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Old 05-11-2019, 10:06 PM   #1
Sinanju
 
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Default Well, that went...poorly

So I played out a meeting between two warriors (Alden and Jon of the Isles) from the Melee character cards, and six wolves in a pack.

The setting: a featureless plain, because giant empty hexmap.

Turn One: the wolves lope toward the humans, spreading out with intent to encircle them. The humans, who have no cover or concealment, ready their weapons.

Turn Two: the humans win initiative and turn to stand back to back as the best option for defense. The wolves encircle and close in on them.
Wolf 1 (f) bites at Alden for 3 points, but doesn't penetrate his armor.
Wolf 2 (f) bites at Alden, doing 2 points damage (past his armor).
Wolf 3 (s) bites at Alden, doing 3 points damage. 5 points total, -2 DX.
Wolf 4 (f) bites at Jon, doing 2 points damage.
Wolf 5 (f) bites at Jon, doing 4 points (Jon's lack of armor is really hurting him).
Wolf 6 (f) bites at Jon, doing 1 point of damage. 7 points total, -2 DX.
Alden swings and misses (would have hit but for the -2 DX for wounds)
Jon whiffs, wouldn't have hit in any case.

Turn Three: Wolves win the initiative. Wolf 1 shifts one hex, Wolf 6 shifts into Alden's side hex.
Wolf 2 attempts HTH with Alden and succeeds. Alden falls, dropping his sword and shield but manages to draw his dagger. Wolf does 1 point of damage to Alden.
Wolf 3 also enter HTH with Alden, but misses his attack (roll of16).
Wolf 4 attempts HTH with Jon and succeed. Jon also manages to draw his dagger as he's dragged to the ground. Wolf 4 does 6 (SIX) points of damage, and tears Jon's throat out. Jon is dead. Don't be like Jon.
Wolf 5 is disappointed and settles for savaging Jon's corpse.
Alden stabs a wolf for 4 points of damage.

Turn Four: Alden wins initiative, for all the good it does him.
Wolf 6 joins HTH with Alden.
Wolf 1 bites Alden for 5 points of damage. Alden is nearly dead.
Wolf 2 bites Alden for 5 more points, tearing his throat out. Alden is dead.
Wolf 5 is still bitterly disappointed that he didn't get to kill anyone.
Wolf 6 is older and wiser, and just glad of an easy meal.

Lessons:
1. Six wolves working as a team are a real threat--as they should be.
2. No armor (Jon) and light armor (Alden) don't help much against six wolves with sharp teeth. Heavier armor, or some cover to prevent being surrounded would have helped a lot. Thrown or missile weapons might too.
3. With their DX 14, the wolves always get to go first, so I don't think Defending would have done Alden and Jon much good--and would have deprived them of any chance to reduce the numbers of the wolves, their only real hope in this situation.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:28 PM   #2
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

When both sides are played competitively and are have valid attacks, being badly out numbered is pretty much a death sentence in this game
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:17 AM   #3
raniE
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

Yeah, there's a reason why I almost always give wolves in games lower stats. Wolves are much smaller than humans, having strength on the same level seems rather excessive. Since Summon Wolf is a spell in TFT it makes it a bit harder to do there though. If not for that, I would give them Dog stats instead: ST 6, DX 13, IQ 6, MA 12, Bite 1d-1. That would make an individual wolf far less likely to be able to kill an armed human (which seems to be a rather unlikely outcome in the real world, even unarmed adult humans often manage to kill or chase off lone attacking wolves) but would still make them very dangerous in pack hunting situations. I will probably do this anyway, and have the summoned wolf be a Dire wolf.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

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Originally Posted by raniE View Post
Yeah, there's a reason why I almost always give wolves in games lower stats. Wolves are much smaller than humans, having strength on the same level seems rather excessive. Since Summon Wolf is a spell in TFT it makes it a bit harder to do there though. If not for that, I would give them Dog stats instead: ST 6, DX 13, IQ 6, MA 12, Bite 1d-1. That would make an individual wolf far less likely to be able to kill an armed human (which seems to be a rather unlikely outcome in the real world, even unarmed adult humans often manage to kill or chase off lone attacking wolves) but would still make them very dangerous in pack hunting situations. I will probably do this anyway, and have the summoned wolf be a Dire wolf.
Giving wolves the lower stats seems like a good idea. I replayed this scenario with three humans, and while they lasted a little longer, the outcome was again nearly really in doubt.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:34 AM   #5
raniE
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

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Originally Posted by Sinanju View Post
Giving wolves the lower stats seems like a good idea. I replayed this scenario with three humans, and while they lasted a little longer, the outcome was again nearly really in doubt.
Yep. And while wolves can be dangerous, lone ones are usually only deadly against children or old people, not healthy adults. Especially armed and armored adults. Going down to dog stats instead will mean that a wolf isn't actually equivalent to a starting melee character, and will probably mean that pack tactics goes from almost auto-win to evening up the field. I think I'll try this combat out with the dog stats a few times today, see what happens.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:20 AM   #6
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
When both sides are played competitively and are have valid attacks, being badly out numbered is pretty much a death sentence in this game
True in most games. D&D 3e taught the world the phrase "action economy", but the same effect is present in most designs. If you have turns and limited numbers of actions per turn so that an "action" is a key resource, then numbers are going to matter.

(Sometimes you'll see other rules simply make mooks ineffective, or clump them together into single, more powerful group entities with one action representing the whole group.)
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:47 AM   #7
raniE
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

Ok, ran through the same scenario as in the first post, only using medium dog stats (ST 6, DX 13, IQ 6, MA 12, Bite 1d-1, no armor) instead of wolf stats for the wolves. I used the melee map, but put Alden and Jon in the middle of it and acted as if there were no walls on the edges, so there is nowhere for the fighters to go to for cover.

6 wolves (F, H, I, L, R, W) with dog stats vs Alden (F) and Jon of the Isles (P).

Round 1 – Alden and Jon win initiative and back up. Wolves run up close to them but do not engage, as that would mean moving over half their MA.

Round 2 – Alden and Jon once again win initiative and charge the wolves. The wolves move as well, and two of them, H and R, end up in the flanks of Jon and Alden respectively. Then the wolves attack. Wolf F tries to bite Jon but misses. Wolf H, despite going for a flank attack, rolls a 16 and misses. Wolf I also goes for Jon, hits and does 1 damage. Wolf L attacks Alden but misses, while wolf R hits him. As it is a flank attack, Alden does not get use of his shield here, and takes 2 damage after his leather armor stops 2 points. Finally, wolf W attacks Jon, and bites him for 3 damage, 2 after the shield.

Now it is Jon’s turn to strike back. He goes for wolf I, hits it and does 6 damage, dropping it unconscious. Next it is Alden. He strikes at wolf L, hits and also does 6 damage with his broadsword, knocking that wolf unconscious as well.

Round 3 – In a normal fight, I would probably have the wolves retreat here, as they’ve already lost a third of their number and have been unable to inflict any major damage on their enemies. But let’s run out the combat. The wolves finally win initiative and move around the two fighters. Wolf H moves into Jon and Alden’s rear hex, with the rest of the wolves spreading out with one wolf every other hex, some stepping into the hexes containing their fallen comrades. Alden and Jon can only change their facing, putting their backs against each other and one wolf each in their front arcs.

The time for actions roll around. Wolf H attempts to engage Alden in hand to paw combat, but fails. Wolf R does the same thing and also fails. Wolves F and W however manage to pull Jon down to the ground, although Jon does manage to draw his dagger. Wolf F does not manage to hit Jon at all once he is down however (rolling another 16), but W worries him for one hit of damage. Jon then sticks his dagger into the neck of the wolf, instantly killing W with 7 damage. Finally, it is Alden’s turn to strike. He goes for wolf R and hits, but only does 4 damage.

Round 4 – Alden and Jon win initiative. Doesn’t really matter for Jon, but Alden lets the wolves go first. Wolf R shifts so it and H are on opposite sides of him. H then dives onto Alden, and gets him down on the ground. Alden does have time to draw his dagger however. In the action phase, wolf F mauls Jon for 3 damage. Wolf R then piles onto Alden and both it and H bite him, but are unable to get any hits past his leather armor.

Next the humans go. Jon cuts wolf F open with 8 damage from the dagger. He is no longer in HTH. Alden meanwhile fails to hit anything.

Round 5 – Wolves H and R again bite at Alden but are unable to get through his leather armor. Alden then strikes at wolf R, hitting for 6 damage, killing it. At the end of the round, Jon gets up from the ground.

Round 6 – Only one wolf left. Jon puts his dagger away and picks up his sword and shield from the ground. Wolf H again fails to get through Alden’s leather armor. Alden on the other hand manages to put 3 hits on the wolf.

Round 7 – No one moves. The wolf tries once more to bite Alden, but again fails to get through the armor. Then Jon steps up and smashes the wolf, severing its spine.

The fight is over and Jon helps Alden to his feet. Alden picks up his weapons while Jon slays the unconscious wolves. Alden took a total of 2 hits in the fight, while Jon took 7.

So, wolves with dog stats are still dangerous, but even with a pack attacking two humans it is not a foregone conclusion who will win, barring almost miraculous rolls. Further, against 1d-1 damage, any armor has an enormous effect. Without his leather armor, Alden would have been much more gravely injured, as he was being hit constantly while failing to dispatch the wolves in HTH with him. Had the wolves attacking Jon been somewhat luckier, he could have easily ended up having his throat ripped out. This feels like a much more "true to life" combat outcome to me than the wolves simply butchering armed and armored humans. So I think I'm pretty set on making the classic summonable wolf a dire wolf, while regular wolves get the dog stats.

I might play this out again, and maybe the wolves will win next time. However, more realistically the wolves would probably retreat once they started taking serious damage.

Last edited by raniE; 05-12-2019 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:14 AM   #8
Nils_Lindeberg
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

OR, one could role-play the wolves as a GM and try to use "animal" tactics. Wolves are known for trying to attack from behind and never to the front. They are predators and do not want to risk getting injured themselves since that might be a death sentence in the wild.

So let them circle around, rush in one or two at a time and target a side hex if they can. Waiting and hoping the prey will run. Then harass them for hours until they practically drop from exhaustion and then they start nipping them here and there to slow them down even more. And then they go in for the kill and try to trip the prey. And after they are down, they all close in for the kill.

This is the reason that one lonely human with a stick can chase away a whole pack. If the prey doesn't run, and maybe even hurt one of the first wolves that try to get in and do something. They all turn tail and look for easier prey.

But if they are starving, actually mind controlled, protecting their young or just well fed and war trained, then they are really terrifying as opponents. There is a reason that many security forces use trained attack dogs even today.

But dog stats might be a better approximation of a half-starved wolfpack in the wilds.

Nice write up of the fights. :-)
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:26 AM   #9
RobW
 
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Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

I remember how surprised I was when a GM I hadn't played with before confronted us with a small pack of wolves. We were pretty blase about it until they started entering into HTH with us. We hadn't every seen that tactic before.

One can take you down, and it takes a while to kill a wolf with just a dagger. Meanwhile the others surround and attack freely.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:43 AM   #10
raniE
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Default Re: Well, that went...poorly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
OR, one could role-play the wolves as a GM and try to use "animal" tactics. Wolves are known for trying to attack from behind and never to the front. They are predators and do not want to risk getting injured themselves since that might be a death sentence in the wild.

So let them circle around, rush in one or two at a time and target a side hex if they can. Waiting and hoping the prey will run. Then harass them for hours until they practically drop from exhaustion and then they start nipping them here and there to slow them down even more. And then they go in for the kill and try to trip the prey. And after they are down, they all close in for the kill.

This is the reason that one lonely human with a stick can chase away a whole pack. If the prey doesn't run, and maybe even hurt one of the first wolves that try to get in and do something. They all turn tail and look for easier prey.

But if they are starving, actually mind controlled, protecting their young or just well fed and war trained, then they are really terrifying as opponents. There is a reason that many security forces use trained attack dogs even today.

But dog stats might be a better approximation of a half-starved wolfpack in the wilds.

Nice write up of the fights. :-)
Yeah if I'd been running the wolves as actual wolves, I wouldn't have had them attack two armed warriors at all, or at worst they'd get out of there once one or two of them went down.
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