OLY: breaking Beastmastery

Robert Christopher Butchko (rcb@kaiwan009.kaiwan.com)
18 Sep 1995 14:07:45 -0700

It seems like the latter stages of Olympia Game One is going to involve
tens of hundreds of dragons splashing up against each other, as the AOO
dragon farms confront other alliances and their dragon farms; every
other fighting piece having been rendered irrelevant.
Or, I could be wrong. Something bad will happen to the dragon armies
and they will prove too costly to rebuild. Toffler, I'm not. (Note:
I am uninterested in whether Toffler was Toffler. Do not respond...)
Anyway, what should be done about the grand issue of our day:
I. Moderate Suggestions
A. Lessen dragons by changing their combat ratings
They're over twice as good as giant birds (but they can't fly). What
if they were not (500,500) but (250, 200) or so? Giant Birds are (200, 150),
and they are the next-best piece.
B. Lessen dragons by making them heavier
Three dragons can mount up on two flying horses. Is this really an
offense against reality that should continue?
B1. No one item heavier than 150 can be flown. If you have a mass of
items, all under 150, you can slop them together. Otherwise they walk.
B1A. New construction skill: Make Cargo Net: Using hemp grasses and
iron bits, construct a net used to transport heavy items from multiple
flying pieces. One week is required to construct a cargo net, with one
additional day to enlarge it for each hundredweight over its initial
capacity of six.
B2. Make them slower. Dragons cannot be carried, and move at walking
speed. You can put the damn things on horses or oxen, either.
B2A. New construction skill: Create Flatbed cart. Self-evident.
C. Lessen dragons by making varieties.
You have your landwalkers [286], big, strong, and hard to move. You
could get firedrakes [287], flying beasts with breath attacks (25,25,100),
or you could get Serpents [288], nasty snakes with vulnerable arteries
running the length of their bodies (150,10). Other varieties are left as
an exercise for the student.
D. Lessen Breed Beasts by introducing Gestation periods
Breed rats: one day.
Breed giant lizards: three days
Breed Nazgul: six days
Breed dragon: 14 days.
These dates are not my concrete suggestions, just examples.
E. Lessen Breed Beasts by making each breeding a skill
[9508]: Breed smaller mammals
[9509]: Breed Avians
[9508]: breed rats
[9508]: breed rats named Willard on Thursdays
F. Make crossbreeding a separate skill
Makes it a research and study harder to get started.
G. Make each crossbreeding a separate skill
As above, making it a separate step harder.
H. Require breeding before crossbreeding.
Makes it harder to get to, and prevents:
Dummy Breedonly [pf0k]
Breed Beast, Grand Master (via scroll)
I. Lessen Dragons by making Knights relevant
(This shouldn't be a coding nightmare: catapults and towers already
target castles) Knights, now quaint, antiquated, and useless, will
automatically target dragons if they are selected to attack, and
have a 50% chance of killing the dragon [or automatically destroy
the dragon]. I think right now fighting men are sort-of secondary in
the game. Why even make Elite Guards, after all?
II. Stronger Suggestions
A. Breed Beasts costing 1 NP
It's important, hard, and an advanced knowledge. This will keep a
faction from having too many beastmasters a-breeding, and make the
larger alliances like the [grossly misunderstood] AOO and its [well-
intentioned] member factions from being able to tax so many dragons
per turn without significant pain.
B. Breeding only takes place in Spring months
You have two months per year to make as many animals as you can. Good
luck. (This is also good so that my breeders can get off that duty an
do some other damn thing part of the time.)
B2. Breeding only takes place two months a year, each beast. Good luck
finding out. Smaller mammals get frisky in the spring, lizards in
the fall, and minotaurs in the heat of summer. Dragons don't breed
in consecutive months, but in ___ and ___. This is an annoying little
wrinkle, but is a bit of info that's more of a stumbling block that'll
become irrelevant once known. And who cares when rats breed?
C. Beasts have Gender.
You know, there are plenty of giant lizards around, but there are
damn few male ones. And isn't it vexing that giant birds kill almost
all the females in the nest? All this makes finding matches hard,
and breeding fatalities a big problem.
D. Breed Beasts Requires Religion and Beastmastery
Sorta like Druidicism. Few factions have more than one priest,
and they usually have enough interesting things to do.
E. Beasts cannot enter or attack Structures
Sure, it's a big change. But when do you think we'll ever see
a big attack out on a field of battle the way things are? Unless
there's some reason to intercept an attacking force, all we'll
ever see are seiges and rare ambushes. I actually like this the best
because it would bring about a host of tactical changes. (Note:
beasts should balk at entering castled provinces. Nice try, guys)
This would also reaffirm the usefulness of men, as the only pieces that
matter for attacking/defending castles.
E2. Beastmasters cannot stack when holding beasts, and beastmasters
cannot have both beasts and men. I haven't thought this all the way
out, but I'm sure it'd be a pain in the neck sometimes...
[end proposal mode]
That all said, I really liked the beastmastery system before the
emergence of dragons as the be-all end-all. Maybe if it's tweaked a
bit I can someday achieve my dream of rampaging rat armies....