A different combat idea

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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:14 pm

I find it funny that the fact that the current combat system sucks horribly (takes forever, 1 hp left means still standing after a headshot, ext) is used as an argument to stick with it. One of the biggest reasons combat takes forever is damage nibble. Headshot (2 damage), headshot (2 damage), headshot (2 damage), and the fight is still going.

What if each test took twice as long to resolve because of the tactical factors but fights only needed one to two tests to finish? Combat, even with allot of people, would end up taking half as long (1-2 tests each instead of 3-5) and I suspect that time would be further reduced in big fights by people paying more attention due (in small part) to it being more interesting and (in large part) simply not taking as long. Often each round after the second takes longer than the last as people get board and have more side conversations.

Resolving the old 2 damage, 2 damage, 3 damage, drag takes forever so instead you might only need one good headshot, assuming your character is skilled enough to make it count. If they aren't? Well, that's why I lean somewhat to roll -> describe model. You got 3 damage but their still standing, it's a bullet in their lung, not a headshot. That way a headshot is a good draw, presumably enough to down your opponent, and you don't need three or four headshot's to bring an average person down.


And finally, it's true that ranged combat doesn't lend itself to dramatic stunts quite as well. The fact that more attack options means spending more bullets is just part of the "it's more tactically interesting" that I like. Save your ammo so you can go longer or burn it fast for the higher chance of hitting?
As for stunts you might use? Shooting out the legs is a good trope as is forcing the to the ground with suppressing fire. Different potential actions should be balanced against each other but lest say headshot's are popular. You actually wouldn't want to do headshot x 4 because that means your defender gets to choose to take your Successes in basic headshot's instead of suffering one headshot with upgraded effect from extra successes. One solid thru the brainpan shot is, if you're trying to kill them, better than 4 grazed the scalp and it's bleeding allot hits.

edit: I'm not necessarily abandoning the other idea. I just wonder if we might not be able to come up with something fundamentally better.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Capt. Hobbes » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:21 pm

It's the very terms of "sucks horribly" that we're debating, here.

Nobody's saying that the current system is better because it sucks. It may be better because it's less realistic, but that by no means equals suck. It's obviously easy to say that realism is something we should aspire to, but when you get right down to it, nobody wants realism in combat. Realism in combat means you take one decent hit from anything better than a bare set of knuckles and you're out of luck. Indeed this saves time, commuting many people taking many actions to one person taking a lot of actions and, by the sound of it, quite possibly downing a room full of opponents before they have a chance to act.

Combat is high-pressure enough as it is, with precious little motivation to waste a round putting up defenses or otherwise doing anything more tactically intricate than inflicting as much damage as possible in a single blow before the other guy does the same to you. The solution to this is not to make people more fragile for a payoff of pointing out what body parts they aim for.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:39 pm

The complaints you and others bring up are artifacts of the current combat system, for example:
Capt. Hobbes wrote: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."

Are you saying that you like the repeated head shots characters can currently take? If so then I think I seriously misunderstood your post.


Let me re-phrase. If you like combat taking forever then this potential system taking longer should be a good thing. On the other hand if you dislike how long combat takes to resolve then you should ask "how can this make things faster?", not assume that a rules re-write will preserve the boredom of a long series of rounds.

Or, adapted to the question of combat lethality, right now there's rarely anything you can do other than attack because running is ineffective, dodging delays the inevitable if you're a dodge monkey and wastes a round if you aren't, and most other tactics, such as grapple, require a dedicated build to be effective. If you like this situation then yes, changing things up is bad. On the other hand if you think combat should be more than a dull series of Strength + Brawl - Defense vs Strength + Weaponry - Defense then what you should be asking is "how can we make more combat options tactically valid?"
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Milk Waffler » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:56 pm

I'm all in favour of maximized combat lethality. Lets take for example, our highly trained armed forces. If you're in a firefight, and you get shot once, you're out of the firefight, possibly dead or dying.

The OK Corral gunfight that put tombstone on the map lasted only 30 seconds, and that was one friggin long ass gunfight.

The unrealistically low lethality of RPGs is and has been a rock in my shoe for a good long while. This goes for bunches of genres.

Lets take counterstrike for example, it had highly lethal weapons and was absolutely exhilerating.

Now for things like fist fights, the old system is fairly accurate, but with more lethal weapons, a more lethal system should be introduced.


I'm not going to argue rules mechanics, because frankly I find that part to be really boring.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:39 am

Milk Waffler wrote:I'm all in favour of maximized combat lethality. Lets take for example, our highly trained armed forces. If you're in a firefight, and you get shot once, you're out of the firefight, possibly dead or dying.


One of the good things of Old World mechanics is how HARD it was to kill other players if they didn't stand still and take it.

This is good for a LARP. Maximizing lethality is not something that brings players to a game, taking time to build a character, with motives, skills and backgrounds. It does not help the staff who may have plot ideas for a particular character but knowing any character is unlikely to survive any game with combat unless they built their attributes for a war zone.

Choosing to run a social or mental-heavy character should be something welcomed by the game, not put inherently in the lineup of cannon-fodder for realism's sake. That is bad storytelling, unable to support the player base in favor of specific character builds.

Damage is good, it motivates characters and supports those who do have combat builds. Lethality of a game is inherently anti-player.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:45 am

Well it is a little hard to run a lethal system because PC's are stupid. Gunfire? I run towards it!

The one big thing I feel needs to be changed to make a more lethal system work is that defense and running would both need to be buffed up to be significant options. In the real world often the best move you have in a fight is running as fast as you can. If it only takes one or two shots to leaving you bleeding in the dirt but you can run like crazy then it's perfectly possible to keep your character alive if you don't play them like a disposable avatar.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:48 am

Fetch wrote:The one big thing I feel needs to be changed to make a more lethal system work is that defense and running would both need to be buffed up to be significant options.


Is the Fair Escape Rule/Clause still present in NWoD?
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Cassius Hugues » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:14 am

The unrealistically low lethality of RPGs is and has been a rock in my shoe for a good long while. This goes for bunches of genres.


If you want lethality look at gurps, in it one good hit and your character is out of the game unless he gets medical attention quickly, and when taking lighter hits you are affected by 'stun' at the pain of the injury shocking your system giving you a penalty for any action you take immediately after getting hit.

I do agree that damage is good but lethality is bad for role playing, unless you have some players who have characters lined up should one fall. To that point I would encourage weapons and tactics that focus on disabling targets, not killing them. I have tried to show this by example through sticking with bashing damage, brawl rules, (Grreg, Duke) intoxication rules (Brewer), and now the discovery of the stun gun which I hope to put to use in GoE.
A character beaten by non lethal means gets to wake up in custody or a strange situation which creates plot! but a character that is shot full of holes just gets to die.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Fetch » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:05 am

Part of Mile's and my point is that the stupidly low lethality of most rpg systems encourages stupid behavior. Characters wield guns like their nothing and treat a headshot as a non-lethal takedown because in the rules they are. However, even on the bashing damage, it's very rare that someone get knocked out from injury and not suffer sever damage such as a concussion.

On Fair Escape, even in oWoD running was rarely an option. I move 3 steps! I follow 3 steps and attack you!
If I recall Fair Escape basically means you put enough distance between yourself and your pursuers that they can't reasonably get you in combat time. In that sense, sure, it exists. If you run faster then you can get out of their range.
Then they can follow with tracking or foot chase, depending on whether you run or hide, just like in old larp.
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Re: A different combat idea

Postby Delphinan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:38 am

Fetch wrote:On Fair Escape, even in oWoD running was rarely an option. I move 3 steps! I follow 3 steps and attack you!
If I recall Fair Escape basically means you put enough distance between yourself and your pursuers that they can't reasonably get you in combat time. In that sense, sure, it exists. If you run faster then you can get out of their range.
Then they can follow with tracking or foot chase, depending on whether you run or hide, just like in old larp.


Actually, OWoD had you taking three steps, or two steps + action, or sometimes (depending on house rules) just action. Some games ran to 3 steps + optional action, which negated escapes...not sure what ran through the minds of those STs. :| Once twenty steps away, a Fair Escape could be invoked, at worst in 20 rounds if someone is firing at you with a range weapon. At that point, foot chase is not an option by the rule...the target has already shown to be able to outdistance the distracted attacker. Tracking is another option, but would require time to actually accomplish, usually like 20 minutes...and tracking is not 'at-full-run'.

But my feeling was the Fair Escape was to get out of IMMEDIATE danger, like an ambush or other high pressure situation. Most of the characters had options they could invoke when not in combat-time to prepare for any rematch.
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