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).

13 February, 2015

Trapdoor Tutorial I: Exploration

I RELEASED Trapdoor - rules for tabletop dungeon crawling - back in December, but aside from some rather insipid plugs on a couple of forums and here, haven't really done much else in the way of purposeful promotion/support. I have decided to remedy this shortcoming by posting a series of tutorials which should provide readers with at least a vague idea of what Trapdoor is all about and perhaps, if they like what they see, persuade some to pick up a copy (both digital and physical versions may be bought from HERE). Before ploughing ahead, first I shall attempt a quick synopsis of the game for the benefit of those who have not read my previous posts regarding it:

  • Trapdoor is a miniature-centric dungeon crawl game with a dusting of rpg-elements and has been designed with fun and playability in mind.
  • Predictably the game pits a GM against a group of hero players (2-6 is recommended); the GM controls the world and creatures that the players interact with. 
  • Each gaming session is focused upon a quest designed by the GM, which generally involves the exploration and looting of a subterranean area punctuated by not infrequent fights with disgruntled occupants.
  • There are four races and six classes from which players can choose to create their heroes. Starting heroes have predetermined characteristics, traits and equipment, but there is plenty of scope for advancement using a simple system of 'advancement points'. Provided they don't die it takes literally dozens of quests before heroes 'max-out'.
  • All models have six characteristics - Speed (SPE), Bravery (BRA), Accuracy (ACC), Melee (MEL), Fortitude (FOR) and Vitality (VIT) - plus traits and equipment.
  • The rules include a large bestiary and lists for weapons, armour, equipment et cetera.
  • It uses d10 and users need to provide their own modular dungeon tiles, miniatures et cetera.

That would seem to provide a sufficiently casual overview and hopefully any incognizant readers will now be possessed of at least an inkling of what the game entails, at least from a conceptual point-of-view.

The first tutorial will introduce the reader to the two games phases: Exploration and Encounter and a few of the basic concepts/mechanics relating to these. Right, here we go... 

The beginning of a quest! Ardkill (Dwarf Barbarian) and Sir Pubert (an improbably attired Human Knight) descend a stairwell to be confronted by a dank corridor. Unbeknownst to them a junction lies at the end of it, but as it can't be seen by the heroes the GM hasn't placed it yet. Trapdoor is split into alternating Exploration and Encounter phases. As there are no enemies on the uncovered quest area it is currently an Exploration phase. During Explorations a strict marching order must be set and adhered to throughout the quest. In both phases models may move and perform an action (or vice-versa). Some actions are specific to particular phases or are restricted depending in which phase they are attempted. 
Sir Pubert leads the marching order. He moves forward five squares (his SPE characteristic) and then decides to use his action to Search the corridor, which if successful will turn up any hidden features (traps, secret doors and so forth). Searching requires an Observation (OBS) Roll on 1d10, with a result of 6+ signifying success. Pubert rolls an '8'! The GM looks over his quest map and tell the player that there are no hidden features in the corridor, but that there is a left-leading corridor up ahead. Ardkill moves four squares (his SPE characteristic) and the turn is over.
Turn two. Sir Pubert moves forward and the GM stops him in order to reveal the next portion of the quest map: another corridor; this time punctuated by a doorway! 
The Knight continues his movement and reaches the doorway, which the GM informs him is unlocked. He decides to Search this new corridor, but rolls a '2': failure.
 Ardkill moves and also elects to Search the area. Alas, the Barbarian's OBS Roll is a '4' and he too fails to find anything. An area may only be searched twice, so whether-or-not there are hidden features here the heroes must press on.
Turn three. Sir Pubert uses his action to open the door, praying that it isn't trapped. It isn't and the room beyond is empty. The two enter the room and Arkill successfully Searches it, turning up 7 gold schillings amongst a lot of moth-eaten fur coats in the old wardrobe.
Turn four. The heroes assemble at the doorway and Ardkill uses his action to ease it open. The room beyond is inhabited: the current Exploration phase immediately ends and an Encounter phase begins. GMinions (as monsters are styled in Trapdoor) should be marked on the GM's quest map as being either 'relaxed' or 'alert'. If relaxed the heroes automatically take the first turn; if alert then the discovering hero must make an OBS Roll to see who surprises who! In this instance the Orc Warriors are alert. Ardkill makes an OBS Roll and scores '9': a success. The heroes may go first!
Well, if that hasn't put you into a deep coma then my heartiest congratulations! The next instalment will see our intrepid heroes doing battle with the orcs, introducing the reader to Trapdoor's moron-friendly melee mechanics (how's that for an alliteration!). On a more serious note, I do hope that the above made some manner of sense and if you have any queries please comment below or message me at the address provided in my profile-thing (top right). Obviously I'm not giving the entire game away through these tutorials, but rather providing a general overview of the system.

If you wish to take the plunge and order a copy of Trapdoor then please click on the image below, where both digital and print formats are available:

06 February, 2015

Knight and Temple

COMING at you like a gaily-coloured breeze/cinder block of pain is this week's primary offering: 'Sir Brut' from the snappily-titled 'Heroic Fighters of the Known World' set (more Goodwin goodness). My initial intention for the colour scheme was that it would be a snazzy blue/orange combo, using VGC Scrofulous Brown as the base colour for the orange. As can be seen from the pictures below it turned out to be more of a golden-yellow. So yeah, now he looks like he's stepping out to the grocers to pick up a tin of surstromming. Nevertheless I am generally happy with how he turned out and readers might also be pleased to note that he has a shield! Indeed it is now my intention to furnish all models with shields at the time of painting, a point on which I have previously been remiss when it comes to vintage models.

For the shield-backs I used a most helpful guide for painting wood grain which Blue in VT posted at the beginning of the week. Of course I modified it according to what paints I had available (VMC Leather Brown/VGC Earth/VMC Cork, as I recall) and am very happy with the results. Cheers Chris! I also went back to the orcs I painted last month and sorted them out with shields, the results of which are shown further down (on two of them, at least). How people like Thantsants can paint designs on those little half-moon shields is beyond me: I just opted for some simple geometric patterns and, again, am pretty happy with how they turned out.

The second portion of this post is terrain-orientated. A fortnight back I mentioned I was making some gaming boards using 2x2' sections of 20mm styrofoam. I've completed four of these and they fit neatly into a bubble wrap-lined TV storage box which can then be shoved under the bed, which is obviously much better than arsing about with unwieldy 2x6' sheets of mdf. Anyway, here're some pictures of the finished article. Not too exciting, I'll grant, but then they'll be covered in terrain most of the time.

Edges protected with gaffer tape.

On the subject of terrain I also recently bought the Mini Monsters' 'Ancient Temple' set from Zealot Miniatures. I've had my eye on this for several years so was delighted when it promptly arrived. Below are some pictures of the assembled and painted temple, complete with mad wizard! An excellent and versatile scenic item that comes highly recommended. 

Aygar peers into the reflecting pool.

Starting next week: Trapdoor tutorials with pictures and everything. What's Trapdoor I hear you ask? Look hither, esteemed reader: