Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

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AD&D Session 30: The Battle of Glovermore

We opened this session double checking our rules for wilderness travel on horseback. The DMG page 58 gives a rate of two 30 mile hexes a day for normal terrain by a light mount and one 30 mile hex a day for a warhorse moving over normal terrain. Last week’s session took 2 days for the cleric/assassin to arrive at the Octagon building and 6 days for the party to go to the archeological dig and back. So at the time of the game, that party was still one day out into the future and thus out of play. We can pick their thread with the Shield of Nergal again during the following session!

It had been a long while since we had checked in with the other party over in Opar with the cavemen and the mushroom people. Somehow, most of the players that were here for the last session at this location were pretty well all reunited. Very surprising!

Had to tell one player he was running his second level monk that was the sole survivor of Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous and not the Lawful Good cleric with the Pegasus. The ridiculous Bob Dobs that had wreaked havoc in the Undead Quarter was back. As was the newer characters Chadria the Chad-Medusa magic-user and Hans the assassin. Fluid the Druid, the stupendously high level Druid was also back in action. This group of player characters could not be ANY MORE DIFFERENT from the other one!

The biggest loose end from this group’s previous session was the Dark Crystal. We had a few weeks of time for Chadria to experiment with it. It shocks most organic material that comes in contact with it, but a female mushroom man (?) that touches it changes colors. Chadria gets some kind of psychedelics from the mushroom men and communes with the Dark Crystal… after which he appears to have some sort of psychic bond with it. The crystal levitates and follows along behind him wherever he goes.

Fluid the druid meanwhile has an influx of trollops looking for a way to drop out. Business in general and the nightlife in particular has been lousy for them ever since hundreds of goblins had established Nilbog in the crater just outside the city limits.

Finally, with everything caught up it was time to decide to figure out what the group wanted to do. I think this took a fair amount of time as it involved a lot of planning. The players wanted to take their caveman army and any mushroom men that could be spared and then have everyone in the army bring a faggot of sticks with them. The idea was to go smoke the frogmen and maybe even the sorceress out of Mount Glovermore. And them mob them with the insane mount of force at their disposal.

Gosh, looking at those rates of travel this is going to take six days to get to Mount Glovermore even though it was only two 30-mile hexes away. On the way there they sight another group of flying creatures that circles around and then heads off to the norteast.

The players show up to Mount Glovermore and I really have to set the scene again. It’s a granite slab at a relatively steep angle heading up to the big Danny Glover head. I decide it takes one turn to go up to the mouth, but two turns to come back down. (Also it’s a thirty minute hike around the back of the head to the crevasse area from the mouth.) It’s too steep to position an army on the rock face, so the players put 30 mushroom men in their center, Fluid the Druid with Ringo Star and 30 cavemen on the right, and then Bob Dobs with 30 cavemen on the left. Chadria and Malalip are positioned on Danny Glover’s upper lip, awaiting anyone fleeing from out of the mouth.

At this point I have to just decide what happens given everything that has happened in the campaign so far. I make a d12 table with every possible outcome on it. Some indicate total surprise and very poor preperations on the part of the Mount Glovermore inhabitants. Others indicate the players have fallen into a trap. There are a couple of entries that are kind of nuts. I roll a d12 and the specifics of the session’s scenario are finally nailed down.

The players light the faggots inside of Danny Glover’s mouth. His eyes light up and smoke starts coming out of his ears. Then a bit of a ways down, smoke starts coming out of a place the players weren’t expecting. They start to reposition to investigate this location, but then at the very bottom of the rock face, a cunningly hidden rock-portcullis is raised and frog men start marching out of it.

Fluid the Druid is quick on the draw and casts Entanglement on some seeds he had scattered in that area by their gate. I decide that 30-60 frogmen get out of the passage before it is blocked. They take harassing fire from Malalip the monk. A body of 30 frog men collide with Bob Dobs’s group of 30 cavemen. This is total chaos and not really real medieval warfare so I rule that is is a total free-for-all. Five cavemen get exchanged for 15 frogmen and the frogmen lose their cohesion, fleeing into the jungles. (Note: I forgot to give the cavemen their free attacks to a fleeing foe. But this did not impact the substance of the battle, so no matter.)

After the way is cleared, 145 frogmen spill out of the mountain crashing into the players’ line. They finally get a good look at the enemy captain: monkey head with ridges, trumpet-like ears, huge flat green eyes, flat misshapen nose, pig-like rubbery torso, fat, stingered tail, humped back, insect-like arms and claws, and suction cup tentacle legs. This monster was more inspiring than I had anticipated. The players were REALLY IMPRESSED with this one. Somebody said it was like a He-man figure or something.

What followed was a full turn where the frogmen hacked away at the entangled vines while the monk continued to to harass them with ranged weaponry. Chadria attempted to commune with the Dark Crystal and ended up sensing some sort of ominous force directing the frogmen below. Fluid took his group of 30 cavemen and repositioned them by the mountain entrance.

Now I was imagining the battle as if there were five different rectangular chainmail units in play. The bloodied caveman unit was being attacked head on while the second group of cavemen flanked the mob of frogmen. On the players’ right, the monkey man’s army of frogmen crashed into the mushroom men. For the second round of battle, there was an even exchange of 10 frogmen for 10 cavemen on the players’ left. On the right, the frogmen were down 20 and the mushroom men had ZERO casualties. The cavemen made a morale check after seeing their unit cut in half. Meanwhile the frogmen on the right fell back in dismay at the awesome power of the mushroom men. Fluid the druid then unleashed an insect swarm on the weird monkey man.

Things were looking pretty strong for the players going into the third round. But then the mushroom men whiffed on their attack and lost a third of their fighting force. Meanwhile on the players’ right, an even exchange of 10 frogmen for 10 cavemen went down. Somehow the five remaining cavemen in Bob Dobs’s group made their morale check. (The bless he cast on them at the beginning of the battle did the trick.) Everything looked like it was about to collapse for the players. Chadria was trying to use the Dark Crystal to demoralize the frogman army on a psychic level. This didn’t have a visibile effect, but then Hans the Assassin realizes that the insect-swarmed monkey man in a prime target for an assassination attempt. I cross-reference his level with the level of the monkey man and get the percentage chance. And holy moly! wouldn’t you know the guy actually made it. This triggered a morale check for his frogmen. This was evidently so dismaying to the frogmen that they threw down their weapons and begged for mercy.

For the fourth round of combat, the remaining frogmen face 30 cavemen on one side and 20 mushroom men on the other. Thirty frogmen bite the dust and the rest beg for mercy.

Thus ended the Battle of Glovermore: 25 of the original 60 cavemen dead, 10 of the original 30 mushroom men dead. 100 frog men killed and 70 frog men captured. The coolest NPC I ever made also dead.

(Note that these combat turns took about 15 minutes each. I switched to 1:5 for the first round and then 1:10 for the rest. I would roll to-hit and damage normally and divide the damage by the average hit points of the units to get the number of kills. The next time I do this I would probably not roll damage but instead use the average damage for the unit’s weapon type. I would definitely track total damage a unit has taken rather than just raw casualties so that the “no effect” results would be less harsh. Finally you can let the players attack normally if they wish and then divide total damage by the scale and just add that to the tally. Players asked about their chance of being killed when attached to a unit. I suggested possibly stealing the rules for that from Commands & Colors: Ancients. But it really isn’t a huge chance.)

The mushroom men had successfully stalled a threat to their foothold in the world for minimal losses.

The cavemen had enough frog legs to sustain the federated tribes for the rest of the winter. Ringo Starr directed his men to dress the kills and deliver them to caves throughout the northeast.

The players still wanted treasure. They bullied the grovelling surrendered frogmen and the drug out chests full of loot in an attempt to placate the players. I ran through the treasure type results for the frog men multiplying results by 6. A reasonable amount of coin ensued but then… I actually got the magic item result. Multiplying that by 6 gave 12 magic items. Oh well. If I knew what the result should have been I wouldn’t have rolled for it. The luck on the magic items was perhaps balanced by the ABSOLUTE WORST outcome for the gem value roll.

My friend Bdubs1776 says that the dungeons of my campaign are like npcs. There is always one that the players get taken with and it never quite makes sense and you can’t really control it. But yeah, Mount Glovermore is THAT DUNGEON in this campaign. Oh, and after talking to the frogmen (Hans the Assassin speaks french) the players now know that the sorceress is on the second level somewhere.

Finally, this game demonstrated that we could run Chainmail-like combats in the context of a normal AD&D session and NOTHING REALLY MAJOR CHANGES. It took a good ten minutes to resolve each turn, but the payoff for the investment seems to be about worth it. (Less chance of PC death for better treasure is what it looked like. Though if the players had been defeated, Fluid might have covered the fleeing characters with a fog, but Malalip and Chadria would have been captured more than likely due to their position on the rock face.)

Anyway, while I was crunching through the turns I remember apologizing for it taking time to sort it all out. People were like, eh… noone’s ever done this before! Don’t know what the next big battle will be or win, but we all know now how it can be done. Even relatively low level AD&D characters can have a significant place on the battlefield.

Treasure and Experience

100 XP for Chadria ONLY for the scroll.

6289 gold value in coin and gems divided up by the players comes out to 1257.8 each.

20,095.5 XP for monsters and treasure. 55 henchmen with 5 player characters means it is divided 32.5 ways. XP shares for players comes out to 618.

Gotta divide up the magic items later. Don’t forget!

Oh and Hans the Assassin took the stinger from his fallen foe.

Cast o’ Characters

Chadrian — Half-Elf Fighter/Magic-User that looks like Chad-Medusa (Session 26, 27, and 30) 0 + 31 + 718 XP and 1257.8 gold.

Bob Dobs — Human Veteran/Acolyte (Session 22, 23, 24, 27 and 30 )XP at 1517 + 698 + 1097 + 31 + 618 = 3961 XP for 1980/1500 as fighter/cleric. 1376 + 330.5 + 807 + 1257.8 = 3771.3 gold.

Malalip the Initiate — Level two monk. [Sessions 18, 19, 21, 27, and 30] 2250 + 106 + 400 + 31 + 618 XP. All saving spent on training. 63 + 1257.8 gold. Sole survivor of level 10 of The Tower of Ultimate Darkness. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Fluid the Druid, Initiate of the 2nd Circle — Level three druid. [Delve 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 30] 4000 + 106 + 369 + 400 + 618 = 5493 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 + 160 + 1257.8 gold. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Hans the Assassin (Sessions 27 and 30) 31 + 618 + 700 XP and 1257.8 gold. Note: the 700 XP is for assassinating the monkey man.

9 responses to “AD&D Session 30: The Battle of Glovermore

  1. Rar February 14, 2021 at 4:56 am

    When you attack with Chainmail scale units, is their damage just the same as if it were an individual, however it corresponds to number of enemies slain rather than number of HP depleted? I.e. 10 goblins with 1d6 damage strike 10 kobolds with 5 Average HP. Would you roll a d6 and divide result by 5 for the number of casualties?

    • jeffro February 14, 2021 at 9:09 am

      Referee will have to judge how many attacks each group can get. This can be done by looking at how many figures on the bases (imaginary or otherwise) are in contact with each other.

      If the goblins are organized in two lines and the kobolds only have a single thin rank, you might leave it at 5 goblins attacking 5 kobolds because that is all that is touching. This seems terrible, but if another chainmail unit is coming around to flank the kobolds, then the goblins have to stay out of the way.

      If there are no other chainmail units at all, you could rule that this is total chaos. All ten goblins are ganging up on the 5 kobolds in a massive, chaotic brawl. (Of course, it’s really 200 goblins and 100 kobolds. Or half those numbers depending on your scaling factor.)

      Anyway, to integrate Chainmail with D&D, Gygax removed damage rolls and hit point rolls in Swords & Spells.

      Looking up the units in the Monster Manual, the goblins are probably using short swords. And the kobolds have AC 7. Alas, there is no Weapon vs AC mod here.

      Average hit points for kobolds is 2.5. Average damage for goblins is 3.5.

      Calculate your two-hit rolls normally, via matrix or THAC0 or whatever. One hit by the goblins will kill one kobold figure. A second hit will kill a second kobold figure. A third hit… well, 3.5 x 3 = 10.5. 2.5 goes into 10.5 four times with .5 remaining. So that third hit will remove FOUR kobold figures.

      The big problem the kobolds have, of course, is that even if they are a military formation and only 5 goblins are in contact with them for the fight, they are going to be reaching morale checks sooner. If they break, the goblins will get free attacks (per AD&D) and the kobolds are done for.

      This seems like a trivial battle and it is. But it CAN play out a number of ways. And in a larger battle, timing is everything. The overall tactical situation can be quite different if the kobolds can hold the line for a couple of turns rather than just be wiped out in a single round.

      • Rar February 14, 2021 at 2:36 pm

        Thanks! So you roll to hit per FIGURE of goblins engaged with kobolds? I.e. 10 goblin figures being 200 goblins at 1:20 scale gets (in the case of being ordered in 2 rows) 5 rolls? And is there partial damaging of a unit? Or is it an all-or-nothing affair?

  2. jeffro February 14, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Yes. It’s one d20 roll per (engaged) figure. In the session report above, I strongly regretted NOT tracking the partial damage. If you are scaling up and then averaging hit points and damage rolls, you are losing a lot of granularity. Keeping up with the leftover points of damage “honors” those averages and also allows single PC’s to work towards (for example) achieving the 10 or 20 points of damage over the course of a few turns to help get that one extra kill that is just enough to trigger a morale check.

  3. James Jeffers March 10, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Question about the composition of units and how this affects them on the battle field: looking at the DMG re expert hirelings, it suggests sergeants, lieutenants, and captains as part of mercenary troops. What happens if you don’t have these officers? Does this prevent fielding units in a Swords and Spells like battle? Does it cause morale penalties or formation restrictions?

    • jeffro March 10, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      If you look through those pages you can precisely how many men a given fighter and his henchmen can lead.

      This upper limit details the precise impact on the consequences of either killing or losing a particular lieutenant.

      That is sufficient for me as guidance in setting up Chainmail situations. Note however that ACKS Domains at War gives more a subtle handling of this aspect of the game.

      Either way, fighters have a huge incentive to take care of their henchmen.

  4. Wharf Rat May 16, 2021 at 2:13 am

    So PCs get their damage scaled by the scaling factor when attacking a figure, what about a figure attacking a player? Will the player take 10x as much damage (at 1:10)? I was thinking that if the players are on the same base (i.e. one figure) they would take unscaled damage, but perhaps randomly determining which PC it goes to?

    • jeffro May 18, 2021 at 6:53 am

      At this level of abstraction, I just assumed that bodies of troops attack other bodies of troops. If the players forces failed morale or were killed, Though I think the players had a plan for dealing with that with some kind of druid spell covering their escape.

      Biggest mistake was not having a body guard for the demon thing.

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