Getting back to our
mash-up of Heart of Ice and the Fabled Lands, the sole conversion issue we’ll consider in this post is ….. Frozen Land
3. Combat. Given that it is a diceless, non-random system, combat in Heart of Ice is handled fairly simply. Tubb (2010) summarizes the combat system as follows below:
After walking down the dark alley for about a minute, you are attacked by two thugs armed with knives. If you have Close Combat, turn to #. If you have Agility, turn to #. If you have Shooting and a barysal gun with at least one charge remaining, turn to #. If you have none of these, turn to #.
If you had no applicable skills, you might lose 5 Life Points. If you had Close Combat or Agility, you might suffer 2 Life Points worth of injury, and if you had a charged barysal gun you might get away completely unscathed. As such, the system combines not only missile and melee combat, but also evasive techniques, including persuasive powers if you have the Cunning skill.
By contrast, the combat system for Fabled Lands involves the following steps:
- Roll two dice and add your COMBAT score.
- If you roll higher than the enemy’s Defence (COMBAT plus Rank plus armour bonus) score, you have hit.
- The amount you score above the enemy’s Defence is the number of Stamina points he loses.
- When the Stamina of either combatant reaches zero, they have died (Morris & Thomson, 1995, p. 6).
Interestingly, there is no missile combat system for Fabled Lands, but there are occasions when people shoot arrows and similar missiles at you. These tend to hit automatically, and do one die roll, less your armour bonus, in Stamina points damage (Morris & Thomson, 1995, paragraph 726).
For devising a combat system for Frozen Lands, I’d propose a distinction between melee combat and missile combat, as follows:
a) Melee Combat. This remains exactly the same as the Fabled Lands system. The only real difference lies in the choices of weapons and armour, and their respective COMBAT and Defence bonuses. These items include:
Frozen Lands Weapons Chart
Unarmed (no COMBAT bonus)
Dagger or Knife (COMBAT +1)
Shortsword or Club (COMBAT +2)
Sword or Axe (COMBAT +3)
Double-handed weapon (COMBAT +4)
Frozen Lands Armour Chart
No armour (no Defence bonus)
Padded Armour (Defence +1)
Speculum Jacket (Defence +2)
Anti-Laser Armour (Defence +3)
Plated Armour (Defence +4)
Another omission from Fabled Lands is the lack of any cohesive rules for shields, but as they’re not a part of the futuristic world of the Frozen Lands we don’t have to worry about them either!
b) Missile Combat. At the start of any fight, you are allowed to engage in Missile Combat. This consists of making a COMBAT role at a Difficulty of X, where X is the COMBAT score of your opponent. If you make the Difficulty roll and hit the target, the damage done is equivalent to whatever weapon you were using from the following table:
Frozen Lands Missile Damage Chart
Throwing Dagger, Arrow, or Crossbow Bolt (Roll 1 die, and
subtract opponent’s armour Defence bonus)
Barysal Gun (Roll 2 dice, and subtract opponent’s armour
Grenade (Roll 3 dice, and subtract opponent’s armour Defence
Mantramuktas Cannon (Roll 4 dice, and subtract opponent’s
armour Defence bonus)
Stun Grenade (Special)
Stasis Bomb (Special)
The only other issue with Missile Combat is keeping track of ammo, and also including places within to replenish ammo supplies or recharge barysal guns. Prices for these services would also need to be established but that is perhaps a topic for another post.
c) An Example of Frozen Lands Combat. Putting it all together, we get the following:
The Road Warrior, COMBAT 6, Defence 8, Stamina 11, Barysal Gun (5 charges), No hand weapon, Padded Armour (Defence +1).
Thug, COMBAT 5, Defence 6, Stamina 8, Knife (COMBAT +1 – already taken into account), No armour.
1. The Road Warrior shoots first, reducing the number of charges by 1 to 4. They make a COMBAT roll at a Difficulty of 5. They roll 3 plus their combat (6) equals 9. A hit! They roll 7. The Thug has no armour and loses 7 Stamina points. They only have 1 left!
2. The Thug lashes out with their Knife. They roll two dice and score 9. Plus their COMBAT score (5) equals 14, which is 6 more than the Road Warrior’s Defence. This reduces the Road Warrior’s Stamina to 5.
3. Having used the Barysal Gun at the start of the combat, the Road Warrior now attacks with his bare hands. He rolls two dice and gets 5. Adding his COMBAT score he gets 11, which is 6 more than the Thug’s Defence. The Thug only has 1 Stamina point left though, and succumbs to his wounds…
Thoughts? To me it seems fairly lethal, but then combat in Heart of Ice is quite a vicious affair. The rules could probably do with some tweaking however.
Morris, D. & Thomson, J. (1995). Fabled Lands: Cities of Gold and Glory.
: Macmillan. London
Tubb, A. (2010, September 28). Heart of Ice – A solo gamebook adventure in post-apocalyptic Europe and
Africa. Review posted to http://rpggeek.com/thread/568777/heart-of-ice-a-solo-gamebook-adventure-in-post-a