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 Post subject: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:30 am 
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This is completely hypothetical...

TRoS combat punishes the player that doesn't understand how combat works, particularly as the spread of manoeuvres opens up (Proficiency 10+ say). Having a CP advantage is helpful but doesn't guarantee a win if you don't really understand the manoeuvres and CP allocations.

And that's the way we like it. It's not all about the character sheet -- player skill is equally important.

I have toyed with the thought that this design element could be tighter. I'd like to see a system where offensive/defensive manoeuvre responses were clearer. There probably aren't enough manoeuvres in TRoS or the locations would have to be tied in to the manoeuvres to create enough unique combinations, but I digress.

In order to attack you have to open your defense in some way. You have to nominate your target location. As the attack is coming towards a specific location (ignoring feints etc for the sake of the illustration), there is a defensive response that comes most easily -- and there is also a counterattack that follows most naturally from that defensive manoeuvre and the resulting position/orientation of the opponent.

With this in mind I'm wondering whether you could get to the position where combat would flow like:

JD: Thrust to right shoulder, 4 CP.

LoC: Tentative, the typical opening gambit of a fourth son. Block open with my sword and step inside, 6 CP +1 for natural flow...

Referee: Roll 'em. LoC, your MoS is 2.

LoC: ...and I follow up with a thrust to the stomach with my off-hand dagger -- 3 CP + 2 carrying over from MoS.

JD: Parry with my sword and step out, 6 CP -2 as my weapon has been blocked out.

In a sense, a variable activation cost/bonus based on context. Certain defenses flow from certain attacks, certain counterattacks flow from certain successful defenses, the player can choose between going with the manoeuvre that gives them a bonus or not...

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:05 am 
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I can see your point.
Part of our groups problem is the meeting once a week on a week day, and getting people to switch on and into the system, remembering what they had learned the week before, its a lot easier to play savage worlds. Not that there was anything wrong with TRoS but the learning curve for the reasons mentioned above was difficult.

Allan


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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:15 am 
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Interesting idea. One slight disappointment of TROS for me was always that there were so many options to choose from (thrust to the belly, parry with the arming glove, pommel strike to the head, kick in the guts), but you could rarely take advantage of using those. I think mainly because the standard attack is one of the most formidable offenses, when targeted wisely.

I guess you could represent the "flow of maneuvers" in a large matrix, where you have the offensive maneuvers/target location on one axis and the defensive counterparts on the other. Each cell in the matrix would represent the bonus/penalty of choosing that maneuver. Each cell would actually contain two numbers, one in offensive->defensive, and the other in defensive->offensive direction.

As an example, after the aggressor chooses one maneuver/target (horizontal row), the defender may look from the row which responses give the best bonuses (from the offensive->defensive part of each cell). Selecting a defensive maneuver fixes the vertical column for the successive maneuver selection.

Once the exchange is completed, the new aggressor would then look from the defensive->offensive numbers from the same column, to see which offensive maneuvers get a nice bonus. This again fixes a horizontal row, to be used for the defender when choosing a maneuver.

If the bonuses and penalties associated to each cell are different for the offensive->defensive and defensive->offensive directions, we can prevent the scenario where it is best to defend against thrust to the head with block and then launch a thrust to the head, which is again best to block. Instead it would be possible to design these sort of natural flows, and boy would the number of different combinations be amazingly large.

I don't know how large the matrix itself would have to be. 14 zones for strikes and thrusts, then quite a few of other offensive possibilities (off-hand weapon strikes, half-swording options, etc.). For defensive maneuvers we probably have less options, but these could be appended easily because now a defensive maneuver is also associated to the successive attack as part of the matrix. For example against each attack we could have three types of parry, each of which would make follow-up attack options different. Maybe these options would actually remove some need of counters and other special defensive maneuvers?

Does this make sense or "please clarify" ?-)


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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:47 am 
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That is indeed a nice concept, and would of course give a feeling of a real "flow" of combat. :)

I recall that when I was a nerdy teenager I used to play a cool little card game that did come free with White Dwarf, I think. On every card there was a humanoid figure with sword (and shield? Not sure anymore.) and some areas where highlighted. You played one card as an attack on a highlighted area, and the opponent responded by playing a defense card where the area attacked was highlighted (if he had one). By some mechanic I don't recall the card you had played last determined which cards you could play next.

It was a neat little game of personal combat that had the natural flow of movement you are interested in. So maybe reference cards showing the character's current stance and both what areas he can attack from there and into what other stances he can shift into would be one way to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:45 pm 
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Jolly Roger games has a dandy little RPG called "Swashbucklers" that boldly replicates a cinematic three musketeers type fight.

As I recall, a fight travels down a Maneuver path, with certain Maneuvers precluding others. To leave this path and re-open all Maneuver options once again, you must interrupt the combat flow by forcing a pause and recovering.

The end result is a very colourful "Three Musketeers" style fight. I have the original edition somewhere around the house and the fights I have participated in always had a very cool fencing vibe to them.

Years ago Ron Edwards reviewed it:

"Basically, you pick a number of combat maneuvers to define your duelling style. During play, each round, maneuvers are chosen secretly, then shown simultaneously. A table of matched-maneuvers assigns a modifier to the player’s roll of d20, which is compared to the GM’s d20; higher wins, and if the winning maneuver does damage, one opponent is hit.

We discovered that the damage system is quite innovative as well, and without wasting space on details, suffice to say that one must take fighting very seriously – a character can be put down quite fast, occasionally. Although in principle I like this idea, which makes combat chancy and dramatic, the possibility, however slim, of instant total collapse may be a bit harsh for some players. In fact, at one point during play I weenied out and permitted one PC, who should have been put out of the fight at the first exchange, to continue for a round or two before decreeing that he faint.

The real treat for combat, though, is that a given maneuver only has a limited number of possible subsequent maneuvers – so real duelling becomes a matter of designing and carrying out effective combinations. It moves fast (one roll-match per pair of combatants) and each round logically sets up the next. It is way more cinematic and exciting than any of the card-based systems. My players absolutely loved the fight scenes in our game, which had a wild, free-wheeling, desperate, exciting feel; best of all, they took all of fifteen minutes of real time and in retrospect they look choreographed by experts."


http://www.jollyrogergames.com/

Regards,

Phil

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:24 pm 
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Overdrive wrote:
I guess you could represent the "flow of maneuvers" in a large matrix, where you have the offensive maneuvers/target location on one axis and the defensive counterparts on the other. Each cell in the matrix would represent the bonus/penalty of choosing that maneuver. Each cell would actually contain two numbers, one in offensive->defensive, and the other in defensive->offensive direction.


Okay, I am dumb enough to try working on this a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:52 pm 
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pbj44 wrote:
Okay, I am dumb enough to try working on this a bit.


I've ordered Swahbuckler! I want to see how Jim does it before I think more on this subject.

In TRoS, any manoeuvre can follow from any other. Certain manoeuvres though have Activation Costs. It does seem to me that the sequence of manoeuvres that result in a disarm can't be represented in TRoS because neither the attcker nor the defender is really restricted in manoeuvre choice. As a thought experiment this might be an interesting one.

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:07 am 
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This is excellent! Give it a read and let's talk further, as Jim has some pretty good ideas going on with this system. I can certainly attest that it plays fast and has a furious swordfighting feel to it!

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Phil

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:52 am 
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I had a look at the web page, but it does not explain what the different games do, unless I missed it somewhere.

Allan


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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Yep, the webpage is pretty vague.

Swashbucklers is Jim Dietz's pirate game. What makes this game intriguing is that he has taken 25 TroS-like maneuvers and for each one has created a tree of potential subsequent maneuvers, thus creating a combat flow.

Certain maneuvers such as an extended "Lunge" can be pretty devastating if they connect, but can also leave an attacker somewhat off-balance and with diminished options.

In addition to this there is a chart at the back of the book where both players (or player and referee) compare their declared maneuvers to see how those selected affects the attacker's roll.

Very interesting stuff! Back when I played D&D this was my goto melee modification of choice. Fast, simple, incredibly fun, and best of all -cinematic.

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:46 am 
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I tried ordering it, but hit a freight snag as I live in Australia. Trying to email the owner and see what happens.
Is it available via someother retailer?
Allan


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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:44 am 
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aprewett wrote:
I tried ordering it, but hit a freight snag as I live in Australia. Trying to email the owner and see what happens.
Is it available via someother retailer?
Allan


Hi Allan,

Please persist with Jim's store. He was in hospital on Thursday and won't be posting anything until next week anyway -- so there's time to do the email exchange. Jim gave me a very good price on the products and postage. It's a bit of a pain that the international orders aren't automatic but it is worth persevering.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:53 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
Okay, I am dumb enough to try working on this a bit.

Ha, I seem to be too. Some observations so far.

- Having 14 strike zones is probably too much, if you're going to have other maneuvers also. Since the maneuver flow already dictates what zones would be the best choices, you could as well have just a few zones and further variation with the hit location roll (net effect is quite similar to more specific zones that are dictated by the maneuver flow). How about high/mid/low zones only?

- To get more defensive options you could match the high/mid/low zone attacks with similar parries and blocks.

- You could represent different fighting styles with separate matrix sheets. So for example with Cut&Thrust it would be natural to go from main weapon parry to step-in and off-hand thrust, while Sword&Shield wouldn't give this option. Though you'd have to be careful that some styles wouldn't give only bad choices against some others.

- You can pack A LOT OF INFO into a colored sheet. Look at the board game Attack Vector: Tactical as an example (e.g. http://boardgamegeek.com/image/117360/a ... r-tactical ) - colors, icons, numbers, etc.

- One interesting aspect could be the step-in, step-out mechanism. Stepping in after blocking the opponent's sword aside do deliver a stronger thrust? Yeah but makes it difficult to step out to defend against his follow-up attack. How about the lunge? Just make sure you don't need to defend right after.

I would start from a very simple set of maneuvers and see how that looks like, but I have now the Blade playtest draft :)


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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:28 pm 
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LOL! Yep, I know! Blade has all my attention at this point, although if this works out it could end up in the next book.

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 Post subject: Re: Combat maoeuvre flow
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:14 pm 
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Been away from the forums for some time. I have been thinking of using the Swashbuckler concept as a basis. Any news on your progress?

Someone had done some work on modifying the SB basics for a wider range of Medieval and earlier type weapons to make it less 17th/18th Century centred.
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