A different combat idea

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A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:30 am

I don't know where this might be going, if anywhere.

Even as I wrote my last post on Sway I was struck by the idea that maybe we could back-port something similar to physical combat. Health is very abstract and I've noticed people like to describe their characters attacks in a very concrete manner. I hear allot less "I hit him" and allot more "I strike him in the head and try to drive him into the wall." The way combat works in WoD, and just about every other RPG, this is fluff for taking some HP or maybe two actions, take HP and grapple to hold him into the wall.

But what if instead combat worked more like the new social interaction where test pool construction would be like a summery of your characters style and maneuvers and the results give varied outcomes depending on degrees of success and defender choices (I buy down your punch to my face with willpower, now it's only a punch to the chest ;p *).

Given the controversy in my other combat related thread maybe stripping out the combat system and writing a new one would be better. Certainly it would make it easier to get a mix of consequences that please out group than simply trying to plaster over the old system. Thoughts?

* This is a joke. No, I don't envision defenders buying down damage thru sheer stubbornness.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Grreg » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:46 am

Actually they *could* buy down the damage by spending the willpower to boost his defense >.>
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:57 am

Fetch wrote:Thoughts?

* This is a joke. No, I don't envision defenders buying down damage thru sheer stubbornness.


Please, no. I used this system with Fireborn where you laid out your attack 'chain' and your successes showed how far down that attack pattern you got. Hideous, horrible results very unsatisfying to the players who found it very hard to get the chain attack to materialize...we spent way more time laying out the chain than actually seeing it resolve. And this was tabletop.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:29 am

Well I don't think a chain is a good idea for attacks*. What occurred to me at work as a possibility would be more of a "pick x" thing.

Attacker declares attack and may declare an additional action for each dot of Skill they have. Each extra option gives +2(?) to the attack roll. The defender then chooses up to the attackers Successes options that actually connect with any left over successes making the chosen options worse.

Fore example I might attack Bryce with a palm strike to the face. I got two Brawl dots so I also add in a knee to the gut and while he's off balance from defending grab him with my leftover arm and trip him over my leg, returned to the ground after the kneeing. That gives me +4. Say I roll 2 successes, then Bryce could then choose one of the three options to let thru at +1 success to it's effect (he's so off balance from blocking the face shot and the knee that he takes damage from being thrown prone) or two that only have their basic effect (he blacks the palm strike but looses his wind to the knee and gets thrown prone).

Ideally this would make for interesting tactical decisions for both attacker and defender. The difficulty is that the different options would need to be different enough that there's a reason to let one thru but not another without being so cumbersome we can't remember or track them.

If we could make it work it would mean less "ok, your grabbing his wrist is a grapple, now you both are limited to grappling rules" and more narrative "he has my right wrist in a vice grip so I plant the butt of my spear in the ground using my left hand and pull him into the point, using his own hold against him." Note that as much sense as that makes it's impossible under WoD combat because you can't use a weapon larger than a knife or pistol while in a grapple.

* Just because somebody else failed to implement a similar idea doesn't mean we can't do it better now. Old World of Darkness fate/destiny powers were a painful mess of confusion. I mean Soothsay is like an ST's worst nightmare. On the other hand new Changeling's fate things are quire streamlined and interesting. A new generation of fate powers build on the ideas in Fatebound merits, Motif's, Persona's, and other late line material could be even more evocative and useful.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:38 am

The concern is how much time and effort it is to keep 'adding' to the projected outcomes vs. the actual time to resolve. That time can be taken with the social as you are already committed to a long enough engagement to make the social challenge work. With physical attacks, as we have all known, the more time it takes to resolve one attack, the less fun it is for everyone.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Grreg » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:15 am

Delphinan wrote:The concern is how much time and effort it is to keep 'adding' to the projected outcomes vs. the actual time to resolve. That time can be taken with the social as you are already committed to a long enough engagement to make the social challenge work. With physical attacks, as we have all known, the more time it takes to resolve one attack, the less fun it is for everyone.


Seconded
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Skittles » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:09 am

Realistically, that sounds like a marvelous way to make combat last longer than it already does. And it already lasts for-freaking-ever. Like ridiculously long. And I can see this causing more and more arguments. Maybe it would work for a smaller group, but with this large of a group? I don't think its practical. I mean any combat scene involving more than like 3 people is guaranteed to last about 30 minutes. Add more complications, more things to disagree on, and it'll just make it worse.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Capt. Hobbes » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:38 am

In my experience, there's a sliding continuum in RP combat wherein you can only allow for more concrete attacks by sacrificing concrete consequences. This shortcoming is particularly apparent whenever a system includes any sort of ranged combat; in the above model, what's a gunman with three points in firearms to do? There's negligible room for creativity when it comes to shooting things, and people are not going to be encouraged to get unorthodox when every action costs them a precious bullet. If I understand the model correctly, I expect it amounts to the hypothetical gunman in all probability attempting four shots at the head. Odds are good that at least one of these will connect, and then this conversation happens:

ST: "You shoot him in the head."
Gunman: "Whoo-hoo!"
ST: "You deal three damage."
Gunman: "Fuh? He just got shot. In the head. From point blank, with a shotgun."
ST: "You must be very proud."
Gunman: "This guy shouldn't have a head anymore."
ST: "Apparently he does, because he still has health left. Perhaps you missed the head."
Gunman: "I took a penalty to shoot for the head."
ST: "And that's why you dealt extra damage."
Gunman: "But now you're saying I didn't hit the head."
ST: "Call it what you will, but the guy's still standing. I can't set the precedent that the magic word for insta-death is 'headshot'."
Gunman: "That doesn't make any sense."
ST: "Neither did you walking away from being engulfed in dragon flames. Do you remember how much damage you took from that?"
Gunman: "Three. What's your point?"
With a heave-hi, lurkin' off the shore!
As wily as a devil with a couple vices more!
And with a ho-hi, from the pilots to the swabs
He's the finest of the pirates and they call him Captain Hobbes!


~From the Ballad of Captain Hobbes
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:42 pm

Capt. Hobbes wrote:ST: "You shoot him in the head."
Gunman: "Whoo-hoo!"
ST: "You deal three damage."
Gunman: "Fuh? He just got shot. In the head. From point blank, with a shotgun."
ST: "You must be very proud."
Gunman: "This guy shouldn't have a head anymore."


Rrepresentative Giffords is happy that insta-death is not the rule. :)
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby The Doctor » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:09 pm

I would like to say that I'm pretty cool with how the other thread was going. I know I made a lot of noise, but that's because this is a fundamental change to the system, and I was hashing through everything to see if each part would hold water. That being said, I was pretty pleased with how the system was shaping up.
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