Thursday, March 31, 2022

Multiple Fighter attacks revisited for Swords & Wizardry

Inspired by the classic edition rule where a fighter gets one attack per level when attacking 1 HD or lower foes (or in ADnD lower than 1 HD starting at 1-1 HD). I came up with the following rule for my Majestic Fantasy RPG.

Can use a melee weapon to attack a number of creatures with a total hit dice equal to the Fighter’s level. There is always a minimum of one attack allowed. If the creature has a modifier to their hit dice, round up to the nearest whole number. For example, a giant fire beetle has HD 1+3; treat this the same as a creature with HD 2.

In addition, Fighters are allowed to add their to-hit bonus (or the difference between hitting AC 0 at 1st level and their current chance of hitting AC 0) to the initiative die roll. 

The conjunction of the two has given fighting in my Majestic Fantasy campaign a much welcome boost in effectiveness without being overpowered in the way the ADnD multiple attacks and Unearthed Arcana options are.

One thing I did think of when I wrote the basic rules was writing about how I applied the multiple attack rule during play.

One thing learned from my career writing software for metal cutting machines is that folks find division harder. While I can do division pretty fast, I do subtraction even faster. So the way I apply the multiple attack rule is as follows.

  • The players pick a target and resolve their attack.
  • I subtract the target's hit dice from the character level and there is nothing left over. I see if it equals or exceeds the target's hit dice.
  • If it does then the character gets to resolve another attack on the target. 
  • If it does not then I look to see if anything is within melee reach or within the reach of a single five footstep. If there are I look at their hit dice. If equal to or less than the remaining total. I narrate the result by saying "You see an opening on targets to your left and right, which do you choose?" 
  • The player can elect to follow up with another attack or a step and attack. If they do they get to resolve that attack.
  • This is repeated until the players exhausted all the hit dice they can attack.
Since I need to know monster hit dice (or character level) anyway to resolve their attacks, it doesn't require me to come up with any more information than what is already there. Because it involves subtraction it is easy to keep track of the total.  Because the totals are small (for example 5 HD worth of attacks at the 5th level) it doesn't take many steps to resolve in most cases. 

The times where it is most decisive is when you have a leader type and a bunch of minions. This rule allows the fighter to attack the leader, but also takes out one or two of the adjacent minions.

I haven't applied these rules to monsters despite the multiple attack rule on page 5 of Monsters and Treasures from the original rules. I feel that this was in part superseded by the grant of multiple attacks in the Greyhawk supplement to various monsters.

However after a recent playtest of my Deceits of the Russet Lord adventure, I may add this as an explicit ability to certain monsters. For example, a Sidhe Lord with 10 hit dice would be able to target 10 HD worth of creatures or characters. But I would stick with the traditional three attacks that an Owlbear would get.

The cutoff would be if the monster hit dice is in part a reflection of skill as opposed to instinct, I would add this to the monster. NPCs are already taken care of as in the Majestic Fantasy RPG they are leveled characters. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

You too can own Harn for a $1

 Columbia Games is running a special called the Harn's Beginner Guide for $1. 

Link to Special

This consists of the core books of Harnworld. You get the HarnWorld article, the HarnDex (a mini encyclopedia of Harn), The Cities and Town article, and of course the map of Harn.

This effectively replicates and expands the material from the original release of Harn. Also note even if you don't wind up using Harn directly there is a lot of info inside that is applicable to most fantasy settings especially they are a fantasy medieval milieu.