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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

B/X WW2 Tinkering Update 05-17-2011

Pictured- Somebody's Lego WW2 Medic I found while Google searching for WW2 images, cool eh?

I am thinking that perhaps my initial rough playtest was too "finished" a presentation for the players present and that the players were out of sync, a little or a lot, with my design goals for this project. When I had them make characters it was to test the character generation process and get accustomed to the new names for the stats and classes. Certain classes don't really translated directly from B/X D&D simply because there is no magic and, much as I hate skill systems, the Thief skill system became the template I used for certain class based skills, such as the Medic's Wound Treatment and First Aid skills. I wanted them to be vaguely defined so we wouldn't get bogged down in the minutia of trying to make a D&D based game realistic, which is always a death knell.

I also wanted them to be able to jump right into play, so I guess I didn't clearly define the style of "heroic-comic book-action film" style I was going for here, and it showed in the way the various players took to their roles. Mona, as squad leader, treated the game like a D&D dungeon crawl and tried to avoid combat at all costs to accomplish the mission while expending few resources. Ashli, having just watched the entire run of HBO's The Pacific was looking at a much grittier and more violent and somewhat more morally ambiguous way of playing her character, apparently having decided that her character Pvt. Pyle would be the weird southerner that looted the corpses of the enemy dead and, at one point, had to be told not to attempt to extract the gold fillings from the teeth of the dead German soldiers. John wanted a much more hyper-realistic game with hit locations and degradation of effectiveness over time due to fatigue and injury. Lee Ann was mostly just along for the ride, but as a nurse in real life, was kind of annoyed at the vagueness of her character's Medic skills, but had no problem being a Medic that carried a weapon to fight the Nazis; which I had made an optional rule just because I figured, probably correctly, that nobody would really want to be the Medic if they really had to JUST be the Medic and heal people.

So, I have tinkered with some rules after the initial playtest. I have had some time to mull things over because we got a forced week off from gaming due to Ashli's Army Reserve commitment and a friend's college graduation. It was suggested that Snipers should maybe roll 2 dice and take the better of the 2 for aimed shots, I am still thinking on that one, but inclined to go with it. What I discussed with Mona earlier today though was that maybe when Snipers have surprise on their side, like they have not been detected by the enemy at all and there is no combat taking place, that they should get to negate all cover bonuses there target has for their first shot. My thinking on this is that if you aren't trying to duck behind cover or hide, but are caught completely unawares, it is pretty easy to get a shot in, even if you are standing in a guard tower or behind some sandbags or are in a foxhole; the next guy is going to dive for cover and be harder to hit, but the surprise round is deadly for a Sniper's enemies.

The other thing I was thinking was that I needed to have them fight an enemy patrol, just infantry on infantry, to test the system. I tested the automatic weapons fire system and it proved as deadly as I suspect it should, when the squad tried to take out the machine gun nest. The only downside to this was that the squad missed with their surprise round and then lost on initiative. Pvt. Pyle took them out with a Bazooka round, but I suspect grenades and small arms fire would have done the trick too. I need more combats though to make sure things work right. I am still not sure how long I want a combat round to be; a one minute combat round was excessively long for D&D, it's ludicrously long for a game featuring modern weapons on a tactical man to man level. I am thinking six seconds, which will rescale movement and rates of fire a little.

I am going to remain tight-lipped about vehicles and armor for now, because I keep tinkering and changing and I have a couple of completely different competing ideas I want to try to see which works better; either way it revamps the way anti-tank weapons work, so there is at least a chance of surviving a nearby hit from a bazooka blast.