"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Siege Saving Rolls

One of the things that struck me when I first read the Castles & Crusades rules is how similar the Siege Engine is to the venerable saving roll of Tunnels & Trolls.

Tunnels & Trolls is, if anything, even more abstract than Dungeons & Dragons. The combat round in T&T is 2 minutes which is a loooong time. Given the very abstract nature of T&T combat, I have always used saving rolls to adjudicate non-attack actions during a combat round. Section 1.8 of the 5.5 edition f the T&T rulebook says "if there is a question of whether a player is lucky enough to accomplish something the saving roll concept can be employed, whether or not actual 'escape' is involved."

I have employed the same mentality to my current Castles & Crusades campaign. I try to keep combat in C&C abstract as well. Facing for such things as flanking and back attacks, spacing in combat, movement rates, etc. is kept much more abstract than say 3.5 or 4 ed. D&D. When the question of accomplishing an action in combat comes up I ask for a siege check.

In a recent melee combat in a dungeon a few different examples came up. One was firing a missile weapon into a combat. Since I keep exact locations and facings of combatants abstract, I had the player make a siege check using his choice of Intelligence or Dexterity as the attribute for the roll to see if he could fire the missile with some sort of chance of success.

Another was a character that wanted to rush past a bunch of the opponents. Not having exact positioning or spacing, a siege check was used to see if he would succeed.

And yet another is trying to catch a fleeing foe. Since I don't really care to calculate the encumbrance, a siege check was used to determine if the characters would successfully catch the fleeing foe. A quick change to the challenge level of the check would take into consideration the relative speed of the different parties.

In another nod to T&T and to encourage my players to try crazy stuff, I also award experience points for any siege check tried in combat whether they succeed or not.

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