I got this one on the table this past weekend with my nine-year-old son. This is a great game for him because he can design his own characters and get excited about them. At the same time, we can play out two or three one-on-one arena combats in about twenty minutes. This gives you the essentials of both CAR WARS and old school D&D in a single, accessible and quick playing game. Awesome!
Now that we’ve played some, I can see how the basic game is balanced out in comparison to GURPS. You can move and attack at no penalty in this game, but when you hit… your target can opt to give up his next turn to try to dodge. (Your dodge target is the same as your adjusted dexterity, so competent characters can successfully dodge quite often– that’s why you have to give up your turn to do it in this game.) You cannot dodge missile attacks, but you have to give up your move when you make the ranged attack. Similarly, casting a spell requires you to give up your movement for a turn. The one exception here is that you can move and throw to land a missile attack that can’t be dodged– but then to change weapons, you have to stop for a turn.
So… what’s the best spell for an IQ-8 wizard character? Definitely Blur. On your first turns, you can try to cast it on yourself until someone gets into position to attack you. If you’re facing a mage that is trying a similar wait-and-cast tactic, you stand of good chance of going into battle blurred, which makes you really hard to hit. (Your spells don’t cost fatigue points until they are successful… so you can just keep rolling for it until you get an 8 or less on 3d6.)
Seeing as you’re IQ 8, you are probably able to outfight most smarter wizards. If they have a summoning spell, they are liable to hang back and send in something else to fight you instead. This will more than likely wear you down. Your only hope is to keep you movement allowance as high as possible and chuck something like spears at your foe if you can ever corner him. If he runs away, you might be able to pick up your spear and do it again!
So you’re blurred while you chasing your opposing mage around the board and are chucking spears and daggers at him when you can. So you’ve got the blur spell and probably the spear skill. What else do you need to get to round out your character? Magic Fist-1 will give you a small chance at scoring a ranged hit for those times when you’ve used your spear and don’t have time to pick it up again before your target gets away. Your odds of hitting still aren’t good… and the fatigue cost can hurt you. In the final analysis, I’d probably go with Blur, Spear, Dagger, and Unarmed Combat in case I could ever get the chance to grapple.
All in all, the IQ-8 wizard is probably at a disadvantage in a duel situation. In group battles he can choose to hang back and do ranged attacks and his Blur spells will eventually help out both him and his allies at little cost. If he can count on being part of a team, then broadsword and long bow are the weapons he wants– for the better damage. To have a chance against the evading mage that summons warriors, he needs to probably take the plunge and go to IQ 9 so that he can get the Summon Wolf spell. Of course, in that case, he wouldn’t be an IQ 8 wizard anymore….
Rules for Legends of the Ancient World are free and available here.
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