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Author Topic: How fast does combat actually play?  (Read 7645 times)
Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« on: July 30, 2002, 09:02:36 PM »

If you've picked up a copy of TROS, please do me a favor and respond to this post.

How fast does combat actually play and how much fun is it?  How is combat with multiple opponents handled (e.g. two thieves attacking a character)?  

I love the detail that's went into TROS, but I'm concerned it might run very slowly in actual play.  I've read the reviews, but I'd prefer to get a few opinions from other players.

Roy
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Rattlehead
Member

Posts: 159


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2002, 09:34:06 PM »

TROS combat goes pretty fast once you get a feel for the system and your character's maneuvers. After 2-3 combats, you're pretty well set.

As for how much fun it is, it's great. I'd almost say that one can have a great deal of fun just running duels. But, of course, there's more to it than that - it is a full-fledged RPG.

As for fighting multiple opponents.... you don't want to do that. You have to split up your combat pool. If you get into a fight like that, you probably didn't start that fight. If you didn't start it, odds are that it was a bad fight to be in... in TROS, bad fights are usually really bad. It's ironic that while the combat system in TROS is a major feature of the game (and a major selling point), in actual play combat should be somewhat rare. If nothing else, the PCs should usually try to pick their battles wisely, as combat is extremely lethal - just like in real life.

All in all, I doubt you'll go wrong with TROS. There are a few parts of the game that require players to police themselves to avoid rule abuse, but as long as you have a good, mature group I think you'll love the game.

Brandon
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Grooby!
Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2002, 09:48:35 PM »

Fast.  Damn fast.

Although I've only owned the game for a few days, I've run through a dozen or so bouts.. and managed to recognize some trends:

1st
Combat, although the engine is pretty simple and easy to grasp, takes some time to get a handle on.  I certainly don't feel as though I'm any where near where I want to be.. yet.  It give you a /ton/ of options.. that will work some of the time.. depending upon what your opponent is doing.. and when he/she is doing it.  Pretty damn cool, actually.

2nd
Damage is /nasty/.  Don't get hit.  Period.

3rd
As learning the intricacies of combat (read: keeping yourself alive) does take some time, early combats tend to go one of two ways.. either you are done /really/ quickly (oops! that's gonna leave a mark!), or it takes you a while to find what you are looking for.. and /then/ combat ends.. messily.

4th
Damage is /nasty/.  Have I mentioned this one yet?

5th
Although it takes a while to get a handle on all of the CP (combat pool) mods.. things like bloodloss, shock, and range.. just not that long.  And those are some of the things that tend to slow down a bout.  Once you get comfortable with them, they're a snap.

The end result of all of this dribble is that combat moves along nicely.  It's easy to learn the basics, and once you discover a rhythm for yourself, you can really push things ahead.  I'd have to say that, on average, single opponent duels have taken between 5 and 10 minutes of real time.. and some less than 2 minutes.  My longest lasted nearly 15 minutes of real time.

A word to the wise: defensive fighting, as mentioned by Jake and several others here, is a pretty good way to go.  At least initially.  Overcommitting tends to hurt.

Btw, this system is a ton of fun.  Good feel to it.. and good flow.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a winner.

Quote from: Roy
How fast does combat actually play and how much fun is it?  How is combat with multiple opponents handled (e.g. two thieves attacking a character)?  

Roy


Multiple opponents.. nastiness.  You've got to split your CP to deal with both.. or maneuver so that only one can get to you.  That, in my book, is the way to go.  Splitting your CP is bad news.. and a good way to get skewered.
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Molon labe.
"Come and get them."

- Leonidas of Sparta, in response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms.
Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2002, 09:49:43 PM »

Thanks for the quick response.  I appreciate you taking the time to give me your opinions on it.
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Silanthous
Member

Posts: 16


« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2002, 09:50:25 PM »

Well i have not really participated in many fights myself, others of my group have. the battles might be fast or slow, depending on fighting strategies but each individual round runs pretty fast, Combat is smoother and easier than D&D and a lot more intresting, especially when you have a sorcerer lying in wait to twist things in your favor, completely by coincidance of course. I blame Mage for that statement, but you can't top coincidance.
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Silanthous Silverbreeze, AKA Robert Zoccoli. Archmage of high Order.
Lyrax
Member

Posts: 268


« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2002, 10:27:13 AM »

It's coincidence.

And about the fights, they CAN last a long time, especially if both parties are well-armored.  In fact, it's entirely concievable that two well-armored knights in this game wound each other to the point where neither is dead, but neither one can kill the other ("All right, let's call it a draw.")

Of course, if you have two players who are unarmored, extremely aggressive, or both, then combat will, in all probability, last precisely one round.  Much of this round will determine who goes first (unless they both go at once!), and whoever does will not die a horrible, nasty death.
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Lance Meibos
Insanity takes it's toll.  Please have exact change ready.

Get him quick!  He's still got 42 hit points left!
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2002, 12:26:19 PM »

I completely agree with all of the above points except for one (specific) case.

Both parties are moderately (or heavily) armored, and both parties are cautious.

I have sat through and watched such a fight as Seneschal (and seen several play out in the combat sim), and it can take a while. Because both parties really don't want to be hurt, they go high defense and low attack, and low attack vs. high defense and armor means nobody gets hurt for a long time. This can go on for ages until a) the seneschal gets bored and suddenly introduces fatigue rules, or b) one party gets bored and goes all out.

But other than this, yes, combats are nice and quick.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2002, 02:13:38 PM »

Quote from: BrianL
I have sat through and watched such a fight as Seneschal (and seen several play out in the combat sim), and it can take a while. Because both parties really don't want to be hurt, they go high defense and low attack, and low attack vs. high defense and armor means nobody gets hurt for a long time. This can go on for ages until a) the seneschal gets bored and suddenly introduces fatigue rules, or b) one party gets bored and goes all out.


I agree completely.. fatigue rules are a necessity if you have a situation similar to the one described above.  My longest bout was between two knights (Normans, circa 1000-1100 CE).  Kite shields and full mail are tough to buypass with arming swords..  Now axes wielded by huscarls.. now we're talking!
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Molon labe.
"Come and get them."

- Leonidas of Sparta, in response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms.
Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2002, 08:13:18 PM »

Thanks to everyone for responding.  The feedback is great and I really appreciate it.

Does TROS include Fatigue rules or do you just have to make up a sensible house rule?  Does the book include any details on combat tactics and the proper use of weapons?  Would a new player be able to grasp the basics of medieval combat from TROS?

Roy
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Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2002, 09:09:48 PM »

Fatigue rules are included.. combatants wearing heavy armor (metal.. or covering most of body) lose 1 die from their combat pool every EN (endurance) rounds of heavy activity.  Combatants wearing light armor (or none) lose 1 die from their combat pool every EN(x2) rounds of heavy activity.

As for learning medieval combat?  I think tRoS does well in this.  Although it might take some time to get comfortable with the system.. and work out tactics you're comfortable with.. I'm certain that newbies will be able to pick it up.  Experimentation, however, is the key.  As others have stated, it is important that you run through several fights to get the hang of things before playing.
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Molon labe.
"Come and get them."

- Leonidas of Sparta, in response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms.
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2002, 06:51:09 PM »

Quote from: Roy
How fast does combat actually play and how much fun is it? How is combat with multiple opponents handled (e.g. two thieves attacking a character)?


Lemme describe a few combats for ya..

1. First Con-game: Two slaves sneak up on a mounted guard in the dark, then jerk him from his horse. He managed to succeed his surprise check, so was able to defend, but as it was a combined effort, he still failed, was jerked to the ground, and was stunned enough (shock exceeded dicepool) not to shout out before one of them snatched his dagger and put it through his throat. Time: 1-2 minutes.

2. Second Con-game: Two slaves charge the provisions wagon, where the captain of the soldiers is climbing out, strapping on his sword belt and his chain-vest. He rolls surprise, and critically fails. The first slave jerks his sword from his scabbard, whilst the second (still manacled at the wrist) does an acrobatic leap past the captain into the provisions wagon, where, by luck, he is able to find his very own captured poleaxe. By the time the first slave has managed to get the sword, and the second has found his poleaxe, the guard captain has recovered from his critical failure on the surprise check, and is able to react. However, both the swordsman in front of him, and the poleaxer behind him in the wagon attack, forcing him to split his dicepool, while both of the slaves are using their full CP for attack. He died, messily. How messily? A sword half-way through his neck, and a poleaxe through his shoulder, ribcage and into his abdomen, simultaneously. I didn't even bother to calculate the exact effects of damage. He died, that's it. Time: 5 minutes, with most of the time spent in checking charts, due to the fact that I decided to use my optional blow-through rules.

So to answer the questions in light of my examples... It runs very quickly, and it's hellaciously fun if you're into brutal damage... less so if you're not, but still fun naetheless. My advice for handling two-on-one combat is to eyeball the participants, then choose the messiest way appropriate for the single-fighter to die.. Unless he's a real bad-ass, 'cause he'll have to be, to split his dicepool between two opponents.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2002, 09:57:44 PM »

I recommend anybody picking up tros make characters and duel a few times to learn the system.  It's different enough that you'll want to try a number of times to get a feel for different weapon combinations.  Don't use heavy armor at first - it just slows things down.  A friend and I worked out our standard dueling template thusly:

All stats are 6s.
proficiency's a 7 in primary and +2 to secondary.
If you fuss with skills, call'em 7s too.
Armor is chain shirt, pot helm, leather elsewhere.
Pick any weapon, round shield you wish except...
...if you pick an expensive blade (things like rapiers, longswords, etc) then you don't get the metal armor; instead you get all leather.

There are reasons behind all of this, but it basically makes a reasonable character to fight with, without having to roll things up.  Just pick and go.

-Jeff

P.S. It pays to take grapple, dagger, or brawl.  In a tactical sense, you don't want a weakness (people getting inside).  In an rp sense, it's nice to have a non-lethal form of combat (knock people upside the head). Also in an rp sense, it's nice to be able to fight even if you're not decked out in your goods.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2002, 08:57:29 AM »

I, personally, would recommend using the full chargen system, including the Concept, Philosophy and Spiritual Atts. to create your experimental duelists, just to get a feel for chargen. I will have to say that, at least in the pre-revision edition (haven't picked up the newer one yet) the layout and format for the chargen is a bit tricky, so it'll do you a world of good to create a few characters before you ever intend to play.

However, Jaif's suggestion is perfectly acceptable if you just want to play with the combat system before worrying about anything else, although you're not likely to get a sense of which attributes are vital to have at particular levels if they're all 6 (which would put you considerably above the mythical average). I will also second his recommendation that heavier armor will slow the duels a bit, as you've got to keep in mind the movement and CP penalties. I'd run at least a few totally without armor, then a few with light armor (ie, that which incurs no CP or Move penalties.. Chain vest, and leather arms is a good combination) The only exception to this is shields, because those are a necessary part of a couple of different styles.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2002, 09:24:51 AM »

I let my players make their characters and then fight some fake fights against some opponents I make up. That way, they get a feel for how to fight with *their* character, not just fight in general. Afterwards, I usually allow some changes if they want to(one changed from short sword and buckler to longsword for example).
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2002, 10:35:54 AM »

For me and my crew, we didn't know a ton about 'european martial arts', so we wanted to learn the strengths and weakness of the various weapon proficiencies.  This isn't your typical game where you pick the weapon with the best numbers.  In fact, what I love is that tests showed the simple short sword and shield to be among the best choices.  Imagine a D&D game where somebody picks a short sword!

Anyway, some weapons are very finesse oriented, others are quite direct and brutal, but I think it's worth learning how things work before you design your character.  Otherwise you may find that the picture in your head doesn't match the way things work in practice.

Oh, one other thing.  My suggested duels are a starting point.  Of course I suggest, hell expect, that people will try tons of combinations of stats, armor, and so on.

-----

On a different note, I can add something I've noticed about the characters I'm running - all are using some sort of missile weapon now.  So far my campaign has been mostly out of doors, and range kills.

-Jeff

P.S. One last recommendation.  Never let a player raise toughness above 7 if you're going for gritty pulp fantasy.  In game terms, that's like tossing a suit of ringmail on someone.  In realistic terms, it just doesn't make sense; people are capable of being far stronger than they are tough, e.g., making motions which their bodies can't handle.
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