1 November 2012

Down, down, deeper 'n down

In his 1892 novel, "Lady Windermere's Fan", Oscar Wilde wrote the line "I can resist anything but temptation." I'm sure this is a sentiment many of you fellow gamers out there can identify with! I'm no different, so I was more than happy to comply when C asked if he could take his knight back into the castle they explored last time and "see if we can find some stairs to go to different floors - there might be even more treasure to find, and I think we got rid of the goblins so it should be easier." Ah, the innocence of youth; doesn't he know how many painted and part-painted (ok, and unpainted) fantasy figures I have? Mwahahaha....

Partly to see if I could gently extend the simple rules I used with them last time, but also so that I could increase the level of adversity (and, to be frank, friendly body count), I gave each knight one retainer with a crossbow and one with a spear and shield.

This way, men!

To simplify matters for a first run through, I allowed the retainers to move at the same rate as their knight so there was only one d4 roll per player for movement. As they were mere retainers (i.e. medieval redshirsts!), I gave them d8 (spearmen) and d6 (crossbow) as their Maximum dice. If you have crossbows, though, you have to have some rules for missile weapons. Sticking to the principle that has seemed to have taken root in these rules [note to self - must choose a name for this game] that picking the right polydice is the answer, I came up with something that will help with a kid's numeracy (counting down):

Crossbow [missile weapon]: d12 - range

So, you pick your target, roll a dice (different dice for different weapons?) and subtract the number of squares that is the shortest route to your target. If it gets to zero or below, the crossbow bolt shatters harmlessly on a wall, doorframe, whatever. Otherwise, the resulting value is your attack as normal (target rolls their current Max dice for defence, dropping by one dice if the missile beats the defence).

So, freshly equipped, Sir C and Sir E returned to the abandoned castle from which they had retrieved the king's treasure from those pesky goblins. At first it was quiet; too quiet. The knights led their followers cautiously into the echoing tunnels, when they were jumped by a gang of four goblins who were soon wilting under the onslaught from Sir C and his spearman, one of them already slain by a well-placed bolt from a crossbow. The last one fled - but it was trap! Sir E was caught in a tight crossroads frantically fending off the attacks of three monsters at once.

Elsewhere, and unaware of the trap that Sir E was about to fall into, Sir C and his team had entered a long hall lined with doors. Opening the first door to reveal a small cubbyhole, Sir C got a nasty (if seasonal) shock as he was immediately attacked by an animated skeleton with glowing blue eyes. "Oh no, Daddy, I should have opened the door and stepped out of the way so my crossbow man could shoot any monster behind the door!" I was impressed - SWAT team house-raiding tactics from a not-quite-5 year old? Good lad!

Sir C (bottom left), Troll in the middle, Sir E and co. (red and white room), goblins at the top

Right prevailed eventually - Sir E extricated himself from the trap (by bravely running away), and the skeleton was dispatched. At this point we must leave our heroes (who need to have their teeth brushed and go to bed); but wait, can you hear that bellowing? Could it be a troll about to come between our foolishly separated men at arms? You betcha :)

Suggestions for a name would be appreciated. Goblinquest? Goblins and Jewels?

Happy geeking,


  1. Goblinquest sounds pretty neat! Another cool report, Rab.

  2. Cheers Gareth. I was rather leaning towards Goblinquest myself, so that's 100% in favour (a bit like a Soviet election) and motion carried.

  3. Good to hear the boys were keen to tread the depths again!

    Can I just clarify the rules again - had a bash with them with my lad the other day (he also didn't show much awareness of the dangers of splitting his force!). Each time you lose a round in combat you go down a dice level - e.g. D12 down to D10 and so on until you reach D4 and death?

    Does this mean the crossbow never kills an opponent outright unless they're on their last legs, just knocking them down a dice level if the attack is successful. Love the range rules by the way.

    As for names, what about Dungeons and Dice, Dicing with Danger/Death, D4 (D for) Dungeon. I quite like Goblinquest though!

  4. Hey, that's great you had a go with them. I'm a happy geek, now :)

    WRT the dice, that's exactly right; d20-d12-d10-d8-d6-d4-dead, or whatever your starting Max. Dice might be.

    I was rethinking missile weapons and wondered about allowing a natural 12 (or whatever the top score a missile weapon can get is) might knock down two dice levels? Or perhaps even if missile attack is maximum, and defence is a 1 then an instant kill? For little 'uns I don't want to introduce exceptions to the main ideas if at all possible, but I'm going to continue pondering. Let me know if you try either of those and how it goes.

    "D for Dungeon" might work...

  5. Glad you like D for Dungeon. Thinking about it the possibilities for expansions to the core rules could be endless - B for Bugbears and Beasties, T for Traps, M for Magic ;)

    Think I originally read your rules wrong and gave the goblins two go's at each dice level (like your Giant!). As they seemed a bit tough I ended up playing them as intended.

    The natural 12 is a good idea - I played a great game called Havoc a while back which had the concept of exploding 6's. If you rolled a 6 you got to roll that D6 again and add the score to your total.

    How about doing something similar - if you roll the highest score for your attack dice you knock your opponent down a dice level and get another attack with the possibility of rolling another exploding 6, 12 or whatever.

    Rolling a 1 in defence as an instant kill is good too - would that just apply to baddies? Might be a bit sudden for the young'uns to see their character die so suddenly!

    I'll have a go and see what works if I get time - back to work on Monday though. :(