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Author Topic: [Da Vinci] Mapless Combat System  (Read 1691 times)
Rikiji
Member

Posts: 14


« on: November 04, 2009, 09:47:36 PM »

Hello,

I've started working on an ambitious game design project with the working title of Da Vinci.  I have a resolution system that I'm reasonably happy with and the basics of chargen worked out; however, I'm having problems working out some of the ideas I want to work into the combat system. 

One of the principles I'm working with in the game is that I want the game to have an element of tactical combat but I don't want the game to be tied down to having to have a mapboard.  Ideally the game should be playable anywhere you have space to roll your dice.   

To that end, I'm working on what I call the Formation system.  This system is a simple set of rules that guides how groups of enemies behave and gives players options to counter their tactics. 

The system is based on a 'melee group'.  Players and NPCs will organize themselves into one or more melee groups.  Each group organizes itself into formations based on the Lowest Common Level (LCL) of the individual members of that group.  Characters can buy advantages that make them more effective when using specific formations.  When two melee groups encounter each other, the formations determine which members can be attacked (engaged) and how many attackers can affect a given target.   In addition, there are formations for dealing with ranged and AE attacks and for controlling movement on the battlefield.  There are also rules for moving in and out of groups and breaking formations by attacking their key points.

I have more specific ideas, but at this point I'm trying to sound out the principles before burying anyone in a wall of text.  How interesting does this sound as a system?  Are there things I should be aware of while working on it?
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chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 210


« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2009, 01:40:38 AM »

I always say this, but I'll say it again since I was mulling it over today:

You can use some sort of abstracted "tactical advantage" value, that things like manuever/movement checks, or tactics checks or whatever is an appropriate counter to the given reason for the advantage (starting at range, having fortifications, attacking from an unexpected quarter vs high movement rate, outflank/sige towers, rallying or counter offensive) that gives a bonus or one side gets to spend, but the other side can likewise attack as a counter measure. Sort of like this: I get +5 pts defense (whatever that means in a given game) until you kill all ten points of my fortified barricades defenses.
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Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 05:48:45 PM »

Heya Rikiji,

Welcome to the Forge!  To answer your first question, this does sound interesting.  I'm a person who tends to like tactical decisions in RPGs.  I have some experience playing large groups of charactes at one time, but not a lot.  But let me ask you something.  When you invision a night of guys playing your game, how big of a role do you see the Formation System playing during the session?  To really comment on it further, I would like to know how important it is as a facet of play and how central it is to the idea of your game.

Peace,

-Troy
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Rikiji
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2009, 08:24:05 PM »

I always say this, but I'll say it again since I was mulling it over today:

You can use some sort of abstracted "tactical advantage" value, that things like manuever/movement checks, or tactics checks or whatever is an appropriate counter to the given reason for the advantage (starting at range, having fortifications, attacking from an unexpected quarter vs high movement rate, outflank/sige towers, rallying or counter offensive) that gives a bonus or one side gets to spend, but the other side can likewise attack as a counter measure. Sort of like this: I get +5 pts defense (whatever that means in a given game) until you kill all ten points of my fortified barricades defenses.

That's a good point and I'll have to consider it along with the movement rules and when I factor out terrain details.  I don't want an extensive list of modifiers - the system needs to be reasonably streamlined - but I do need to account for constrained spaces.  Givng a terrain bonus to LCL for certain maneuvers might be a good abstraction.

Heya Rikiji,

Welcome to the Forge!  To answer your first question, this does sound interesting.  I'm a person who tends to like tactical decisions in RPGs.  I have some experience playing large groups of charactes at one time, but not a lot.  But let me ask you something.  When you invision a night of guys playing your game, how big of a role do you see the Formation System playing during the session?  To really comment on it further, I would like to know how important it is as a facet of play and how central it is to the idea of your game.

Peace,

-Troy

Thank you.  With Da Vinci the characters are adventurers in a dangerous setting.  While the system is robust and allows for a variety of interactions, the setting is violent and it should not be unusual for a fight to break out at least once or twice a session. 

While the Formation system is not really needed when there are a relatively small number of combatants (such as a duel, or the PCs versus a lone boss), combat is cinematic and it shouldn't be unusual for the PCs to be outnumbered by at least 2 to 1.  Having a system that deals with a large number of combatants in a streamlined way is almost critical, particularly if I want battle maps to be optional.  While it's not the game's only distinctive feature, it flows naturaly into several of the other ideas I'm working on.
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Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2009, 06:43:04 AM »

Heya,

Okay that's cool.  What is the maximum number of player controlled characters you can reasonably imagine a group using in this game?  You mentioned being outnumbered two to one.  That seems about right for a really challenging tactical game.  I'd just like to know the high end of the number of player characters for most (not all) circumstances of play.  Note, "unlimited" is probably not a good answer in this case.

Peace,

-Troy
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Rikiji
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2009, 09:45:29 AM »

Under normal circumstances a group of 5-6 PCs would probably be normal.  I want to include considerations for the PCs acting as guards so there might be an additional group of essentially non-combatants that they would have to protect.  So let's say a maximum group of 12, up to half of which might not be effective combatants.  Some upward scaling is desirable, but it's mainly a skirmish system so it does not need to represent full out battle units. 

Guarding is actually one of the key concepts that started my thoughts in these lines.  How does the melee specialist keep the squishy priest from being swarmed by goblins?  On a tactical map, he just stands in the way.  How is that simulated without the map?  If you look at movies like The Forbidden Kingdom and the live action Blood the Last Vampire, there are scenes where one character literally protects one character from dozens of foes.  These scenes are actually very hard to represent on a map board, so I want some kind of dynamic way to represent the same kind of interactions (those are extreme examples, Da Vinci is cinematic, but not necessarily on that level).
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 10:41:58 AM »

Guarding is actually one of the key concepts that started my thoughts in these lines.  How does the melee specialist keep the squishy priest from being swarmed by goblins? 

"Aggro", or "Marking". The goblin swarm can't attack the priest as long as the melee specialist is standing in the way, right? You could simply have some sort of rule that states that characters can guard other characters, and that enemies are either unable to attack a guarded target or they take a penalty to do so.
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Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2009, 12:48:04 PM »

Under normal circumstances a group of 5-6 PCs would probably be normal.  I want to include considerations for the PCs acting as guards so there might be an additional group of essentially non-combatants that they would have to protect.  So let's say a maximum group of 12, up to half of which might not be effective combatants.  Some upward scaling is desirable, but it's mainly a skirmish system so it does not need to represent full out battle units. 

Guarding is actually one of the key concepts that started my thoughts in these lines.  How does the melee specialist keep the squishy priest from being swarmed by goblins?  On a tactical map, he just stands in the way.  How is that simulated without the map?  If you look at movies like The Forbidden Kingdom and the live action Blood the Last Vampire, there are scenes where one character literally protects one character from dozens of foes.  These scenes are actually very hard to represent on a map board, so I want some kind of dynamic way to represent the same kind of interactions (those are extreme examples, Da Vinci is cinematic, but not necessarily on that level).

Okay, this is exactly what I wanted to know.  I was afraid the number my be like 100 or more.  What you've got is excellent.  To solve your problem, honestly, I suggest creating someting like a Feat system for your game.  You can call the ability you describe Taunting, Engraging, Shielding, or whatever.  Rather than try to come up with a unified system to cover things you want the characters to be able to do, give them a menu of abilities to select from that do exactly what you want.

Sample abilities might be:

Enrage Advancing Group
Shield Other
Slaughter the Retreating Foe(s)
Attack in Echelon
Defend vs. Missile Attack

It doesn't have to have fancy names.  In fact, I think that a straightforward menu of Formations is probably the best way to go.  No need to dance around it.  My understanding from your posts is that the game is about choosing the right tactic, not figuring out that there are tactics.  How does that strike you? Smiley

Peace,

-Troy

PS:  This is basically what Chance and Chrono are saying too.
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Rikiji
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2009, 04:58:19 PM »

That sounds more or less along the lines that the system seems to be developing in, so I think I'm on the right track.  Smiley

I appreciate the help.  I spend a lot of time creating in more or less a vacuum, so sometimes my ideas get a bit odd.
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