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Rules for quick combat


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#1 Ralzar

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 04:11 AM

Premise

WFRP3e has a fun combat system that lets players make strategic and colorful choices during combat without going overboard with simulationist rules that bogs the game down.

However, the combat requires some preperation from the GM and while the combats are not overly long, they can easily overstay their welcome if the fight is not particularly important to the adventure or challenging. Not to mention the setup time if the GM is unprepared for what the PCs do.

 

So I decided to make some rules for quickly resolving small, unexpected or uninteresting combat situations in an expedient manner while only using the rules already in WFRP.

 

 

Combat Tracker

1 Decide how many turns combat should last. 

2 Take the number of turns and multiply it by the number of player characters. 

3 Make a tracker with that many spaces and place a marker at the start of it.

 

Combat Check Difficulty

1 Take as many Difficulty Dice as the enemies Threat Rating. (The Index in "The Creature Guide" has a very nice listing of Threat Ratings)

2 Do the Enemies outnumber the PCs? Add as many Misfortune Dice as they outnumber them by.

3: Do the PCs outnumber the Enemies? Add as many Fortune Dice as they outnumber them by.

4: Add extra Misfortune and Difficutly dice for any other factors that will affect the combat. (p60 of the Rulebook has some good examples)

 

(5: If you start running out of Fortune or Misfortune Dice, just convert three Fortune/Misfortune dice into adding/removing a Difficulty Dice.)

 

 

 

Ok, now that you have a tracker and a handful of dice that represents the difficulty of the combat. You do not need to make an initiative roll if you do not want to. Just go around the table clockwise. Each player must make a Skill Check using a skill he and the GM deems appropriate. And consult this table:

 

1 Comet: Remove one Misfortune Dice, or add 1 Fortune Dice to the pool for the rest of the combat.

3 Successes: Move the marker forward two spaces along the tracker.

1 Success: Move the marker forward one space along the tracker.

1 Failure: Take Normal Damage from the enemy.

2 Failures: Take Normal Damage +2 from the enemy.

3 Boons: Move the marker forward one space along the tracker.

3 Banes: Take Normal Damage from the enemy.

Chaos Star: Take Critical damage.

 

 

Once the marker reaches the end of the tracker, the combat ends. Usually by all the enemies being dead or that they flee or surrender.

 

 

 

 

Variations

There are ways to tweak this to fit your needs, here are a few:

 

Single roll: For a very fast resolution; do not set up a tracker, just have each character roll once to see how he made out in the combat. Then the GM can just interpret these rolls and describe what happens next.

 

Group representative: Instead of each player rolling, select one PC as the combat leader. He does all the rolls while the others assist him with 1 or 2 Fortune Dice each. If he should take damage, select a random PC to be hit.

 

Individual Combat: Make one short tracker for each PC. This represents them fighting by themselves in a bigger combat. Once one of the PCs finishes his own track, he can move over to another PCs track and help him out with that one.

 

 

 

Any suggestions are welcome :)


Edited by Ralzar, 27 October 2013 - 04:53 AM.

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#2 Ralzar

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 04:43 AM

Here is an example of how to set this up:

 

The Waywatcher and the Trollslayer are traveling down the road to their next destination.

The GM decides that the adventure is moving forward a bit too fast and that there has been a bit too much talking and not enough fighting recently. He throws in a beastman attack on the road both as a way to spice up the story and to foreshadow the impending chaos threat his campaign is about.

He has not really prepared for this though, and he does not want a random encounter on the road to eat up the rest of the sessions play time, so he uses the quick combat rules.

 

The beastmen are not expecting resistance so will flee pretty fast if given enough resistance. So the GM decides the combat will last about 2 turns. He makes a tracker with 4 spaces (2 turns X 2 players = 4 spaces) and places a marker in front.

 

Beastmen are a threat rating of 2, so that is 2 Difficulty Dice.

There are 5 beastmen, so they are 3 more than the players and so adds 3 Misfortune Dice.

The beastmen have raided travelers for quite a bit of quality equipment, so their weapons and armour is slightly better than usual. Add 1 Misfortune Dice.

 

So, that leaves us with a 4 space tracker and a dice pool consisting of:

2 Challenge Dice and 4 Misfortune Dice.

 

The Waywatcher decides to use his Ballistic Skill, while the Trollslayer uses Weapon Skill.

 

The Waywatcher has an Agility of 4 and Ballistic Skill trained, so adds 4 Attribute Dice and 1 Expertice Dice to the pool.

The area is pretty open, so the Waywatcher will have a good line of sight. Add 1 Fortune Dice.

He rolls 2 Failures. He is hit by a Beastman javelin and takes Normal damage +2, deducting Soak and Toughness as usual.

 

The Trollslayer has Strength of 5 and Weapon Skill trained, so adds 5 Attribute Dice and 1 Expertice Dice. He is also one step into Recless Stance, so exchanges one Attribute Dice for a Reckless Dice.

He rolls 3 Successes, 3 Banes and a Chaos Star. So, the Trollslayer laid into the enemies with his axe, but also got hit himself. The marker is moved forward on the tracker 2 steps and the Trollslayer recieves Normal Damage and a Critical.

 

Now it is the Waywatchers turn again.

 

 

And so on. There is no need to roll for the Beastmen, as their attacks are already represented by the Difficulty Dice and Misfortune Dice. Once the tracker reaches its end, the GM will describe how the beastmens morale breaks and the surviving beastmen flee back into the forest.


Edited by Ralzar, 27 October 2013 - 07:55 AM.


#3 Emirikol

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

I think this would work well for resolving how things go for henchmen (both for the PCs' side and for the enemy side).

 

A scenario such as Terror of the Lichemaster would work well with this.

 

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#4 Ralzar

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 03:37 PM

Yeah, that's true. You could use them to run a henchman fight in the background. I hate the henchman rules though, when they are mixed with the regular combat rules. They just feel wrong to me. Since they are basically making enemies much less dangerous. I realize my rules do that as well, but I prefer my method of scaling it down as it is obviously not trying to be a simulation of the combat but just a story tool to sum up what happened in the combat and move on.

I actually made a set of rules for playing larger strategic battles last year. Where each unit on the battlefield was a group of henchmen. That worked out pretty well:

 

http://community.fan...age-2?hl=ralzar

 

However, those rules are for basically putting aside an evening to run one large battle instead of doing a normal RP session. I used them for one of the highlights of my campaign and might pull them out again in the future for some big fight where the player characters take the roles of commanders on the battlefield.


Edited by Ralzar, 27 October 2013 - 03:38 PM.


#5 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:09 AM

I made an even simpler mechanism for quick combat - perhaps it is too simple - but I think it can come to its right when the PCs and/or GM can't be bothered to run a fight when the outcome is given to be a victory for the players.

 

It only requires that a single dice pool is rolled, which will be assembled by the following two principles:

1) Add a number of purple dice to roughly correspond to the difficulty the PCs on average will have with defeating the enemies on average.

2) Add black or white dice to represent a difference in the number of combatants. 

 

Then roll.

 

- For each challenge symbol in the results pool, each party member suffers 1 wound.

- For each bane, they suffer 1 stress or fatigue. If the number is odd, they take more of one or the other depending on whether they use more physical or mental skills in combat.

- For each Chaos star, one party member suffers a critical wound. Distribute these according to how prone each PC is to be wounded in combat.

 

The big problem here lies in determining the general difficulty of the fight. For example, I would reckon that a single Cult Member, Goblin, Skeleton or Clanrat would constitute a simple 1d check for the average member of my rank 1 party, since it's rather combat oriented. Should a Marauder or Ungor then be a 2d challenge? Should an Orc or Gor be 2d or 3d? A Troll might be 4-5, a Giant 5-6, but how would I determine that? And how should I adjust this to character rank?

 

All I can say is that such a task would be a lot easier if the Threat Level system was a bit more accurate and universaly applicable.


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#6 Emirikol

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:55 PM

Hero's call has some info on this probably good for comparison.

 

jh



#7 Ralzar

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:40 AM

Hm, that is somewhat like a combination of my two variants, "Single Roll" and "Group Representative". I like it. Allthough I can't see if you listed any rules for adding the characters attributes to the roll. Is it just a bunch of negative dice, and they are assumed to have won the fight unless everyone gets killed by the roll?



#8 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:16 AM

Hm, that is somewhat like a combination of my two variants, "Single Roll" and "Group Representative". I like it. Allthough I can't see if you listed any rules for adding the characters attributes to the roll. Is it just a bunch of negative dice, and they are assumed to have won the fight unless everyone gets killed by the roll?

 

That is indeed the case. You might of course include additional dice if characters have certain attributes that are extremely influential in each particular case, but if you were to add dice for each factor involved - as you normally would - you'd end up with a ridiculously large dice pool. The pool you assemble will only be a very rough estimate of their chances, and thus this mechanic is both quite inaccurate and depandant on GM discretion, which is why I am somewhat reluctant to use it.


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#9 Ralzar

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:37 AM

Hm, that does not sit quite right with me. The way WFRP works is that challenges have a set difficulty.

 

For example, jumping a chasm is decided to be a Hard Difficulty (3 purple dice). All characters will pit their attributes against those three purple dice when making the jump. When an athletic character attempts to jump, it isn't suddenly reduced to 2 purple dice or increased to 4 when a clumsy character attempts it.

 

I prefer to work as much within the framework of the established rules as possible, so I would prefer a version where the amount of purple dice are decided without taking the characters into account. This is why I in my original proposal based it on the threat rating of the monsters.


Edited by Ralzar, 30 December 2013 - 06:38 AM.


#10 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 04:36 AM

Hm, that does not sit quite right with me. The way WFRP works is that challenges have a set difficulty.

 

For example, jumping a chasm is decided to be a Hard Difficulty (3 purple dice). All characters will pit their attributes against those three purple dice when making the jump. When an athletic character attempts to jump, it isn't suddenly reduced to 2 purple dice or increased to 4 when a clumsy character attempts it.

 

I prefer to work as much within the framework of the established rules as possible, so I would prefer a version where the amount of purple dice are decided without taking the characters into account. This is why I in my original proposal based it on the threat rating of the monsters.

 

That problem just goes back to what I said about threat levels. They might indeed be used, but the problem is that the threat level of a creature isn't an absolute or accurate value showing its combat prowess in realtion to npcs and monsters in general, but rather in relation to other creatures of its type. A Goblin and a Marauder both have a threat level of 2, but the latter is obviously more dangerous than the former to face on the field of battle.

 

Of course, the same process could be used once for each PC, and have them make a single skill check based on the skill these rely on the most in combat, and then add fortune dice for other relevant skills - but again, that would need a whole lot of dice.


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#11 Ralzar

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:12 AM

Yeah, the threat ratings are a bit iffy, but it is the only decent measurement the game gives for how dangerous a fight is. The only other way to do it is to just decide arbitrarily how difficult the combat is. Which is obviously also okay, but it felt a bit vague for writing a concise set of rules. And the threat ratings might not be accurate, but they are rough ball-park figures of how dangerous an enemy is. With only five threat levels, there is not a lot of room for nuance.


Edited by Ralzar, 31 December 2013 - 07:14 AM.


#12 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 08:10 AM

Another thing that's problematic is managing encounters with several different enemy types.

 

Let's say a group of three are facing five goblins. That would be simple enough: if we are using the threat levels, it would be a pool of two purple and two black dice to roll.

But let's say there's an orc (threat level 3) with them. How should he be integrated?

a) add the orc's threat level to that of the goblins, creating a threat level of 5

b) use the threat level of the orc, and just let the gobbos count towards outnumbering

c) do a seperate roll for the orc, which would use 3 purple and 2 white, since the PCs outnumber him by 2.

 

The first one appears to be very OP, since the addition of a single Orc would make the group even more dangerous than a minotaur or troll, which is just unrealistic. The second also seems unsatisfactory, as it wouldn't differentiate between different kinds of enemies outnumbering the PCs - snotlings and black orcs would count as the same, so long as there's a more powerfull enemy present.

The last one then seems to be the best option, as far as I can tell.

 

Any objections?


Edited by Ambivalent Badger, 31 December 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#13 Ralzar

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 08:31 AM

Hm, yeah. Different threat levels are a problem. A slightly more "math-y" solution would be this:

 

Add the threat level of all enemies together and divide it by number of enemies.

 

Not sure how to round it up or down though. But then, this system is not originally meant for complex encounters.



#14 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 04:29 PM

If you add a number of pruple dice equal to an enemy's threat level, then you might use misfortune dice to represent fractions if calculating an average. That, or it may allow you to re-roll blank negative dice.

The former begs the questions of just how much a misfortune die decrease your chances of success compared to a challenge die. I had to find out.

 

Using this dice roller, I assembled various dice pools, and rolled each 1000 times. These are the results I got:

  • Just the 4 blue: 94% passed, 0% banes
  • 4 blue, 1 black: 87,4%, passed, whereof 5,2% were with banes
  • 4 blue, 2 black: 73, 45% passed, 10,1% banes
  • 4 blue, 3 black: 67,1% passed, 15,1% banes
  • 4 blue, 1 purple: 72,3% passed, 10,2 % banes

It seems, then, that two black dice are pretty close to one purple in this respect, even though the purple is potentially more dangerous with chaos stars and multiple challenge and bane symbols. I think we are left with two usable options here:

  1. Consider a black die equivalent to 0,5 purple, and round up or down to the nearest half.
  2. Consider it as closer to a third of a purple, with two black counting as 2/3, and round up to the closest third.

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#15 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:53 PM

 

It seems, then, that two black dice are pretty close to one purple in this respect, even though the purple is potentially more dangerous with chaos stars and multiple challenge and bane symbols.

 

 

I ran the numbers on this a while back and also came to the conclusion that 1 Purple = 2 Black, not 3. I compiled some charts and graphs while doing the analysis. You may find them interesting:

 

http://transitivegam...-new-black.html


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#16 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:05 AM


I ran the numbers on this a while back and also came to the conclusion that 1 Purple = 2 Black, not 3. I compiled some charts and graphs while doing the analysis. You may find them interesting:

 

http://transitivegam...-new-black.html

 

 

Interesting indeed, and it seems to agree with my findings. I have bookmarked it, as I suspect it will come in useful at some point. I will take that as an argument for counting a black die as 0,5 purple.

But allow me to retort, if only for the sake of argument. With this particular quick combat system, where the Chaos Star has a universal and quite dire effect, the prospect of such an outcom should weigh heavy, yes? Or would you say that a single party member taking a critical wound isn't that much more serious than all party members taking a normal one?

 

Another suggestion I have is that one might, in order to keep the dice pools from becoming too big, remove a certain number of dice and instead automatically add a symbol to the results pool. I dunno.

 

We still need more people to weigh in on the issue of fractions and how many black dice we should count on a purple. Once that is settled, I think it will be possible to create a revised version of my original and very simple system.


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#17 Ralzar

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:42 AM

IN rules like these I make, if there is a chance of an overabundance of fortune/misfortune dice I include a not about converting three (mis)fortune dice into adding/removing a challenge dice. While 2 fortune/misfortune is closer to the same "value" as a challenge dice, the chance of chaos stars makes challenge dice a bigger risk.



#18 Ambivalent Badger

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:48 PM

I more os less think that too, but since there are reasonable grounds for disagreement, we might just leave it up to each GM to do as he thinks best.

 

But another thing: maybe there should be ruled that each party member must suffer at least 1 wound, regardless of the roll? Then where is a slight disadvantege to doing it, because it could be possible to avoid taking any damage at all if the PCs play tactically.

 

Also, I don't think there should be a rally step or any immediate chance to heal or recover after a quick combat. We may rather count it as included among the quickened encounter, thus explaining why such a small amount of damage as we can expect would be taken. Does that make sense?


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#19 archon007

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:24 PM

I more os less think that too, but since there are reasonable grounds for disagreement, we might just leave it up to each GM to do as he thinks best.
 
But another thing: maybe there should be ruled that each party member must suffer at least 1 wound, regardless of the roll? Then where is a slight disadvantege to doing it, because it could be possible to avoid taking any damage at all if the PCs play tactically.
 
Also, I don't think there should be a rally step or any immediate chance to heal or recover after a quick combat. We may rather count it as included among the quickened encounter, thus explaining why such a small amount of damage as we can expect would be taken. Does that make sense?

Like what you originally wrote.
I would do 1 boon = 1 damage, 2 boons = 2 damage, 3 boons = normal damage, additional boons above 3 add +1 damage to normal damage.




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