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Do away with tracks during combat

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#1 Nisses



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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:09 AM

I didn't want to clutter the other thread (do away with recharge tokens) thread, so I figured I would put it someplace else.


Could anybody give me some feedback on this as an idea:

- No more rolling for initiative during combat and no more recharging tokens (unless the action uses it as duration/charges)

- Each round, everybody simply decides on what they will do in silence. (20sec +/-) Then give the 

- Turn orders are decided by recharge rating of the card itself, starting at 0 and going up.  

           In case of tie: (governing stat of action - recharge rating  = value) --> lowest wins.
           Stunts are a GM's call. (likely, you want to have that happen at a specific time anyway. Just let it happen and potentially add # black / purple for timing)
           Cards that are recharging (and thus have tokens): simply have them happen as per RAW at the end of player's turn.

- After using an action card, roll 1d12. If you roll higher than your recharge, action remains available for next round. If you roll equal or lower, you must exhaust a set of cards which has total recharge >=  to the action just played. (You can play the card itself, or a combination of other ones)



possible consequences I see:

loss of flexibility for players, no more deciding at the appropriate time when they take their action.
loss of action as they can target the same creature, with the first action already dropping it. If so, a change of target within reach should be free. Extra fatigue can be burned to get into reach as well. If nothing in reach, the action can be converted to a manoeuvre for free.
spamming of Trollfeller Strike and the like: Action still needs to be rolled to actually hit. (And I limit access to those cards to the "correct" careers)

What else can you guys see?

#2 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:05 AM

You are going to need a more robust tiebreaker. Ability minus Recharge is really just Ability (since Recharge will be tied in the first place), and Abilities have a small enough range that ties will be somewhat common. Two Strength 4 guys attacking each other with Melee Strike isn't that rare.

How do active defenses work? Can you just spam them attack after attack as long as you roll over 2 on a d12? What about other reactions like Riposte? I'd take my chances with the d12 if it allows me to do an extra attack over and over.

I'm assuming that when an action is exhausted, it is done for the encounter. If that is the case, then it is going to hose Wizards/Priests in long fights as all their spells/blessings dry up.

20 seconds of deciding is a long time when fights run a number of rounds. 



Overall, there are some neat ideas there, but it seems like it's removing one level of complexity and adding two.


Take a look at Burning Wheel's "Fight!" mechanics if you want to see another "write down your actions and then play it out" system.


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#3 Nisses



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Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:31 PM



You're absolutely right. Can't see how I missed that issue with the tie-breaker. Thanks for your help :)

I've thought it over some more, and went through the cards again as well. Anything higher than 8 is usually an action card with recharges that serve a duration as "while recharging, gain...", so will be exempt. Meaning I need only go to 10. I also want the cards with 0 & 1 recharge to remain out of reach with this, while making 8-9-10 pretty much a once per encounter ability.
I'll be modifying the idea as follows for today's session, and see how it plays out.


Combat rolls initiative as usual.
Start with: 10. Success = - 2 ; Boon = -1
ties = lower initiative goes first
still ties = players go first (bump monster down, or player up, whatever works)

During rounds:
Everybody decides their action at once. (15sec.)
Resolve action according to:  Recharge value of action card --> initiative score (from low to high)
After rolling your action, roll 1d6+1d4. Roll higher than recharge > keep. Else, exhaust your card. (no more combination of others)

Active Defense
Roll 1d6 instead of 1d6+1d4. Same rules. 

Assess the situation's effect is changed from:
boon+boon= remove 1 recharge token --> recover 1 exhausted card.
bane+bane=1 stress
critical failure= GM may exhaust 1 card (this is only an option if you're engaged, otherwise Asses has no purple die)


#4 Emirikol


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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:54 AM

Im glad you brought this up. This is how it works in Arcanis, however there its just by weapon, but there is a starting number that a person starts their count.


Simultaneous declare works and is the basis for Outbreak undead, however again, thats for all things being equal otherwise.



#5 Nisses



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Posted 29 January 2012 - 08:06 AM

Report after the playtest...

I'm not a fan of it myself :)

Seems there are more cards than I counted on, that work with the recharge mechanic, adding/removing tokens etc.

I'll have to go back to the drawing board. I still like the idea of the recharge value determining the order of your actions, but... Needs more work :)

Maybe work in way to incorporate duration & modifying of existing recharge.

#6 Boehm



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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:40 AM

Nisses said:

 I still like the idea of the recharge value determining the order of your actions, but... Needs more work :)


I like that idea too ... to be honest I cant really make up my mind about the current initiative system ... I mean I like the cooporative aspect of it - but I dont like the fact that you dont feel like fast character are actually well fast

#7 Gallows



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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:17 AM

Boehm said:

Nisses said:


 I still like the idea of the recharge value determining the order of your actions, but... Needs more work :)




I like that idea too ... to be honest I cant really make up my mind about the current initiative system ... I mean I like the cooporative aspect of it - but I dont like the fact that you dont feel like fast character are actually well fast


Being fast - what is it exactly? Sure if you do a running contest I am sure an olympic runner will win over a boxer, but let them have a boxing match and it's the other way around and it will be the boxer who's the faster guy.

It's all about the skill. How fast your character feels depends on the action cards you pick. Pick actions with extra maneuvers and the ability to get extra attacks and your character feels fast combat wise. Agility in itself grants a few bonuses too. For rapid fire a character with agility 5 is more likely to hit with all three shots than someone with agility 2. Thus he feels "faster".

Besides Agility is not as much speed as it is hand-eye coordination, nimbleness and how aigle your character is.

A character with a lot of stamina can feel fast because he can use a lot of extra maneuvers and not get fatigued. A strenght based character having riposte, counterblow and a lot of other reaction cards will feel fast.

"Cat like reflexes" makes you faster by giving you more defense.


How fast you character is has nothing to do with a single stat (Agility). It's how you build your character, taking into account action cards, talents, career abilities, specialties and all stats related to whatever actions you want to perform.



#8 Silverwave



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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:18 AM

 Really, I stop bothering with initiative few years ago within all my rpgs.

It were just cluttering down the game without giving really much. I just go all friendlies (in the order they choose) then all ennemies. I rely on the situation to know what side starts first. Usually, it's the team who engaged the fight first that starts. In case of doubt, I just choose randomly. As a side bonus, it enhances team play since it do away with all those clunky delay actions and all.

Since then, I never regreted it. It's faster and smoother and so what if it means the party kills 3 mooks on the first round before the ennemies even have time to react. It's the benefit of being the agressor. Anyway, it will come around in another fight where it's the ennemies who go first and hurt the PCs bad!

#9 Bjork1



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:40 AM

What you could do is, have one of the group throwing 1 fortune die, on a boon the players go first, on a blank the monsters go first. you could do this every turn, which can give you the effects of having the agression in two subsequent turns if you are lucky. Thus making it more like a real battle.

#10 Callidon



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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:26 AM

Silverwave said:

 Really, I stop bothering with initiative few years ago within all my rpgs.

I am starting to get to this point in most of the games I play.  Granted I play with people that I've known for decades so it's easier to 'hug it out' when someone feels jilted or hampered.

Really the only thing initiative does is build in sub-rounds within rounds.  So I have considered ways to trim out initiative in WFRP.  I tried it in the last combat we had in the session I recently ran.  Everybody planned out their round (maneuvers, actions, etc) and either held the cards or jotted it down on a white board.  Then everyone revealed their plans for the round.  Then we went clockwise round the table and resolved everything.  Then we described the round in narrative based on the outcome. The first round was utter chaos…which was actually really fun for all of us. Then the subsequent rounds were full of people reacting and attempting to think ahead of their opponents.  You don't get the benefit of watching the first few actions of a round and adjusting your plans to come up with the 'perfect' counter.  It felt frantic, and some people's plans ended up sucking…other's ended up being fantastic either through luck or good thinking. 

The one thing we had to fiddle with throughout the combat was how to apply various effects (criticals, spells, etc).  If someone reaches their wound threshold or is incapacitated during the actions of the round…how do we resolve the timing?  Well for us, to keep the action going and keep it simple we decided to just apply any effects at the end of the round and take them into consideration in the following round's plans.  Then prior to the start of the next round we worked together as a group to narrate the action of the round we just completed.  This was the most fun for us.  It was like being handed a chopped up pile of shots for a movie scene and trying to cut them all together.  I also found that it makes things easier from a GM perspective to come up with a tactic for multiple baddies and have it play out instead of watching the intitiative order bork everything up (swapping and replacing actions is awesome when you are controlling one PC…but handling eight NPC's fromples the tactical center of my brain).

It's still a work in progress, and I wish I got a chance to play more so that I could test it in more than just one combat.  BUT I think there is something to be said for just dropping initiative and not trying to replace it with any other system. 

Toss all the action into a blender and see what comes out!


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#11 Emirikol


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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:03 PM

I've found unless it's some kind of wierd tactical combat where things have to happen in a certain order that a simple:

OK, you guys go first.

Then, ok, the monsters all go at the same time.

Even currently, I usually only have one initiative roll for the baddies.  I'm not heartbroken if the Goblin wizard didn't get to go first b/c his minions slow down his initiative (for example).


When we play, I keep a post it note out.  That contains everything I need:

GM - 3                                       Monster 1Wounds
Torg -2                                       Monster 2 wounds

I realized that with the way that initiative works, since you can switch at any time anyways, it's just a "you guys go"  then "monsters go" routine anyways.  Why all the smoke and mirrors and figuring out "who wants to go next?  anyone?  anyone?  Beuhler?  Beuhler?"

I wing ace dice anyways.  It's not like I need to write it down like some kind of accountant.  Now, if I was playing with a group of 6 players, maybe, but my group of 4 doesn't require immense amounts of accounting just to tell me "We run away from the monster."  ;)

Seriously though, I tell the players "Go ahead and go..roll your dice."  Well, who's up?  I don't care, roll your dice.  There are VERY FEW instances where turn order actually matters in this abstract situation.  In those cases, I simply slow the combats dowon or the players tell me "I'm going after him because I want to see if he does such and such."


Speed up combats and save the world!



#12 BigKahuna



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Posted 22 May 2012 - 10:46 PM

Initiative is important because it gives combat a sequence of events within the scope of a linear system.  The problem with games with combat in them is that its impossible to create a mechanic thats simple enough to use that simulates the reality of "simultanous" events.  Hence RPG combat is always turned based.

As such Initiative is really the only link to the vision of "simultanous combat" that gives the combat a sequence of events.  Within WFRP they partially solved the issue of creating the perception of simultanous combat by allowing any players to act on any initiative.  This creates a more dynamic system where players act, monsters act, than other players and other monsters "react" to the events that took place prior to them.  This ends up affecting what players do and who is affected by which event.

These dynamics still take place when you do "you all go and than we all go", but noteably the dynamics will play out very differently.  Try it.  Set up a combat that is exactly identical, run it once with an initiative order and once without out.  The results of what action players take will be completetly different because what order players act in will directly affect what they actually do.

I find that initiative order makes the events more dynamic and believable.  When a player acts, than a monster, than a player, than a couple of monsters than a player.. there is a sense of simultanous combat and a connect to the battle as a real battle, rather than a "turned base simultaion of a battle". 

Its worth noting that of all the ways to save time, this probobly saves the least amount.  I mean what are you really shaving off here.. 20? 30 seconds maybe.  You aren't changing what takes place, you are simply ensuring that events take place in a more linear fashion.  Everyone still has to take all their turns.



#13 Grayzen



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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:48 PM

I am basically using the current Initiative rules but with a couple twists. Firstly, after the first round of combat we maintain that Initiative order for the remaining rounds, unless something in the encounter changes drastically. Second, if you rolled the highest Initiative you can trump the other players and act first if you want too, or at any point in the Initiative order but the first rule still applies and after the first round is complete the Initiative order remains the same for subsequent rounds. Trumping Initiative can sometimes cause Party Tension but honestly doesn't happen often. Still, the option is there for the nimble elf/theif/assassin to act first.

#14 phild



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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:41 PM

Slightly off-topic, because I'm not planning on doing away with tracks, but it does relate to initiative. I like the system as it is, and my group seemed to take to it - the only thing I am going to change is rank initiative tokens in order of Successes and then Boons (i.e. 3 Successes +1 Boon above 3 Successes). Hero goes first is a convenient short-hand, but I want "grim, gritty n' dangerous" to extend to who goes first in combat too :-)

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