Will skip some turns to focus on specific campaign elements, like how I use a Story Point to make something desirable happen.
#16: Upkeep is 2. Wandering Gambler (+1 to wins and losses if Gamble action is taken). Work +2 Marks, Gamble +2 Marks, Carouse, using a Story Point to auto-succeed. The new Follower comes with an Unusual Background; he's a Guild Thief, so his Agility is +1, and he gets a Free Loot roll. Drawback is he will never wear more than 1pt of Armor. Weland is a nondiscript man of uncertain age. He's a bit vague about his background, but he's quick, and despite its worn appearance, his armor is clearly custom-made. [The Loot roll gave Weland Fine Lt Armor.]
Dual combat encounter which results in dealing with the Dark Secrets Threat. We find a camp of Night Folk (think ninja, they are very dodgy versus missile weapons, which is to my disadvantage as my party uses many ranged attacks.). A Captain leads 8 of them. A challenging battle, but we won and freed a captured Scholar [Counts as a Friend for later encounters.] Even better, both Nerys and Weland became heroes! [Plotwise, the original members of the party are assuming Weland was really downplaying his abilities.] Sonja gained +1 CS
. We find a Helmet (given to Weland), Partial Armor (given to Nerys), and a Shield which goes to Llywellyn.
#19: Upkeep is 2. Materials Shortage: no Crafting possible this turn. Work +2 Marks, TRAIN both Nerys and Weland (+1 exp
each). [A Hero may train to get 1 exp
, provided they have not earned 10 or more exp
Returning to the ruined tower where we defeated the Torn Flags, we are attacked by 5 Skirmishers (with 1 archer) led by a Sergeant. Llywellyn failed his Pathfinding roll to turn it into a travelling encounter, and Owain failed to Seize Initiative. However, their attempt to pincer the group worked against them, letting us defeat them in detail. A standard weapon and a suit of knight's armor were recovered (Owain claimed the latter). Tesni learned Pathfinding. [Plot element. These skirmishers were well trained and worn the livery of Lord Percy, a rival of Lord Simon, and the one whose holdings are closest to Lord Simon's lands. Unfortunately, one of the skirmishers escaped, so Lord Percy will know of our presence.]
#20: Upkeep is 2. No Hiring possible this turn. Work +2 Marks, TRAIN both Nerys and Weland (+1 exp
Using the Evidence found earlier, the party attacks an Outcast camp. [Evidence comes from the Unusual Finds table. It automatically creates a Camp encounter with the Enemies you fought when you gained the Evidence. It will not lower the Threat, but victory gives you +1 Story Point, and 1d3 marks in addition to the normal three Loot rolls a Camp grants.
There were eight Outcasts and a Captain. A sharp affray, and one that simulated Leofric, who became a hero! His Will improved (0 to 1). Wilmaer, Weland, and Nerys leveled, the first two getting +1 CS
, and the latter the Parry skill. Arianrhod gained +2 Spd
The rewards were 1 SP
, 17 marks, 2 Weapons, and Armor [Forgot to write exactly what.]
At this point I'm going to put this campaign on hold. While I'm enjoying the campaign aspect, the combat system is tedious and limited. Since I have not provided a blow by blow account of the tactical combats, readers are missing out on the many turns of “slap fighting”; where both sides usually hit, probably pass armor, but fail to injure their target.
Five Leagues combat works much like Warhammer Fantasy Battle [WHFB
] or Warhammer 40k
and is also d6
based. Your Combat Skill (CS
) is a direct modifier to the d6
roll. In ranged combat you need to equal or exceed a target number, usually 5+ at long range, or 3+ for targets within 6”. As long as the shooting figure does not move the CS
is added to the roll. If the target has armor, an armor roll is made. If the roll equals armor, the target may be injured. At this point, one must equal or exceed toughness on a d6
roll. If equal, the target is wounded, if exceeded, the target is a casualty, and is out of play, though still on the table in case someone breaks their weapon (you can grab a weapon off a body if necessary). Less than is no effect. Two wounds turns a figure into a casualty.
Melee combat has the same underlying premise, but is resolved in something called an “exchange”. On moving within 1” of a hostile figure, a melee exchange occurs, with the moving figure being designated as the Attacker. Only the attacker can inflict damage. An example. A Fanatic attacks Sister Arianrhod, who is equipped with a war spear. A war spear gives its user a chance to steal the Attacker's spot on a 5+ on 1d6, higher if defending high ground or obstacle. For the example, Arianrhod makes the roll and is now the Attacker. Both she and the Fanatic roll 1d6 adding their Combat Skill, high roller wins. If Arianrhod wins, she then gets to roll for armor and toughness penetration as previously mentioned. Melee damage is more decisive, so Stunning can occur on some rolls that in range combat would have no effect. Being Stunned in melee mean you cannot become Attacker, and if a Stunned figure must fight in melee, that figure rolls 2d6
, using the lowest d6
. Let's say Arianrhod lost that first roll in the exchange. The Fanatic is now the Attacker for the second roll. Arianrhod wins, becoming Attacker again for the third and final roll. They tie, which forces the Defender back 1”, and ends the exchange. A tie in a melee always forces an end to the exchange.
So why do I find the combat system tedious? Despite the similarities of the system to WHFB
, the problem is how often per turn nothing resolves. Ranged combat is less effective than melee combat, so often my party (which has seven bow equipped figures) will shoot either to miss, or roll just too low to penetrate toughness. Similarly, I've had enough ties in melee exchanges which mean a turn of nothing happening. Or again bouncing off armor or toughness. If this was WHFB
, at least for ranged attacks I could roll all the dice at once, but since my party is a group of individuals with different stats, weapons, and in the case of the heroes, special abilities, dice have to be rolled one at a time.
While I don't like the combat system, I cannot fault Ivan Sorenson for creating it. He was trying to make a simple, easily soloable combat system with a minimum of record-keeping. In that he was successful. However, it does not work for me. So I will use The Fantasy Trip
(TFT), the original I bought back in high school and played extensively in high school and college, not revived version linked to. I've already started some experiments regarding encounters, and will start a short campaign to work out the bugs. So my next post on this subject will be in the Variants forum.
Regardless of the combat system, I like the campaign elements of Five Leagues. And there are a number of optional rules I am ignoring since this was my first campaign. Mr. Sorenson has designed a delightful sandbox game you can tinker with to suit your own taste.
Melee is the basis for the TFT combat system. It is a complete game and can be downloaded for free.