Domains of War

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sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39
Domains of War

Just saw this is up in the Downloads section. I've only ever played 'Glutter of Ravens' a few times so I'm not that knowledgable about mass combat rules but I like how you've integrated spellcasting.

Bargle
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:39

Much better than swords and spells with your CRM chart, bravo.
1) It still seems quite math heavy (calculating dragon breath seems groan inducing). Not math complex, just heavy. How many creatures and units use something other than d8 hit points? Is there any way just to use HD without individual hit points? A unit of ogres 4HD...that's it instead of assigning 4d8 hit points. Can the CRM just do "hit dice" in damage? Can the red dragons breath just do 9 dmg (11d6 translated into d8 hd dmg) instead of having to roll 11d6?
I never liked battle system for this very reason (and why I love CHAINMAIL) is that the more abstract you become (12 ogres instead of 1 ogre) so too should the stat block. By removing variable hit points, you eliminate one more stat block to read. I mean it's almost redundant. Ogres have 4 HD, why do I then need to roll hit points when chances are most units of ogres will have 18 hit points? Why bother telling me hit points? This isn't man to man combat after all, it's mass combat and 1 hit point here or there shouldn't be noted at this "birds eye view" of abstraction.
It just seems like too many numbers for mass combat. I shouldn't be fiddling with a unit of men with 35 hit points vs a unit of men with 34 hit points. Just leave it 1 HD and call it a day. Could the CRM work that way?
2) Spells. Fireball does 6d6 dmg (average is 21 dmg) why not just translate everything into the d8 HD formula of the vast majority of creatures? 6d6 dmg is about 4 HD (d8) dmg. So a fireball cast by a 6th level mu does 4 HD dmg, save for 2 HD.
2a) Since there are counters and playing pieces for units, why not just make a counter of the fireballs diameter? What ever the fireball counter touches, must save for damage. This obviates the need to do mental gymnastics with dividing frontage by etc etc. Same with dragons breath and lightning bolt, why not just make a cone shaped counter that can be placed on the map and anything it touches must save. I mean you've got miniatures, why not a fireball miniature? Why should I have to do the math of what the fireball touches in my head when I'm looking at counters on the table?
I'm sure I'm missing something that makes that implementation undesirable.
EXAMPLE: A fireball from a 6th level mu inflicts 4 dmg, It strikes a Unit of 24 Ogres (HD 8, AOE Modifier x2). It inflicts 4x2 = 8 dmg, destroying the Unit. If the Unit makes its saving throw, it will suffer only 4 damage.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

1) It still seems quite math heavy (calculating dragon breath seems groan inducing). Not math complex, just heavy. How many creatures and units use something other than d8 hit points? Is there any way just to use HD without individual hit points? A unit of ogres 4HD...that's it instead of assigning 4d8 hit points. Can the CRM just do "hit dice" in damage? Can the red dragons breath just do 9 dmg (11d6 translated into d8 hd dmg) instead of having to roll 11d6?
ALEX: I agree with you. It's still too math heavy. In the first draft it was even more math heavy, but in each iteration of the rules I've been able to simplify the math by one step after another.
ALEX: I actually already had one version that just used hit dice, but because the average damage in hit dice is usually less than 1, to make it work I had to use just a "to hit" roll with a flat amount of hit dice damage. It results in much more "black and white" battle outcomes.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

Have any other backers tried out DoW ?

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

Here is a proposed solution to wanting to use hit dice as the unit of measurement for units, but having average damage less than one hit dice:
My unit of ogres has four hit dice. They are hit by arrow fire that does two points of damage (measured in hit points). To see whether this causes my unit to lose a hit dice, we roll a d8. If the result is two or less, this damage is enough to drop the ogres to 3 HD. If the result is more than 2, we note that they are a 4 HD unit that has been wounded.
Basically, the meaning of hit dice is "that dice you roll to see if you can beat the amount of incoming damage." In the simple case of a 1 HD creature, if you fail you die, if you succeed you are only wounded.
Notes on implementation:
We could track this wound level precisely by recording the result of the HD roll minus the damage taken. If I roll a 6 for my 4 HD ogre and subtract 2 HP from the arrow damage, we might say that they are now a 3 HD + 4 HP unit. Next time the unit is wounded, let's say for 5 points, we start by knocking off these hit points. 3 HD + 4 HP minus 5 HP means that only one point goes through to the next HD, so the unit have 2 HD if it rolls a 1 for the HP on that dice, otherwise it will be 2 HD + the remainder.
We could also abstract these hit point calculations by putting a wounded marker on the chip, which causes a penalty of 2 on the next time they roll their hit dice. My 4 HD ogre is hit once by arrow fire for 2 points. I roll over a 2, so instead of losing a HD I add a wounded counter. Now I'm hit by the same arrow fire; because I'm wounded I need to roll over a 4 (2 damage + 2 penalty for wounded) to avoid losing this HD. If I suceed but am hit a third time, I'll need to roll over a 6 (2 damage + two cumulative +2 penalties from surviving two wounds).
Since these HD numbers represent the individually rolled HP of lots of ogres, we could use multiple dice to reflect the central tendency of all those HD rolls - tweaking the math of the CRM to accomodate the bell curve of whatever dice we use. For example, instead of saying my attack does 4 damage that you have to beat on a d8 (linear), we might say it does 10 damage you have to beat on 3d6 (bell curve). This is to reflect that just as it is unlikely that every ogre in the unit rolled 1 on its HD, it is less likely to roll the lowest possible result on 3d6 than on 1d8.
Since there is some abstraction in the system, we could use d6 rather than d8 for these hit dice rolls. I strongly support this not just as a legacy of original D&D and Chainmail, but also for the same pragmatic reason those games relied on the d6: gamers can be relied on to have a lot of them.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

2a) Since there are counters and playing pieces for units, why not just make a counter of the fireballs diameter? What ever the fireball counter touches, must save for damage. This obviates the need to do mental gymnastics with dividing frontage by etc etc. Same with dragons breath and lightning bolt, why not just make a cone shaped counter that can be placed on the map and anything it touches must save. I mean you've got miniatures, why not a fireball miniature? Why should I have to do the math of what the fireball touches in my head when I'm looking at counters on the table?
APM:
First off, as it currently stands, the rules are that a fireball or lightning bolt or breath weapon can only target 1 Unit, so you're just applying a modifier to one damage roll. I don't think that's very complex. Certainly it's less complex than, e.g., resolving the effects of Fire Resistance on a saving throw (+2 to save, -1 per die/damage, divided by 2).
Second, the reason you are doing the math of what the fireball touches is because the counter representing the Unit abstracts the position of the individual warriors within the Unit. To have the fireball counter overlap a Unit counter simply tells us that the Unit has [abstractly] been hit. It doesn't tell us what's happened within the Unit.
We COULD create a game where instead of a single Unit counter, you have (for example) 10 Figures, each representing 10 men. That's how AD&D Battlesystem did it. Now you could have a Fireball counter and apply damage to the Figures. But is that actually simpler? Yes, we can visually see where the Fireball impacts and allocate damage on that basis. But now instead of playing a game with 10 Units we're playing a game with 100 Figures, each of which has to be tracked, and where you NEED 100 Figures to play, instead of needing about 10 or so Unit cards.
Having played both Battlesystem and Domains at War, DAW plays a lot faster...

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

This is read-through, not play-through, feedback:
(1) I could not figure out how the CRM is supposed to work for awhile. I noticed in the examples that Hvy Infantry (v. Hobgoblins) do 1d6 damage. But I looked at the CRM and 10+ average attacks did not do that, until I realized the Attack Throw line on the CRM includes enemy AC. I'd suggest changing the CRM chart to say Adjusted/Modified Attack Throw or have a sentence that explains this; it was confusing to have to use the examples to figure it out.
(2) You mention THAC0 several times (e.g. dragon's breath). Obviously, y'all aren't using THAC0. If you want an abbreviation, what about AT (Attack Throw, and it looks like Attacks).
(3) Please include the Charge, Flank, and Set for Charge as rows at the bottom of the CRM, so I can quickly see these things and would only a need a single printed page to run a large battle. Digging through the text like it's the terrain modifiers is not as handy.
(4) Basically having a page cheat-sheet with the CRM, charge/flank/set charge, morale, and morale modifiers would be invaluable. I can make my own for now, just making a final release note.
(5) I love the system. It's about 10000x better than Fields of Battle. I used to play DBA, so the pushing and frontage issues seem complicated at first, but I know they play great on the field. I can tell this would be a fast, exciting battle game that doesn't take that long.
(6) What, no pikes!? Come on, Alexander's sarissa guys! Seems like Pike would be Hvy Infantry (AC 3 lets say for ringmail), 10+, Pike Excellent (100 men and 5.5 average damage). Does this seem right? I'm also just want to check that I can make my own units properly.
(7) I love the print-outs for the DOW units, but I was thinking it would be neat if you guys had a stand-up version, triangular shaped. Three panels, the base the right size, with pictures of the fronts and backs. You could just print them out, fold them and tape and you could have large, ready-to-go DOW armies without having to buy lots of minis. Just a suggestion, since you already seem ot have such strong graphic artist skills.

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

Oh and:
(8) You should include the Press of Engagement in the outline at the beginning of the rules. I didn't realize this is what I needed to check for awhile to determine the outcome of melee combat.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

1) I could not figure out how the CRM is supposed to work for awhile. I noticed in the examples that Hvy Infantry (v. Hobgoblins) do 1d6 damage. But I looked at the CRM and 10+ average attacks did not do that, until I realized the Attack Throw line on the CRM includes enemy AC. I'd suggest changing the CRM chart to say Adjusted/Modified Attack Throw or have a sentence that explains this; it was confusing to have to use the examples to figure it out.
APM: Good point. I've actually considered further simplifying the CRM as I think I can actually reduce it down to just one column, as the mathematical effect of a column shift is about the same as a shift of two rows.
(2) You mention THAC0 several times (e.g. dragon's breath). Obviously, y'all aren't using THAC0. If you want an abbreviation, what about AT (Attack Throw, and it looks like Attacks).
APM: That's me being a bad editor. Thanks for catching it.
(3) Please include the Charge, Flank, and Set for Charge as rows at the bottom of the CRM, so I can quickly see these things and would only a need a single printed page to run a large battle. Digging through the text like it's the terrain modifiers is not as handy.
APM: Will do.
(4) Basically having a page cheat-sheet with the CRM, charge/flank/set charge, morale, and morale modifiers would be invaluable. I can make my own for now, just making a final release note.
APM: Yeah, totally.
(5) I love the system. It's about 10000x better than Fields of Battle. I used to play DBA, so the pushing and frontage issues seem complicated at first, but I know they play great on the field. I can tell this would be a fast, exciting battle game that doesn't take that long.
APM: Thanks so much! I used to play DBA too. (Shameless self-promotion: I was so good at DBA that my opponents said it stood for "Defeated by Alex"). I wanted ACKS Domains at War to have that great DBA-esque feel with the battlelines shifting across the field.
(6) What, no pikes!? Come on, Alexander's sarissa guys! Seems like Pike would be Hvy Infantry (AC 3 lets say for ringmail), 10+, Pike Excellent (100 men and 5.5 average damage). Does this seem right? I'm also just want to check that I can make my own units properly.
APM: I haven't introduced pikes yet because of the fact that pikes can attack from the second rank. Units armed with pikes ought to get a second attack. I need to balance that with penalties for rough terrain and/or flanking.
(7) I love the print-outs for the DOW units, but I was thinking it would be neat if you guys had a stand-up version, triangular shaped. Three panels, the base the right size, with pictures of the fronts and backs. You could just print them out, fold them and tape and you could have large, ready-to-go DOW armies without having to buy lots of minis. Just a suggestion, since you already seem ot have such strong graphic artist skills.
APM: We have found flat counters work well because you can write the HP of damage down right on them, but stand-up counters have merits too. I'll make sure Ryan hears your suggestion!