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Old 08-30-2019, 01:52 AM   #41
Hobgoblin
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Default Re: Middle Earth Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Hobgoblin, I've never even heard of Song of Blades before, but the morale system and the way you're planning to implement it sounds awesome.
It's well worth checking out - it's a very simple but very elegant system (and the PDF version of the rules costs very little). I bought it for my son's sixth birthday a few years back, and we've been playing it ever since. I've played quite a bit with my old gaming friends too.

It's actually the main reason I got into TFT. I've run a lot of RPG games, both for kids and adults, in the past few years, and my abiding feeling was that almost every RPG combat encounter was less satisfying and dynamic than a game of Song of Blades. But while I quite like the RPG version of Song of Blades, it's a bit less enjoyable than the skirmish game, mainly because the system's smooth abstractions clash somewhat with the character-sheet details that make RPGs such fun. I'd say Melee is better for a gladiatorial clash or an adventuring party's exploits, but Song of Blades is pretty much unparalleled for a quick, fun, fast-moving skirmish in more open spaces (usually a 3' by 3' table).

Now I think of it, both systems share the "two-attribute economy"; SoBH has Quality and Combat where Melee had ST and DX. That kind of showcases the difference: SoBH emphasise wild movements and morale, whereas Melee emphasises tight manoeuvres and attrition.
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:44 AM   #42
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Middle Earth Characters

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Originally Posted by Hobgoblin View Post
It's well worth checking out - it's a very simple but very elegant system (and the PDF version of the rules costs very little). I bought it for my son's sixth birthday a few years back, and we've been playing it ever since. I've played quite a bit with my old gaming friends too.

It's actually the main reason I got into TFT. I've run a lot of RPG games, both for kids and adults, in the past few years, and my abiding feeling was that almost every RPG combat encounter was less satisfying and dynamic than a game of Song of Blades. But while I quite like the RPG version of Song of Blades, it's a bit less enjoyable than the skirmish game, mainly because the system's smooth abstractions clash somewhat with the character-sheet details that make RPGs such fun. I'd say Melee is better for a gladiatorial clash or an adventuring party's exploits, but Song of Blades is pretty much unparalleled for a quick, fun, fast-moving skirmish in more open spaces (usually a 3' by 3' table).

Now I think of it, both systems share the "two-attribute economy"; SoBH has Quality and Combat where Melee had ST and DX. That kind of showcases the difference: SoBH emphasise wild movements and morale, whereas Melee emphasises tight manoeuvres and attrition.
I have SoBH but seem to be in the minority who didn't like it. I think this was largely due to the fact that the system only has two attributes and they only span a few points 1-5 or maybe 1-6 from memory so there's little to differentiate the characters at the base level. What differentiates characters is "special abilities" of which there are many such as: Large, Ferocious, Poisonous, Fast, etc. There are many dozens of these and that means you have to remember what each of the special abilities does, which I found a pain.

TFT manages to create a lot more base character variety with only a few key stats: ST, DX, IQ, MA, Armour, Weapons; partly because there are more base Stats (6 v 2) and partly because the ranges are bigger than in SoBH. There is no memorisation so it's much easier for beginners to get right into.

I'm sure if you play SoBH enough, you'll eventually memorise the special abilities, but I wasn't willing to make that commitment.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:55 AM   #43
Hobgoblin
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Default Re: Middle Earth Characters

That's certainly a common criticism of SOBH. I didn't have that experience, possibly because I was initially playing with a six-year-old, and so we kept the profiles very simply - Q3, C4 lizardmen with the Amphibious and Tailslap traits and Q4, C3 orcs with no traits but one Q3, C3 leader (with the Leader trait). Archers got the Shooter trait, but that was that. So those games (and there were many!) only used three or four traits at most, and we knew their rules by heart after the first game.

A huge number of the traits just involve a +1 bonus to a roll in a certain situation (shooting for Good Shot, attacking on a charge for Dashing, morale tests for Steadfast, etc.), so they're self-explanatory after you've played a game or two.

My recommendation for anybody starting out with SoBH would be to have no more than one or two traits per warband - if that. You can have a perfectly good game with a bunch of 'goodies' (Q3, C3) and a larger number of 'baddies' (Q4, C3) with a leader (Q3, C3, Leader). After that, add a Shooter or two, and maybe a Hero with Savage for the baddies - or a Big or Mounted, Long Move creature.

You're quite right, though, that TFT gives you much more scope for individualisation and 'granularity'. Even more importantly, it's got much more scope for character advancement. That's why I prefer it to Tales of Blades and Heroes (the SoBH role-playing variant). I also think TFT's (much) more detailed combat system works better for role-playing (ToBH doesn't really distinguish between weapon types, for example, so players aren't incentivised to acquire stuff).

I would say, though, that SoBH is definitely the quicker game with the least 'time to table'. And I'd also say that you're much more likely to need to open the Melee/ITL rulebook - even if it's just to find weapon damages or ST requirements.

For me, they occupy slightly different niches: SoBH is a push-your-luck, risk/reward affair, while Melee/TFT is more of a tactical challenge. Both great, though.

As it happens, I didn't get a chance to try the morale experiment at the weekend, as the players' choice of routes resulted in encounters that were either in locales that allowed no retreat or very finely balanced until the last round.
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Old 09-03-2019, 03:58 AM   #44
Tywyll
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Default Re: Middle Earth Characters

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
If you've read the Simarillion, you'll find that the race of men are capable of matching any of the feats of the Elves or Numenoreans. See the deeds of Hurin, Turin and others in that book. So the way I see it is that the best of men can easily match these others in prowess of strength and battle ( if perhaps not in craft of metalworking, etc). So the only advantage I see of the Elves and Numenoreans is that of time.
No, elves performed far greater feats than any matched by humans (killing Ancalagon, fighting a host of Balrogs, forging the rings of power, etc, etc). In addition, Numenoreans were blessed by Eonwe in both body and mind, as reward for their ancestors service. They were superior to normal men.
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Old 09-03-2019, 04:13 AM   #45
Tywyll
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Default Re: Middle Earth Characters

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Exactly. Isildur cut the one ring off of Sauron's hand (he's a god who walks among us!), and was then killed by an arrow shot by some orc (he's a chump!). The system you want for a game set in a world where all this is possible is one where people might have special powers or items, but everyone is at some sort of quantifiable risk from everyone.
Clearly Isildur was a chump who rolled a 3 when he attacked Sauron...

Though also Sauron had the curse that he would always lose direct confrontations working against him, so Isildur (or some other chump) would WIN eventually. Sauron was always going to lose.
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