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Author Topic: Thinking of buying -- two concerns about combat  (Read 9968 times)
Limbo
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Posts: 9


« on: December 26, 2002, 11:41:47 AM »

I'm an old time player of AD&D and GURPS and haven't played for almost 15 years now.   My son is getting old enough to play now though and I thought it would be entertaining for us to play together.   At first, I thought it would be fun to do some simple wargaming using an RPG rulset and then later moving on to real roleplaying using the same set of rules.   I was always unsatisfied with the combat engines/rules of all the games I've ever read or tried--I wanted as much realism as possible without the system being too cumbersome and one that allowed you to make significant tactical decisions in combat.   An internet search revealed TROS to me and after reading up on it some, I think it may fit the bill exactly!   I've always thought it would be cool if a combat system was based on real life combat simulation (i.e., ARMA) and this is EXACTLY what Jake has done.   This is why the game has me drooling at this point.

However I have a concern.   Obviously, the system is geared toward realistic 1-on-1 human combat.   But how well does the system work beyond this?   For example, is it too difficult/time consuming to run a melee say with 10 or so fighters going at it?   What about multiple combantants versus a single combatant?   For example, what about a tactical situation like 4 spearman going up against a much more skilled swordsman (I assume that the swordman would be very hard pressed despite his skill level in a situation like this.)   Last, how does the system deal with non-human combatants?  Namely, something larger like a dragon or a muich bigger and tougher Tolkien troll?   I'd like the system I play to be very similar to the melee shown in the LOTRs with the troll in Moria.  (Actually, more lethality would be okay--I could use hero points or something like that to tone down the lethality if needed for the heroes in the RPG--I want realism!!!).

Thanks.
-bob crane
trash696@earthlink.net
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Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2002, 12:57:22 PM »

Hi Bob.

Well, lets see.

For example, is it too difficult/time consuming to run a melee say with 10 or so fighters going at it?

It's not bad, basically you handle each 1-on-X individually for a couple of rounds and then move to the next, etc (just like you see combats in a film or whatever). Because combat is generally pretty fast in TROS, this doesn't take as much time as you would think (no 200 hit point warriors taking blow after blow and slowing things down).

What about multiple combantants versus a single combatant? For example, what about a tactical situation like 4 spearman going up against a much more skilled swordsman (I assume that the swordman would be very hard pressed despite his skill level in a situation like this.)

This is handled by the lone swordsman making what's called a terrain roll. He chooses as many dice from his Combat Pool as he likes and rolls against a difficulty based on how many opponents there are and how fast he is moving etc, and if he succeeds, he gets to only face one of them that round because he has maneuvered them around to block each other. Failure means you face two (or three on a botch) and then you're probably in serious trouble. It works really well. Tyhe choice is an agonising one, let me tell you. You only need one success on the terrain roll, but of course you're using up the die pool you'll then be using to fight with. So, do you spend only a couple of dice, risking failure but still having plenty of dice to fight with, or spend many, almost guaranteeing that you'll only have one opponent to face, but maybe not having enough dice to beat him with :-)

This very elegant terrain system works in other situations as well - fighting on a narrow precipice? Make a terrain roll to fight effectively - either you're fightiong all out but then you aren't paying much attention to the precipice (because you didn;t put many dice to the terrain roll) and might fall, or be very sure about your footing (lots of dice on the terrain roll) but be concentrating on that so much your actual fighting suffers. Combat involves hard choices :-)

Last, how does the system deal with non-human combatants?

At the moment, it doesn't, but the first suppliment Of Beasts and Men is coming out in a few months (it's been written and is in the final editing and layout stages) and that has rules for animals and beasts, special maneuvers only they can use, hit location diagrams for their unique physiques, mounted combat, and so on. Yes, you can do everything from trolls to dragons to whatever else, and I think it works pretty well.

Actually, more lethality would be okay--I could use hero points or something like that to tone down the lethality if needed for the heroes in the RPG--I want realism!!!).

Hey - realism is one of TROS' selling points, you can't do better.

Plus, of course, on top of a cool system there's this excellent forum where you can exchange ideas, advice or just shoot the shit with other TROS players and Jake himself (who is away at the moment but is otherwise a very regular poster here).

Regards,
Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
ShaneNINE
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Posts: 74


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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2002, 06:16:11 AM »

Quote from: BrianL
and if he succeeds, he gets to only face one of them that round because he has maneuvered them around to block each other. Failure means you face two (or three on a botch) and then you're probably in serious trouble.


How does that work when the PC is one of many going after one NPC? Does the GM make a Terrain Role for the NPC and then arbitrarily tell some of the PCs they can't attack this time? Seems a little one sided to allow only the defender to affect this.
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::: Shane
Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2002, 11:59:47 AM »

Quote from: ShaneNINE
Quote from: BrianL
and if he succeeds, he gets to only face one of them that round because he has maneuvered them around to block each other. Failure means you face two (or three on a botch) and then you're probably in serious trouble.


How does that work when the PC is one of many going after one NPC? Does the GM make a Terrain Role for the NPC and then arbitrarily tell some of the PCs they can't attack this time? Seems a little one sided to allow only the defender to affect this.


There's no hard and fast rules for determining WHICH attackers get to attack and which don't. When the NPC's outnumber the PC's, the Seneschal can just choose. When it's the other way around...?

Perhaps the Seneschal could allow the characters who want to attack to also make terrain rolls, with as many dice as they like. The one(s) with the most successes get to be the one(s) attacking this round (or, get to be the one(s) NOT attacking this round, as the case may be).

With packs of beasts, in OBAM, it's a tactical decision by the pack. Injured and/or weaker members of the pack can fall back, still a threat but not attacking this round, while the fresher, uninjured ones keep coming to the front every round, thus wearing down the sole defender.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

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

Posts: 102


« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2002, 05:02:14 PM »

I read on a previous post somewhere a suggestion of letting the attackers make terrain rolls to attack the single defender.  I thought that sounded like a good idea.  I use it like an attack.  The sole character decides how many dice he is putting into the outmaneuver and at which of the two target numbers(as per the terrain book).  His opponents then decide how many dice they are each willing to put in to try and outmaneuver his outmaneuver, rolling against the same target number. Basically its an opposed roll.  If the sole fighter gets at least 1 success and more than at least one of  his opponents he may choose who he is facing.  If all his opponents who attempted achieved more successes he has to face them all.  All of the opponents must achieve more successes to win this opposed roll.
Seems to work pretty well.  Comes down to another real tactical decision and helps stop the peasant from outmaneuvering two swordsmasters.
Aaron.
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samspectre
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2002, 03:47:09 PM »

I just got together today with a bunch of people to try the Quick-Start Rules and get a feel for the game.  I guess the biggest bone of contention was why isn't there a penalty for aiming for the head?  Is it not the hard-to-hit target that other games have made it out to be?

Another issue was, is there a cap for the number of proficiency dice a person can initially put into a single weapon.  We had players dumping all their points into one weapon (these were test combats) and making hellacious rolls with fistfuls of dice.

Another issue was that of social class determining the type of armor that could be worn.  I understand this historically.  What incentives have people used in their campaigns to keep a bunch of serfs from getting helmets (or is it simply a question of money?)?

Thanks for your help.  If this all works out well (and I'm hoping it does) there might have 5 more converts on this end.  Thanks.
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Alan
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2002, 05:06:52 PM »

Hi Samspectre,

I don't kow how the quickstart rules work, but in the core book, maximums for Attributes and proficiencies for starting characters limit a starting character's combat pool to 14 dice.  Of course, this requires certain trade offs in other areas.

*Head Shots*

A little experience with a bo-ken leads me to think that swings to the head are easier than most rpgs make out.  I also note that helmets were very popular in the real world, even when no other armor was worn.  Will anyone with more experience verify this?

According to the TROS rules, one should try to describe attacks in a flowing pattern.  After a head attack your weapon is down.  Your next attack will be up or sideways.  So not every attack goes to the same area.

Also consider that the area you choose to attack may provoke your opponent and make him more dangerous.

*Armor by Social Class*

In a setting like Weyrth (the TROS world), Serfs found bearing weapons and armor illegal for their status would be summarily executed, preferably torn apart by dogs or impaled.  TROS isn't D&D where a character can get enough hit points to ignore the law.

In a feudal system, a lord might give permission for his men at arms to wear chain or even plate.  I think this is implied in TROS.

Finanlly, I'm thinking that when I run a game, there'll be a social exception when it comes to head gear.  I'll let freemen of any allegence buy pot helms or caps.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2002, 06:22:00 PM »

Gidday. Welcome to the forum.

Quote from: samspectre
I just got together today with a bunch of people to try the Quick-Start Rules and get a feel for the game.  I guess the biggest bone of contention was why isn't there a penalty for aiming for the head?  Is it not the hard-to-hit target that other games have made it out to be?


I have not bothered downloading the quickstart rules, to be honest. In the rulebook, however, there is a 1-die penalty for thrusts to the head and hands, two die penalty for thrusts to the lower legs, and you can gain 1 die when you swing at someones hands or at their lower legs under a shield. Remember that in a quick-start ruleset, some things will have to go.

Quote from: samspectre
Another issue was, is there a cap for the number of proficiency dice a person can initially put into a single weapon.  We had players dumping all their points into one weapon (these were test combats) and making hellacious rolls with fistfuls of dice.


See previous comment re: quickstart rules. In the full ruleset, starting attributes are capped at 7 (and thus could only reach 8 if you took a race that gives +1) and starting proficiencies are capped at 7, or 8 if you have an "A" priority in proficiencies. Because you can only have one "high" attribute, only one could be at 7/8, the rest have to start at 6 or below, so the starting reflex will be 6 or 7 at maximum.

Quote from: samspectre
Another issue was that of social class determining the type of armor that could be worn.  I understand this historically.  What incentives have people used in their campaigns to keep a bunch of serfs from getting helmets (or is it simply a question of money?)?


Where did they get the cash from, sure, that's a good question. It's also the question everyone from a higher social class who sees them will be asking and they're likely to find themselves distrusted and mistreated if they try to appear "above" their station. They may even be accused out of hand of having stolen the helm/armor and be tossed into jail or summarily executed.

Quote from: samspectre
Thanks for your help.  If this all works out well (and I'm hoping it does) there might have 5 more converts on this end.  Thanks.


Fingers crossed. TROS is a great game, and this forum is excellent for chatting to other TROS players/fans. Welcome aboard.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
samspectre
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2002, 04:50:29 AM »

Thanks for your responses.  I do have a full version of the rules incoming through the mail.  Once I read through them I'm sure I'll have more questions!

I guess another follow-up question might be...  With such a deadly combat system, what sort of methods have you as GMs (assuming there's some GMs on the forum here) used to "encourage" or get characters involved in more classic adventures.  Granted, I imagine "adventures" would be of a different variety than found in D&D (less monsters/opponents can serve as an equal threat if things come to blows)...   I guess I'm curious as to mechanisms you've found effective...  Or a general idea as to the flavor of your games.  Thanks again.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2002, 07:17:10 AM »

Hi samspectre,

Regarding your last question, I strongly recommend reading and contemplating the rules for characters' Spiritual Attributes. The dice generated by these attributes are the core of "what TROS is about" during play.

Welcome to the gang of us here, and I'm sure I speak for everyone in looking forward to hearing about your group's experiences with the game.

Best,
Ron
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samspectre
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2002, 07:46:25 AM »

Question 2.

A guy swings a big wooden club at someone's head.  Let's say he does 8 damage.  The guy he's hitting has a BRN of 4 and a Pot Helm AV of 4.  So 0 damage is done.  In effect, his brawn and armor has absorbed the blow.  BUT doesn't it make sense also that he'd be knocked silly?!  I mean it was STILL a 8 damage level hit to the head.  Do the real rules take stun into effect for attacks that don't register real damage?  Thanks again.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2002, 08:12:25 AM »

Hi Sam,

Ah, this comes up a lot. Given his Toughness, no, he was not knocked silly.

Just what this means in game terms is a matter of dispute around here, or rather, subject to group interpretation.

How I look at it is that blows have variable effects on people. Having a high Toughness means that the range of those effects is skewed toward the "lesser" end, for this person.

One of the biggest issues regarding TROS, which is very hard for some people, is that the game is not - despite appearances - a "realism engine." The combat system will not provide you will all the options and circumstances of hitting someone (see Brian's above comment about which sword-stroke is "valid" following a given move), nor will each combat stepp provide you with a perfect, complete, and finished outcome for any action during combat. The combat system is about outcomes, not about some kind of stop-motion simulation of reality.

H'm, I'm not sure if I'm putting this right. Perhaps if I phrase it this way: in TROS, you do not know that the blow connected solidly until after Toughness is factored in. This approach is often very hard for some role-players, especially those who are used to GURPS, Rolemaster, or RuneQuest, to understand. To them, the "damage roll" (or whatever) set the force and placement of the blow, and thus any "armor" or "toughness" must be coping with that force and placement.

In TROS, think backwards a little. So the guy with 4 Toughness withstood a 8-point blow (with his helmet). What this means is that for this guy, such blows land less solidly, perhaps with less force or inferior placement. But really, never mind why. He's the "tough guy" in the movie, so to speak, and we just know that Blow X will flatten his slender buddy, but not really worry him.

Thinking of Toughness as a part of a character's "thematic bundle" (right up there with Philosophy) instead of some kind of physical attribute (like armored skin or something silly like that, for humans) is one way to deal with the issue. Other ways have been discussed on this forum too.

Best,
Ron
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Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2002, 12:24:10 PM »

Yeah, what Ron said.

That said, if it really bothers you that a head blow like that ends up doing nothing, there's an optional rule in the combat section where all head attacks have a chance of knocking out an opponent, or at least making him see stars. I don't use it personally, basically for all the reasons Ron outlined, but different strokes for different folks.

As for your other question about getting players involved, again Ron is right on the button with the comment on SA's - they ensure that the adventure is always focused on what's really important to the characters. To be honest, without the SA's TROS would really just be a fairly soul-less hack 'n slash combat game (albiet a nifty one). It's the SA's and how they integrate right throughout the system that make this such an overall damn cool game.

Basically, because combat is so deadly, it makes the characters/players say to themselves "what's really important enough to risk dying for", and the answer is right there on the character sheet in the SA section. Cool stuff.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
toli
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Posts: 313


« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2002, 04:03:58 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Just what this means in game terms is a matter of dispute around here, or rather, subject to group interpretation.


The toughness questions comes up all the time in Warhammer FRP where it works more or less the same...that is it "reduces damage".

I think the easiest thing is to just interpret the effect of toughness liberally.  In some cases the blow might be solid but just not hurt.  In others, a high toughness might counteract the "set up" of the blow in some way.  For example, a tough boxer migh ignore some of his opponents jabs and be more difficult to set up for the big KO punch.  The same could apply to swords etc.  Really tough characters might not be as easy to push around or knock off balance (or what ever) in the "set up" prior to the real blow.  

NT
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NT
Ashren Va'Hale
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Posts: 427


« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2003, 09:16:48 AM »

on toughness, imagine it like this, if you, average guy x, hits me, wimpy dude y, I am gonna have a nice shiner. Throw the same punch at heavyweight pro boxer z and he laughs at you.

Thats toughness in a real world application.

Another example is my friend from college who was hit by a minivan going 30 MPH and he got up and walked away without more than a bruise.
Another guy I know was hit by a car going 50 MPH and he only broke an arm. thats toughness IRL.
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
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