Rank Equivalence

(Book 1, p74) or (Bestiary, p5)

(Lee Barklam)

In my experience, the Rank Equivalence values in the books for the creatures do not accurately reflect the outcome of a combat with the creature. I know Rank Equivalence is about more than just bashing something with a stick until it dies, but when I place creatures in the players' path, the most likely outcome is someone getting a beating, so I wanted a way to determine a more accurate combat outcome. Also, a quick scan through the Bestiary will highlight a number of creatures with the same Rank Equivalence that are anything but equivalent - for example, the Giant Rat, Apeman and Skeleton. And each of these three examples are far inferior to a first rank Knight in a toe to toe fight.

Then there's the issue of scaling an encounter. Are 2 Apemen equivalent to a single rank 2 creature? At what rank can I send 3 militant Swamp Folk at a lost character to give him a challenging encounter?

Well, I have an answer that comes in the form of an Excel 2007 Spreadsheet (attached).

Using the Spreadsheet

The Spreadsheet consists of two tabs: 'Knight' and 'Creature'. The 'Knight' tab stores information on the baseline rank equivalence. I have pre-populated this sheet with average scores for the Knight profession, but feel free to change these values if you would prefer the Barbarian (or other) profession to be your standard unit of fighting rank.

The second tab, 'Creature', is where the statistics for the creature to have its Rank Equivalence calculated is entered. The 'Numbers' field is for the number of simultaneous combatants to simulate.

The values in the table represent how that creature fares against each baseline rank. The Rank Equivalence value of a creature is indicated when the ratio reaches 1.

One thing you can use this spreadsheet for is to see how changing a weapon\armour combination on the baseline rank makes a difference. Against which creatures does a Knight with a sword and shield have a better life expectancy than a Knight with a two-handed sword? And one thing it will show you, too, is just how much difference giving your Knight a +1 sword will have on his combat prowess!

Limitations and Development

Firstly, it's important to note that the Spreadsheet only calculates melee combats with a single character - it does not take into account parties of characters cunningly out-manoeuvring the creature, using cover, surprise, range, magic, etc., nor does it assume the same in the creature. Multiple attacks are also not considered (for creatures like, for example, the Gryphon).

Secondly, when calculating the number of simultaneous combats, it simply uses the Numbers value to divide the Knight's Defence score and multiply the creature's available Health Points. It does not calculate when a single instance of the creature has died and reduce the remaining number of creatures attacking the Knight accordingly.

Thirdly, the spreadsheet will factor in critical hits (i.e., a roll of 1 to hit), but does not take into account critical misses (i.e., a roll of 20 to hit), meaning it is possible to have a 100% chance hit rate if one of the combatants is significantly superior to the other.

Lastly, any feedback would be most welcome. I'm no Carol Vorderman, so if I've messed up my maths, please let me know and I'll update the sheet and if there are any additional values, calculations or formulae you think should be included, let me know that too. The Spreadsheet is protected (except the yellow cells), but not passworded, so feel free to remove the protection if you want to tinker with the formulae yourselves.

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