has beaten his opponent's defence and the effect of this is now calculated. To do so the RES Roll is subtracted from the MEL Roll, so: 13-8 = 5. This figure is called the Margin of Victory (MoV) and is cross-referenced on the Damage Table against the Damage Rating (DAM) of the weapon the attacker is using, in this case '2'. 
Cross-referencing DAM 2 against MoV 5 reveals a '2': this is how much Vitality (VIT) the defending model has lost. As Orc Warriors only have two VIT the creature is instantly killed and the model removed from play. For each point of VIT a hero player takes away from an enemy he receives two advancement points, so Sir Pubert duly notes down four points on his hero profile sheet. For every 25 points earned a hero can roll on the Advancement Table between quests, boosting characteristics or acquiring new traits.
Play now passes to Ardkill, who promptly charges the remaining monster. Barbarians begin their careers with the Frenzy trait, which allows them to move +2 SPE if Charging, however Ardkill can easily reach his foe using his normal SPE. The Dwarf is charging so rolls 2d10, scoring a '7' and '3'. He selects the highest score and adds his MEL (3) for a MEL Roll total of '10'. The orc rolls 1d10 and scores '5', to which it adds its RES (2) for a RES Roll total of '7'. Ardkill has beaten his foe and now works out the MoV: 10-7 = 3. Ardkill's axe (Hand Weapon) has DAM 2. MoV 3+DAM2 = '1'. The orc has lost one VIT so is still alive! A token is placed next to the creature to denote its status and Ardkill gains two advancement points for removing this point.
Turn two: the GM's turn! The Orc Warrior cannot move out of melee so immediately attacks Ardkill. The GM makes his Melee Roll: 7+2 = 9. The Dwarf makes his RES Roll: 8+5 = 13. The creature has failed to beat its' opponent and nothing happens! The GMs turn is over.
Turn three. Sir Pubert Charges the hapless orc and makes his MEL Roll: 7+3 = 10. The monster makes its RES Roll: 6+2 = 8. The MoV is '2'. Looking at the Damage Table, the Knight player sees that rather than a number there is an 'S'. This stands for Shaken and is a result common if the MoV is marginal. The orc doesn't lose any VIT, but becomes Shaken (a blue token is placed by it to denote this). Attacks against Shaken models receive an extra d10, much in the same way as Charging. 
Ardkill now attacks. He makes his MEL Roll: 8+3 = 11. the monster makes its RES Roll: 5+2 = 7. The MoV is '4': the Orc Warrior loses '1' VIT, killing it. The model is removed from play and Ardkill notes down another two advancement points on his profile sheet, The Encounter phase is now over and a fresh Exploration phase begins. The heroes are free to Search the room, if they wish.
I hope this provided a helpful insight into how Melee works in Trapdoor; I like to think the system yields a fast yet satisfying result. Note that there are no bonuses for 'ganking' (outnumbering): the extra attacks garnered by ganking are considered sufficient and a weak, outnumbered opponent will quickly perish. Next we shall look at some advanced concepts relating to the Exploration phase and also Ranged Attacks! Again, if there any questions please get in touch here or via email (see my profile, top-right).