Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jux

Combat variant for rolling a special effect

Recommended Posts

One thing I find that slows a combat down is when a player starts to choose the combat effect, after a successful hit. So thought about this variant to make it a bit faster, but keep the fantastic narration that the combat effects give us.

Another thing I with the combat system I find a bit anti-climatic is that after you make the attack roll and based on the success level, you get to make the tactical choice, what the attack actually did - after the attack, not during or before. I know we can look past that, but rolling the effect would make it more immersive perhaps?

Another thing I don't like with the existing system is that you get to roll for a random hit-location not often enough. I think this is very exciting and would like it to be a central mechanic.

So this variant would have many dice thrown at once:
 - d100 for attack skill check
 - d20 for hit location
 - d6/d8/d10 for a roll on unified chart of attack special effects
 
The hit location and special effect roll aplies only, when defender fails.

When defender is successful, but with inferior weapon, the hit location is used, but special effect is ignored. 

Defender also rolls multiple dice:
 - d100 for defense skill check
 - d6/d8/d10 for a roll on unified chart of defense special effects
 
Special effect is used when attacker fails. 

Critical success would work as it is now. Although perhaps simplifying it's effect - additional d6 damage for example.

Perhaps it's better to make the d100 roll first and then roll the effects.

The special effect chart would need some work, so that it would apply to what ever weapon one is using. Like one option has "weapon special effect" or something and that must be written on the character sheet when using a specific weapon.

What do yo think? Would it work? Will the rolling for special effect loses too much tactical choice in combat? To me I find it be more for the flavor than actual choice one takes during combat.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I understand things correctly, under this system, you'd roll randomly for the Special Effect, rather than choose it? While it might be fun for Rabble and Underlings, for player characters and major NPCs, it's defeating the tactical purpose of Special Effects, which is to choose something that grants a tactical advantage according to circumstances. For example, I might not want to kill my opponent - simply disarm him or incapacitate him. However, if I have to roll the effect, I might get a result that completely works against that objective. Fun, perhaps, but likely to prove frustrating if you have a specific goal or intention.

Also, how do you categorise an inferior weapon? Size? Length? Damage? Every weapon has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation. A longspear vs a dagger for example - the former does more damage and is longer, but becomes distinctly inferior to the dagger if the character is nimble and ducks inside the spear's range to stab the spearman in the throat (which actually might now be impossible because he has to roll randomly for the effect, rather than choosing the head as a location).

I think what you're really trying to do is speed-up the choice of the Special Effects, but I don't think the system you're proposing is the right way of doing it. You'd need to re-engineer the combat mechanics (and Special Effect mechanics) to ensure you have a streamlined result. A better option is simply make it easier and quicker to choose the effects you want. For this, we have the Combat Cards on Drivethru that include a booklet filled with ways of specifically speeding-up special effect choice.

Edited by lawrence.whitaker
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2016 at 0:45 PM, jux said:

One thing I find that slows a combat down is when a player starts to choose the combat effect, after a successful hit.

I see the choice made as being a reaction to an opening that occurs during the moment of attack vs. parry. So it's placement in time doesn't bother me and I don't think I'd want it to be random. I wonder if part of what makes it slow is the element of 'choosing' from a set list of possibilities... analysis paralysis and all that.

I've been playing lots of Dungeon Crawl Classics lately and warriors in that game get to roll for Mighty Deeds with each attack... which are somewhat similar in concept, if not execution. There aren't formal parries in DCC... it's the basic D&D thing of rolling attack vs. AC... but the relevant things about Mighty Deeds are:

1, They're declared before the attack is made. Like, you're fighting a guy on a ledge and declare that you're trying to knock him off. Both the attack and deed roll (made at the same time) need to succeed to pull the deed off (the attack might still succeed on its own).

2. There's no list to choose from... you just come up with whatever you want to try to pull off and the GM will adjudicate if it's possible or not, maybe suggest an alternative, "The giant is too tall for you to lop off it's head but you might be able to take off its foot..."

There's really not much to it and it's really fast in play... but it is a lot looser in feel than RQ6/Mythras... relies more on GM rulings. It's something I've considered trying with our Magic World games, which are, again, looser than RQ/Mythras... just declaring some additional effect you'll pull off if you roll an attack that succeeds at a sufficient level.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I don't remember exactly - I played Legend before, then RQ6. And all the mechanics regarding the stance/weapon reach was too much and my group chose to skip that. So the only thing we use weapon size for is when parring with a weapon of 2 size level different, you fail automatically and if defending with only 1 size different weapon - one takes half the damage. I think these were the rules in Legend at least.

I don't believe the cards will speed up anything. They don't look that simple, yet are very ugly.

What I want with this variant, is to be more simple, faster and chaotic experience. I don't care for the tactics. The combat effects and hit-locations just give so much narration and flavor.

Yes, DCC is awesome - I like the adventures, but the d20 system is on other end of the spectrum compared to RQ. One is blow by blow, very vivid take on combat. D20 works better in more abstract way. My preferred system for lighter system is OpenQuest - combat effects/migthy deeds could be fun improvement to it indeed. OQ is planning to have a campanion book which could fit there perfectly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, jux said:

I don't believe the cards will speed up anything. They don't look that simple, yet are very ugly.

What I want with this variant, is to be more simple, faster and chaotic experience. I don't care for the tactics. The combat effects and hit-locations just give so much narration and flavor.

Uhm, I think you should follow Loz's advice, Jux.

Whether your group is tactical-minded or not, the problem is that applying the wrong effect at a given moment may cost you a battle - and sometimes a character, given that when you run out of Luck Points Mythras is as deadly as any BRP derivative. In some specific situations, or against some specific foes, some effects are useless or even counter-productive. Leaving the choice to chance can be really frustrating when the situation is dire. I did it 30 years ago when we started playing RQ3, but only for non-player characters.

What the cards do is to allow you to create a set of effects that are most appropriate to each character (the specific effects for his weapons, plus the most useful generic effects) and then allow undecided players to pick from a sub-set of appropriate effects. Nothing then prevents rolling one die and using it to select randomly from cards, but at the very least you will have personalised the "table" for the player's needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I don't believe the cards will speed up anything. They don't look that simple, yet are very ugly.

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, each to their own, etc. But as to not looking simple: it's an illustration on one side, and the way the effect works on the other. Hardly complicated.

And they do speed-up effect selection. You don't have to hunt through a list, you can have a small, custom hand built with effects you most often, or the GM can restrict the effects in play.

As ever though, try your variant and see how it works for you. If it gives you and your players the experience you're looking for, then that's brilliant. My advice was more to prepare you for the fact that making the effects random is likely to lead to a lot more work than you might imagine. But Your Mythras Will Vary. :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, jux said:

Yes, DCC is awesome - I like the adventures, but the d20 system is on other end of the spectrum compared to RQ. One is blow by blow, very vivid take on combat. D20 works better in more abstract way. My preferred system for lighter system is OpenQuest - combat effects/migthy deeds could be fun improvement to it indeed. OQ is planning to have a campanion book which could fit there perfectly.

I enjoy DCC a lot... largely, I think, because of it's embrace of random tables and how that brings the unexpected. Luckily any system can make use of such things, if desired. But otherwise, yeah, very different game.

While I don't want random combat maneuvers... I also agree that the Mythras cards aren't appealing. Not to me, anyway. Aesthetically, I just don't want the extra bits at the table... they start to remind me of a board game (though I love board games I prefer RPGs be less... material), and really, I'd prefer a method where I just declare what I'm attempting up front than choosing from available options.

Edited by Simlasa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Simlasa said:

I'd prefer a method where I just declare what I'm attempting up front than choosing from available options.

And on what page of the Mythras rules is it written that you cannot declare it up front?

If you prefer to pre-declare, just do it :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

And on what page of the Mythras rules is it written that you cannot declare it up front?

I guess I meant doing away with a formal list of options as well... but otherwise, yeah, pretty much what I'd considered trying in Magic World.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Simlasa said:

I guess I meant doing away with a formal list of options as well... but otherwise, yeah, pretty much what I'd considered trying in Magic World.

This sounds interesting... would you like to discuss the idea?

I think we should be doing it in the general forum, though. While Jux's original question was clearly Mythras-related, your proposal has more to do with "generic BRP". Discussing it in a Mythras thread might create clutter and "hide" the punctual replies that Loz has given to Jux behind out-of-topic noise. Staying on topic makes the forums more helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

This sounds interesting... would you like to discuss the idea?

I think we should be doing it in the general forum, though. While Jux's original question was clearly Mythras-related, your proposal has more to do with "generic BRP". Discussing it in a Mythras thread might create clutter and "hide" the punctual replies that Loz has given to Jux behind out-of-topic noise. Staying on topic makes the forums more helpful.

I don't mind the noise.

Speaking of combat effects for "generic BRP", wasn't there a some kind of Pirate supplement that stated to have something like that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

I think we should be doing it in the general forum, though. While Jux's original question was clearly Mythras-related, your proposal has more to do with "generic BRP".

No, I think it is still relevant here. One of the primary elements I see mentioned in positive recommendations of Mythras are the combat maneuvers, but they also seem to often be at the heart of why I see people shying away from Mythras as 'too complex.' 

Jux is correct that they do slow combat down for some groups, I've seen it in the RQ6 games I've played. Cards might be the answer for some people... but not all... and maybe less so online (the only place I've played RQ6 so far).

Even if I do want to borrow the idea for other BRP games, Mythras is the genesis of it... and we're talking about ideas for simplified/streamlined Mythras.

Edited by Simlasa
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jux said:

I don't mind the noise.

Speaking of combat effects for "generic BRP", wasn't there a some kind of Pirate supplement that stated to have something like that?

I think you mean Chaosium's "Blood Tide."  It has something similar called "Stunts."  Kind of like a d20/PF "Feat" in that they are pre-chosen and become "part of the character," rather than Mythras' more-generic "feature of combat" method.

See here:  http://basicroleplaying.org/topic/3506-blood-tide/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us continue this here, then. By popular demand!

Before the discussion tackles Simlasa's idea, I have an additional question, this time about your personal experience: in non-effect-driven version of D100 (RQ2/3, BRP, Stormbringer...) how often do you use specific options like Aimed Blow, Intentional Knockback, Attacking on the Run, Disarm, etc.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, "Blood Tide" was what I meant. I remember skimming it in a game store, but did not find it to be what I was interested, and so I forgot what it actually was.

About OQ, I like the attacking options provided there. New Delta Green also has nice combat rules, but I think they are not so much related to combat effects, which are more results of an attack, rather than decision how to attack.

But there is a idea to have another topic regarding this in BRP section as well. I'd really like if the upcoming BRP essentials had some kind of simple combat effects mechanic in modular/optional way. But on the other hand, it seems Chaosium has ideas of their own how to develop their games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jux said:

About OQ, I like the attacking options provided there. New Delta Green also has nice combat rules, but I think they are not so much related to combat effects, which are more results of an attack, rather than decision how to attack.

 

To be honest, I never quite understood that disctinction … what is the difference between „I want to disarm my opponent, so I roll at -30 and hope I come up with a success“ and „I want to disarm my opponent, so I roll my attack and hope I come up with a sufficient level of success“?
I mean, obviously, in terms of the rules, in one case, the player decides before she or he rolls the dice, and in the other, the decision is made afterwards. But both are abstractions from what the PC would actually do in combat. I mean, a halfway decent fighter probably wouldn‘t try, by all means, to disarm his opponent with his next attack, no matter if a good opportunity arose or not (as choosing beforehand might imply); on the other hand, no decent fighter would just strike „blindly“, without any plan, and see what happens (as choosing effects afterward might imply). So choosing beforehand and choosing afterward are both abstractions from a real fight, where opponents make plans that get thwarted or are succesful and take unexpected opportunities as they arise. To me, they both represant exactly the same thing in the game world.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Jakob said:

 

To be honest, I never quite understood that disctinction … what is the difference between „I want to disarm my opponent, so I roll at -30 and hope I come up with a success“ and „I want to disarm my opponent, so I roll my attack and hope I come up with a sufficient level of success“?
I mean, obviously, in terms of the rules, in one case, the player decides before she or he rolls the dice, and in the other, the decision is made afterwards. But both are abstractions from what the PC would actually do in combat. I mean, a halfway decent fighter probably wouldn‘t try, by all means, to disarm his opponent with his next attack, no matter if a good opportunity arose or not (as choosing beforehand might imply); on the other hand, no decent fighter would just strike „blindly“, without any plan, and see what happens (as choosing effects afterward might imply). So choosing beforehand and choosing afterward are both abstractions from a real fight, where opponents make plans that get thwarted or are succesful and take unexpected opportunities as they arise. To me, they both represant exactly the same thing in the game world.

There is ONE big difference Jakob: if a player is indecisive, then if the choice is made after the roll he will stop to think about the best possible tactics ony IF and WHEN he wins the roll. If the decision is pre-roll ("fortune at the end") then you will see the enormously frustrating effect of painstakingly calculating the best chances of success... and then rolling 99 :)

This is why I disagree about the combat effects "slowing down" combat. They only slow down when the players do not think tactically (which seems to be Jux's case). If the players like to plan specific actions when their character fight, then the combat effects actually SPEED UP play, reducing "tactical thinking" to only the moments when you actually know that you have won the exchange!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, RosenMcStern said:

There is ONE big difference Jakob: if a player is indecisive, then if the choice is made after the roll he will stop to think about the best possible tactics ony IF and WHEN he wins the roll. If the decision is pre-roll ("fortune at the end") then you will see the enormously frustrating effect of painstakingly calculating the best chances of success... and then rolling 99 :)

This is why I disagree about the combat effects "slowing down" combat. They only slow down when the players do not think tactically (which seems to be Jux's case). If the players like to plan specific actions when their character fight, then the combat effects actually SPEED UP play, reducing "tactical thinking" to only the moments when you actually know that you have won the exchange!

I understand the difference in gameplay (I personally prefer "first roll, then pick your effect" because I hate the frustrated faces when some really cool stunt didn't work out ...). What I meant - in response to Jux - is that I feel that both are about the same thing basically (how an attack goes) and not about different things (the decision how to attack/the result).

What I'm trying to say is probably that it makes most sense to decide about this beforehand/afterward thing by deciding what works best for you in terms of gameplay, and not to overthink what they might imply about whether the PC plans a certain course of action or just takes an opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jakob said:

What I'm trying to say is probably that it makes most sense to decide about this beforehand/afterward thing by deciding what works best for you in terms of gameplay, and not to overthink what they might imply about whether the PC plans a certain course of action or just takes an opportunity.

Agreed. Both models represent the same thing, so there is no "more realistic" option. But I strongly suspect that "decision afterwards" is way less complicate in terms of gameplay.

I think there is a precise order of decreasing complication:

Decision beforehand > Decision afterwards > No decision

which sets the "afterwards" model in the middle, thus a compromise in terms of complication and variety.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jakob said:

 

I mean, a halfway decent fighter probably wouldn‘t try, by all means, to disarm his opponent with his next attack, no matter if a good opportunity arose or not (as choosing beforehand might imply); on the other hand, no decent fighter would just strike „blindly“, without any plan, and see what happens (as choosing effects afterward might imply). 

 I can see the disarm attempt happening if there is a strong desire to not harm the opponent, take them alive... striking blindly sounds like an act of desperation in a bad circumstance of surprise or darkness or amid some magical effect.

I'm not troubled by the before/after thing so much... one is a plan and the other a response to opportunity... a real battle would have both come into play. My friction is on the perceived slowdown that comes with choosing, vs. just declaring (or not), and the somewhat fiddly nature of some of the effects (requiring further rolls).

Choosing from a set of maneuvers puts some Players into test-mode, thinking there is a 'best answer', play grinds to a halt while they analyze their options. If there is no list to choose from, if the Player just knows that their excellent attack opened up an opportunity, it allows them a more creative move of furthering their plan of attack, if they had one, or dreaming something up on the spot.

Not that I don't love Mythras as is... I'd just like a faster/less detailed version of combat maneuvers... for certain genres or styles of play... and to attract people who are put off by the RAW as being, "too crunchy!"

Also, to answer Rosen's question, I do see a lot of Players in combats (in other BRP systems) trying for stuff like called shots, pushbacks, trips, disarms, etc. Magic World/Stormbringer has spot rules for some of those... but sometimes Players will be more creative than what's in the book, which calls for a GM's ruling.

Happy Thanksgiving to those here in the U.S.!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find making this decision afterwards slows down things as well.

Something that has crossed my mind though, and this clearly puts me in Beforehand camp,...

"Special Effects" are something that the character is trained in, a way to use their weapon(s). So why not simply allow the player to choose a number of effects during character creation and log them as part of their Combat Style?

This does nerf to some extent effects that require a specific success level, such as critical. This could be solved by OQ type modifiers, as someone mentioned above, but is a step back in some ways to the old RQ choose location half skill. It does, however, maintain the full list of current effects and leaves room for more. 

SDLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that really, there are multiple KINDS of "Special Effect".

Some should be linked to special training; these would be d20 "Feats" or BloodTide "Mighty Deeds".  Some should be linked to specific weapons -- nobody expects a war-maul to "impale" or a rapier to "crush".  Some are situational -- you can't push someone off an edge when the battlefield is level, or hold someone underwater on dry land.

Some are flow-of-battle, may-happen-any-time -- the lucky headshot, disabling a limb, breaking a weapon, etc.

All should be reflected, ideally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about having Special effect Categories, each category being related to a Combat Goal. For example, "neutralize without killing" wouldn't allow deadly Effects. The player choses at the begining of the round (or of the Combat, and anyway only when changing his mind) what is the goal of his combat actions and therefore refrains from using any not suitable Special Effects, which limits their number and thereofre speeds up the choice. So there is a beforehand decision about the general tactics and an afterward decision driven by opportunities.

Just a schnapps idea, as the Germans say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Zit said:

What about having Special effect Categories, each category being related to a Combat Goal. For example, "neutralize without killing" wouldn't allow deadly Effects. The player choses at the begining of the round (or of the Combat, and anyway only when changing his mind) what is the goal of his combat actions and therefore refrains from using any not suitable Special Effects, which limits their number and thereofre speeds up the choice. So there is a beforehand decision about the general tactics and an afterward decision driven by opportunities.

Just a schnapps idea, as the Germans say.

Hm, to be honest, I don't see this working ... If the PC's goal is to "neutralize without killing", he would just choose the appropriate effects anyway - except if he wants to change his goal. So why turn this into a limiting rule, where you have to announce the general category of you effects and then choose a specific effect afterwards? This seems like more rigid and more complicated at the same time.

You could just make a helpful handout that lists all maneuvers useful for "neutralizing without killing", all maneuvers useful for "keeping your enemy as far away from you as possible", all maneuvers useful for "keeping your enemy from getting past you". That would make the choice for the player just as easy if he has a goal in mind, without forcing him to state a general goal in advance and then limiting his decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The booklet accompanying the Combat Cards has precisely this Goal/Category approach built into it. You don't need the cards to make it work, but the Strobus Codex helps narrow-down your decision making by channelling the best effects according to the intention.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...