Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gnoll Raid Rules

For the gnoll raid on the halfling settlement of Duckweed described in my previous post I used a combination of rules. Probably cobbled together more like Frankenstein than like a good robust hybrid.

For starters I found a set of rules online called Very Simple Generic Miniatures Rules. You can probably find them by using a search engine or you can go to and scroll down to the rules in question. Mostly I used the combat rules from this set. For movement, I borrowed some ideas from The Song of Blades and Heroes series of rules sets. Additionally, I made up some "house rules" for the scenario I devised.

I decided all of the halflings had some sort of missile weapons (whether bows and arrows, slings, slingshots, thrown rocks, guns, thrown flagons or steins, whatever) and treated them all the same. 5 or 6 on 1D6 to hit. The only effect they would have on the gnolls would be to discombobulate them temporarily. For each gnoll thus affected in any given turn another halfling would appear on the halfling's baseline. In addition, if many gnolls were knocked down/back, distracted, etc., I would roll to see if the gnolls called off their attack, thus ending the game. For this I would roll 1D6, if the result was less than or equal to the number of gnolls still active at that point the attack would continue. So, with 9 gnolls in the raiding party the halflings would have to hit at least 4 of them to have any chance of driving them off.

The gnolls were only armed with hand to hand weapons, but they were fiercer in hand-to-hand fighting. For hand-to-hand fighting I rolled 1D6 for the halflings and the dog and donkey, and 2D6 for the gnolls, with an additional D6 for the gnoll chieftan. I then took the highest roll for each participant in each hand-to-hand combat. If a gnoll won they captured their opponent. If a halfling or animal won they only fended off their opponent, same as hitting them with a missile.

So, the halflings couldn't ever kill or knock any gnolls completely out of the fight, but the gnolls could take halflings and animals out. The halflings only chance was to discomfort enough gnolls to drive them off.

For movement, and for missile ranges, I used some measuring sticks I had created. I made a few lengths, short (3 inches), medium (5 inches), long (8 inches), and extra long (13 inches). Halflings and animals could move 2 short; gnolls, 1 long. Missile range was 1 extra long. Movement had to be in a straight line and could not pass through any obstacles or features (like trees, walls, hedges, barrels, etc.). That meant the halflings and animals were more maneuverable through areas with lots of obstacles, but gnolls could move quickly across open areas. A halfling could dodge around and evade a gnoll in amongst some trees or other obstacles, but a gnoll could outrun a halfling on open ground. I also made the opening in the hedge at the upper right of the cow pasture too small for a gnoll, but large enough for a halfling. A halfling could duck through there if need be; or defend across it, but gnolls had to go around to the larger opening near the halfling baseline.

I didn't set any victory conditions. This scenario was not so much about winning or losing, but rather about setting things up for another scenario after the raid. More on that later (once I work it out and play more games).

I ruled that the gnolls would always have initiative and the halflings couldn't move or fire missiles until contacted, unless they had been alerted. They would be alerted the first time any halfling got a hit on a gnoll, which would have to be in hand-to-hand combat by the above conditions. Luckily, the woodsman got a hit in the very first combat. That horn came in handy!

I tried to keep things pretty simple for this game. of course, it's always easy to make things more complicated, adding variations, exceptions, etc. For example, I could've rated different missile weapons differently; maybe some should have shorter ranges, for example, or do more permanent damage. But KISS is a good motto, in my opinion.

In the actual game there were some good and unexpected moments. Like when the dog rushed to attacked the gnoll chieftan after the dog's master was captured, and manged to beat the chieftan, rolling one 6 to the chieftain's 3 dice with lower scores.

Quiet? Yeah, Too Quiet

It was a quiet day in the shire. Cattle browsing under the watchful eye of dog and halfling; a woodsman seeking wood for fires; a goatherd drowsing after second breakfast; a farmer and his donkey tending to a field of potatoes and carrots.

Little did they know, a raiding pack of gnolls were coming over the hills to the north, intent on gathering food and captives.
The gnolls swept down to attack the woodsman, but he fought back valiantly, escaping from the gnolls and blowing his horn to alert the other halflings.
The hunter by the pond fired his bow, striking one gnoll. The woodsman and hunter retreat back towards the walls and hedges of the farms around the halfling village, pursued closely by the raiding gnolls. The gnoll chieftan captures the cowherd in spite of having to fight over the hedge. Meanwhile, the goatherd strikes another gnoll.
The gnolls press their attack and capture the woodsman and the hunter. The halflings hit a couple of gnolls, while the herders start herding the cows and goats to safety.
The gnolls surge forward, but don't quite make it into contact with any of the halflings. The dog rushes in to attack the gnoll chieftan, managing to get in a good nip and hold her off for a little while. The halflings fire off various missiles, knocking 5 gnolls off balance. This leaves only 3 gnolls on their feet and ready for action, but the gnolls hold their ground. The goatherd sees his animals off to safety.

The gnoll chieftan captures the dog, while the halfling barmaid knocks one gnoll back with a flagon to the kneecap, but the gnolls capture one of the town guards, the old potato farmer, and the halfling slinger.
More halflings join the defense. In a flurry of assorted missiles the halflings discomfort 4 gnolls, but the gnolls hold their ground again, and in return capture the halfling lad with his slingshot (or catapult) and Littlejack, Robyn Hood's sidekick.
More halflings, four adventurous fellows, join the fray. The gnolls press the attack. The halflings fight off 2 of the gnolls, but the donkey and 5 halflings are taken captive. The remaining halflings fire off another flurry of missiles, tankards, rocks, arrows, etc., and knock down, knock back, distract, etc., 5 more gnolls. The gnolls decide they have had enough (and have enough captives) and retreat back the way they came. 
In the aftermath of the raid the remaining halflings ponder what to do about their captured friends and family.

Thus endeth the gnoll raid on the halfling settlement of Duckweed.

In a further post I will write a bit about how this raid was conducted.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

For Whom the Gnoll Bellows

These gnolls are all of the metal gnolls from Reaper. Large, sturdy creatures, full of character (even if it is of a rather unsavory sort).

(having troubles with blogger - can't get some photos to load. There is one more gnoll, with a bow; and a family of goats from Foundry, and a large forest spider, provenance forgotten.)