OED Update (v.0.11)

New update to the OED house rules that I'll be using at several games at HelgaCon this weekend. Mostly some minor updates and language clarification (although if you look closely there's a new rule for ranged weapons; recommendations for thief skill adjudications; and a multiplier to XP awards).

Download from OEDGames.com:


More Moneys of Account

The Canadian government recently announced that they won't be making pennies any more (thus joining other countries such as New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, etc. who have gotten rid of their equivalents).

And thus we have a very nice, new example of a "money of account": for example, balances in bank account or credit card statements will still be shown accurate to the cents-place. But there won't be any physical representation of that value -- no coins or notes that you can carry around or hand off to someone else in that value.

Just like how this is true: Shillings and pounds were not coins!


On Dead Ends

One of the overarching themes of this blog is that almost all of D&D's tropes and mechanics have really good reasons for existing, except that one frequently has to go all the way back to OD&D/LBBs to actually see them (considering that they got lost or discarded in various updates and revisions along the way).

Here's one: Why all those dead-ends in classic D&D dungeon maps? Was it simply lazy design, or just wanting the players to waste time exploring and become frustrated? Not quite; here's what Gygax included in the original list of "Tricks and Traps" suggestions:

"Sections which dead-end so as to trap players being pursued by monsters" (OD&D Vol-3, p. 6)


Book of War Expansion: War Pigs

Aw, hey what's up, Pig here. Dan's been real busy lately so he asked me to fill in with a post that he could put up. And he interrupted me during breakfast! So this better be important. (Also, I got all toes and no fingers, so the spellcheck better be on.)

A lot of the time I sit around and watch Dan (Whut, Delta? oookay...) and his girlfriend play this Book of War game that he made. Eh, it's pretty cool. So today I figured I'd write about using one of my favorite units: War Pigs! Dan (Delta) handed me this on some paper to start with:

Unit Cost MV AH HD Notes
War Pigs 2 15 3
Frighten elephants

War Pigs: War pigs have no standard attack, and they cannot make up more than half the figures in any army. At game start, they may be held or wheel as normal, but once released they must always move directly forward at their full move rate. If they get within 6” of an elephant unit (or vice-versa), then the elephants must make an immediate morale check at −6 penalty or rout. If routed, elephants lose all attacks and have no chance of un-routing; however, any elephant unit need make this check only once per game. If war pigs are themselves routed, they must pick a new direction away from all units (enemy and friendly alike) and run in that new direction from then on.

I understood almost none of that, so I just ate the paper. What I do know is that pigs are simply adorable, and also highly intelligent and of impeccable taste, and they're great if you can guess in advance that your opponent is gonna use the War Elephants.

As a wise man once said, "First we feast, then we war!" (and then we have a little snack afterward). Now, some people say you've got to set your War Pigs on fire when you use them, but I think that's a matter of taste. Although this does remind me of a story about my old Uncle Louie. He was a big smoker. One time he was standing too close to the kitchen stove, and we were all like, "Hey, Uncle Louie -- you're on fire!" And he was like, "Aw, hey, hunh." For some reason I think of him whenever people make bacon. I dunno why, but it's delicious.

Anyway, here's the game I played this weekend:

Start -- 300 Points per side. Below you'll see what I did here is take 15 Longbow figures, 20 Pikes, and 25 of those amazing War Pigs. I got to set up first, and also placed all the terrain. Like I said, it's best if you can guess that your opponent is going to choose the War Elephants, and that's what the other side did here: I'm facing 4 War Elephants with Archers, 10 Pikes, and 1 Gold Dragon. If we lose this, I figure it's 'cuz we're total idiots.

Turn 1A -- I go first, so: Release the Pigs! They go squealing 15" straight towards the other side. Ah, pretty awesome. No one else has such an incredible move rate, so they follow up behind, but don't get any attacks yet.

Turn 1B -- My opponent sends his War Elephants charging towards my Pigs, which means they have to make Morale checks. The penalty totally counteracts their Hit Dice, so they have to make straight dice-rolls of 10 or more on 2d6. And neither of them make it! (Although they get close.) So they lose all their attacks and have to run away. HAW!!

Turn 2 -- Here those elephants are turning tail and running, which is pretty cool, but my opponent's pikes run into mine, killing 3 figures, and routing the unit. Plus his dragon swoops into the back of my longbows and wipes out several of those guys. This isn't what I expected right now. I think it's because his mom is helping him, which is totally bogus.

Turn 3 -- The opponent is trying as hard as he can to keep his elephants from running off the board, but there's nothing he can do; my pigs are going to keep chasing them right off the table on the next turn. Meanwhile, my longbows shoot a bunch of sticks into his pikes and rout them, good. And my other guys are trying to fight that dragon, which doesn't go that well.

Turn 4 -- Pigs and elephants all just stampeded off the top edge of the table. I try to pick up a trick from Dan and pull my guys away from the Dragon, so the other longbows can get in position and shoot him a whole bunch. But none of the dice come up "6" so I guess that doesn't work, either.


Turn 7 -- Aw, that's more like it. I even had to shoot down some of my own guys, but I finally got the dragon, so I don't mind. PIGS WIN!!

Commentary -- Don't pull this on an elephant-player unless you know you're a lot bigger than he is. Okay, off for a snack, hey, take it easy.