Maros and the Orcs

Here’s a bit of solo fun also intended as a text example of how to run Savage Worlds… Tell me what I’m doing wrong, or where I could use better tactics!

Orcs are harassing the nearby villages, and Maros of the city watch has been ordered to take a few men and scout around. Maros is a Fighter: Fencer from Savage Worlds Deluxe p. 18, equipped with leather armour, shortsword and shield. His three men are Soldiers from SWD p. 81; one (#1) is equipped like Maros, the others (#2 and #3) have bows and daggers rather than sword and shield. The orcs and orc chieftain are on p. 139 of SWD. We’ll worry about Maros’ hindrances and finances if he survives to become a regular feature. Note that I consider a shield bash as an attack; Your Mileage May Vary.

Maros is a Wild Card PC and so has three bennies. The orcs also have three bennies, one for the PC and two for their own Wild Card (the chieftain).

This report uses Hex Map Pro on the iPad, and one of the maps from Cry Havoc! One hex is one inch. Scrub is light cover, 3-hex trees medium cover, 7-hex trees heavy cover (and the central hex blocks line of sight). All page references are to Savage Worlds Deluxe.

SETUP

It’s late afternoon, and the orcs have made a campfire and are settling in for the evening; they are, however, expecting trouble this close to a human city, and count as alert guards (p. 26). Maros and his men choose this moment to approach from the north-west.

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PRE-COMBAT

Maros makes a Stealth roll, and his troops make a group Stealth roll (pp. 26, 63) to close up within 6" of the orcs (after that, they would need to make individual rolls). The orcs oppose this roll with a group Notice roll; once you get this close it doesn’t matter if they are alert or not, they still get a chance to notice. (Note that rolls are made for each group of like figures, in this case Maros and the Chieftain are unique, and the troops and orcs are each a group.)

Maros rolls a 2 on his Stealth d6 (skill die) and a 3 on his Wild Die; his score is 3, and he adds +4 for heavy cover (any line of sight from the orcs to him passes through a large tree) for a final score of 7. The troops roll a 2 on their Stealth d4, and a 3 on their group die (which is effectively a Wild Die); their score as a group is 3, and again they add +4, for a final total of 7.

The orc chieftain rolls a 2 on his Notice d6 (skill die) and 5 on his Wild Die, so his score is 5 (the better of the two). The orcs roll 4 on the Notice d6, and 1 on their group die; their score is 4. As the humans have beaten the orcs and are not yet in combat, they can close in up to 5 x their Pace, or up to 30". They stop just outside the 6" range where they are sure to be noticed.

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TURN 1

The humans draw a 2 of spades, and the orcs a joker. As the soldiers are under the control of Maros’ player, they act when he does. Since they are as yet unaware of our heroes, the orcs do nothing. The human archers take Aim (an action, which precludes their moving), #2 at the Cheiftain and #3 at the closest orc. This will grant them a +2 on their shooting roll next turn.

TURN 2

I reshuffle the deck because a joker was drawn last turn. Maros draws a King of Hearts, and the orcs a 4 of diamonds.

The archers now fire at their targets. #2 rolls a 4 on his Shooting d6, and adds +2 for Aiming last turn, +4 for having The Drop (the orcs are unaware of his presence until he looses an arrow), and -4 for shooting through heavy cover (the trees). His score is 4 + 2 + 4 – 4 = 6, and since that is more than the base Target Number of 4, he hits the chieftain. He now rolls the bow’s damage (2d6) and gets a total of 8 damage. This is less than the chieftain’s Toughness of 11 (8 for him and 3 for his plate corselet), so he is uninjured.

Soldier #3 rolls a 1 with like modifiers, and so scores a 3 – this is less than the TN to hit, so he misses.

(There are no range modifers as the archers are within a bow’s short range of 12". I did consider making called shots to the head, but they are at -4 and would have meant the archers needed a 6 to hit at all.)

Maros and soldier #1 charge orc #3. They are close enough that they don’t have to run, so they can avoid the -2 penalty for doing so when they attack. Maros rolls a 1 on his Fighting d12 (the muppet) and a 6 on his Wild Die; he rerolls that and gets another 6, then another 6, then a 2, for a score of 20. He gets a +1 gang-up bonus as soldier #1 is attacking the same target, and another +1 from his Florentine Edge against a foe with a single weapon and no shield, for a total of 22. The orc’s Parry is 5, and Maros has beaten that by 17 – a success and four raises. Unfortunately, only the first raise counts, and gives him an extra d6 of damage. He rolls 3d6; one for his Strength (d6), one for the weapon’s damage (an extra d6 for a shortsword) and one for hitting with a raise. He rolls 5, 5, and 6 for a total of 16 – but wait, the 6 is an ace, so he rerolls it and adds the result, getting another 4 for a total of 20. Comparing that to the orc’s Toughness of 8 (7 for him and one for his armour) I see Maros has scored a success (Shaking the orc) and three raises (inflicting three Wounds). The orcs decide to spend one of their bennies to soak that damage; the orc rolls his Vigour d8 and gets an 8, which is an ace so he rolls again, getting a 6, for a total of 14. The Target Number is the usual 4, so that is a success and two raises, each of which eliminates a Wound; since all of the Wounds have been soaked, the orc is unhurt and the Shaken condition is thus removed.

Note here that although the Orc would have been Incapacitated by a single Wound, we need to keep track of how many the sword blow inflicted, as the soak roll has to get rid of them all to stop him being Incapacitated.

Soldier #1 now attacks. He rolls a 6 on his Fighting d6, which is an ace; the reroll is a 4, and he gets a +1 gang-up bonus, so his total score is an 11. This is 6 more than the orc’s Parry of 5, so he hits with a raise, and will inflict 3d6 damage (1d6 for him, 1d6 for his sword, 1d6 for the raise). The damage roll is 2, 3, 1 for a total of 6, though, which is less than the orc’s Toughness of 8, so he is unharmed – and just as well, since the orcs’ other two bennies are tied to the Wild Card chieftain and can’t be used for anyone else.

The orcs now move into combat, with the chieftain joining in on Solder #1 and orcs #1 and #2 lapping around Maros. They have no ranged weapons, but rather than charge the archers are joining in the melee in the hope that the archers won’t want to risk hitting their friends.

The chieftain attacks soldier #1, rolling a 12 on his Fighting d12 and a 5 on his Wild Die. He discards the Wild Die and rerolls the 12 for another 4; he also gets a +1 gang-up bonus as the soldier is already engaged with orc #3. His final roll "to hit" is 17, which exceeds the soldier’s Parry of 6 (2 basic, +3 for Fighting d6, +1 for a medium shield) by 11 – since he has a raise, he will roll an extra d6 damage. He rolls d10 (Strength) plus d10 (greataxe) plus d6 (raise) and gets 4, 8, 6 respectively – the 6 is an ace so he rerolls and gets another 4, for a total of 22 damage. That exceeds the soldier’s Toughness of 6 (2, +3 for Vigour d6, +1 for leather armour) by 16, scoring a success and four raises. Maros doesn’t have any Edges that let him share bennies with allies, and as an Extra the soldier has no bennies of his own; so he is instantly Incapacitated and removed from the table. (He may or may not be dead; we check that after the fight.)

Orcs 1-3 now attack Maros. Their gang-up bonus of +2 is reduced by one because he has the Florentine Edge, but they are both rolling at +1 even so. They score 2, 1 and 3 on their Fighting d6 skill dice, so even with that +1 they will not beat Maros’ Parry of 8-9 (2 basic, +6 for Fighting d12, +1 for medium shield vs those on his left) – and notice at this point that the two orcs have to ace their Fighting rolls to stand a chance of hitting him. This is fairly common, and in play means that the players’ high-Parry warriors tend to draw the GM’s Wild Card "boss monsters", as they go through mooks like a knife through butter.

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TURN 3

Maros draws a Queen of Hearts, and the orcs a Jack of Hearts. Luck continues to be with the humans.

Maros’ archers now step out of cover to get a clear shot at the orc chieftain. and both fire at him. A 1 and a 3 are not going to do any good, though, and given that even if they do hit him, they need to roll at least 11 on 2d6 to even Shake him, he is not worried and will stay in the melee.

Maros uses his Two-Fisted Edge to stab one orc with his shortsword while shield-bashing another (p. 75). The sword first, against orc #1; Maros rolls an 8 on his Fighting die (a d12) and a 4 on his Wild Die (a d6), chooses the 8, adds +1 for a foe with one weapon and no shield, and since that total of 9 beats the orc’s Parry, he hits, inflicting 2d6 damage. That proves to be 8, equalling the orc’s Toughness and thus Shaking him – I invert the orc’s token to show this, as I would lie the figure down on the tabletop.

Maros now makes an opposed Strength roll against orc #3 to execute a Push, which he will convert into a shield bash if successful. The orc rolls his Strength of d8 and gets a 4; Maros rolls his Strength (d6) and a Wild Die (d6) getting 6 and 3 respectively – the 6 aces, he rerolls and gets a 3 and then adds his usual +1 from Florentine for a total of 10, beating the orc by 6 – success with a raise, which pushes the orc back 2" and inflicts Strength + 2 damage on him – Maros rolls his Strength (but no Wild Die, as this is a damage roll) and gets 4, which even with the +2 for a medium shield isn’t enough to hurt the orc. Maybe he should grab his buddy’s sword. Meanwhile, he pushes orc #3 straight back through the fire; I decide this doesn’t count as an obstacle, so he doesn’t take extra damage; had he been shield-bashed into a solid wall right behind him, he would have taken 1d6 damage per inch of pushback as he was squashed against it.

All the orcs now move in on Maros, to get gang-up bonuses which will help them to hit him. The Shaken orc makes a Spirit roll to recover; he gets a 4 on his Spirit d6, which is a success, but not a raise – he will spend all turn composing himself.

The chieftain rolls an 8 on his Fighting d12 and a 2 on his Wild Die; he has a +2 gang-up bonus (+1 per extra attacker, but reduced by one point for Maros’ Florentine Edge) so has a total of 10, which beats Maros’ Parry of 9 and so hits. He rolls 2d10 damage for his greataxe, getting a 1 and an 8 for a total of 9; that beats Maros’ Toughness by one, so he is Shaken but not Wounded (you have to beat Toughness by at least 4 to Wound an opponent).

Orc #3 rolls a 5 on his Fighting d6, and adds +2 for gang-up to get a 7 – still less than Maros’ Parry, so he misses. Orc #2 rolls a 3 and also misses. (Note that even though the mooks have very little chance of hitting or hurting Maros, they can still help their boss by providing gang-up bonuses.)

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TURN 4

Maros draws a 5 of Clubs, and the orcs draw a 7 of Clubs – for the first time, they go before the humans, and decide to carry on thrashing Maros. You should be up to speed with how that works by now, so I’ll simply say that the chieftain hits Maros again and does 9 damage, Shaking him again. Since Maros is already Shaken, that escalates to a Wound; Maros will roll at -1 to everything if I allow that, so he spends a benny to soak the damage – note that you have to make that call after individual attack that damages you, although sometimes it’s a good idea to soak and sometimes it isn’t. In this case, since being Shaken doesn’t affect Parry, soaking makes sense because the odds of the orc mooks Wounding Maros again are low.

Maros spends a benny, reducing him to two, and makes a Vigour roll to soak the damage. He rolls 1 for his Vigour d6, and a 4 on his Wild Die – a success! This soaks one Wound, and since he now has none left, it also removes his Shaken condition.

As one often can when rolling for groups of mooks, I roll 3d6 for the orcs’ attacks and get 2, 2, 5; none of that is getting past Parry 9, even with the +2 gang-up bonus.

Payback time; the archers again shoot at the orc chieftain, figuring that although they might hit Maros (p. 73, Innocent Bystanders), he’s probably going to die in battle against four orcs anyway, so… They both get a 5, and there are no modifiers. Both hit and do 2d6 damage; #2 rolls a 9, which fails to penetrate the chieftain’s Toughness, and #3 rolls 2 damage. We’ll gloss over that.

TURN 5

Maros draws the 10 of Spades, the orcs draw the 3 of Hearts.

Archers first; they shoot at the chieftain, and both score 2. Oh well. Maros attacks the chieftain, first stabbing him with a sword – he rolls a 12 on his Fighting d12, and a 3 on the Wild Die; rerolling the d12 gets another 12, then a 7 – a total of 31. Impressive, and deserving an extra d6 damage. 11 damage is rolled, and this Shakes the chieftain. Maros now shield bashes him as before; the chieftain rolls a 2 on both his Strength and Wild dice, while Maros rolls 4 on both dice; a success, so the chieftain is pushed back one inch.

The orcs go next, and although Maros’ shield is facing away from them all so his Parry is reduced to 8, none of them roll high enough to hit him. Meanwhile, the chieftain makes a Spirit roll to recover from Shaken, and gets a 9 having aced the die – he recovers immediately, barges back in, and just barely misses Maros, solely because the latter’s shield is still in the way.

TURN 6

Maros draws the King of Hearts, the orcs draw a 10 of Spades. Maros attacks orc #3, hitting with a raise, and dealing 13 damage, Incapacitating him. He shield-bashes the chieftain because, hey, he could get lucky; he pushes the chieftain back 1" but does no damage. The archers fire at the chieftain; one misses, one hits with a raise, and thanks to acing one of the damage dice inflicts 17 damage, scoring one Wound on the chieftain. The chieftain spends a benny and makes a Vigour roll to soak the damage; he succeeds with a raise and is unharmed. The orc chieftain now has one benny to Maros’ two.

Note here that while Savage Worlds has no hit points as such, bennies fill much the same ecological niche, in that it’s often difficult to take out the boss monster until you have scrubbed away all his bennies.

The chieftain decides to keep going and sort out those archers before they do him a serious injury. As they are adjacent, he can use his Sweep special ability to attack both of them with a single Fighting roll at -2; he rolls a 10 on his Fighting die (d12) and a 6 on the Wild Die, followed by a 4 – also a total of 10, and a success with a raise. Although there is only one roll to hit, damage is rolled separately – in this case, 2d10 + 1d6 per archer. Soldier #2 suffers 8 damage vs a Toughness of 6 and is Shaken; #3 suffers 17 and is Incapacitated.

The orcs swing at Maros without effect.

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TURN 7

Maros gets a 5 of Spades, the orcs a 10 of Clubs, so the orcs go first.

The orc chieftain misses soldier #2; orcs #1 and #2 miss Maros. Soldier #2 dare not withdraw (p.76), since the orc chieftain would then get a free attack at him as he broke off, but can go on Full Defence; he makes a Fighting roll of 3, and since this is worse than his Parry of 5, it has no effect.

Maros withdraws from combat to help his surviving man, and both orcs get a free attack at him; neither hits. Maros makes a Wild Attack on the chieftain (+2 hit, +2 damage, -2 Parry – p. 76); he rolls 11+2 = 13 on his Fighting die and 6+2+2 (+2 for the wild attack, +2 for the ace reroll) on the Wild Die. This gives him a 13 to hit, which is raised to 14 by a +1 gang-up bonus as the orc chieftain is already fighting soldier #2. That’s a hit with a raise on the chieftain’s Parry of 8; Maros rolls 3d6+2 and gets 3, 3, 6; the 6 aces so he rolls another 6, then a 1, +2 for the wild attack, giving a grand total of 21 damage; a success with two raises, so the chieftain is Shaken and has two Wounds. He uses his last benny to soak that, aces his Vigour die, and gets a soak total of 12 – success and two raises, negating all Wounds and Shaken. However, he is now out of bennies.

In passing, I note that my PCs have developed the habit of saving their last benny to reroll Incapacitation rolls if they get that far, because they believe it reduces the chances of character death to do so.

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TURN 8

Maros, 5 of Hearts; orcs, 5 of Clubs. Hearts trump clubs, so the humans go first. Soldier #2 stays on Full Defence and aces his Fighting skill roll, so his effective Parry this turn is 11. Maros makes another wild attack on the chieftain and shield bashes him to boot; the attack barely hits, but the damage of 11 is just enough to Shake the chieftain, and a success with a raise on the shield bash pushes him 2" into the shrubbery.

The orcs all close in on Maros and stab at him with orcish nastiness. The chieftain and orc #1 miss, but orc #2 aces his Fighting roll and hits. Both his d8s for damage ace, and he does 23 damage – compared to Maros’ Toughness of 6, that’s a success with four raises. Maros spends a benny and rolls Vigour to shake the damage; he rolls a 5 (Vigour die) and a 2 (Wild Die) and achieves one success, so he is now Shaken with three Wounds. That looks like a bad idea, so he spends his last benny to reroll; this time he gets a 5 and a 6, rerolls the 6 because it aced and gets a further 3 – a total 9 is a success and a raise, each of which negates a Wound. Maros is now out of bennies and is Shaken with two Wounds.

TURN 9

Maros: 4 of Hearts, orcs: 3 of Hearts.

Maros withdraws from melee and flees. The soldier is not in melee and just flees. The orcs all get a free attack on Maros; the chieftain hits and inflicts 9 damage – success with a raise, so Maros collects another Wound and is Incapacitated. The other two orcs miss. Maros makes an immediate Vigour roll (p. 68 – note that Extras don’t roll until after the fight ends); he rolls 5 for Vigour (d6) and 4 for the Wild Die, so has a result of 5. This is a success, so he has an injury which will disappear when he is fully healed. Rolling 2d6 on the injury table (p. 69) shows that Maros was hit in the gut, and a further 1d6 roll of 3 tells me his Vigour is reduced one die step to d4 until he is healed.

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I could run a Chase as the orcs chase down the surviving soldier, but this post is already long enough, I think, so we’ll move to the aftermath.

AFTERMATH

Orc #3, soldier #1 and soldier #3, as Incapacitated Extras, must each make a Vigour roll (p. 78). Orc #3 rolls a 5 against the usual Target Number of 4; he is alive but Incapacitated. The soldiers roll 2 and 3 respectively, both failing, and so both die.

What next? I decide that the orc chieftain should make a reaction roll (p. 26) to see what he thinks of Maros, now unconscious at his feet. He rolls an 8 on 2d6; neutral. OK then, what is his personality like? I roll 1d20 on the ally personality table (p. 81) and get a 9 – Bright.

"Kill the human!" shriek the orc mooks.

"No," rumbles the chieftain. "He can tell us about the human defences. And he fought well; he will make a strong slave."

Maros is tied up and carried off by the victorious orcs. Meanwhile, his surviving trooper returns home… I roll for that worthy’s personality a get a 14, Clueless; he reports the action, but in such vague and imprecise terms that the city watch is unable to work out whether Maros is alive, and if so, how to help. Maros is on his own…

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2 thoughts on “Maros and the Orcs

  1. Nice tutorial. Just a couple of thoughts…

    “Maros has scored a success (Shaking the orc) and three raises (inflicting three Wounds). The orcs decide to spend one of their bennies to soak that damage…”

    A little style preference: I prefer to say that the damage roll threatens three wounds, or causes three potential wounds – they don’t exist until after the Soak option. This may seem a bit pedantic, but I find it makes the narrative flow more smoothly

    Not great: “He gets three raises, slashing at you with his sword – you take three wounds.” “No I don’t, I Soak two of them. I only take one wound.” “Okay, he slashes you for one wound…”

    Better: “He gets three raises, slashing at you with his sword – he threatens three wounds.” “Ha! I Soak two, ducking around them. Only one swing connects – I take one wound.” “Cool – that’s one wound then…”

    And thanks for bringing Hex Map Pro to my attention. I hadn’t heard if it before, but it looks useful – I’ll have to check it out.

    • Thank you.

      The wounding vs threatening wounds hasn’t been a problem at my table, but I can see how the nuance would be helpful for a “this is how it works” piece like this one.

      There is a free “try-before-you-buy” version of Hex Map also. Might be worth trying that first, although the Pro version isn’t expensive.

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