Sunday, January 7, 2024

Two Ahoģgya (Or are there six?)

 These creatures are of four armed, four legged and three faced swamp dwelling warrior race living on Tekùmel.

They are anatomically incorrect but I gave it my best shot. The hand on the sword pommel is wrong for sure!

Went for a cartoon look because they are sort of comic relief at times owing to their bizarre biology and their rather crude, vulgar and inscrutable customs.

Also a cartoon because I can't draw realistically af all but to try and draw an Ahoģgya at all is a special problem in and of itself in my 

That said, the Tekumel source book has some interesting insights into these strange folk

They cannot use sorcery but are fierce in battle because they can wield weapons in all four hands, see in three directions at once, and are naturally armored.

They are the creation of Professor M.A.R. Barker and one of my favorites from Tekùmel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

One Page Combat System for Duels Upon Barsoom




Today as a small diversion from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune I have cobbled together a simple minimalist combat system for running Barsoomian adventures.

I think it's pretty straightforward and while fairly random I imagine a GM could figure out a way to run some adventures on Barsoom with just this mechanic alone.

Obviously it doesn't deal with monsters, mass battles, air fights or other resolution mechanics but it could easily be tweaked to do just that and I may add some pages for these contingencies.

I'll probably do a prettier one at some point.

There is a surrender or flee outcome in withdrawing from a combat which will  have to be adjudicated  by the GM.

Tharks vs Man probably needs it's own page!

Hopefully someone can run a fun minimalist game with little prep! 


 Essentially, it works like this:

When a player is fighting a duel, it goes by Turns and all attacks are considered simultaneous-

The Turn-

The combatants (either player vs player or player vs NPC) each roll a d8.

Each number (except 8) generates a random attack or defense, as illustrated.

A combatant's resulting attack/defense mode interacts with that of his opponent in various ways-- either dealing damage or in some way mitigating damage or, alternatively, resulting in no blows landed.

The results are applied and the next turn begins.

The descriptions of the 7 modes of defense and attack tells the combat result.

1. PARRY If your character gets this result, it will negate a THRUST or SLASH result by the opponent, and no blows are landed.

PARRY has no effect against a FLURRY and you will take d6 Damage.

PARRY has no effect against a FEINT and in fact opens you to be unbalanced by that move losing next Turn, leaving you open to ANY damaging attack in that Turn.

PARRY has no effect against WITHDRAW or DEFEND (No blows landed).

2. WITHDRAW This result is optional at a combatant's discretion; they can ignore it to stay in a fight though they will then be subject to full damage if an opponent lands a blow.

A WITHDRAW move is not affected by the following moves at all: PARRY, FEINT, DEFEND or a foe also taking a WITHDRAW move.

In using the WITHDRAW move, the retreating character is subject to any damage by a blow landed from the foe but it will be 1/2 damage.

A THRUST or FLURRY attack move will do a d6 of Damage to a WITHDRAWING character but it is halved. A SLASH will do d3 Damage but halved.

WITHDRAW is considered either Flight or Surrender to be adjudicated by the GM as best fits the narrative. In general, setting and the books would influence the GM's adjudication. Surrender would ideally be accepted, and depending on the circumstances of the fight, the loser might have to depart chastened, be taken prisoner for a prisoner exchange, or held for ransom or negotiation.

WITHDRAW would be used only if the combatant wished to preserve life; whether fleeing or surrendering, it results in loss of Morale (see below).

3. FLURRY A FLURRY move will cause d6 damage to a foe irrespective of the other combatant's move EXCEPT for a successful DEFEND Move on their part (See DEFEND) or Halved Damage in the case of WITHDRAW.

FLURRY will not block damage from other 'landed blow" moves from a foe--if you get FLURRY and a foe gets THRUST, for example, you will also be open to d6 damage and a SLASH will subject you to d3 damage.

4. FEINT A FEINT is obviously not a landed blow and will not block damage from any landed blow. It's only actual effect works against a foe who has rolled either DEFEND or PARRY- in such a case, it Unbalances that opponent and they lose their next roll in the subsequent Turn.

5. THRUST A THRUST will do d6 Damage to a foe with the following exceptions: PARRY knocks it aside, a WITHDRAW move halves any damage, and a successful DEFEND move will deflect the blow completely.

6. SLASH A SLASH move works like THRUST except is does only d3 Damage.

7. DEFEND A DEFEND result allows the character an opportunity of a die roll to deflect any potentially damaging blow. If your foe has rolled THRUST, FLURRY or SLASH, you will then both roll a d6. If your opponent rolls higher, you have failed to DEFEND and will take full damage. If you roll higher as the Defender, you take no damage and they did not land the blow.

RULE OF 8 To roll an 8 on your Turn allows the character to wait and see what the opponent rolls and then choose your attack or defense mode as you will instead of random determination.

HIT POINTS The only mechanical step in character creation! In rolling up characters (I think using more than one, perhaps up to three is a good idea and easy enough) a player (or GM in the case of NPCs) rolls a d6. The resulting number is the number of d6 that will be rolled for Hit Points. The player also gets to keep the original roll to add to their Hit Points roll (this was not noted in the graphic).

Hit Point totals stay current during an adventure, for simplicity they begin afresh at a new session of play no matter where the group left off.

MORALE DICE During the course of an adventure each player can roll up to (but never exceeding) FOUR Morale Dice. They choose when to use these rolls, and in fact they can save points generated by such a roll and use Morale Points as desired. They can roll all four at once, three, a pair or simply one; no restrictions. Morale points can be used to reduce any damage from an attack or other adventuring mishap (trap, fall, etc). Morale Points could also optionally be used for an added resolution mechanic where a GM sets an odds factor to an attempted (non combat) action, giving anywhere from a 1-5 in 6 chance of success (1 being toughest odds) and the player could apply them to reduce their die roll to facilitate a better chance on their roll or even automatic success.

A Surrender or Flight from a Duel will cost an entire Morale Die! If this happens to a player once, they will have only 3 Morale Dice to roll. If they have already used all Morale Points they are in trouble because in subsequent fights they will suffer an extra dice of damage due to being demoralized.

Morale Points are obviously abstract and do not actually increase Hit points but reduce damage due to inspired fighting. They are restored at each session of play no matter where the game left off.

Special NPC's (bosses) would also have Morale Dice.

So, that's kind of it! I am working on a Man vs. Thark page which will incorporate the outline of a Thark, whom, it turns out, can be divided into 8 sections for combat rolling purposes- four arms, two legs, middle section and head.

A page for fighting other monsters on Barsoom might also be underway, simply for the sheer fun of it. I'm also thinking of a Mass Combat page for larger battles. But really, this little table could actually be used for monsters and Tharks too.

My thoughts on such a proposed dueling system (and I had some feedback from others): Yes, it is random. Some people have expressed they don't like that. It could be customized to allow more choice but I did want it to be on the level of a boardgame or wargame complexity for quick resolve, and I also reasoned that it's based on dueling.

A duel is based on skill but I think there is also that random element to it, surprises, mishaps, etc and I feel that the random roll simulates the action of a duel and builds in some fate and chance. A player does have some more choice using the Rule of Eight and also deciding whether or not to withdraw.

It's not a tactical system, more suited to more narrative games. A GM and players would dictate how it would be used--for example, if in a skirmish or ambush rather than a duel, it's not highly suited to realism but it could be effectively used if a need for realism is sacrificed for speed of play and story's sake. The GM could simply run single duels between players and attackers as a Man to man type situation and use narrative to resolve the rest.

Or, alternatively, a "duel" could involve a player and two NPC's, with the player simply engaging both of them using the same d8 Move system but doubly.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Wargaming Chits

 Greetings, Maze Dwellers! long time no see.

I thought I would share some images of my paper  wargaming pieces I constructed today using the Internet, Word, glue, soda carton cardboard, and index cards.

I have recently taken an interest in historical battles and rulesets and I am preparing a wargame involving some Irish and Viking forces somewhere in Ireland in the 9th century!

I finished my warriors in about four hours and my next project will be a terrain map to serve as the locale of their hour of destiny.

I will update you on this project in ongoing posts.

I have some painted minis I plan on using as character pieces for leaders and shamans, etc, but for now, here are my flat token forces:

36 Viking Warriors

30 Irish Warriors

6 Irish Charioteers for Javelins

6 Irish Skirmishers

6 Irish Slingers

18 viking Archers

5 Viking Berserkers