Saturday, June 6, 2020

HammerHack: An Example Skirmish

Art from Empire in Flames
I want to show how to scale conflict in HammerHack. It's my OD&D inspired WFB alternative to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I think an example of combat is warranted! We'll have a scenario where, on the edge of a fetid marsh, a river patrol made up of some militia follow a daring Riverwarden as they hunt for some trolls (poor fools).

The characters at play here are:

Lukas Handmann, Rank II Riverwarden
Trappings: Boarding axe (hand weapon), pistol, chain shirt and leathers ( heavy armour 5+)

10x Milita
Trappings: Armed with axes. hooks, and swords (hand weapons), light armour (6+) 

3x River Trolls
Trappings: Bones, clubs, or a bit of tree (hand weapons)
Special Rules: Fear, Regeneration, Stupidity, Stench & Slime, Troll Vomit, River and Marsh Strider 

The scene is as follows: In the knee-deep waters of the shoreline, three river trolls have finally emerged to take the bait. With a cry and shout, Lukas orders his men to attack. They are 80' from the three trolls, with the final 3' being marshy water. The footing is unstable, the mud clings to boots, and the vapours of this swamp hang in the chill air. 

Both sides roll for initiative. The river patrol gets an 11, the trolls get a 12 so they go first.

Turn 1 Trolls

The trolls have Stupidity, so they have to make a Leadership test to not be distracted or confused. With a roll of 10, they fail! They roll a d6 for their movement, and stumble 60' forward, drooling acidic bile. They can't take any further action this turn so they skip the other combat phases. 

Turn 1 River Patrol


The river patrol takes their turn. As the trolls amble about, Lukas and his militia declare a charge on the trolls who are now only 30' away. They can't fail the charge with their Movement of 4 and the trolls are no longer in the dangerous terrain of the marshes. Three of the militia charge each troll with Lukas and another patrolman going after the frontmost troll.

Close Combat

Everyone fights in the close combat phase! But first, the patrol has to pass a Leadership test or fight at Weapon Skill 1 due to the Fear. Since Lukas is their leader and within 60', they use his Leadership and pass with a 9!

The trolls have Initiative 1 so the patrol strikes first. They roll their dice to hit! 

The first troll has 4 attacks from the militia and 2 attacks from Lukas (his pistol gives him an extra attack in close combat). These attacks are at a -1 because of the troll's Stench and Slime.

Hitting on a 4+ (usually 3+), the militia gets 4 hits! Lukas gets two hits as well! Rolling to wound, the militia wound on a 5+. They're only Strength 3 against the troll's Toughness 4.

They get a wound! The troll rolls a 4 on its Regeneration (4+). As the patrolman hacks away with his axe but the foul flesh just knits back together. Lukas is a bit tougher with Strength 4, so he wounds on a 4+. He gets a wound as he blasts the troll and the troll fails its Regeneration. 

The second troll took 3 hits, 2 wounds, and failed one Regeneration roll. It's now at 2/3 Wounds. The second troll took 1 hit but it failed to wound with its thick hide.

On Initiative 1, the trolls attack! Each troll has 3 attacks hitting on a 4+. The troll is furious at the hole that's been blasted into it, so it will exchange its attacks to vomit a semi-liquid stream of bile at Lukas! This hits automatically at Strength 5 and ignores armour! It wounds on a 2+! With a 2, the foul stream spews all over Lukas and he takes a wound! As his armour dissolves and he falls steaming into the muck, the second troll kills a patrolman while the third kills 3 more. 

The trolls get a stomp attack at the end of the round that hits automatically, which kills 2 more of the patrolmen. Down their leader and 6 patrolmen, the patrol tests their Leadership and hold fast with a roll of 7! 

Turn 2 Trolls

We skip right to Close Combat. 

Close Combat

The three trolls each vomit, killing 2. The stomps kill the last 2 patrolmen. Yet another foolhardy group lost to the beasts of this marsh. 


Well, that was quite messy! Lukas should have invested in some crossbows or fire. If that seems quite harsh, it's working as intended. Rolling all the d6s at once really speeds things up. The combat feels decisive. You should know by the end of the first or second turn how a skirmish is probably going to end up. If Lukas hadn't been acid blasted, he could have tried to rally a retreat or try and focus his men on one of the beasts rather than keeping them all at bay.

But not everything is so hopeless. If someone came to retrieve Lukas' body, let's say his boatman partner, he can roll under his Rank on a d6 to turn up injured rather than dead. The trolls picked over his comrades while he floated away. He'd have acid scars and a characteristic penalty but he'd be alive. 

If we had been using the optional Injury Table, Lukas would have rolled and lost his left arm. He'd go down for a few turns but would be alive enough to try and escape on his own afterward as the trolls were distracted with their feast. Its a grim and gritty alternative to just biting it.

Overall that felt like a relatively smooth way to handle ~14 combatants with different stats and equipment, with three of them being large monsters with several unique traits and abilities.

Check out the latest version of HammerHack here!

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