So there's this fairly memorable scene in the first Game of Thrones season (also in the first novel) where Tyrion ("the Imp") is captured and taken to the Eyrie (one of the "seven kingdoms") where, in order to escape execution, demands a trial by combat. The sellsword, Bronn, offers to champion him against the knight, Vardis Egen. Despite wearing only ringmail armor (disdaining even a shield), Bronn manages to best the plate-and-shield armored knight by dint of being younger (about fifteen years) and faster and fighting in a craven-like fashion that tires out Ser Vardis. Finally wearied by chasing the spry mercenary around the battle chamber in his encumbering armor, the knight slips to one knee and is wounded by Bronn...after which the end (from weariness and blood loss) is all but inevitable. In the eyes of the attending nobility, the sellsword fights without honor; and yet, it is his canny choice of tactics that allows him to prevail with ease where he might otherwise been hard-pressed to achieve victory. Bronn was never interested in a "fair" or "honorable" fight, only in winning and being rewarded with Tyrion's gold.
I find it difficult to model this with AD&D. And it bugs me.
Unless I am completely missing something (entirely possible since I'm semi-new to this "AD&D thang"), there aren't any specific rules regarding fatigue; Gygax explicitly writes in the DMG:
"No rules for exhaustion and fatigue are given here because of the tremendous number of variables, including the stamina of the characters and creatures involved...Fatigue merely slows movement and reduces combat effectiveness. Exhaustion will generally require a day of complete rest to restore exhausted creatures. Always bear in mind that humans inured to continuous running, for example, can do so for hours without noticeable fatigue, i.e. those such as Apache Indians, Zulu warriors, etc. Do not base your judgment on the typical modern specimen."
This is written with regard to pursuit and evasion and is incredibly frustrating, as what I am most interested in is fatigue with regard to minutes (i.e. one minute rounds) of hand-to-hand fighting...an incredibly stressful and tiring exercise even for the most hardened warrior.
B/X doesn't hand wave fatigue; it has specific rules (including penalties to "combat effectiveness") in two different places (page B19 and B24). These are an adaptation of the rules found in OD&D (page 8 of Book 3) requiring a ten minute rest break in every hour of activity, and a "double rest period" after any bout of flight/pursuit (B/X changes this to ten minutes after three turns, with a double penalty the consequence for failing to rest). Still, this doesn't address combat fatigue per se...though this is mitigated somewhat by B/X shrinking combat rounds to ten seconds with any encounter being considered "to have lasted one full [ten minute] turn. The additional time, if any is spent resting sore muscles, recovering one's breath, cleaning weapons, and binding wounds." (Moldvay, page B23).
Yes, yes...I'm aware that hit points are (in part) a model of fatigue and the ability to withstand fatigue in combat. And that makes perfect sense in the abstract: a trained fighter should be more resistant to the rigors of melee than a spindly thief or wizard, and an experienced one even more so. But hit points don't take into account encumbrance...nor movement/activity that has occurred before. And hit points are famous for not diminishing character effectiveness even as they're depleted: a character may be down to half or a quarter of her stamina (hit points) but that doesn't slow her sword arm (there's no penalty to attack rolls).
What's particularly maddening here is that CHAINMAIL actually had the most comprehensive rules for fatigue. Under the Chainmail rules, a model becomes fatigued after any one of the following:
1. Five consecutive turns of movement.
2. Two consecutive turns of movement, followed by a charge, and a round of melee.
3. One turn of movement, followed by a charge, and two rounds of melee.
4. Three rounds of melee.
A fatigued combatant faced the following stiff penalties:
- Attacking and defending as "the next lower value."
- Morale dropping by one point (using a 2d6 roll, much like B/X).
- Slowed (to one-half) "uphill movement"
"Next lower value" is a pretty beefy penalty in Chainmail, but modeling it to AD&D it works out to about a -2 penalty to AC and (probably) attack rolls.
[why -2? Because an "armored" represents a figure in plate-and-mail, a "heavy" represents a figure in chain armor...which in D&D is only a 2 point difference in armor class]
All penalties are removed after the character has had a chance to rest one full turn...the turn in the Chainmail game being one minute long. A "round" of melee in Chainmail is an exchange of blows (one side attacks, then the other side attacks) and is contained within the standard "turn" but, as no more than one such round may be fought in a turn, it can be presumed to approximate an OD&D (or AD&D) round with regard to engaged figures.
Thus, it would not be a great stretch (if relying on Chainmail, the basis of OD&D and, thus, the basis of AD&D) to give characters an AC and attack penalty after three rounds of continuous fighting (or after two rounds for characters that charged), perhaps mitigated by a high Constitution score, and perhaps adjusted by encumbrance. If one wanted to add an extra level of complexity to their game.
OR...we could just ignore the issue altogether and simply allow tireless combatants to beat each other senseless for hours, perhaps fueled by adrenaline alone. In which case, why would you never carry a shield and the strongest armor available when offered? Right?
|Pop goes the weasel.|