While I don’t like going too deep into mechanics in these posts (since writing up mechanics for blog posts is kinda effort-ish and takes time from actual game writing) I ran a bit of combat tests recently and thought I’d share the results here.
I pitted an unarmored average swordsman against a hill troll and the result was that the troll won. Which isn’t surprising, flavorwise.
Monsters in SotE come in three shapes: packs, opponents and nemesis monsters. The main difference here is how they’re handled as far as comes to taking damage. A lone wolf isn’t an opponent to any adventurer, but a wolf pack could be kind of dangerous. So when you’re fighting against wolves or giant bees, you’re killing opponents with every blow you manage, sometimes several at at time.
Opponents are sturdier and have hitpoints like in those old school games. They attack individually, so three orcs or bandits would be a lot more scarier than say, six giant bees. Unless you’re afraid of bees.
Nemesis monsters are like player characters: they have hitpoints distributed throughout hit locations. As of now, since nemesis monsters are a bit more complex to run, there’s not supposed to be more than three or four nemesis monsters in a fight. The game will provide special GM tracking sheets to use for all monsters which makes them easier to run. I’m even considering having someone make an app for those among you who like to use iPads in gaming.
Unlike player characters, monsters can have special abilities. Hill trolls are angry guys and they occasionally flip out if you hurt them bad enough. This triggers a special attack where the hill troll can attack up to four targets in one round without the normal penalties. Since hill trolls aren’t really bright, they can attack even their own friends if there’s no enemies within reach. They can also grab characters and fling them at other characters.
One design goal for me is to make statblocks for monsters as streamlined as possible and they need to contain everything that the GM needs to run the monster. So, no looking up monster abilities from the player part of the rulebook during combat, because I really hated that.