Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Nnelg wrote:Hm, so how big is a hex, approximately? It'll have to be pretty large for the maneuvering I'm thinking of.
A hex is as big as we need it to be to have fun. For example, I'm assuming that the Magic Kingdom is a single hex for this game's purposes. A hex can contain an entire city, so at least a mile wide would not be unreasonable.
Nnelg wrote:Also, about the banner... Perhaps instead of attracting units, it allows units within a certain radius to form squads for free?
Not for free. Maybe it allows a normal unit to act as a Command Unit for the purposes of forming a Squad, though...
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:04 pm

MarbitChow wrote:A hex can contain an entire city, so at least a mile wide would not be unreasonable.

That's still a bit on the small side... :lol:

MarbitChow wrote:Not for free. Maybe it allows a normal unit to act as a Command Unit for the purposes of forming a Squad, though...

Clarification: By "free", I meant that the unit with the banner spends an action instead of the units that are forming the Squad. It still needs to be a unit with Leadership that uses it, otherwise you'll just give banners to everyone.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:09 pm

Nnelg wrote:That's still a bit on the small side... :lol:
That's 1000 squares by 1000 squares. Might be small for "real" military actions, but that's far larger than I'm every going to render, seeing as how the Dis City scenario was less than 40x40, I believe.
Nnelg wrote:Clarification: By "free", I meant that the unit with the banner spends an action instead of the units that are forming the Squad. It still needs to be a unit with Leadership that uses it, otherwise you'll just give banners to everyone.
That makes sense. Restack similar groups, give them an order, and let them go. Yeah, I could see that.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:01 pm

So then, sounds like a good idea. Now for the particulars:

The need for a unit to have Leadership (or Paragon) to use it means that there's an actual trade-off being made for the faster rally (plus, it fits thematically). The banner would probably occupy a shield slot, which would be another check to balance it (we can probably establish this for all "Standards"). It needs to have a radius for its effect as well, perhaps a tentative 8-12 squares will do? (Also, would the effect need a cooldown?) The specific wording could be...

Rally Banner: "A unit with Leadership or Paragon equipped with this Standard may use an action to activate its power. All friendly units within 12 squares may perform a Regroup action at this time at no cost. Any new Squads formed may be issued orders immediately." (Equipped in a Shield slot.)

Heh, for RP purposes we could even say the Rally Banner comes with a horn that must be blown to activate its effect. :D



There are a few other tweaks to consider for Squads, though.

For starters, may I suggest that you show Squad affiliation on the tactical map by using different tints for the bases? I'm certain I could get you a couple dozen distinguishable hues in both the red-orange and blue-green ranges easily enough. It'd certainly make certain bookkeeping concerns a non-issue. (I've noticed you've used differently-colored bases for other purposes before, but I feel they're less important to communicate visually.)

You should add a rule saying "Units in a Squad that begin a Round more than 8 squares away from any other unit of the same Squad automatically leaves the Squad (a mount and its rider counts as a single unit for this purpose)." Thankfully, this should only ever happen to PCs, so it won't be tiresome to check for. (And if you use the base tint method, it couldn't be simpler.)

I also think that tracking Squad Leaders for Squads without Command Units in them is unnecessary. Instead, every time the Squad takes a casualty there should be a random chance of it breaking (disbanding as if the commander died). For example: "If the result of 1d6 is greater than the number of units remaining in the Squad, it breaks." (Yes, I know this isn't the same odds as randomly choosing the Squad Leader. That's intentional.)

The algorithm for determining what unstacked units do is pretty simple. Most units will flee away from enemy troops and towards friendly Command Units (in that order). Archers will probably take potshots if they themselves are not being shot at. Melee units that are already engaged will probably keep fighting, but retreat as soon as their immediate opponents are dead. Constructs will probably continue at the last task they were assigned. Beasts are the biggest wildcard, but common sense will still prevail.

As for orders, you're missing some "close" and "charge" tactics (the difference being that units will try to keep formation in one, and just move towards the nearest target in the other). But also, I don't think you should be able to designate specific units as targets, although specific stacks are fine. I'm not quite sure how it should be handled, though...


Eh, kinda ranted there didn't I? :P
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby ETheBoyce » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:57 pm

Forget all this silly needlessly gm-tasking NPC squad ruling stuff and get back to what's really important: Buffing Shockamancy!

On this edition: TooGeeWonCee and Burninate, aka spells I will never use or take! Why? They do poor damage and their AOEs are problematic.

Damage Problems:
Both Burninate and 2g1c do 3-18 (10.5 average) damage with the potential to do up to 6-36 (21 average) against a single target

4chan, Hobobarby, and Ickypron do 14-19 (16.5 average) against a single square unit; against a 4 square unit 4chan and Hobobarby will do and additional 15-24 damage based on my level. In addition Ickypron and 4Chan stun the enemy

Hoboken deals 15-25 (20 average).

These numbers become even more problematic when you add in leadership bonuses, and the contrast becomes devastating when you add in my likely stat distribution as I level. I will likely have over 20 combat by the time I'm level 8 and when you add in increased leadership it's possible my minimum damage with Combat+ spells will meet or exceed the maximum possible damage, in fact except for Ickypron it is basically guaranteed to (22[Stats and Items]+12 [Leadership and CW]= 34 then you add 2 for Hoboken or 25 for Hobobarby and 4chan). Burninate and 2g1c both do not scale well at all, and with the ever increasing stats Military units are getting (Heavy buff; more AP to spend with free combat mods) they aren't worth casting especially when they can be easily be ruined by the ever-vengeful Dice Gods.

AOE Problems:

2g1c's 2x2 square is pitiful and there is very little reason why units would ever move in nice little square for me to be able to hit 4 of them with it, so likely I'll hit 3 at most, in which case I might as well spend the 3 extra juice to use Ickypron instead so that I can both do more damage and stun them if they don't croak.

Burninate has friendly fire which makes it terrible if there is ever an actual extended melee with units moving around each other.

In Conclusion: Neither Burninate nor 2g1c are actually useful, they do less damage than my other spells and are horribly constrained in how they can be used. In both cases I am far better off spending the 3 extra juice to use the next spell up, or in Burninate's case not waste the AP ever buying it.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:25 pm

I agree, the spell tree for Shockamancy does seem a bit weird, not to mention redundant. I think we should reorganize it by making each spell have a distinctly different effect that scales with level, rather than making subsequent spells more powerful versions of previous spells.

So, I imagine the spell tree for Shockamancy would go like this:

Code: Select all
A
\______
  \ \ \ \
   B C D E
   |/ \|
   F   G
    \ /
     H

A: Core Spell.

B: Stun.
C: AOE Damage.
D: DOT.

E: Trap.

F: AOE Stun.
G: AOE DOT.

H: Über.


That gives us 8 spells, with no redundancy. I think that's enough, right? We can balance each spell to individually scale with level well, now. Unless I missed anything important?

Also, perhaps a rule saying no unit may advance either combat or defence grow more than twice the other (or possibly 3x for casters) would help limit the never-ending combat growth, as well as limit ridiculous levels of glassiness.


EDIT:
I've posted my suggestion for Shockamancy on my Hypothetical Rules Thread.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:59 pm

Updated rules to include Fire restrictions (in the Fire definition section) and upkeep (in the City section).
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby ETheBoyce » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:19 pm

So what UP is a caster based on? 4?
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:26 pm

ETheBoyce wrote:So what UP is a caster based on? 4?
Yes.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:35 pm

Doubled the shmuckers generated by cities. This effectively makes Comptroller a bit less effective, but since Tenebris doesn't have access to that yet, I'm going to leave it as is. Net result on the campaign will be pretty much the same, because all the extra shmuckers will be going into the upkeep for Tenebris defenses proper. I think that the number of units at the capital should reasonably be about 3x what is currently stationed at Dis City, and since most of those will be garrison units, that gives a sufficiently substantial size to the forces there.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:58 pm

Added Fabricate to the list of Specials. (Gobwin Artisans are like Sappers, but pop w/ Fabricate instead.) Added Bone Cart to list of equipment.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:10 pm

After some closer inspections, I see some serious problems with Siege Equipment...

A level 1 wall has 50 SP for each 4 Square-long section, correct? On that 4-Square section, you'd be able to fit 6 Sappers. The mean of 6d6/2 = 10.5 SP a round.

This means that it will, on average, take 5 Rounds before the walls break. A bit of rough-estimate statistics tells me it's three or four rounds before it's even statistically possible that the wall falls down. (And that's not including how long it takes to get to the walls, nor does it account for losses due to archery.)

And that's for a level 1 City.

Rams would have a bit more luck, but not much. A Ram fits the equivilent of 4 sappers into the space of 2... Except, you're going to need 4 Sappers (or some other, more expensive Unit) to use it, anyways. And any time made up in bashing the wall down faster will be lost in the extra time it takes just to get to the wall.

But Rams have something else going against them: Heavy Ballistae and Catapults are just plain superior. The fact that they're ranged weapons means that there's no limit to the number that can focus on a single wall segment. (Not to mention the fact that they get to Fire as soon as they're in range...) Three heavy catapults will make a hole in a wall twice as fast as any amount of Sappers and Rams will ever be able to.

Enough Catapults, and you can bring down any wall in one round. And massed Catapults are also the only way one will ever get a breach in the walls of a level 3+ City... Even at the gate.

Clearly, something needs to be done about this.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:44 pm

Level 3 gate: 50 SP; Level 3 wall: 100 SP
Let's assume units start 32 squares away from the wall.
Sappers: 8 move, reach the wall in 4 rounds. Each does 1-3 each round, ave. 2 SP, so 12 SP/round. Units can be warded & healed, can also be uncroaked or constructs. Assuming a large enough swarm, gate drops on round 8.
Rams (covered): 5 move, reach the wall in 7 rounds. 3 rams on a gate, each doing ave. 11 SP/round, gate drops in 9 rounds.
5 Catapults: 4 move. All fire as soon as in range. Gate drops immediately.
Possible fixes:
    Give catapults max range of 12 squares, plus 8 squares per elevation. Catapults on the wall get the chance to drop enemy catapults as they approach.
    Make catapults take 2 rounds to load, 1 to fire.
    Make catapults stationary while loaded. They need to get into position first, then be loaded and finally fired.
Fixes for ballistae would be similar.

Thoughts? Any other suggestions?
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:55 pm

The problem I had was that in 6-8 rounds, the archers on the wall will have killed all the attackers.


I think we should start by dropping ranged siege weapons temporarily; at least until we've got the Rams and Sappers figured out.

A maximum distance from the walls for archery needs to be set. 18 squares is what you used for Dis City, and I'm inclined to concur with that distance. Move 8 units (infantry) will reach the wall on their third round, and move 10 units (cavalry) will reach it on their second. (For now, simply using the edge of the battle map as a border is good enough. No need to calculate ranges unless the defenders decide to sally forth.)

With that in mind, we need to set the proper scaling for how long it will take to get through the walls.


Only a Level 5 (maybe 4) City's wall should take more than a few rounds to break down with the best methods. A Level 1 City's wall should be basically a speedbump, merely requiring that the attacker have some sort of siege to enter. For everything in between, we should match it such that expected level of attackers can tear open a breach in 2-3 rounds after they reach the wall.


This will require a bit of coordination. I'd suggest starting small... Say, a Hoboken vs. a Level 1 wall. We'd want Level 1 walls to last no more than one turn after the enemy gets into contact with them, so that'd mean they'd fall on round 3-4. So, let's assume we want a shockamancer to be able to tear it down in that amount of time. Three Hobokens deals a mean of 21 SP, with standard deviation of ~6.75. My stats book tells me that if we give Level 1 Walls to 25 SP, then a Shockamancer focusing on one stretch of Level 1 wall will be able bring it down in 3 rounds or less 28% of the time.

That seems about right there. If we work off of that, we can figure out what everything else needs to be. I'd work it out myself if I had the time.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:19 pm

I know I said I didn't have the time, but I'm finding it hard to resist... :?


So, assuming that Level 1 walls have 25 SP, and that we want 4 Sappers to be able to knock it down in 1, maybe 2 strikes; but definitely not three or more.

Let's start with a ball park estimate. I'll set the guess for Sapper damage at 2d6 SP. The mean is therefore 28 SP, and the std dev ~11. My stats book tells me that the wall will fall in one strike ~61% of the time.

This seems a bit too fast. Let's try with 30 SP. Then the odds of falling in one round are ~43%. A bit better... (This also adjusts the probability of a Shockamancer dropping the wall in 3 rounds down to ~9%, but that's not as bad since it's easier to boost a single caster). And since these odds are less than 50%, they'll get progressively worse as SP increases. Sappers will be more or less worthless on their own for a level 3-4 or higher City.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:00 am

Rams are another story... Sappers are so vulnerable, that in order to be effective they'll have to tear down the wall fast. Setting walls to use 4-square-long segments with 30 SP/City Level (but forbidding attacking a wall from the diagonal) would mean that Sappers will take roughly 1 Round/City Level to tear open a breach.

Rams are slower, but they can't really be much more powerful than Sappers (since that would be a ridiculously huge amount of damage). So, instead of focusing on walls for Rams, how about we focus on Gates?

Gates are 2 Squares wide, so that means only 2 Sappers would be able to attack one at any given time. That's a mean of 14 SP/round. So, Rams should have at least this much damage (4d6, or perhaps 2d6x2). We can give Gates 15 SP/City Level, and then it would be roughly evened out. Perhaps give rams 5d6, for 17.5 SP mean, so that they have an edge. That should be enough, I think. (Except possibly reducing the UP cost.)

One last thing about the gates... Ranged siege shouldn't be allowed to target them. If they were, there'd be little reason to target anything else, and the gates would often fall before the enemy can even get to them. The only possible exception to this is Hoboken (since there's unlikely to be more than one Shockamancer at a battle).

Ranged siege is fine for damage, now that melee siege has a boost. I wouldn't add a "reloading" action, though... Instead, how about limbering and unlimbering? To move, the siege weapon has to be limbered. To shoot, it must be unlimbered. Limbering and unlimbering requires a full compliment of operators spend their action to do so (and therefore can't move/shoot on the round they limber/unlimber).


In summary:
  • Walls get 30 SP/City Level.
  • Walls come in 4 Square-Long sections.
  • Gates get 15 SP/City Level.
  • (Towers probably get 40 SP/City Level, maybe more.)
  • Sappers deal 2d6 SP damage. (Non-Sappers with picks deal less? And/or suffer -2 Combat?)
  • Sappers get Defense boosted to 4.
  • Rams deal 5d6 SP damage.
  • Sappers and Rams may not attack Structures from the diagonal.
  • Ballistae and Catapults are ok with current damage (for now).
  • Ballistae and Catapults must Limber to move, and Unlimber to shoot.
  • Ballistae and Catapults cannot target Gates.


That should work. :)
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:57 pm

Your fundamental assumption of sappers is wrong. In order to be effective, you'll need a lot of them, or some sort of cover/concealment, or you'll need to eliminate the enemy's ranged attacks.
Uncroaked can be sappers. They're throw-away units. Sappers are supposed to die quickly, horribly, and in large numbers if they're the only tactic you're using.
Sappers have to be the slowest method of getting through a wall, period.

I think we should add a damage boost to the rams when used against gates

I like the limber/unlimber action; if we pair that up with the fire/reload, we can make ballistae and catapults more damaging but balanced.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:40 pm

The problem with Sappers is that they will die. First they'll get chewed up by enemy archers, then the second they break through the'll be massacred by waiting melee troops. Sappers are effectively suicide troops.

If an attacker has neutralized the enemy archers, he's pretty much already won the walls. The whole point of getting through is to neutralize the advantage walls give enemy archers. If Sappers, being a high-cost tactic, cannot break through fast enough, they will never be used.

And using more Sappers won't help. There is a limit to the number of sappers that can attack one wall segment. Any additional Sappers can do nothing but replace casualties.


My system was balanced based on the assumption that the attacker had unlimited numbers of Sappers. In that case, Sappers take one round per wall level to break through (getting worse at higher levels). If you want, we can add a flat boost to delay an additional round.

So, trying to take a level 3 city with sappers alone will be very costly. Then they will need support. But not for a level 1. If they need support to tackle a level 1, then they are not cost-efficient tactic and will therefore never be used like that. Even with 'expendible' uncroaked.
Last edited by Nnelg on Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:40 pm

I think the problem right now is that all siege is too weak. Unless it's rebalanced, Assault Towers will be pretty much the only effective tactic for sieges.


Here's some simple calculations:

Assume an infinite number of Sappers start just outside of the range of archers on the wall. Each wall archer can kill ~(Archer Combat - Sapper Defence + 7)/(Sapper Hits) Sappers/Round. The time it will take the Sappers to breach the wall is (Rounds to get to wall + Rounds to break wall).

Rounds to break wall = (SP of wall)/(Number of Sappers that can attack one wall segment * Ave Damage of Sapper).


Under the current system, assuming that it takes 3 rounds to get to the wall... (Rounds to break wall) = 25(CL')/(6*3) = (25/18)CL' = ~1.389CL'. {CL' = City Level + 1}

One Zed Archer is currently guaranteed to kill a Sapper on anything but a critical miss. So the total casualties suffered per archer are (11/12)*( 3+(25/18)CL') = 2.75 + ~1.27 * (City Level + 1). So any archers at all are gauranteed to pay for themselves when attacking even a level 1 city.


I understand that you don't want Sappers overpowered, but that's just rediculously weak. Under the current system, I wouldn't use Sappers as intended even if they were free.
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Re: Darkness Rising - Rules (v2.0)

Postby Nnelg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:09 pm

Right now, things are looking a lot like WWI.

Defensive tech (walls with archers) far overpowers offensive technology, and there are no conventional tactics to counter it.


Currently, all cities are mighty fortresses. Here's a breakdown by level...

1: With a lot of effort, and plenty of casualties, you can break through.
2: It will take a massive siege to tear down this wall.
3-5: No way these walls are falling!


Here's what I think the ranking should be:

1: Less of a wall, more of a fence. Requires you to have some sort of siege to take the town.
2: Throw enough Sappers at this wall, and it'll fall soon enough.
3: Sappers alone aren't enough (unless you're willing to sacrifice a ton of them). You need stronger siege units (like heavy golems) and/or ranged siege support.
4: It is unlikely that these walls will be broken. The gate, however, might.
5: These walls aren't coming down. There is no easy way to win this one.


That's what I think would be the most fun. Low-level cities shouldn't require massive undertakings. We shouldn't even have to think of the walls on a Level 1. Level 2 walls should be easily doable with brute force. Level 3, and you'll need some proper [size=100][/size]planning. But only when the target is a level 4 or 5 should conventional tactics be ineffective.


Edit:
Here's how effective I personally would like the different tactics to be:

Spoiler: show
Sappers
1-2: Effective.
3: Workable.
4-5: Ineffective

Rams (vs Gate)
1: Overkill
2-4: Effective
5: Necessary

Ranged Siege
1-2: Overkill
3: Effective
4: Workable
5: Ineffective

Heavy Units (like golems)
1: Overkill
2-3: Effective
4: Workable
5: Ineffective

Assault Towers
1-2: Overkill
3-4: Effective
5: Necessary


So, see how the different tactics fall off at different levels? Sappers will be the primary tactic used for low-level cities. Rams and Assault Towers are the only conventional tactics that will work well on the higher levels. This is in line with the rate at which the effectiveness of these tactics tend to decrease with increasing wall strength, as well. (High-casualty Sappers decrease geometrically, Ranged and Covered Rams linearly, and Assault towers not at all.)


EDIT: (I've really got too much to say on this, don't I?)
MarbitChow wrote:Your fundamental assumption of sappers is wrong. In order to be effective, you'll need a lot of them, or some sort of cover/concealment, or you'll need to eliminate the enemy's ranged attacks.
Uncroaked can be sappers. They're throw-away units. Sappers are supposed to die quickly, horribly, and in large numbers if they're the only tactic you're using.
Sappers have to be the slowest method of getting through a wall, period.

Just to put this in perspective... Right now, if I thew ten (10) stacks of Sappers at a Level 3 wall defended by 2 stacks of zed archers, they'd all die horribly before they mined through. If Sappers are going to be slow, they need a lot more survivability. Which is counter to what you want (high casualty rates). If you make it so they can break through fast, they can still die in droves; since at least they can get the job done at a decent cost.
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