Friday, October 9, 2015

Bored Soldiers, Bandits, and Brigands quote

I keep meaning to post this quote from Labarge's Henry V about garrisons in Normandy during the last years of Henry V.

"[The English soldiers] had to be paid with some regularity if they were to be kept in service, and restrained from harassing the local citizens whose loyalty was sufficiently tenuous in any case. The problem was acute. The soldiers, unless actively engaged in campaigning were often bored, and frequently without money. They naturally turned to lawlessness and many preyed upon the inhabitants, since the king's strict regulations [. . .] made desertion and escape to England very difficult. They thus helped to aggravate the problem of brigandage in Normandy [. . . ]"

and skipping ahead a little:

"Desperate bands of dispossessed men hid in the woods and caves, controlled many of the roads, and attacked solitary travellers. Their membership sprang almost completely from the lower peasant class whose security and livelihood were most cruelly affected. The nobles had too much to lose to join this kind of resistance."

During this time, it goes on to say, the number of wolves dramatically increased - so much so that when bandits were killed (or captured and executed) they were buried, to avoid drawing wolves to their hanging corpses.

I like the image that brings - dispossessed people, those with something to lose more willing to cooperate with the invaders, etc. Good gaming material, even leaving aside those opportunists who turn to banditry only when it comes along. Fans of Seven Samurai will know what I mean here - a soldier's misfortune is a peasant's potential gain.

By the way, if you read a lot of Medieval European history books at once, it's amazing how often it comes to "stop having wars for a while and come back home and suppress all the bandits that arose" seems to come up as an activity. It gives you a feeling of barely-suppressed disorder in the homeland, fractious nobles and unreliable allies wanting to get theirs before you get yours, and rulers scraping up armies to go abroad and fight with borrowed money and limited time. It's a far cry from organized professional military forces with logistical trains, solid tax bases to support them, and wars of national concern. Nevermind the convoluted nature of fighting when you've got two rival claimants to a throne, both with strong legal cases to make for it. Or those odd cases in English/French history when the English king rules one part of France in fief from the French King, but also is fighting the French King in his role as English King. Messy stuff. Pick a side, or get trampled underfoot and turn to banditry? Or both?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Recover Energy spell thoughts

Recover Energy is a really odd spell. I'm not the first to notice this. Basically, take the spell at 15+ and you recover energy (FP) at 1 point per 5 minutes instead of 1 point per 10. At 20+, it's 1 for 2 minutes. And that's it.

Generally, people put either 1 point in it (generally enough for a 15-19 with a dedicated spellcaster) and then later buy it up all at once to 20.

That's it. It's more like a cheap, cheap way to recover energy than a spell you actually cast.

It gets tricky if you want to restrict it to only improving recovery of FP spent on spells, too.

You also end up with people using Recover Energy to fuel Lend Energy and Steal Energy for other casters and bootstrapping each other up at an increased speed.

If I could do my DF game again, I'd ditch the spell and figure out a fair cost for Regeneration (FP only) instead. Or just have two new traits that ape Fit and Very Fit, call them Efficient Mana Sponge and Very Efficient Mana Sponge. EMS would give you 1 per 5 mins, VEMS would do 1 per 2 mins. No decrease in outflow.

Ditching the spell would have some spillover effects I think would be interesting:

- You could seal off the entire Healing college to clerics, which means wizards aren't FP batteries for everyone anymore (recover 2.5x as fast as the most Fit non-spellcaster, use Lend Energy to hand it around).

By getting rid of Lend Energy you nix casters helping each other, but then you can make an argument for allowing partial access to ceremonial magic, at least for non-enchantment spells, so wizards who know spells can chip in power to their friends when they cast them. As a huge fan of the Complementary Skills rules, this would be a big plus. You'd want to cooperate on casting, not just fuel each other's batteries.

- Wizards would more fairly be charged for speed recovery costs, since 1 point for 5 minutes and generally 4-12 points for 2 minutes per point is quite cheap. The proposed advantages above would be more on the low end and only a little more on the high end, but would also tie in nicely with Fit/Very Fit.

- It makes for one less automatic must-buy for wizards, who are chained into a lot of odd spell choices in order to optimize their ability to crank out spells.

- It makes having both FP as high as possible and getting Energy Reserve and its concurrent recovery even more attractive, since you recover more slowly overall so splitting into two pools is better.

Has anyone else messed around with swapping out Recovery Energy and costing a replacement?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tanktober / Orctober Double Post

So I've been greatly enjoying the posts over at The Man Cave, making a game of identifying tanks. I'm not going to have time to build a tank model myself, either, this October. But I do have this old AFV video I took. If you want to guess whose Stug III Ausf G it is, be my guest. I happen to know and I didn't put it in the video notes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

DF Cut-Rate Resurrection II: Bring Back the Dead

Here is another option for Cut-Rate Resurrection.

Raise Dead. As the Resurrection spell, but not as quick. 100 energy ($5000 in town), needs PI 4. The newly raised subject is at 0 HP and 0 FP, like normal Resurrection, but also needs a month to recover. Until the subject can rest in town (not carried around in a wagon, litter, by a comrade, etc.) for one month straight, her or she is capable of only limited actions, and is not capable of combat, spellcasting, or adventuring.

Or you can be really mean, and do this:

Risky Resurrection. Resurrection costs 300 energy because it restores the victim to life without fail . . . if you get the spell off. The casting cost can be reduced 100 energy ($5000 in town) if you're willing to take a chance it doesn't work. If the spell succeeds, the victim gets to make a HT roll (plus Fit, etc. but not Hard to Kill) with a bonus of +1 for every point the Resurrection spell succeeded by. If the subject makes the roll, he or she is resurrected. If the subject fails, he or she stays dead! One Try - if it fails, you can try full-power Resurrection . . . but the spell is cast at -5 and the subject must make the HT roll as above. If that fails, it's over.

I forgot to mention prereq for the previous version - I'll edit them in. I think Power Investiture 4 or Magery 4, Lend Vitality, and 4 Necromancy spells including Summon Spirit. Mages can bring back the dead, too - heck, let PCs do it. It costs their buddies 26 character points . . .

Random 1st edition AD&D demon/devil/daemon generator

Check out this demon/devil/daemon generator, automating Appendix D of the 1st AD&D DMG.

DMG Appendix D Automated Generator

Handy. Plus you can cycle through them quickly until you get one that's got some kick to it.

Now I just need this for the GURPS random demon generator from 3e, tweaked to 4e.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

DF Cut-Rate Resurrection

One of my players (who runs Mo, El Murik, Al Murik) suggested allowing a cut-rate version of Resurrection. I'm not sure I'll use it, but even so, they'd fit well in my games. If someone dies and the players want to go for this, I might allow it.

I'd want players to state ahead of time their preferences for their characters, since "Don't use Cut-Rate on me because I'll make a new guy worth 250 and my current guy is below 276" is a valid meta-game argument but totally lame when someone does it after they die.

You don't need to go to a real cleric to come back to life. If you don't mind some downsides, you can go to a somewhat cheaper option . . .

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