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Combat Training 101 >> Initiative, Rounds, and Player Turns in WFRP


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#1 ynnen

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:04 AM

The Old World is a dangerous place. Sometimes, despite the characters’ best efforts to avoid conflict, they find themselves fighting for their lives. Other times, the characters provoke someone to the point where they retaliate. With threats lurking in every darkened corner and deepening shadow, the adventurers need to rely on their wits and skill at arms to see them through combat encounters – else they end up face down, bleeding to death in the gutter like so many nameless people who have gone before them.

This is the first in a series of designer diaries that will provide an in-depth look at how combat is resolved in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. This installment takes a closer look at managing Initiative, and the round and turn structure used to help organise the action that takes place during combat.

http://www.fantasyfl...ws.asp?eidn=841



#2 Farin

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 11:56 AM

this is an awesome system!!! much better in my opinion then the role a d20 and add bla bla bla, thsi way if 2 players get the same number they get to kinda haggle over it....very cool!! cant wait to see more!!



#3 Redcrow

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 01:58 PM

I'm not very fond of the idea that one character generating a lot of successes can somehow make another character who generated fewer successes faster when Agility is the underlying attribute for determining initiative in combat.  This is something I will definitely ignore and/or house-rule out in my own games.

So far there have been rules I have liked, some I haven't, and some that I'm waiting to see how they function during actual play.  This is the first rule that strikes me as truly bizarre and arbitrary, though.

 



#4 Farin

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:00 PM

Redcrow said:

I'm not very fond of the idea that one character generating a lot of successes can somehow make another character who generated fewer successes faster when Agility is the underlying attribute for determining initiative in combat.  This is something I will definitely ignore and/or house-rule out in my own games.

So far there have been rules I have liked, some I haven't, and some that I'm waiting to see how they function during actual play.  This is the first rule that strikes me as truly bizarre and arbitrary, though.

 

thats a good point.....i might implement that too....like have them role the blue dice on the agility.......thats a really good idea



#5 Bertolac

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 06:39 PM

Redcrow said:

I'm not very fond of the idea that one character generating a lot of successes can somehow make another character who generated fewer successes faster when Agility is the underlying attribute for determining initiative in combat.  This is something I will definitely ignore and/or house-rule out in my own games.

So far there have been rules I have liked, some I haven't, and some that I'm waiting to see how they function during actual play.  This is the first rule that strikes me as truly bizarre and arbitrary, though.

 

Curiously, that's the bit I liked Redcrow.  For me having a system where every Dwarf is slower than every Elf in every situation has always jarred.  Throw in the fact that the players need to decide their order under time pressure and you've got a system that actively encourages cooperative gaming (I've one player who actively tunes out until it's his turn but also want to be flamboyant in combat - this should help keep him on his toes).

However, each to their own.  I think it's becoming apparent that there are a lot of new mechanics and tools in this game but very few of them are mandatory - you can drop the initiative, someone else might drop stance meters, etc. It seems to be a very open game in terms of how you play it and for new players unused to roleplaying I think it's excellent.

In all I'm liking most of what I see, but as I've said before the only put-off is the sheer volume of bits I'll have to find room for (we don't usually play at a table).



#6 Sunatet

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:30 PM

Bertolac said:

I think it's becoming apparent that there are a lot of new mechanics and tools in this game but very few of them are mandatory - you can drop the initiative, someone else might drop stance meters, etc. It seems to be a very open game in terms of how you play it and for new players unused to roleplaying I think it's excellent.

Good point here.

And I like the new initiative system.
Looks more flexible, keeps all players focused on what is going on, and adds to the teamplay bit.
Fights become more unique, since you never know, who will act next.

Keep it coming Jay!

PS: and that video, You know



#7 42!

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:48 PM

I like this approach as it allows players to come up with strategies that aren't dependent on "Player A" going first but rather just on having a good idea. Ofcourse it'll result in arguments when the players aren't in agreement over which action to make - but that would probably have come anyway! ;-)

42!



#8 Farin

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:49 PM

yeah i read threw it again...well twice lol and i retract my statement.....ide like to see the players fight over who does next......might get a bit heated....lol



#9 Poe

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:49 PM

Curiously, that's the bit I liked Redcrow.  For me having a system where every Dwarf is slower than every Elf in every situation has always jarred.  Throw in the fact that the players need to decide their order under time pressure and you've got a system that actively encourages cooperative gaming (I've one player who actively tunes out until it's his turn but also want to be flamboyant in combat - this should help keep him on his toes).

I feel exactly the same way and I think this seems excellent! And if you want an in-game explanation for it you could say that the elf shouts a warning to the dwarf pressing him to take action or something similar. I like how more emphasis has been put on the party and cooperation in this edition.

 



#10 cogollo

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 10:45 PM

Poe said:

Curiously, that's the bit I liked Redcrow.  For me having a system where every Dwarf is slower than every Elf in every situation has always jarred.  Throw in the fact that the players need to decide their order under time pressure and you've got a system that actively encourages cooperative gaming (I've one player who actively tunes out until it's his turn but also want to be flamboyant in combat - this should help keep him on his toes).

I feel exactly the same way and I think this seems excellent! And if you want an in-game explanation for it you could say that the elf shouts a warning to the dwarf pressing him to take action or something similar. I like how more emphasis has been put on the party and cooperation in this edition.

I also like a lot the new ideas for Initiative. I think they'll make combats more dynamic and immersive as all the group will be taking decisions all the time. There are also lots of in-game explanations for it, as the above comment proves.

With a fixed initiative, some players feel that they can disconnect from the game between their turns (happens to me all the time while playing D&D3 or D&D4) as sometimes you really don't have much to add while others are playing their turns.

The only thing I see could be abused is acting twice in a row with the same character, although I am sure that FFG has already taken that into account; otherwise it is so simple as houseruling that no creature can act twice in a row before anybody else acting before.

The game is looking better with every new preview... I can't wait to get my hands on it!


Hur-Nir ran to the aid of the beaten man, recovering in the process a handful of pennies the thugs had let fall in the man's boots during their hasty retreat. - from Nulner Blues campaign

 


#11 macd21

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 10:49 PM

cogollo said:

The only thing I see could be abused is acting twice in a row with the same character, although I am sure that FFG has already taken that into account; otherwise it is so simple as houseruling that no creature can act twice in a row before anybody else acting before.

 

I believe it has been mentioned that you can take more than one action in a round, but every additional action will cost you a point of fatigue. I like it - gives the players more options, forces them to consider the cost:benefit involved.



#12 cogollo

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 01:33 AM

macd21 said:

cogollo said:

 

The only thing I see could be abused is acting twice in a row with the same character, although I am sure that FFG has already taken that into account; otherwise it is so simple as houseruling that no creature can act twice in a row before anybody else acting before.

 

I believe it has been mentioned that you can take more than one action in a round, but every additional action will cost you a point of fatigue. I like it - gives the players more options, forces them to consider the cost:benefit involved.

You are right and I also like the rule about 1 free action and extra action spending fatigue, but I was referring to something else...

It could happen, as in the example given, that one of the players (i won't call them Heroes as in WFRP campaign that's not usual) has to act first and another last. What could happen is that the group decides for one player to act last in a round and first in the next round, getting two free actions in a row... probably not a big deal but could be abused.


Hur-Nir ran to the aid of the beaten man, recovering in the process a handful of pennies the thugs had let fall in the man's boots during their hasty retreat. - from Nulner Blues campaign

 


#13 Redcrow

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 03:10 AM

In most games if the fast elf wants to let the slow dwarf go first in order to set up some type of cooperative battle plan or combo attack, the fast elf would simply hold their action until after the slow dwarfs turn.  Unfortunately the slow dwarf may not have been fast enough to go before the bad guys in which case the fast elf would also have to wait until after the bad guys have gone. 

Apparently in 3e, the fast elf can magically make the slow dwarf act faster (possibly even before the bad guys now) just by virtue of yelling "Go Go Go!" or some such nonsense. 

For those of you who like this idea, I would suggest a simplification by just having the person with the highest Agility on each side roll initiative for the group because all that really matters is whether the good guys go first or the bad guys do.  If the fast elf can make one member of their party faster by whatever (nonsensical) means, why not the entire party.  And if the good guys can do it, why not the bad guys too.  So you really will only need to determine which side goes first rather than each individual participant.

 

 

 



#14 macd21

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 03:46 AM

Redcrow said:

For those of you who like this idea, I would suggest a simplification by just having the person with the highest Agility on each side roll initiative for the group because all that really matters is whether the good guys go first or the bad guys do.  If the fast elf can make one member of their party faster by whatever (nonsensical) means, why not the entire party.  And if the good guys can do it, why not the bad guys too.  So you really will only need to determine which side goes first rather than each individual participant.

Because having the players think about who will act when adds to the tension, forces them to think carefully about what they are going to do and is all-round more fun.



#15 mac40k

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:04 AM

I think this is an interesting twist on Initiative. In games like Savage Worlds, Initiative is random card draws. It adds an element of excitement to the game that static initiative order doesn't. Players always communicate with each other during combat, whether it's providing suggestions for actions or recommending someone hold their action until after another player has acted. This can easily be visualized in character. The party is a team, so whether it is shouted words, hand signals, or just familiarity with each others abilities and tactics that allows them to react as a team in combat rather than a group of individuals, I'm all for it. When the team's communication breaks down, that's reflected by the stress meter. I like it.

The action counter that has to be flipped over twice per turn I'm a little less enthusiastic about. I realize that with the ability to change the order of action every round, you need a way to keep track of who has acted this round and who hasn't, but the GM could just as easily write everyone's name on scrap paper and place a tick mark next to it after they've acted. Now he has to watch to make sure the player remembers to flip his action token over. I'm not saying some players would cheat and not turn it over or worse, turn it back over when the GM isn't looking, but someone might forget to turn it over. The player already has to track position on their stance meter, recharge tokens on abilities, counters on effects, etc. All of these things, while useful, may take the player out of character by emphasizing game mode. Hopefully, in time the manipulating the bits becomes second nature and doesn't break the emersion, but initially, it looks like there's going to be a lot of emphasis on bit fiddling going on.



#16 cogollo

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:32 AM

macd21 said:

Redcrow said:

 

For those of you who like this idea, I would suggest a simplification by just having the person with the highest Agility on each side roll initiative for the group because all that really matters is whether the good guys go first or the bad guys do.  If the fast elf can make one member of their party faster by whatever (nonsensical) means, why not the entire party.  And if the good guys can do it, why not the bad guys too.  So you really will only need to determine which side goes first rather than each individual participant.

 

 

Because having the players think about who will act when adds to the tension, forces them to think carefully about what they are going to do and is all-round more fun.

+1

spot on reply... I could not have said it better...


Hur-Nir ran to the aid of the beaten man, recovering in the process a handful of pennies the thugs had let fall in the man's boots during their hasty retreat. - from Nulner Blues campaign

 


#17 shoude

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:34 AM

Long time reader, first time poster but I had a couple of thoughts I wanted to share.

This approach to initiative seems like it might lead to a lot of dice rolling, passing and sharing while everyone rolls initiative.  Of course you could always say that Agility -2 is your initiative.  Quick and no rolling.

Regarding the "sharing" of initiative spots.  As the GM you could always say that only party members in close range (or in contact range) could swap their turns.  In this instance the Wood Elf Hunter who is hanging back and firing into the enemies couldn't allow the dwarf to go at 4 instead of 2, but if the Hunter was standing right behind the dwarf he could.

I personally like the idea of players being able to talk and switch, seems like it would encourage playing as a party.  Of course I can do the same with the NPC's/monsters as well.  Smart NPC's can react to what the PC's are doing, and the fast reacting leader can direct his slow Trolls to go first also.

And off topic but while I am talking:  I've been enjoying RPG's since Basic D&D in the boxed set first came out.  Although I have never played Warhammer Fantasy I am very interested in the way FFG is developing this product.  It seems like a fresh take on things to me and I most certainly will be buying it and trying it out with my gaming group (mix of old and new).  I'm sorry Jay and his crew seem to be taking a beating on something that I think they have spent a lot of time and thought on.  Just though they might want to hear some encouraging words.  Back to lurking and waiting for 3rd edition to be available.



#18 cogollo

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:35 AM

mac40k said:

The action counter that has to be flipped over twice per turn I'm a little less enthusiastic about. I realize that with the ability to change the order of action every round, you need a way to keep track of who has acted this round and who hasn't, but the GM could just as easily write everyone's name on scrap paper and place a tick mark next to it after they've acted. Now he has to watch to make sure the player remembers to flip his action token over. I'm not saying some players would cheat and not turn it over or worse, turn it back over when the GM isn't looking, but someone might forget to turn it over. The player already has to track position on their stance meter, recharge tokens on abilities, counters on effects, etc. All of these things, while useful, may take the player out of character by emphasizing game mode. Hopefully, in time the manipulating the bits becomes second nature and doesn't break the emersion, but initially, it looks like there's going to be a lot of emphasis on bit fiddling going on.

Descent comes with the same kind of action counter and I must say my group does not use them much, even playing with 4 Heroes (in Descent they are called heroes, not in WFRP) and 8-10 monsters, because it's very easy to remember who acted already... Still it is good to have the tokens, or any of the ideas you indicate, if people find they tend to forget who acted already.


Hur-Nir ran to the aid of the beaten man, recovering in the process a handful of pennies the thugs had let fall in the man's boots during their hasty retreat. - from Nulner Blues campaign

 


#19 Farin

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:53 AM

i think you guys are missing something, players only haggle about when to go if they have THE SAME INITIATIVE, so at best you will have 2 players haglling not the whole bunch



#20 dvang

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 05:10 AM

I have to admit I'm not thrilled or excited about the change to initiative. I am on the fence on whether it is a good change, or not, and I think only playing it will really tell how well it works.
A few thoughts to help consolidate my thoughts about it --

Pro:
- Progress tracker. A bonus. Most GMs already had a means of keeping track of the initiative order, whether it was writing it down on a piece of paper or using a stack of index cards with names on them. The progress tracker is a nice, easy, visual representation of this.
- "For combat encounters, Agility is used for initiative checks. For social encounters, Fellowship is used for initiative checks." Social Encounters? I like the idea of this, but cannot think of what a Social Encounter could possibly consist of.
- It encourages group tactics and working together. The group has to decide as a whole who goes in which slot.
- It is dynamic. Characters don't go in the same order every turn, so each turn can be 'new and fresh' for different players.
- Alleviates situations where conditions force an order to actions. For example, a narrow corridor or tunnel where the dwarf (being the most armored) goes first. Others cant move past the dwarf, so they have to wait for him to move before they can act.

Con:
- Possible loss of group focus. Players *might* get tired of deciding every turn who goes when. Also, despite the tension meter, it is possible for group arguments to erupt over the order, and causing friction in the group.
- Slower and more complicated. For all the other aspects of the game seeming to try to speed the game up, this will slow combat down as every turn the players (and the GM) will need to decide the order they are acting in.
- A mentioned by others, it doesn't make sense roleplaying wise. It's one thing to say the fast elf shouts a warning to the slow dwarf ... it's another thing to let the dwarf that rolled a 0 for init to go before everyone else, perhaps every turn.

First, I'd like to know what consists of Social Encounters? Jay, can you provide an example without spoiling anything? (PLEASE!) I think this would be a great selling point if it is true and is something that is likely to occur.

I don't see how some people still think this in any way relates to a boardgame more than any other RPG. So you get tokens to visually show how many rounds your Bless spell lasts, or tokens for how many rounds you are blinded, etc. Lots of GMs already use something similar (poker chips, small gem-rocks, etc) to record/keep track of various things. FFG just gives the GMs (and players) nice, solid quality tokens to use instead of home-made stuff.

Overall, I think I'll have to play a few combats to see if I (and my group) like this new method or not.






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