Saturday, July 7, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 14 - Explaining Oddities

Have you ever had one of those battles where the impossible happens and you have no idea how to explain it (or would) in a Battle Report?  Find out how in this post.

I actually have been having internet problems, so that is the reason that I haven't posted for two days (this being the third).  Of course I didn't write those articles until now, but there was a reason for you not getting them!  So here they are, as quickly as I can write them up now.

An update on how my resolution is going:  so far so good.  I keep working on touching up the two battlesuits that I have been working on since the start, they still only have two colors on and the primer on the bits that I'm doing other colors that are going to be less prolific on them.  I would be even farther along if I didn't keep having my battlesuits falling off my table and having their antennae/feet/miscellaneous accessories breaking off including their bloody bases (since these two are "flying" and so are on the older small round flying bases) or my broadsides fall off and everything breaks off of them.  I'm now resorting to using green stuff and gluing it because that’s the only reason one of the guys doesn't have one of his guns break off, all of the other guns off of all of them have the nasty habit of breaking for no reason.  But another 30 minutes of work on the two battlesuits (after making some more repairs as things broke again) and I'll finally be able to move on to other colors!  Yaaaaaay.  Now enough about me because you don't care but I tell you anyway to keep me honest.

So there are lots of strange things that happen in battles that can be difficult to explain in Battle Reports.  This post is designed to identify what the majority of those entail and how to explain them in your Battle Reports.  In general the categories that they all fall into are those that involve sheer chance, a change in battles (whether opponent's army or your list or your army's race changes), and explaining how things end up as they do.  How do you explain the casualties that occur in the game and yet the squad is back to full strength in the next one?  Shouldn't your main commander stay in his grave, how did he show back up again?  These are the types of issues that show up all the time in Battle Reports and its what makes them so hard to do and connect them in a logical and meaningful way.

How do you explain away chance?  When the impossible happens (take for instance the time when I fired every gun in my army at Khayvan Shrike.  And he lived.  Making somewhere near 20+ saves.  About 13 of which were 4+ invulnerable saves, 4 of those should have doubled him out and killed him because of my railguns.  That was hilarious while simultaneously maddening like nothing else).  This is where you can add an element of the awesome and epic to whatever happened (if it was lucky) or catastrophic failure (if the dice were determined to kill you).  Take that Shrike instance:  That is where I could have a brief passage about the power and abilities of a normal space marine, and then compare that to just how amazing Shrike is, being a captain, and provide a detailed account of how he dodged a maelstrom of fire, shrugging off those few shots to hit him with his super-human physique and overpowering his foes through a determination and force of will not present in anything but a space marine.  That kind of jargon.  This could be an action sequence that involves jumping from place to place, taking a few hits on the way and blocking a bunch with an improvised shield, adding that bad A$$ element to the character as he plowed on, completely unstoppable.  Use your imagination, what is it about an Action movie that gets you riled up and enjoying the show!  How would Michael Bay do it?  Explosions!  But that is beside the point, go for whatever feels to be the most awesome!

Explaining a change in your list or your opponent is actually very simple, the character has moved on to another part of the battle or this is another battle some time after the previous one, a continuation of the war.  Wars don't have to have just two sides, you could always be fighting several different armies at the same time, and your force just happens to be moving from front to front trying to help wherever they can against all the foes.  The more difficult thing to explain is casualties.  Make sure that when you detail the death of a character that occurred in the game you word it in such a way that they are incapacitated but not wounded unless you actually want them to die.  Also when writing your story you don't necessarily want the characters in the army to be what is in the list.  It wasn't actually Khan that you were fighting against, it was a Space Marine captain that followed his philosophy and style such that they behaved remarkably similar (without the comment on being remarkably similar).  The remaining casualties are easy enough, reserves for your army are filling the forces up, squads are being consolidated into fewer but bigger groups to make up for it, that sort of thing.

Hope this post was helpful, all three posts are going up simultaneously I guess (one of them is a compendium.  It counts because I say it does).

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