Starting the Game
Well, you’ve created your Star Character and recruited your group of Grunts who are NPCs, nonplayer characters. This means the game mechanics will govern their actions and that they may not always perform as expected. You’ve read the rules on Action, Spell Casting, Shooting and Melee. You are ready to start the game, here’s how.
The game is played by completing Encounters, Swordplay 2018 has three Encounters – Explore, Raid and Defend. Talomir Tales, on the other hand, has 14 generic Encounters plus each book has an additional 12 to 16 Scenario specific Encounters, but I digress.
It is the Next Encounter table on page 20 that drives the order in which Encounters are played. The Explore Encounter starts the cycle. The type of NPCs you face in the Explore Encounter are the same type of NPCs you will face in each Encounter until the next time you play an Explore Encounter.
You could just choose the Encounter you want to play and choose the type of NPCs you will encounter – or, you can let the game mechanics choose for you by rolling on the Who Are They Table. For this round of Encounters, the result of my rolls is the Skeletal Undead.
The Explore Encounter
The objective of this Encounter is resolve all the PEFs, Possible Enemy Force, that are generated. The instructions for generating the number of PEFs are in the Special Instructions section – 2 + 1/2d6 PEFs. I roll a d6 and the result is 3, to get 1/2d6 I divide the 3 by 2 and round up for a score of 2. In this Encounter there will be 2 + 2 = 4 PEFs to resolve.
Now this is where I have to get creative, but that’s ok, I want to build a story around the game. There is no world building in Swordplay 2018, as I said earlier. You can set your story in Middle Earth, Hyborea, Westeros, Barsoom or any place you can imagine. Since I write adventures set in Talomir, for this story Tio and her band of adventurers have been told there’s gold and gems scattered throughout a ruined keep on the border between the Northern Marches of Tropilium and Stygustan. When Tio and Tara pressed for more information, the man only said the keep is no place for the living. Such rumors of treasure have to be explored.
The ancient keep was the only evidence man had ever inhabited this lonely desert. Sky, wind, sand and stone were the only features to be seen for miles. The silence was broken with each gust of wind as it passed through and over a myriad of openings, the moans conveyed an ominous warning.
Though the battle board that comes with Swordplay 2018 is of a grassy lightly wooded field, the Explore Encounter doesn’t have to take place there. For my game, I’ve chosen to explore a dungeon. Each PEF I resolve will be in a dungeon room. For a more detailed dungeon crawl, I recommend either Talomir Tales or Warrior Heroes: Legends.
PEF Number 1
The first PEF resolves into 4 Skeletal Undead. I place my group and the enemy group on the battle board. The Turn Sequence (page 15) begins with me rolling 1d6 to determine which side has the advantage. I score a 2, so Tio’s group has the advantage. Since the Skeletal Undead are of the Creature class, there can be no Interaction. It is a good thing Tio has the advantage as the adventurers and Skeletal Undead pass the same number of d6.
Each member in Tio’s group lines up with one Skeleton, since Tio’s group outnumbers the Skeletal Undead, Circe & Tara are lined up on the same Skeleton.
Spell Casting is the first order of business. Roll 2d6 and Circe will attempt to cast a Damage Spell. She rolled 5s on each die, passing 0d6. The Spell fails and Circe’s Rep is reduced to a 3 for the rest of the Encounter.
Shooting is next. Mossflower takes aim, she rolls a 5 and a 1 on the Shooting Table, passing 1d6. The Skeleton is inactive and not in cover so the shot is a hit. Mossflower rolls a 6 on the Damage Table, the Skeleton is Obviously Dead. I’ve decided to have Tara shoot at the Skeleton opposite of her with her crossbow. Since Tara is not of the Shooter class, she shoots at a -1 to Rep. This means she must score 3 or less in order to hit the Skeleton. Tara scores a hit and after rolling a 5 on the Damage Table which is higher than the Skeleton’s Rep and higher than the Skeleton’s Armor Class, AC – the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
Tio and Rena Charge the last two Skeletons entering into Melee. I’ll start with Tio first, since she has the higher Rep. Both Tio and the Skeleton passed the same number of d6, they fight another round of Melee at a -1 to their Rep – Tio at Rep 4 and the Skeleton at Rep 2. This time, the Skeleton passed 1 more d6 than Tio, they fight another round – Tio at Rep 3 and the Skeleton at Rep 2. This time Tio passes 2d6 more than the Skeleton, the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
In the other Melee, Rena at Rep 4 versus a Skeleton at Rep 3. Rena passes 1 more d6 than the Skeleton and then rolls a 5 against the Skeleton’s AC2 – the Skeleton goes Out of the Fight.
Tio returns to Rep 5 now that Melee has been resolved. However, Circe remains at Rep 3 from the failed Spell.
With the enemy defeated, it is time to search for treasure in this room. To search the room, I use the Loot and Destroy process from the Raid Encounter (page 22).
- Tio rolls first and finds Loot gaining 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Circe rolls next and finds Loot gaining 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Rena rolls and also finds Loot gaining 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Mossflower fails her roll attracting a PEF that has to be resolved immediately – Tara does not get to search for Loot.
PEF Number 2
The second PEF resolves into 5 Skeletal Undead. Luck smiles upon Tio as her band of adventurers win the advantage, but it isn’t needed as Tio’s band passes 2d6 and the Skeletal Undead only pass 1d6.
Spell Casting is first and Circe attempts to cast a Dazzle Spell. She scores a Partial Success, the Skeleton across from her halts and will perform no action until its next Activation.
Mossflower shoots, hits the Skeleton across from her and it is Obviously Dead. I’ve decided Tara will Melee this time instead of Shooting.
Tio passes 1 more d6 than the Skeleton and rolls above the Skeleton’s AC – the Skeleton goes Out of the Fight. Tara dispatches her foe by passing 2 more d6 than the Skeleton – the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
It is now the Skeletons’ part of the turn. The Skeleton with the bow takes aim at Circe and misses. The Dazzled Skeleton regains its senses and Charges Tio. Tio wins the Melee by passing 1 more d6, but the Skeleton is saved by its armor. They fight another round of Melee with Tio at Rep 5 and the Skeleton at Rep 2. The Skeleton wins this time by passing 1 more d6 and gets pass Tio’s armor. Tio has to use Star Power to be able to Carry On. They fight another round, Tio at Rep 4 and the Skeleton at Rep 2. This time, Tio passes 2 more d6 and the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
At the start of turn 2, the Skeletal Undead win the advantage. The advantage tips in their favor as both groups only pass 1d6 on the Action Table. The undead warrior chooses to take a shot at Circe. His shot hits but Circe uses her magic to deflect the arrow and Ducks Back.
Mossflower takes aim, shoots and misses.
Tio and Tara charge the Skeleton. Tio’s first strike is sure, passing 2d6, the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
PEF Number 3
With the defeat of the last Skeleton, the band decides it isn’t safe to stay in that room, so they head down a corridor and find another room. In this room, they encounter 4 Skeletal Undead.
Even though they are not of the Shooter Class, the Skeletons with the bows can shoot. “Non-Shooter Characters can use Ranged Weapons, but will do so at a -1 to their Rep.” (page 11). The first Skeleton fires at Tara, scores a hit, Tara deflects it and Ducks Back. The second bow-armed Skeleton fires at Rena and misses.
A spear-armed Skeleton Charges Mossflower, she shoots. The arrow bounces off of the Skeleton’s shield and it closes into combat. Mossflower passes 2d6, the Skeleton passes 0d6 – the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
A Skeleton with a great axe Charges into Melee with Tio. Tio scores a 1 & a 3, passing 2d6, while the Skeleton scores double 5s, passing 0d6 – the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
Mossflower shoots at the Skeleton nearest to her. The shot hits and the Skeleton is Obviously Dead.
The remaining Skeleton is charged by Tio and Rena. It rushes a shot at Tio and misses. Rena’s blows don’t penetrate the Skeleton’s armor, however, Tio’s strike is true and the Skeleton goes Out of the Fight.
Tara recovers from Duck Back.
They search the room for treasure:
- Tio finds Loot and gains 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Rena finds Loot and gains 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Mossflower finds Loot and gains 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Tara finds Loot and gains 1 Increasing Rep d6.
- Circe, still rattled by her miscast spell, finds no Loot and a PEF immediately appears.
PEF Number 4
The last PEF resolves into 5 Skeletal Undead. Since it is the last PEF for this Encounter, I wanted to add something special – a female Lich known as a Death Mistress. Her stats are:
- Star or Grunt? Grunt.
- Race? Skeletal Undead.
- Attributes? Slow Move, Caster.
- Alignment? Black Moon.
- Reputation? 5
- Class? Creature.
- Armor Class? 4.
Knowing this is probably her last chance, Circe attempts to cast a Dazzle Spell. She has Partial Success, the Skeleton directly across from Circe is dazzled.
Mossflower aims at the Death Mistress and shoots. She hits, but magic absorbs the arrow and the Death Mistress Ducks Back. Tara shoots, but misses.
Rena and Tio Charge the Skeletons. The Skeleton passes 1d6 more than Rena, but rolls less than Rena’s AC, another round of Melee is fought, with Rena’s Rep dropping to a 3. This time Rena passes 1d6 more and then rolls above the Skeleton’s AC2 – the Skeleton goes Out of the Fight.
Tio and her Skeleton opponent both pass 2d6, each reduces their Rep by 1 and fight another round of Melee. Rena bests the Skeleton by passing 1d6 more, but the Skeleton’s shield and armor absorb the blow. They fight another round of Melee with the Skeleton reducing its Rep by another 1. This time, Rena prevails and the Skeleton goes Out of the Fight.
With two Skeletons Out of the Fight, one Skeleton halted by a Dazzle Spell and the Death Mistress in Duck Back, only one Skeleton can perform an action. The bow-armed Skeleton shoots at Tara and misses.
The Death Mistress recovers from Duck Back.
At the start of the second turn, the Skeletal Undead retain the advantage. Because the Skeletal Undead have the Slow to Move attribute, having to reroll one passed d6, the adventurers get to activate first.
Circe knows this has not been her day for spell casting and she is hopelessly outclassed by the Death Mistress. But her group needs her help, she can only summon another Dazzle Spell. The Dazzle Spell is a success, the Death Mistress and the Skeletal bowman halt motionless in place.
Mossflower shoots at the dazzled Death Mistress and strikes true – the Death Mistress is Obviously Dead.
Tara and Tio both charge the Skeleton with the bow, while Rena takes the Skeletal swordsman. Dazzled and unable to defend themselves, the Skeletons go Out of the Fight.
The first thing to do After the Encounter is to roll on the After the Encounter Recovery Table. The adventurers pass 2d6 and all characters recover back to their original Rep, which is good news for Circe.
Now it is time for a bit of bookkeeping as we calculate the number of Increasing and Decreasing Rep d6s. Let’s start with Tio – she gets 1 Increasing for completing the Encounter Objective; 2 Increasing from Loot; 1 Increasing for causing enemy Characters to go OOF or OD; 1 Decreasing d6 for using Star Power. So she gets to roll 3d6 in an attempt to raise her Rep. She scores a 2,3, & 4, she stays at her current Rep.
Circe gets 1 Increasing d6 for completing the Encounter; she gets 1 Increasing d6 from Loot. She scores 2 fives – her Rep goes up to a 5.
Mossflower gets 1 Increasing d6 for completing the Encounter; 1 Increasing d6 from Loot; 1 Increasing d6 for causing Damage. She rolls a 2, 4, & 4 – She remains at Rep 4.
Tara gets 1 Increasing d6 for completing the Encounter; 1 Increasing d6 from Loot; 1 Increasing d6 from causing Damage. She rolls a 1, 2. & 6 – her Rep goes up to 5.
That does it for this Encounter. I hope this post has been helpful in demonstrating the mechanics of the game and what is possible with the game. If you would like to see another Swordplay 2018 Encounter played, let me know in the comments and what you would like to see. I’ll also do my best to answer any questions.