Monday, January 4, 2016

CER: Phalanx

Phalanx and Friends
I've made it no secret on my blog that I love From Software's Souls games. Today, taking a break from relatively weak enemies, I want to look at an enemy that, although simple, has a lot of interesting mechanical possibility. So I decide I will model the Phalanx and his friends, the hoplites, from Demon's Souls.

The rabble

Hoplites, the weak enemies that protect the main core need to be weak enough to be considered fodder or nuisance level by most players. There are a lot of them after all, so a good successful hit that gets past the shield should succeed. They are extremely vulnerable to fire, and move very slowly, but they can throw an infinite number of spears which they seemingly generate from nothing. Perhaps the spears comes from inside of itself? In any case, something that is approximately 8 to 10 will generally be considered a nuisance or fodder for almost all players. Starting with the parameters of being very slow, good at blocking, vulnerable to fire, and capable of throwing spears, we can put the following together:

Attack Skill2Active Defense14
Affliction0Damage Resistance-6
Fatigue Points0Hit Points-5
Total Offensive Rating (OR)6Total Protective Rating (PR)3

So, in one try, we have a monster that is basically what we want, and we hit our target of 9. This means that if you like playing with the fodder rules, and I'd very much recommend it in a fight against a swarm of 35 of these guys, one hit that breaks through the defenses is a win. In monster format, this guys stat block looks like:

ST: 10HP: 5Speed: 4.5
DX: 8Will: 10Move: 2*
IQ: 5Per: 10
HT: 10FP: 10SM: -1
Dodge: 9*Block: 15DR: 0
Spear (12): Reach 1, 1d impaling
Throw Spear (8): Range 10/15, Acc 2, 1d+1 impaling
Protect: Many hoplites will lay upon the top of the Phalanx using sacrificial block to protect it.
Traits: Sacrificial Block, Spearwall Training, Slave Mentality, Vulnerability (Fire) 2x
Skills: Shield-18, Spear-12, Thrown Weapon (Spear)-8

This monster has a high shield skill, but will never attack with a shield, it is mindless, and only exists to protect the Phalanx Demon. It moves slowly without thought for tactics, except for the goal of protecting the Phalanx. Move and Dodge are modified above in accordance to the weight of carrying a large shield and spear, which it will never remove; it grows new spears if it throws one.

The Phalanx Proper

The Phalanx Demon proper has very few offensive capabilities or even defensive capabilities. It is a nigh immobile core that takes a while to put down. The real threat is the huge swarm of monsters in the room. It does have one strong attack, but it uses it seldomly: it projects a large spear from its body like a thrown spear, but as more of an innate attack.
Shooting for a weakish boss that moves very slowly, I come up with this.

Attack Skill2Active Defense0
Affliction0Damage Resistance-6
Fatigue Points0Hit Points104
Total Offensive Rating (OR)12Total Protective Rating (PR)102
This demon has a CER of about 114. I really took a big guess at the Hit Point value because of its one incredibly powerful defense: the ability to regenerate more servants, which I took as a resurrection type ability, which I estimated to be about 220 points. It also has the ability to regenerate health at 1 HP per second. It has decreased time rate because it attacks so slowly, but this does not affect its regeneration rate. Putting its stats together, I get:

ST: 16HP: 50Speed: 4.5
DX: 8Will: 10Move: 4
IQ: 10Per: 10
HT: 10FP: 10SM: +3
Dodge: 8Parry: N/ADR: 0

Throw Spear (8): Range 16/24, Acc 2, 2d impaling
Generate Hoplites : If any hoplites are dead, it will generate up to 3 more to replenish the ranks.
Traits: Regeneration (Fast), Vulnerability (Fire) 2x, Unfazable
Skills: Thrown Weapon (Spear)-8

Have the boss attempt the Generation move every third attack. The Phalanx will always aim for the maximum aim bonus of +4 over three turns, so that means it will attempt to create more allies every 4+4 = 8 turns, or thereabouts. Be very familiar with the horde rules for zombies; the hoplites fight in huge swarms in a very similar fashion, and it will probably be prohibitively slow to run so many enemy attacks in a single turn.

Other Notes

These numbers indicate that this is a challenging fight, worthy of being considered a boss, for a very small group of delvers around 250 points, or a normal to large group of delvers using less than the 125 point templates. I have not play tested it yet, but I would be interested in this type of encounter, and I might even use something like this in an upcoming game. Thematic with the weapon that the Phalanx uses, in the game, you can create a Scraping Spear from its soul. A weapon like this in GURPS might be modeled as a spear that does a large amount of corrosion damage linked to the spear's original impaling damage. This is not a difficult weapon to model, so I leave it as an exercise to the reader. To put it on par with Demon's Souls, I might say it is a Corrosive Innate Attack 2 or Corrosive Innate Attack 3, No Wounding that is executed before the spear's normal impaling (or crushing if used blunt-end-first) damage.

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