Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zac's combat challenge

So I tried posting this as a comment on Zacs blog for this post

But for reasons unknown to me it just won't post.  What the heck, I'll just put it here.

Fun Challenge

Dragons at Dawn (Dave Arneson tribute game)
Luke is a Hero level Priest , Monk subclass, Order of the Jedi
Level 4, HD 2+1, HPV 8.  He is unarmored, therefore AC1,  Scores: Appearance 6; Brains 8; Cunning 8; Dexterity 9; Health 8; Strength 7; 

Rancor is apparently a non regenerative variety of true troll or something like it with the ability to swallow victims, so well give him (her?) an AC 6, HD12, HPV 46, Dexterity 5.

Gammoriean – why bother. 1 HD AC4 (leather).
Note: because the Rancor is a stupid beast, the Referee does not apply any level adjustment benefits that might otherwise be due to a 12 HD combatant facing a 4 HD combatant.

Round 1

The gammorrean falls into the pit.  The Referee decides to begin the Gamorrean at “disrupted” morale state – Rolls a failure and the Gamorean is now “routed” for 18 rounds.

Luke falls into the pit.  He is not hurt but is surprised for one round and the Referee applies a penalty to his Morale roll.  He fails, and drops one step to “shaken” for 2 rounds (minutes). (at Luke’s level, Morale rolls are optional for players, but we will assume the Ref likes to use them.)

The Rancor easily passes his morale roll and attacks the Gamorean.  Size is the only modifier that applies (12/10 = 1.2 rounded to +1) in the Gammorean’s favor, but being routed, receives only ¼ of Fighting Strength (1HD +1)/(4)  - Resulting in “Less than 1 FS” or  12 FS vs  >1 on the matrix.  This means the Rancor only needs an 11 or less on 2d6 to hit.  The roll is good; the Gammorean is hit.  Being generous, the Ref allows an Armor Class Saving throw for the Gamorean (AC4), but rolls a 5.  The Gammorean is knocked down, scooped up  and quickly eaten.

Meanwhile, The Priest (Luke), picks up a bone , retreats,  and surveys the room for details.

Round 2

Rancor: The Rancor, still possessing the Morale advantage, attempts to grab Luke.  The Referee, considers the situation and asks the Priests player to make a 2d6 dex roll at -4.  Despite Luke’s excellent dexterity (9), the roll fails and the Rancor has him and gives a good squeeze (lets say 1d6 damage – about 3 HPV) to soften him up before devouring.

Luke:  the Priest/Monk however, decides  not to attack with the bone, realizing the most he could possibly do – assuming a successful hit and 6’s on all damage die – would be 14 points of damage.  Instead he decides to jam it in the Rancor’s mouth to prevent being eaten.  The Referee considers the action and requests a Dex roll at -1.  A 6 is rolled and the move is declared successful.

Luke is dropped. The Referee allows a saving throw vs. Health (just to mix it up), but Luke’s player rolls high (a 10) and fails the roll.  Since the drop isn’t very far, the Referee rolls 1d4 for damage and gets 2 -  bringing Luke’s total down to 3 HPV.

Round 3

Luke’s Moral has now returned to normal.  The Referee decides a new Morale Throw should be made.  Both the Rancor and the Priest pass, but Luke’s roll is much higher.  The Referee decides a momentum shift has occurred and grants Luke the initiative.

Luke: Luke throws a rock at the Rancor, an activity at which he is quite skilled (+4),  requiring a combat roll.  Luke gains a +1 for size modifier, +4 for Dexterity (9-5 = 4), giving a total adjustment of +5 to FS.  Added to his 2 + 1  HD, Luke gets an FS of 7 vs. the Rancor’s FS of 12.  On the matrix, 7 vs. 12 requires a 3 or better to hit.  Adding Luke’s skill bonus, that become a 7 or better.  Lukes’ player rolls a 6, hitting the Rancor. Using the split move allowed to shooters, Luke now backs away from the Rancor, opening a door and moving into the next room.

Rancor: as Luke backs away, the beast attempts another grab.  Luke’s player makes a successful save vs. dexterity.

Round  4

Luke:  the Priest attempts to open a barred doorway – the Referee looks at the Priest’s strength score and declares an automatic failure.   Instead the player opts to use a projectile “split move” again (move and shoot), and declares Luke will pick up a rock throw it at the Portcullis controls as the Rancor passes under.  Throwing against a nearby stationary object would normally require a Dexterity Throw, but given Luke’s throwing skill and his high dexterity, he cannot miss.

Rancor:   The Rancor is slowed by the confined space but begins to enter the second room just as Luke throws the rock.  The Referee does not bother to calculate the damage as portcullis through the brain is fatal even to Rancor kind.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Humanspace Empires: Personal Combat houserules

The text below is meant to replace the text on Page 46, beginning with combat movement and ending on page 47 at Automatic Failure.  Italics indicate new text.
Following the order indicated in the initiative roll (highest first, lowest last, ties simultaneaous or reroll) each player separately and in turn announces their character’s planned movement during a fight.   A combatant may move up to the entire movement allowance and still attack, but if a greater distance is traversed, no attack will normally be possible.  Note that higher level Warriors, hasted characters or beings, and some monsters (such as creatures with multiple arms) are allowed multiple attacks per round. 


A fighting retreat allows a character or monster to move backwards at ½ normal encounter movement.  However, there must be a clear path for this movement.  A full retreat occurs when a combatant disengages from combat at a rate greater than 1/2 of encounter movement.  The combatant making the movement forfeits any attack and opponent s attack with a +2 to hit.


Each combat round consists of two parts: an attacker action and a defender reaction   An attacker may move, take some action, attack, or retreat.  A defender may move if not engaged melee, take some action if not engaged in melee, counterattack, parry if engaged in melee, or retreat.  Both attacker and defender get their chance to choose one of the above actions regardless of how much damage they may have sustained.  Thus a defender, even one who was just killed by an attack, always gets an opportunity to counter attack in a round, unless they are in full retreat.

A player or the Referee will roll 1d20 to determine if most types of attack or counterattacks are successful.  Only 1 d20 will be rolled per attack, counter attack or parry, and this will usually mean one roll per individual per round, except where multiple attacks are possible.  The modified result is then compared to the attack table for either characters or monsters, as appropriate.  A result that is equal to or above the attack value that corresponds to the character’s level or the monster’s hit dice and the opponent’s armor class results in a hit.  Damage is then rolled by weapon type or monster attack, taking into account any bonuses or penalties. See the attack tables later in this section.

Melee and and-unarmed attacks are possible when opponents are within 5 feet of one another. Ranged, or energy and projectile weapon, attacks are usually possible only when opponents are greater than 5 feet from one another.

Melee attacks are made by hand-held weapons such as swords or axes.  The ability to hit and the amount damage done is affected by several of the Basic Attributes in addition to any bonus for magic weapons and the like.


A defender in melee combat may opt to try to parry an opponent's blow instead of attempting a damaging counterattack themselves.   To parry, the defender makes an “attack”, that is rolls a 1d20 and adds bonuses and penalties as normal, and compares the result to the appropriate to-hit number from the combat tables.  If the number or higher is rolled, then any hits or damage scored by the opponent in that combat round is negated and the parry is successful.


Beings with two or more hands may hold and use a weapon in each, and will get one attack for each weapon held.  If more than half of the total hands a being has are holding weapons, each attack will have a -1 to hit penalty.  For example, a human can only attack with one weapon at a time with no penalty, whereas a four armed pe choi could attack with two weapons at a time with no penalty or attack with three or four at the penalty of -1 to each attack.  Note that regardles of the amount of weapons a being can weild, they may only take one type of combat action during a round; and thus cannot parry with one hand and attack with another.


Each group of five beings must have a light source of torch strength or better in order to fight normally unless they have other means of seeing in darkness.  A person fighting without proper light must fight at a -3 to hit. 

A person fighting with a hand held light source in one hand is at -2 to hit unless the light source itself is being used as a weapon.

If a natural 1 is rolled on the 1d20 attack roll, ….. (continue as written)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Human Space Empires, Background Skill

On page 16, following:
…Part-time learners must multiply the time by 1d4+1.

Breaks from learning of months or years may cause the student to lose 50% of their accumulated time in training in the skill and may be fined or penalized if there is an instructor or school involved, as determined by the referee.  
Characters may also learn through experience.  A character who has made use of an untrained skill on multiple occasions, or been involved in activities related to the skill may also attempt to acquire the skill upon gaining sufficient experience to increase in class level.  Likewise , repeated use of a known skill provides a chance to increase the characters proficiency in the skill upon attaining a new level.
No more than two background skills or proficiencies may be gained per level.
Attempts to Gain New Background Skills or increase Proficiency
To determine if a character has acquired a new background skill or greater proficiency in an existing skill, they must make a throw on the skill success table.  The character’s INT modifier applies and a successful roll acquires the skill.   A character is allowed three attempts to complete their training.  The first attempt may be made when 75% of the required time is expired with a - 2 modifier to the throw.  The second attempt is made with no modifier when the normal length of learning is reached.  If this attempt is failed, a final throw may be made after another 50% of the required time has passed again with no modifier to the throw.  If all three attempts to acquire the skill fail, the character can not attempt the course again until three times the required length of the course has elapsed.   Future attempts to gain the skill require only half as much time due to the previous training the character received.