Friday, November 8, 2013


Always wanted to do a fight night. Okay, for the first battle, let's face off a hill giant and a troll. I seem to remember an argument in an old issue of Dragon or White Dwarf where the author argued a troll should be worth more experience points than a hill giant because it is more dangerous. Well, let's see what happens when these two square off.

Let's meet our challengers. First is the hill giant:

DAMAGE: 2-16
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Throw Rock up to 20” for 2-16
MORALE: 86-87% (Base 50% + 5%/hit die over 1 + 1% per additional hit point)

I rolled: 8, 8, 8, 5, 5, 8, 1, 7 and added 2
(I rolled a d6, 1-3 would be +1, 4-6 would be +2, and I rolled a '4')

The average would be 8 X 4.5 +1.5 = 37.5, so this hill giant is a bit tougher than usual.

Next is the troll:

DAMAGE: 5-8/5-8/2-12
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Regeneration, Only Surprised on a 1
MORALE: “A troll knows no fear and attacks unceasingly”
HIT POINTS: 7, 5, 1, 4, 7, 8 + 6 = 38

The average hit points for a troll is 6 X 4.5 +6 = 33, so this troll is also a bit on the tough side.

For the purposes of this encounter, the two will meet in the wilderness in the hilly terrain in which both can be found. The first thing to do is roll for surprise. The DM (me) rolls a 5 for the hill giant and he is not surprised. The troll is only surprised on a 1, and I roll a 4, so it is also not surprised.

Next we have to determine encounter distance. Page 49 in the DMG tells us outside encounter distance is 6” to 24”. Because we don't have surprise and the terrain is hilly, we don't have to adjust it. I roll 6d4 and get 16”.

The two see each other and decide to see who should own the territory. We have to declare intentions. The hill giant decides to throw a rock and the troll decides to charge. Now to roll initiative. The hill giant rolls a '5' and the troll rolls a '3', so the hill giant goes first. He throws his boulder and I roll a 20 to hit, so he does 13 points of damage. The troll is already down to 25 hit points before melee can even begin.

Okay, so now the troll can charge. He has a movement rate of 12”, but in the outdoors a biped can add 1/3 of its move to the charge. This brings him to

12” + 12”/3 = 12” + 4” = 16”

So he can get the whole distance in one round. At the end of the charge, he can attack. The troll's AC is worse by one (AC 5) because of the charge, but if he survives the hill giant's hit, he can attack at +2.

The hill giant has a longer reach than the troll. He is taller and has a club, so he can strike at the charging troll first. He rolls an '8' and only needs a '7' with the troll's new AC, so he hits the troll for (roll) only 3 hit points of damage. The troll can now finish its charge attack and only needs a '7' to hit because of its +2 bonus. It rolls '11', '18', and '13'. All three hits! The troll does 5-8/5-8/2-12 damage. Rolling that adds up to 5 +7 + 9 = 21 points to the hill giant.

After the first round, the troll has 22 hit points and the hill giant has 24 hit points.

The hill giant has taken more than 25% of his hit point damage, but less than 50%, so he should roll for morale. He rolls a '35'. This is adjusted by +5% to 40%, but is still well below his morale of 87%, so he fights on!

The next round. New intentions, both monsters decide to slug it out. Rolling for initiative, the hill giant rolls a '1' and the troll rolls a '5'. The troll can attack first. He now needs a '9' to hit the AC 4 hill giant because his charge is used up. He rolls a '12', '5', and '9', so he hits twice and does a total of 6 + 11 = 17 hit points of damage.

The hill giant is now at 7 hit points and must pass morale again. He faces the same problem, but has now lost more than 50% of his hit points, making his roll at +15%. He rolls an '8' on the % dice. The adjusted value is 23%, still well below his morale of 87%. He stays and fights.

He can now attack. He needs an '8' to hit the troll, whose AC is no longer affected by the charge. He rolls an '18' and hits easily for 14 hit points of damage.

After the second round the troll has 6 hit points and the hill giant has 7.

Third round. New intentions declared and both decide to continue the melee. Surely one will be the victor. Will it be the giant or the horrid troll?

Both roll a '4' for initiative so that means simultaneous attacks. The hill giant rolls a '17' to hit and does 6 damage, enough to bring the troll to 0 hit points! But the troll rolls a '9', '9', and an '8'. Good enough to hit twice and it does a total of 12 points of damage and the giant is reduced to -5 hit points.

Well, there you have it. The troll has been reduced to 0 hit points but will begin to regenerate in round 4 (3 rounds after suffering damage) and can live to fight another day.

Things could have gone differently for the giant. Some people like to play 'double damage on a 20'. His first strike with the rock was a natural '20' and if that rule was in effect, the giant would have won. Also, if the giant's damage was calculated using his strength score of 19 (+7 to damage) instead of the MM version of a straight 2-16 points, he also probably would have won. Alas.

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