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Author Topic: Alternate Melee Mechanics for BW  (Read 9207 times)
Luke
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« on: June 05, 2003, 11:47:36 AM »

I have been working on an alternate, quick resolution system for the melee mechanics. They use basic skill resolution and helping dice to reduce an entire combat to one (or two or three) rolls.

you can check out what i have so far here. (Sorry for not posting them in the forum; i am a formatting junkie and i hate the way html text looks.)

I have been playing around with these rules in my group for a couple months. However, this is the first time they have been formally written out. Therefore I must warn you that they are alpha alpha alpha.

OK?

let me know what you think.

-Luke
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2003, 01:45:26 PM »

Quick note to say I'll get on this as soon as I find a free time slot.
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taepoong
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2003, 11:08:16 AM »

I have just taken a quick look at it and I find that it may be quite useful.

A few questions:

1) Why is the IMS based upon 1, 2, and 4 successes and not 1, 3, and 5?

2) Why is VA not a factor? It's such a simple thing to figure out. If my gang is armed with axes and is fighting men in chain, why should a 4+ roll save them?

3) Shouldn't there be a "Cut Down" option for the victors after a battle? You have Flee and Surrender, but what about those cold-hearted men who would hack at their opponents backs as they fled?
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Abzu yelled at me and called my old sig "silly."
Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2003, 12:05:39 PM »

Looked these over...REALLY great stuff here Luke.  Couple of discussion points.

1) Can you describe more the differences between "Drive them Off" and "Sharp Clash".  The only mechanical difference I saw is that in "Drive them off" success in the vs. roll results in the enemy falling back.  In "Sharp Clash" success in the vs roll leads to a Steel Test, and only if the Steel Test is failed does the enemy fall back.  I would almost recommend eliminating "Drive them Off" as an option and just go with "Sharp Clash", incorporating the DtO text into the general description of the Clash of Arms system.


2) In the helping rules you describe adding a die for every additional member of the gang.   I didn't see an upper limit.  Is there a limit as to how many additional members you can get an advantage from at once...a diminishing returns effect.  I would think something like each die requiring that many more additional men...1 guy gets +1D, it takes 2 more guys to get another +1D, 3 more guys to get another +1D, etc...something like that perhaps...although there be repurcussions for the knock aside rules that is perhaps not insurmountable.  


3) The group rules are really very good, the idea of capturing a mob or small unit in a simple roll complete with captures and such is quite effective.  Two questions arose from reading.

a) The section on knocking aside refers to dice being set aside as the result of a clash representing men being knocked aside, but i don't see an indication of how many dice.  Is it 1 die is knocked aside for every net success of the winner?

b) The section on multi die gang members (individuals who add more than 1 die to the total) discusses knocking aside whole members.  How do you decide.  In a group of mixed 2 die members and 1 die members, if 2 dice are knocked aside is this two 1 die members or 1 2 die member.  In a group that is entirely 2 die members, what is the effect of 1 die being knocked aside?



4) These rules are VERY VERY Hero Wars-esque (which as a big fan of HW is a good thing IMO).  In Hero Wars simple combat comes down to a single d20 roll.  But prior to that roll a player examines his sheet and the situation to find other skills that may apply or situational modifiers to claim etc.  Rolling for those first feeds advantage into the final d20 roll, so in the end you're final roll is pumped up with all manner of advantages (the narration of which gives color to the fight).

In BW, same thing except BW is a dice pool system and the related skill (called Forks) and other advantages add 1D to the die pool directly without need for a roll.  I offer the following section from page 6

Quote
 It is vital to remember that advantages are not fixed, they can come from anywhere and it is up to the player to negotiate for them with the GM

At the start of the combat, both opponents should declare their skill being used, their weapons, their Forks, special equipment, and any traits, instincts, and beliefs called upon.  


The italics above are my emphasis...but if this doesn't sound like exactly what goes on in a typical Hero Wars session (for every roll, not just combat) I'll eat my hat.  Very very cool stuff.

There are also rules for prolonged exchanges just as there are in HW.  Interestingly, in group combat, the die pool itself is used as the points that attrite away rather than the seperate points that are lost in HW.


5) I like the attriting die pools for gang combat so much, I'd be tempted to adapt them as a variant way of prolonging individual combat...simply by treating the individual's dice pool the same way with "being placed at disadvantage" taking the place of "knock aside" descriptively...but functionally identical.  

6) Any thought to allowing gang die pools to be restored during a fray.  Instead of knocking aside opponent's dice, to regain some of your own as an option?
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Luke
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2003, 07:04:49 AM »

Quote from: taepoong

1) Why is the IMS based upon 1, 2, and 4 successes and not 1, 3, and 5?


An Add 2 weapon needs two successes over obstacle to deliver a Mark wound, Four to deliver a superb. The obstacle in these rules is always your opponent's successes. Thus these are standard rules for Add 2 weapons.

What I did was increased the difficulty of getting an Incidental hit on your opponent. Normally, meeting your obstacle grants an Incidental hit. It didn't seem right in a system based on versus tests that every tie resulted in a wound. Thus I upped the difficulty of scoring an I by one.

Quote
2) Why is VA not a factor? It's such a simple thing to figure out. If my gang is armed with axes and is fighting men in chain, why should a 4+ roll save them?

First, to keep it simple. I strove to eliminate anything i could in my quest for quick resolution. I felt that by reducing armor to a single die represented the frailty of protection as much as VA does. (I won't get cdow, but there is some mathematical difference between rolling 4 dice and needing 6s and one die and needing a 4). Second, because you know as well as I do that not every hit in a melee is done with the weapon edge. You have butt strikes, unarmed strikes and occasionally weapon edge strikes. Each of these has a different VA. I felt it was better just to simplify. One die of armor. No VA. Benefit of the doubt to the defender.

When are you going to have a gang full of axe men?

Quote
3) Shouldn't there be a "Cut Down" option for the victors after a battle? You have Flee and Surrender, but what about those cold-hearted men who would hack at their opponents backs as they fled?


The defender (he who fails the Steel test) has the option to Surrender or Flee. I didn't feel it was quite in the spirit of the game for the defender to be able to slit his own throat after a battle. I left that up to the victor who may, if he desires, attempt to execute his "captives" on the spot. This is described in the Steel tests section on page 5 of the current pdf.

If he would like to "cut down" fleeing opponents he must pursue them and engage them in a Bloody Clash or Prolonged Exchange.
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Luke
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2003, 07:26:16 AM »

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the notes! Let me see if I can answer some of your questions:

First off, I've never seen, played or had explained to me what Hero Wars or any of that Hero Quest Rune Glorantha madness is. I am flattered by the comparison, though. But it just goes to show you how hard it is to do something original with dice these days.

Quote
differences between "Drive them Off" and "Sharp Clash".


I imagine DTO to be a quick and wild melee, full of whoops and hollers, smacks on the head and kicks in the pants. No real damage is intended except bruising and fear. A Sharp Clash is meant to be more of the Yojimbo/Sanjuro/Rashomon style of fighting, where both sides are terrified of each other and don't want to get hurt.

The problem is that players would never submit themselves to a SC when they can DTO.  Without belaboring the point too much, I think playtesting would smooth this out. Perhaps a GM could call for a Sharp Clash based on certain conditions?

Quote
upper limit

Hadn't thought about an upper limit yet either. I'm not going to worry about it just yet, because these rules are going to elide into mass combat and whatnot. But the limit would have more to do with the carry of the leader's voice and the gang's ability to see him. Things to think about...

Quote
The section on multi die gang members (individuals who add more than 1 die to the total) discusses knocking aside whole members. How do you decide.


This will require more playtesting to truly answer. But my first instinct is to stick to the letter of the rule: Whole members go first. So if one die is knocked aside, then a "single die ganger" goes. Think of it as the experienced members using their wits to survive. It's also possible to allow the victor of that exchange to choose his targets. Again, only time and testing will tell.

Quote
net successes?

Yes, net successes. If I get 5 successes and you get 2, you lose three dice/members.

Quote
attriting individual's dice

It's a fair adaptation and it could easily be done. But it doesn't hold to the BW aesthetic that combat is immediately painful and deadly. Having the net successes translate into wounds for the individual drives that point home nicely, i think. And it lends itself to the quick resolution: one roll determines victor and wounds.

Quote
recovering knocked aside dice

Ralph! These are supposed to be simple rules! Simple, simple, simple!
In this version, I am going to leave Knocked Aside as it is.

I am going to release a more detailed, scriptable version in the future. There will be rules for rallying and recovering.

thanks again for your thoughts!
-L
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drozdal
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2003, 03:29:12 PM »

Quote
But the limit would have more to do with the carry of the leader's voice and the gang's ability to see him


Hmm - haven't we talked about it yesterday? ;] (Centurion was such a good game tho)

Drozdal
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2003, 06:32:46 PM »

Quote from: abzu
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the notes! Let me see if I can answer some of your questions:

First off, I've never seen, played or had explained to me what Hero Wars or any of that Hero Quest Rune Glorantha madness is. I am flattered by the comparison, though. But it just goes to show you how hard it is to do something original with dice these days.


I figured as much, which is why I continue to be impressed with your ability to invent such powerful mechanics largely independently.  We get you playing some of these other games and theres no telling what kind of cool stuff you'll come up.



Quote
I imagine DTO to be a quick and wild melee, full of whoops and hollers, smacks on the head and kicks in the pants. No real damage is intended except bruising and fear. A Sharp Clash is meant to be more of the Yojimbo/Sanjuro/Rashomon style of fighting, where both sides are terrified of each other and don't want to get hurt.  The problem is that players would never submit themselves to a SC when they can DTO.  Without belaboring the point too much, I think playtesting would smooth this out. Perhaps a GM could call for a Sharp Clash based on certain conditions?


Hmm, but what is causing the fear?  Why would the other side break and run away unless they failed a Steel check.  You make the Steel check explicit in Sharp Clash, but you more or less presume automatic failure of the Steel check in DtO.  I'm not seeing the distinction (note, that's not saying there isn't one, just that I'm not seeing it).  It seems to me that either way its fear causing them to run, and that's a Steel check.



Quote
upper limit

Hadn't thought about an upper limit yet either. I'm not going to worry about it just yet, because these rules are going to elide into mass combat and whatnot. But the limit would have more to do with the carry of the leader's voice and the gang's ability to see him. Things to think about...[/quote]

Not to mention terrain...how many people can really fight in a narrow ally...how many people can really gang up on a single individual at the same time...

Quote
This will require more playtesting to truly answer. But my first instinct is to stick to the letter of the rule: Whole members go first. So if one die is knocked aside, then a "single die ganger" goes. Think of it as the experienced members using their wits to survive. It's also possible to allow the victor of that exchange to choose his targets. Again, only time and testing will tell.


By that do you mean that if you lose 2 dice at once than the 2 die guy goes first?  Or do you mean that single die guys always die before doubles where possible?

Quote

It's a fair adaptation and it could easily be done. But it doesn't hold to the BW aesthetic that combat is immediately painful and deadly. Having the net successes translate into wounds for the individual drives that point home nicely, i think. And it lends itself to the quick resolution: one roll determines victor and wounds.


True, but one of your concerns with the system was handing over control to a random roll.  More rolls means the result is more likely to go as expected and less likely to result in an unrealistic hose job.


Quote

Ralph! These are supposed to be simple rules! Simple, simple, simple!
In this version, I am going to leave Knocked Aside as it is.


Ahhh, but simple is in the eyes of the beholder.  You already go up from the very simple DtO to the much more involved, prolonged Bloody Clash.  Seems to me you have the basis for a beautiful modular system.  Keep adding parts until the group reaches its own comfort level.  

Besides...with enough parts you not only have a great "quick" alternative to the scripting system, but a complete replacement for it for those people who prefer such things.
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Luke
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2003, 07:49:32 PM »

Ralph,
I'll tell ya, the main reason for having DTO rules vs Sharp Clash is reducing the entire engagement--combat and steel tests-- to one single roll. Now, in a case like this where you are risking little, you gain little. The only benefit is pushing your opponent back a dozen or so paces. In DTO a player could call on his higher Steel as an Advantage.

Sharp Clash is two rolls, combat then Steel. Also, this has a greater chance of a tie. Both sides could likely make their Steel tests. Especially if these are large gangs. I see this as another level of complexity, beyond the basic Clash roll/rule. Thus it gets a separate entry.

But, as I said, this discrepancy doesn't fit in on paper yet. Only dice and roleplay can determine its fate!

Quote
terrain...

In the current, very abstract, rules terrain should be used to gain Advantages. In the more detailed scripting rules I'll be sure to have a section on the terrain of the field of battle.

Quote
complete replacement

i don't mind if folks don't want to script (though I recommend you try it a couple of times, it really is a blast) I just want to make sure the combat doesn't lose its threat/weight in this system. It must be injurious if not deadly! Must must must! Thus I move cautiously forward. It is much harder to take away a beneficial rule than it is to add one.

thanks for your comments, i am very glad you like the mechanics. it's a shame you won't get to try them at gencon... I am going to have your butt scripting and in looooovvvvee with it.

!
-L
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Luke
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2003, 07:52:36 PM »

Quote from: drozdal

Hmm - haven't we talked about it yesterday? ;]


Though we did talk about this, my reference really comes from experience and my current reading material: The chapter on Alexander the Great in John Keegan's Mask of Command

-L
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Valamir
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2003, 05:23:42 AM »

Quote
it's a shame you won't get to try them at gencon... I am going to have your butt scripting and in looooovvvvee with it.


Looking forward to it.
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2003, 10:19:18 AM »

Luke,

I just had a chance to look over your new quick combat rules and I very much like.

Interestingly, my players have been complaining about scripting and asking for quicker rules, and these should fit the bill. I think some of the complaints come from a 4-player party with only one strong fighter, but they will be thrilled with the new rules to speed up combat.
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Luke
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2003, 10:27:45 AM »

hi brennan,

glad to see you are back. I was getting worried.

the rules are meant to be used in conjunction with scripting. That manticore battle you mentioned on BW.org would definitely be script-worthy.

Sandy, I think, will be dissappointed that his White Fire only counts as an Advantage in melee. No death-inducing feats of sorcerous electricty in these rules. However, if used judiciously, I think they'll work quite nicely. Honestly, I use them nearly every session.

-L
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2003, 10:54:19 AM »

Luke,

I'm not saying I will completely abandon the scripting method, but scripting will definitely be reserved for combats of the most serious sort. I think part of my groups' frustration was rising from the fact that we have an archer, a sorcerer, a knight, and a blacksmith as our characters. The smith is quite slow, and also has the Lame trait, and the knight was essentially the only character fully participating in scripted combat (everyone else spends most of their actions waiting).
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nebulous menace
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2003, 01:55:12 PM »

Having seen how combat works when you DO have a character get up close and personal, I'm kinda happy to be sitting back and casting spells.

My first active experience with BW was a "Brawler" type character. Strong, tough, good, but without a lot of armor. The combination of the Steel rules as written and the TN penalties mean that, one-on-one, first one to get a hit past the armor wins the fight.
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