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 Post subject: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:35 am 
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I noticed that combat encounters can drag on, so I've been thinking about how to minimise that.

Looking up rules
Partly, we're still looking stuff up, cause we don't know the rules off by heart.
I'm already looking at re-organising the combat rules to make them easier to reference - but I'll put together a cheat sheet for combat so we spend less time digging in the rules.

Too much maths
Also, I'm trying to handle too much maths - your attacks deal "damage", but I have to consider how much is coming off VP or WP, and what is effected by DR and so on.
I think I should just cut through this and tell you how much DR a monster has, and let you take that off the damage you deal for me. I'll tell you when you've hit WP instead of VP, too.

Fatigued monsters are fiddly to keep track of when there's a bunch of different combatants, too. I'm going to re-define "fatigue" for NPCs to cause -1 to all rolls. (It's nearly the same, but it's easier to keep track of.) Remind me if you think a monster is fatigued!

Knock-out
Mook monsters are taking too long to drop. A goblin in vanilla D&D/PF has 6 hp, whereas in six20 they have 9. That's the difference between an average low level character taking one hit to drop the goblin and two hits.
The ruling we came up with for Knock-out saves (making them fairly easy to make) means that the mechanic is only important for very big tough monsters. By the time a goblin mook has a big enough penalty to reliably fail a KO save, he's already dead.

So, I think the save should be harder: instead of DC 10 + 1/previous KO save, it'll be DC 20 + 1/previous KO save.
Heroes get a +10 heroic bonus to this save: effectively, your DC stays as 10 + 1/previous.

We already set a Knock-out threshold, so that a shurkien doesn't drop a dragon (unless its with sneak attack). I'm going to add the creature's size modifier to that threshold, too, so that big beasties get to ignore most hits.

KO Threshold = HD / Level + size modifier (minimum 1)

So a goblin's KOT = 1 (HD) -1 (size) = 0 = 1 (any time a goblin is hit, it must save vs KO)
A gorilla's KOT = 3 (HD) +1 (size) = 4 (any hit dealing 4 or more damage provokes a KO save)

I'll start adding these KO Thresholds to the bestiary.

Anything else?
Is there anything else we can do (without changing the rules too much) that'll speed up combat?

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:02 am 
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All of the above suggestions are great.

I think a quick reference guide would be really helpful.

Perhaps it could be set out like a flow chart?

So it would have the different options of things you could do during your activation.

Then for example a list of what you can do on a critical.

Making simple instructions of what you can do in a turn would speed it up a lot imo


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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:26 am 
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Here's what I think should go on the cheat sheet:

Action types
Attack rolls: basic maths of the roll, and all the modifiers in a table (cover, high ground, flanking, etc)
Defence rolls: same as for attack
KO saves
Critical options

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:11 pm 
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Sounds good to me


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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Players could consider noting their combat feats on index cards or similar so that they have them to hand during encounters, rather than having to look up or remember page numbers. This is something that I keep meaning to do myself with the various trip/feint/disarm actions Legs can make.

The only real drawback I can see to revealing DR is that it takes away some of the unknown and the tension from combat. It's more nail-biting to see massive hits being made against some gribbly and see it still standing and wondering how tough this thing is and if we're going to make it than it is to roll damage and realise one may as well not have bothered rolling since it didn't breach DR. Can't think of another suggestion however so in lieu of that, this seems fair.

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:19 pm 
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Well - you still get the mystery of wondering what kind of DR it is: plain armour/toughness, or supernatural.

I've made a cheat sheet now, and included Concentration DCs and Effect Combinations per level.
It's 2 sides of A4 - can't cram anything else in there. I'll print some off for next session.

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:31 pm 
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On my excel character sheet I have all of the feat effects summarised for quick reference.

I find that helps a lot


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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Most people work out dr anyway. Prefer not to know personally


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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:13 am 
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Chris, if I may, I'll try to persuade you that knowing about DR is less of an issue in six20 than in 3.x...

In 3.x, only certain creatures get DR at all, and usually the magical ones. (Some creatures get DR vs certain weapon types, because of verisimilitude - skeletons aren't bothered by piercing weapons, for example - but most are magical effects.)
Maintaining mystery about this DR is appropriate, because the attacker isn't sure how it works. All they can manage if they make a knowledge check to recognise the monster's abilities, is something like: "My sword is nearly useless! We need magical weapons / blessed weapons / silver weapons / etc..."

Whereas, in six20, most creatures have DR of some sort - including the heroes - from armour, or tough hide. So it's easier for a character to see that their attacks are having little effect on the target due to protection from armour or hide (DR), and estimate the toughness of that protection.

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:16 pm 
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After a bunch of mini-play tests with Helen, I've decided that DR is for heroes only - I'm going to revert all the monsters to have a higher Defence, and no DR unless they have a special DR (like Dr/good, or DR/magic, or similar).

It's so much easier to run the fight that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:36 am 
When my group play d&d we try and only look up rules on a situation that would result in a character death, otherwise we play with what we think is right... Assuming our rules lawyer isn't crying or something.

taking the DR away from monster could make combats a bit easy

do you tell your players the AC or relevant stat once they have hit it once so they know what they need to roll to yet... if this don't apply to pathfinder ignore it

also if you use mini's you can put markers or something on the fatigued ones?


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 Post subject: Re: Faster combat - discussion
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:18 pm 
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We've put these rules into play now for a few sessions, and they work well.

I've also found that minis generally slow down play, so I avoid them when I can.
If the fight is going to be complex, and positioning important (last session the PCs were up against two groups of enemies, attacking from in front and behind, in a complex of corridors), then I'll use them - but I tend to just describe the scene and play more abstractedly

As for looking up rules - we're using the Pathfinder subforum not because we're playing pure PF, but because it's the closest sub-forum for our game. The rules we're using aren't really the Pathfinder rules, just loosely based on them.
So the reason we don't know the rules by heart is because we're all new to this. The cheat sheet seems to have fixed this though.

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