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 Post subject: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:34 am 
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A buddy of mine has been bugging me for some "Old School" style TRoS rules so that he can go Dungeon Crawling. LOL! I don't know how long this "style" campaign will last him, but I look forward to hearing his tale of woe and wanted to share the fun! Go git tham "Goblims" !

Old School TRoS

Exchanges are now assumed to be of a variable duration greater than two seconds. All non-ritual spells are now considered to be “instantaneous”, thus any one non-ritual spell may be cast during a combat round. The same change applies to missile combat; simply allowing the archer to attack on their initiative. The rules cover six principal areas:

1. Surprise
2. Initiative
3. Movement
4. Missile Fire
5. Melee Combat
6. Magic

Surprise

To check for surprise, the target rolls Reflex against a TN based on his alertness at the moment of attack. Surprise grants the attackers one free round of attack on the target(s).

Initiative

Once any surprise has been resolved, the GM announces that the combat round has begun, and sorcerers declare any spell to be cast during the round. All non-spellcasters role initiative, which is calculated as: 1D10+Reflex. If a “10” is rolled, the player may roll one additional D10 and add it to his total, which is capped for all combatants at a maximum of 20.

Initiative for sorcerers is differently calculated as: 20 – (Spell CTN) equals initiative.

Spending a Drama/Luck point allows a move up or down in initiative order by up to four steps, but must be declared before the count begins. Any player may delay their action to the end of the round by declaring “delay to 1”, again, if declared before the count begins.

The Count: The GM then counts down from 20 to 1(aloud) and players perform any reasonable action on their initiative count.

Movement

A character’s base movement value/points reflect his walking speed; this is doubled for the hurried movement of combat and X4 for an all-out charge. Movement points determine how far a character may move during their initiative, or if a terrain roll can be attempted. Players should be encouraged to budget some movement points for terrain checks. A character may both move and attack on their turn, but any movement must end within 5’ of an opponent for a melee attack to be launched, or 10’ if a polearm or long spear is being utilized. A character’s facing may also be changed at any time at no penalty. Movement points refresh at the beginning of each new round.

Charging: A charge grants 2 additional CP to an attack, but must end with the attacker in melee range of the targeted opponent to avoid a 4 CP penalty.

Defenders with polearms or long spears may brace against this charge, granting them a first attack, though this may be countered by the attacker using the TN8 Duck and Weave maneuver. The "Duck and Weave" places the evading party in a prime place to attack from: shields and weapon-length bonuses are lost or rendered useless, which followed by the charge attack, allows the dodger a clean shot that may only be parried or dodged.

Terrain Rolls: Terrain rolls are now relegated to movement challenges such as attempting a backwards leap onto a staircase, swinging from a chandelier, maintaining footing during combat on an icy path, ect,. If the terrain roll is player requested, he or she must describe the desired activity to the GM, who will advise the player of the movement points required and the TN to be rolled against. The player then deducts the movement points from his pool, allocates the desired amount of CP dice and rolls the task.

Movement within Melee: A defender effectively blocks an area about three feet to either side and enemies cannot move through this area.

Missile Fire

Missile attacks are attacks with ranged weapons such as a crossbow, sling, or thrown axe, made using the attacker’s Missile Pool (MP). Such attacks may be made on opponents 5’ or more from the attacker. If the target of a missile attack is not aware of the archer, the attack succeeds providing a basic success is achieved on the attack roll.

If the target is aware of the archer, he can always defend against missile fire, even when such fire is directed into melee combat. Assuming the melee combatant is aware of the danger, treat the incoming arrow simply as another attack during that exchange – it may be blocked (but not parried) or avoided with an evasion.

This may mean that the target is facing two attacks that exchange if an opponent has initiative, or that he may wish to perform a Simultaneous Block/Strike or similar maneuver if he has the initiative. As always, a character who is not presently engaged in combat uses his Reflex as a die pool for evading or blocking missile fire. The archer must have a clear line of sight on a target for an attack to be launched.

Range Modifier: Point Blank +1 die, Short Range - Medium Range -1 die, Long Range -3 dice, and Extreme Range -5 dice

For hit location roll 2D6: 2 Head (Zone XIII) 3 Arm (Zone XIV, choose which arm randomly) 4 Arm (Zone XIV, choose which arm randomly) 5 Torso (Zone XII) 6 Torso (Zone XII) 7 Torso (Zone XI) 8 Torso (Zone X) 9 Torso (Zone X) 10 Upper Legs (Zone IX, choose which leg randomly) 11 Upper Legs (Zone IX, choose which leg randomly) 12 Lower Legs (Zone VIII, choose which leg randomly)

TNs for evading missile fire:
Plentiful cover = TN4
Some cover = TN7
Poor cover = TN9

Melee Combat

Once attacked or attacking, a character is considered to be engaged in melee, which consists of two combat exchanges. Once attacked, a defender adopts the same order in the initiative as the attacker.

The defender’s initiative is considered “spent” when engaged by an attacker in melee combat. Once engaged, a character must evade each opponent faced before withdrawing from melee combat.

A defender may only be attacked by a maximum of three opponents at any one time, with the initiative order of the melee adjusted to match the count of each newly arrived attacker. Spears and polearms in the second rank of a battle formation can attack by reaching through the first rank of Fighting-men. These can be used to attack in the initial combat exchange only.

Defenders are restricted to block or parry maneuvers (assuming available CP) if they have taken their turn earlier in the round, and if they are aware of the opponent. In general, unexpected blindside attacks allow for no defense.

Magic

Spell casting begins at the start of the combat round and unless the spell description states otherwise, the spell takes effect on the caster’s initiative count. Sorcerers may move or dodge as well as cast during their turn (following a successful WP/Mediation check). Failing this check forces the sorcerer to stay in place or lose the spell, with a botch indicating automatic spell failure.

While it is possible to cast a spell while within melee range of an opponent (5/10 ft), the caster may not launch any melee attack while casting, though conceivably could block, parry, or evade using their CP pool. If the sorcerer is struck (even for zero damage) while casting the spell, that spell is lost.

Sorcerers being attacked adopt the initiative count of the attacker, and thus may cast their spell at the beginning of the initial melee exchange, but must first pass a WP/Meditation check to remain focused on their casting, or the spell fails. Having passed this check, it should be noted that in a contested Red/Red melee challenge, casters roll vs. Wit, not Reflex (with a TN equal to the spell’s CTN), to determine if their spell fires before an attackers weapon strikes home.

Thats it! Hope it made you smile!

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:03 pm 
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I look forward to hearing a game report -- how did this play out, were the players happy with the result, any further tweaks?

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:58 am 
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Hi Ian!

Yep, the four of them are getting together today to play. Here is what he passed onto me regarding the setup:

The setting they are playing in is Hyboria (LOL! Where even a hero is only slightly more virtuous as the villians!).

The characters are all ex-army veterans who now make their living as a band of tomb and grave robbers. They are as tough as nails, and ruthless in their pursuit of wealth, but are extremely loyal to each other. They are not interested in the problems of men (though they are streetwise and keep an ear to the wind for useful gossip or information), but have a code of sorts in that they cannot stand still for cruelty to women, children or the elderly (probably animals as well!). Men should fight with Men and leave the weak and innocent alone. They also have a great distaste for mobs, rioters or anarchists of any stripe. Oh, and they hate bullying authority figures. The group's SAs are set up to reflect these beliefs, and all these values are hold-overs from their military tours of duty.

In real life my friend and I served our duty tours with other men who felt much the same, so these feelings/beliefs ring true as I read his email. LOL! Except for the bit on robbing tombs! ;)

Play began in Koth, in the mountain city of Khrosha where the group had "acquired" a map indicating some temple ruins some 25 miles to the south, within the Karpash Range. Having made some discreet inquiries, the only information that they could gather was that it had been said that an ancient temple fortress lay to the south, far from the traders route. This temple was abandoned long ago because of "The Seven Curses of Khrosha".

Not being afraid of curses, the group has quietly laid in vituals and supplies and slipped out of town. They have been following the map as it leads them ever deeper on narrow trails into the mountains. When play last ended the group had arrived and was surveying the upper works of the ruined temple.

The venture has gone badly to this point with two of the groups porters having disappeared during the night among a host of other problems such as the discovery that half the animal's purchased grain was blighted and worthless.

The group has worked hard to play off these problems to their henchmen, "NOTHING A LITTLE GOLD WON'T CURE!!" roared the group leader to the gathered men.

When play resumes today, it will find the band and their henchmen moving in force into the ruins, looking for burial sites and crypts. They are armed to the teeth, and the misfortunes of the trip have put all in a foul mood. Gold must be found today or blood may be spilt this night...

I will keep you posted when he checks back in, hopefully with some combat observations (highly likely since he tells me the group is heading straight for trouble!)

Regards,

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:55 am 
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Sounds like those guys are having a blast – pure, unadultered, unsophisticated, straight fun. :) Super. And while I am not much of a fan of Dungeon Crawling or D&D style gaming, I’d still like to comment on this:

pbj44 wrote:
The characters are all ex-army veterans who now make their living as a band of tomb and grave robbers. They are as tough as nails, and ruthless in their pursuit of wealth, but are extremely loyal to each other. They are not interested in the problems of men (though they are streetwise and keep an ear to the wind for useful gossip or information), but have a code of sorts in that they cannot stand still for cruelty to women, children or the elderly (probably animals as well!). Men should fight with Men and leave the weak and innocent alone. They also have a great distaste for mobs, rioters or anarchists of any stripe. Oh, and they hate bullying authority figures. The group's SAs are set up to reflect these beliefs, and all these values are hold-overs from their military tours of duty.

In real life my friend and I served our duty tours with other men who felt much the same, so these feelings/beliefs ring true as I read his email.

I feel that it is always wonderful when a character’s SAs reflect the believes or even key issues of his player. If the referee addresses thes SAs and makes them central to his scenario, that makes for a great gaming experience, where the players are engaged on a very personal level; just like watching a movie that has not just a good plot but revolves also around a theme you care about deeply.

Then again, in a classic Dungeon Crawl, these SAs are not likely to get challenged much. Which is really a shame, good as they are. I think that these guys are totally ready to play “New School” TRoS. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:05 am 
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Grettir wrote:
Sounds like those guys are having a blast – pure, unadultered, unsophisticated, straight fun. :) Super. And while I am not much of a fan of Dungeon Crawling or D&D style gaming, I’d still like to comment on this:

pbj44 wrote:
snip


I feel that it is always wonderful when a character’s SAs reflect the believes or even key issues of his player. If the referee addresses thes SAs and makes them central to his scenario, that makes for a great gaming experience, where the players are engaged on a very personal level; just like watching a movie that has not just a good plot but revolves also around a theme you care about deeply.

Then again, in a classic Dungeon Crawl, these SAs are not likely to get challenged much. Which is really a shame, good as they are. I think that these guys are totally ready to play “New School” TRoS. :)


LOL! Dont get me wrong these guys like regular TRoS but are now spread out across several states. They are using OpenRPG to play and based on the feedback I am reading from them, they had a blast with the add-on rules for Old School or virtual gaming. Besides one or two points which I clarified with them, they were quite happy with the results they got. They felt that play was but little slowed from regular TRoS combat and they finally got a visual look at combat. I'm glad they are happy!

I think in how they have constructed their character's world view and motivatations as unrepentent tomb robbers, they are well within the framework of having their SAs challanged. I have never viewed TRoS as a nice game anyway. We like how Jake puts it:

"Player characters are, by definition, exceptional people in a very real, very harsh world. Not one of mythical deserts and castle-laden clouds, or orcs and dragons around every corner, but one of greedy men seeking power, hungry villagers after food and ransom, wandering swordsmen with an eye on conflict, death, and the Riddle, and millions of other people just trying
to see tomorrow."

That sounds like a good description of Sword & Sorcery gaming to me! This band of robbers have their answer to the question: What is worth killing for? What is worth dying for? In their minds, the answer is Gold. Yep, its not pretty, but it's very realistic and very much within the REH school of roleplaying. These robbers will shy away from combat, picking their fights carefully, (very wise in TRoS) with all decisions based on profit. They will operate in the shadows of society, wary of betrayal from anyone they deal with. Yet occasionaly they may help someone -or not. Conan spent just as much time wandering the filthy warrens of dangerous districts as he did weird locales. So will they...

Hmm...I think I will try to find time and join them online.

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:33 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
That sounds like a good description of Sword & Sorcery gaming to me! This band of robbers have their answer to the question: What is worth killing for? What is worth dying for? In their minds, the answer is Gold. Yep, its not pretty, but it's very realistic and very much within the REH school of roleplaying. These robbers will shy away from combat, picking their fights carefully, (very wise in TRoS) with all decisions based on profit. They will operate in the shadows of society, wary of betrayal from anyone they deal with. Yet occasionaly they may help someone -or not.

Greed combined with a rudimentary sense of decency sure makes for great potential for conflict. Gold is worth killing for; but in those guys’ case, is it also worth killing authority figures for? Or delivering innocent women to death? Or doing in your buddies? No? Well, and how’s it when we’re talking about cartloads of gold? Those questions are right on spot for REH style tales, but they would be easier brought to the fore in the populated streets of Arenjun or Khorshemish than in a remote tomb, I guess.*

But then I didn’t want to critize those guys – after all, a stint of old style dungeon crawling was their express intent. On the contrary, I wanted to compliment on their choice of SAs and comment on the high potential inherent in them.


*Then again, I might be wrong. You seem to be a REH buff, as am I; think about Rogues in the House and about the portrayal of the man-ape Thak as opposed to the red priest Nabonidus. The former, even though an animal, is treated by both REH and Conan like a honoured and worthy foe, whereas Nabonidus is is a treacherous backstabber to be dispatched without remorse. Compare to this what Conan says about the killed Thak:
"I have slain a man tonight, not a beast. I will count him among the chiefs whose souls I've sent into the dark, and my women will sing of him."
So on a second thought it's probably possible to address what gold is worth killing for even in the remoteness of a dungeon with non-human foes. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:18 am 
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Hi Michael,

A thoughtful response. Yep, we are all crazy about REH, and my friend is shaping the exploration of the ruins to run much along the mixed plot lines of Xuthal of the Dusk and Red Nails, with vast underground areas and drugged out cultists who live in terror of the creatures they worship. He has not explained to me what keeps everyone from running away, but I suspect it is something along the lines of the madness and drugs that plagued the populace of Xuthal.

The players have had a couple of fights now (ambushes they sprang), but their hired muscle is getting more and more uneasy. They will need some coin very soon to calm their nerves. All the men are bickering and wondering what they have gotten themselves into.

Regards,

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:01 pm 
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Sorry... What's a REH?

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Stands for Robert E. Howard!

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:44 pm 
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And I'm just re-reading The Hour of the Dragon... Duh! :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:49 pm 
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Good Book!

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:42 am 
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Hi Folks,

Okay, I have gotten some player feedback from my friend's game and have touched up movement and terrain rolls and added a correction to missile ranges, so here are the updated rules:

Old School Rules for Riddle of Steel Combat

Exchanges are now assumed to be of a variable duration greater than two seconds. All non-ritual spells are now considered to be “instantaneous” (casting now takes no longer than any other combat activity), thus any one non-ritual spell may be cast during a combat round. The same change applies to missile combat; simply allowing the archer to attack on their initiative. The rules cover six principal areas:

1. Surprise
2. Initiative
3. Movement
4. Missile Fire
5. Melee Combat
6. Magic

Surprise

To check for surprise, the target rolls Reflex against a TN based on his alertness at the moment of attack.

SURPRISE AND HESITATION TARGET NUMBERS:

TN5 Opponent on high alert
TN7 Opponent on Medium alert
TN10 Unsuspecting or inattentive
TN13 Blindsided!

Surprise grants the attackers one free round of attack on the target(s).

Initiative

Once any surprise has been resolved, the GM announces that the combat round has begun and sorcerers declare any spell to be cast during the round. All non-spellcasters role initiative, which is calculated as:

1D10+Reflex.

If a “10” is rolled, the player may roll one additional D10 and add it to his total, which is capped for all combatants at a maximum of 20.

Initiative for sorcerers is differently calculated as: 20 – (Spell CTN) equals initiative.

Spending a Drama/Luck point allows a move up or down in initiative order by up to four steps, but must be declared before the count begins. Any player may delay their action to the end of the round by declaring “delay to 1”, again, if declared before the count begins.

The Count: The GM then counts down from 20 to 1 (aloud) and players perform any reasonable action on their initiative count.

Movement

While a character’s Move attribute reflects non-combat movement, all movement within the combat round itself is handled by the Movement Points pool (MvP), which is calculated as 4X a character’s base Move score. A character may; move, move and attack, or move following a successful evasion from melee. All movement must end within 5’ of an opponent (or 10’ if a spear or other polearm is used), if melee is to be initiated. All manner of terrain rolls may be attempted during a PC’s movement. Two movement points spent per 5’ square travelled is suggested, though only as a guideline. Note: All movement pools refresh each new round, and a character’s facing may be changed at any time at no cost.

Charging: A charge grants 2 additional CP to an attack, but must end with the attacker in melee range of the targeted opponent to avoid a 4 CP penalty.

Defenders with polearms or long spears may brace against this charge, granting them a first attack, though this may be countered by the attacker using the TN8 Duck and Weave maneuver. The "Duck and Weave" places the evading party in a prime place to attack from: shields and weapon-length bonuses are lost or rendered useless, which followed by the charge attack, allows the dodger a clean shot that may only be parried or dodged.

Terrain Rolls: Terrain rolls are now relegated to movement challenges such as attempting a backwards leap onto a staircase, swinging from a chandelier, ect,. When requesting a terrain role, the player describes the desired activity to the GM, who advises the player of movement point requirements, and the TN to be rolled against. The player then deducts the movement points from his available pool, and rolls vs. the target TN using the character’s Agility attribute.

Movement within Melee: A defender effectively blocks an area about three feet to either side and enemies cannot move through this area.

Missile Fire

Missile attacks are attacks with ranged weapons such as a crossbow, sling, or thrown axe, made using the attacker’s Missile Pool (MP). Such attacks may be made on opponents 5’ or more from the attacker. If the target of a missile attack is not aware of the archer, the attack succeeds providing a basic success is achieved on the attack roll.

If the target is aware of the archer, he can always defend against missile fire, even when such fire is directed into melee combat. Assuming the melee combatant is aware of the danger, treat the incoming arrow simply as another attack during that exchange – it may be blocked (but not parried) or avoided with an evasion.

This may mean that the target is facing two attacks that exchange if an opponent has initiative, or that he may wish to perform a Simultaneous Block/Strike or similar maneuver if he has the initiative. As always, a character who is not presently engaged in combat uses his Reflex as a die pool for evading or blocking missile fire. The archer must have a clear line of sight on a target for an attack to be launched.

Range Mod: Point Blank +1 die, Short Range – Zero, Medium Range -1 die, Long Range -3 dice, and Extreme Range -5 dice

For hit location roll 2D6: 2 Head (Zone XIII) 3 Arm (Zone XIV, choose which arm randomly) 4 Arm (Zone XIV, choose which arm randomly) 5 Torso (Zone XII) 6 Torso (Zone XII) 7 Torso (Zone XI) 8 Torso (Zone X) 9 Torso (Zone X) 10 Upper Legs (Zone IX, choose which leg randomly) 11 Upper Legs (Zone IX, choose which leg randomly) 12 Lower Legs (Zone VIII, choose which leg randomly)

TNs for evading missile fire:
Plentiful cover = TN4
Some cover = TN7
Poor cover = TN9

Melee Combat

Once attacked or attacking, a character is considered to be engaged in melee, which consists of two combat exchanges. Once attacked, a defender adopts the same order in the initiative as the attacker.

The defender’s initiative is considered “spent” when engaged by an attacker in melee combat. Once engaged, a character must evade each opponent faced before withdrawing from melee combat.

A defender may only be attacked by a maximum of three opponents at any one time, with the initiative order of the melee adjusted to match the count of each newly arrived attacker. Spears and polearms in the second rank of a battle formation can attack by reaching through the first rank of Fighting-men. These can be used to attack in the initial combat exchange only.

Defenders are restricted to block or parry maneuvers (assuming available CP) if they have taken their turn earlier in the round, and if they are aware of the opponent. In general, unexpected blindside attacks allow for no defense.

Magic

Spell casting begins at the start of the combat round and unless the spell description states otherwise, the spell takes effect on the caster’s initiative count. Sorcerers may move or dodge as well as cast during their turn (following a successful WP/Meditation check). Failing this check forces the sorcerer to stay in place or lose the spell, with a botch indicating automatic spell failure.

While it is possible to cast a spell while within melee range of an opponent (5/10 ft), the caster may not launch any melee attack while casting, though conceivably could block, parry, or evade using their CP pool. If the sorcerer is struck (even for zero damage) while casting the spell, that spell is lost.

Sorcerers being attacked adopt the initiative count of the attacker, and thus may cast their spell at the beginning of the initial melee exchange, but must first pass a WP/Meditation check to remain focused on their casting, or the spell fails. Having passed this check, it should be noted that in a contested Red/Red melee challenge, casters roll vs. Wit, not Reflex (with a TN equal to the spell’s CTN), to determine if their spell fires before an attackers weapon strikes home.

Finis

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:15 pm 
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A bit more feedback came from my friend's game from yesterday:

It sounds like everyone had a good time! Combat was described as a very tense affair with all concerned constantly worried about either getting run through from behind or being surrounded and cut to ribbons. My buddy reports that everyone seemed very focused on events all around the field of combat. One strategy involves inflicting a wound on an opponent followed by a swift retreat to allow for a "bleed out". Charges coupled with blindside attacks are also popular. One player remarked that "Leather is fine around town, but man, I've got to get some chainmail for this!" and another said "I want eyes on the back of my head!"

That sounds reasonable to me.

I will keep you posted!

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:50 pm 
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I repeat: Sounds as if those guys are having a blast. :D

I especially like the very reasonable bleed-out strategy. Few systems apart from TRoS offer this kind of gritty option of letting the wound take care of the enemy instead of having to kill him outright.

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 Post subject: Re: Old School style TRoS combat!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:45 am 
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Hi Michael!

Yeah, the guys say that TRoS-style dungeoneering is a real hoot! I'm glad they are having a good time. While I have always felt that TRoS would be great for Hyborian gaming, it was only during my friend's playtest of these alternate rules that I also began to reflect how TRoS as an overall combat system pays homage to some of the original tenets of D&D.

Old D&D could well be described as the original Tomb Raider game - with monsters, wandering encounters, traps, puzzles, ect., as obstacles between PCs and treasure troves. With the understanding of why experience points were given for treasure acquired, combat was something my group at the time avoided as much as possible in our delves. It was dangerous and sapped our resources.

It always payed to pick our fights very carefully, an attitude that TRoS embraces fully. Fights that were unavoidable in our loot quest were labeled "Money Fights" and seldom did a sword leave a scabbard for any other reason.

Phil

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