“Instead of using one figure to represent numerous men, a single figure represents a single man. Use this system for small battles and castle sieges. When using the Man-to-Man Combat system all preceding [mass-combat] rules apply, except where amended below” (Chainmail, 25).
At the end of the skirmish phase (previous), Solon Theros excuses the commanders and allows the peasants to slink off the field. Remove those figures from the arena.
Champions of Chaos
“Allies You Have None” is the man-to-man combat phase of Champions of Chaos, an introductory wargame scenario, in which Solon Theros chooses champions to fight for Chaos.
Replace each standing unit, no matter how many figures remain, with two figures of its type. Place one where the unit stood, the other some distance away to avoid like-armament melee. For each unit without a standing figure, add one of its figures to the field where the unit met its end.
Each figure represents a warrior equipped as the figure, allowing for exceptions for variety in armor and weapon class.
Using my own field as an example, one figure of Meine’s Light Foot remains. I replace it with two figures. I allow one Light Foot, normally unarmored, to wear leather armor as the miniature wears. The other I designate to wear no armor. Another example, the same figure wields two daggers. To differentiate the figures—who are now “characters” after all—I give one a sword. I want to see how well an underdog performs, so the sword goes to the leather armored figure, while the unarmored figure begins with a pair of daggers.
Twelve to Twenty
If you have less than a dozen or more than a score of figures on the field, add or subtract some. Barring simultaneous combat, where opponents might slay each other, the number of melees you’ll fight is equal to the number of figures less one.
Although the figure scale is now 1:1, Gygax and Perren do not indicate any change in either the ground or time scales using the man-to-man system. This strains my imagination, but for the moment, I’ll leave it.
The intent of Champions of Chaos is to learn the Chainmail rules as written and use them at the table. Thereafter, armed with better understanding of their working, we may make adjustments in later scenarios of the Valormr Campaign.
The only note concerning the terrain is that columns, in addition to blocking movement, line of sight, and field of fire, may be used as cover versus missile fire. Chainmail says, “Cover subtracts from dice scores” (41), without stipulating the penalty. I suggest subtracting 1 or 2, depending on the attacker’s angle, allowing that full cover makes the target impervious.
Acquiring Shields and Additional Weapons
A victor may pickup the shield and weapons of the vanquished. Multiple weapons may be carried within reason. A dagger, sword, shield, and spear may be carried, for example, but if you don’t fight with the spear, it—or the shield—must be discarded. It comes to the same though, because you can pick up the spear after the melee if you aren’t bleeding out next to it.
To exercise the full range of weapon-versus-weapon and weapon-versus-armor classes, you might allow other weapon types to be picked up. At the end of a melee, roll a d12 on the weapon class list (Man-to-Man Melee Table, 41). A result of 1 to 8 indicates the corresponding weapon is nearby, in addition to the arms of the vanquished; 9-12 indicates no additional weapon is found.1
Allow the combatants to reduce by half your record keeping. Make no notes on armament until the end of a melee.
In a one-minute turn, picking up or discarding a shield or weapon takes no appreciable time, as does sheathing and drawing a weapon prior to engagement. A combatant who draws a weapon in melee, however, is treated as being attacked from the rear (25). You can do it, but you shouldn’t.
Additional weapons in one’s arsenal allow for choice in subsequent melees. As he approaches, consider your opponent’s weapons and armor compared to your own on the Melee Table (41) and the “first blow” rules (25). Don’t draw too soon. Given time, a clever opponent might, after you’ve drawn, drop one weapon and draw another before closing.
A combatant using a missile weapon attracts a charge from one to three of the closest opponents in missile range. This because every fighter knows that, even if they aren’t the first target, they might be the next.
Missile weapons are most judiciously used after the field is thinned. A stationary bowman fires at a range from 150 (bow) to 210 yards (longbow) twice per turn, but the second shot is taken at the end of the turn. Consider the number of targets and range before nocking an arrow.
Move, Missile, and Melee
Following the Turn Sequence (9), move each figure—charging whenever possible, take any missile fire, then resolve melees. By my reading of the rules, a man-to-man melee is resolved in its entirety within a single one-minute turn. For simplicity’s sake, conduct one melee at a time.
Because it would too onerous to roll first move (Turn Sequence, step 1) for a dozen figures, on the first turn assume movement is simultaneous but don’t write orders. Dice for first move at the beginning of a melee to determine which figure is the attacker and which the defender. The field should be considerably thinned by the second turn.
One Hit, One Kill
Modern adventure gamers might scour the Man-to-Man Combat section for how many hits a figure takes before it falls. The answer, though unwritten, is one. Hit points haven’t been invented yet.
In this series of melees, a story unfolds. One warrior is victorious over all opponents. Pit figure against figure until only one remains.
When Solon Theros calls the halt, your figure stands over the prone form of his or her last opponent. Scattered around the silent battlefield, a score of others, enemies and former comrades, stand over prone forms.
1 Weapons of classes above 8 are unwieldy in man-to-man combat. Just for fun though, pit a dagger against a two-handed sword.