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Grimace

Combat Options: Which is preferrable?

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So, thinking from the perspective of design of material, what method of combat options do people think are better?

 

Is it better to have special combat options dependent on the quality of the die roll, or is it better to have special combat options dependent on the skill level of the character?

 

Let me give an example in case people don't understand the difference.

 

Method 1:

Bob is fighting against an orc. Bob gets a roll of 38 on his Brawling. Due to the quality of the die roll (38) Bob realizes he can perform a special maneuver of "Throw and Slam". This grants him the ability to fling the opponent up to 3 meters distant AND inflict STR+1D damage. So assuming the orc doesn't beat Bob's roll, negating the whole maneuver, Bob gets to "Throw and Slam" the orc.

 

 

Method 2:

Bob has increased his Brawling skill up to 6D, granting him the ability to choose a special maneuver. He has the option between "Throw and Slam" and "Sleep Hold". He chooses "Sleeper Hold". Now, when Bob beats his opponents in a Brawling roll, he can choose to use the "Sleeper Hold". This allows him to inflict STR damage on the opponent and maintains a hold on opponent. If the opponent can't beat Bob's Brawling +1D for the next two rounds, the opponent automatically passes out for 2D minutes.

 

 

So which do you guys think is better to use, and why? Better to have it dependent on a die roll, or dependent on the skill of the character? Or do you think combat options should be done a different way altogether?

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Based on personal experience I would do neither.

 

In Method 1 Bob is rewarded for metagaming by allowing him to know what his roll is first.

In Method 2 Bob is essentially forced to limit his skill to very restricted ideas of what can be done. (This one really rubs me the wrong way. I have been practicing a wide variety of hth skills for going on thirty years now, and really a technique does not take that much training to learn or master, ultimately it comes back to the practitioner, and a comparison of ability between him and is opponent as to how likely success would be. This skill comparison is the linchpin of the kind of risk management that close combat is.)

 

They both strike me as poor ways of handling it. Now if you want to slow things down, and make them more detailed Method 1 can work with the caveat that Bob one initiative and is essentially holding his action to see what his opponent does and then attempt a maneuver based on what the opponent has offered, however I don't think the d6 system really encourages this sort of play. If I want a detailed duel I go play The Riddle of Steel.

 

Assuming a cinematic approach, I think the default system essentially provides a reasonable compromise, one in which you choose what you are attempting first, and then roll. This provides that you are taking a risk by attempting something more complicated than whacking at the pinata, and is limited by skill simply because you are unlikely to take extreme risks. It injects a level of risk management into the game and leaves the practitioner with a wide variety of options for which he must weigh the risks.

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So you're saying it's better to say "I'm going to attempt to throw my opponent and slam him into the ground", get the difficulty for that, rolling the dice, and then either succeeding in it or failing to do any of it?

 

 

What if you were to purchase various combat options that would grant you the effect when you exceeded the opponent's roll by a certain amount?

 

So let's say Bob has both "Throw and Slam" and "Sleeper Hold". The first has a requirement of +10 greater than opponent's roll. The second has the requirement of +14 greater than opponent's roll. This way if the opponent rolls 12 and Bob roll 16, he just does damage. If the opponent rolls 12 and Bob rolls 22, he can now decide to use his "Throw and Slam" if he wanted to, since his roll was so much better.

 

Is that what you're referring to when you mention the comparison of ability and also having a more detailed method 1?

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Yes, tying it to the result roll would also be an option. This would make it essentially a matter of taking advantage of an opportunity that had presented itself, however it eliminates any risk management in a fight. You simply roll and take what comes to you with this option, instead of making a calculated choice to attempt it. In reality (I hate bringing that into a game discussion) you really do both. You take what the opponent gives you, and you also choose to take risks or not. Putting both into a game would the ideal, if it did not bog things down. Using the result level as a means of determining the oppportunity presenting itself and you choosing to take advantage of it is nice solution. I could see that being used side by side with the normal default system. So for instance if you wished to attempt a "Throw and Stun" the difficulty might be a +5. It is easier to achieve since you are consciously taking a risk since it is pre dice roll. While it would be +10 post dice roll, since you were simply taking advantage of the situation. That would slow down nothing at the table in a major way, or you could use the variable difficulty option for the pre dice roll difficulty.

 

The issue for me is that in actual fighting you have both methods occur. You decide to do something, you also take advantage of opportunities. If you present a system whereby it is based solely on the result roll combat essentially becomes purely reactive. While in many ways it is, it is not always, you do choose to do things, you do get to initiate action, and you get to decide what shape that takes.

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I like the old "Special Forces" sourcebook's method of dealing with special maneuvers: you declare you're using a special maneuver, and then your roll has to beat both the maneuver's difficulty and the target's opposed roll.

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As a player, it's nice to have a special manuever that you can repeat with some amount of predictability. Two of the three methods described depend on the GM's judgment. (The GM has to make a call on the spot rather than having a pre-arranged manuever available beforehand.) Neither is right or wrong, but if you are looking for consistency between GM's it might be best to have it as a preset manuever based on PC skill level.

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I dislike method 1 since it inverts the action declaration so that the player rolls the attack and then decides what kind of attack he was making. This adds a metagame aspect that I don't enjoy. I prefer deciding what action to take first and then rolling for success second.

 

Regarding the Special Forces sourcebook - often the opponent's parry is higher than the maneuver difficulty which means that it is no more difficult to attempt a maneuver than to just make a normal brawling attack. I dislike that aspect of the sourcebook rules. I prefer special maneuvers that grant special results have a modifier to the difficulty.

 

Regarding predictability - one can have predicatability by creating a table of maneuvers with assigned difficulties (or difficulty modifiers).

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I'm with Rerun in this.

As a player, I like to know what are my character can do, and have some predictability based on the skills he has, and consistency from game to game.

 

If you base it only on the roll result, then you can have a guy looking as an expert one moment, and as a clumsy duck the next.

 

So method 2 for me, thanks.

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I prefer special maneuvers that grant special results have a modifier to the difficulty.

 

Regarding predictability - one can have predicatability by creating a table of maneuvers with assigned difficulties (or difficulty modifiers).

 

I like this route myself. Perhaps have a modifier for each maneuver that the opponent has to overcome when attacked with a specific maneuver? Say, PC wants to use an elbow smash. Have that maneuver give the opponent a set +2 (or +3, or +4, etc.) modifier to their block/parry difficulty, on top of the PC's attack total. So, PC rolls Brawling/Martial Arts 6D for the elbow smash and gets a 25. Opponent rolls to block, has to beat a 27. Keep the modifier purely numerical so there are no extra dice rolls. Basic punches and kicks would have no mod.

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I like this route myself. Perhaps have a modifier for each maneuver that the opponent has to overcome when attacked with a specific maneuver? Say, PC wants to use an elbow smash. Have that maneuver give the opponent a set +2 (or +3, or +4, etc.) modifier to their block/parry difficulty, on top of the PC's attack total. So, PC rolls Brawling/Martial Arts 6D for the elbow smash and gets a 25. Opponent rolls to block, has to beat a 27. Keep the modifier purely numerical so there are no extra dice rolls. Basic punches and kicks would have no mod.

 

This pretty much what I was going to suggest as I was reading this thread.

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