Some of you may have followed the spirited and at-times-heated debate between Noisms (of Monsters and Manuals fame) and I regarding rigid vs. flexible round lengths recently.
I just wanted to put out there, though, that whatever our minor differences may be, I've enjoyed Noisms blog over the years and we actually have a lot of common ground. I'd go so far as to say we agree on more than we disagree.
In that spirit, I thought I'd share and comment on some stuff I've really like from his blog, as a sort of peace offering.
I couldn't agree more with all of this. Especially the bit about recreating basic monsters - I realized some time ago that the "stats" of a monster are almost irrelevant. What they look like, what they want, what they do, how they think - that's the meat and potatoes of a monster entry.
One of the main monsters from the megadungeon I use for one-offs and con games "stat block" would look like this (using the BECMI rules):
1 HD (4 HD queen)
That's it. That's the "stat block". They're a 1 HD monster, their leaders are 4 HD. But what makes them different than a goblin or a skeleton is their "skin".
These little guys live in swarms. They're made of shadow made flesh. They hate light and their feces are darkness. Their lair houses a queen and bajillions of inky black eggs. No light can penetrate their lair - too much of their light-sucking feces adorn the place.
Stats don't matter much.
Leaving aside the one-minute round as a can of worms that doesn't need to be opened again, everything else in this post is rock solid.
The comment that most deaths of heavily-armoured men were execution-style slayings of men who had fallen or been thrown to the ground is something that plays right into my current thinking about damage and grappling.
Currently, as I play things, unless you bleed out or suffer a mortal wound, you can keep fighting. Bleeding out takes much longer than most fights (unless you've suffered many wounds), and mortal wounds are exceptionally rare for an armoured man.
Thus, the main way to actually kill someone is to throw them to the ground, and murder them while they're more or less helpless. Just like at Agincourt.
For a quick and dirt mass combat system, this would work just fine.
I've dabbled off and on with something similar, but it would probably end up being a little more complicated than this, and that definitely gives this system the edge for a game where mass combats don't come up too often.
I love noun verbing noun encounter tables, and I think this is one of, if not the first, that I came across.
I similar tables as one of the main encounter tables in the wilderness regions of my ongoing campaign.