Azhanti High Lightning (AHL) does not really account for Animal Encounters. I don’t really count the rules for blobs. They are pretty close to a Gelatinous Cube from D&D.

Using Animal Encounters in AHL requires some adaptation. We need to adapt the rules for

  • Variable Speed and Action Points
  • Damage
  • Melee Weapons
  • Morale

Variable Speed and Action Points (or things you never thought about the Roman March Pace)

The “double pace” was a unit of march distance for the Roman military. The Roman legions marched at a 120 paces/60 double pace per minute rate. A thousand (Latin: Mille) double paces make a mile.

Each AHL square represents 1.5 meters or approximately two .75m paces. Your Action Points in AHL represents the number of paces a Roman soldier could march in a turn (approximately). That speed is about 6kph or 3.6mph.

The more things change…the more they stay the same.

In the US Army, “double time” is 180 paces a minute or really one and a half time. When you trot at 3 squares for 2AP, you are moving at double time pace. Your pace is now up to 9kph or 5.4mph (or a bit more than an 11 minute mile.) AHL doesn’t have a flat out run, but one could reasonably double the trot speed to get a top speed of 18kph or 10.8mph (or about a 5.5 minute mile.)

So we might look at walk as x1, trot/double time as x1.5 and run as x3.

So far so good. When we get to animals though, things get a bit dicier. LBB3 World and Adventures (and subsequent editions too) refer to animals as Speed 0 (like trappers), 1, 2 or 3 meaning they move as fast as a man or two or three times that pace. If we use that Roman marching rate as the normal rate for a human walking that gives us a speed of about 6kph or 3.6mph. Speed 2 animals then would move 12kph and Speed 3 animals would move 18kph. If we extend out the speed rules as we did above then we get this table:

Speed

Walk (kph)

Trot (kph)

Run(kph)

0

0

0

0

1

6

9

18

2

12

18

36

3

18

27

54

I also do some websearching on animals speeds and I found these clocked high speeds. Let’s assume these creatures were running when clocked. Speeds are rounded to the nearest whole kph. I based the analysis on a tipping point halfway between the running speeds (so an animal clocked at 25kph would round down to speed 1 and one clocked at 29kph would round up to speed 2.) I added a non-canonical Speed 4. Even so, some creatures are still off the chart and require special handling

Animal

kph

Speed

Peregrine falcon

320

(18)

Cheetah

112

(6)

Pronghorn antelope

98

(5)

Lion

80

4

Thomson’s gazelle

80

4

Wildebeest

80

4

Quarter horse

76

4

Cape hunting dog

72

4

Elk

72

4

Coyote

69

4

Gray fox

67

4

Hyena

64

4

Ostrich

64

4

Zebra

64

4

Mongolian wild ass

64

4

Greyhound

63

3

Whippet

57

3

Jackal

56

3

Mule deer

56

3

Rabbit (domestic)

56

3

Giraffe

51

3

Reindeer

51

3

Cat (domestic)

48

3

Kangaroo

48

3

Grizzly bear

48

3

Wart hog

48

3

White-tailed deer

48

3

Human

45

2

Elephant

40

2

Black mamba snake

32

2

Six-lined race runner

29

2

Squirrel

19

1

Pig (domestic)

18

1

Chicken

14

1

House mouse

13

1

Spider (Tegenearia atrica)

2

0

Giant tortoise

0

0

Three-toed sloth

0

0

Garden snail

0

0

Animal Encounters adaptation #1:

Allow a Speed 4 for exceptionally fast animals. Consider pouncers or chasers as eligible for this higher speed, or adapt animals as appropriate for the world and the setting.

Truly unusual creatures can be assigned higher speeds at the referee’s discretion.

Animal Encounters adaptation #2:

Animals use the same action points table as humanoids do. Where a number of action points permits movement for a certain number of squares, multiply the number of squares by the animals speed to determine the permitted movement. All movement for the AP expended should be in the same direction.

For example, an animal with speed 3 could spend 2 AP to move three squares forward or 3 AP to move three squares diagonally.

(This adaptation makes animals move faster but in a manner that allows simple resolution of comparative speeds and actions. It does tend to force them to slow down a bit in a confined space.)

Damage

World and Adventures LBB3 determines damage points for animals. I use those damage limits as given without modification.

Converting wounds in AHL to these damage points is another matter. The Journal of the Traveller’s Aid Society (JTAS) published an article on merging the Traveller and the AHL/Striker combat systems. The article proposed that the wound table could be adapted to calculate Traveller wound points that reduce characteristics. Using the Traveller weapon damage rolls (like 2D+3) or better yet the simpler Snapshot values (like 3D), the damage table can be adapted to provide a modifier to the damage done on each die rolled.

Damage Roll Modified to each Damage Die
3- -6
4 -5
5 -4
6 -3
7 -2
8 -1
9+ -0

For example, suppose using the AHL wound table results in a hit with a net damage roll (after modifiers) of 6. Damage is rolled according to the weapon type. Most slug throwers roll 3D for damage points. We roll the 3D and get 3, 4, and 6. These rolls are reduced by 3 each to 0, 1 and 2 or 3 points total damage. These points are applied to the damage points the animal can sustain just like in Worlds and Adventures. We also use these rules for player characters and the regular damage rules for NPCs.

When determining damage from large animals, some get a damage bonus for their size expressed as an additional number of dice. If the animals natural weapon had a damage effect of 2D and a damage bonus of 1D, then player characters or animals using this system would suffer 3D modified by the wound roll result.

It is a bit trickier to convert the animal size-based damage bonus to the standard wound system. A workable rule is that damage bonuses work like HE effects and make wound categories worse. For every 3D  of bonus damage, escalate wounds one level (light becomes serious, serious becomes death.) Round number of dice to the nearest, so 1D gets no bonus and 2D, 3D and 4D all escalate one level. 5D or more escalate two levels making any wound at all death. No effect should remain no effect.

This points method is most useful when the animal encountered is a significant part of the adventure. As an alternative,  the No Effect/Light Wound/Serious Wound/Death results from AHL and Striker can be used. For wound capacity, take the number of dice for the animal based on the table in Worlds and Adventures and divide by 2. This gives the number of light wounds the animal can take. Treat Serious wounds and 2 Light wounds and Death as 3 Light Wounds. For example, if a animal has 6D/2D, it can take 3 Light wounds before becoming unconscious and 1 additional Light Wound before death. This method is better suited to where animals are less central to the story or where they are more numerous.

Melee Weapons

 

Characters and Combat makes provision for a number of melee weapons. Worlds and Adventures allows referees to assign these weapons to animals usually as an analogy to the way the animals use their natural weaponry. AHL treats all melee as brawling and effectively weaponless.

Striker provides a table of melee weapon factors in Book 3 Equipment. For animal encounters, ignore the AHL melee tables and resolve melee attacks as follows:

  1. Determine range of attack as a number of squares equal to one square less than the range column on the Melee Weapons Table on Striker Book 3 pg 41. Range 1 attacks require combatants to be in the same square. Attackers must have a clear LOS to targets. That is, a Pike can attack from 4 squares away but no obstacles can intervene. This method changes the game a lot as it creates a ranged attack for melee weapons.
  2. Range represents the optimal attack range. If the actual attack range is less than the optimal, the attacker suffers a DM of -1 to hit for each hex that the target is closer than optimal. Count targets in the same square as at range 1. For example, an attacker with a broadsword (range 3) with a target in the same square (range 1) suffers a -2 to hit penalty.
  3. Penetration is used as stated in the table. Size-based bonus damage can be treated as described above and do not affect penetration.

Animal Morale

Animal reactions to encounters should still be based on the attack and flee values in the design sequence in LBB3 Worlds and Adventures.

Once an animal is encountered and does not flee, each turn the animal may need to check morale under the following circumstances

  • when the animal is wounded (check when wounded)
  • when the animal becomes aware of reinforcements to the the animal’s opponents party (check in decision phase)
  • when elements of the animal’s party fail their morale checks (check in decision phase)
  • when the animal is defending its lair do NOT check morale

Generally, all failed morale checks should be considered equivalent to a routed result.

Comments and feedback especially welcome on these adaptations and modifications!

I added the Petlienzotl Tech 13 Zhodani Rob0t to the Equipment Page awhile back (see Equipment.) I’ve finally gotten around to taking some pics of the 20 that I painted up.

The first is a close up of the “Champion” taken from an in game shot of their platoon advancing through a palm grove.

Petlienzotl Close Up

Petlienzotl Close Up

The figs are primed white, painted olive, then washed with a mix of GW Thraka Green and GW Badab Black, and dry brushed with a lighter green. Simple and hopefully effective.

Petlienzotl Squad Advancing

Petlienzotl Squad Advancing

Note that the 20 fig set comes with three different sculpts/poses. These could be handled as different pieces of equipment, but I am choosing to treat them as various production models of the same core robot.

Petlienzotl Squad Close Assaulted by Tech 6 Infantry

Petlienzotl Squad Close Assaulted by Tech 6 Infantry

It turns out that as Tech 13 infantry armored as if wearing Combat Armor and sporting Laser Rifles, these guys are tough to take on at range. Lower tech troops have to get up close to have any effect. These Tech 6 troops are using a Close Assault Tactic where the two on the right draw attention and fire while the two on the left run into close range with grenades. Some teams resorted to trying to grapple the monsters! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Next fight is a more even one against Tech 10 DIMOG Walkers and supporting resistance fighters in the jungle defending against the Zhodani invasion…

Amazing little piece on how much one can do with foamcore. More modeling than gaming but way cool…

Check it out here

The modeling elves have been busy…

I ordered some DIMOG Walkers from Khurasan Miniatures a while back. There was a bit of a delay getting things to me because their Federal Marines are so popular I needed to wait for some backordered items. With order in hand (or at least on the workbench table), I sorted through the goodies. You’ll be seeing my platoon + of Federal Marines shortly.

Here are the pieces in the DIMOG Walker Mark 1 kit:

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Unassembled

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Unassembled

I dry-fit the first walker from the kit as is after a little flash cleanup. All seems good except for the distance between the 20mm Autocannon and the weapon joint. It seemed really far away from the body.

Assembly was pretty easy. First, I took the pilot/commander and glued him in position. The figure fits perfectly into the crew compartment but has very little body in actual contact with the back of the “seat”. I applied CA glue to the bottoms of his feet and the back of his head, both of which makes contact. I also dabbed some CA on his right butt cheek which can be shifted a little to make contact with the side.

The cover for the crew compartment fits nicely under the top lip and over the bottom lip. Those two piece make a solid body for gluing the weapons and arms onto.

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Main Body Assembled

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Main Body Assembled

and a side view (propped up with a 25mm base)

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Main Body Side View

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - Main Body Side View

The legs come with options. Each legs has two alternate configurations, a standing and a bent knee position. These legs give four combinations

Right Leg Left Leg Posture
Standing Standing Natural Standing
Bent Knee Standing Striding Right
Standing Bent Knee Striding Left
Bent Knee Bent Knee Defensive

I had three Mark 1s and two Mark 2s. So I planned on Defensive, Striding Right, and Striding Left. The legs need some care. The fit and the gluing is easy. Aligning the legs to obtain a somewhat natural posture takes some serious playing while you dry fit. When you are ready to glue, you have to have a steady hand and a good eye to maintain the leg position. When doing the striding posture, do the standing leg first so you can adjust the bent knee leg in a manner that allows the figure to stand up on its own.

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - with Striding Legs

DIMOG Walker Mk 1 - with Striding Legs

Back to work now and to do the weapons mounts. More on that next time!

Gamecraft Minatures (gamecraftminatures.com) make a line of resin cast modern Iraqi buildings. These little works of art are suitably for modern, near future and far future (tech 9-) urban landscapes. The line is varied and flexible. I selected some less-than-obviously middle eastern selections last Saturday and placed my order.  Allen, the owner/operator, set my package up for mailing on Sunday night!

The kits were at my door on Tuesday. Compared to orders from the UK (I love you, Jez) that was lightning fast service. The package even came with candy inside. Great customer relations :>

I cleared the workshop for building the kits on Friday night. While I was looking forward to the kits, frankly I was dreading the construction since that can be where one’s dreams meet the harsh reality of one’s skills. But this time, I had a secret weapon: the MicroMark Gluing Jig.

I have a lot of construction projects in mind. Borrowing some ideas from the model railroad world, I read Basic Structures for Model Railroaders to ground myself in some relevant technology. There I discovered the Gluing Jig which is basically a metal box with an open top. You use the jig to align the walls while gluing so that they come out at a true 90 degree angle. The jig comes with 8 big, badass magnets to hold the piece you are gluing to the box. Sounds simple, huh?

This thing is magic. I took some pictures of the process for those who care to look. First, here are the five pieces of kit 1 (downtown building):

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 1

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building - 5 pieces

The castings were very high quality and required very little clean up. Some of the edges needed to be trimmed flat so that the dry fit worked better. I ordered 2 of these kits (10 pieces total) and two others (14 pieces), a solid cast building and two apartment building faces. One of the apartment building faces came slightly warped. I followed the directions to fix it. I boiled water and poured the water over the piece in a flat pan. After a minute or so, I took the slightly softened piece out and pressed it flat with a weight until it cooled. It worked like a charm.

Next I got out the jig, and secured the front wall in place with the magnets:

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 2

Securing the front face with magnets in the jig

I used two magnets to hold the piece against the side of the jig and another magnet to press the piece firmly into the corner. I then applied Zap a Gap CA glue along the edge. I positioned the side wall piece and made the first bond. Note the restraining magnets for the side wall.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 4

First wall glued

I had a lesson here…I am used to holding these pieces in my hands and squeezing like crazy until I am sure the glue has set. I can’t use my CA accelerator because I need both hands to hold the piece in place and I don’t have a free hand to apply the accelerator with. While I hold the piece, I often turn it so I can see the progress of the bond. The jig frees my hands so I don’t get a hand cramp by the end of the evening. It also allows me to apply the accelerator so the CA kicks faster. That makes the whole gluing process much, much easier.

But it also means that the piece remains in one orientation and that the CA tends to drip down through the gluing space. After successfully applying the CA accelerator, when I went to remove the piece and found that they were glued to the jig!! Luckily they were not that glued to the jig and I was able to separate them. Be careful and consider gravity in your gluing.

Next I flipped the piece over and fit the roof in. I decided on a flush roof since it seemed like it would suit the model. I was able to set the whole thing up before I applied any glue. Once set, I applied a thin bead at the join and the added accelerator.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 5

Gluing the roof in

I decided to put the rear face and the other side wall together and then glue that piece to the front wall — roof piece.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 6

Gluing the opposite walls together

Next came the big moment of gluing the two assemblies together

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 7

Putting it all together

If you look carefully, you’ll see some small gaps. These needed a touch of putty to close up and voila we have a building! I zipped through three more before bed time. The combination of the gluing jig and the accelerator made every step faster and easier. This was FUN!

Here’s the front view:

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 8

Downtown Building all done (front view)

I saved one more for Saturday along with a scratch-build apartment building. More on that next post!

I’ve just added a new page to the equipment section on the Explorer ATV. This utility vehicle adheres closely to the stats and configuration of the Horronon ATV described in Adventure 2. Here a pic with the link:

Mechwarrior Mobile HQ

Explorer ATV IMTU (Mechwarrior Mobile HQ)

I am initiating a new page on the blog dedicated to military equipment useful for Traveller, Striker and AHL. Generally these will be described in terms of LBB Striker or Book 8 Robots (including Striker data.)

I am very appreciative of those who have designed equipment under these rules and published the information on the web. You all are awesome and inspirational. Thank you!

One thing I find missing in many published designs is an image of the equipment. My equipment pages will include an image of the model used to represent the design or an image of the actual piece of equipment if it is real or based on a cinematic or literary model.

To kick off this section, I am publishing a Book 8 designed Zhodani Tech Level 13 Warbot (WarriorBot) based on a Blue Moon Manufacturing figure. Where models of the equipment exist, I will post a picture of the model and a link to where it can be acquired.

So first off, the Petlienzotl Warbot. Next week, a complete listing of German WWII Panzerkampfwagen converted for Striker (and much more to come…)