DirkDiggler69

Am I missing something?

71 posts in this topic

I like a good RPG session but maybe I've been playing too many tabletop strategy games. Combat feels utterly slow. I mean you spend an hour, and a half RP'ing, then you get into a fight and spend an hour between a dozen combatants, and when it stops everyone's not even dead.

 

Not to mention here I am supposedly skilled with a bow, I fire at a target who has no idea I'm there at short range for 3 turns before a single arrow connects, and other than knocking off some hit points has no real effect.

 

I enjoy the RP but gotta say the combat system is just lousy, and slow. Prefer tabletop style I shoot, I hit, I maybe wound, if I do he gets a save, if he fails he dies or is wounded etc. All done and calculated within 1 minute or less on the fly.

 

I think this has spurred me to come up with my own combat system. Something between the two allowing for character flavor, and battle ranging from half a dozen combatants, to 100 combatants being able to be handled efficiently in under 3 hours for the latter, and a matter of minutes for the half dozen.

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its sci fi based not fantasy based but what your describing... you should really give Chronicles of the Void a chance. A few of the guys that put in a lot of work in helping write Warlord 2nd edition, are creating this new RPG game. Look em up on Facebook for more info.

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I've seen a lot of complicated and drawn-out fights in my time . . . but I also saw a gnome druid cast rock to mud on a cavern ceiling and wipe out a whole army in 10 seconds.

 

I figure that sort of balances it out.

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Spell casting. Boon to the creative, outside the box thinking player. Bane to the DM that likes to plan meticulously. :devil:

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I've played every edition of DnD except for true 1st edition and can say that I've seen combat drag to an utter standstill in 3rd and 4th edition DnD. Our combats take forever even with significant adjustments to the game.

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The Burning Wheel. A big system with lots of options, but one way to run combat is Bloody Versus: I roll my skill, you roll yours, GM adds a modifier or two, and someone dies. On one opposed roll. On the other hand combat can be paced to drawn-out duels if you add back in all the systems. Works either way. Also, if you decide to run a political campaign, that works too, and skills etc still advance. Hell you could run a game about archaeology and the advancement system still works.

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One thing you can do is to have "mooks" as enemies - if they get hit, they die / are removed. It streamlines play A LOT. Some games have this built right into the system, but most games can have it added. If you want to make a little more difference between the big barbarian wariror with his axe and a wizard stabbing with a dagger, you can give something like "big axe kills / removes on a 2+ on a D6 after hitting, dagger on a 5+".

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I agree with what Darknight said about "mooks" helping to speed things up: I've done this in Advanced HeroQuest (the first board-game/RPG where I was introduced to wargame-like mechanics for miniatures battles that greatly facilitated combat that moved QUICKLY so we could get on with the adventure). In a sense, instead of having a few monsters with lots of hit points, you have several "mooks" on the table, and each miniature is kind of a "hit point" for the group of bad guys. You can tell your progress based on how quickly the crowd of enemies is thinning out (and once you thin it out enough, it's time for a morale check to see if it's a total rout). I find this MUCH faster than in games where I need to keep track of hit point tallies for each and every bit player in the combat.

 

A similar mechanic is used in Savage Worlds: There are two types of characters in the game -- "Wild Cards" (PCs and major NPCs) and "Extras" (the "bit players" and "mooks"). Savage Worlds is basically an evolution of the "Great Rail Wars" miniatures game that tied into the original Deadlands RPG -- a very stripped-down game for quick miniatures combat that then had a few RPG elements put back in to make a very miniatures-friendly system. It works great for swashbuckling high-seas adventures where our Errol-Flynn-like heroes fend off lots of stereotypical pirates, or pulp adventures where our heroes are shooting Nazis left and right (and one shot is all it takes per Nazi), or even more horror-like scenarios where a few survivors fend off hordes of zombies (where the zombies can take any number of bullets to the chest, but one solid hit to the head takes a zombie down).

 

With that kind of mechanic, the character is either up or down ("stunned" or "shaken"), or off the table entirely (incapacitated). If it matters to know whether an Extra was slain or merely knocked out, that can be resolved AFTER combat is over with, rather than breaking from the action. Your progress in the battle is easily measured at a glance simply by how many bad-guy miniatures are still on the table, rather than lots of little wound tokens or scraps of paper keeping track of hit point totals. I find this sort of mechanism to really speed things up considerably.

 

I also like games where I can resolve attacks from several combatants with a handful of dice, rather than rolling each one separately. I was first introduced to this mechanic in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, when I'd roll a handful of six-siders to resolve the attacks of several combatants, against a threshold target. Advanced HeroQuest used a very similar mechanic, only with handfuls of 12-siders instead; if I had a bunch of goblins attacking a hero, I'd just roll all the dice at once, and then figure out how many were hits, how many were misses, and how many were critical failures. It didn't matter terribly WHICH ONE hit or missed. (And if it did, such as for a critical failure, I could always just let the player pick which one and be done with it.)

 

Savage Worlds allows me to do the same thing; rather than having opposed rolls for everything, you get a target number based on your enemy's Fighting skill and other factors (shield, etc.) that's recorded as his Parry value, and if it's a ranged attack, you go against a flat target number modified by range, cover, etc. You know what the target number is when you roll, so if you've got several attackers making their attacks under the same conditions, you can just roll for the lot of them, and separate those dice that made the threshold and those that didn't. It speeds things along rather nicely.

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Not all Fantasy RPGs have long combats like that - Try Savage Worlds, or even something FATE/FUDGE based.

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I don't get this. My 5th level Pathfinder group swings way above their level and if a combat goes more than an hour something has gone howibby howibby wong.

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Now you know why there are so many different game systems and variations on popular systems....

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And really within the context of an RPG I would expect combat to take longer, as a PC you have far more options available to you in any given circumstances. My group probably resolves most combats in 30 minutes or less. Only truly epic fights take longer than that and by the end of those we are trying to figure out who is bleeding out the fastest. RPG systems, for the most part, are just not geared to 100+ combatants. At that point you need a different game or a different type of resolution. I can think of one that does "mob" resolution, so characters shooting fighting a mob might be taking out big chunks of the mob at a time. But only a couple of systems have anything like this.

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I've played every edition of DnD except for true 1st edition and can say that I've seen combat drag to an utter standstill in 3rd and 4th edition DnD. Our combats take forever even with significant adjustments to the game.

 

That's . . . well, weird. I guess. See, I haven't played 3rd or 4th but I thought part of the idea behind those was simplification. Our 2nd Edition combats have always run smooth, and not too long if people aren't doing fancy stuff. Which they most likely are. Which is how that horse got up on the chandelier during the barfight.

 

ETA: 1st could take long to resolve, but that's true of a lot of things in 1st - because the necessary rules were scattered across 12 books and a box of Dragon mags. Need to look something up? Better you than me, dude!

 

ETA 2: Now that I think on it, I don't know if our combats take long to resolve or not. I'm too interested in doing them to look at the clock. They're never boring! I'd rather have interesting than quick, given the choice.

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Yeah, I can't imagine 4th ed combat coming to a standstill, unless it's a lack of understanding of the rules. At average you have a choice of about 6 attacks you can perform, 4 of which are going to be one-use, which makes decision making a no-brainer through most of the combat. Our group gets through 3 combats in a 4 hour session.

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