Sunday, June 25, 2017

Slipstream Six by Six

Over this past weekend I began the Slipstream campaign I've been discussing over the past month. I have completed scenarios 1 and 2. Here are links to the battle reports (which are on my Tales of the Templars blog):

The Scenarios
I'm not using any formal scenarios (i.e. these are not One Hour Wargame Scenarios). Instead, I came up with the context - Queen Anathraxa wants the Sunstone from the Theophilians. So how would she get it? Sneak attack, of course! Bam, I had my scenario. I then just plopped some figures and terrain down and went at it. The second scenario just built off the first and I already have another in mind for the third. In a way, it's sort of like a Mythic session; each scene just flows naturally from the prior one.

The Board
I played the scenarios using my boxed portable wargame set-up. 

The board is 8 by 8 inches, divided into 1 inch squares. Because I don't have any figures specifically representing the combatants, I improvised using my 3mm Magister Miliitum ancients that I painted up for my fantasy Anarendor campaign. Orcs stood in for primals, the Iron Legion served as Handmaidens, and Anarendor infantry became Theophilians. It worked for me!

The Rules
As I mentioned, I plan to use a modified version of FU (Freeform Universal) RPG rules. I really like its action results system. Essentially you ask a yes-no question and then roll a D6 to find the answer. Here are the possible results:
  • 6 = Yes, and
  • 5 = Yes
  • 4 = Yes, but
  • 3 = No, but
  • 2 = No
  • 1 = No, and
This system is very flexible (not surprisingly since it was designed for freeform roleplaying). A character can try anything and the system can handle it.

The system handles better or worse odds by adding dice for each advantage or disadvantage. If you have an advantage, for example, you would roll 2 dice and use the higher. A disadvantage would involve 2 dice, taking the lower roll.

The "and" and "but" results also add interesting twists. For example, a "Yes, but" result means that you succeed, but something unexpected (and undesirable) happens. Perhaps your blast takes out the charging primal but the pistol's energy charge ran out.

I did not have any formal rules on using the results matrix but in general I would roll when combat occurred. a "Yes but" meant that the enemy was defeated but they retreated in good order. A "Yes and" meant that the enemy was defeated and wiped out. On a simple "Yes" I would reroll to determine if they enemy was eliminated.

Advantages / disadvantages depended on terrain (for example, the Templars are defending a building in the second scenario so they got a bonus dice when defending). Also, in FU, characters can have descriptors, which give bonus dice in applicable situations. For example, if a character has a descriptor of Strong then he would get a bonus for lifting heavy objects. This concept can be applied to a wargame, with units getting descriptors. I did not give formal descriptors, but the visitors were weak in combat while the Templars and Handmaidens (due to their training as warriors) had advantages.

Note that I rolled against the matrix in the following situations:
  • To activate a unit
  • To make an attack
  • To save against an attack
Overall, the rules worked, albeit a bit vaguely. I did not apply rules consistently throughout. For example, early on I eliminated a unit when its attacker rolled a "Yes." Later, I began to roll saves if an attack succeeded. Nevertheless, the games were quick (~ half an hour each), involved plenty of decisions, had plenty of suspense, created good stories, and ultimately were fun.

I plan to codify the rules a bit (e.g. define what "and" or "but" means in certain situations) so expect more experiments.

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