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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 84 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: BW scripted combat  (Read 1202 times)
Catalyst
Member

Posts: 25


« on: September 01, 2003, 08:31:51 PM »

Hi, all. I think I'm a new BW convert and I wanted to babble about it.

There's a lot to digest in BW. I've been taking my time since the books arrived a couple of weeks ago, so I haven't gone through even the first book completely. I wanted to talk here about my resistance to scripted combat before reading through the rules changed my opinion about it.

What sold me on getting the BW books was the unscripted combat rules Luke recently made available. I figured that if I didn't like scripted combat (which I thought was highly probable), I could use these other rules. Other things about BW's non-combat mechanics caught my eye, such as the advancement system, no levels, and the dice mechanics, but the scripted combat was just too much of a hurdle for me to justify the purchase before reading the unscripted combat rules. It looked like a big pain in the butt with lots of complexity for newbies to pick up. Writing down combat maneuvers!? Bizarre!

After reading through most of the scripted combat-related material in the first book, though, I've had a big change of heart about it. It's almost scary for me to look back a month ago at how I thought it would be and how interested I am now in playing with scripted combat.

My realizations about the scripted combat system run something like this, in a rather disjointed fashion:

- Each action in a script is a tiny amount of time and there are quite a few of them for most characters in what other RPGs would call a "round". Action in game time is fast and furious.

- Fast characters have more actions than slower ones in combat, rather than faster characters only benefitting from their speed by acting before slower ones.

- The action in an exchange is very granular, very detailed, but still fairly fluid. You're not completely locked into actions once they're scripted, though there is a moderate penalty for changing actions.

- You have to script active defense or hope your armor and reflexes can keep your skin intact, forcing characters to think about defense as well as offense during a round. No more "Oh, there's another incoming blow? I parry it and suffer no consequences for my action later in the round".

- There is a lot of emphasis on planning and strategy in BW combat *without* bringing numbers into the planning. No more "That's a first-level orc with a dagger, he can't hit me with my armor on." That becomes "That's an orc with a dagger. I'd better not let him get too close, or I'll have that dagger's hilt sticking out of my eye-socket!"

- Armor has potential to become less effective with forced usage, creating an emphasis on skill and tactics to defend over wading through combat like a mindless tank.

- Some weapons are more effective vs. armor than others, but there isn't a huge overbearing reference-heavy system to handle this.

- Actual modifiers and mechanics in combat are a touch heavier than most systems I've seen, but with more detail available.

- There are very few of what I call "exception rules". Exception rules would be things like "This is the rule" and then later you spot something that says "Unless this is the case". BW seems to present combat as a whole without sets of exceptions to the general rules.

Potential drawbacks to scripted combat in similarly disjointed and poorly-organized fashion:

- Players and GMs not used to thinking ahead in combat are going to have a hard time with this system until they can get into the habit of thinking ahead.

- I can see it bogging down with large combats, but don't most FRPG combat systems? The reason for the alternate combat rules Luke came up with recently become much more apparent in such situations, though I can also see now why these rules aren't replacement rules for the original combat system. I'd rather go scripted if possible now.

Good job, Luke, I can't wait to see more! Thank you for making this available to other gamers!
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drozdal
Member

Posts: 66


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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2003, 05:06:02 PM »

Thanx for Your feedback Catalyst

Here are mine 25 cents:

Quote
- Players and GMs not used to thinking ahead in combat are going to have a hard time with this system until they can get into the habit of thinking ahead.

Dunno if "ahead" is a good term BW exchange lasts  3 seconds wchich makes (from mine expiriences) most of other system "rounds", though i've seen rounds of 10 or more seconds :). Do not mistake "thinking ahead" with lazy :)), or mr. "i wasn't there" or mr. "i was blocking". What i love the mosr about scripted combat is there is no cheting from either playes side (most cases) or GM side - you have everything before You, and you can change it if you like but you must accept consequences :)

Quote
- I can see it bogging down with large combats, but don't most FRPG combat systems? The reason for the alternate combat rules Luke came up with recently become much more apparent in such situations, though I can also see now why these rules aren't replacement rules for the original combat system. I'd rather go scripted if possible now.


You probably was speaking bout this ones: http://www.burningwheel.org/pdf/gangwar_mook_mech.pdf
and rememebr use scripting in situations that are important for characters or plot, other times you may just go with "so what you want to do now?" type of combat. :)

Drozdal
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Catalyst
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2003, 07:13:00 PM »

By "ahead" I mean more than, say, two actions ahead aside from working solely to bring the most damaging attack/spell/whatever to bear on the most appetizing target. Heheh!

One BW exchange has potential for a lot more than your usual combat activity to occur because of the tiny amount of time for each action. It looks like characters are forced to plan ahead for 2-4 "regular" rounds worth of actions, depending on character speeds, of course.

Writing actions down to keep everyone "honest" is another good thing about the system I hadn't thought of.

Yup, them's the rules I meant, too :)
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taepoong
Member

Posts: 120


« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2003, 10:53:34 AM »

Hi, Catalyst! Glad to hear your opinions! They seem to reflect many others' experience with BW.

I personally LOVE scripted combat. I think it's because I am such a lover of strategic and tactical games, from Electronic Battleship to Warhammer to Chess! I love trying to outthink the guy across from me. Such planning brings a great element to RPGing that most other systems ignore.

I also appreciate the fact that cheating is kept to a minimum. However, scripting is surprisingly free: you don't declare who you are striking until you roll; you don't have to write where you are moving to until the start of the volley; some actions automatically devolve to others (like Get Inside/Lock); and there's usually a chance to switch out an action that would mean certain doom!

Scripting has become second nature to our group now. I can script 6 actions in an exchange in less than 30 secs in most cases.
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