Friday, July 23, 2010

1 Lord vs. 100 Orcs

So, as you probably know, I've been tinkering with mass combat as of late, and thinking about how it might best be approached for my own campaign (and ADD). I'm particularly drawn to the basic idea of the old Swords and Spells supplement (the last supplement published for 0E, unless you count it as a game unto itself, which is at least implied by the booklet itself). The concept is to simply "scale up" the D&D combat system, using the averages and probabilities to determine damage without rolling dice. There is nothing to say this concept wouldn't work exactly as well with the AD&D combat system.

For example, take the D&D equivalent of the Stamford Bridge; 1 lord (let's call him 10th level, AC 0, 50 hit points, with a long sword +2) facing off against 100 orcs. If you go by the averages, the 10th level fighter loses that battle.

The orcs hit 5% of the time (20 on a d20), and let's be kind and say only 3 of them can attack the lord at any given time. The lord hits 80% of the time (4 or better vs. AC 6). The orcs do an average of 5 hp when they hit, while the lord pretty much kills what he's aiming at. So, he kills 8 orcs per turn, while the orcs do 8 hp per turn. Bearing in mind that it's a little fuzzy because of fractions and such (and doubtless eyes are already glazing over with all the numbers as it is), the orcs will eventually kill their man on turn 7, while the lord will run out of orcs to kill on turn 13. (There are only about a third of the orcs left, an impressive tally to be sure, but that's more than enough left to make a drinking cup out of the lord's skull to present to their chief.)

Nothing says you couldn't apply these principles across the board. Voilà! You have a scalable version of AD&D combat, with a meaningful way of measuring damage between vastly different scaled forces. If the combat tables are built properly, you can even build in the weapon vs. armor type adjustments without having to resort to a separate table. The hard part is working up those average damage tables, and that's not all that hard, really.

Now, what about lower-level characters? I've got something for them, too, that gives them meaningful input into large-scale battles without being given make-work jobs as scouts, monster-killers, or off on their own "defending the one critical hill that will mean victory or defeat for the entire army". But that will come in good time.

A Night at the Cock and Bottle: Tavern Names

I came across this really need English pub name generator, and it inspired me to spend a couple of minutes to put together a handy list of tavern and inn names that I can dip into when I need to name one on the fly. These are all actual names of English pubs (including one that will also be well-known to Greyhawk afficinados), but I picked some that I think will work well in a fantasy campaign. Enjoy!

The Crooked Billet
The Old Red Lion
The Globe Inn
The Clarence
The Dolphin
The Hope & Anchor
The Leather Exchange
The Shambles
The King
The Queen Victoria
The Bird in the Hand
The Tally Ho
The Sheet Anchor
The Empress
The Fox
The Lorne
The Turnpike Inn
The Mason's Arms
The White Hart
The Beehive
The Comet
The Queen's Head
The Cricketer's Arms
The Cock and Bottle
The Jolly Farmer
The Swan with Two Necks
The Fleece and Firkin
The Slug and Lettuce
The Green Dragon
The Blue Boar
The Swan
The Dog and Duck
The Bag o'Nails
The Cat and the Fiddle
The Bull and Bush
The Hop Inn
The Leather Bottle
The Blue Anchor
The Copper Kettle
The Red Lion
The Crown
The Three Arrows
The Percy Arms
The Rose and Crown
The Crooked Chimney
The Bull and Mouth
The Cock and Bull
The Dew Drop Inn
The Black Swan
The Goat and Compasses
The Honest Lawyer
The Jolly Taxpayer
The Library
The Nag’s Head
The Nowhere Inn Particular
The Shop
The Pig and Whistle
The Bishop’s Finger
The Axe and Cleaver
The Fisherman’s Arms
The Plough and Harrow
The Propeller
The Royal Oak
The Swan
The Plough
The White Horse
The Bell
The New Inn