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Author Topic: [Eschaton] Combat flow  (Read 4063 times)
ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« on: May 04, 2004, 06:10:17 AM »

Hi again.

Still brainstorming stuff for my Sci-fi game here.  My last post was about Damage Mechanics, so now I'd like to get some input on the system I've devised to control the flow of combat.

My end goal is to have a flexible initiative and action system that will allow the players to react to threats and also give a guildline for how  many combat rounds it would take to do extended actions, such as picking a lock.

At the start of the combat round, the players receive a number of Action Points (AP) equal to their Reaction plus 1d10.  This would provide an amount of action points from 6 to 20, depending on the reaction score and roll.  Everything a character does during combat consumes a set amount of Ap.  Ex: Moving for position in a firefight, 1 ap, shooting a gun, 3 ap, picking a lock 20ap, etc.

The basic flow of combat (who goes first) is determined by the raw reaction score, highest number goes first.  The players have the option if interrupting an action, or jumping ahead as it were, by spending extra AP on the action equal to the difference in their reaction and the reaction of the person they're interrupting plus 1.  ex. Kay has Reaction of 6, the enemy has an 8.  Kay wants to try to shoot the enemy before he can shoot her, so she would spend 3 ap to shoot, plus 3 ap to boost her reaction temporarily to 9.  

This allows the players to evaluate a threat and sacrifice later attacks to do damage NOW, if they need to.

For actions that would take longer than the character has action points for, such as picking a lock, the character would expend their whole action pool working on the action, then on the next round (or however many rounds it takes), keep expending AP until the action is completed, at which point they would have whatever points left in their pool to act that round.

Questions:  Does this system accomplish the goal I laid out?  Is there any obvious way to break it?  Will it add too much overhead to combat?

-Ghostwolf
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Ben O'Neal
Member

Posts: 294


« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2004, 09:09:59 AM »

First, some general comments: why would shooting a gun take longer (3 ap) than moving (1ap)? This would surely make sense if the guns were the old barrel-loading muskets, but if we're talking anything remotely modern, wouldn't firing them be significantly faster than moving? I understand your need for "balance", but is it worth sacrificing plausibility for?

Also, why include rules for how long it takes to pick a lock? Do you envision players actually trying to pick locks during firefights? Or are they far more likely to try to defend themselves/kill the enemy/flee than pick a lock.

On a related issue, why do they need to pick locks at all? If we are dealing with modern/futuristic weaponry, couldn't they just shoot the fucking lock? Wouldn't they have modern tools to get around such a mundane barrier.


Ok, now onto your questions :)

Quote
Does this system accomplish the goal I laid out?

You tell me. As far as I can tell, sure it does. You wanted "flexible initiative", and to tell you the truth, I don't know what you mean by this. Do you mean "can vary"? Because you got that with the use of the d10. Does it mean "you can change it"? If so, then you can do that buy spending ap to raise your initiative. So from what I can see, yes it has accomplished your goals. But you knew that already didn't you? That's why you posted the mechanic ;)

Quote
Is there any obvious way to break it?

Not that I can see. It's pretty simple, and it's my understanding that the simpler something is, the harder it is to "break" (by which I am assuming you mean "allow behaviour you don't want").

Quote
Will it add too much overhead to combat?

Does it contribute to combat? Is it a part of combat? Looking at your proposal, I'd say yes to both, as it provides a logical timescale framework for actions to occur in, and allows for tactical maneouvreability. Thus the answer is no, it cannot add "too much overhead" if it is part of the Way Shit Works.
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ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2004, 09:20:35 AM »

Quote from: Ravien
First, some general comments: why would shooting a gun take longer (3 ap) than moving (1ap)? This would surely make sense if the guns were the old barrel-loading muskets, but if we're talking anything remotely modern, wouldn't firing them be significantly faster than moving? I understand your need for "balance", but is it worth sacrificing plausibility for?


Excellent point.  The amount of AP used for actions is still up in the air right now, I was using arbitrary numbers there to explain how the system would work.

Quote
Also, why include rules for how long it takes to pick a lock? Do you envision players actually trying to pick locks during firefights? Or are they far more likely to try to defend themselves/kill the enemy/flee than pick a lock.


let's say the characters are fleeing from a group of hostiles and need to break into a ship.  Someone would need to hack the mechanism that controls the airlock.  Not traditional lockpicking, but still an action that could take a number of combat rounds.

Quote
On a related issue, why do they need to pick locks at all? If we are dealing with modern/futuristic weaponry, couldn't they just shoot the fucking lock? Wouldn't they have modern tools to get around such a mundane barrier.


Shooting the control mechanism may not open the door.  See above example :)

Thanks for giving me some more things to think about, Ravien!  I greatly appreciate the input :)
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Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2004, 11:21:47 AM »

This seems to make sense from the point of view of interresting tactics and resource allocation. Sacrificing the total effectiveness for the round to gain faster action is an interesting choice. (It's a bit counterintuitive from a pure cause-and-effect point of view -- if I do an action faster, doesn't that mean I should have more time to do other stuff later in the turn? But that's not really a problem if you see action points as representing effort or attention rather than time.)

I don't see anything wrong with mixing "noncombat" actions like picking a lock with "combat" actions using the same system. My answer to the question, "will player-characters ever be in a firefight and trying to pick a lock at the same time?" is "Sure!" Substitute things like "administering first aid," "establishing a com link," or "repairing a disabled vehicle," or "getting the unreliable hyperdrive to activate" for "picking a lock" and you have plenty of plausible combat scenarios.

My question is, can NPCs make the same choice to expend ap for a higher reaction (faster action)? If a PC and an opposing NPC (or two opposing PCs) both want to act first end, is there a process for them to bid ap's against each other? If not, then who gets to declare first that they're spending ap's for faster action?

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2004, 12:07:25 PM »

Quote from: Walt Freitag
This seems to make sense from the point of view of interresting tactics and resource allocation. Sacrificing the total effectiveness for the round to gain faster action is an interesting choice. (It's a bit counterintuitive from a pure cause-and-effect point of view -- if I do an action faster, doesn't that mean I should have more time to do other stuff later in the turn? But that's not really a problem if you see action points as representing effort or attention rather than time.)


I'm couching this in the 'expending more effort' category.

Quote
My question is, can NPCs make the same choice to expend ap for a higher reaction (faster action)? If a PC and an opposing NPC (or two opposing PCs) both want to act first end, is there a process for them to bid ap's against each other? If not, then who gets to declare first that they're spending ap's for faster action?


 Thanks for bringing this concept up, I hadn't thought it through completely.  It seems workable that the GM and player(s) could ramp up AP expenditure on an action until one of the involved parties couldn't bid any higher.  I'd need to come up with a drawback for that, to prevent simply bidding up to waste someone's action points with no intention of following through.

I was orignally planning to use a 'goon' system for NPCs, where most of the enemies are dumbed down to a limited set of statistics, and major NPC opponents had a full character sheet.  In that type of system, only major NPCs would end up potentially 'cross-bidding' for precedence in the action flow.   I'm most likely going to abandon the goon idea and use full-fledged NPCs.
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Ben O'Neal
Member

Posts: 294


« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2004, 08:06:35 PM »

Quote
I don't see anything wrong with mixing "noncombat" actions like picking a lock with "combat" actions using the same system. My answer to the question, "will player-characters ever be in a firefight and trying to pick a lock at the same time?" is "Sure!" Substitute things like "administering first aid," "establishing a com link," or "repairing a disabled vehicle," or "getting the unreliable hyperdrive to activate" for "picking a lock" and you have plenty of plausible combat scenarios.

Of course, I hadn't intended that non-combat mechanics were unecessary, quite the contrary. My concern was the use of the word "lock-pick", but I guess I split my meaning up.

Ghostwolf, I suggest that a "lockpicking" skill would be entirely unnecessary. Instead, skills such as "hacking", "demolitions", or even a single broad "security" skill would be far more conceptually streamlined.

Also, just a quick question: Say I wanted to move from my current position to more favourable cover, but on my way, I wanted to... persuade... my enemy from shooting at me by showering their position with Hot Lead of Fucking Death (excuse the french). How does your ap system deal with performing two different, yet logically independant and clearly parallel actions simultaneously?
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ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2004, 04:17:45 AM »

Quote from: Ravien

Of course, I hadn't intended that non-combat mechanics were unecessary, quite the contrary. My concern was the use of the word "lock-pick", but I guess I split my meaning up.

Ghostwolf, I suggest that a "lockpicking" skill would be entirely unnecessary. Instead, skills such as "hacking", "demolitions", or even a single broad "security" skill would be far more conceptually streamlined.


This is true, and it would fall under the System Operations class in the skill tree.

Quote
Also, just a quick question: Say I wanted to move from my current position to more favourable cover, but on my way, I wanted to... persuade... my enemy from shooting at me by showering their position with Hot Lead of Fucking Death (excuse the french). How does your ap system deal with performing two different, yet logically independant and clearly parallel actions simultaneously?


Covering fire while moving would be sort of a combination of the ap value for moving and for shooting.   Again, this is a good comment that has taken my thought process further than it went when I wrote this, thank you!


(edit for formatting error)
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