Making Combat more Tactical

The unique One Ring rules set invites tinkering and secondary creation. Whilst The One Ring works brilliantly as written, we provide this forum for those who want to make their own home-brewed versions of the rules. Note that none of these should be taken as 'official'.
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zedturtle
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by zedturtle » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:05 pm

kdresser: I don't know of any audio/video recordings that have what you're looking for, but you might want to check out a particular fight I ran in a Play-by-Post game a few years ago. The setup is that the heroes are at Mountain Hall and have just crossed the narrow bridge over the ravine and got 'checked in' by Beranald (meaning their weapons were peace-knotted). Then an escaped prisoner and his orc captors showed up and fun ensued.
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

This space intentionally blank.

Corvo
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Corvo » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:12 pm

kdresser wrote:
Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:58 pm
(...)
I looked into ROS as well before I found GURPS. I'm interested to see what you came up with. Would you mind sharing?
Kdresser, now I'm in a bit of an hurry: as soon as I can I'll write down something (and if I forget, please, shoot me a PM ;) )

Corvo
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Corvo » Mon May 01, 2017 9:30 am

kdresser wrote:
Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:58 pm
I looked into ROS as well before I found GURPS. I'm interested to see what you came up with. Would you mind sharing?
Caveat: these are house-rules, inelegantly bolted upon the original system. I'm writing them here just because you asked for it.
Second caveat: I'm not trying to sell this system to anyone. You asked for my houserules, and I answered. I'm not here to “correct” TOR or anything :geek:
That said, let's start.

1) Weapon skills:
The 3 weapon skills of starting characters are substituted with:
MELEE ARCHERY DEFENCE
Spending Hope you add your Body to your MELEE or ARCHERY roll.
Spending Hope you add your Wits to your DEFENCE roll.

2) When the Hero attacks, they rolls MELEE (for close combat) or ARCHERY (for ranged combat).

3) When the Hero is attacked, they rolls DEFENCE against the attack roll of the opponent.

4) Parry
TOR's Parry value is only used when the fighter cannot roll DEFENCE (he's surprised, for example, or he opted to not roll DEFENCE for some reason -see below for some examples-).
Against a melee attack adds +0 to his PARRY (this is the tn to hit him in melee)
Against a ranged attack adds +9 to his PARRY (this is the tn to hit him with ranged attacks)

5) Stance:
Forward Stance gives the Hero +1d6 for MELEE, but -1d6 for DEFENCE.
Defensive Stance gives the Hero -1d6 for MELEE, but +1d6 for DEFENCE.
Open Stance gives the Hero no bonus nor malus.
Rearward Stance gives the Hero -1d6 for ARCHERY, but +1d6 for DEFENCE.
Stances are chosen at the beginning of the round, and are valid for both Exchanges of the round (see below).

6) The round
(people not familiar with TROS can have some problems understanding points 6, 7 ad 8. Sorry)
Each round is divided in two Exchanges (first and second).
In each Exchange a character can attack OR defend, not both.

7) The Exchange and the Initiative
At the first Exchange of the round, he who got the Initiative declares his Stance, and if he's going to attack or defend (usually attack).
Then, the other combatant declares his Stance and if he's going to attack or defend (usually defend).

Whoever declares “attack” rolls MELEE or ARCHERY as appropriate, but cannot roll DEFENCE
(if attacked in the Exchange he has to rely on his Parry to save his skin).
Whoever declares “defend” rolls DEFENCE.

8) Resolution
The attacker rolls his MELEE or ARCHERY against the opponent, who rolls DEFENCE to block/evade the attack.
-If the attacker rolls higher, apply damage as usual. The attacker got the initiative for the next Exchange.
-If the defender rolls higher, the attack is stopped and the defender got the initiative for the next Exchange.
-If the rolls are tied, the attack is stopped, but the attacker got the initiative for the next Exchange.

If both fighters declared “attack”, they both strikes at the opponent PARRY. The attack of the fighter with the initiative lands first, then the attack of the opponent (if still standing).
Whoever rolls higher wins the Exchange: he got the initiative for the second Exchange.

9) The second Exchange. [edited to clarify]
The second Exchange of the round is resolved like the first, just that Heroes are stuck with the stance choosen in the first Exchange.
(example: the Hero got the inititiative and choose to attack from Forward stance. The Orc won the first exchange, though. In the 2nd Exchange the Orc got the initiative and declares attack: the Hero has to defend from Forward stance, that gives him -1d6...)

Once the second Exchange is resolved, the round is concluded.
Whoever won the second Exchange got the initiative in the next round.


------------------------------------------------
Well, this is the basic system. I left out the rules for one-against-many, for comprehension's sake.
And I left out the boatload of fencing maneuvers I took from BotIT, like Feint, Beat, Counter, Shield Bash, Overpass, etc, but this is already long enough...

Glorelendil
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Glorelendil » Mon May 01, 2017 2:06 pm

I somewhat agree with kdresser about the feel of combat. Although I love TOR, in straight-up combat I have more fun with D&D 5e. Sure, we've got things like Called Shot but I don't find that to be a terribly interesting choice: the math is pretty straightforward on whether or not it's situationally beneficial.

To some extent I think the absence of grid-based rules is limiting; without it I'm not sure more choices would accomplish the goal. And for a somewhat related reason I don't think roll-than-narrate is a factor here: what makes D&D combat more interesting is that positioning/movement/environment makes every combat different, and those differences affect decision-making. Without those factors, the decision-making wouldn't be complex enough for additional choices to make much a difference.
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Corvo
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Corvo » Mon May 01, 2017 2:14 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 2:06 pm
I somewhat agree with kdresser about the feel of combat. Although I love TOR, in straight-up combat I have more fun with D&D 5e. Sure, we've got things like Called Shot but I don't find that to be a terribly interesting choice: the math is pretty straightforward on whether or not it's situationally beneficial.

To some extent I think the absence of grid-based rules is limiting; without it I'm not sure more choices would accomplish the goal. And for a somewhat related reason I don't think roll-than-narrate is a factor here: what makes D&D combat more interesting is that positioning/movement/environment makes every combat different, and those differences affect decision-making. Without those factors, the decision-making wouldn't be complex enough for additional choices to make much a difference.
Glorelendil, gave you ever tried Blades of the Iron Throne or some of its kin (The Riddle of Steel, Song of Sallets, Song of Swords, Band of Bastards, etc)?
I find they delve too much into crunch (lots of derived stats etc), but the basic resolution of the exchanges is golden. My players cannot anymore go back to the old "I attack, now I parry, next round..."

Stormcrow
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Stormcrow » Mon May 01, 2017 4:03 pm

Don't fall into the trap of believing that your actions in combat are limited to the options presented in the book. You can choose to do anything as a non-combat option, including things that directly benefit or hinder other combatants.

Both realistically and cinematically, toe-to-toe slugfests are uninteresting, and pushing buttons and pulling levers to manipulate rules just juggles bonuses and penalties to support the slugfest. The One Ring encourages AVOIDING combat, since this is what nearly all of Tolkien's characters do, but if you do fight, it's up to your own imagination to make it interesting. Adding a terrain bonus here or a flanking bonus there is just adding up bonuses. What if you could dislodge an avalanche between you and the enemy or distract the dragon at just the right moment to make it crash into a lake? How about calling for a truce? Maybe try humiliating the enemy instead of killing them?

THAT'S where the interest lies. Not in the routine slaughter of wave after wave of servants of the Shadow. Not in finding the optimal mathematical formula for success, and not in employing a myriad of combat options. But if you absolutely must try to make routine combat itself more interesting, do so because you and your players find the details of combat interesting, not because you're looking for new ways to apply bonuses and penalties.

Glorelendil
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Glorelendil » Mon May 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Stormcrow wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 4:03 pm
but if you do fight, it's up to your own imagination to make it interesting.
Yes, and that's the limitation, in my opinion. After all it is a game not a writing exercise.
THAT'S where the interest lies. Not in the routine slaughter of wave after wave of servants of the Shadow. Not in finding the optimal mathematical formula for success, and not in employing a myriad of combat options. But if you absolutely must try to make routine combat itself more interesting, do so because you and your players find the details of combat interesting, not because you're looking for new ways to apply bonuses and penalties.
I think you are unfairly tying "I want to have more nuanced choices in combat" with "I want to mow down legions of orcs."

To reciprocate by taking the opposing view to a logical extreme: why not dispense with the rules entirely and just imagine the fight?
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Rich H
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Rich H » Mon May 01, 2017 5:33 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 2:06 pm
what makes D&D combat more interesting is that positioning/movement/environment makes every combat different, and those differences affect decision-making. Without those factors, the decision-making wouldn't be complex enough for additional choices to make much a difference.
Doesn't my Battle Maps document, no need for house rules, add considerations of positioning/movement/environment to combat? It's exactly what I use in my games and provides the same tactical options as D&D5e.

Also, if people want to use miniatures and a grid then they are piss easy to add to the game. No rules are needed - the LM/players just need to use common sense with regard to distances and how quickly or not such can be covered.

I find it quite amazing how sometimes gamers appear to leave their common sense at the door of the gaming room when it comes to applying rulings and extrapolating from the base rules just because certain elements aren't explicitly drawn out in a rulebook and given an exact and specific rule. I get kdresser's issues, because he's already stated that he's relatively new to gaming, but I don't get your comments Glorelendil; I would have thought you'd be saying the kind of things I have upthread?
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

Stormcrow
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Stormcrow » Mon May 01, 2017 6:19 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 5:03 pm
To reciprocate by taking the opposing view to a logical extreme: why not dispense with the rules entirely and just imagine the fight?
Why not indeed. That's the game of Free Kriegsspiel, and it's the logical result of asking that very question. A great deal of role-playing game history comes out of the tradition of Free Kriegsspiel.

Different levels of rules complexity exist because different different styles of game call for them. The point of Free Kriegsspiel is that an experienced commander can tell you the outcome of a military action based solely on his knowledge, leading to a quicker and easier wargame. The point of GURPS is that people wanted more control over all the in-betweeny aspects of characters and actions that earlier games like D&D didn't give them. The point of the particular level of detail in The One Ring is to emulate the tactical detail that Tolkien uses in his writing—which is to say, not much, but the broader strokes are there.

You're perfectly free to change the level of detail of TOR, but as I warned earlier, be careful, because the system isn't designed for easy modification. In general, if you want to change the level of detail without changing the broad outcomes, you have to make sure that your detailed rules achieve the same results as the broad rules when players choose the new options that match the old rules. You have to be prepared for more attention to be given to weapons and tactics than Tolkien's protagonists usually show, especially if you are not simultaneously adding an equivalent amount of detail to non-combat systems.
I think you are unfairly tying "I want to have more nuanced choices in combat" with "I want to mow down legions of orcs."
What I'm talking about applies equally to one-on-one duels, mass combat, and a whole party swarming against a giant monster. If you give lots of loving detail to the combat system, the game will tend toward being about combat. If you have to make eleventeen choices about weapon type, maneuvering, timing, flanking, and so on, but the only choice you have to make during an encounter is "what do I roll to impress this guy," then your game will focus on combat. That's where your head is at most of the time, by necessity.

Comparisons with modern D&D are telling. Modern D&D is basically a combat game at heart. You do other things as well, but combat forms the centerpieces of almost everything on an adventure. Back in the original D&D rules there WERE no rules for weapon types or maneuvering or timing or flanking—though you could draw on wargames like Chainmail if you wanted—and the focus on D&D wasn't combat. Remember Gary Gygax's words in White Dwarf #7, 1978: "Combat at best is something to be done quickly so as to get on with the fun."

So the original poster, and anyone looking for more nuance in TOR combat, needs to ask themselves what it is they're after. Do you actually care about the difference between snap shots and aiming for three seconds, or are you simply looking for an AIM ME button for a player to press? Is it important that fighting from that slightly elevated ground will give you an advantage or do you simply like to push miniatures around and want to have someplace to push them to? Do you feel that it's essential to reduce a fighter's effectiveness as he becomes tired and bruised, or are you just trying to fill a perceived gap between Hale and Wounded? Either former or latter in each is perfectly all right, but each calls for a different approach. The former is about nuance; the latter is about manipulating and participating in the system. Either can be interesting, depending on your preferences, but don't fool yourself into thinking that they're the same thing.

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Rich H
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Re: Making Combat more Tactical

Post by Rich H » Mon May 01, 2017 7:22 pm

That's a great post, Stormcrow. Just wanted to say that.
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

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