Thursday, September 22, 2011

Combat tweaks

During Beacon play test there were a few things about combat that came up that I'd like to deal with in the rules.  A lot of stuff didn't come up, or if it did come up seemed to work out. Grappling came up one time and it appeared to work OK.  Some other stuff came up and either had to be dealt with or was just hand waved.   I want combat to be fast as possible but I still want a bit more tactical combat than the simple 'you can do one thing per turn'.  Two things I'd like to discuss are initiative and changing/dropping weapons in a fight.

Beedo over on Dreams in the Lich House was playing Adventurer Conqueror King and wrote about his experience.  I find this interesting, specifically this part:
"One thing I found interesting - Individual Initiative!  Okay, I know this has been an optional rule in many variants (and LOTFP used a version of it), but I've used the Moldvay BX style of Initiative by Side for as long as I can remember, with different combat actions happening in sequence - movement, missile, magic and melee, and then the other side goes."
I'm coming from the opposite side of the revelation here.  When I started working over Beacon I figured it was a D20 system and I should use D20 style initiative - otherwise known as individual initiative with DEX bonuses.  Man after about three games we cut that shit out because it was taking longer to do the initiative rolls than most of the rest of the combat.  We switched back to D6 per side - where side was determined by me, but usually 2 of them.  That's how I did it back in the olden times and it's working out pretty well for us now too.  I didn't think of having a "movement, missile, magic and melee" sequence however, that's something I didn't recall from the olden times.  Looking at it now I think it would be a good idea to try this.  Putting these phases in might solve some of my issues with not using minis and keeping track of where folks are at.  It also means player would have to decide what they were doing before they acted and that might be fun.  You want to move - well you have to do it now, no you don't know if Thedric is going to take out that archer, you will have to chance it.  Well maybe not so much what they were doing but what type of thing they were doing.

I play a board game called Game of Thrones by Fantasy Flight games.  It's very much like the game Diplomacy in that you give orders to all your armies ahead of time and then afterwards you carry out all the orders.  Unlike Diplomacy the orders in Thrones are not specific but simply a type of action; movement, support, raid, etc.  When the time comes to resolve these orders you can carry them out in which ever way you think best at the time - which direction to move the army - which territory to raid - but you must carry out that order with that army.  It simulates planning but allows for the effects of actual situations to be processed.  Best of both worlds I think.

I had the idea I might put Missile attacks before Movement as that seems more appropriate and might solve some of the issue I have with characters dancing around and firing off missile weapons in close combat.  Before I do this I'll have think a bit more - no point changing an old standard without due consideration.

Replacing a weapon
Over the course of playing, there were quite a few times where a weapon needed to be changed or replaced in combat.  The Critical fumble table causes dropped or broken weapons, and in other cases the players were expressing their desire to maim something more by going for a bigger weapon.  It was mostly hand-waved or counted as a minor action, but I do want to have a more chewy rule for it.  I want this to have an impact - but not make the players miss a whole attack.

What I'd like to do is to make drawing, changing out or picking up a dropped weapon the same as a move in turn.  Since you get one move in a turn or two if you forgo combat, you would have to use one up to change out your weapon or pick it up.  If you had to change or replace a weapon you wouldn't be able to do a full turn move, and you wouldn't be able to move and attack.  Right now drawing a weapon is a minor action and that doesn't seem to be enough.  I want to reward folks who ready their daggers before opening a door.

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