Handling Other NPC's in Combat

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PencilBoy99
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Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by PencilBoy99 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:33 pm

Many of the published adventures and adventure bits have the players encounter a combat situation while they're accompanied by NPCs. How do you handle this. I've normally been "ignoring" them but it I'd love to involve them somehow. I was thinking I'd let the players run them essentially as another character, that way they're at risk also.

poosticks7
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by poosticks7 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:14 pm

The power of fudge usually.

I often roll a feat dice as a general indicator each round. Low roll, good guys struggle. High roll, good guys are doing well. Eye rolled, some one dies or is wounded. Gandalf rolled, they kill a bad un.

Obviously Lore Master instincts come into play.

Stormcrow
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Stormcrow » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:55 pm

Do you mean as a combatant? If the Loremaster character is fighting another Loremaster character or an adversary, there's no need to run through the rules that players go through to determine combat results. Just announce what happens. Maybe make an opposed skill roll if you feel you need to go through the motions.

If the Loremaster character is interacting with the combat as a non-combatant, treat this as any other non-combat action.

Corvo
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Corvo » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:00 pm

poosticks7 wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:14 pm
The power of fudge usually.

I often roll a feat dice as a general indicator each round. Low roll, good guys struggle. High roll, good guys are doing well. Eye rolled, some one dies or is wounded. Gandalf rolled, they kill a bad un.

Obviously Lore Master instincts come into play.
Same for me.
Sometimes I roll two dices and keep the best/worst, if the combat is unbalanced.
(Good old Iwgar managed to roll a Sauron at the most dramatically appropriate moment)

If you want something more detailed you can borrow the "Allies in Battle" table from Tales from the Wilderland (page 34).

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tomcat
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by tomcat » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:41 pm

If a NPC is an ally and has written stats for combat, which some do, just set them in a stance and conduct their combat like a normal PC.
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Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
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Halbarad
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Halbarad » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:29 pm

This is a table that I use for just the circumstances you describe. A roll on this table negates the need to assign stances and make Tests for Loremaster Characters and should speed up gameplay considerably. The Loremaster simply rolls a Feat Die for each individual combat that does not feature a member of the Fellowship.

Result of Feat Die for Loremaster Characters in Skirmishes

Eye of Sauron - A cry of pain rings out and the Loremaster Character falls to the ground, unconscious. The character has sustained a Wound and will die if a successful Healing Test is not applied within 12 hours.
1 - The Loremaster Character is battered back under the weight, or sheer number of incoming blows. The Loremaster Character sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of his opponent plus twice it‘s Attribute Level.
2 - This fight is swinging in favour of the enemy. The Loremaster Character sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of the Opponent plus it's Attribute Level.
3 - The enemy gains the upper hand, for the moment. The Loremaster Character sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of his Opponent.
4,5,6,7 - Blows are exchanged and the battle continues unabated and with no advantage gained by either side.
8 - The Loremaster Character exploits a weakness in his enemy’s defence and lands a blow. The Opponent sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of the character.
9 - The Loremaster Character is more skilled, or just luckier than his opponent and successfully lands blow after blow. The Opponent sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of the character plus the Attribute Level of the Character.
10 - The Loremaster Character spins a web of steel as he launches a rapid flurry of blows that the opponent simply cannot deflect. The Opponent sustains Endurance Damage equal to the Weapon Damage of the character plus twice the Character‘s Attribute Level.
Gandalf Rune - With a stunning display of martial prowess, the Loremaster Character strikes a blow that leaves his opponent lying dead upon the ground (or wounds the Opponent, if the Opponent has Great Size).

Loremaster Character’s may spend Hope Points to adjust the result, but they may not adjust it by more than a single step on the table. Opponents may spend Hate in exactly the same way.

If a Loremaster character is outnumbered in combat, he or she must spend a point of Hope each round to negate the effects of being outnumbered. If the Loremaster Character has no Hope to spend, or simply decides not to spend it, the Opponents may adjust the result of the Feat Die by a single number, per outnumbering opponent, in their favour. The Opponents may then spend Hate Points to move the adjusted result a single step along the table in their favour. The same situation occurs where Loremaster Characters outnumber their opponents except that references to Hope expenditure are replaced by Hate expenditure.

Loremaster Characters without Hope or Opponents without Hate will either flee the scene or attempt to surrender in the subsequent round

Glorelendil
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Glorelendil » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:04 pm

I'm with Stormcrow on this one. The purpose of dice rolls is to resolve uncertainties with player characters. An LMC attacking or being attacked by an Adversary doesn't (directly) involve players.

Think of it this way: even if you are rolling the players don't need to know how the dice fall, or how much Endurance LMCs and Adversaries have remaining. They only "need" to know the visible results: somebody hits or misses somebody else, somebody falls to an arrow, etc. So why even roll dice? Just announce whatever will make the story most interesting.
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Halbarad
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Halbarad » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:52 pm

That's fair enough. I have found, however, that the table above has come in extremely useful for combats featuring up to a dozen LM characters. It's certainly a case of 'horses for courses' though. There would be times where a quick 'ad lib' suffices in my game as well, but usually only if characters are being accompanied by named LM characters of renown or importance to the story, that I do not wish slain by random circumstance. :)

Stormcrow
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Stormcrow » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:59 pm

You can think of it this way:

Would you follow the full rules for combat and roll for every Loremaster character in a battle in which the player-heroes were not even present? Of course not.

Would you follow the full rules of combat and roll for every Loremaster character in a battle in which the player-heroes were present but not participating? The players would get to sit around and watch you make lots of rolls and announce what they see happen. Lots of fun for them, right? No, you wouldn't do that.

If the player-heroes were fighting, but the battle was large enough to be occurring in two separate groups, and the player-heroes are all fighting in one group, would you roll for every Loremaster character in the second group and tell them what happened round by round? Again, the players sit around and wait for you to roll for Loremaster characters whose actions don't directly affect them.

So if the battle is in a single group, and one Loremaster character fights another Loremaster character, and no player-heroes fight either of them, do you really need to follow the full rules of combat and roll everything for them? You didn't need to when the Loremaster characters were physically separate from the player-heroes. What's the difference now?

You could use the full rules, and since it's just one character on one character it's not too onerous or boring for the players, but you've established that you don't actually need to go through the motions when the players aren't directly involved. So why do it?

Halbarad
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Halbarad » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:40 am

People play in different ways and derive enjoyment from different aspects of the game. Stormcrow asks why the OP would bother. It sounds that, like me, it suits the OPs style of play and that is the only reason that matters.

The table I use, from the earlier post, is only a slightly more elaborate version of the fudge that Poohsticks mentioned earlier. I find that it adds an element of uncertainty to events and I usually let my players roll on the table for the 'red shirts'.

Going through the actual combat system for a group of NPCs, assigning stances etc, would be too onerous for me. I think that my proposal strikes a happy medium between the two.
Last edited by Halbarad on Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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