Monday, May 18, 2015

Magic Realm Combat 4 -- Deploying Natives

This is the first part of a larger tutorial:

Today, we are going to go through the mechanics of deploying natives and how it differs from luring with natives. Besides horses and spell casting, deploying natives probably trips more people up than anything else in Magic Realm. Deploying natives isn't hard, but there are a few strange bits in the rules, so we'll go slowly and try to make everything clear.

The Maiden and the Dragon

Before we do that, let's ponder a match up between the Woods Girl and the Tremendous Flying Dragon. The Tremendous Flying Dragon is a powerful beast, strong enough to kill even the stoutest of warriors in the realm, while still being quick enough to evade their blows. Even though the Woods Girl can undercut the dragon and can do enough damage to kill it, this battle is generally a bad idea for her. Unless she is hidden, she should run. Why?

Both giants and dragons get extra attacks. The giants have their massive clubs, and the dragons have their heads. This means that, even though it cannot undercut the Woods Girl, the Tremendous Dragon will have two chances to intercept her maneuver, doing either medium or tremendous damage -- enough to kill our heroine either way.

Of course, the Woods Girl brings her formidable bow to the battle, and when it is alerted, she attacks with the incredible time of 1. This means she will undercut the dragon and harm it before it even reaches her, right? Except now, she is subject to a roll on the Missile Table. An alerted bow normally does L** damage. Because the dragon is armored, one star will come off that damage, so we are doing L*. We need to do H* harm to kill the creature, so we will need a two-level damage increase -- meaning we have to roll a 1. Thankfully, because of the Woods Girl's skill at archery, she rolls a single die on the Missile Table, so her chance of increasing her harm to the needed level is 1/6 (versus 1/36).

Those are terrible odds -- our adventuress has a 1/6 chance of killing the dragon and a 5/9 chance of being killed every round.

A Hail of Arrows

To give the Woods Girls more of a chance, we are going to have her bring her allies, the Woodfolk, to the battle. The Woodfolk is a group of three archers, two are similar in power to the Woods Girl, doing L** damage on a hit. However, the leader has a medium bow and so his damage is M**.

This changes things considerably. Instead of one chance of killing the dragon, we now have 4 shots at him. Like the Woods Girl, the native archers roll only a single die on the Missile Table, which means a roll of a 1 (or a 1 or 2 in the leader's case) kills the dragon. Better odds than before, for certain, but to get those odds, we are going to have to learn how to deploy these natives to the battle.

Luring vs. Deploying

In our last combat tutorial post, we used a hireling to lure a troll, allowing the Black Knight to score some fairly easy kills. Deploying is very similar to luring in that it allows us to use our hirelings to attack (and be attacked by) monsters. However, the two actions are different in some pretty important ways.

Luring

  • In a given combat round, a hireling can lure a single monster
  • Conversely, a monster can only be lured by a single hireling, so you cannot make two hirelings attack the same enemy by luring
  • A lured monster is placed on the hireling's combat sheet
  • The lured monster will attack the hireling whose sheet it is on
  • A hireling on his own combat sheet does not reposition, or change tactics -- you choose what box he is in and which side he fights on, and those don't change
  • A hireling who lures a monster instantly becomes unhidden -- there is no way for a hidden hireling to attack an enemy without reprisal
Deploying
  • In a given combat round, a hireling can be deployed to a single monster
  • However, any number of hirelings can be deployed to the same monster -- any number of hirelings can attack the same monster by deploying
  • Deployed natives are placed on the monster's combat sheet
  • The monster will attack one of the hirelings deployed to his sheet -- this will be the last hireling deployed to its sheet
  • A hireling on an enemy's sheet repositions and rolls to change tactics -- you cannot guarantee which maneuver is used, or which side his chit will be played on
  • A hireling who is deployed to a monster instantly becomes unhidden -- there is no way for a hidden hireling to attack an enemy without reprisal
Generally, what these rules mean is that if you can manage with a one-on-one battle between each hireling and a single enemy, you should lure, because you can then control the hireling's maneuver and whether they play light or dark side up. If you need multiple hirelings attacking a single creature, you need to deploy, but you lose the ability to control their maneuver and chit side -- once you deploy your hireling, they behave randomly (just like a monster) that combat round.

The Battle

So, let's run this battle and see what happens.

The Start of the Battle
I am not going to lure, so the monster will be "randomly" assigned to me. I will then deploy my native hirelings to the Tremendous Flying Dragon's sheet one at a time in the order (WHQ, W2, W1). Let's do this and see how our combat screen looks after.

Dragon's Sheet After Deployment
A couple things happened here. First thing is, the Dragon was taken off the Wood Girl's sheet and put on its own sheet. It is no longer going to attack the Woods Girl this round, instead it will attack the last hireling deployed to its sheet. As I deployed the Woodfolk, they went on the Dragon's sheet and you can see the order by looking at the blue section of the image. As I deployed them, they appeared from left to right -- WHQ, W2 and finally W1. Because W1 was the last hireling placed on the Dragon's sheet, he becomes the Dragon's target this round.


Notice we placed each archer dark-side up. This is because archer natives don't attack at all light-side up, and we need as many attacks as possible for this tactic to work. Now, we can't actually control if they stay dark-side up or not, but we know that the roll to change tactics is a 6 -- which comes up about 30% of the time in Magic Realm. Placing our archers dark-side up to begin the round gives them a 70% chance to stay that way through the end of the round.

Next thing we will do is alert the Woods Girl's bow with a FIGHT L4. Since she has no enemies on her sheet, any FIGHT chit will do. We then assign the Woods Girl's target and move onto the Position phase.

Round 1 -- Position Phase
It does not really matter where we position our forces this combat. Each archer will either undercut the Dragon, or not attack at all. Our attacks are all longer and faster than the Dragon's and so we will get the first shots. We have set this combat up so that all of our attacks get a chance to kill the Dragon. However, if none of our attacks kill the Dragon, it has a 2/3 chance of smoking poor, brave W1. All in all, we end up with a 43% chance of killing the dragon this round, a 38% chance of losing a hireling, and a 19% chance of no one dying.

Not awesome odds... but better than before.

Round 1 -- Result
So what happened? Well, first let's look at the repositioning rolls. Notice that the hirelings on the right-hand side share a single reposition roll, while the target hireling on the bottom gets his own roll. Mainly, this tells you to spread out your hirelings in the attack circles to maximize your chance to hit.

In this case, it didn't matter because as you can see, both natives on the right rolled a 6 on their change tactics roll, so they flipped and didn't attack at all. W1 rolled a 3 to change tactics, so he stayed dark-side up, undercutting the dragon. His missile roll was a 1, which increased his harm to H*, killing the beast!

We lucked out and won this fight without losing a single archer. Of course, there was no guarantee things would go so smoothly. The odds were barely in our favor Round 1, and if W1 died, the chances would shift in favor of the Dragon and pretty quickly spiral out of control.

I think I will end this one here. There is a little more to cover about deploying, but this has been stuck as a draft for a couple of weeks, so I want to get it out there. Keep checking back for more Magic Realm combat posts. In the near future, we will cover magic... and the even more mysterious horses!