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Idea for a more involved Mass Combat system


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I’ve been looking around for a mass combat system that’s more involved, but a lot of these rules I’ve found resolve the battle in only a few rolls with little input from the PCs. The ones that do have player input don’t have enough. I’d prefer if the mass combat rules were smaller in scope and focused on smaller aspects of the battle in order to allow the players a space to dramatically influence the result.

I got this idea when I saw a streamed Warhammer Fantasy RPG session where the players are given command of troops and told to assault a nearby town. The game suddenly switched from the RPG to the wargame and the players are captains of their own unit of troops. Since the RPG has similar stats to the tabletop wargame, they were able to adapt their character’s own stats into the wargame with little difficulty. I think we might be able to do a similar, but different way for BRP with little changes to the game’s rules while still using the game’s stats as is.

The basic idea is to be able to seamlessly transition between the game's normal rules and this new mass combat system.

  • Each combat turn is not 12 seconds of actions, but several minutes. Enough for something interesting to happen every turn.
  • The PCs are captains of a unit of soldiers who will behave as if they are an extension of them.
    • They use their Lead and Strategy Skills to have their unit take part of mass actions.
    • There would be a variety of orders that they could give which would have pros and cons and be dependent of their Lead skill.
  • Each unit is made up of a number of models where each model can represent anywhere from a few men to several hundred depending on the scale of that battle. The only thing that matters is that number of men represented is consistent for that battle.
  • Each unit will have HP equal to all of their model’s HP added together. They will take damage as if they are a single entity, but will lose models if the damage received is enough to kill an individual model. Each model that is killed represents that number of men being killed.
  • Treat the entire unit as a single entity when making attacks or defending against attacks. But they get a +5% for every model in the unit.
    • For attacks, every 10% of the die roll below the modified skill is a hit.
    • For defense, every 20% of the die roll below the modified skill is a block.
    • The PCs would also be able to take part in the fighting instead of giving orders if they are a more combat focused character and would just use the normal attack/parry rules from the BGB.
  • Roll damage of the weapon subtracted by the enemy’s armor and multiplied by the number of unblocked attacks.
  • At the end of a round of fighting, the winner is determined by which unit killed more models in the fighting and the loser will have a Lead roll to prevent a rout. If they hold then the fighting continues for another combat round.

Here’s an example of what I think play would look like.

 A unit of 5 mounted knights (with each model representing 10 men) plus a knight captain (who is a PC) see a unit of 10 orcs (with each model representing 10 orcs) in the right flank. The knight captain wants to charge the orcs and relieve the right flank for another unit controlled by another player. He rolls a Lead check and succeeds; failure would’ve given his unit a disadvantage since they aren’t acting in unison. Next he rolls an opposed Strategy Skill between him and Orc unit’s captain. They both roll successes and negate each other so no one has a particular advantage for the clash. The knights are armed with lances while the orcs with scimitars so the knights will get the first attack since they have the longer weapon. The Knight unit gets a +25% to its lance attack roll (with a modified skill of 100%) since there are 5 models and rolls a 67%, a middling roll that garners 4 hits. The Orcs have 10 models and so have a +50% to their defense roll (with a modified shield skill of 85%). They roll a 57, only blocking 1 hit. Since 3 hits made it through the orc’s defenses, the knights now roll their Lance damage (1D8+1+2D6) and got a 17. The rolled damage is reduced by the orc’s armor (which is 6, but I recommend using random armor so its 1D6+1) which rolled a 4 and that modified the damage down to 13. Multiply that by 3 to get a final damage of 39 which is dealt to the orc’s overall HP (which is 100). Since each orc individually have 10 HP, 3 orc models are taken off of the unit and representing ~30 orcs being slain by the knights. Now it’s the orc’s turn to fight back. They only have 7 models so their bonus is only +35% and a modified scimitar skill of 70%. They rolled a 72 and completely missed. Now that the combat is finished as both sides have fought, we determine the winner of the fight by how many models were killed. Since the knights won, the Orc captain will need to roll a Lead check. If he fails, then the orcs rout. If he succeeds, then the orcs remain steadfast in the face of trampling knights.

These are just some preliminary thoughts I’m currently having; I think it’s a happy medium between resolving entire battles in only a handful of rolls to making individual rolls for hundreds of soldiers on both sides of a battle. Obviously, they need some finetuning to make it work and be reasonably balanced as well as actions for the PCs to influence the result. What do you guys think? Is this something that’s worth developing further?

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You like Fading Suns? Well, I made a thing that's kinda like it!

 

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This looks very interesting!

If you're active on FB, there's a "Miniature Adventures in Glorantha" FBGroup, where many wargamers have been adapting various wargames to Glorantha for years...  You might find an eager audience.

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23 hours ago, g33k said:

This looks very interesting!

If you're active on FB, there's a "Miniature Adventures in Glorantha" FBGroup, where many wargamers have been adapting various wargames to Glorantha for years...  You might find an eager audience.

I'm not on facebook, but that group does sound interesting. You could bring this to their attention once I make a first draft of the rules. However, I'm not familiar with Runequest, so I'm not sure how compatible the rules will ultimately end up being.

You like Fading Suns? Well, I made a thing that's kinda like it!

 

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4 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

However, I'm not familiar with Runequest, so I'm not sure how compatible the rules will ultimately end up being.

RQ is just a flavor of BRP, really.  Uses the "hit location" mechanic, one of the BGB options iirc, and has a some custom magic rules.  Minor other tweaks, like any BRP-variant has; so 90% or more compatible.

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On 6/14/2022 at 12:10 AM, KPhan2121 said:

I’ve been looking around for a mass combat system that’s more involved, but a lot of these rules I’ve found resolve the battle in only a few rolls with little input from the PCs. The ones that do have player input don’t have enough. I’d prefer if the mass combat rules were smaller in scope and focused on smaller aspects of the battle in order to allow the players a space to dramatically influence the result.

So, if you are interested in a work in progress, I will happily send you my BRP roleplaying wargame.

It is in the playtesting phase and I'd love to get any feedback or input you have.

DM me and I'll send you the links for the game and 42 example scenarios.

-STS

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On 6/19/2022 at 10:30 AM, sladethesniper said:

... my BRP roleplaying wargame.

It is in the playtesting phase ...

Can you give a precis?  In particular:
 - How is the scale?  Small-unit skirmishes?  Minor battles?  Major battles with thousands per side?
 - Do you incorporate magic at all?  If so, is it viable to run the "same" scenario with or without magic, and expect comparable results?

 

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On 6/22/2022 at 6:36 PM, g33k said:

Can you give a precis?  In particular:
 - How is the scale?  Small-unit skirmishes?  Minor battles?  Major battles with thousands per side?
 - Do you incorporate magic at all?  If so, is it viable to run the "same" scenario with or without magic, and expect comparable results?

Strife is a complete variable scale wargame that also fits on top of a roleplaying game (BRP, other D100 games, Cyberpunk specifically...D20 and 5E generally-ish). This lets you play a wargame from gang bangers in an urban wasteland to planetary invasion fleets OR lets you replace the combat system with a much faster, but less granular one.

The scale is variable, so that scale 0 is for individual combatants. Scale 3 or 4 is for minor battles (units are squad sized). Scale 8 is battalion level units. 

Magic, guns and psychic powers are all incorporated in the same way. All of them are basically treated the same. Magic Missile is functionally the equivalent of a gun or psychic blast. The difference is how specific units interact each other, so that some units can dispel magic, or have resistance to magic, or are invisible except for magic. Thus magic, superpowers, psionics and technology are all the same functionally, but if there is some necessary differentiation it is handled in the unit's "Notes." Examples are vampires which can not be harmed except by "magic" or "fire" or werewolves which can not be harmed except by "silver weapons". So units like attack helicopters will numerically destroy those sort of units, but because they don't have magic or silver weapons...the most those units can do is slow them down by shooting at them a lot, but can not kill them.

These interactions are described in the "notes" of the weapons. 

This game is currently in playtesting, and the stuff I can send out is version 0.1 while I take the feedback and work on version 0.2

If anyone wants the links to Version 0.1, let me know. I'll DM you the links, just so that I can keep track of where I sent it.

Thanks for the interest.

-STS

 

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I have 42 scenarios ready to go (the maps suck, but I can't figure out how to make a nice map, then turn it into a pdf that you can take to a print shop and have them print it out at 26" x 26" or 42" x 36" or whatever.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

The scenarios include stuff from the Seven Years War, WWII, anti-cult stuff, space monsters, space battles, kaiju, etc.

Here is a list of units that have been modeled using Strife:

Paleolithic hunter, Mounted knights, Musketeers, Egyptian 2 horse chariots, Mk V tank, M1E2 tank, M1A1 tank, Space Battleships, Instant Martians (from Looney Toons), ANZAC Infantry company (Gallipoli, c. 1915), Swiss Pikemen c. 1500 AD, 900 Roman Triarii c. 200 BC, 500 Anglo-Saxon housecarls c. 1066 AD, French Hussars c. 1805 AD, Mobile Infantry platoon (50 troops) using M8 Marauders, 200 armored skeleton infantry, Pinkie demon from Doom, Cyborg Blue Dragon, The Chosen Undeads/The Ashen Ones from Dark Souls, Gunzerker class from Borderlands, Titan Pilot in and out of a Titan, the Da Vinci tank c. 1784, a SEAL Team 6 fireteam, Spartan II in and out of different Mjolnir armor marks, a Witcher, 40K Space Marine, Jedi, Robocop, AT-AT, various Battlemechs from BattleTech, Zaku II, 40K Titans, various Transformers and Unicron.

The game was MADE to do this, and it does it well.

Always looking for more playtesters, readers, feedback and/or opinions

-STS

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@sladethesniper --  A few notes on your rules; this is *FAR* from a complete review, or even a close reading!  Brace yourself, though, as I focus mostly on criticisms & things I see as shortcomings, so it's gonna be a bit harsh...  Comments range from minor details to sweeping issues.

@Both @sladethesniper & @KPhan2121  -- please note, though:  you've set yourself a VERY tough goal.  The issue you want to address has been -- AFAIK -- been stymieing RPG players & wargamers for almost 50 years now.  I know of only a few games that do the RPG/Wargame duo (as noted in the OP, Warhammer is probably the biggest one, here) and it's generally not very "seamless" at all!

###

Onward, to the commentary...

* Broadly:  having explicit page-numbers on each page would be useful within the document.

* I was amused by an accidental implication of something you wrote (I presume an editing-pass changed one element, and left an old/odd context in place):

Quote

Size 0 = a single individual ... [explicitly including a kaiju] ... occupies a roughly 5' by 5' area.

How cute!  A micro-Godzilla!  😉


* I don't see any rules for "area effect" such as grenades, fireballs, dragon- (and godzilla-) -breath, etc.  There's some stuff "adjacent" to that (radioactive terrain that acts like an attack, etc), but not the specific case of area/volume attacks, booom/fwoosh/etc does damage now, and then done.

* You should explicitly define "NBC" as "Nuclear Biological Chemical" before using the acronym.

* The rules for LOS, visibility, "negative contact," "hidden movement" & similar topics each look reasonable, in themselves.  Honestly though, I think a review with an eye toward combining them all into one unified mechanic (occurring at one place in the rules!) would be an improvement.   BUT... there's another & much-larger consideration around this topic (see below, following the next quoted bit).

###


* Speaking of "larger considerations," I honestly see Strife as a fundamentally flawed ruleset; or perhaps as having entirely departed from the original/stated design goal.  It's fine as a wargame; but...

You say in your preface that you're trying to bridge the gap from RPGs back toward wargames (or maybe stretch wargames out to be useful for RPGs?).  Given that goal, I would expect your rules to have more RPG concepts (in fact, to place them front and center).  Instead, Strife looks more like a clean-slate wargame design... pretty much exactly like all the wargames whose features (or lack thereof) created the desire for RPGs in the first place.

The truth is, RPGs began as barely-differentiated wargames, where a "character" was honestly only a very-elaborate wargame "unit" of 1 creature, defined entirely (in game-mechanical terms) by numeric scores (just as if it were a cardboard chit or a combat reference card; only bigger & more complex).  In this context, early "RPG" mechanics really were still essentially a minimal variation on "wargames."  But every player had such a 1-creature unit, acting in close coordination with one another, to form "a party of adventurers."

Where is that concept -- the "party of adventurers" -- in Strife?  How would you constitute D&D's traditional/baseline/default 4-character party (Fighter+Rogue+Wizard+Cleric) within the Strife rules?

The rules for "combining units" also look to me like they are subject to substantial abuse by the munchkinously-inclined.  For example, if we define a unit of "Heavy Crossbowmen" which do extra damage + a unit of "Welsh Longbowmen" who have extra range... does the new, larger, combined unit do extra damage at extra range?  RAW, the answer seems to be "yes," but the correct answer should be "no."  In the "RPG" context of Strife, would you treat the "Party" unit (sticking with D&D (because ignoring the 800lb gorilla is never a good idea)) as if it were a multiclass Fighter/Thief/Wizard/Cleric ?  HP & armor & melee like the tanky fighter, stealthy & skills-y like the thief, self-repairing because there's a cleric, and massive ranged damage from the wizard?  Presumably not, but... if we take a party of D&D PC's into Strife as 1 unit called "the party"  (via the "combining units" rules)... that multiclass Uber-unit is explicitly what we'd get.

In addition to the "wargame chit" character-sheet, there was also "alignment," beginning just as Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic & growing stepwise by D&D editions to the 3X3 (LNCxGNE) grid... but also, within a few years, adding things like Paladins & their codes-of-conduct, Druids' "protect nature" motivations, and other genuine "role-playing" elements:  stuff that needs text to describe, not numeric scores, often defining what characters would do and would not do (ethos, motivation, goals, etc) rather than mechanically what they could do.

Other RPG's have taken this principle much, MUCH further.  D&D character sheets still look essentially like overgrown wargame pieces (so do all BRP games' sheets (that I have seen)); but some other character-sheets are much less so.

There IS one "Role-Playing" rule in Strife:  it allows a player's "Character" unit to substitute their Skill (presumably a higher one) for the basic Skill of a basic Strife wargame unit under the PC's command.

That's ... it??!?

As your Preface notes, the characters' ability to affect a battle is a desirable feature of RPG-adjacent wargame rules; but that calls for each character's unique elements to be featured, and to have relevant use on the battlefield.  A simple skill-substitution does not suffice, here.  How would Strife represent a "Battlefield Control" caster?  A mobility-focused "threat anywhere" combatant?

Strife spends a considerable word-count scaling up FAR beyond the "party of adventurers" concept... but offers literally zero support for "the Party" as a fundament of RPGs.  If you want to make Strife a useful tool for the RPG table, I think you're going to have to look at more support for these textual/narrative & "genuine role-playing" elements... Notwithstanding the general truism that combat situations (the topic of Strife) tend to suppress or obscure these sorts of personality traits and individual proclivities.  But (for example) a unit of soldiers led by an "honorable" leader might never conduct an ambush, and might always "offer quarter" ... possibly adding a section on "rules of engagement" and/or "preferred style of action" might help here.

As a metagame consideration:  if (in a RPG session where you decide to scale combat up with Strife) you presumably combine the PCs into a larger unit... who gets to play that unit?  And then:  what do other players get to do?



But now for my other "big issue" ... MAGIC.
Having skimmed the rules & Ctrl-F'ed for multiple relevant words & phrases, I find a substantive disappointment here.  You say:

11 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

..

Magic, guns and psychic powers are all incorporated in the same way. All of them are basically treated the same. Magic Missile is functionally the equivalent of a gun or psychic blast. The difference is how specific units interact each other, so that some units can dispel magic, or have resistance to magic, or are invisible except for magic. Thus magic, superpowers, psionics and technology are all the same functionally, but if there is some necessary differentiation it is handled in the unit's "Notes."

...

But the RAW document nowhere explicitly mentions magic, psi/psychic powers, etc.  You may intend for these to be "incorporated the same way" but as-written they aren't incorporated at all.

Moreover, I fundamentally disagree with your approach:  magic (into which I include psionic&psychic powers) really isn't the same.  Magic gets to "break the rules" of mundane weapons & Sir Isaac's principles (among other elements) because it's magic.  Some magic may be easy to reduce to effects much like normal weapons, and then yes, your principle of "treat them the same" applies.  But many other magical effects don'y fit at all.

You allow for virtually anything via the per-unit "Notes" ... but honestly that's just "kicking it down the road" -- entire magic-systems get deferred this way, instead of integrated into Strife rules.  This is AFAIK a big part of why RPG's branched from wargames originally.

RQ/BRP often uses "POW" for magical conflict.  This is a different scope than mundane attacks, and hit-points of damage are a separate thing.  Units should have a "Mag"ic rating that's as fundamental (in a fantasy game) as the "Offense" & "Defense" scores, and independent of them.  Same for a "Psi"onic rating for games in that genre.

Here's some very-specific examples of "problem" spells:

* D&D's Magic Missile always hits (only special magic blocks it), which is a substantive advantage over all "roll to hit" sorts of damage.  Your system seems to have no way to account for this... except to maybe increase the "Offense" factor, or to attritionally-attack the Offense/Defense/Size scores, or some such?  This is a 1st level spell.  For D&D players, it should be a core part of the game.  As-written, every table will need to have their own "House Rule" for this.

In fact:  as-written, every table will need to have their own "House Rule" for every spell, except the most-simple and unexceptional of spells, ones that do indeed work the same as mundane weapons... i.e. the least interesting ones.

* RQ's Harmonize does no damage, but has effects completely outside the scope of the Strife rules.

* Regarding LOS/Hidden-Movement/etc (from above):  the rules explicitly do not cover (and do not seem to easily account for) magical Invisibility.  Offhand, I might secretly record a unit's position & movement (on paper) as written notes, not placing Invisible units onto the board until they break Invisibility.  But this in turn doesn't allow for stuff like "See Invisible" or "Second Sight" or other Invisibility-penetrating effects.  This really looks like the sort of thing that needs a neutral 3rd-party, a GM/moderator, to handle (if someone fields one or more units with invisibility, and the other side has one or more units who can defeat invisibility, only the "GM" should know whether those units ever contact one another... until it happens); this is obviously available in the RPG context.

* Things like mind-reading -- or mind-control! -- give an entirely new scope to a conflict.  How would you account for something like these?  Offhand, I might think that mind-reading might require the subject of the mind-reading to pre-declare the unit's orders -- or even an entire turn of orders, for many/most/all all units, depending  -- ahead of time, so the mind-reader gets to set their tactics or strategy with explicit knowledge of what's coming... "Surprise!  While your 4 strong units converged on my 4 weaker units to wipe them out, my units Combined, so they took no damage, wiping out your attackers instead! " (or they secretly advanced, and attacked from ambush or with one or more "Tactical Advantages" ... or secretly retreated, and the attackers never made contact ... or they "dispersed into the countryside," and rendezvoused in a different location; or etc etc etc).  But the whole realm of mind-effects is completely missing from the Strife ruleset, alongside a bunch of other magical effects.  (n.b. "spying" rules could give the same sort of advantage as mind-reading, insofar as making the spying side aware of orders before they are implemented).

Overall, then:  the scope and variety of potential magical/psi/etc effects is so huge that I don't see the Strife ruleset, as written, has much to offer most RPG tables.  Similarly, the lack of integration to the "roleplaying" (character-individuation) elements of RPGs make this look less desirable to many RPG tables.
 

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TL;DR I got rid of the RPG stuff and made Strife to sit on top of other RPGs.

Query, how do I explain that?

5 hours ago, g33k said:

having explicit page-numbers on each page would be useful within the document.

Yes, I know. I am still working on formatting. Not an excuse, but I forgot to add them in V0.1  Page numbers are included in V0.2

 

5 hours ago, g33k said:

A micro-Godzilla!

Oh, yeah... Got to change that. It is a Size 0, but with a BONUS size of +5 or +6 at least so it is listed as a Size 0 (7) and thus follows all "rules" as a size 7 unit. Or that is what my brain thought. Got to check on that.

5 hours ago, g33k said:

* I don't see any rules for "area effect" such as grenades, fireballs, dragon- (and godzilla-) -breath, etc.  There's some stuff "adjacent" to that (radioactive terrain that acts like an attack, etc), but not the specific case of area/volume attacks, booom/fwoosh/etc does damage now, and then done.

Very good point. I had not thought of that. Second thing to add. Suspect it will probably just be a note in the unit description "Grenade: Frag offense x, size y. Z uses per game.) For bigger units such as artillery and such, they may just have an AOE note. Will need to be fiddled with to see how it works or doesn't work.

6 hours ago, g33k said:

he rules for LOS, visibility, "negative contact," "hidden movement" & similar topics each look reasonable, in themselves.  Honestly though, I think a review with an eye toward combining them all into one unified mechanic (occurring at one place in the rules!)

A valid point. I need a overarching... name for those subjects. 

6 hours ago, g33k said:

I honestly see Strife as a fundamentally flawed ruleset

and

6 hours ago, g33k said:

It's fine as a wargame

Understandable. That version is still pretty bad. This is what a portion of the new preface reads as "Strife is designed to fit on top of another RPG such as BRP, another D100 system, Interlock, Palladium or D20. I did not want Strife to be another RPG reinventing the wheel when there are already many excellent RPG systems. I want Strife to be new." I really didn't think another RPG system was warranted, but a RPG wargame is (at least IMO.)

I came to RPGs from wargames and am well aware of the history of them and am actually thinking of Strife as "closing the circle" allowing RPGs to go back to the wargame roots.

6 hours ago, g33k said:

Where is that concept -- the "party of adventurers" -- in Strife?  How would you constitute D&D's traditional/baseline/default 4-character party (Fighter+Rogue+Wizard+Cleric) within the Strife rules?

Well, Strife is not built to model that 4 guys in a dungeon... it is built the model the 9th+ level (AD&D) party of heroes where the Fighter has a keep and a company of troops at least, the Rogue has a thieves guild, the Wizard has his tower and assorted magical effects, and the Cleric has some number of the faithful that heed his call. Those adventurers graduated from killing rats and are now leaders of their forces, not mere fighters. 

That is why I cut out the RPG stuff (but not the references to it in the text obviously). 4 guys in a dungeon is already handled perfectly by D&D and tons of other games. To my knowledge, there are few games that handle them as leaders. I realize that the newer generation of games keeps the 4 guys in a dungeon model as opposed to the AD&D model of growing into leaders, and that is cool.  I am not trying to force any "right" way of gaming. However, for gamers that want their PCs to grow out of the dungeon crawling, that is what I want Strife to allow.

6 hours ago, g33k said:

The rules for "combining units" also look to me like they are subject to substantial abuse by the munchkinously-inclined.  For example, if we define a unit of "Heavy Crossbowmen" which do extra damage + a unit of "Welsh Longbowmen" who have extra range... does the new, larger, combined unit do extra damage at extra range?  RAW, the answer seems to be "yes," but the correct answer should be "no."  In the "RPG" context of Strife, would you treat the "Party" unit (sticking with D&D (because ignoring the 800lb gorilla is never a good idea)) as if it were a multiclass Fighter/Thief/Wizard/Cleric ?  HP & armor & melee like the tanky fighter, stealthy & skills-y like the thief, self-repairing because there's a cleric, and massive ranged damage from the wizard?  Presumably not, but... if we take a party of D&D PC's into Strife as 1 unit called "the party"  (via the "combining units" rules)... that multiclass Uber-unit is explicitly what we'd get.

 This is another reason I got rid of the RPG stuff. There is no reason for me to do it (poorly) when so many other games do it so much better. As for your example, heavy crossbowmen and Welsh Longbowmen would exactly have extra damage at longer range. That sort of benefit is exactly why combining different types of units can lead to increased combat power (can, not always).

IF you wanted to do that, then the 4 PCs would combine into a fireteam sized element that does work as you described because that is why humans combine into groups. The thief is out front picking the fastest and sneakiest routes, the fighter is the tank, the cleric is keeping the tank healed up and the rear secure, and the wizard is dropping damage on bad guys that the thief finds. The problem is that 4 minds are not better than 1 when in combat. Each PC wants to make their character shine, and is rarely able to think of the team as a whole. I don't see the issue... that sort of min-maxing is exactly what happens IRL with combat units.

As for all the other RPG stuff...yeah, I got rid of it specifically for those reasons. If I wanted to make a real deal RPG system...It would just be BRP with a lot of stuff stolen from other games. Nothing would be really "new" except my weapons damage stuff.

As for the big issue...Magic. Meh. It took me months to come to the conclusion that it isn't special. Making magic special just ends up with a bunch of splat books filled with spells that are only slightly different from each other. Magic in D&D (specifically) is just a way to do things... and if the DM actually followed the rules, Magic isn't OP, it is just a form of technology that over rides skills. 

Plus, having played a LOT of games, I think that going the Champions/Hero/Mutants and Masterminds/Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (basically superhero games) is the right way to handle things...they are all the same. No difference in the effect between magic missile or a shotgun or a phaser on Kill 1. It hits something and does damage... everything else is just description. Magic missile always hits, shotgun easier to hit, lots of damage, phaser terrible ergonomics, but if you hit, the target dies...unless it is a Klingon (brak'lul FTW.) 

I understand your argument that magic, psi is different and breaks the rules of the universe, BUT so what? What is the effective difference between spy satellites and scry? Identify vs tricorder? The Force vs a forcefield? Combat precog vs Combat Computer 3 or Sandevistan (from Cyberpunk). I mean they all DO the same thing, but in a different way. I see your point, but I disagree.

For the Magic Missile...a lot of it has to deal with the way that D&D treats armor. My personal interpretation is that passive AC is dumb, and I much prefer Damage Reduction as how armor works. So, due to that, magic missile loses a lot of it's power. Heavy armor (in D&D effectively negates it, which it should). I am not understanding how magic missile always hits, but lightning bolt doesn't? D&D is definitely NOT the game that I would choose to model.

I do not know what Harmonize does... so... can't comment on it. Does it just give a bonus to a skill? I mean you can talk people through something on a radio, right.

Invisibility is another thing that is way overblown... sound, smell, touch, all of those can be used. Invisible isn't going to help you wandering up on an enemy OP at zero-three in triple canopy. Silence is what you need. Plus, tech can negate a lot of that, radar, seismic, thermal, UV, IR might work...

Mind reading and mind control? We already have tech stuff that does that. Now a wizard can cast that spell and it appears that the lead time on that is zero...but the wizard needs to know WHO to mind read, who to mind control, and how long did it take to learn the spell. Mind control is effectively different than causing fear, or intimidation, or bribery, or any other way to get someone to do what you want. 

We can debate the relative strengths of magic vs other forms of affecting reality, but magic is rarely the only way to achieve a goal. It may be faster, but only when the all of the previous costs and times are not taken into account.

For another example, think about the game "Magic: the Gathering" there is rarely some definitive classification of magic or how it interacts with other stuff like tech, or psi, or whatnot. Effects, sorceries, instants, are primarily differentiated by the speed it occurs, not what sort of "magic" it is...and when there IS some special effect, it is usually described in the card text.

I am going to assume that my responses are not sufficient, and for that I apologize. 

Thank you very much for the feedback! I really do appreciate it, because honest criticism is hard to find. 

-STS

 

 

 

 

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On 6/24/2022 at 4:54 PM, g33k said:

@Both @sladethesniper & @KPhan2121  -- please note, though:  you've set yourself a VERY tough goal.  The issue you want to address has been -- AFAIK -- been stymieing RPG players & wargamers for almost 50 years now.  I know of only a few games that do the RPG/Wargame duo (as noted in the OP, Warhammer is probably the biggest one, here) and it's generally not very "seamless" at all!

Well, my goals aren't so ambitious as to solve this problem. I'm only trying to add some elements of wargaming into BRP and its related games and even then this will be specifically for historical and fantasy settings. They are not meant to be a full wargame on its own, although I'm trying to add in optional rules that can allow for it.

 

My design goals are:

  • Making the transition between the wargame and RPG as seamless as possible by utilizing the stats and mechanics of the base game with only a few changes.
  • The rules should be simple and not reliant on miniatures and other visual representations so that it can be played theatre of the mind.
  • Keep the focus small in scope and give the PCs tangible actions that they can make in the battle and make involvement more engaging. 

A good visualization of what I'm trying to accomplish is something that feels like the Captain Mode in the Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord game. 

The main problem that I'm running into is the Scale of the battle; as the number of combatants goes up, it becomes less and less likely for the PC to contribute to the battle and keep it plausible. This is especially evident when it comes to powers, since most of them are designed for use by a small party of PCs skirmishing with a small number of NPC enemies instead of a clash between thousands of men. After all, dealing 1D6 damage with a fire spell is different when the Scale of individual units is 1 and when it is 1000.

For context, the Scale refers to the minimum size a Unit of soldiers can have to be considered a viable fighting force. The Scale is set by the GM based on the number of combatants (and is completely arbitrarily) and then the armies are divided into Units of men equal to the Scale. A group of Units can come together to create a formation in order to gain a lot of benefits. These formation bonuses cap out at 10 units to prevent players from just forming one gigantic super formation.

My current flawed solution is to leave it alone and justify it by applying the scale to time, by multiplying the time in a combat turn (12 seconds) by the Scale of the battle. A small skirmish where the scale is 1 (and a unit is just 1 man) has battle rounds only lasting 12 seconds. An absolutely gargantuan battle where the scale is 1000 (with the same number for its units) has battle rounds lasting 12,000 seconds or 3 hours and 20 minutes. Its not very elegant, but at least this can justify how a PC can kill hundreds of men narratively, while only making a single attack mechanically.

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You like Fading Suns? Well, I made a thing that's kinda like it!

 

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On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

TL;DR I got rid of the RPG stuff and made Strife to sit on top of other RPGs.

Query, how do I explain that?

I really think you need to include "the RPG stuff;" you are describing a generic wargame, without any elements of "sit on top of RPG" as an actual design feature (there's plenty of generic wargames already).  What makes Strife any better than any other wargame, as a high-level-play accessory for the RPG table?  I don't see much in these rules to tempt any RPG player to adopt them (or rather, to pick Strife over another general-purpose wargame; and in fact, it looks rather less-good than a more-focused game (like "SAGA" or "Lion Rampant" for medieval skirmish & small-battle scenarios, etc.)).

Think of a car... having a great engine, lots of torque & wide power band.  And you have awesome, grippy tires, good suspension & anti-roll.  Good to go!


Oh shit... no transmission!

What would be new -- and attract the RPG crowd -- would be rules for the wargame element to interface with the RPG element.
 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

A valid point. I need a overarching... name for those subjects. 

I might go with "Detection."  It's what links them all:  the question of whether either or both sides do (or don't) detect the other (and at what range).  It also allows for someone to hear the enemy; or use "Detection" magic, psychic powers, tech, or whatever.

This also naturally leads into the topic of ambushes, and readiness (can the column of marching pikemen wheel & form their shieldwall before the cavalry charging from the woods reaches them?)
 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

I came to RPGs from wargames and am well aware of the history of them and am actually thinking of Strife as "closing the circle" allowing RPGs to go back to the wargame roots.

I understand that!  But:  why?

Let's go back to Gygax's dungeonbasement, where they are all ardent & experienced wargamers.  We are the proverbial "flies on the walls," watching these guys who've been playing this New Thing...   Let's picture them with their "name-level" characters:

Quote

... where the Fighter has a keep and a company of troops at least, the Rogue has a thieves guild, the Wizard has his tower and assorted magical effects, and the Cleric has some number of the faithful that heed his call. Those adventurers graduated from killing rats and are now leaders of their forces ...

Tonight, the Dungeon Master has declared there's an invading army!  The Fighter raises a levy of soldiers, the thief gets some sneaky sorts to set up ambushes and guerrilla ops, the Cleric calls a crusade, the Wizard goes into a frenzy of potion / etc making, and so forth.  Off to war!

Tell me:  why would Gygax/Arneson et al pick up Strife, instead of... oh... whatever wargame had most driven/inspired the design/creation of their characters?  What is there about Strife that "suits" an RPG character ?

I think the basic idea is good:  we don't have rules that smoothly expand the kinds of conflict that RPGs cover, so players can play their characters in that larger/broader context.

But if you want to get RPG players to use it for that, I (strongly) believe that you need something for their characters to do: ways to re-implement a character-sheet into the wargame.  The single skills-substitution rule you call "Role-Playing" isn't going to suffice, I think.

The players will want their  characters  to matter:  signature spells, carefully-designed feat-trees, synergistic features, etc.  Don't forget the toys, either -- the prized magic sword from the barrow; the magic spidersilk cloak trimmed in giant-eagle-feathers, etc.  Not just matter in the dungeon, but matter on the battlefield.


If their characters don't matter, why are the RPG'ers going to pick up this wargame?

 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

Well, Strife is not built to model that 4 guys in a dungeon... it is built the model the 9th+ level (AD&D) party of heroes where the Fighter has a keep and a company of troops at least, the Rogue has a thieves guild, the Wizard has his tower and assorted magical effects, and the Cleric has some number of the faithful that heed his call. Those adventurers graduated from killing rats and are now leaders of their forces, not mere fighters. 

That is why I cut out the RPG stuff (but not the references to it in the text obviously). 4 guys in a dungeon is already handled perfectly by D&D and tons of other games.

What about 4 PCs with (for example) a few henchmen, and a company of 30-40 mercenaries they've temporarily hired to deal with a few hundred orcs?  Or even just the PC's alone against a few score orcs?   Most RPG's really don't scale (at least not well!) to that sort of scenario!  But these sorts of scenarios are (IMHO) overwhelmingly more-likely to be wanted by an RPG table than most existing wargames... including Strife (which maybe generalizes perhaps a bit too far)?

 Even as "Leaders" in a pitched battle, 10-level D&D PC's will be better used as "champion" figures than back-line "commanders."  Their puissance should be leading the way:  cracking open a shieldwall the rank&file cannot overcome, stopping the enemy "champion" from devastating their line, etc.  Another use would be as a "reserve strike," waiting to see where the enemy threatens to break through, and stopping them cold; or where the enemy falters, striking to gain a decisive opening.

 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

That is why I cut out the RPG stuff (but not the references to it in the text obviously). 4 guys in a dungeon is already handled perfectly by D&D and tons of other games. To my knowledge, there are few games that handle them as leaders. I realize that the newer generation of games keeps the 4 guys in a dungeon model as opposed to the AD&D model of growing into leaders, and that is cool.  I am not trying to force any "right" way of gaming. However, for gamers that want their PCs to grow out of the dungeon crawling, that is what I want Strife to allow.

 This is another reason I got rid of the RPG stuff. There is no reason for me to do it (poorly) when so many other games do it so much better...

You seem to be looking at an either/or case -- a wargame or a RPG.  If you want to get the RPG players interested, you likely need more of a "hybrid" game:  a "wargame" that uses the RPG concept of a "high level character" as something more than an integral component of an army, that leverages those PCs in ways that make a difference.

 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

For the Magic Missile...a lot of it has to deal with the way that D&D treats armor. My personal interpretation is that passive AC is dumb, and I much prefer Damage Reduction as how armor works. So, due to that, magic missile loses a lot of it's power. Heavy armor (in D&D effectively negates it, which it should). I am not understanding how magic missile always hits, but lightning bolt doesn't? D&D is definitely NOT the game that I would choose to model.

And yet, D&D is the OVERWHELMINGLY most-popular RPG... ignore it (for RPG use) at your peril !

Magic Missile works the way it does because it's magic.  It doesn't have to follow your rules, your assumptions, your expectations.  It ISN"T just a gun, and there is no non-magic substitute.  Hypothetically, auto/AI aiming might one day offer a "guaranteed hit," but not in the D&D world!

You... hate Magic Missile?  So ... you nerf it.  "Neener-neener, F- you D&D players!" seems to be the message?  Your attitude ("... the way that D&D treats armor ... passive AC is dumb ... I much prefer Damage Reduction ... So ... magic missile loses a lot of it's power ... I am not understanding how magic missile always hits, but lightning bolt doesn't") ...
This isn't going to win you many RPG players.

Plenty of people are attached to their magic; their magic swords, their spells, their rings, etc.  They care that Magic Missile is a doesn't-miss / no-save spell, and they're just fine that a big ol' Lighting Bolt does have a save; your "I don't understand, I dislike/disagree, and therefore it doesn't matter" does no favors for your project.  And RPG magic systems & magic-items are chock full of odd little tweaks, exceptions, unique items/abilities, etc.


Strife:  "None of that matters, magic is mundane, I have leveled the playing field!  Come play!"

RPG players:  "Thanks anyhow."

 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

Invisibility is another thing that is way overblown... sound, smell, touch, all of those can be used. Invisible isn't going to help you wandering up on an enemy OP at zero-three in triple canopy. Silence is what you need. Plus, tech can negate a lot of that, radar, seismic, thermal, UV, IR might work...

For scouting, sure.  However, Strife is fundamentally about combat.

Invisibility would be HUGE on the battlefield.  In the middle of combat, nobody who's fighting for their life -- being shot at, or sword&boarding vs some dual-wielded-scimitar asshole, or etc ... among dozens of their fellow soldiers, also in combat against whoever's trying to kill them (and the odd opportunistic strike against the foe of your comrade; and 2:1'ing or 3:1'ing when one foe goes down and you can "gang up" (or you get ganged-up-on) -- is going to hear/smell/touch someone 30' away just strolling normally past; half a minute later, the invisible person begins shooting, backstabbing, or whatever... from behind the enemy lines.

No tech currently exists that offers anything like this (though of course sci-fi has "chameleon suits" and other invisibility-esque tech).  Sure, a sniper or the like can do a v-e-r-y slow penetration with similar stealth; but once a firefight has broken out, the sniper needs to already be in place (unless there's an extended "feeling-out" phase where neither side can advance, and a sniper has time to gain a flanking (or other advantageous) position); half a minute to get to the rear of the enemy line would be a field-commander's wet dream.
 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

Mind reading and mind control? We already have tech stuff that does that. Now a wizard can cast that spell and it appears that the lead time on that is zero...but the wizard needs to know WHO to mind read, who to mind control ...

Mind-reading -- from a military perspective -- is fundamentally "spying."  As such, any wargame that implemented spies/espionage would cover this ground.  Very few do, however!  And yet, it's a staple of RPGs.

It differs, potentially, in that the spy usually needs to convey the information (just getting it in-hand isn't enough); whereas the mentalist, potentially, can pass it immediately to where it's needed.  On the battlefield, a mind-reader is liable to immediately discern which assaults are mere "feints," and what is the genuine objective.  They can tell when an assault is being planned, and how it will be conducted.  Again:  a field-commander's wet dream., allowing a defense specific to the attack; or, for the attacker, the exact layout of the defense.

 

On 6/25/2022 at 12:07 AM, sladethesniper said:

... and how long did it take to learn the spell ... magic ... may be faster, but only when the all of the previous costs and times are not taken into account.

Please don't do that; it's very-much "moving the goal-posts" argument (into things like economics &c).  The abilities are available in the game, or they are not.

And frankly, it's just a straw-man in this context; in fact, twice-over:

(a) the same "how long did it take / previous costs and times" applies pretty much to all warfare, which is mostly about bringing more combat resources to bear.  The guy with metal weapons beats the guy with stone; the guy with guns beats the guy with melee weapons; the bigger army defeats the smaller army; the army inside the castle withstands the army outside.  These are all cases of more resources being brought to bear...  knapping stone < mining ore, hiring smiths < chemistry/gunpowder & steel; etc.  So too:  a wizard with a mind-reading spell (or a mutant with that power) also represent "more resources."

(b) we're talking about high level characters.  Of course they have more resources, that's the very definition of an "experienced PC" -- they have more resources; Hit Points, Magic-Points, spell-levels, higher skills, magic toys, etc.


And looping back to reiterate my main point:  if Strife just ignores everything about PC's, all of their accumulated "specials" and other high-level features -- more resources they can bring to bear -- it offers nothing for RPG players to engage with.

 

 

In the end, I fear, you & I may be talking at cross purposes.  I suspect I'm not going to sway you; and I haven't seen anything to suggest to me that you're on (what I would consider) the "right track" for your stated design goal.

 

Edited by g33k
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Whew, this is turning into a dissertation defense...

Shall we begin?

Spoiler

 

 

funny comic about a dissertation defense

 

Lets start with the fun stuff.

 

11 hours ago, g33k said:

What about 4 PCs with (for example) a few henchmen, and a company of 30-40 mercenaries they've temporarily hired to deal with a few hundred orcs?  Or even just the PC's alone against a few score orcs?   Most RPG's really don't scale (at least not well!) to that sort of scenario!  But these sorts of scenarios are (IMHO) overwhelmingly more-likely to be wanted by an RPG table than most existing wargames... including Strife (which maybe generalizes perhaps a bit too far)?

OK, so you have 30 to 40 mercenaries? That is 3 to 4 squads of mercenaries. How are they equipped, trained, etc? That is the important part of the game, not that there is 40 bodies there.

So, lets say that they have 30 mercenaries in 3 squads of medium infantry, and 10 heavy cavalry?

1 x Heavy Cavalry squad is: Off 6, Def 6, Size 4, Initiative 4, Damage 24, Resilience 24, Speed 20 km/h, Range 3m, Endurance 4 hours, Charge: can double their speed for one turn

3 x Medium Infantry squads are: Off 6, Def 5, Size 3, Initiative 3, Damage 18, Resilience 15, Speed 8 km/h, Range 10m, Endurance 12 hours

The PC group is what determines the skills for this unit, and all the magic stuff increases the skills.

You want a group of 4 PCs (Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard), that is a Size 2 unit. Off 4, Def 4, Size 2, Initiative 1, Damage 8, Resilience 8, Speed 10 km/h, Range 100m, Endurance 18 hours.

Experience 45% (assuming 9th level), Medical 60% (what I am going to give for having a dedicated, professional healer), Perception 80% (for all the various spells and abilities they possess), Tactics 40%, Equipment 80% (because of all the magic items and stuff they drag along), Planning 20% (most PC groups kinda suck at making actual plans), Teamwork 40% (most PC groups are not the best at sticking to plans), Morale 80% (because PC groups hate losing "control" so need to minimize that), Fieldcraft 20% (they are trained to live, but if there was a Ranger or a Druid, it would probably jump up to 60%), Influence 60% (Charisma is a dump stat, but all those magic spells and psionic abilities do help bump it up pretty well).     
Notes: A lot of spell effects would go here like "1/day, can roll twice and take the better result on any roll," "1/battle, add a +1 to Offense or Defense to any unit under your command," "Fly at 90 km/h, altitude up to 100 meters."

And we are done, the mercenaries and a command squad of the PC, the skills and abilities converted to the skills and abilities in Strife.

This isn't anything that isn't already in the book (under building units) or could be extrapolated from the Scenario Book which literally has 4 fantasy scenarios (20 Dungeon Delve, 21 Invasion of Kasein, 22 Uprising in Chessary, 23 Genocidal War) that cover units such as liches, wizards, centaurs, elves, and a bunch of other fantasy staples.

The rules are only 34 pages... I am not wanting to recreate a 200+ page tome of RPG stuff and then add a hundred pages of Wargame stuff. 

There are a lot of different approaches to RPGs such as narrativist, gamist, simulationist....rules light, rules heavy....setting focused or general rules sets. My goal was a simulationish, rules light, general rules set that turns another RPG into a wargame if the PCs need it to...or it can be just a wargame.

Oh, as for what other players do, that is up to their group. If the players want to each run their own character (as a size 0 unit on the board) that is up to them. They do not have to combine to form a 4 man group. THAT is why the rules are written they way they are, to allow for a few individuals, a few squads, some off map supporting units, and one big kaiju monster.

Finally, ignoring D&D is not done at my peril...it is a game, but while it may be the biggest, it is not the best. I have no intention of competing with D&D, WotC or Hasbro...so why would I attempt to fit my idea onto their product. Strife supports D&D, but it is not the primary focus.

I regret that my attempt did not meet your expectations. 

-STS

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On 6/26/2022 at 2:00 PM, sladethesniper said:

...

This isn't anything that isn't already in the book (under building units) or could be extrapolated from the Scenario Book which literally has 4 fantasy scenarios (20 Dungeon Delve, 21 Invasion of Kasein, 22 Uprising in Chessary, 23 Genocidal War) that cover units such as liches, wizards, centaurs, elves, and a bunch of other fantasy staples.

,,,

I think I'm going to have to bow out of this debate; sorry.
The "Scenario Book" may have some relevant points; but it's getting to be more content than I'm willing to undertake at this moment -- I have several other substantive projects that I really need to focus on.

Also, it doesn't change our fundamental disagreement:  I say that "magic" is fundamentally different, it "changes the rules" and cannot be addressed the same as mundane methods.  You say that's not so.  I've made my points, you've made yours, neither of us seems to be swaying the other.

Agree to disagree, and we both move on?

Edited by g33k
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On 6/25/2022 at 11:44 PM, KPhan2121 said:

My design goals are:

  • Making the transition between the wargame and RPG as seamless as possible by utilizing the stats and mechanics of the base game with only a few changes.
  • The rules should be simple and not reliant on miniatures and other visual representations so that it can be played theatre of the mind.
  • Keep the focus small in scope and give the PCs tangible actions that they can make in the battle and make involvement more engaging. 

A good visualization of what I'm trying to accomplish is something that feels like the Captain Mode in the Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord game. 

Hmmm.  I don't usually think of "TotM" and "wargame elements" in the same ruleset...  Color me intrigued!

I presume you're doing something to "simplify" a PC's character-sheet in terms of the "wargame" elements?

 

On 6/25/2022 at 11:44 PM, KPhan2121 said:

...

The main problem that I'm running into is the Scale of the battle; as the number of combatants goes up, it becomes less and less likely for the PC to contribute to the battle and keep it plausible.

You're really at the crux of why RPGs diverged from wargames originally, I think:  to many, it's those individuals -- interesting individuals, stand-out people doing stand-out things --who are interesting-to-play; but battles, particularly between large groups, are much more a "faceless masses" experience, where "a unit" is possibly dozens of people (or more), and the most valuable thing they can do is all contribute to the team effort.

One person's individual choices -- PC-style choices -- are really only going to weaken their unit, subtracting their "DIY" effort from the unit's effort to complete its orders.  In a unit of 100 individuals, that may not matter much (Joe is a slacker, not a team player, kind of a glory-hound)... but in a unit of 8 people, it could be catastrophic (Joe got most of our patrol killed)!

Until/unless, of course, the PC's abilities are so outstanding & above-the-norm -- which PC's often are, it must be noted! -- that their presence in a combat-unit (doing their own "DIY" / Adventurer thing) act as a force-multiplier or somesuch; or even granting "impossible" abilities/results.  Or at least, so I'm envisioning it...

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I can see why DIY PCs are interesting in an RPG but are fairly dangerous in actual combat. Doing your own thing in most FPS PvP games is also really bad. It is a habit that requires breaking when playing a team based game. Everyone thinks their ultra meta-build can go 4 v 1 and win...but usually fail big time, and when the game is a no-respawn type game, congrats now your team is down a player.

This sort of super min-max character dynamic is also discouraged in most RPGs with either niche protection (rogues don't heal, high level skills being very expensive in character development) and when there is super character, it often harms the team dynamic inherent in most RPGs. 

-STS

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20 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

I can see why DIY PCs are interesting in an RPG but are fairly dangerous in actual combat. Doing your own thing in most FPS PvP games is also really bad. It is a habit that requires breaking when playing a team based game. Everyone thinks their ultra meta-build can go 4 v 1 and win...but usually fail big time, and when the game is a no-respawn type game, congrats now your team is down a player.

This sort of super min-max character dynamic is also discouraged in most RPGs with either niche protection (rogues don't heal, high level skills being very expensive in character development) and when there is super character, it often harms the team dynamic inherent in most RPGs. 

-STS

Yeah.
It really depends on:

(a) the realities of the game-world (Just how badass can a badass really get?  Badass like a RL spec-ops guy?  Or like James Bond?  Or like Wolverine?)

(b) how much do the PC's stand out -- capability-wise -- from the soldiers they are leading?

I would argue that in many RPG's, the PC's who have worked their way up to leading large groups have (game-mechanically) often grown to approach (or achieve) "superhero" levels of capable.

Sometimes, they just get more done doing their own DIY thing, and trying to integrate into a normal-human-scale "team" just holds them back.

At the end of the day, was their side more effective letting the soldiers do the soldier-thing & the Specials do their Special-Thing, or integrating them into doing the same Thing?


Note:  There is no "right" answer, here!  And the only "wrong" answer is to assert that there is only one "right" answer.
 

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On 6/28/2022 at 12:28 PM, g33k said:

Hmmm.  I don't usually think of "TotM" and "wargame elements" in the same ruleset...  Color me intrigued!

I presume you're doing something to "simplify" a PC's character-sheet in terms of the "wargame" elements?

It's not so much simplifying the PC's character sheet as it is bolting simple wargame elements on top of the existing rules. The PC will mainly be using their Command, Strategy and Combat Skills to win the day, but I want to make it open-ended enough so that a particularly creative player to do something outside the norm. Like perhaps using the climb and spot skills to reach an elevated position during the battle and single out the enemy captain, or stealth and demolitions skills to separate from an existing battle in order to rig explosives under the bridge where the enemy is fighting from.

 

You like Fading Suns? Well, I made a thing that's kinda like it!

 

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21 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

It's not so much simplifying the PC's character sheet as it is bolting simple wargame elements on top of the existing rules...

Honestly, it looks to me like you're doing 2 separate things:

 

21 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

... The PC will mainly be using their Command, Strategy and Combat Skills to win the day ...

This is the "simplified character sheet" concept.  A couple of large-scale skills, Command&Strategy; and relevant personal combat-skills.  Plus, presumably, the relevant stats.  And that's *it* from the PC's sheet; game-mechanically, it's all that's relevant.

 

21 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

... but I want to make it open-ended enough so that a particularly creative player to do something outside the norm. Like perhaps using the climb and spot skills to reach an elevated position during the battle and single out the enemy captain, or stealth and demolitions skills to separate from an existing battle in order to rig explosives under the bridge where the enemy is fighting from.

This looks, to me, like a full-on RPG episode.

It's just very action-heavy, with little to no social action, Investigation, etc; but a wide array of skills being used, and very little "mass combat" options in play (however much it has a meaningful impact on the mass-combat).

I observe that one could (in theory) do this in a straight-up wargame manner.  Create a "Sapper" unit, with minimal combat effectiveness but the ability to alter terrain (remove bridges, break roads, etc).  Make it hard to "see" (target).  Or, just give the player some "Sapper Points:"  it takes more points to destroy bigger targets, targets in active fire-zones, targets far behind enemy lines, etc.  None of that nasty messy "RPG" nonsense, and you can restore the acronym to its proper use as a Rocket Propelled Grenade!  😈 

 

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I've tagged this as I'd like to follow the topic.

Not a lot to contribute so far but I've always felt the Resistance Table would be useful.

Divide Attack (and Parry if applicable) by 5 to produce a number in the 1 - 20 range. Then match the attacking unit's Attack value against the target unit's Attack (or Parry) and roll on the RT. If the attacker is successful, roll damage equal to the unit's primary weapon damage (e.g. Broadsword D8+1) to indicate the number of casualties caused, then roll the defending unit's Armour value (e.g. Hard Leather D6) to reflect how many casualties were saved by their armour.

This is very sketchy at the moment, and obviously factors like charging, shock of impact, force backs and morale need to be covered (not to mention missile fire) but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Colin

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