People have asked if I might make a fantasy supplement for OMOK (One Man, One Knight). As this is a man-to-man skirmish game, too many fantastic elements would make it another thing entirely. I am familiar with some fantasy games, though I am not a fantasy gamer myself. I still have my old copy of Gary Gygaz’s Chainmail” with its fantasy supplement, and Fantasy Games Unlimited’s Royal Armies of the Hyborian Age. A couple of versions of the Wargames Research group’s ancient rules from the early 70s also have a fantasy supplement. Granted that the supplements for all three were meant for mass battles.
On the other extreme were the old Metagaming Rules called Melee, Wizard and their advanced versions. They started as simple man-to-man combat games and evolved into a full Fantasy series. OMOK is a game for a squad-sized unit, ideally of 10 to 15 men. The Metagaming Rules offer a few ideas, but have their limits for OMOK.
The addition of magick is another problem, because it can change the whole game from a squad-sized battle to a magical contest. For a skirmish, the only spell lthat might be useful is to hide troops such as imps and halflings.
Listed below are some ideas I had. Nothing is written in stone. This is mostly a game of combat. Perhaps in the future I will be able to come up with a genuine fantasy supplement that keeps the spirit of OMOK without becoming another piece of nerdware.
OMOK Fantasy Supplement
These are my notes:
As this is a skirmish game, the focus will be on small units of 8 to 20 figures per side. The reason for the disparity with OMOK’s 10 to 15 figures is a matter of the size of fantastic critters. For a balanced game, one might need fewer large characters such as Ogres and more small ones like Halflings and Goblins. This is a combat game on a very small man-to-man scale. There is little room for magickal elements and for larger, more dangerous critters such as dragons, tree-men and thurses.
In our fantasy world, the species of sentient beings are split according in two. Subspecies of one type are humans, dwarves and halflings. Subspecies of the other are ogres, trolls, goblins, imps and orques. Elves are of a different order entirely.
Ogres / Trolls : larger beings of a savage nature. Ogres tend to be hard to control. Trolls are a bit less unruly, and may have a magickal element to them.
Dvaergs, Dwarves: small, strong people who are skilled miners and smiths. They prefer to live underground. Whie they have the strength of man-sized beings, they are not as fast.
Goblins: Think of the green version of dwarves. Goblins tend to dislike bright sunlight. They prefer woods and the shade of towns.
Elves: lithe beings renowned for archery. These are smaller than men and wear light or no armor.
Halflings: like Hobbits, very small people who are good at hiding. Halflings fare poorly in close combat against larger beings. However, they can throw stones with the impact and accuracy of a short bow.
Imps: think of green halflings. who hate bright sunlight. Imps do not have the halfling stone-throwing ability. They are good archers and get a +1 when shooting at enemies who are smaller than man-sized.
Orques: man-sized beings, strong but not bright. Hard to command because they tend to act on their whims.
I imagine ogres as being big and nasty. They operate in twos and threes, motivated mostly by instinct and emotion. These are not logical beings. Ogres will attack the nearest enemy unit provided they have an advantage. They are smart enough to know when to avoid a fight. When overwhelmed, they will rout and run through anyone in their path.
When fighting ogres, the Rule of 3 becomes the rule of 4 for man-sized combatants and the Rule of 5 for halflings, goblins and elves.
Dvaergs work well on hills and in woods. They are strictly hand-to-hand fighters. As such, they get +1 when defending a hill or woods. They move slower than humans, deduct 1 from their movement in towns, on open ground and on roads.
Goblins do well on hills and in woods. They do not like direct sunlight. If they are in the open for more than three turns and are not engaged in combat with an enemy unit, they roll a die for control. 1, 2 and 3 means they move to the nearest shade: woods, a town or a hill. An officer with the goblins adds 1 to that roll. Of course, this does not apply on an overcast day. Unlike dvaergs, goblins can have archers and slingers firing the short bow.
Elves are like nature spirits. The are lithe and agile. Archery is their milieu. They move quickly and shoot well. Elvers are especially mobile in their own element. On the other end, they are less capable of sustaining damage in close combat. they fight man-sized opponents at -1. Against men, the Rule of 3 becomes a rule of 4.
Halflings are not usually involved in combat. For them to be present on a battlefield, there must be a special reason, such as having their homes in the line of combat. These small people move slow and are at a -2 in close combat. However, they throw stones as if firing a short bow. Halflings can hide easily, so they could launch an ambush and be a nuisance to regular units. Against men, , the Rule of 3 becomes a Rule of 5
Imps are nuisance critters attached to part of the landscape. They are more prone to mischief than actual fighting. Imps will harass anyone on either side who enters their land feature. They fight man-sized beings at -2 and cannot use missile weapons. Against men, , the Rule of 3 becomes a Rule of 5
Elves can also be nuisance creatures. They might be attached to a wood, pond, swamp or hill. Any unit passing through an elven place has to get safe passage. You need a 4, 5 or 6 to get past the elves unscathed. An elven unit can add 1 to the die roll. 1, 2 and 3 means you have to fight the elves until you get beyond their place.
Officers with the unruly and the unpredictable nature of some species, an officer is essential. He is there to ensure obedience through inspired leadership or fear. When guiding ogres, orques and goblins, it helps to have a leader who is bigger ane meaner than they are. A troll is a suitable officer for orgres. A ferocious human can handle orques to a point.
Years ago, I was an avid reader of the stories of Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard, and additions by L. Sprague DeCamp and others. I was already familiar with Norse and German folkore as well as some of the Irish folktales along the same lines. The Conan stories had a more realistic feel than Tolkein’s stories. Fanatsy & Science Fiction was a great magazine then, and often included a couple of high-end fantasy tales. One of the most entertaining books I had read was ‘Three Hearts and Three Lions” by Poul Anderson. For instance, the book’s telling of a run-in with a troll is some of the best fantasy I have read. Also, the lead character is a Dane who thinks and acts very much like a modern Scandinavian. Seeing a 20th Century Northman encounter a medieval fantasy realm is itself a funny thing.
There are many fantasy figures out there and they exceed the quality of what was available in the 1970s. Back then, I painted up a batch just for the fun of it. And it was fun. A cyclops in a leopard skin, some lizardly fellows, a werewolf, trolls and the like were a departure from historical figures. A person could easily make several fantasy units for OMOK.
I may continue with the project, or I may let it lie for a while. That remains to be seen. I am still working on a Sci-fi supplement to OMOG and a Samurai supplement to OMOK.
For your convenience, here is a link to the OMOK medieval skirmish game rules: http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/OMOKnights.pdf