Our group is new to BW and we have gone through ‘the sword’ and then burned characters. We also ran through some mock DoW, RaC, and Fight, usually all one vs. one to practice. Tonight we started with the campaign and the first few hours were great, we did some generic adventure tests and obstacles and such not and everyone was happy, we had a bit of time at the end and we decided to try a larger combat, we were fairly confused the whole time. Let me describe the set up and then try and explain what we did, any suggestions on what we did wrong or how to do it better next time would be great!
So the party was traveling with a merchant caravan that had stopped for the night. Some PC’s and npc’s were sleeping, some were on watch. Some goblins tried and succeed on sneaking up on the group. The Goblins made a sneak roll and the players on watch made a observation roll. They failed, I rolled for the npc guards as well, they failed as well. The players and npc’s make a steel test and note their delay in combat. Three goblins step out of the woods, hoot and holler and start throwing javelins. They maintain distance to their target and throw javelins for the rest of the encounter, basically dumb test targets. One PC is with in range of the goblins along with one npc, the other npc guard and PC are on the other end of the camp.
So the goblins engage at this point, we tried RaC to begin with as it seemed appropriate, we assumed the two people closest to the goblins were their targets, the first two volley’s the goblins are unopposed, so they easily make their optimal range test and then begin throwing javelins. Both the guard npc and player are wearing armor and a shield so mostly the javelins just fall harmlessly. One quick problem we ran into is how to do a range test against someone who is still hesitating, we just assumed it was an Ob 1 test? Next was did the shield cover bonus count for someone who is hesitating, finally what about armor test in the same situation?
On the third volley the PC’s started to move again. One quick question is how far can a PC not in combat move while others are in combat, or put another way, how far can you move in one volley? We were trying to figure out how long it would take to raise the alarm or wake people while the fight was going. The PC in combat tried to close with a goblin and failed so we assumed that meant he was out of range to engage with his sword so they were still at R&C rules, but then we changed our minds and tried to switch to FIGHT rules as this could allow everyone ranged and melee to work together.
Everyone made a speed test, either vs. if a goblin was actively trying to keep you at range or with an Ob.1 if it was unopposed, this allowed most characters to run across the camp instantly and engage the goblins (for some it was a 100 pace run?) The goblins still just stand there and throw javelins, they had a reflex of 4, so I gave them two actions to throw on volley 1 and another on volley 2 and volley 3. We still had someone using a bow at range, I assumed as they passed their engage test they could stand at range and shoot, it would just take them six actions to fire one shot, or in this case they would fire their first arrow on the 1st volley of the second turn.
The PC with a sword again fails to engage, so now he has a +3Ob to his strike, but he is still at Optimal range for the Goblin, which we assumed was around 15 paces (1/2 max?) So to me this sorta implies the PC needs to throw his sword, but we assume he doesn’t do that, maybe he lunges? either way at a +3Ob he misses. Now the Goblin attacks with a +2D but I guess he is cedeing his position, but not quite sure why? So, now the other players start swinging, the goblins are not paying attention to them so its a bunch of Ob1 tests. This leads to the goblins starting to take dmg and making steel tests.
We have a sorcery character who was casting at range, but at this point it had been nearly 30-40 minutes (were looking up a lot of rules of course) and the player with the bow (her character was asleep to begin with) was still standing there drawing, so we just gave her a sword and let her engage as well to get her involved. On the second volley of the first turn the goblin starts to throw but doesn’t finish until volley 3. The PC with a sword has two actions in volley 2, first he blocks and strikes, so he stands there and blocks nothing as the goblin is just pulling back his arm, then strikes the goblin. Then his second action is to just strike again, so the goblin just stands there for two actions getting hit I guess and finishes his throw on the third volley assuming he didn’t get wounded or has passed his steel tests?
Shortly after this the goblins went down, I made them fairly wimpy to get a flavor for combat, but it still revealed many areas where we didn’t understand or play the combat rules correctly. Any suggestions on how we could have done this better or smoother, or specific rules we might have missed? I did leave out many of the armor tests and such not here as it didn’t seem relevant to my question, we seem to have that section under control.