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Jon Hunter

Combat Sequences, an idea for simplifying and speeding RQ combat

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Jon Hunter    155

An idea that came to mind when replying to thread on the Facebook page, this is a reffing technique I use in my WOD games, to simplify and speed combats in a clunky and occasionally difficult combat system.  Which i think most of us will agree that RQ combat can be slow as well.  I think it will work well as a reffing style/technique for RQ combat.

I find round by round combats with multiple opponent using multiple tactics on each side can get bogged down as you are trying to work through multiple actions.  Sometimes a good few minutes can work through between players individual actions;  a rhythm of combat isn't created and a consistency of action can be lost.

My suggestion is to formalise something i have been using informally. In creating combat sequences, which are groups of rounds in which actions take place. Splitting the larger combat down into a number of micro combats or duels. Broad actions are declared for the sequence, Then Playing through each micro combat quickly through all turns of the sequence.  Summarizing the combat and allowing  players to  declaring broad actions for the next sequence were people can change targets, or make major changes in tactics after every sequence.

Reasons for this are

  • I think this actually replicates the rhythm of combat where people make decisions, make a number of actions based on the decision, pause, reaxmine decisions, act again
  • It splits combat down into manageable chunks, making the whole process faster
  • Each micro conflict generates its own rhythm, which can be fast and has a feel of parry, riposte, act and counter act, without waiting for everyone else action and that feel being lost
  • Different characters can be paired off against relevant and challenging opponents
  • Supporting characters have interesting decisions on which micro combats to support
  • It stops powerful combat characters hogging all of the game time and resolving everything 
  • I think thought its complex to talk through and write down in practice it will speed things up and add simplicity
  • It can be used to add drama - ( ie just survive to the end of the sequence when the help can arrive )

OK so a detailed break down; 

  • The ref determines the length of a combat sequence based on how long is reasonable for a micro conflict to resolve.  This would usually be 3 to 6 combat rounds. The more even opponents are the longer it should be.
  • Players declare broad actions for the sequences, 'i'm  engaging the main dark troll warrior', "i standing shielded behind our main warrior to cast defensive spells and heals', 'im shooting the troll priest who isn't engaged in combat', 'i'm engaging the flanking trollkin warriors', 'i'm waiting to support where i'm needed.'
  • The ref then splits the combat down into the largest number of micro combats that make sense. 
    • `Players will be in only 1 micro combat or waiting to support.
    • Compressed melees or shield walls where multiple targets are viable probably need to 1 micro combat
    • Ranged attackers usually will be able to engage other ranged attackers and supporting players but not into melees
  • Resolve range and magical actions first, Any supporting players make a decision on the order the melee micro combats will be resolved, based on which micro combats they are paying most attention to.
  • Melee Micro combats are resolved in order, through the whole turn sequence, supporting players can join a  micro combat at any time, but once they are committed to one they are committed to it for the whole combat sequence.
  • At the end of the combat sequence the ref recaps the whole scene, making sense of carnage which has just happened, representing a natural break in combat
  • The players then decide actions for the next sequence

Some thoughts in applying this technique.

  • Apply liberal common sense
  • Always allow for coup the gras moves on downed players by NPC's to be responded to by either breaking the rules , or making the coup the gras part of another combat sequence.

Has any body tried similar and what do you think?

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kaydet    51

I'm not sure how this differs from the normal RQ combat, except in that you've created many different combats out of what was once one unified whole.

Seems like this approach would add confusion while also robbing characters of the ability to influence the larger fight once their section of the combat is finished.

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Jon Hunter    155
57 minutes ago, kaydet said:

I'm not sure how this differs from the normal RQ combat, except in that you've created many different combats out of what was once one unified whole.

Seems like this approach would add confusion while also robbing characters of the ability to influence the larger fight once their section of the combat is finished.

Its not a rules change its juts organising it for speed and flow.

If you don't find large RQ2  combats clunk and difficult to manage you are fine, if you do it is a possible solution.

I have been a programmer by trade, if something gets big and unweidly, chop it up into small bits.

I have in my time found a complex RQ combats take an entire evenings gaming, or sat for 15 minutes between actions.

Edited by Jon Hunter

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kaydet    51

@Jon Hunter Obviously you have to do what works for you and your group. Try it and see what happens! I'm just a bit skeptical. It seems to me that I'd prefer to wait fifteen minutes between actions, and be involved the whole game session, rather than a brief intense burst of activity followed by a drawn out period of waiting while everyone else finishes their combats.

If length of combat is a concern, it's usually the number of dice rolls that are to blame. 

Maybe try something like this:

  • Come up with a rough table for your combat based on the NPCs, in this case A and B. A has a 70% Attack and Parry, and B has an 80% Attack and Parry. Thus, A has a 14% chance of striking B and B failing to parry; B has a 24% chance.
  • For each pair like this roll one d100: 01-14 means that A struck B, and 77-100 means the reverse. Use the expectation value for weapons damage, and check that against armor, subtracting final damage done from total hit points rather than locations. Or maybe just rule that one hit is enough to put a combatant out of the fight.

Obviously this is just an off the cuff idea that I would only use for NPCs, but I think it might work with a little refinement. You could probably work in probabilities for Specials, Criticals, and Fumbles if you really wanted to, but I haven't bothered to do so here because it just complicates what's supposed to be a simple tool. I admit that using this method means that you do lose a lot of detail, but you probably don't need that much for NPCs. Save the full combat rules for those involving your PCs -- they should be in the spotlight anyway.

 

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Jon Hunter    155
12 minutes ago, kaydet said:

@Jon Hunter Obviously you have to do what works for you and your group. Try it and see what happens! I'm just a bit skeptical. It seems to me that I'd prefer to wait fifteen minutes between actions, and be involved the whole game session, rather than a brief intense burst of activity followed by a drawn out period of waiting while everyone else finishes their combats.

If length of combat is a concern, it's usually the number of dice rolls that are to blame. 

Maybe try something like this:

  • Come up with a rough table for your combat based on the NPCs, in this case A and B. A has a 70% Attack and Parry, and B has an 80% Attack and Parry. Thus, A has a 14% chance of striking B and B failing to parry; B has a 24% chance.
  • For each pair like this roll one d100: 01-14 means that A struck B, and 77-100 means the reverse. Use the expectation value for weapons damage, and check that against armor, subtracting final damage done from total hit points rather than locations. Or maybe just rule that one hit is enough to put a combatant out of the fight.

Obviously this is just an off the cuff idea that I would only use for NPCs, but I think it might work with a little refinement. You could probably work in probabilities for Specials, Criticals, and Fumbles if you really wanted to, but I haven't bothered to do so here because it just complicates what's supposed to be a simple tool. I admit that using this method means that you do lose a lot of detail, but you probably don't need that much for NPCs. Save the full combat rules for those involving your PCs -- they should be in the spotlight anyway.

 

That's a usuable system, but i just tend to roll dice ignore them and make up what makes the best story for npc on npc diceroles.

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kaydet    51

Then I guess I'm honestly confused as to what the issue is.

When you get a chance, though, let us know how your idea works out. It's always good to have another tool in the kit box.

Edited by kaydet

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g33k    735

For most games with round-by-round combat, I like to use index-cards  with the name & critical combat-stats.

1 card per PC

1 card per noteworthy NPC

1 card per grouping of mooks

Write the initiative/StrikeRank/whatever on the card, beside the name.  Sort the cards in order of action, and run the combat from the cards; as soon as player A is done, GM calls "Player B, your turn -- player C, you're next, be ready!" (and so on down the line).

At the end of a combat (or whenever Init/SR/etc changes) the old order gets "X"'ed out and is ready for a new one.

For RQ2, we "rack" the dice in-hand:  d%-attack / d20-location / damage-dice

Roll the "racked" dice so they end up in the same order (the knack comes quickly), so you can "read" the dice like a sentence: "18, that's a hit! to ... 10 the abdomen, doing... 7 points of damage!"   When a group is "in the groove" I find each player takes 15-20 seconds

A full round of combat is about 5-10 minutes if there's lots of mooks (less if the PC's have parity or superior numbers:  less time the GM has to manage NPCs' combat).

Edited by g33k

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Psullie    60

What I've done in the past is arrange players around the table by DEX or SR (depending on the system)

I ask for statements of intent in reverse order, so last acting declares first. I visualise where the NPC's sit in this order (a bit like g33k's cards above) and jump in accordingly. Then player act going back around. Rinse & repeat.

For big battles I only narrate directly what the PC's can impact. Though I usually mirror the tide of the battle by their success (if they actually have enough influence)

 

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g33k    735
4 hours ago, Psullie said:

What I've done in the past is arrange players around the table by DEX or SR (depending on the system)

We do a "sprawl around the living room" seating-style these days, rolling dice on clipboard in the lap, or a nearby end-table / etc.   Also, we've had some mobility-impaired & some seating-limited (due to back problems) so rearranging seating order isn't viable (in our group).

Way-back-when, I think I played (for a little while) in a group where the GM did this...  Psullie?  Was that you?  Somewhere in the SantaCruz - SanJose area of California?

 

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Psullie    60
20 hours ago, g33k said:

We do a "sprawl around the living room" seating-style these days, rolling dice on clipboard in the lap, or a nearby end-table / etc.   Also, we've had some mobility-impaired & some seating-limited (due to back problems) so rearranging seating order isn't viable (in our group).

Way-back-when, I think I played (for a little while) in a group where the GM did this...  Psullie?  Was that you?  Somewhere in the SantaCruz - SanJose area of California?

 

hi g33k, no I'm on the other side of the Atlantic

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styopa    515
21 hours ago, g33k said:

We do a "sprawl around the living room" seating-style these days, rolling dice on clipboard in the lap, or a nearby end-table / etc.   Also, we've had some mobility-impaired & some seating-limited (due to back problems) so rearranging seating order isn't viable (in our group).

Way-back-when, I think I played (for a little while) in a group where the GM did this...  Psullie?  Was that you?  Somewhere in the SantaCruz - SanJose area of California?

 

Lots of groups do this.  For a while we did it by character INT order: statement of intent was from stupidest character to smartest.

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