WIP - "Rescue of Hommlet" - Rules and Scenario

In preparation for my first real foray into Greyhawk at GaryCon 2020, I've been reading the T1 "Village of Hommlet" module, as well as researching rules! My intent is to create an OD&D/Chainmail experience.

To that end, I've finished both the rules for combat and determined who will be present in the first Act of the game, as the Hommlet militia marches upon the Moathouse to deal with rumors of evil lurking.

My approach will be that all non-combat (melee, missile, movement, morale) related situations will be adjudicated using OD&D (1974 only) as the foundation. I think this will mainly relate to magic and general activities. There is some exploring that can happen during/after Act 1, depending on time and how things go. I'm wondering if time may run out before we can get to Act 2, the Temple's denizens marching in force on Hommlet!

When combat occurs, I am going to use a Chainmail-like combat approach. I have several inspirations and sources on the rules that I am going to use:
  • Kevin Cabai of the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society - Midwest runs Chainmail games regularly at events across the region. His Middle Earth/Tolkein based scenarios like "Orcs Drift" and Second Age scenarios are great fun. He runs a modified version of Chainmail that is somewhat simpler and easy to run with. 
  • The booklet "Compleat Chainmail", edited by Aldarron of the OD&D Proboards forum - this booklet is a great resource for understanding how to use Chainmail in OD&D.
  • The booklet "Forbidden Lore" by Jason Vey - another great resource for Chainmail in OD&D.
  • The game "Book of War" by Daniel Collins - readers of my blog know how much I enjoy playing Book of War and respect it's simple, D&D compatible approach
  • "Goliath" and "Grognard" - a Chainmail "hack" and a Chainmail retroclone, compiled and created by krusader74 of the OD&D Proboards forum.
The biggest features/differences of my approach to using Chainmail for combat resolution are:
  • Simplified the rules to basics - morale, movement, missiles, melee. 
  • Instead of using Chainmail's mechanic of "roll x number of dice per y figures, must roll z or higher to hit", I'm simplifying to mashing together the "Compleat Chainmail" approach of "Fighting Capability" and Book of War's one number "Armor Hit" approach. To whit, each figure of a unit, each character and creature has a "fighting capability" number. This represents number of dice they can throw in combat (missile or melee). The Book of War "Armor Hit" is the target they must throw against to hit a particular defending/armor type.
  • Missile fire uses the melee mechanic. 
  • Morale is based on a fixed number for each type of unit
Here is a link to the rules as they stand right now. Note - this is to the actual Google Doc and you might/will see changes! You're very welcome to copy and fold/spindle/mutilate for your own game!

I will be play-testing these rules over the Christmas holidays with my friends from the NIFMA (Northern Illinois Fantasy Miniatures Association) - Art and Chris. Possibly Derek as well! 

For the order of battle, I've gone back through and brought my initial list in line with the combat rules from above and cross referencing against the T1 module to get their stats correct. Right now, this is how it looks:

Troop units - 8
Mercenaries (2) - 2 HF/HF (1 bow , 1 hurled, swords)

Militia (6) - 4 LF/LF , 1 Archers LF/LF (bow), 1 HF/LF 

Characters - 9
Leader - Rufus, Fighter 6 - FC 6 - HF/HF
(+1 chain, +1 battleaxe)

Merc Captain, Fighter 5 - FC 5 - HF/AF (+1 sword, +2 shield)

Elderly Farmer, Captain - Fighter 4 - FC 4 - HF/HF (Sword/Crossbow) [Militia]

Elmo, Ranger 4 - FC 4 - HF/AF (+1 chain, +2 shield, +1 battleaxe/+2 dagger) [Militia/Archers] 

Calmert, Cleric 3 - FC 2 - HF/AF  (+1 mace, holy water) [Militia] 

Brother Smyth, Druid 3 - FC 2 - LF/LF (quarterstaff, hammer) [Militia] 

Spugnoir, Magic User 2 - FC 1+1 - LF/Un (dagger) 

Furnock of Ferd, Thief 4 - FC 2+1 - LF/LF (short sword, ring of invisibility, scroll: prot/magic)

Not involved in Act 1
Terjon, Cleric 6
Burne - Magic User 8
Jaroo Ashstaff - Druid 7
Troop units - 7
“New Master” Guards (2) - HF/HF (2 crossbow)

Brigands (1) HF/LF (1 hurled) 

Bugbears/Gnolls (1) FC 2 - AF/HF

Undead - Zombies (1) FC 2 - HF/LF

Giant Rats (1) FC 1 - LF/LF (lurkers!)

Characters - 6
Leader - Lareth, Cleric 5 - FC 3+1 - HF/AF (staff of striking, mace, +1 plate) [Guards/Undead]

Lieutenant, Fighter 4 - FC 4 - HF/AF (sword, hand axe) [Guards]

Brigand Leader, Fighter 2 - FC 2 -  HF/HF (sword, spear) [Brigands] 

Zert - spy, Fighter 2 - FC 2 - HF/HF (sword, dagger)

Kobort, Fighter 2 - FC 2 - HF/AF (flail, axe)

Turuko, Monk 3 - FC 3 - HF/UnA

Creatures 6
Small Ogre (FC4, HF/HF)
Giant Lizard (FC4, HF/HF, SA: If all 4 dice hit, double damage)
4 Ghouls (FC2, LH/HH SA: Paralyze till touched by Hero+)

I have to tell you, I think the Hommlet forces are going to have a hard go of it. Not only with the ogre and lizard. Those four ghouls are going to cause some havoc unless Calmert can turn a few of them, which I will allow in accordance with OD&D rules! That's why I'll play-test, to see how this turns out!

Why am I excluding Terjon, Burne and Jaroo? From reading their descriptions in the module, I got the sense that they would not necessarily be all that interested in this jaunt. I am leaving them in the back of my head just in case they are needed to balance out things for the forces of Weal.

So what do you think?


  1. I think I wish I lived in the midwest! Very cool.

    1. Yeah, one of these years I need to get to GaryCon. Always seems to sneak up on me. Plus, this year it sounds like they overbooked a bunch of people.

      Good luck with the game. A re-imagining or alternate take on Hommlet sounds great.

  2. I just want to comment back (after some time you commented on my set of rules for Chainmail). I reread the same influence as you have and I think I'll go with an approach that looks like yours. I'll finish up my idea, do some playtesting and I'll see what gives.


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