Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All the big personal projects I blogged (does anybody else notice the suspicious resemblance of the word blogged to bragged?) about in March are coming to a conclusion in April. I hope to blog on them one by one over the next couple of weeks.

The project that I put the most elbow grease into was the end of my Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Campaign. I will have stats on that campaign. Why? I don't really know. Metrics interest me. Since I have them, I might as well share.

The end of the game itself was a massive undertaking. I set up a huge battle between the shadow-antagonist of the entire last half of the game and the party.

The Novanomis, the antagonist, had a small force of wizards, weretigers, and giant blooded tribesmen holed up in a crumbling fort on the edge of a tear in reality that leads to the chaotic sub basement of the universe.

I had warned my players that the end game might take several weeks worth of play to work out.

So that I didn't have to leave a map redrawn on a battle map, or re-draw it each week, I found a pad of 1 inch square graph paper, taped two sheets together, and drew the battle field on it.

The characters, the protagonists, had themselves. Two of them had been recently made 0 level deities. They also had a force of 260 quasi-angels that they'd found on a crystalline star that had been accidentally created by an antagonist from the first half of the game.

Simple enough, right?

I kludged together a method for handling troops, including radically simplified stat blocks. I think it was simple and effective: nobody tried to tear their eyes out or gouge their brains out of their ears with pencils. Everybody seemed to be having fun directing their forces.

After several rounds of combat, the battlefield looked like this:

The squares of colored paper (mostly) represent blocks of ten troops, the minis represent individual characters.

In all, the end game took 4 of our Sunday games to play out, about 12 hours all told. It was 16 rounds of combat.

Like most of the game, I didn't expect it to take that long, but I had a blast. Afterwards, the battle field was marked with troop positions from the previous weeks, the scars of a couple of walls of fire, and snack stains. I actually hoped the map would be more marked up. Sniff. Those Dorito stains contain memories.

The characters were victorious, of course. Good guys always win.

After week two, I decided that the only thing the mass combat did was take the spotlight off the PCs for three weeks. They chased their troops around and destroyed arcane engines, sure, but they didn't get a chance to shine in combat until game four. It sure did give the impression of a lot of activity, though.

I'm not sure I'd run another end game like that, but I liked the kludged mass combat system enough that I am tempted, if I find myself with copious free time, to cook up some really wild units and runs skirmishes with the paper squares.

It was fun. More pics following.

Thanks, guys.

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