Handling Other NPC's in Combat

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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by Halbarad » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:40 pm

Thanks for the kind words Majestic, Falenthal, Hunter and Rich.

I think that this short discourse has revealed that there are many different styles of LMing the described situation and I don't think that any of them are the 'wrong' way to set about it. I think that TOR has room for all these LM styles and more.

'Off the Cuff' is strongly favoured by some but the notion of a randomising table as a gaming aid seems to have a number of adherents also, useful at least in certain circumstances.

I hope that the OP finds something useful in here.

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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by HunterGreen » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:32 pm

Stormcrow wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:18 pm
I find it easier to say "So-and-so is off battling his own orcs" than to come up with stances and target numbers and Endurance values and so on for So-and-so. When the battle is over, all I have to do is announce something plausible: "So-and-so killed three orcs, The last one stabbed him with a spear before going down, but the wound isn't life-threatening."
A table like Halbarad's is demanding far, far less than having to come up with stances and target numbers and Endurance values and so on. That's what I mean -- at one extreme is a lot of work for me as a loremaster in doing all that paperwork, and at the other end is less but still some work for me as a loremaster in having to make sure that what I make up is plausible and not the same every time; and in between is a sweet spot where a single Feat roll gives me the unpredictability of battle, without any of the paperwork overhead. But if making up suitably appropriate yet unpredictable outcomes on the fly takes up less effort for you than the Feat roll and table would, that's your sweet spot. Everyone should be able to pick theirs.
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Re: Handling Other NPC's in Combat

Post by gsecaur » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:58 pm

I realize this is (mostly) an old, old conversation, but HunterGreen's post brought it to my attention. This actually came up for me in last Friday's session, in which the PCs were fighting Marsh-dwellers with a number of NPC allies.

I used the general idea of the "Allies in Battle" table from "Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbits". I didn't want to have to hold that book open in front of me, but I remembered the gist well enough to fake it. Roll a single Feat die, and a high roll favors the good guys, while a low roll favors the bad guys. A Gandalf or Eye result means someone gets skewered badly, but otherwise, it's just an indicator of the tide as it affects the NPCs. It's up to the LM to describe exactly what that means, but as HunterGreen says, it introduces some unpredictability, creates the possibility that an important NPC might be Wounded or even killed (if that works for the story), and adds more flavor to the scene.

I'm not sure a true table is necessary -- the die result is just an indicator to the LM of which way to lean in his description -- but, as others have said many times, different strokes for different folks.


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