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The Combat Round


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I think that's a really interesting point. What little combat I have witnessed has rarely been heroic, and in fact rather grubby, primitive, savage and, well, murderous. I remember the hand-to-hand scene in Saving Private Ryan - two guys with no real weapons trying to kill each other. Nothing admirable - just gritty and all rather sad.

That's certainly not the paradigm I game in, nor something I'm trying to emulate in my games - great noble battles a la viking sagas, LOTR, etc. Tales of heroism and derring-do, success against impossible odds, saving the world. So you end up with a contradiction: to a certain extent, most RPGs *don't want* super-realistic combat, but rather heroic, feel-good, adventuresome combat.

I agree you can use the BRP rules to simulate "realistic" combat, indeed far more than D20 et al; I personally however am not sure in my games that I'd actually want to! Give me the Battle of Pelennor Fields over two guys scrabbling in the mud any day - the characters in my campaigns are Aragorns, Gandalfs, and Frodos, and occasionally Elrics, not Ted Bundys! :D



Excellent points, but I personally prefer realistic combat in my games as I want my characters fighting zombies, vampires, werewolves, and the occasional psychopath,etc. And I think the realism could make it all the more heroic.:)

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Determining the "flavor" of the game is very important when picking and choosing mods and house rules, especially for combat.

In D20, the idea is that "heroes" run around killing things, taking their stuff, and learning from it which is why Base Attack Bonus goes up every level...the idea is that killing things makes you better. If that were the case, 90% of the world would be 0 level since they never kill anything, much less sentient beings...

I, personally find that idea repugnant.

In BRP the idea is that as you do things, you get better doing the things you are successfully accomplishing. I like that, it seems to fit reality much better.

Also, in BRP, the idea is (generally) not "heroes" running around killing things...it is morally ambiguous (no alignments) characters interacting within their reality (the setting) in the manner that is most advantageous to their goals (the adventure/campaign).

I find BRP to be far superior to any other system for modelling combat. What I have experienced so far is that combat sucks. After a fight you are tired, injured, weapons are dirty, equipment is broken and it generally leaves you feeling angry at your enemy for fighting you and forcing you to kill them. Reproducing that is the job of the GM.

In game terms, very, very few people that have been shot do much else except sit there and bleed. With blades, much the same thing happens, although shock isn't as much of a factor, although a trained swordsman or knife fighter can do as much, if not more damage with a single thrust/hard slash than most pistol rounds.

Many people think that "old" weapons (knives, swords, spears) are somehow less capable than guns...that is incorrect. Modern firearms have superior range and require less skill than archaic weapons, but an expert melee combatant can kill you just as dead as someone with a firearm...hence why people with guns try to stay far away from those with only knives :)

Also, moving back on topic (sort of)...BRP's lack of "hit point" advancement means that unlike D20 where a character can get shot, stabbed, fireballed and still move and fight, a BRP character will avoid getting hit, placing far more importance on not getting hit and setting up opponents for the "big one" that will take them down quickly instead of whittling down their opponents several hundred hit points.

When taking a group of D20 players and moving them into BRP style combat, most of them will whine and complain that their characters suck and they can't take a hit. They will then charge into combat and usually have their @$$es handed to them. Afterward, they will learn to respect combat and place it back into it's rightful place that it occupies in the real world.

Combat is either the first option (attack from ambush to kill your opponents before they can react so that you stay safe) or the last option after diplomacy, appeals and reason have all failed and a conscious decision is made to engage them because (in the mind of the combatants) there is no other way to achieve their goal.

Sorry to threadjack.


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The problem with RPG's is that the "baseline" for "most" characters tends to be a highly trained, well armed, sociopath...think about it...there are a lot of games where characters are basically racially motivated mass murderers that specialize in home invasion...

Funny thing is that I was debating on creating a vampire rpg based on the characters acting along those lines (no emos). However, I believe that it could be unplayable. But, then again, somebody did create a game about sociopathic assassins that also could specialize in home invasion and theft of their victims:

RPGNow.com - EN Publishing - AssassinX - The 24hour RPG of Bloody Murder

I wonder how many people do play it for a one shot--or even a campaign. And there's a game called Dog Town where the PCs are all criminals:

RPGNow.com - Cold Blooded Games - Dog Town: Core Rules

I don't care what White Wolf publishing or Ann Rice says, vampires are sociopathic mass murderers who specialize in home invasion! At least if you want your vampires to be scary. And I've long thought that the way most PCs are played in rpgs, they would make great vampires in a modern day setting. After all, you see vampires in modern day movies wearing nice modern day clothes, or even living in a modern day house...where do they get the money from?

Wow, I think I may have went a quite a bit off subject...:ohwell:


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