Friday 21 July 2023

Bad Weather after Judgment Day

The world has ended and the weather is fucking terrible.
Oh it's not as bad as a decade ago, when the poison storm of a Gas Front would sweep through and turn your body into even more poison, but you still don't want to be caught out in this new weather. It sucks.

These are 6D weather tables a la WWCD.
Roll a d6 and move the weather in that direction. If it would go back, go forward.
If you reach the edge, stop if you hit an X. Otherwise reverse course.

Weather can have Outfield effects (ie. what happens during each 4 hour Watch of travel) and/or Encounter effects that kick in during smaller timescale activities like chats or fights.

And so -

There's very little white Clear weather in the Spring, so you're usually looking at green Haze or purple Rain with a chance of intermittent brown Sporestorms.


Clear: Rare but occasionally occurs after the rains. Clear skies and clear sinuses. A mercy.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion.

Hayfever Haze: Sneezing and coughing and trying not to rub your tired red eyes because the pollen is everywhere. Nevertheless this is generally the best you've got for travelling weather.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion

Metamorphic Rain: Like a nice warm shower which is lovely until you see what it's doing to your skin and your clothes. Absolutely do not get it in your eyes. Whorls in your flesh where the droplets pulled your skin with them, your axe-haft is growing leaves, your axe-head is looking at you.
Outfield: Exposed equipment gains a Notch.

Spore Storm: Fat chunks of fungal matter bloom across the landscape, soon bursting to release a choking fog thick with spores. You can barely see through the smog, but that's ok because the hallucinogenic visions are really starting to kick in.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion and Save vs Doom to avoid taking 1 Wisdom damage.
Encounter: Slowed, and crit/fumble range increased by +4.

Thorn Warning: The air fizzes with static and the sky is covered with a low ceiling of unbroken cloud. The Growth is coming. Animals flee only to be snatched into the sky by the thing (things?) that live up there.
Encounter: Within a few minutes of killing something it's lifted into the clouds by sticky threads. If you stop to loot or butcher a corpse, 1d10 Cloudfinger tendrils soon follow.

The Growth: Feel the soil, feel the loam, let yourself go to heal the world with the blood that is turning to sap inside your veins. Kneel down and kiss the Earth and take it into you. Heal the world with your soft embrace.
Outfield: Take 1 Constitution damage per Watch as your body converts to plant life.
Goblins are not immune, but they become big mushrooms instead and retain their consciousness within the fungal mycelia.

Real life example! The weather was Clear then went through the Warning and a brief Summer Storm. Luckily for them, they were in a dungeon when The Hive occurred.
Summer has plenty of white Clear hexes, which leads to cloudless summer skies which can last for days at a time..


Clear: Warm and bright, silver clouds covering the worst of the sun. In the summer these warm days can stretch for weeks.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Insect Heat: Hot days buzzing with lazy insects and bumbling bees. Comfortable long days of sunshine and joy and strolling by the hedgerows and falling asleep only to find that you've got a whole day left. Too hot for heavy armour though, I'll tell you that much.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if wearing Heavy gear.
Encounter: Clouds of biting flies are attracted to any bloodshed. Dead creatures attract a cloud of flies that Slows anybody nearby. Take Bleed damage even if you Stay Down.

Summer Storm: After the sticky days, a smell of petrichor followed by the lashing rain. Cool and fresh and so very beloved by plants, you could swear that the grass is growing high and lush before your very eyes.
Outfield: Half Overland speed.
Encounter: Ranged attacks at -4

Heatwave: Absolutely stinking hot. Too hot to think, practically too hot to breathe. A real bastard of a day, but the bugs don't seem to mind.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion, 2 if wearing Heavy gear.
Encounter: Anyone in Medium or Heavy gear is Slowed.

Swarm Warning: Wispy cirrus clouds high overhead and a subtle crackle as metal zaps against metal. Flying insects fizz and pop, flash-fried by the electricity that makes your hair stand on end, only to be devoured by the smarter kind of beetle who knows to stay in contact with the ground.
Encounter: Hitting metal with metal causes a spasm of static, making the victim(s) Dazed for a round and making them drop held objects.

The Hive: They're inside you you can see them under the skin crawling inside you where did they come from why are your pores getting larger and larger and the glimmer inside is shiny and they're all so shiny and crawling and scuttling and they are nice they are friends they are part of you this is how it should be
Outfield: Take 1 Strength damage per Watch as your flesh becomes home to thousands of insects.
Goblins become hollowed out with seeds, and beloved by pollinating birds.

Autumn is very changeable and very rarely Clear, but at least the red doom weather is always preceded by a Warning, and so often swings away.


Special: In Autumn the weather brings abundant Forage, trivially gathered. Every traveller gets one ration of the appropriate Forage per Watch if they want it, and falls deeper into the dreary malaise of Autumn if they eat it.

Clear: Damp moist air and clear bright skies. Rare but beloved. A welcome but short-lived respite.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Melancholy Mists: You sigh and you yearn for purpose. There are better things beyond the mists. Lives lived with meaning. Unlike yours. Your goals and dreams are a bit silly really, not the sort of things that other people would care about. Still, travelling weather if you care to try.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion.
Forage: Fat berries grow on the thorny bushes, eating them sustains you but makes you lose yourself in painful memories. Eating them deals 1 Cha damage.

Forgetful Rain:  A sustained drizzle that falls with a white noise susurration that makes your mind wander. At least the rain-fruits are out, withered but tasty, and they make you think about other things.
Outfield: Double chance of getting lost and/or crashing your vehicle.
Encounter: Ranged attacks at -4. Those in the rain are Slowed.
Forage: Trees bear withered fruits, which fill your belly and fill your mind with fog. Eating them deals 1 Int damage.

Unmaking Rain: Proper rain, this. Sheeting down with a wild wind that tears at clothes and hair and rips the seams and unties the bindings and shivers the nails out of the shingles. Get caught out in this and you'll get home naked, your clothes in rags.
Outfield: Half overland speed. Exposed equipment gains 1 Notch.

Tired Warning: The sort of sustained drizzle that doesn't get you wet but somehow soaks through your clothes. The grey sky overhead flickers with cloud lightning, the low rumbling warning of what's to come.
Encounter: All creatures are Slowed.
Forage: Tubers and ground fruit swell from the soil, which fill you up yet leave you hollow. Eating them deals 1 Wis damage.

The Soft: The clouds are soft and inviting. Childhood home. A parent's arms. Skin like crepe paper. Older better times. Crinkling fingers. Times before. No worries at all. You wobble. Bones like cartilage. A soft fall. So much to be done. What were you doing? Oh yes, that.
Outfield: Take 1 Dexterity damage per Watch as your body becomes unmoored from your mind. Eventually your body moves on its own, your skin feels soft and crinkles like paper, your joints bend strangely around your rubbery bones. You will spend the Autumn tending the plants in calm harmony, until your body softly shuffs to the floor, a bag of loam. Goblins instead merge onto the side of a tree, and tend the area with tentacle-vines with goblin minds.

Winter has snowfall broken up by Mushroom Slush or Clear days.
It's very possible to get caught in an interminable Blizzard at the bottom of the table though.


Special: Snow builds up over time, so several types of weather only affect you if the previous weather was marked as Snow.
You also need Cold Weather Gear, which counts as an Oversized item and can be broken like a splintered shield to cancel damage from one attack. If you don't have it, take the Frostbite effect.

Clear: Bright and cold, the air cool in your lungs without stealing your breath. Clean and fresh and sparkling, you can see for miles.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Snowfall: Long nights leading to little days of calm white snowdrifts. By the time you leave your house it's starting to get dark, snowflakes following behind to fill your footsteps.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Mushroom Slush: Sleet that melts the snow to black ice and cakes you with a thin layer of slush, not soaking in so much as piling on, making you feel shivery and clammy at once. Worse, the fungus. A hardy strain of swift-growing mycelium lives under the warm snowy blanket. Exposed by the sleet, it will try to evade the slush by climbing the closest tall warm thing and making a home there, filling pockets and bags with uninvited slime.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow. Gain an Oversized item called "Slush Fungus" - getting rid of it requires a wash in warm water or chucking affected gear out into Snow to kill the slime.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Blizzard: Complete whiteout. A death sentence to travel through.
Outfield: Gain 2 Exhaustion if you're not resting in Comfortable conditions. Food cannot heal you or remove Exhaustion during the Blizzard.
Encounter: Slowed. Ranged attacks at -8.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage and Save vs Doom or freeze to death.

Thundersnow: Hail and snow, flickering with flashbulb lightning. The dense white blanket surrounds you and gently softens the faint sounds of thunder.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow.
Encounter: Hitting metal on metal causes a lightning strike! Victim(s) must Save vs Blast or be blasted back and take 1d6 lightning damage.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Mirror-Vine Sunshine: The winter snow tamps down the growth waves and the warnings, allowing the most tenacious mutant plants to shoot up over the winter. Foremost of these are the Mirror Vines which emerge from the snow covered in their searingly bright silver-leaved new growth, reflecting extra light onto their leaves while they've got the chance.
Outfield: Double chance of getting lost/crashing in daylight.
Encounter: Increase fumble range by +2.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.


How to use:
At noon and midnight, roll 1d6 and move the weather in that direction. If it would go backwards, go forwards instead.
If you're at the edge, stop if you hit an X. Otherwise reverse course.

Simple right?

If you've got a Ranger equivalent, let them roll weather in advance so they can be all "hmm the rain will turn to fog by midday". In my game this can be a group Bushcraft roll.

The main penalty for walking around in the nasty weather is Exhaustion.
Each point of Exhaustion gives you -1 AC and +1 Encumbrance, but you can get rid of it all by having a break with food. An army marches on its stomach after all!

Sometimes the weather rots your gear, giving a Notch.
A Notch decreases a weapon's damage die, or reduces AC by 1. This generally only affects armour when hiking around because I assume weapons are sheathed.
Notching other gear is on a case by case basis but I assume that most stuff is in a bag if you're not using it.

Weather effects are on this spreadsheet too -
Post-Apoc Weather


One last thing - daylight is based on season, which is another reason why winter travel is grueling.

A day is 6 Watches long, with each Watch being 4 hours.
In Spring and Autumn there are 3 Watches of Day, 3 of Night.
In Summer there are 4 Watches of Day, 2 of Night.
In Winter there are only 2 Watches of Day, 4 of Night.

I absolutely cannot be bothered to make it more granular.

At night you'll want torches or something because you can't see very far and could get lost or crash your wagon.
For more, see -
Hexcrawl Rules

And a minor aside to that one last thing -
Initiative is side-by-side: At the start of each round, both sides roll initiative, highest goes first. Reroll each round.
If the PCs have enough light they win ties.
If they have not enough light they lose ties.
If they have no light they always lose.

So they'll always win ties in the day, but at night it's down to torchlight.

Weather-Based Encounters

And of course a last important thing - Encounters!
Each weather type has its own kind of monster that only shows up when it rains or whatever, hopefully setting up some foreshadowing from a wizened old crone saying "watch out when the summer storms sheet down, my boy, or the clicking eels will getcha..."

Roll 2d6 down and 1d6 across for a result.
You'll notice that it's the classic (?) array of Encounter - Lair - Spoor - etc.

Number 8 is a Weather Special which gives an Encounter with the relevant beastie, or more often some unique weather-based effect.
Number 5 is Weather Effect which is generic, but has a chance to change the weather! Woe betide the party who thought they could travel through the Warning and finds themselves caught in thorn weather.

What mysteries lie in the Drudge Wastes??


The only change I've made to the gimmick since its inception is to make it player-facing and make the "forward" direction a bit more likely, to add a little more consistency and predictability for players looking at the weather sheet.

Mechanically I want weather to be a consideration but not onerous. Atmospheric in both senses of the word. Interesting but not a gotcha. But still, if you get caught out in it unprepared you'll have a bad time.
Same with predicting the weather - have it out on the table and let people plan for what's coming (although they will have to work out the colours, of course).
Originally I was all "he he he, they will have to learn that Doom Weather is guarded by a Warning" but honestly it's better to be player-facing when possible, especially since they can see the red next to the blue and go "hmm.. In wonder if red is bad".

Materially it also has to consider the fact that I'm always going to have PCs cycling in and out of the game each session, so it isn't going to be satisfying if you only missed a session and now you're taking 1d4 Drip damage per round because you missed your chance to buy an Umbrella from the Brollymen or whatever.
Plus I cycle to work every day and always have my wet weather gear on me just in case, so I imagine that someone whose only job is adventuring would at least have some sort of medieval festival poncho on them at all times.

Generally per season - 
Green is the Standard Weather, travelling weather but probably sucks shit.
Purple is Rain of various horrible sorts. Can you tell I'm a Brit?
Brown is the seasons's Storm, awful to be in but you can push through if you desperately need to.
Blue is an electrical Warning, heralding the arrival of the worst kind of weather. Tends to be good travel weather if you're willing to risk it.
Red is Thorn Weather. In the past this killed you instantly, today it merely takes your mind.
White is Clear. The only Good weather with a capital G. Straight up clear skies and far horizons.

One Last Thing

Don't forget to vote for Barkeep on the Borderlands!

Saturday 25 March 2023

Bracklings - A Seasonal PC Class

The true Brackling is a huge horse-chestnut the size of your chest, but most people look at their face when they talk to them. A hard wooden face like a theatre mask or a Green Man, but moving as though in a stop-motion movie. Fluid, expressive, and animated on twos.
Their arms and legs are a thick mass of thorny vines winding around whippy wooden stems, a living hedgerow or shrubbery. Indeed many birds, bugs, and crawling beasts might live amongst a Brackling, and there are at least a few species which have adapted to life in a Brackling over any other home.

They have a short and seasonal life.

In the Spring a Brackling's thorny limbs are skinny and covered with countless flowers, hopefully meeting with other Bracklings in a cloud of pollen. This is the Brackling mating period, and the genderless (or more likely twice-sexed) Bracklings seek to share their pollens far and wide.
The flowers themselves are most often rose-shaped in a variety of colours and patterns, but they also tend to really like bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and crocuses. Bracklings can even take cuttings of particularly lovely flowers and incorporate them into their forms, which is used to show that they have taste, refinement, and a good potential for hybrid vigour. Having a flower arrangement of foreign flowers in your foliage is pretty sexy.

The pollen can also be weaponised. This is great fun for most Bracklings, who feel that it's amusingly uncouth to force another creature to breathe in their gametophytes and choke on them. It's a useful trick! The thick cloud of allergenic pollen slows their foes and makes it hard to see the Brackling in the billowing mist.

In Summer the Bracklings grow thicker and bushier. Their stem-bones are strong and covered with crinkled bark, their vines turning a rich ochre.  Woody branches grow from their core and out from their shoulders, and without careful pruning they can begin to lose their person-shape!
This is a time for prideful Bracklings to groom themselves into fanciful topiaries, and to tend to the birds and beetles who are attracted to the sweet fruits that grow from their branches.
More slovenly Bracklings will just let it all grow out, becoming a sort of tall walking shrub, home to the less savoury type of insect and the more rambunctious kinds of bird.

In any case, this is the age when a Brackling learns to control its plant-body better, growing into interesting shapes, self-pruning, and consciously directing their vital energies.
Their fruits come in many shapes and sizes. Most people assume that their fruits look like apples, but this is actually fairly rare. Bracklings tend to prefer blackberries, pears, or pomegranates.
The ripest fruits are plucked easily from the stem, and as the Brackling walks over fertile ground they unconsciously pluck these soft squishy fruits and stamp them into the ground with their step.

Amongst the sweet fruits of a Summer Brackling are a few of a more rare lustre - fruits containing the latent life-essence of a Brackling. These wriggle and writhe with barely contained vital energies, a proto-Brackling formed before it should be formed.
If planted these fruits will immediately grow into a frenetic Brackling-Ling, all flailing limbs and unfettered life, brambles clawing as it desperately clings to existence.
If eaten by another the fruits contain incredible vitality, healing wounds and restoring the spirit - at the morally ambiguous cost of eating the pre-unborn.

If unplanted and uneaten they get stamped into the earth anyway, so why not use them for some useful end...?

Come on bruv at least get the shears out

In the Autumn the Bracklings begin to lose their leaves and are soon bare, shameless of their nudity. Their twigs have the tough and yielding whip-like tension of green wood.
The rushing sap-mind that once embedded in their fruit seeds is slowing, but has nowhere to go but within. Their mind, and the minds remembered by the minds before, slowly well into their consciousness. Old knowledge to be reexamined. Ancient memories recontextualised for a new age.
Their control of their own body is far more impressive. They can mould themselves into other forms with some small but focused effort. The bone-deep casual confidence of ancient sires making it easy to slip into this or that social group.
This makes it far easier for them to blend in with other creatures' societies, but they may reject this and take on various beastly forms. This is the twilight of the lifecycle, and given their imminent mortality there are many Bracklings who find it easier to just root down and watch the world go by.

Their thorns, which have grown jagged and tough, serve as vicious weapons. Stories tell of criminals who, having cornered a seemingly unarmed person in an alleyway, discover that their wood-masked quarry is more than they bargained for.

In Winter the Brackling must finally die.
The natural fate of the Brackling is to find a safe place, root into the ground, and pass on their legacy.
The great conker-core nestles to the ground surrounded by the dry thornbush of the Brackling's body, and splits open to reveal a smaller fist-sized seed nestled in the fluffy innards.
The seed stirs, gathers the cottony fluff around itself, and awakens into the winter world.
This newgrown Brackling knows all of the old one's memories like stories told over and over by a grandparent. A new person with old knowledge.
It's maybe as tall as a shinbone, light as a feather, and knows that it if it survives the winter it can tell those stories to its siblings whose seeds still slumber beneath the cold earth.
Small and light as it is, the Cotton Brackling is not defenceless. It's light enough to float on a breeze, its body beneath the fluff is thin enough to fit through the smallest crack, and under the winter coat it hides impressively sharp fluff-fletched spears which it can shoot a surprising distance.
Plus, importantly, it can pilot the corpse of its dead sire like a horrible corpse-mecha. Cotton Bracklings must make their own decision. Some prefer to fly free on the breeze, unburdened by the thorny shrubbery that was once their parent. Others take their parents' empty shell with them for practical reasons - you can't carry much when you're the size of a toddler and nearly lighter than air. It's a bit morbid but very convenient.

But hatching from your parent's heart is not the fate of all Bracklings. There are those who decide to hold onto their own self, their own existence, rather than pass on their body and soul to the next generation.
These hulking beings are known as Crone Golems. They grow huge and twisted, barrel-chested and sharp. Lumbering tree-beings with a grip that can crush stone.
The stillborn Brackling in their core feeds poison through their mighty bodies, emerging in blood-red sap that drips from their sharp and evil thorns.
They will die in the Spring, of course, but for now they are a fearsome monolith of bark and bramble, a terrifying force of nature.

As for the seeds that were planted in the Summer, they slowly grow underground and sprout in late Winter with only the vaguest memory of their parent.
For those whose parent stayed in place throughout the Autumn, they will grow up into a little grove of new-sprouted siblings and be regaled by tales of the past by the Brackling which hatched from their parent's core. 
If their parent wandered, the newgrown Bracklings emerge alone with far-flung siblings and, if they're lucky, a particularly driven elder sibling who will backtrack along the sense-memories of their sire. A travelling seed-bard who finds their buried brethren and tells them tales of the previous years.
The most unlucky, and the most shamed, are those who were born of a Crone Golem. The memories of their forebears lost, the chain of generations broken. Forever marked by the will of a being who had barely been born before they had to choose how to die.


The intention is that in gameplay, these folks cycle through the classic dnd class archetypes before ending up as a weird new class. AC tank fighter in Spring, then a sort of healer/summoner in Summer, then thief in Autumn, and finally in Winter they're a whole new class that's a thorn-flinging flying horror or a massive unkillable Grootish motherfucker.


And so... to rules.


HP: 1d6, minimum 4 at 1st level.
Saves and Exp Track: As Specialist
As a fairly delicate class, you have a base AC of 8.

In Spring you are surrounded with pollen and good vibes. This gives you +level to your Charisma score, or cancel it to activate your 10' radius Pollen Cloud. Creatures in the cloud choose on their turn: Slowed or take -1 to hit per Brackling level.

In Summer you have fruit hanging from your branches. You have many, but you have one golden juicy fruit per level per day. Your fruits may be gifted or thrown. Gifted fruits heal 1d6 if eaten straight from the branch (this takes an action, either yours or theirs). Thrown fruits create a Fruitling who lasts for a 10 minute Turn when thrown onto good soil, or a round per level otherwise. It attacks at random in a 10' range with great whomping branches for 1d6 damage and a bonus to hit equal to your level.
Your bushy body grants +2 AC.

In Autumn a Brackling can send down their roots, take an hour, and assign themselves +1 per level to their Skills. They can also grow themselves into new forms during this time, with brack-wolves, brack-ponies and even brack-monkeys known. Their long jagged thorns grant a spear-ranged 1d6 damage unarmed attack, no matter what form they choose.
If you crit with this attack it activates Blossom Fall - a sweet-smelling rain of petals which extends the crit range of all in 10' by +1 per your level. During Blossom Fall you always act before initiative is rolled.
Your whip-thin and wiry body gives you +4 AC.

In Winter they must choose whether to become a Cotton Brackling who can pilot their dead sire, or a Crone Golem who is strong but must inevitably die.
- The Cotton Brackling can fly but can't carry much when they do. The only real weapon they've got is a ranged thorn attack which does d4 damage, or they can pilot their parent who has no special abilities but can at least carry a weapon.
When piloting your parent's corpse you have +4 AC, or otherwise +0 AC.
- The Crone Golem is huge and lumbering. Your Hit Die becomes a d10, rerolling your max HP as soon as you transform. You deal 1d10 damage with your crushing fists, and the red sap deals a point of Bleed per successful hit - affected enemies take 1 damage per round of Bleed Damage unless they skip their turn.
Your twisted and bark-coated body gives you +6 AC.

In Spring the Crone Golem dies permanently, but a Cotton Brackling grows into its Spring form and continues the cycle.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Spherical Angels and the Gods They Serve

Angels are an enemy that my players have fought quite a few times over the years.

These angels are nakedly technological - basically Modrons with a slice of Evangelion - and they're sent down by the ASE-inspired orbital gods which orbit the planet.

Here are some facts about Angels.
- They are spherical with a single central eye, and roll around in ball form when they're not in combat mode. 
- They sing to each other in Angelic Binary so fighting them sounds like fighting a choir. 
- If you kill a higher-ranked angel, one of the lesser angels upgrades to replace them.
- A full choir of them numbers exactly 21, since they are arranged with a leader Ophanim who commands four Tacticians each of whom commands four Baseline angels.
- They are part of an ancient failsafe designed to prevent the end of the world, a task they only partially succeeded at back during the Apocalypse.
- The angels are ultimately controlled by whichever God is overhead that week, and each God has their own agenda and grants the angels a different special ability.

In gameplay terms they've got a fair few gimmicks, all ultimately predictable because Law is predictable.
Mostly they scare my players because they've got good armour, magic immunity, the ranged ones have armour piercing beam cannons, and killing the leader first is a bad idea because their minions just upgrade to take their place.
That plus they usually go for Chaotic characters first, so wizards feel very victimised.

Might as well start with the stats!

I have other drawings saved somewhere but can't find them so enjoy this quick scrawl!


Angels in General

Immunities: Immune to Chaotic magic and stasis weaponry.
- Patrol Mode: Roll around in spherical form, mostly used when on patrol or on standby.
Flight Mode: Can transform into a ball with wings and fly around. Can't attack in this form.
- Scan: Detect Alignment at will.

Angel - Baseline

Baseline angels are the rank and file. Four Baselines are commanded by a single Tactician.
Baselines obey orders blindly, and have no executive function of their own.
They have little skinny legs and little skinny arms and little skinny wings and basically look just like a Modron.

HD2. AC Chain. Morale 12.
Unarmed attack: 1d6.

- Weapon Swap: When commanded by their Tactician, they immediately generate any kind of melee weapon. (See "Weapon Types" in the house rules)
- Upgrade: When their commanding Tactician is destroyed or upgraded, one of its subsidiary Baseline angels transforms into a Tactician. It gains +2 HD immediately.

Angel - Tactician

Tactician Angels are a real-time calculating node in the angel network. Four Tacticians are commanded by a single Ophanim. 
They have some tactical reasoning but these are strictly limited to the present moment, they have no ability for long term strategy. Mostly this is calculating stuff like "enemies are in heavy armour, use hammers" and telling their Baselines to swap to hammers.

HD 4. AC Chain. Morale 12.
Unarmed ram attack: 1d6
or 2 armour-piercing stasis beam cannons: 1d6 each

- Switch Up: As an action, can order their Baseline minions to swap weapons.
- Upgrade: When their commanding Ophanim is destroyed or upgraded, one of its subsidiary Tactician angels transforms into an Ophanim. It gains +4 HD immediately.

Angel - Ophanim

Ophanim angels are the commanders of their group. One Ophanim commands 4 Tacticians that each command 4 Baselines, for a total of 21 angels per Choir.
They have the capacity for longer term strategy and are hubs for the wider angel network.
They are ultimately overseen by the Seraphim dropship that hovers at the edge of the Stratosphere.
This plus they're a whirling array of metal and high-powered beam weapons that can encase a large area within an impenetrable stasis barrier.

HD 8. AC Plate. Morale 12.
Whirling shard attack: Attack all in 10' for 1d6 damage.
or 2 armour-piercing stasis beam cannons: 1d12 each.

- Reactive Movement: If hit by an attack, may take a free move without triggering Opportunity Attacks.
- Stasis Shell: As an action, create a 50' diameter shell of frozen time impenetrable to almost all non-angels. Takes a round to spin up and lasts until the Ophanim stops maintaining it. Things can still move inside the barrier, but they can't cross out and any projectiles crossing the barrier get stuck. The Ophanim itself can't act while maintaining the field, so needs to rely on its minions to destroy anything that's in there with it.

One of my players rendered one of them!


First off, Angels hate Chaos.
They'll always attack Chaotic entities first, and will abandon their other goals until they've chased down and destroyed Chaotic targets.
They attack Neutral entities if they get too close or get in the way of their goals, but won't chase too far.
Lawful entities are ignored unless they physically attack an Angel.

Secondly, Angels upgrade.
Each Ophanim controls 4 Tacticians.
Each Tactician controls 4 Baselines.
If an angel higher in the hierarchy dies, one of their underlings upgrades at the end of the round to take their place.

Thirdly, Angels don't care about firing into combat.
All angels are immune to Stasis Beam attacks, so they'll try to get the Baselines in to tie up foes, then blast the melee with beam-fire.

Fourthly, Ophanim can use their stasis bubble for offence and defense.
If it calculates that its Choir is unlikely to survive, it can put up its Stasis Shell to prevent further action. Angels can roll through Stasis zones unhindered, so they can roll back into the field until danger has passed.
On the other hand, if it can trap a lone foe inside the field and have the rest of the angels come murder it, so much the better! This is a potentially dangerous tactic since the Ophanim can't defend itself with the field up, but mobbing one poor fool with a bunch of angels is usually a winning technique.

Gods Above

A fun extra thing about Angels is that they have different abilities depending on which God is above that week.
I track this because I have a game calendar (so cool, I know) and each week the God closest to the zenith in the skies above influences the Angels below.

You could always roll a 1d9 if you don't care about calendars.

NameAngel MoodAngel Special
Dispater of the Subtle KnifeElusiveAll Angels gain a free move when hit.
Baselines equip reach weapons.
Oberon of the Green BranchWaryBaselines can use 1d6 ranged bow
Minerva of the Burnished ShieldDefensiveBaselines equip shields
The Scorned of the Rusted BladeResoluteTacticians can command a weapon swap as a free action
The Dead God of the Brittle BoneMurderousMob individuals. 4 in 6 Backstab.
Alaunus of the Mailed FistEfficientTarget lowest HP first.
The Lady of the Silver CoinFickleImmune to opportunity attacks, retarget foes every round.
The Allfather of the Filled CupHard-hittingBaselines deal +1 die size for damage.
Eris of the Spinning WheelHatefulReverse priorities - kill Lawful first.

God Lore

There are, or were, Nine High Gods orbiting the Earth.
Massive mechanical minds born from aeons-ancient ingenuity, long sent into space to allow them to grow beyond all earthly proportion.
Immortal, impossible space golems, each orbit another turn of the prayer wheel.

If the Gods need to affect the world they send forth their angels.
The Seraphim, huge brass spheres, descend from above and blossom forth, the lower hemisphere opening up into six huge wing-petals covered with eyes.
Each eye is an angel, deployed from the wings according to the unknowable yet fairly obvious tactics of the Gods.

One of the Nine, Eris, was shot down in an earlier age. This has the unfortunate effect of putting angels into their failsafe "scorched earth" mode when they detect no gods overhead.
Some Faiths claim that she lies below Dwimmermount even now. Some call her Queen Satan, others believe her a fallen God unjustly wrenched from the heavens, others still say she never entered heaven at all...

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Gambits! Risky Combat Manoeuvres... Now With Extra Spice!

Boy, it's been a while hasn't it? Let's get into it!

Gambits have been a mainstay of my game from the second they were introduced. Any exciting combat stuff that's not straight "roll hit, roll damage" is covered by either Gambits (roll twice, if both hit you do what you want) or a Wrestle (roll off against enemy, on success do a wrestling move).

My traditional Gambit rule, based on the Last Gasp, was essentially "declare a stunt, roll to hit twice, on double success it happens, on double fail it happens to you, otherwise we talk" situation.

The gameplay downside was that it was AC that defined whether you would successfully gambit.
A regular 1HD dude in 18AC Plate resists gambits better than a 1000000HD monster with unarmoured 12AC, that sort of thing.
It also meant that stacking to-hit bonuses would make any gambit a practical certainty, which isn't so good when Gambits can be straight up "I kill all the baddies in one move"!

The best thing about Gambits from my DM perspective is that they're always player-incited chaos, and they're always player-incited cool shit. If someone wants to Gambit they're intending to do something real cool and inviting real consequences.

So from a practical mechanical perspective, the key change is that the new formulation is based on HD instead of AC.
Weaker monsters are easier to stunt on, stronger monsters at the very least need to be taken down a peg before you break their legs.
More excitingly, as the result of a weeb fever dream, there's some extra spicy stuff to add even more chaos into the already chaotic Gambit.

The Rule

If you want to do something extra fancy, it's a Gambit!
Declare your Gambit, like "I want to trip them over" or "I want to chop off their head".
Roll twice against the enemy's Gambit AC. You add your Base Attack Bonus + an appropriate Stat Bonus.
Gambit AC is 10+HD. If the enemy is under half health, their Gambit AC is 10+half HD.

If both hit, your Gambit happens!
If both miss, it's an ironic reversal! The Gambit happens to you.
If it's one hit once miss, it's either a partial success or success at cost. The DM declares the options and you choose.

Example: if you said "I want to sweep their leg to trip them" against a normal 1HD mook, the DM might say that it sound like a Strength Gambit, so you roll 2d20 against Gambit AC 11, applying your BAB + Strength modifier.
You get one hit one miss. so the DM declares something like "choose: partial success means the enemy can't move next round, or success at cost means you and the foe are both knocked prone"

Gambit Specials

1 More:
If you roll a natural 20 on either die, it's a team-up attack!
Resolve the Gambit, then another character you choose can join the Gambit! This doesn't even use up their turn.
They declare a new Gambit involving the original target and roll with your original modifiers, plus their BAB plus an appropriate stat bonus.

Example: You declare "I want to sweep their leg to trip them" against a normal 1HD guard, and you succeed! One of the dice was a Nat 20, triggering 1 More!
You successfully trip the guard, and your friend says "I'm in! I want to steal her spear and chuck it at her boss".
The DM says that sounds like a Dexterity Gambit, so they roll and add their BAB + Dex mod to your original modifiers. Both hit!
You throw the guard to the floor as your friend catches her spear, and throws it like a javelin at the guard captain!

All Out Attack:
If you roll two Nat 20s on a Gambit, it's an All-Out Attack!
Resolve the Gambit, then everybody in your party (in any order, including you) gets a free auto-hit attack on the enemy of their choice! They'll never see it coming!
Movement is allowed during an All-Out Attack so long as you can justify it with a suitably cool/grandiose/ludicrous team-up combo move in the fiction.

If you roll a natural 1 on either die, the enemy strikes back!
Before your Gambit resolves, the enemy gets to make their own Gambit.
This is the only way an enemy can use Gambits.

Your Gambit AC is 10+Level.
Enemies don't usually have stat modifiers, so they only get to add their BAB.

All-Out Revenge:
If you roll two Nat 1s on a Gambit, you're swarmed!
Resolve the Gambit, then any enemy that could conceivably target you gets a free auto-hit attack on you with whatever they've got to hand!
Movement is allowed during an All-Out Revenge, so long as the DM can justify it with a suitably cinematic/tragic/bathetic scene in the fiction.

Other Issues

DM Fairness
This is probably obvious, but if one of your players rolls a Reversal you should make sure the enemy's Gambit is on par with what your player tried to do.

So if they tried something fairly harmless like trying to trip the enemy, maybe the enemy tries for a disarm or throws the character at someone else to knock them both down.
If they went for something brutal like trying to decapitate the enemy, maybe the enemy tries to chop a leg off or permanently blind the character.

Remember that your monsters are much more replaceable than PCs, so cut them at least a little slack!

Multiple Targets:
If a player wants their Gambit to affect multiple foes, just add enemy HD together to find the target number.
Like three 1HD mooks would have Gambit AC 13.
Two 6HD bears would have Gambit AC 22.
Ignore the half health thing with multiple foes, too much effort!

If a Reversal (nat 1) is rolled during a multi-target Gambit, combine enemy attack bonuses together for their counterattack.

Example: You declare "I decapitate the bears!" against two 6HD grizzly bears, and you roll a natural 1 on one of the dice! The DM says "lol ok they're going to try to rip your arms off". 
They've got +6 to hit each, so their combined bonus in their Gambit is +12 vs your Gambit AC of 10+Level.

Absolute Chaos Shenanigans:
These rules are intentionally written so that Gambits can, dice-willing, devolve into absolute chaos with a Reversal conceivably triggering 1 More triggering another Reversal and so on.

That's why I was specific about when a Gambit Special resolves! Reversal triggers before 1 More, which is especially important in the rare case of rolling a Nat 1 and a Nat 20 simultaneously.
Everything always resolves, even if some ridiculous Reversal makes the original Gambit completely implausible, so have fun working it out in the fiction!

For the probability wonks, every Gambit roll has approximately 20% chance to trigger a Gambit Special.
This contrasted with the 10% chance of crit/fumble on a normal attack roll.
Since Gambits tend to be less common than regular attacks, I think that's a good amount of wild card potential!

Monday 24 May 2021

Mentors - Retiring Your Character to NG+ and Multi-Class

Any long-running game can eventually run into a problem.
What to do with all these high level characters?

This is especially obvious when you're running a game where new characters start at level 1.
Sure, I know that in exponential exp terms a character catches up quick, but lower levels are my vibe!

The "normal" way to cycle to the next character is for your current one to die, but that's extra hard when the character is at a beefy high level and relatively safe.

And so, Mentors.
The classic retired adventurer trope, except it's your old character and they can retire to a happy life of an innkeeper, mountaintop dojo sensei, tower wizard, spooky mansion full of weird shit owner, or whatever else they'd want to do once their adventuring days are over.
Most importantly, future characters get a special bonus because they've been trained by the old (or not that old) master, and the ability to multi-class.

(Shoutout to the Retired Adventurer)


When you reach Level 6 you can retire to become a Mentor.

Mentors give a starting boost to new characters and grant them the ability to multi-class into the Mentor's class in classic D&D style.

Starting Mentor bonuses are picked from the class-based list below, plus an extra character-based one you work out with the DM.
Multi-classing is fairly straightforward for now. Fucked if I know what happens when a multi-classed character retires to become a Mentor. A worry for another time, perhaps!

Naturally there are roleplaying impacts from playing a character with a Mentor. "Ah yes, I knew your mother well" or "curse you scion of POWERLAD!" or "but Lorn au Arcos swore never to train another swordsman!".
That's up to you though.

When the newbie asks you if you know their mentor

Starting Mentor Bonuses

When you retire your character to become a Mentor, new characters can have trained under you to gain a starting bonus.
They can pick one of the standard class bonuses below, or the special character bonus you work out with your DM.

Standard Class Bonus:

- Gain +1 to base attack bonus.
- Gain the Weapon Mastery class bonus: Fighter powers based on your weapon.
- When you kill a creature, get a free Cleave attack against another creature nearby.

- Gain +1 Mana.
- Choose a spell the Mentor knows. You can cast this once per day.
- You have your Mentor's Familiar. It can't cast spells unless you can, but otherwise acts as a Magic-User's Familiar. If you die, it returns to your Mentor. 

- +2 Skill Points.
- Instead of getting skill points at char gen, choose a skill your Mentor has maxed out and max it out yourself.
- Gain the Sharp Eye class bonus: no random targets when you fire into melee.

- Count as +1 level for Faith rolls.
- Choose a Miracle your Mentor has access to. You can call forth this Miracle once per day.
- Gain the Lead Prayer class bonus: Sermons always succeed.

- Gain one of your Mentor's Barbarian abilities.
- When you're at 0HP, gain +1 attack.
- Gain +4 AC when you're not wearing armour and you always count as protected against extreme weather.

- Gain +1 Mana
- Choose a spell the Mentor knows. You can cast this once per day.
- You can raise a single skeleton, zombie, or skin kite given 10 minutes and a Last Breath. Max 1 at a time.

Muscle Wizard:
- Gain +1 Mana.
- Choose a spell the Mentor knows. You can instantly punch-cast this once per day.
- Your fists deal 1d4 damage and count as Shanky weapons. If you can cast spells, you can cast them via a punch attack.

- +1 HD of HP at first level.
- Choose a first level Lorebond your Mentor has unlocked. You have that ability and drawback.
- You always succeed at Arcana checks to bond to a new Glyph.

- Gain +1 Mana.
- You can cast your Mentor's Heartspell once per day. Until you cast it, you have their tier 1 Elf ability and mutation.
- Once per day, at will, you can release a Chaos Burst.

- +1 Dexterity
- +2 to Stealth while in dungeon or urban environments.
- Gain a Goblin Minion. It follows your orders to the letter but not the spirit, and if killed it always falls down something and will show up a week later like nothing happened.

- +1 Charisma
- +2 to Stealth while in outdoor or wilderness environments.
- Once per day, you can give someone an order that they will unwittingly follow for the next 5 seconds at least. If they wouldn't want to do it, they'll stop after the 5 seconds and be all "wait a second".

- Gain +1 Meat Point.
- Choose a Mutation your Mentor has. You can use this once per day. Until you do, you have the associated passive ability.
- You can eat any dead creature smaller than you like a Ration, healing 1d6 HP over ten minutes of horrifying digestion.

- You gain a 1d6 damage Bite attack.
- You have a rat friend who thinks you're cool and can talk to you. You can't speak to other rats, but your rat can always liaise on your behalf.
- Once per day, you can summon a swarm of 10 rats that swarms over you and tanks damage. Each point of damage you receive kills a rat.

- Choose a Named Character from your Mentor mob. They're your sidekick now. If they would die, you can drop to 0HP to save them but it must be in a dramatic fashion.
- Once per day, take a second action on your turn.
- Once per session, when you are dropped to 0HP, stay on 0HP because the bulk of the damage was taken by your stunt double

Special Character Bonus:

Character bonuses should be be cool unique stuff, as unique as your character was!

You retire as a weird unique class, so a new character can start as that weird unique class.
You retire to be a father for your new swarm of giant spider-teens, so a new character can have spider-teen henchmen.
You retire with a fantasy fast food empire, so a new character gets free meals for the party from any of their outlets.
You retire after becoming a vast blooming flesh-Yggdrasil, so a new character can start with mutant superpowers.

All completely normal examples of things that happen in games.


Multi-Classing is simple and probably works how you would expect. This may change if it turns out it fucks up even the fairly loose balance between classes we currently have.

The upside is you get to be a fun admixture of two different classes. Especially weird if you mix race-classes. Idk how that works in fiction, that's on you.
The downside is that the multi-class side is a weaker version of what you'd normally get if you mainlined a class.

I'll call the Mentor's class your Off-Class, to show that it's kind of askance to your main class.

- Upside: Gives you the cool thing that the Off-Class gets on level.
- Downside: Off-Class Hit Die reduced one size.
- Implicit downside: You don't get stuff that the Off-Class would have started with.

Also you might notice that mixing casters is a bit of a shit deal. This is on purpose!
I didn't want to get into a whole thing with how different Mana pools interact or blend or whatever, so off-class casters just get an extra once/day spell.

So here goes -

+1d6 HP
+1 to base attack bonus

+1d2 HP
+Gain a spell your Mentor knows. You can cast this once per day.

+ 1d4 HP
+2 Skill Points.

+1d4 HP
+1d6 Lay on Hands. (Roll 1d6 per Cleric level at dawn. This is your Healing Pool. As an Action, you can Lay on Hands to heal someone from your Healing Pool)

+1d6 HP
+Gain one of your Mentor's Barbarian abilities.

+1d2 HP
+Gain a spell your Mentor knows. You can cast this once per day.

Muscle Wizard:
+1d2 HP
+Gain a spell your Mentor knows. You can punch-cast this once per day.

+ 1d8 HP
+ Unlock or advance a Lorebond your Mentor has unlocked. You gain the ability and drawback.

+1d4 HP
+You can cast your Mentor's Heartspell once per day. Until you cast it, you have their tier 1 Elf ability and mutation. This stacks - more uncast heartspells mean you get more of their mutations and abilities.

+1d4 HP
+1 Goblin Buddy who loves you. If killed, they somehow respawn next time you sleep outdoors.

+1d4 HP
+1 to Domination rolls. If you couldn't before, you can now! Please note that if you're not a true Halfling, your mind-slave will always break out of your control if you are vulnerable and/or unconscious and/or forgot to mention them until halfway into the session.

+1d4 HP
+ Choose a Mutation your Mentor has. You can use this once per day. Until you do, you have the associated passive ability.

+ 1d4 HP
+ You can summon 1 rat per Ratman level squared. You can speak to them and your rats act as a Ratman's rats.

+1d10 HP
+Gain an Extra who can do one extra thing on your turn. If they die, they are killed off-screen and return somehow the next time you take Downtime.

One Last Job

This is the classic, right?
Retired hero gets brought back in by the old gang for a final heist or maybe someone kills their dog.
Or the other classic, your mentor dies saving you from some deadly foe or tragic self-made mistake.

I was thiiiiis close to mechanising it (by which I mean, I wrote and rewrote a bunch of shit) before I realised that it was a dead end.

Instead I simply suggest that in moments of great narrative resonance, when the stars and tropes align into a powerful force of myth and portent, that Mentors may be used to perform great metanarrative acts.

My original drafts had phrases like "once per Mentor" and "if you reach 0HP" and "afterwards they cannot be used as a Mentor" in there, along with a perfunctory table of Mentor tropes, but I don't think that's necessary.
If you've got a Mentor, you've got a license to fuck with the DM by bringing back an old character to enact a classic genre trope. Everything else is up to you!

Thursday 30 April 2020

Flashpoints - PCs in Mass Combat

Secret Jackalope is like Secret Santicorn but for Easter!
Which I clearly missed, but I did it in the end!
So here is my somewhat belated Jackalope gift for Mr. Florent "killerklown" Didier of D.R.E.A.D. who requested:

"A simple way to make character actions in mass combat meaningful yet dangerous and not omnipotent"

I already did this in my Titan-Scale Mass Combat rules, but just linking back to that feels like cheating!
So instead I'm just going to adapt it to something more human-scale, such that PCs will be able to affect the outcome on the battlefield rather than just commanding from above.

So the main thing is that the PCs need a goal that isn't just "roll attacks against enemy soldiers".
If they're just in the rank-and-file they have no agency and no real means to affect the battle - they're just another soldier, even if they're like ten times better at killing than a regular soldier.

More importantly they need several possible goals so they have agency.
Flashpoints are these goals - points where the PCs can influence the course of the battle.


Every good scenario has an outcome that is essentially "what happens if the PCs don't intervene?"
Set that now.

A good idea is to just grab a famous battle from wikipedia and use that!
Good for "realism", good for one of your players picking it up and going "oh sick I know exactly what went wrong in the Battle of Cannae!" and feeling cool for using their historical meta-knowledge.

This is also good for working out the terrain and the power imbalance between the two sides, less work for you is always good right?

Rules Overview

Battles are fought by Units, representing formations of troops.
Battles take place on a hex grid Battlefield.
The PCs can influence the battle by going to Flashpoints, places which could tip the balance of the battle in their favour.


Armies are made up of individual Units, each representing a single formation of troops.
They have two stats - Speed and Power, and perhaps some extra bullshit special abilities.

Slow Units (eg. zombies) move 1 Hex per Turn.
Standard Units (eg. human armies) travel at 2 Hexes per Turn.
Fast Units (eg. winged dragon-cultists) can move 3 Hexes per Turn.

A Units's Power dictates the die they roll in combat. It's 1dX, where X is their Power.
eg. a Unit with Power 10 rolls 1d10 for combat, a Unit with Power 6 rolls 1d6.

Each side rolls their combat die.
The Loser loses 2 Power, dropping down a die size.
The Loser may move a hex, if able.

Killing a Unit:
If a Unit is at 4 power (ie. uses a base d4 for combat) and loses a combat, they are destroyed.
Survivors may flee, if possible, as a useless noncombatant unit.

Bullshit Special Abilities:
These are some extra bits to differentiate units and make them a bit more characterful.
Some possibilities:
Charge: Move an extra hex when you move in a straight line.
Riverwalk: Can cross water without a bridge.
Overrun: When you destroy another unit, move into their vacated hex.
Ranged: This unit can attack from 2 hexes away, but has -2 Power in normal melee combat. If they lose in a ranged combat against a non-ranged foe, they take no damage.

The Battlefield

The Battlefield is a hex grid. Each hex is as big as you need it to be.

Each Turn is anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour - time is flexible in the midst of combat.

Add some terrain to spice up the battlefield. Some possibilities:
Elevation: Units with the high ground gain +2 Power.
Slow Terrain: Units that move into this terrain end their movement.
River: Impassable to normal troops.


Flashpoints are places where a small and dedicated group of 2-8 characters of appropriate level might make an impact.
Think of Aragorn and Gimli defending the gates from the battering ram at Helm's Deep, or what would have happened if Legolas had actually taken down that one guy with the torch before he could light the bombs under the walls.

Whenever two enemy Units engage in combat, a random Flashpoint occurs.
PCs that arrive in time can enter the Flashpoint - essentially a short combat scenario that affects the course of the combat.

The PCs success or failure decides the outcome of the combat.
Success: Your allied Unit wins.
Failure: Your allied Unit loses.

These can basically be any cool combat battle scenario you can think of and you'll need to stat them up appropriately, but here's a d10 table to start you off!

Roll 1d10:

1. Enemy Champion
A very strong foe is here! A big monster, a powerful enemy hero, or some other terrifying singular threat! Defeat the Champion and your side is assured of victory!

2. Defend the Breach
A hole has opened up in the ranks and/or fortifications, and enemy troops are surging through! Hold the line for several rounds until reinforcements arrive, your troops recover, or the fortification can be shored up.

3. Enemy Leader
A particularly important enemy commander is here, and their tactical acumen will lead to the inevitable victory of the enemy forces if they're not stopped!
Fight, sneak or otherwise reach the leader in a few rounds and either kill them or force them to flee.

4. Morale Shaken
The pressure of combat, the death of a beloved soldier, or some other calamity has shaken the faith of the troops! Fight at their side and encourage them with inspirational deeds and words, stirring their souls and raising their morale to fight back against their foes!

5. Unexpected Tactics
Something completely unanticipated has happened! Outriders are attacking the flanks, or some fell magicks have turned the soil to mud, or a feigned retreat has left the unit surrounded by once-hidden foes! Help your Unit recover the initiative and turn the tides back in your favour!

6. Push the Advantage
A hole has opened up in the enemy formation, an opportunity to break through if only someone could seize it! Lead the charge and break the morale of your foes!

7. Capture the Standard
The enemy is holding some prideful totem that gives their forces strength and power! Capture their prized standard, powerful magical totem, or whatever it is that will make them abased and demoralised if it is seized!

8. Mark a Target
Some sort of destructive ranged attack, be it massed bowmen or artillery or arch-wizard, is ready to fire on a tactically important place but they need someone to mark the target before they can do so!
Somehow get to the target location and plant the smoke canister, arrow-attractor, or magical ley-stone in position so they can blow it to hell!

9. Recon Mission
If only your troops knew what was ahead they could assure themselves victory! Whether it's an ambush, a trap, or simply knowing what the enemy they're facing has to fight back with, there's something ahead that would be easily overcome with prior knowledge.
You have limited time to go forth, find out the necessary knowledge, and survive to return and inform your troops of what lies ahead!

10. Elite Guard
The elite forces of the enemy are ahead - bloody-minded veterans, empowered uruk-hai, or some other force much more powerful than their regular rank-and-file is arrayed before you.
Support your troops in the fight ahead against a multitude of powerful foes!

The exact make-up of these different Flashpoints is down to the individual scenario.
If the enemy is other humans, an Enemy Champion result might be a particularly powerful warrior with a massive sword.
If they're undead it might be a massive zombie abomination that crushes all before it.
If they're mushroom men perhaps it's a rolling spore monster that chokes your soldiers so that the shroom rank-and-file can finish them off.

Turn Order

Each Turn goes like this:
  1. Unit Movement
  2. Create Flashpoints
  3. PC Movement
  4. Flashpoints!
  5. Resolve Combat

1. Movement
Units move in whatever order you want up to their speed.

2. Create Flashpoints
If two opposing units are in adjacent hexes, a Flashpoint occurs!

3. PC Movement
PCs move in whatever order they want.
Since they don't have to march in formation, PCs are faster than regular Units.
Mounted: 4 hexes.
Lightly Encumbered: 3 hexes
Encumbered: 2 hexes
Morbidly Encumbered: 1 hex

4. Flashpoints!
If one or more PCs has moved to a Flashpoint, they see what the scenario is!
If they choose to engage, they join the Flashpoint scenario.

5. Unit Combat
If the PCs succeeded at a Flashpoint, their Unit wins!
If the PCs failed at a Flashpoint, their Unit fails.
Otherwise, roll for the outcome as above.

Some Example Units

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Pike Square: Bonus +2 Power vs Cavalry

Power 6. Speed 3.
- Charge: Bonus +1 Speed moving in a straight line.

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Ranged: This unit can attack from 2 hexes away, but has -2 Power in normal melee combat. If they lose in a ranged combat against a non-ranged foe, they take no damage.

Power 6. Speed 2.
- Raise Dead: Permanently gain +2 Power when they defeat a Unit with bones.

Power 8. Speed 2.
- Treestride: This unit is not slowed by forests.

Power 10. Speed 3.
- Flying: This unit is not blocked by impassable terrain.
- Devastate: If this unit wins a combat, the enemy unit loses 4 Power instead of 2.

Hopefully that's good enough! If you want to add monstrous unkillable titans that are threatened by nothing other than each other, check out the original post!