Friday, November 12, 2010

CyberGeneration - Combat Speed

There are a couple places that most RPGs tend to bog down and the speed goes from entertaining to boring for quite a lot of people. One of those places is combat. Combat, for all the fact that it happens quickly in real life becomes hours of agony as everyone plays everything so cautiously that they painstakingly map out every possible scenario before they commit to any action. It's one of the reasons why 30 seconds of game play can take 2-3 hours.

Saturday Night Skuffl (SNS) has this problem too but on through different means. There aren't a million special rules that you need to be aware of. There aren't all these Feats or Skills or Traits or Abilities that you have to consider when you're going to use. Instead what SNS has is a throw back from Friday Night Firefight (FNFF), a defense roll. When dealing with melee combat what slows down the game is the fact that the game has a defensive roll. It is a roll that does absolutely nothing other than to negate someone's attack roll.

This can make a battle go on forever, especially if two characters of equal skill are involved in the fight and they keep rolling high on their opponent's turn.


Time to follow one of the design philosophies and speed things up. We're going to change combat so that whenever you attack or defend against a roll, the winner will do damage in combat. That way combat will go twice as fast because now there is guaranteed damage to happen on every single roll. Well, not including armor, but at least it will be faster than it was before.

This isn't a unique concept, many other games have implemented this kind of combat style, I just think it's particularly fitting to CyberGen.


ron said...

*raucous applause and cheering* Yeah alright!

I always find myself "house-ruling' games to make combat move faster. This is one of them in the "gritty" category.

Players in my previous campaign hated it, but when I went back to Rules As Written, they finally realized how much slower combats were taking and we went back to the house rule.

Another selling point to make me buy Cybergen 3.0 tallied.

Are you testing the tweak this weekend? Can't make it out, but it would've been cool.


Dave Herber said...

It's the way 'combat' is enacted that is inherently wrong. It's always been 'I attack, you defend, you attack I defend'. When was the last time you actually saw a fight like that?

Fights usually start with one person doing all the attacking and the other all the defending. Both get hurt. This happens until the defender gets a break and can attack.

We have to get out of this scenario:

I throw a punch, you block it. You throw a punch I block it and we do this for ten minutes. Fighting is not a linear action.

Jonathan said...

@ron - Yup, though we may not have enough people to plaly.

@Dave - Totally, but the problem exists in such a way that how to you give a rule for that.

I feel this does a great job of doing that. If you get beaten badly you can narrate that you were on the defensive and got the crap kicked out of you. I mean we can help define the narrative by putting it in the book.

Dave Herber said...

You can build 'rules' around most ideas. In any fight, one person gains initiative and attacks first, the other person defends. If I attack and succeed then I should be able to attack again. this continues until the defender rolls a critical success or the attacker a critical failure or the attack is successfully defended.

This will in many cases provide a scenario where the defender is getting such a beating they elect to run.

Jonathan said...

True, but which one is faster? That's really the key thing there. If we were redoing say Cyberpunk I'd be more down for this because it's further along the lines of a "realistic" setting, where the combat should be gritty and that would be awesome. Because part of the goal is to get out of combat as fast as possible, the key goal should be what ends up being faster.

Hell, that's playtest material, right? Let's get people trying it out and see which one works better.

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