Tuesday 29 May 2018

Arthurian Narrative Wargaming

Just a quick one.
I've been hacking together a set of wargame rules. The basic idea is that it's a narrative skirmish game in the style of GW's Inquisitor. Small groups of detailed characters engaged in action scenes. Freeform character creation, custom missions, playing with an eye towards RP and making a cool story rather than winning.
Setting is a sort of dark fairytale Arthurian thing. Inspiration coming from Warhammer Fantasy's Brettonians, tales of King Arthur, the stuff over at this amazing blog, and the more grounded sort of pseudo-historical fantasy. Each warband is a knight errant and their entourage, roaming the countryside, getting into scrapes, doing quests, duelling other knights and so on.

Mechanically, places I'm nicking ideas from include GW's Inquisitor, Malifaux, GW's lord of the rings skirmish game and ideas taken from tabletop RPGs such as various OSR games.

Things I'm doing with the rules:
Stats are rated 1-10, with 4-5 being about normal. Mostly roll-under to succeed, with the dice you roll varying depending on difficulty. So, to hit with a bow, you must roll under Accuracy on a d8 normally, but if it's raining perhaps that goes up to a d10.
Stats are: Speed (how far a model moves each turn), Accuracy (roll under to hit with bows etc), Prowess (roll a dice and add Prowess to see who wins a fight), Strength (roll a dice and add Strength to see if armour is penetrated), Toughness (this plus armour value is the target value you must beat in order to penetrate armour), Wits (used for awareness and initiative), Education (used for spellcasting, medics etc) and Charm (used for social stuff).
 Turn sequence is move phase (players alternate moving a model), Action phase (players alternate resolving models actions such as shooting, spells, healing etc), and then fights.
Fights are a roll-off to see who wins, like the LotR game, and then the winning side injures the losing side.

Injuries are handled in a way I'm really pleased with: Each character has a deck of cards with them, split into the four suits. Clubs is injuries, with the ace through to the king each representing a different wound like a gouged eye, pierced lung and so on. When the model is injured, draw a card from the deck and see if it's an injury the weapon in question can inflict (you can't impale somebody with a club). So the more dangerous weapons can inflict more of the different injuries, and so you're more likely to get a valid injury on the card you draw. If an injury is inflicted this way, the card gets put with the PCs character sheet as a reminder.
Blood loss is done with the Hearts suit. You start with all 13 hearts, and when you lose blood discard one or more, dying when none are left.

I'm setting up special combat rules for jousts, for sword-duels on foot and stuff. Special abilities for characters that will push them into certain fighting styles.
Magic that depletes willpower. The spades in a character's deck of cards are their willpower, and you discard them as your willpower is worn down by tests of your nerve and spellcasting.

It should be a sort of mix of old fashioned fairystories and legends and gritty fantasy. Questing knights jousting with elfin princes. Black-armoured vampire-knights and their retinues of skeletal thralls. Old hermit-knights uncovering the weapons of their youth to defend their shrines from ghostly marauders. Young nobles duelling in the midsummer sun over courtly romance.

I have no fucking clue what to call it, though. Suggestions?


  1. I have no suggestions for the name, but this sounds very promising to me (as it would, when you look at what I do). You got yourself a new follower. :)

    1. Honestly, your blog was one of the big inspirations when I started thinking about this.

  2. "I have no fucking clue what to call it, though. Suggestions?"

    A few riffs:

    * The Dolorous Stroke
    * Siege Perilous (yes, I know, it's just a chair)
    * A Venturous Knight
    * To Seek the Green

    1. I really like 'The Dolorous Stroke'. Might use it.

  3. Less on the mechanical side, but nonetheless relevant. http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/2015/07/arthurian-problems.html

  4. As a name, Sangraal?
    I really like The Dolorous Stroke suggestion too.
    Really good blog, I'm planning on picking up Ynn when I've got some spare cash.