Christmas Eve Geek Out

The question has been put forth: Who is tougher, Ten Lords A-Leapin’ or Eight Tiny Reindeer?

Ten Lords A-Leapin'
Ten Lords A-Leapin'

Eight Tiny Reindeer
Eight Tiny Reindeer


A most curious conundrum! But I know of one way to solve it. Bring on the dice!


Yes, let us reduce this clash of holiday symbols to nothing more than a random encounter in a fantasy roleplaying game that shall remain nameless! (Hint: two consonants and an ampersand.)

Ahem. So. Let us first consider the case of the eight tiny reindeer. Reindeer fall into the category of Herd Beast, “the tiniest of which will have one hit point” each. Such a beast will get one attack per round, most likely a bludgeoning attack with the beast’s horns. Normally, this would do something like 1-6 points of damage, but since the reindeer are Tiny, there is a penalty to their Strength. So let’s say a generous 1-4 points of damage per round. We are also meant to assume that these are the magical flying reindeer of the North Pole, so aerial combat bonuses will apply. As magical flying creatures, these reindeer have the highest maneuverability class. This means that each reindeer can attack once per round, rather than spending time circling around for another pass. The reindeer can also take the Charging bonus (+2 to hit, -2 to AC) each time that conditions are favorable.

Let us now consider the case of the leaping lords. We will assume that a lord is simply a non-player character of the Aristocrat class. An aristocrat will have 1-8 hit points per level and “is proficient in the use of all simple and martial weapons.” Let us assume that the aristocrats are armed with daggers or staves. They can therefore do up to six points of damage per round.

Based on this information alone, we can calculate that a reindeer will require at least two successful attacks on a lord to defeat him, whereas a lord will take out a reindeer with each successful attack. The deck is stacked in the lords’ favor. Never mind that the lords outnumber the reindeer by two.

The next question is, how likely is it that a lord will hit a reindeer and vice-versa? Let us assume that the lords are wearing nothing more than heavy winter clothing. The reindeer, being herd beasts, have no special armor bonus either. They do get a small size bonus, but this is canceled out by the Charging penalty. We also assume that the lords are level one, so they get no particular to-hit bonus. Therefore, no team has a hit probability advantage over the other.

In order for the reindeer to prevail, they must win the initiative die roll to attack first, and then successfully strike with maximum damage against a party of low (<5) hit point lords. With incredible luck, the reindeer could defeat eight of the lords in the first round. The reindeer may suffer up to two losses when the lords retaliate, but then the remaining lords would certainly be defeated in the second round as the remaining reindeer concentrate their attacks. The possibility of the above scenario is incredibly remote. Therefore, I predict that the lords will usually win. [caption id="attachment_2429" align="aligncenter" width="74" caption="Winner!"]Winner![/caption]

Edit: This post has been voted into the Best of Holidailies list. Thank you, Holidailies readers!

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Eve Geek Out”

  1. I can understand why the deer’s horns would be technically a bludgeoning weapon.. but I wonder if there would be a small percentage of hits that would pierce… Depending on the .. okay.. I’m geeking myself out now.. lol!

    Great post!

    I hope you had a great Christmas! =)

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