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The rules of the original "Cry Havoc!" series evolved and developed over some years, covering additional equipment, situations etc., and modifying rules. The Combat Tables were expanded by and by, and the Missile Fire Tables were completely changed from "Siege" on. The rules given here were compiled by scanning the original rules of the Standard Games edition, resolving conflicts, and introducing some of my pet rules exceptions. The impact is on clarifications, and on deciding which rules were the better ones in cases of conflict. I always tried to keep playability as high as it was originally, and I always had PBM play in mind. I once said that this was not meant to be a game system: Well, it always was, even by the original rules, only it was a game system described in overlapping and not always compatible chapters.
Thus, the rules presented here are mostly the original rules steamrolled broad to cover as many situations as possible without the need to discuss rules via mail. Some rules were "randomised" to allow one side of a PBM game to handle as much of a player turn as possible without checking with the opponent, and some were made less predictable (why should a Berserk always have rage fits of exactly three turns, for example?)
The time/distance scale I used throughout was 1 hex = 1.5 to 2.5 metres (it does not matter that much, since the hexes govern adjacency etc., not the actual distances), one game turn 10 seconds.
Obvious necessities were some PBM regulations and the map coordinate system. I used the coordinates from "Viking Raiders" for all mapboards (though "Outremer" in one scenario used a slightly different system).
The definitions section of the rules is for convenience only. At some points the original rules remain fuzzy. What is a "day of action"? In "Siege", the term is explained only in a scenario context, and I tried to come up with a second definition.
Sequence of play is unchanged, only completed. The LOS chapter is greatly expanded, because terms like "any feasible angle" do not help much when discussing the untimely demise of one's pet knight. Also, I tried to consolidate elevation effects (the example in "Siege" is no longer valid). I think the rules are well usable without introducing complex multi-level terrain; every elevation question comes down to a simple "higher" or "lower" relation.
Horse movement and mounting/dismounting has been expressed in new terms. Some special movement cases are included (falling, etc.), as was the "helping" idea from "Viking Raiders". Movement hindrance has been extended to live characters.
I was very proud to have invented the "pinning" rule, which I originally called "challenging a passing character". Imagine my indignation when I found that this rule, in fact, was already included in "Viking Raiders" under the name of "challenge"! I changed the name of this rule, but only to avoid confusion with the "chivalrous single combat challenge" rule from "Samurai Blades".
The processes of leading animals and moving carts were clarified (I hope).
The treatment of
required some decisions. Missile fire tables vary quite a lot between the original games. The odd-calculating system was used in "Cry Havoc!" and "Dark Blades", and the "generalised" tables in all other games. In "Outremer", the authors obviously decided that they were too general, and split tables between armoured and unarmoured characters.
But in addition, weapon power and ranges changed considerably between the games. I decided to use the "Viking Raiders" and "Outremer" missile fire tables on the assumption that they were the most advanced. They take some edge off the missilemen, too. If you consider that one missile fire really simulates one single arrow, the original hit rates look more like a Robin-Hood-story than anything real.
Cover of exterior building corners is somewhat elaborated (with a related movement rule change), and for 2-hex-units the cover now depends on the actual hex fired at.
Combat stayed the same that it was, but I replaced the column shift for multiple combat by the new "encirclement" modifier, and included the fine-tuned "Dark Blades" tables in the form of the "combat between infantry and mounted character" modifiers. The charge rule ("Outremer") was adapted for PBM use, and I really like its current form.
Damage results were described in more detail, and sometimes connected to a random decision to ease PBM game flow. Retreat is handled a bit more detailed, and the penalty for incomplete retreat has been made less severe. The advance after combat has been in the game from "Siege" on, but one thing is really new: melee. This locks characters in combat, in essence making it a bit more difficult for them to flip into and out of combat at their own decision. Ten seconds is not much, and to move, shoot and have combat in this time seems to demand an awful lot from the warriors. Read this rule carefully, it imposes some severe restrictions.
"Task" is a new term that describes old things, namely the restriction to do more than one thing in a player turn. Some special actions have been described that will happen seldom in a game, but might be useful. For battering, though, a second "onboard" alternative is described, and it allows battering a few more things than before, too. "Moving bodies" and "Glorious suicide" have that morbid touch you would rightly connect with the Japanese way of dying; they are from "Samurai Blades".
were collated and sometimes specified more precisely. Especially the old "battlement" terrain was defined differently than before, even if this causes few changes of its use.
I decided that certain "terrain" types are in fact hexside features, and described them as such. The portcullis is, I believe, my own invention (the portcullis rule, I mean, I am not that old). The invention of "Table" terrain was spawned by romantic ideas about medieval debauchery.
Some new terrain is found on the additional mapboards, and I had to find rules for it, too. Just imagine stacking your opponents 3 deep in the dungeon! (By the way: The dungeon-or-platform question is not decided easily: The stairway depiction would, by medieval building standards, indicate an elevation on one map and a depression on the other, for stairs were usually built "elevating clockwise" so an attacker from below could not easily cover his left side with the shield. Eurogames decided that the hexes in question were tower platforms but of course you are free to use either aspect.)
Water rules differed much in the original games; I tried to consolidate them, and will keep my feet dry if possible in the future. Water is a nasty environment in "Cry Havoc!".
Very near the original are the rules for
animals and carts, though I could not refrain from introducing man's most faithful nuisance, the dog. In fact historical accounts indicate that dogs were a very common thing both inside and outside the castles and villages, and were put to use to support or replace guardsmen, and even for actual fight. I felt they were needed to round off the scenery. (If you fancy real nasty dogs, play "Dark Blades".)
Ship rules are given in "Viking Raiders", and they are well usable I believe.
section started mainly as a data collection until I began reading a bit and found out the reason why battering is handled so abstractly in the original rules: A medieval siege was a wonderful thing to behold indeed, and could last many a month.
Siege catapults had rates of fire that ranged from 4 to 12 shots per hour and cast everything from 2-kg-stones to 250-kg-rocks (not to mention other, more odious or even odorous, items). Their range was of up to 400 m, and they needed four to fifteen men for operation. This obviously is quite outside the scale of "Cry Havoc!", and the rules compromise between skirmishing action and a realistic time scale. The "Siege" Scenario Booklet contains some excellent examples how you can create interesting scenarios in the "Cry Havoc!" scale using siege equipment.
A fact that is not mentioned there is that siege engines were as much in use on the defending as on the attacking side. Rules do not forbid this, and you might use this option. However, to avoid complicated "catapult duel" rules I decided that siege engines were not allowed as targets for catapult fire.
To give you an impression of the
scale of a typical siege: Most castles only had a wartime crew of 20 to 50 soldiers (indeed, this was already considered a "medium size" castle), and only really large castles held up to 100 soldiers, and very few civilians, if any. Another example of a major siege gives 140 defending soldiers and a besieging force of 7000 (including 700 civilian workmen). The fact that even with this meagre garrison castles were seldom attacked in open battle gives an impression of the relative strengths of attackers and defenders. Keep this in mind when creating own scenarios. If you are not convinced, just join the live-roleplayers and try to storm a manned rampart! (By the way, this is where the dogs pop into the game again: The small garrison force had to rely on them as sentries to alert the soldiers when something unusual turned up.)
I kept the barrels of oil in the arsenal, though few defenders would have had stores of oil sufficient to use it in large scale (in fact, they probably represent a petroleum-based mixture called "Greek Fire"). To create a balance I introduced "cauldrons of boiling water" which should have been easier to prepare, and which give defenders the chance to use the oil against realistic targets like the ram or siege towers. Ah, yes, the siege tower: If its height seems somewhat flexible this only portrays that siege towers were built on demand, and in the height needed (which usually meant that they were a bit higher than the embattlements).
I decided to describe two different battering methods. One is abstract (I called it "offboard", and it is taken from the "Siege" rules). This method is suited well to more or less describe the course of a whole siege. The other is rather direct (I called it "onboard"), and may serve to illustrate the action on one or a few consecutive days of a siege.
To describe a
still is entirely outside the scope of "Cry Havoc!", I believe. A siege was a major enterprise which was usually solved as much by political as by military means. It could take any form from a series of skirmishes to a year-long blockade and was often mainly a mutual demonstration of power to provide a basis for negotiation. Supply problems and attempts to call in relief forces were important factors of the battle. The pure mechanical sapping and mining work was difficult to counter, went on with mathematical precision if undisturbed, but was often not even tried because of the huge logistic and manpower problems. When it was done, it often served mainly to gain an advantage in negotiations. Siege technique change little from the times of the Greek and Roman Empires until the late 15th century when cannon manufacture was perfected (although cannons had been in use from the 14th century on).
(For those of you who like to read: The Palladium RPG book "The Compendium of Weapons, Armour & Castles" (Detroit 1989, by Matthew Balent) contains information without end, and has the right amount of Hollywood in it, too. This and other book links are also found on my Medieval Links page.)
The night rules were taken mainly from "Samurai Blades", and then spiced up a bit.
Optional rules, again, are mainly a collection, with some details added by me. For campaign rules, for the time being you must refer to "Outremer" and the additional scenario booklets. The rules given there contain lots of ideas that will make a campaign real fun to play. The same goes for DYO scenarios.
Have Fun !
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, last change 2011-03-12