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Author Topic: Combat pools  (Read 7501 times)
Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« on: August 27, 2003, 10:28:26 PM »

Hello,

I was just wondering how often SA's are used to boost CP's in your games?

I our game one, encounter may perhaps have one person using SA's to boost their CP by a couple of dice.

I suppose we have seen it as somthing that can help you out in special circumstances, where as fom reading the forum I get the impression that other player use their SA's to improve the combat pool as standard.

I'm a bit concerenced that we arn't taking full advantage of them.  We were also quite careful not to choose SA's that munchkined combat as well.  As we thought that this was probably not in the spirit of the game.

I hope that this post made sense,
Dan.
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MonkeyWrench
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Posts: 160


« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2003, 11:42:45 PM »

I let my players use them for a full encounter even if it lasts for a long time. I've can't remember reading any hard and fast rules about how long they can be used though. I'm fairly generous with my players SAs though because I like heroic, epic battles and PCs.
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-Jim
Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2003, 01:35:10 AM »

Also as a follow up.

What kind of CP values do you expect the average PC to have.  (Fairly new is characters)

Dan.
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MonkeyWrench
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2003, 01:43:00 AM »

There is a knight with a CP of 15, an archer/skirmisher with a 13 (MP 12), a spy/agent/diplomat with an 11, and a priest with a 6. The knight in the group will usually do the majority of the fighting with the archer lending covering support and the spy helping out as needed. The priest along with an NPC noncombatant take care of injuries.
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-Jim
Overdrive
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Posts: 100


« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2003, 03:09:08 AM »

Boosting combat pools with SA's should happen a lot. Every time you fight..

We once had this scenario where the PC's were herding a group of priests along a road. The priests were on their way from a hostile town to a friendly; the PC's had caused the local lord to attack the Church there, so they felt responsible and wanted to help. Two of them even had Faith.

So they spot a few black clad riders, the Evil Lord's men. They were following from a safe distance, probably just to see where the priests go. But the PC's figured there would be reinforcements and decided to ambush the riders (which led to a very gritty fight).

I asked whether any of the PC's had any relevant SA's.. see we were learning the system and I had to remind me and the players of this kewl mechanic. Nope, they said.. "Wants to become the greatest swordsman", "Against ideologies of Gelure" etc, nothing that would help in this pretty dishonorable action. Cool, I thought and the battle began.

The PC's decided to "just" ambush a few black riders. Just as they decide to pick a fight in any RPG. But it was very clear that the ambush was risky, no sane man would try that if he could avoid it. So ask the players *what exactly* makes the characters to get into a fight! This part we forgot, but it could have been like "those pagan evil worshippers are trying to murder us-- kill them first!" or "they must be in alliance with the Gelure! They are not worthy to live!". If a character has Conscience, he would perhaps try to persuade the enemy to surrender, "these men have done nothing to us, they're just following orders!" Or perhaps the fact that the "good" priests are the target justifies that the "evil" men be killed.

Whatever the case, make the players really think before fighting. If they don't use SA's like we didn't in this previous example, well, it was pure luck no PC got hurt.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2003, 12:16:05 PM »

One set of conventional wisdom on this subject is that adventures should be made so that the PCs are constantly running afoul of situations that involve their SAs. Example:

Let's say I have only one PC with the following SAs:

Faith (3in1): 3
Passion: Girlfriend 2
Destiny: To Conquer a Land 2

So I start out with the biggie, Faith. I decide that the adventure will involve a Marluk border raid that threatens a village in which there is a beautiful church. The first encounter will involve the Marluks coming in and attacking, in which our hero will get to slay a few (using his extra 3 dice as he defends the church from being burnt to the ground). Then, in the middle of the fight, he sees them running off with his GF. Does he stay, and protect the church, and possibly lose track of their escape? Or does he chase after them immediately and lose the church to flames?

Later, he'll be involved in chasing or tracking them down over the border. He'll meet up with some Marluk bandits who will help him attack the Marluk soldier's encampment, if he can overcome his Faith based fear of them. Later he'll have an opportunity to become a warlord in the region during the battle if he stays. But his lady love tells him as he rescues her that she's leaving for Taveruun, never to see him again if he doesn't take her back immediately. Does he stay and conquer the land, or does he take her back?

Should cover a session.

That's all you need to do to set up play. Just set the SAs into action (preferably in conflicting modes), and you're off and running. With the PC as hero firing on multiple SAs as he goes.

Make sense?

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2003, 01:06:50 PM »

Well, 14 is the highest CP you can get without a special nationality bonus.  So basically my rule of thumb is

10CP = Good for a character who knows his way around a sword but isn't going to win any tournaments.
11-12CP = The character intends to be a better than average swordsman
13-14CP = The character is really trying to indicate that he is / will become a top notch swordsman.  You really have to design a character specifically for this to start with CPs this high.
8CP = "Well I'll help where I can, but don't expect much from me"
6CP = "expect even less from me than that guy"
4CP = "this is the part I hold on to right..."

As to when SAs should come into play...my rule is this.  TROS is about meaningful combat.  Casual fighting in TROS is discouraged by the lethality of the system.  

What is the definition of a meaningful fight?  If I have an SA that applies.  

The SAs are what I as a player have decided are meaningful to my character.  If these apply than the fight is meaningful...and my odds of survival go up dramatically.  If these don't apply, than the fight isn't meaningful to me and I have to think long and hard as to why I'd risk myself for this.

If I find myself being presented by a number of fights that I really don't have any SAs for than there is 1 of 2 possibilities.

1) Either the GM is not taking my SAs into account when structuring the scenario and I should probably talk to him after the game about that...or

2) I as a player have decided that certain things in the game are meaningful to me as a player (i.e. I want to get into fights about them) but I have not as a player reflected that on my character sheet.  The solution here is to use the SA changing rules to switch some SAs over to what I'm really interested in at the time.

For instance.  Maybe I have a Destiny to be King, a Love for a fair maiden and a couple of other fairly specific things.  Well, the campaign right now is concentrating on one of the other PCs quests and I'm just along for the ride.  I'm screwed because my SAs don't apply right?

Nope.  Why would my character leave his love and destiny behind to go chase after someone elses dream?  TROS works superbly with split up PCs so there is no need for a "party mentality" to get me to just go along.  Obviously I must have some bond with that PC  "we are one...we are brothers...!" or some such.  Well, that sounds like an SA.  Spend down two SAs I'm not currently working on and replace it with one bonding me to my brother PC or otherwise involving me in what's going on at the time.  

Later on I can always switch back to my Destiny to be King or what ever.

In other words.  Anything in the current situation that I as a player want to be fighting about, I should make sure my character has appropriate SAs.  This may sound very metagame...and in some ways it is...but actually its very much a question of making sure your characters motivations actually match their actions.
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Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2003, 11:49:34 PM »

Thanks for the replies (all of you).  This is along the lines of what I have been thinking it should be like.  

This is the best explanation on how to use SA's that I've seen, thanks I can now point at it ;-)

I think that part of the problem may be that we are not playing TROS strictly as designed with the SA's leading teh scenario.  We are playing the classic "Enemy Within" campaign in warhammer.  Which is something we want to do but withe the Riddle of Steel rules.

What I suspect we need to do is bring at least one of our SA's each into line with each other and what the Seneshel feels is appropriate for the scenario.  While still keeping some others for back ground interest and plot diversions.

On a side note do you feel that a character can ever not have Luck or consience? Luck, well with out it the character will not last long.  But does not having a consience mean that a character is uninhibeted in is actions no matter how amoral?

Dan.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2003, 09:12:47 AM »

Again, you only need Luck if you're not firing on other SAs. Luck is like your fallback, and allows you to do stupid stuff and still get away with it. But that's why it runs out. Smart characters (well characters with smart players) don't need Luck.

As for Conscience or any SA, just because you don't have that SA doesn't mean that the character doesn't have that characteristic in their personality. If you don't have Conscience as an SA right now, that means the character has other, more pressing things going on. A really cool thing to do is to put the character with no conscience SA in a place where that'll be tested. Allow him to do something that goes with his Drive, but only by doing something that would require no conscience. The player then has two choices, stick with the Drive, or drop it and pick up some Conscience.

It's these moments of change and decision that are where you'll see the character grow and reveal himself. All characters have a Conscience SA potentially, some players just never use it, while others do. It's the players choice at any moment as to what his character "is". And that can change at any time with the character's changing circumstances.

SAs don't restrict character actions. They just reward the character doing things that are in tune with what's meaningful to him. If what's meaningful changes, well, it changes. And the system supports that. Even rewards that. Players who change SAs frequently at appropriate places will find their characters gettin more powerful rapidly. Staid characters who are always the same seem to me to, well, stay the same. They get powerful very slowly.

The "Enemy Within" is one of the best (if not perhaps the best) Simulationist adventures yet written. But that means that it assumes, essentially, characters with certain SAs that do not change. In fact, if I were to run it with TROS, I'd write the characters SAs, and not allow them to change much if at all during the course of the adventure.

The style of adventure we're talking about playing with changing SAs has no "plot". That is, the players make up the plot as they go by making decisions that revolve around their SAs. That is, there's no way the players can go "outside" the adventure because the GM doesn't have one planned. In many ways, TEW is the opposite of what TROS seems to support best. If you try to allow players to have their own SAs, quite often the thing that would make the most sense in TEW would be for the characters to walk, no run, away from the scenario. Those who stay in contradiction to their SAs will probably end up dead. (Not that the PCs can escape the Purple Hand, likely, but they shouldn't even get to the point where they come to their notice if the players are really playing their SAs).

Read that carefully. If the PCs SAs are not about, oh, protecting the Emperor, or somesuch, then the only action that makes sense is for them to not participate in the scenario. Just what SAs do they have?

Mike
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Dan Sellars
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Posts: 82


« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2003, 09:42:44 AM »

Mike,

Thank you very much for your insight.  What you have just stated there is pretty much what I have started to think myself (but more eloquently stated than I could ;-)

In TEW I am actually a player but I have run TROS games to the same group.  Talking in the group I suggested that we might need to modify some of the character SAs to fit how the story is currently running.  For example we have just found a dead guy how looks just like my character and has an inheritance to collect (BIG plot hook methinks ;-).

Now I thought that this could be played in a number of ways and I had a little conflict within my SAs
    consience: I thought kind of pushed to do the right thing and report it.
    destiny (rise to greatness in unexpected ways) I thought pushed towards, to go with it and see where it leads.[/list:u]
    We roleplayed the options a bit and came to the conclusion between each of our SAs that it would be worth following up.  

    So this lead me to think about changing one of my current SA's to drive- find the secret behing my doubles inheritance, and put my current drive on a back burner for a while (find the secret behing my fathers death).

    Also though this begining bit of the campaign the characeters are starting to become friends (they are a fairly mixed bunch really) so I was wondering about suggesting that we develop a passion (bond of friendship).  I was thinking that doing this would keep us enjoying the scenario and keep us in track but would also allow the other SA's to govern the characters individuality.  After all the reason why we are playing TEW with TROS is because we (as players) want to and think it is fun.  

    When I first started to look at TROS I thought that SA's would be fairly static for a character defining it and holding in place.  Now I think more that they are there to fit a characters current perspestive on the game world and enhance his/her 'reality'.

    Does this seem like what you would expect to be happening given the setting?  Is this how you would expect SA's to be used?

    Sorry this is such a long post, it's just the clearest descussion on SAs I've seen and would like to explore it further.

    Thankyou,
    Dan.
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Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2003, 09:51:56 AM »

As you can tell from my previous post I'm not in a position to respond too much to your last point.  The Seneshal does resd these lists though ;-)

(I have a vague impresion of where the plot leads but not much ;-)

From what you where saying about developing SAs would they not be something that came in line as the characters became more curious and then entrenched in the plot?  May be leading up to drive - protect the Emperor?  Assuming the we as players find enough info to  get the characters interested (and if we don't then we're not going to get further regardless).


regards,

Dan.
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Lxndr
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2003, 09:56:13 AM »

Quote
Players who change SAs frequently at appropriate places will find their characters gettin more powerful rapidly.


Remember that, at least according to the book, if you change an SA type (i.e. replacing a Drive with Faith, instead of with a new Drive), it costs ten SA points.  I think.  I'll have to check the book when I go home for lunch.

I don't know anyone who actually plays with that rule, but if that rule is in place, changing SAs too frequently (or perhaps just too drastically) can eat up Insight points without necessarily reflecting more "power" on the part of the character.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2003, 12:17:52 PM »

Yeah, true. But Drive for drive as Dan proposes above are more what I'm thinking (though my examples were more drastic).

BTW, the other drift I'm also thinking of is the SAs as candy rewards. That is, the player should feel that if he shift's SAs that he'll have it back up to a decent level in no time. The GM shold be throwing dice at players with each meaningful decision. That's not canonical, but highly recommended.

Dan, the way you describe it could work. But it's really the complete opposite of how I like to play these days. That is, instead of the SAs reflecting the character's situation, the situation should reflect the SAs. That is, if the player changes to something in particular, at his whim, then the game should follow that SA.

This is hard for people to get their heads around. The course of events should be very little determined by the GM. The GM ought to be responding to the player's idea of what's important to the character. So, if in the course of the game as GM I introduce a lovely slave girl, and a player changes his Passion from his old girlfriend to this new girl, well, then the plot starts to follow her around. If the player changes his Destiny from Kill the evil Overlord to Build a Temple, the overlord takes a rest while the character goes off and deals with the trials of building a temple.

The player decides, and the GM follows.

So, in that sort of play, you can't have "scenarios". Doesn't work. Because the players just aren't likely to follow the preplanned set of encounters. Like I said, in the first scene they fall for the slave girl, and I have to throw out the entire rest of the scenario that was supposed to deal with chasing after the original girlfirend.


Now, again, that doesn't mean that it can't work with the preplanned method like you guys are doing. You just will want to do as you say. Look for the plot hooks, and change your SAs to match them. You'll be able to survive, and it'll make sense then. It just won't be your choice of SAs, it'll be the scenario's.

BTW, I hope I haven't given away anything by my assumption that you are the GM. OTOH, why can't you tell me what the other players' SAs are? You aren't doing them secretly, are you? SAs should be shared amongst players, so they too can see why a scene is significant to the character. Or do I miss your meaning?  

Mike
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Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2003, 02:25:06 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
BTW, the other drift I'm also thinking of is the SAs as candy rewards. That is, the player should feel that if he shift's SAs that he'll have it back up to a decent level in no time. The GM shold be throwing dice at players with each meaningful decision. That's not canonical, but highly recommended.


Just a minor interlude to comment on that comment...

Mike's right, that is a damn cool way to play TROS, and a lot of fun.

However, I find that the candy rewards system really doesn't work well in a long campaign - with frequent rewards the players start to butt up against limitations such as the skill maxout, and their proficiencies and attributes climb too fast. In a mini campaign, the candy reward system is the best one to use though.

In a long campaign, be a bit more sparing with them.

Just my 2c.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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Dan Sellars
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Posts: 82


« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2003, 12:57:02 AM »

Don't worry no plot given away yet ;-)

The reason I didn't list the other players SAs was I couldn't remember them at the moment ;-) and had just had a long enough post as it was.

I'll try to remember them here, they may be a little hazy:

Eric Silver (My character) - wandering swordsman/bladesinger type with som background fluff..
Luck
Consience
Drive: to find the secret behing his fathers death
Destiny: to rise to gr=eatness in unexpected ways
Faith: that Sigmar is protector of the strong and guide to the brave

Fitz Leib - sneaky woodsman/hunter type
Luck
Consience
Destiny: to resist the incursion of Chaos (dosn't actually know what chaos is yet but...)
Drive: to prove himself worthier than his father
Passion: hatred of cruel authority figures

Vallience (some Brettonian name...) - wondering scholar/fencer believes in the power of reason (quite opposed to supersticious nonsense actually..)
Luck
Passion: His encyclopedia mundi (a natural history kind of book he his writing)
Destiny: To descover the riddle of steel (not sure about this?)  
Faith: the inevitable triumph of reason
not sure what his other one is

So these are the characters we are playing.

In regards to the change of Sa's to fit the story I was kind of seeing it as the way a character in a story progresses.  They start out with on agender and then along the way another set of priorities interceed and pull them in more (take Bilbo in the hobbit for example).

I like the way that characters are driving the story in TROS and with other players I am goingot try an run it like that.  It's just that I would like to find away that it could work well with TEW as we would like to play trough it.

Any more comments are welcome,
Dan.
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