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Battle mat and other new house rules


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#1 Gallows

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 12:25 AM

 

After a session of D&D 4th (as a player... first time in at least 15 years), I decided that since the abstract movement don't really speed up combat I want to go for something giving players and GM more options for tactical and fun combat. Here's my initial rules for covering stuff I liked about D&D 4th ed. (my first time playing it).

 

Healing surges
Instead of the normal rules for healing limits a player gets 5 healing surges each day. A short rest may return one, full rest returns 5, poor conditions return fewer. This means he can get magically healed this many times a day. Easy way to handle healing in a balanced fashion as I find the current rules horrible and annoying.

 

Battle mat rules
• One maneuver equals 4 squares of movement. Disengaging costs one maneuver and moves you one square. Players have one maneuver each round for movement (plus any they get from cards).
• Range increments (squares):
o Engaged = touching bases (1)
o Short = 2-5
o Medium = 6-9
o Long = 11-17
o Extreme = 18-29
o Out of range = 30+
• Combat conditions and pushing/sliding enemies
o Staggered = push 2 squares away
o Exposed  = Push 1 squares away
o Rattled = Slide 2 squares
o Sluggish = Push 2 squares away
o Any other = Ask GM
• Opportunity attacks: When you move from a square adjacent to an enemy he gets an attack of opportunity on you, unless you use one maneuver to disengage (move one square). An enemy can only get one attack on you this way in your turn, but several enemies may all get attacks. Pushing and sliding does not provoke opportunity attacks.
• The standard size of an engagement is 4 times 4 squares, in relation to effects that targets engagements.

 

Simplistic, but hopefully functional and adding more depth to combat.

Suggestions and ideas very welcome!

 



#2 bigity

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:27 AM

Well, not going to comment on the special battlemat actions, I still play that like AD&D, with the exception of disengaging/withdrawing to avoid a free swing from folks are you engaged with.  I personally don't care for all the AoO stuff and the 'tactical' options revolving around that.  But I'm sure adding house rules for that is easily workable.

 

The healing, I don't like that at all, again, personally.  Part of WFRP being 'grim and perilous' is that it takes time (and often alot of it) to recover from wounds.  This is a big part of what makes WFRP combat exceptionally harrowing.

 

In my experiences with 2nd edition games, characters who are the groups fighting types spend the vast majority of the campaign/sessions with wounds.



#3 Gallows

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:32 AM

bigity said:

 

Well, not going to comment on the special battlemat actions, I still play that like AD&D, with the exception of disengaging/withdrawing to avoid a free swing from folks are you engaged with.  I personally don't care for all the AoO stuff and the 'tactical' options revolving around that.  But I'm sure adding house rules for that is easily workable.

 

The healing, I don't like that at all, again, personally.  Part of WFRP being 'grim and perilous' is that it takes time (and often alot of it) to recover from wounds.  This is a big part of what makes WFRP combat exceptionally harrowing.

 

In my experiences with 2nd edition games, characters who are the groups fighting types spend the vast majority of the campaign/sessions with wounds.

 

 

 

5 healing surges is just another way of doing what the rules already state. According to the rules you can get healed by 6 different spells (or more as long as each source is unique), first aid and a healing potion - all in one day.

 

I just want to standardize it a bit more so we don't have to track specifics (whom have been healed by what). Perhaps 4 or 3 surges is more balanced, but we'll take that balancing at a later date.

 

I don't exactly know what you mean with AoO stuff.



#4 Romus

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:23 AM

 I find the range increments get wonky once it costs more fatigue, one thing i thinking about was breaking up the ranges based on manoeuvres, so Long would have Long 1 and Long 2,  extreme would have Extreme 1,2,3.   So you could just track where you are better.

I don't know if I would always want to use a grid, but I would do something similar to what you are doing if I did.

The thing about giving a Attack of Opportunity, I think it would be far too deadly in this game, some people can go down in one hit in this game!  But I guess you are giving them an option to risk it if they do not want to spend thier manoeuvre to get away safely.  

 

 



#5 bigity

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 01:10 PM

 AoO stuff I mean the entire mini (or rather major)-game inside of D&D 3.5 that revolves around a square and a thing called a 5 foot step.



#6 Gallows

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:08 AM

bigity said:

 

 AoO stuff I mean the entire mini (or rather major)-game inside of D&D 3.5 that revolves around a square and a thing called a 5 foot step.

 

 

 

I don't find the combat centric idea of D&D great. I have never really liked D&D because it has always been a dungeon crawl game to me.

 

But since combats can be fun, I just want to give players more options so it's not just a big pointless brawl. A lot of the cards are great with pushback, knock down etc., but they never really impress because of the silly abstract movement system. A bow attack that lets you attack without line of sight, when most GMs don't really worry about LOS is another example. I like the players to see the combat area top down so they can make use tactical advantages and cover. It's not really very different from what WFRP 3 has... it's just easier to use squares and have real distances that are easy to relate to. A lot of the action cards will really become much better just by scrapping the horrible movement/positioning system.

 

I insisted on keeping the abstract movement system for a long time (over a year now) to keep things simple... but it doesn't speed up the game at all and present many issues and stupid questions that just aren't there with relative positioning.



#7 bigity

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:42 AM

 Having a grid is fine, and I'd think works pretty well with some movement rules for WFRP. I use mats for every RPG I play except Shadowrun.

 

Having dozens of talents/actions revolving around the mat isn't something I'm interested in though.  Enough to keep positions clear is all I'd want.



#8 Gallows

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:52 AM

Just to be clear... it's 9 cards total (counting all cards up to omens of war).



#9 bigity

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

Gallows said:

Just to be clear... it's 9 cards total (counting all cards up to omens of war).

 

I'm talking about D&D 3/3.5/4, not WFRP.  I prefer a more abstract system when it comes to grids than those games, but the complete abstracts of WFRP are a step too far in that direction.  Some squares, some house rules about maneuvers and movement rates, and all good to go.



#10 Gallows

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:53 PM

bigity said:

Gallows said:

 

Just to be clear... it's 9 cards total (counting all cards up to omens of war).

 

 

 

I'm talking about D&D 3/3.5/4, not WFRP.  I prefer a more abstract system when it comes to grids than those games, but the complete abstracts of WFRP are a step too far in that direction.  Some squares, some house rules about maneuvers and movement rates, and all good to go.

 

Ahh yes. I stayed true to the abstract movement of wfrp for a long time, but it's just a hassle at times and not at all cutting down on combat time. It also takes a lot away from some of the cards. I think I want grids, but still keep it simple :)



#11 Gallows

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:50 PM

Just got my battle mats from chessex. A normal one and a megamat - very nice surface.



#12 Emirikol

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 06:41 AM

I'm running a WFRP3 "Deepwatchers" game for an upcoming con.  As it stands, abstract movement system, doesn't handle corridor fighting very well at all.  Considering WFRP's long-history of being involved in dungeon-crawls (Drachenfels, all wfrp1 scenarios, some wfrp2 scenarios, etc.), this requires some house rules.

This stuff comes as  a good guide.

 

The main problem that I've found comes when you've got "choke points."  This occurs commonly in combat as well.  Say you've got the PCs guarding a gate or a "T" intersection in a castle against a horde of bitchin' beastmen.  The WFRP3 rules just are not capable of handling this...and again, considering the combat-heavy nature of the game system, it makes me /dislike/ the abstract system.

Thanks for the tips Gallows.

 

jh

 

 

..



#13 Boehm

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:49 AM

 Gallows just ran our first session using his battlemap houserules - must say my impression as a player it worked out GREAT ... I used to be a bit sceptical of how combat worked in 3rd edition - leaning towards preferring 2ed for roleplay & D&D for combat, but this time it was a perfect blend where it just meshed really nicely with combat being fluid, tactical, interesting and easy to picture in my mind - I used to sometimes feel combat in 3rd edition was very complicated without really giving any of the satisfaction of feeling it was more than simply rolling a pile of dice each time it was your turn - Now Im a convert - I hereby proclaim 3rd better than D&D and 2nd combined :D (as long as the above rules are utalized!!) so many of the action cards just makes much more sense now, while at the same time the visualization is much better making combat overall just more interesting ....



#14 Boehm

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:59 AM

as a sidenote, we decided to add an additional houserule whereby any dead bodies were left on the ground ....creating difficult terrain in the hex(es) they drop in - impact on actual tactics was rather minimal - but it just made it look great ...gave the feeling of carnage when the bodies started to pile up, until in the end we (4 PCs and 2 town guards we had managed to persuade to come investigate) found ourselves standing among 12 dead enemies ...- amazingly we managed to keep the watchmen alive with only my character going down ....but luckily having his eye saved by some rapid healing (It was my only crit, so not above thresshold for the permanent injury) Btw. anyone ever wronder how come loosing an eye gives -2 to Fel tests but not to balistics or observation?? - I cant help thinking of Moshe Dayan, he doesnt strike me as having had his charisma horrible mangled by loosing an eye?!



#15 Yepesnopes

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 07:14 PM

Emirikol said:

I'm running a WFRP3 "Deepwatchers" game for an upcoming con.  As it stands, abstract movement system, doesn't handle corridor fighting very well at all.  Considering WFRP's long-history of being involved in dungeon-crawls (Drachenfels, all wfrp1 scenarios, some wfrp2 scenarios, etc.), this requires some house rules.

This stuff comes as  a good guide.

 

The main problem that I've found comes when you've got "choke points."  This occurs commonly in combat as well.  Say you've got the PCs guarding a gate or a "T" intersection in a castle against a horde of bitchin' beastmen.  The WFRP3 rules just are not capable of handling this...and again, considering the combat-heavy nature of the game system, it makes me /dislike/ the abstract system.

Thanks for the tips Gallows.

 

jh

 ..

You expose a very important point here. What about creating some location cards for dungeons, houses, castles...where you have locations like corridor, T, room, door.... You could create in the card two entries one for defenders and one for attackers.

Just an idea


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#16 Nisses

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:17 AM

 Yepesnopes: I don't see that working as well, because you'll have to start ruling who is or isn't affected by the card even when they are only 5 feet away.
Location cards at the moment are fairly general and binary: You're either INSIDE the burning house or not. 

I've ditched the abstract positioning for tabletop movement à la warhammer tabletop. You need some more space, but I've simply converted the distances to inches, and let the players move their figure with a ruler. (stick with 4 notches. 1 notch is 1 manoeuvre).

I do like the addition of staggered & such. Think I'll use that from now on :)



#17 Superchunk

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:24 AM

 I can see uses for both of these styles in any one's game. On the one hand you have the battle mat layout which is good for dungeons and other confined spaces, and on the other hand you have the abstract method which can be useful if you're fighting out in the open on a road or in a forest glade, etc.

When I get around to running my game, I'm not going to limit myself to one or the other, but instead try to use both as I see fit. After playing 4e D&D though I have no desire to go back to using healing surges or anything like those. I found that they end up triggering a yo-yo effect where you have PC's that have their hit points go up and down repeatedly throughout the combat. In addition, I have seen PC's get knocked out only to spring back to life in the next round with almost no negative effects.

I enjoy the concept of WFRP's wound system, including stress and fatigue, and critical and serious wounds because it is a lot easier to picture in my mind. You take one or two good hits from a big demon and go down, you are hurt bad in WFRP3, but in D&D 4E it's gonna take 4 or more hits, and that's assuming that nobody fires off one of their numerous auto-heal powers.

In summary, I've found 4E combat to be more about resource management than about actual tactics or roleplaying whereas WFRP3 combat is the opposite.



#18 Gallows

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:01 AM

Superchunk said:

 

 I can see uses for both of these styles in any one's game. On the one hand you have the battle mat layout which is good for dungeons and other confined spaces, and on the other hand you have the abstract method which can be useful if you're fighting out in the open on a road or in a forest glade, etc.

When I get around to running my game, I'm not going to limit myself to one or the other, but instead try to use both as I see fit. After playing 4e D&D though I have no desire to go back to using healing surges or anything like those. I found that they end up triggering a yo-yo effect where you have PC's that have their hit points go up and down repeatedly throughout the combat. In addition, I have seen PC's get knocked out only to spring back to life in the next round with almost no negative effects.

I enjoy the concept of WFRP's wound system, including stress and fatigue, and critical and serious wounds because it is a lot easier to picture in my mind. You take one or two good hits from a big demon and go down, you are hurt bad in WFRP3, but in D&D 4E it's gonna take 4 or more hits, and that's assuming that nobody fires off one of their numerous auto-heal powers.

In summary, I've found 4E combat to be more about resource management than about actual tactics or roleplaying whereas WFRP3 combat is the opposite.

 

 

 

There are healing surges in wfrp3. They just don't call it that. Once per day you can be healed once from different sources of healing.

 

5 different spells, first aid, splint and bandages, healing draught.

 

I am just limiting it to 5 heals total and disregarding the source for simplicity.



#19 Bjork1

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:43 AM

Gallows said:

Superchunk said:

 

 I

There are healing surges in wfrp3. They just don't call it that. Once per day you can be healed once from different sources of healing.

 

5 different spells, first aid, splint and bandages, healing draught.

 

I am just limiting it to 5 heals total and disregarding the source for simplicity.

Well if you only call it healing surges, you will instantly take away which factor of the healing the players are using. Since in WHFRPG you are running the risks of getting infections or worse if your are doing a healing check with let's say dirty first aid/ rags out in the open fields of battles or dungeons or sewers. Which wikll make the world more real/deadly and hard to heal from sickness and major wounds. That is what i like about this game, it's so much deadlier than D&D4. Battlemaps only encourage metagaming instead of  focusing on the roleplaying part. none of my friends wants to play a D&D4 game anymore because of all the healing surges, powers and most importantly of all the SQUARES calculations. It damned take away all of the imaginations from the game.

Don't mess up with the healing mechanism in this game, it is too great to houserule it any different way. In D&D all you need to fully heal is a days rest. How real is that? " I got scuewered right in the gut yester day, but i'm all fine now thanks to the nights rest, no need to see the doctor so just head back into the ogres nest."



#20 BigKahuna

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:28 AM

Well I think you are ultimatly going to spend a lot of time as a GM "creating" a tactical mini game for WFRP. Its foundation is to avoid tactical combat so its kind of like trying to run 4th edition without tactical combat.  It can be done, but you have to start really asking the question, "Why are you playing this game if you don't like rules which are its foundation"? 

Any scenario you can imagine can be handled with this system as long as you don't mind abstraction, but if you have problems with abstraction and you see need for a tactical mini game, in particular if you are trying to implement core concepts from 4th edition I have to ask, why not just play 4th edition and use the warhammer universe?  Isnt that a little easier than trying to convert this game to that game?






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