2020-04-03 Episode 30

Podcast On the 2d6 system I’ve been using for my new campaign: Just Halberds. How to create a character, how to resolve conflicts, and for combat, how to combine initiative, attack, and damage, into one opposed roll.

Links:

The title page of Just Halberds

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Comments

Got some interesting questions and pointers all over the Internet.

Non-player characters. I usually think of them as D&D people: guards, thieves, soldiers, tax collectors, inn keepers, they all have one hit. If soldiers and guards are wearing light armour and shield, they have 3 hits. Leaders may have three hits, plus hits granted by armour, in other words: like player characters. Famous evil doers might have up to five hits, plus hits granted by armour.

Spells per day. I don’t limit spell use per day. I’d hope that this would regulate itself at the table, if overdone. You might consider saying that this is really tiring and give the opposition a bonus, if you wanted. Or even simpler: ask the table. How do they feel about endless teleportation? They probably don’t care. What about endless magic missiles? They probably don’t care. What I’m getting at is that only very specific spells that can be cast in endless succession are problematic, and in that case maybe that spell simply needs to be changed. If you had a spell that is super powerful but it doesn’t make difference if you cast it multiple times, no problem. If the fireball kills twenty people, then being able to cast it many times in a row may be problematic, depending on how you view it. Make fireballs smaller, more like magic missiles, and the problem is solved. Or make it bigger, so that it’s effectively a fight-ending spell and make it hard to get. This makes sure that there is simply no point in casting the spell multiple times. Either way, problem solved.

– Alex Schroeder


This 2d6 game that you are working on and Landshut truly has me inspired. I am about to DM for the first time in 7 years (and play first time again in 7 years). These are the rules I am going to use with my friends this weekend who have never played.

The #1 thing holding me back the last few years is system and how my mind constantly wants to go from one thing to another. Can never commit to anything. But this system is so flexible and beautiful. Only thing I feel a lack for is the initiative system, doesn’t quite feel normal or natural to me. It feels like it would leave passive players to feeling left out. I think I prefer the system to have a built in mechanic to give the players a move.

Either way thanks Alex!

Minalt 2020-04-03 21:58 UTC


Good luck! In our games the system automatically led players to nominate each other if they hadn’t taken rolled any dice in a while. Thus, anytime a player wins the opposed roll and does damage, they need to decide who goes next. They look at the table, they need to pick somebody. This is the moment to make suggestions, to point at people, to comment that maybe Samuel has been pretty quiet lately, and so on. I’d give it a try.

If you don’t like it, I would simply go around the table, irrespective of who won the last opposed roll.

Either way, please report back! I’d love to hear how it turned out.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-04-03 22:04 UTC


Hi Alex. Two comments about Just Halberds.

The first one on initiative. The winner of the opposed roll decides who goes next. Can winners nominate themselves? Can the party keep nominating one another, so the only thing the enemies can do is react to them?

The second, about hits. I prefer player characters don’t die at zero hits. For me, it’s more attractive they get critically wounded, bleeding and about to die if they don’t receive help soon. This adds interest to combats, making alive characters worried about fallen party members. The players confront interesting decisions: should I keep fighting the orc or it’s better to heal the wizard? There are many tables to determine this kind of critical injuries.

– Ludos Curator 2020-04-26 18:40 UTC


Regarding initiative: the player keep nominating one of their own while they keep winning, definitely. In theory it would be possible for one player to keep nominating themselves – I find this self-regulated at the table as people negotiate their level of involvement in the scene. Some might not want to join at all, some might feel the fighter taking the brunt of the attack or leading the charge is par for the course, other might prefer a more even spread of the spotlight.

What happens to player characters at zero is up to the referee, and therefore up to the table. In my current campaign we use a Death & Dismemberment table to roll on. In other campaigns, a simple incapacitation might be enough: even a TPK just turns the game into a jail break or a slave revolt or similar.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-04-27 06:32 UTC


Thanks for the answers.

I like how you resolve combat in Just Halberds. It’s curious that most games include rules for opposed rolls and then they don’t utilize them in combat. A skirmish seems the most appropriate situation to use opposed rolls between opposing enemies.

I was thinking about initiative and how to resolve ranged attacks mixed with mêlée, or when new combatants enter the fray. Maybe the best solution is keep rolling, keeping in mind that in this game the roll are more abstract than in others. A roll not only represents one swing or one shot, but the maneuver, positioning, attacks, defenses and good use of all the weaponry.

– Ludos Curator 2020-04-30 16:55 UTC


Maybe. My current problem is that in an opposed roll you can always take damage – even if you think you’re a wizard in an unassailable position. I generally have a hard time thinking of other effects in a fight, sadly. I guess it is up to the referee to decide that countermeasures might actually not have an effect on the player characters. Instead, the referee might describe “future badness” – the opposition cannot hit the wizard but might be described as approaching or hiding or getting some other sort of advantage in the fiction (as in fiction first).

– Alex Schroeder 2020-04-30 19:17 UTC


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