Saturday 20 April 2013

Isn't the Goblin Sweet?

The image of the goblin in the MM is one of the worst in the book, I think, and like the entry itself grants far too much weight to Tolkien's use of the word in The Hobbit. Tolkien himself seems to have realized how badly he had used the terms "goblin" and "hobgoblin" in The Hobbit and neither figure very much at all in The Lord of The Rings.

So, let's have some more gobliny-goblins. Any spell effects are at 11th level unless otherwise noted and these suggestions are made under the assumption that not every goblin encounter is automatically a combat encounter. Pick or roll (combine more than one if you like) [edit: just to clarify that the double quote symbol here means scaled inches as per AD&D norm]:
  1. Spider climb at will
  2. Invisibility at will
  3. Chameleon power (hide in shadows 90%)
  4. Blink
  5. Jump
  6. Mirror image (d6 images, roll per use)
  7. d4 bags of sleeping dust - throw as grenade to cover 2" radius, or throw one pinch to affect single target (4 pinches per bag). Effect as spell
  8. Can eat anything other than magical metals. 6" move/1" through solid rock. Can only manage 1cu" per hit point per day
  9. Can "read auras"; know alignment
  10. Displaced as per beast; +2 to AC and initiative.
  11. Fart as troglodyte stench - other goblins not immune.
  12. Sticky - blunt weapons and similar objects require an open-door roll to retrieve after a strike (whether goblin is dead or not)
  13. 18/00 strength
  14. Immune to fire
  15. Treat clean, fresh water as acid doing 1d8 damage to goblin
  16. Spoils food within 1"; goblin can only eat such "food"
  17. Sneezes any time its side rolls a 1 for initiative. Sneeze counts as exposure to disease to non-goblins within a 3" wide/long cone.
  18. Sneezes any time its side rolls a 6 for initiative. Sneeze stuns opponents in 3"x3" cone (save Vs breath weapon) for this round (ie, they miss their turn).
  19. Pick pockets 90%
  20. Pick locks 90%
  21. Pick nose and flick it, accuracy/range as thrown dagger +3. Hit does 1pt damage as acid.
  22. Summon 3d6 kobolds once per day. Kobolds NOT automatically friendly to goblin (roll reaction dice at +10)
  23. Choking dust and dirt follows goblin in a 1" radius. Save Vs breath weapon or incapacitated for round - no attacks and goblin +4 to-hit.
  24. Can charge every round.
  25. Parry/catch missile weapons, 90% success, but only 2 per round maximum.
  26. Backstab as thief.
  27. Bite does 3d6 damage, swallow whole on natural 20. Anything smaller than ogre may be swallowed; anything swallowed is gone for good (wish will restore as normal). If the goblin swallows anything larger than itself then it may not use either the super-bite or swallow abilities until the next sunset.
  28. Riddle power. If opponents accept a challenge to a riddle competition then each side, starting with the goblin, takes turns to ask a riddle. If the opposing side fails to answer then they are subject to a geas from the winner. Riddle competition: Either ask actual riddles (not recommended unless you know a lot of riddles) or take turns making a save. Party saves against Rod/Staff/Wand with wisdom bonuses. The whole party may roll and any save counts. The party members (must) take turns to riddle and the goblin saves on  a 3+ but must subtract the riddler's wisdom bonus (or add their penalty, thus can't fail against WIS 3 or 4). Goblin geas will be dangerous but not suicidal and usually involve some great or famous gemstone.
  29. Precognition. +2 on initiative in combat. May give general hints about such things as how dangerous a particular choice is (eg, opening door, getting on a ship). Never loses at cards and knows when others are cheating etc. No details (eg, opening the door is dangerous because there are 4 ogres guarding 3416gp inside), just general impressions.
  30. Speak with animals
  31. Speak with rocks - sense locale's history for the previous 12hrs in decreasing detail as impressions age.
  32. Immoveable. If feet on solid ground, the goblin can not be overborn or pushed past, so long as there is no more than 1" space around him or her. Despite the goblin being too small to achieve this, it does so anyway.
  33. INT 18+d4. Huge forehead.
  34. Charm women power. Limited ability to charm women (of any race) with corny chatup lines. If the woman fails a save against spells (WIS bonus applies) then they will be unable to attack the goblin and will try to protect him. They will not do anything else, such as obey orders etc. They will regard him as a "lovable scamp".
  35. Once per day can stamp foot and create earthquake as per cleric spell at 16th level.
  36. Horns, charge does 1d3 damage and counts as overbearing attack in whatever system the DM likes.
  37. Horns, charge does 1d6 damage and counts as overbearing attack.
  38. Horn, charge does 1d10/3d6 damage.
  39. Pax faery. If attacked by elves, half-elves, brownies, pixies halflings, other goblins, giants, dragons, or similar creatures of faery (DM's ruling on what counts), the goblin may produce a sparkling silver card which requires all such creatures and their allies to refrain from combat with the goblin (and the goblin from attacking them) and its allies. The punishment for breaking this ban is death, exile, or fine of 10,000gp at the discretion of the King of the Elves, who will first have to track down the miscreants. The card itself is magical, may only be used once (and vanishes), and alerts the King to any breaches. The truce enforced by the card lasts for a week, after which all bets are off.
  40. Very light. Automatic feather fall; has trouble with high winds.
  41. Mounted on giant badger.
  42. Goblin is 3 inches tall; otherwise as normal combat, damage etc.
  43. Frightening to horses. Horses will not approach within 3". If charging, rider must make save Vs paralyzation to not be thrown. Paladin's warhorses and similar intelligent horses may make a save against magic. Unicorns, seahorses, and hippogriffs count as horses.
  44. Whistle causes confusion (save Vs spells) within 6". Can not whistle and fight or run at the same time.
  45. Can smell gold within 6" (3" through closed doors, but not through solid walls).
  46. Can smell gold or silver as above.
  47. Causes living plants to wilt within 1". If plant has hit points (eg, ents), causes 1d6 damage per round; doubled if the goblin actually touches it. Not popular with druids, who can sense this power from 12". Very easy to track across any non-barren landscape.
  48. Belch as combined gust of wind and stinking cloud at 3rd level.
  49. Can repair magic items. Any magic item (not potions or scrolls) which has failed a saving throw can be repaired at a cost of it's xp value and time requirement of 1 day per 100gp cost (all fractions round up). The goblin will work under duress, in which case time is increased by 50% and cost decreased by the same factor but the repaired item will fail to work any time that such a failure is likely to kill the user (DM's discretion) and thereafter is beyond any repair save a wish. All parts of the item must be available; he can not make new stuff although he might be able to turn the stump of a broken magical longsword into a magic dagger or shortsword.
  50. Goblin sage. As per DMG sage but major field is automatically "Goblins" (specialization fields as per humanoid and giant kind field) and one minor field will be "humanoids and giant kind".  DM decides just what constitutes a goblin research library.
  51. Roadrunner. May charge at rate of 78" up to 7 times per day.
  52. Gibbon arms. May move through forest at base 18" move, adds 2' to weapon reach.
  53. Tourette's. Incapable of being quiet for more than 1 round. Generally says whatever one word is most important to not say.
  54. Anti magic. 50% Magic resistance in 2" radius. Involuntary.
  55. Chaotic Magic. Transforms any spell effect within 2" into a randomly rolled effect from the same spell list and level - may result in original effect. For example, a fireball aimed at the goblin's area may be transformed into haste or dispel magic. Only effect is affected, so "impossible" ranges are allowed. If the result has no logical effect (eg, secret page) then the spell simply fails. Magic from items which have no direct spell equivalent are not affected, although scrolls are.
  56. Polymorph self as often as desired but result always has the same colouration as the goblin. No healing effect and maximum size is that of a human.
  57. Can understand any language.
  58. Shillelagh. Goblin can magically produce a large magic club from nowhere as per druid spell but without the material requirement.
  59. Beguiling as per rod once per day, lasting 1 turn.
  60. Discord as per symbol. Requires that the targets enter into conversation for at least 5 minutes real time during which the goblin will subtly question the party's purpose.
  61. Wears large hat which operates as a bag of tricks (roll d8 for type instead of d10). Hat only operates for goblins.
  62. Wears a large floppy hat which polymorphs any object put into it, including the wearer. The current wearer was not originally a goblin. The changes induced can be dispelled, and remove curse will work on living things so affected but otherwise are permanent so long as the object is in the hat (living things will want to keep the hat and retains no clear awareness of their previous life/form). If removed, the effect wears off in about a day. Kingdom will not be changed but otherwise anything that fits into the hat will change into absolutely anything else which will fit into the hat at the DM's whim after 1d6 rounds. The hat has an owner who is immune to its effects and is looking for it. Unique, the hat is worth 10,000gp to a collector but only 1000xp to an owner.
  63. Berserker goblin! +2 to attack and damage, 12" move, AC 10. 
  64. Sells magic fruit from market barrow. Goblin is protected by a powerful curse (as per reverse of remove curse, at 9th level) and restricted from being very dishonest by a geas. The prices below are what he'll take. He'll ask for 2d10 more per item at first.
    • Apples (1d8 in stock) cost 10gp and prevent all disease for a day, including mummies, daemons, etc. ("Keeps the doctor away, they say, your honours"). 
    • Pears (1d8 in stock) cost 50gp and act as love potions if given to (and eaten by) opposite gender ("How's your father, my lord? Getting out much these days?" refuses to sell to women).
    • Plums (2d4 in stock) cost 5gp and grant +2 on all saving throws for an hour ("strengthens you up for difficulties, your lordships") non-cumulative.
    • Cherries (2d20 in stock) cost 1gp each and heal 1hp each ("help with hurts, sirs").
    • Apricots (1d12 in stock) 30gp each. +10 to saves against poison for an hour ("Keeps nasty things out of your blood, my friends"). Note that a natural 1 is still a fail. Non-cumulative
  65.  Legend lore ability, as per spell. One item at a time, thank you.
  66. Goblin is encountered sitting on a stone outside a house built into the bank of a hill or similar; the house is very large with a massive door. If talked to, the goblin will mention "her indoors" but is generally indifferent to passersby. "Her indoors" is a troll.
  67. Can shrink or enlarge by a factor of 4, at will somewhat like the first-level magic user spell enlarge.
  68. Passwall 6/day.
  69. Regenerates 1hp/round while above -10.
  70. High in iron. AC 0 (AT 3+3), hair made of wire. HD 4+4. MV 6".
  71. Lives in a giant owl nest with the giant owls who raised him. Very confused about his own identity as a goblin.
  72. Brewer. Makes 100 quarts of fantastic ale per year (in the autumn). The beer dismisses fatigue (application varies but, for example, a quart negates 10% of forced march fatigue). Price negotiable from 10sp to 100gp per quart depending on how much he thinks the buyer can afford. Addictive. Each quart consumed adds an addiction strength of 1. Each day, any character who has drunk the beer must make a saving throw against poison or be compelled to seek out the beer. The saving throw die is reduced by the current addiction strength. Heal or remove curse eliminates addiction, neutralize poison reduces it by 1d6. Once at zero, the addiction is broken. If the addiction strength exceeds CON and a day passes without drinking the beer, the character must make a system shock roll. If this is failed then CON is reduced by 1 until the beer is drunk. If CON reaches 0 the character dies.
  73. Slippery. Can not be held by grasp or shackle; can slip between any iron bars etc. more than three inches apart.
  74. Poisonous bite. Roll once per goblin - 1-3: sleep forever; 4-5: personality lost (like Void in Deck of Many Things); 6: death. First two can be cured by a dispel magic, remove curse, or the kiss of true love.
  75. Can issue a dying curse or geas on his killers if not below -3hp. Only if "unjustly" slain (basically, if he didn't attack first).
  76. 7hp. When "killed" splits into two goblins of 3hp each; when they're killed split into 1hp goblins which die normally.
  77. 4th level illusionist.
  78. Redcap. Each point of damage he does with his shortsword heals him by one point to a maximum of 20 (still fights as 1-1HD). However, if the blood on his woolen cap ever dries out he will die (subtract 1hp per day; 1hp per round in sunshine).
  79. Tracks as per ranger (ranger-lord if using UA rules).
  80. Magic Mushroom seller. Roll/pick from potion table ignoring any potions that affect others (eg, animal control). The goblin will sell mushrooms for the given effects. If the effect is poison or delusion, roll again for what he claims the effect to be. He will have a sample of this latter mushroom ready for testing/demonstrating. Price is ½ of the listed one but effects last for half the time that a potion would and require the eater to fail a save versus poison or the mushrooms will have no effect (remember dwarf bonuses).
  81. Farrier. Will shoe any horse for 1gp per leg in 15 minutes per shoe. The horse will move twice as fast as normal. After 6 days of such movement (whether consecutive or not) the horse will need to make a saving throw(Vs Poison) each time it is ridden beyond its normal speed or drop dead after 1d4 rounds. The goblin will not mention this side-effect and if challenged afterwards will simply say "What the hell did you expect would happen if you rode that fast?" The goblin's horseshoes can be removed by any village blacksmith.
  82. Gemcutter. Roll as per DMG p30 with +25 on die for skill level. Charges 50% more than normal and will try to steal the stone and replace it with a high-quality fake if the roll of percentile dice is equal to or less than the lower bound of the gem's base quality roll (DMG p25). For example, a stone is rolled as "51-70: fancy stone"; the goblin will try to steal it on a roll of 51 or less and will always try to steal 5000gp stones. Will not hold a grudge if caught, but won't stop trying to steal future stones either.
  83. Poisoner. Sells poisons as per DMG p20 at listed costs (will ask for double).
  84. Selling "golden lariats" for 2500gp which compel those tied up by it to tell the truth. In fact, 50% force the holder of the lariat to believe anything they're told by the person inside it. In either case the goblin will not be located again and a saving throw against spells blocks the effect. DM should roll save in secret in either case; wisdom bonus applies.
  85. Wardog trainer. Will train wardogs in 3 weeks for 35gp per dog (maximum of four dogs at a time). At the end the dogs will understand a range of incredibly complex instructions such as "attack the third one from the left" so long as they are about combat or guarding. They will also never attack any goblin, bugbear, or kobold, and will attack gnolls and gnomes on sight, regardless of orders.
  86. Faker. Sells a range of 6+6 magic items from DMG for list price. They are all normal items with illusions on them so that they can be demonstrated. The magic wears off at the next full moon. He will have one real item of medium value which is kept back.
  87. Fortune teller. For 1gp will foretell one event in the character's life. Does not tell of the outcome but is 100% accurate. So, if the goblin says "you will meet the devil tonight" then the character will for some reason encounter a devil tonight but what happens after that is unstated. The first time a character comes to the goblin the prediction will be fairly dull. The next time the price will be 10 times greater and the fortune more significant. Each visit increases the price by x10 and the importance of the events greater and more dangerous. Effectively, the goblin is making the events happen rather than predicting them. DM needs to be careful with this one.
  88. Charm seller. Sells a "luck charm" made of green stone for 30gp. Gives +3 on the next saving throw; +2 on the one after that and finally +1 on the saving throw after that. 20% grant penalties in the same way instead of bonuses.
  89. Made of leaves. The goblin is made of leaves and changes colour with the seasons. Damage from weapons and magic missiles simply disperse the leaves, which swirl together again, effectively regenerating 1hp per round no matter how low the goblin's points go. Fire, acid, and various area effect spells such as cone of cold will do real damage and eventually kill it.
  90. Double body. The goblin is actually two goblin bodies joined back to back (with 2d8-1 hp, fighting as 1HD). When in a hurry first one body runs and then lets the other run while it rests. Surprised only on a 1 and can fight two opponents at the same time.
  91. Horse Whisperer/thief. Will promise to guide the party or show them something which requires dismounting; simply jumps on biggest horse and scarpers. Has the ability to charm horses by word.
  92. Ventriloquism.
  93. Is familiar for a witch, who is watching proceedings through his eyes, and is likewise capable of casting spells as if he were a projected image.
  94. Is scouting for children for the oven of his green hag mistress.
  95. Is scouting for selfish people for his night hag mistress.
  96. Is scouting for food for his black dragon mistress.
  97. Is a polymorphed prince. LG and shunned by real goblins but with no memory of his previous life. Very depressed.
  98. Inventor. Telescopes, astrolabes, food mixers. All made from bits of other things, anything purchased will fall apart after a few weeks. Eccentric and neutrally aligned.
  99. Would-be bard. Mandolin and floppy hat. Plays well but sings like a tortured cat.
  100. Chef. Renowned among humanoids, The Great Oesophagus runs a campsite deep in the forest where he serves food of the highest quality ever seen by his typical clientèle. The encounter is either with this camp (which is very large) or with a group of humanoids travelling there. The hill giant bouncers enforce a no-fighting safety rule as well as a no-elf rule. Humans will be allowed in if not obviously good-aligned but will have to remove helms and leave weapons at the entrance to the deep dell of the camp. Due to its ingredients, eating the excellent food is an evil act which will require atonement for any Good-aligned creature. Some of the contents of Oesophagus's larder are still alive and their families may pay a reward.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Armour and Shield for Monster Manual Men (and Women, Stan)

The monster manual helpfully provides a list of chances that various classes will have magic items. Unhelpfully, the categories used do not match up with the random tables in the DMG, making a random encounter with humans one of the most tiresome things that can happen to a DM playing wilderness encounters by-the-book. The problem categories are "armour" and "shield".

Here's those two classes of items split into groups using the frequencies from the DMG and without the cursed items.

For DMG-based campaigns just roll on the following table. For UA-based games, roll 1d6 and on 1-3, use this table and on 4-6 use the second table.

1-11Leather +1
12-21Plate +1
22-30Plate +2
31-39Ring +1
40-48Studded +1
49-55Chain +1
56-62Scale +1
63-68Chain +2
69-74Scale +2
75-80Splint +1
81-84Plate +3
85-88Splint +2
89-91Chain +3
92-94Plate +4
95-97Splint +3
98Plate +5
99Plate of Etherealness
00Splint +4

d%UA Armour
1-10Leather +2
11-18Field plate, +1
19-25Bronze plate +1
26-32Elfin chain +1
33-39Field plate, +2
40-46Full plate, +1
47-52Leather +3
53-58Studded, +2
59-63Bronze plate +2
64-68Elfin chain +2
69-73Full plate, +2
74-78Ring, +2
79-81Elfin chain +3
82-84Field plate, +3
85-87Full plate, +3
88-89Chain +4
90-91Elfin chain +4
92-93Field plate, +4
94-95Full plate, +4
96-97Scale, +3
99Elfin chain +5
00Field plate +5

The first table is for plain DMG shields, and the second is a combined table for using with Unearthed Arcana, so you don't roll to see which table to use, you just use one or the other.

1-41Shield +1
42-64Shield +2
65-82Shield +3
83-91Shield +4
92-96Shield +5
97-100Shield, large; +1, +4 Vs Missiles

d%UA Shield
1-26Shield +1
27-41Shield +2
42-53Shield +3
54-59Shield +4
60-62Shield +5
63-65Shield, large; +1, +4 Vs Missiles
66-83Buckler, +1
84-95Buckler, +2
96-100Buckler, +3

Monday 1 April 2013

Guards! Guards!

Ready for Action!
That's enough Terry Pratchett titles for now.

The BtB stance is that 1% of the world's human population are capable fo advancing in level in the way that the PCs do. But, in addition to these, there are several other types of character who have aspects of such "full" characters. Spys, for example, have levels but not XP and have a very small subset of the Assassin's skill set (ie, spying) which increases with their level. Interestingly, no guidance is given as regards to hit points.

But the most common "semi" characters are the watchmen and mercenary soldiers  who are encountered either patrolling areas or guarding specific places.

Unlike the spy, these characters do no increase in level, at least in any formal mechanical way laid down in the rules, but they do have the full list of abilities from their model class, specifically "Fighter".

The default level of these fighters is zero - the men-at-arms level where the fighter has 4-7 hp, and seems (from reading the details for clerical followers) to have 3 weapon proficiencies. Their ability scores run from 6 to 15 except
for STR which ranges from 7-16, and CON which ranges from 9 to 18.

Some improvised weapons are more frightening than others
These guys are still a step up from the normal soldier of pseudo-mediaeval times, who would in fact probably be a fit farmer with some padded armour and some agricultural weapon nailed to a long stick or pole. Those guys have 6-15 across the board and d6+1 hp and can fight at level 0 with their one weapon (if that). They're the bulking agent of armies and guard houses - very cheap, very expendable, not very reliable. We'll not worry further about them.

"Take me to the correct movie reference!"
Carry on, Serjeant
Getting back to the men-at-arms, they are essentially "privates" or "constables"; they have no leadership qualities. The initial step on the command ladder is the "Serjeant". There can be as many as 1 serjeant per 5 men-at-arms, and as little as 1 per 10. What happens if these numbers are ignored? Well, in the case of too many serjeants, probably nothing more than wasted money and perhaps arguments over who's in charge, whereas too few serjeants probably means a morale penalty.

The serjeant is equal to at least equal to a first level fighter and their ability scores are slightly different, although still (I think) based on 3dA (averaging d6s where the 1 is replaced by a 3 and the 6 by a 4). For serjeants, this is boosted by 2 for STR and only 1 for CON, for ranges from 8-17 and 7-16. Hit points are based on 1d10.

While mercenary serjeants are always 1st level, watch serjeants range up to 3rd (presumably reflecting the lower rate of mortality in the upper ranks or something).

Interestingly, the rules seem to assume that in a city the 1st-level serjeants will all be assigned to watch patrols rather than being put with "City Guards" who seem to have more localised briefs - gates, walls, and police functions, which I take to mean more or less riot-police rather than beat-police. City guard leaders are always at least 2nd level.

"I'm 3rd level, you know. Or is it 4th?"
As The Sparks Fly Upwards... the serjeant takes orders from someone else. Specifically, a lieutenant.

The mercenary lieutenant is 2nd or 3rd level; the watch lieutenant 4th or 5th. Each lieutenant is able to command their level times ten men-at-arms, although these must still be handled by the normal number of serjeants (who do not count towards the limit). Beyond this, the lieutenant is also able to handle a number of "special" serjeants equal to their own level. These serjeants are available for tasks other than simply directing troops.

The ability scores for lieutenant are not spelt out, personally I would use the serjeant method for those under 4th (ie, hero) level, and switch to the "special character" method from DMG p11 for those of 4th level and up with class minimums applied, so that STR and CON would run from 9-18 and 7-18 but with an average of 13.

"Captain", not "King"
Aye, Aye,  Captain
Top of the chain is the captain. The mercenary captain runs from 5th level up to 8th (yes, that means mercenaries have no 4th level fighter equivalents BtB - maybe they have a gap year) but is mechanically very similar to the lieutenant except s/he can command twice as many troops per level. So a 7th level captain can have 140 men-at-arms at the bottom of the command pyramid they lead. The captain may additionally have a number of lieutenants on special duty equal to their own level.

Captains are assumed to lead homogeneous troops - i.e., they lead "light foot" or "longbowmen" or "medium cavalry".

Both the captain and the lieutenant cost 100gp per level per month, which includes their uniforms, food, and barracks/housing.

Paying the troops
Economics (Stupid)
Let's look at the make up and cost of a large watch in a city which is headed by the highest level captain (8th) working at full capacity; what are the numbers?

The bottom level is limited by the captain's ability to command, so that's simply 160 guardsmen on duty at any one time. This number of guards requires 4 lieutenants of the 4th level (or 5th, for that matter, but 4th is cheaper) and 16 serjeants. The captain has up to 8 assistant lieutenants and the 4 "command" lieutenants have up to 4 assistant serjeants each. 8 assistants seems excessive, so I'd pare that back to a nice Bilko-style 2. Similarly, I'll take half the normal number of assistant serjeants.

We'll assume that the guards themselves are classified as light troops and cost 1gp per month with the serjeants costing 10.

That comes to a total of: 1 captain (800gp), 6 lieutenants (2400gp), 24 serjeants (240gp), and finally 160 men-at-arms (160gp).

So that's a total guard compliment of 191 with a monthly cost of 3600gp and an annual cost of 43200gp.

For a fighter, that equates to a city population (men, women, and children) of 10286 just to pay the guard (assuming PHB taxation levels); for a cleric that comes down to 8000 BtB. This in turn, gives a population to guardsmen ratio of  between 54 for the fighter and 42 for the cleric. Magic users are even more disadvantaged with a required population of 14400 and a population to guard ratio of about 76.

"We're collecting for new uniforms...bit tactless I suppose."
These population figures are pretty high for a mediaeval English city and we should probably double them to come anywhere close to a total monthly cost for running the place, but on the other hand ancient Rome is reputed to have had more than a million inhabitants (many, many arguments on this point) and even with doubling costs could have supported something in the region 15,500 men-at-arms plus their commanders using these figures which equates to 5185 guardsmen guarding the city during any 8hr shift (you hadn't forgotten that, had you?), although all could potentially be called up in an emergency.

I literally have no idea whether this is realistic or not, although the figure for Rome seems low but on the other hand, I've pulled the "doubling" cost for the whole of the city's infrastructure out of nowhere so maybe that's the issue.

Anyway, the point here was to look at what the 1e rules imply (probably unintentionally) about what it means to "encounter a watch patrol" and also what resources the NPC town or castle owner may have for assigning higher level guards to high-status locations such as treasure vaults and important prisoners while still preserving the particular mix of 0-level men-at-arms within the setting.

Inappropriate armour's not just for women
Repeating 20's at 20 Yards
Those men-at-arms are not to be ignored, particularly by non-fighters. They can be using missile weapons, and they can also simply overwhelm a party in the open by a mass overbearing charge. Even against fighters, if the men-at-arms can get within missile range, the combat tables and the limits of shields mean that even +5 platemail and +5 shield is not truly proof against their attacks (a dozen longbowmen will do an average of 1¾hp of damage per round if they can pin down such a target behind a ditch or in a courtyard, more if they can surround it).

While spellcasters are essentially neutralized by mass melee combat (they can certainly still use magical devices but so can everyone and even then overbearing and grappling is a major threat), the fighter should come into his/her own with a 4th level fighter able to attack four men-at-arms in a round and a lord being almost untouchable in melee by normal humans.

"Elementary, my dear Robin."
You've come to Nottingham once too often! (Which is to say "once")
Thus the game is designed for Conan's slaughter of Bêlit's crew, or for the attack on the castle to come down to the "main event" of Errol Flynn against Basil Rathbone - the two high level characters must resolve the combat between them. Hector must face Achilles; Ferdia must try to stop Cuchulain. Everyone else who tries just adds to the pile of bodies that line the battlefields like the embankments of a red river.

This is absolutely the origin and intent of the multiple attacks against <1HD rule and once the DM starts placing even 1st level fighters in every guard post or along every stretch of curtain wall, that is lost if one is playing by the book. It can be patched up, of course, by changing the threshold at which one grants the multiple attacks and I think that's particularly useful when play is not centred around areas with lots of humans. Having a single normal orc "block" the multiple attack ability seems okay when the fighter is 2nd level, but by 10th level it seems obviously out of whack when the same fighter can slice across a normal battlefield like a tank.

I have tried a "sliding" version of the rule where, for example, a 10th level fighter would get 2 attacks against an opponent with 5HD but it's irritating and fiddly in the middle of AD&D's very fast combat resolution and currently I'm thinking about giving the full number of attacks if the opponent's HD are less than half the fighter's.