Nordlond Bestiary – Baenadyrid in Action

Nordlond Bestiary from Gaming Ballistic is an upcoming Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game supplement chock full  of gorgeously illustrated Dungeon Fantasy monsters (perfectly usable within the broader GURPS scope as well). Its Kickstarter campaign runs for another week at the time of this writing, so if you want more monsters for your DF(RPG) games, don’t forget to back it!

Chatting on the Gamig Ballistic Discord server the other day I decided to test one of the monsters being published in the book – the Baenadyrid, a small bug-like demon designed to swarm and soften up the opposition in great numbers. I pitted it against a 62-point knight built with Delvers to Grow. Now this is probably the most solidly built defensive character for that point level (with a couple points spent for extra gear beyond the default starting $1000), rocking 4 DR over most hit locations, a block score of 15, a parry of 13 with a balanced dwarven axe, and a dodge score of 11 – all including the DB from a large shield, which also doesn’t penalize him due to the Shield Wall perk from the Juggernaut upgrade module. Oh, he also does a very respectable (for the point level) 2d+1 cutting damage with the axe.

Here’s a transcript of the first 1v1 fight:

Round 1
Knight acts first due to higher Basic Speed, hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 11 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 12 injury, baenadyrid is out (-1 HP)

That went quick. A single solid blow from a beefy character, even at 62 points, will knock this sucker out. Let’s give it another go:

Round 1
Knight acts first due to higher Basic Speed, hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 5 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 3 injury
Baenadyrid does not go berserk (12)
Baenadyrid spits at knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 2
Knight steps forward
Knight hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid dodges with retreat (11)
Baenadyrid rolls 6 on 1d and spits at knight again (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 3
Knight misses baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid rolls 5 on 1d and spits at knight again (12) and misses
Round 4
Knight hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid dodges with retreat (11)
Baenadyrid rolls 3 on 1d, can’t spit
Baenadyrid steps forward and tries to slash knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 5
Knight hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid dodges with retreat (11)
Baenadyrid rolls 1 on 1d, can’t spit
Baenadyrid steps forward and tries to slash knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 6
Knight hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid dodges with retreat (11)
Baenadyrid rolls 4 on 1d, can’t spit
Baenadyrid steps forward and tries to slash knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 7
Knight hits baenadyrid with axe (13)
Baenadyrid fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 10 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 10 injury; baenadyrid was already at 8 HP and is now out (-2 HP)

As we see here, in the best case the baenadyrid can just delay its inevitable demise. Its best course of action would be try and grapple the knight using an All-Out Attack (Double) and hope that the knight fails his parry roll of 13 (14 with retreat) because he sure won’t fail at blocking. If it succeeds, the knight will have -3 to DX due to having a large shield in close combat on top of -2 from being grappled, and the demon is likely to win. If it fails… well, no sense protracting the fight anyway.

But how does the knight fare when outnumbered? Let’s see.

2 baenadyrids vs 1 knight

Round 1
Knight acts first due to higher Basic Speed, hits baenadyrid 1 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid 1 dodges with retreat (11)
Baenadyrid 1 spits at knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Baenadyrid 1 steps forward (wants to grapple next turn)
Baenadyrid 2 spits at knight (12) and hits
Knight fails to dodge (11)
Spittle deals 2 corrosive damage
Round 2
Knight misses baenadyrid 1 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid rolls 1 on 1d, can’t spit
Baenadyrid 1 steps in close combat and tries to cutting grapple knight (12) and hits
Knight dodges (14) while retreating
Spittle from baenadyrid 2 deals another 2 damage, for 4 total
Baenadyrid 2 steps forward to close gap made by knight’s retreat and slashes (12) and hits
Knight blocks with shield (15)
Round 3
Knight hits baenadyrid 1 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid 1 fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 7 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 6 injury; 1 suffers -4 shock and is at 5 HP
Baenadyrid 1 steps forward and tries to slash knight (8) and misses
Spittle from baenadyrid 2 deals another 2 damage, for 6 total – reducing knight’s DR on torso by 1
Baenadyrid 2 steps into close combat and tries to cutting grapple knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks while retreating (15)
Round 4
Knight steps forward to hit baenadyrid 1 with axe (13) and hits
Baenadyrid 1 fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 11 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 12 injury; baenadyrid 1 is out
… rest of the fight skipped due to Knight being superior in 1v1

With the demons not using All-Out Attack (Double) in hopes of grappling the knight, they have a really hard time doing anything other than corroding his armor. Even with that… the knight can retreat and dodge vs one baenadyrid at a score of 14, and block and parry the second one at 15 and 13, respectively. But let’s juice this up a bit more…

3 baenadyrids vs 1 knight

Round 1
Knight acts first due to higher Basic Speed, hits baenadyrid 1 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid 1 fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 7 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 6 injury; baenadyrid 1 suffers -4 shock and is at 5 HP
Baenadyrid 1 steps forward and tries to slash knight (8) and misses
Baenadyrid 2 steps to knight’s side and spits at him (12) and hits
Knight blocks (13)
Baenadyrid 3 steps to knight’s side and spits at him (12) and hits
Knight dodges (9)
Round 2
Knight hits baenadyrid 1 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid 1 dodges with retreat (11)
Knight steps back to have 2 baenadyrids in front-side hexes and baenadyrid 1 at reach 3 in front hex
Baenadyrid 1 steps forward and spits at knight (12) and hits
Knight blocks (15)
Baenadyrid 2 steps to knight’s side and slashes him (12)
Knights dodges with retreat (10)
Baenadyrid 3, now in knight’s front hex, steps into his front-right hex but fails to slash him (12)
Round 3
Knight sidesteps so that baenadyrid 3 is in his front hex – baenadyrid 2 is now at reach 3 and baenadyrid 1 quite farther away
Knight hits baenadyrid 3 with axe (13)
Baenadyrid 3 fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 5 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 3 injury; baenadyrid 3 suffers -3 shock and is at 8 HP
Baenadyrid 1 runs around into knight’s back hex, enters close combat and hits him with cutting grapple (9)
Knight dodges by retreating directly in front of baenadyrid 3, and turns one facing left so that baenadyrid 3 is in his front-right hex and baenadyrid 1 in his left side hex
Baenadyrid 2 runs around baenadyrid 1 and the knight, entering close combat with the knight from his rear hex, but misses with the cutting grapple (9)
baenadyrid 3 steps into close combat with knight as well but misses due to shock (9)
Round 4
Knight steps into the lower-left hex; baenadyrid 1 is in his lower-right hex, baenadyrid 2 is in his upper-right hex and baenadyrid 3 is one hex up from that
He changes facing so that baenadyrid 1 is in his front-right hex and baenadyrid 2 in his front central hex
He whacks baenadyrid 1 with his axe (14)
Baenadyrid 1 fails to dodge with retreat (11)
Knight deals 5 cutting damage (2d+1) for a total of 3 injury; baenadyrid 1 is down to 5 HP and suffering -3 shock
Baenadyrid 1 runs around the knight and enters close combat from his back hex, but misses (9)
Baenadyrid 2 enters close combat with the knight from his front hex and hits him with cutting grapple (12)

The knight is now in a pickle, because he is in close combat with 2 foes from diametrically opposite sides; this means that no matter into which hex he wishes to retreat, he has to evade one of the baenadyrids!

The knight makes a contest of DX at -5 (because the foe is standing) vs the baenadyrid 1 at his back and fails, so he cannot retreat from baenadyrid 2
The knight fails to dodge (11)
Baenadyrid 2 deals 2 points of cutting damage (1d+1) which doesn’t penetrate armor but also inflicts the same amount of control! The Knight is now grappled with a -2 DX penalty
Baenadyrid 3 performs a Move and Attack and enters the knight’s hex from one of his sides but misses the grapple (9)
Round 5
The knight attempts to break free of the grapple but he suffers a total of -5 to his DX (-2 from being grappled and -3 from his shield)! He fails to so (6), and we may conclude this fight now as with those penalties and 3 little demons grappling him, the knight is generally going down.

 

Ironically, it seems that the demons defeated the knight primarily through a quirk of the rules when a demon entering close combat misses the knight. Since the demon missed, the knight couldn’t retreat, and so remains in close combat. If another demon then enters close combat with the knight from the opposite hex than the first demon, the knight can no longer retreat anywhere without evading, which he is going to fail because evading has a base -5 penalty if your foe is standing. So it seems that even 2 demons could be able to beat the knight, but only through the exploitation of this rules quirk; the first demon runs around the knight and enters close combat from the back, and misses so the knight remains in close combat. The second demon then enters close combat from the front, and if the knight fails his dodge (without retreat), he is grappled, and will generally go down because his DB 4 shield is now -4 to his DX.

Conclusion

The knight used in these fights was likely the optimal fighter-type at 62 points. Other fighty characters would have likely fared poorer, but even non-fighter ones would likely come out on top against a single baenadyrid. That is fine. This is a monster you throw at the party in a 2:1 or bigger ratio to soften them up In such a case even a 62-point party probably wouldn’t suffer significant injuries, but their armor would be corroded and maybe some healing expended to set them up against the baenadyrids’ master.

Oh, this was also the first time I’ve built a 62-point DF character – I was extremely surprised at how solid the knight was even with so few points.

 

Disclaimer: I’m a subscriber of Gaming Ballistic’s Patreon and a fan of Doug’s work in general. So I guess you could call me biased. It’s good stuff though!

 

Update

By popular request, here is the knight used in the test. It is a 62-point Delvers to Grow knight with the juggernaut upgrade module who spent 3 quirk points for extra money used to buy a balanced dwarven axe, a large shield and huskarl’s armor.