Skirmish Battles and "Mook" Rules for O.G.R.E.S. Games

 Combat, as we all know, is part and parcel of a role playing game. Almost every game out there devotes more rules space to combat than to any other aspect of the game (arguably, except for spell descriptions). While combat is generally the most dynamic (and often the most fun) part of the game, it can also drag on and get boring after awhile. This is also the case when you have skirmish-level battles going on with a lot of enemies. 

When it comes down to these situations, skirmish or mook rules come in very handy. With that in mind I've been thinking about some streamlined combat rules for the O.G.R.E.S. system that will greatly speed up battles and tap into some classic concepts from early "man to man" wargames. 

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The Basics

These rules assume, but do not require, that you are using miniatures. Please see our last blog on using minis with O.G.R.E.S. to familiarize yourself with the comments there before moving forward. 

Another thing you'll need is some sort of counter to track conditions and wounds. I highly recommend the little neck rings from soda pop or water bottles for these. They easily drape over most standard size minis and are good at a glance. Red ones can represent wounds, green poison, blue something else, and you get the idea. 

If you're not using minis, you won't need these; players can simply track wounds on their character sheets. 

Streamlining Combat

Streamlining combat essentially works by removing hit dice and damage rolls from the equation altogether. In such a system, characters have a number of wounds equal to their level. The same goes for monsters: they have a number of wounds equal to their hit dice. 

Characters with a Constitution score of 13-17 get one additional wound. Characters with a Constitution score of 18 get two additional wounds.

Every time a character or enemy is struck in combat, they suffer a wound. Each time a character or creature suffers a wound, drape a ring over it. When the rings equal the character's total wounds, they are prone and unconscious. If they suffer one more wound, they die. 

They may each round make a Constitution saving throw to stabilize. This save starts at +10 and reduces by 1 each round. If they make a save, they are stable and no other saves are necessary. If they continually fail and the save bonus reaches 0, they are dead. If they get medical attention they automatically stabilize.

Attacks are made exactly as normal in the game, and any special effects that an attack makes (such as a Chosen One's stunning or instant kill) are still in play. All that changes is insted of rolling for damage, you're taking and doling out wounds. Since the core rules of O.G.R.E.S. see all attacks dealing 1d6 anyway, it doesn't, by and large, affect much in terms of probability. It just reduces calculations and dice rolls. 

Extra Damage

Some classes (Veterans, Chosen Ones, Survivors) have the ability to deal extra damage, either by rolling extra dice or through adding strength bonus to damage, or both. Characters that add an ability score bonus to damage, assuming they have an ability bonus, do 3 wounds for every 2 they inflict.  If their ability bonus is +3 (18), they do 2 wounds per attack. 

Characters who roll extra dice (roll 2, keep 1, for example) also do 3 wounds for every 2 they inflict. If a character has both an ability bonus and extra dice, they do 2 wounds per hit. Characters with a perfect storm of an 18 attribute and extra dice deal 5 wounds per 4 inflicted (they inflict 2, then 3). 

Critical hits deal an extra wound.

"True" Mooks

True mooks refer to hordes of minor enemies that are there to be a threat to the PCs, but through whom the PCs can just rip. Basically, these characters have an AC of 8-10 and only 1-2 wounds. On the other hand, they have no bonus to hit at all, adding only the PCs' AC to their attacks. In this way they have a lmited chance to land telling blows, but will be mowed down by the heroes. These are ideal for cultists, street gangs and the like. 

Magic, Psychic, and Supernatural Powers

Magic, supernatural, and psychic powers can be handled just like normal, rolling a percentile check against base casting damage, treating failures just like the rules in the core book state. For each 2d6 of damage a spell or psychic power would normally deal, it instead deals 1 wound. If the GM wishes to translate spells to d20 rolls, to cut own on die types during streamlined combat, guidelines for doing so can be found in the Night Companion.

There you have it! Streamlined combat rules that are ideal for tabletop skirmish scenarios using the O.G.R.E.S. system. With a bit of tweaking and work, these rules could be used to create boardgame scenarios or a full miniatures skirmish game using our system. 

Curious as to what this O.G.R.E.S. stuff is all about? Check out Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars and grab your copy today!