Monday, February 6, 2012

Combat in The Realms of Atlantasia

Since I recently expounded upon combat in Metamorphosis Alpha, it is only fitting that Thoul’s Paradise examine the particulars of combat in John Holland’s memorable role-playing game, The Realms of Atlantasia.  To accomplish this, let us stage a hypothetical conflict between Johann Nederland, cosmic spy mage, and a run-of-the-mill goblin.  For the sake of effective example, this bout shall occur in a pit – small enough to prohibit retreat, but open enough so that Johann may bring his exquisite quarterstaff to bear. 

Lest my devoted readers foster unrealistic hopes, allow me to explain that beginning TROA characters seem to be quite fragile; I do not expect Johann to survive this theoretical monomachy.  Atlantasian goblins have a minimum of 35 Life Points; Johann has a mere thirteen.1  (May Priss-nee-ich preserve him!) 

If conditions permitted Johann to cast his ’Falling Star’ spell, it is likely that he could readily dispatch the goblin.  Alas, the casting time for said spell is one semi-segment; the goblin would doubtless disrupt the spell before completion.  However, we can assume that Johann cast casted his ‘Sun Shield’ spell immediately prior to the combat.  This gives Johann +5% defense for 5 semi-segments. 

According to their description on page 69, goblins have a 20% chance of having armor. A roll of the dice indicates that Johann's opponent does not have armor. Any given goblin may or may not have a weapon. Since a goblin's fangs can potentially cause more damage than a broadsword (d12 vs d10), our goblin will just rely on his fangs. 

Attack order starts with the being having the highest dexterity and continues with successively lower dexterity scores until all combatants have attacked. I guess we roll a d10 for the goblin's dexterity. The result is 7; Johann goes first. 

We previously determined Johann's 'to hit' value at 25%. He attacks...and misses. We now roll “to determine how bad the miss is.” With a 14, the result is “player slips and hits them self [sic] (damage is at x2).”2 Let's just assume that the character hits himself. (Better him than me.) A quarterstaff does 1d6 and with a roll of 6, Johann does 12 Life Points of damage to himself. He has 1 Life Point left.

It's now the goblin's turn; his 'to hit' value is 23%. He attacks...and misses! A roll of 31 on the 'miss' table means the goblin slips and does damage to himself. Specifically, the goblin loses 3 Life Points. Goblins get two attacks per semi-segment and with his second attack...he (barely) misses. On this occasion, the goblin does x2 damage to himself. He takes 8 Life Points of damage and is thus reduced to 24 Life Points. 

I suppose that Johann and the goblin spend the remainder of the semi-segment (7 minutes, 12 seconds) chatting about how gnomes are ruining the economy. 

In the next semi-segment, Johann has first attack.  However, thinking that the best tactic would be to allow the goblin to bite itself to death, Johann forgoes his attack. (My calculations indicate that, whenever Johann attempts an attack, he has a 26.5% chance of hurting himself. So, it is more likely that he will hit himself than an opponent.) 

The goblin lunges...and misses. Yes, he manages to hit himself again. He takes an additional 11 Life Points of damage; he has 13 Life Points left. On his second attack...he hits. Upon a successful hit, the goblin "must determine where the attack connects" by rolling on the placement chart. A roll of 64 means "chest & upper arms (roll for which and which arm)." 3 Uh, OK...Let's say even = chest and odd = upper arms. Our realistic method of determination indicates that the attack connects with Johann's chest. Now the goblin must determine the precision of the attack by rolling on the precision table; this will affect the amount of damage inflicted. Depending on the number rolled, the attack could do anywhere from x¼ damage to x10 damage. The goblin rolls 28, meaning no damage multiple. 

Now, Johann makes a defense calculation. His total defense is 36%, which is greater than the goblin's 'to hit' %, and so he rolls on a certain table. (Had his defense been lower than the opponent's to hit roll, he would roll on a different table.) With a roll of 90, the result is "attack glances off armor (0 damage, armor takes 1d4 off durability)." YESSS! Johann still has a chance! The durability of Johann's chest armor is reduced to 8.

With a smile of grim determination, Johann forgoes his attack in the third semi-segment. The goblin attacks...and misses. A roll of 94 on the 'miss' table means “weapon glances off opponent's armor taking 1d4 off durability.” Does the armor lose durability? The weapon? Both? Let's call it a wash. The goblin attacks again...and misses again. With a roll of 92 on the 'miss' table, it's the same result as before.

It's the fourth semi-segment and Johann lets the goblin attack. He attacks...and misses. A roll of 10 on the 'miss' table means the goblin does x3 damage to himself. A roll of 12 for damage means the goblin takes 36 Life Points of damage. He's dead! Johann is the winner! Take that, punk! Mess with the best and die like the rest!

Of course, had this been an actual combat, Johann would have used his Blanket of Translocation to get away.

Let us reflect upon the moral of today's story; if your attack is more likely to cause damage to you instead of your opponent, then don't attack.
1  A 1st level, single-classed warrior without a constitution bonus would have 11 Life Points on average.
2  It seems that if a being misses its attack roll, there is a 35% chance it will inflict damage on itself.
3 With a roll of 100, the goblin would have decapitated Johann.


  1. The most realistic combat ever played. I am so tired of people not killing themselves when they try to bite you.



  2. The playtesting on this game must have been remarkable. It seems that they have reality down to a tee. When I was in middle school a kid tried to bite me, missed and bit himself. It required stitches. Accidentally biting or hitting yourself is a big danger in combat. When we were really young I would sit on my little brother and grab his hands and he continually hit himself. I would say " why are you hitting yourself" over and over again. He was presumably trying to hit me but somehow I was always getting in trouble for things like this. I have forwarded this link to my mother as proof that I was unjustly accused and indeed the victim of these incidents, not as she had thought the aggressor.