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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles RPG

About Combat

posted Mar 12, 2015 22:33:42 by Alakhai
I have started a new campaign with my players to introduce them slowly to the new system (we have been playing 2nd Edition until last summer and we have tested every alpha and beta of this system). Each week that a new portion of the book comes out I try to introduce these things in the story (this week we will use vehicle combat).

I have found some things that maybe I have misread or misunderstood.

-There is no penalty to shoot at a melee? For example, one of your friends is fighting in close combat or with a pistol at reach distance with an enemy. You can shoot freely to that melee without hitting your friend?

-Movement is favouring melee characters a lot. Example we have a fight inside a warehouse, with a lot of big boxes, machines and such. There are a few lines of sights and a lot of cover. You can move anywere with your move action to go Reach distance, and people with guns need to do the Withdraw action every turn, and that is your Standar Action! People with Close Combat weapons can move AND Attack you in the same turn, you cannot escape!

I have decide to use two "house rules" but it is better fix the game at this stage than houserule :P

If you shoot at a melee where are allies and you dont want to risk hit your friend, increase the difficult to hit 1 level. Weapons like shotguns increase the difficult in the same rate of their spread vale.

I am thinking in how to houserule the same situation with grenades and flametrowers.
Vini, vidi, vici et fuit facilis. Alakhai
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71 replies
Nicholas Simpson said Mar 13, 2015 05:40:12
1) If you note, there are actually NO penalties specifically listed for combat other than being outside of weapon range. Everything else seems to be meant to be up to the GM. It would be nice to get a quick listing of basic difficulty penalties for combat, similar to the listing done in the skills chapter. If you're wondering about risking friendly fire, that's what repercussions are for...

2)By my reading of the rules, "Reach" is really only anything within about arm's length. So it will take at least a restricted action to move to somewhere in the same zone as someone (close range). By my reading of the rules, moving to an adjacent zone (Medium Range) with a restricted action will not also allow you to move within reach of them. So the Movement restricted action lets you move to anywhere or anyone in the same zone as you, OR move to be located in an adjacent zone, but not at any specific point within the zone (although a GM may allow you to use the adjust stance free action to duck into cover if the new zone you enter is full of cover). So yeah, melee weapons are going to be able to do well in close range combat, but will require a good bit of movement against medium or long range weapons. Keep in mind too that players facing melee opponents normally get to go before them and NPCs facing melee opponents can be activated early by the GM to take shots before the player can charge up. Also, depending on how Modiphius rules the use of momentum spends, you may be able to use momentum from any successful action to withdraw. So it may only take a successful dodge action with momentum to withdraw from being engaged. It's also been suggested on the forum that an action can pre-emptively spend momentum by increasing its difficulty, such as making an attack and pre-emptively announcing that you're withdrawing or drawing a weapon using momentum from the roll.

So yeah, moving and engaging in combat in one turn only works if you're already at close range. That warehouse fight sounds like it should be split into quite a few zones to reflect how hard it is to move quickly, making it more difficult to run up and melee people. Also, you may be able to withdraw more easily using momentum spends.

3) As far as your house rules go, I again would say that repercussion is going to cover you for worries about friendly fire. The GM can spend DSPs to inflict dread on characters, right? If someone shoots a shotgun into a crowded engagement, the GM may decide to try increasing the players dread with DSPs to reflect the stress of doing that. Also, I've asked for the rules to clarify this, but blast and torrent weapons (grenades and flamethrowers) already state that the player can spend momentum to affect targets. I don't see why the GM couldn't in turn spend DSPs to affect targets wit the blast either.

EDIT: I don't see why the GM couldn't just spend DSPs to say that you caused additional friendly fire when shooting into a melee engagement. I gave feedback asking for some guidelines on how much damage 1DSP should be worth inflicting on a player, but I think a 1:1 damage die:DSP basis would work fairly well.
[Last edited Mar 13, 2015 05:44:02]
JakeBernstein said Mar 16, 2015 03:21:06
I'm still hoping for a tactical combat supplement before it's time for my group to play. Right now, I don't think I could do it without heavy house ruling. Just not enough detail and I find the "well the GM should just make a call" "mechanic" to be a major cop-out for a rules system. That said, I'm still very excited for what I'm seeing. There is enough material there and enough of a system to create a great game, it just may take a while and a few optional rules supplements (like real combat rules).
Nicholas Simpson said Mar 16, 2015 16:36:11
So what do you want for "real" combat rules? The game has a basic conversion for the abstract distances. The reload system I could see being overhauled for people who like tracking ammo (funny how a lot of people seem to ignore ammo but if it's taken out of the rules, the few folks who do track it get upset). What else might be needed? I would like a modifier table for combat similar to the one listed for in the skills chapter. The combat skills in the skills chapter allude to modifiers being discussed in the combat chapter, but there are none to be seen. A single page table would be nice.

So basically you have, for possible combat fixes, 1) set distances and ranges, 2) actual ammo counts, and 3) combat modifiers. Number 1 is already roughly given, and number 3 is easily determined by the GM (who would otherwise be responsible for remembering possible modifiers for every roll, aka will make stuff up when he forgets). So really, all you're left with is ammo counts, which mostly seems like a houserules thing. What other combat rules could be added?
JakeBernstein said Mar 16, 2015 19:12:12
I don't think it will take much, as you've pointed out. I think there's a great basic set of rules here, and I look forward to writing up some house rules to suit my tastes. Ammo counts are trivial, given the older editions, and I think I can easily figure out how to use the Encumbrance and Cost rules to make it work. I already have some ideas for autofire house rules too.

Aside from that and what you've written, there are just some oddities that need to be worked out like using Momentum for Penetration vs Damage (something as simple as Penetration lets you ignore 2 Soak or up to 1/2 the total Soak of your target).

Clearer movement rules would be good and I'd divorce certain weapon qualities from the weapons and make them basic rules (like Parry). Otherwise, I'm largely very excited by what I've seen so far.

BY the way, one of the major oddities with the abstract reload system can be found in the pistol descriptions. The MP-105 is described as having unmatched magazine capacity, but I see absolutely no game effect for that. Why would I use an MP-105 with these rules? In 1st and 2nd Eds, an MP-105 had 58 shots per magazine...but now, I'm better off using a Punisher, which used to have only 13 shots.
[Last edited Mar 16, 2015 19:19:58]
Nicholas Simpson said Mar 16, 2015 19:29:25
I actually noticed too that with the munition rule you can have guns that have a grenade launcher built in with 6 or more barrels where the weight from a full load of grenades would be more than the gun itself.

I think a good rule working within the an no constraints would be to 1) track reloads as a separate resource (similar to wounds or what have you) and 2) have certain weapons or pieces of equipment add boxes to that track. Meaning that the high magazine weapons could allow extra loads to be carried or extra grenades.
JakeBernstein said Mar 16, 2015 19:47:41
The other issue with Munition weapons is that it completely kills the various automatic grenade launchers. The Southpaw is supposed to have 19 rockets to a drum, but it just gets abstracted away so it's just like all the others. I think the abstract reloads thing was going too far. I admit that it works FINE for games like Star Wars where you have arbitrary energy "magazines," but it breaks down so badly for a game like MC with guns. Again, we know how guns work in real life, there's no reason to get all abstract with them, especially when it totally breaks suspension of disbelief.
JakeBernstein said Mar 16, 2015 19:51:27
I think a good rule working within the an no constraints would be to 1) track reloads as a separate resource (similar to wounds or what have you) and 2) have certain weapons or pieces of equipment add boxes to that track. Meaning that the high magazine weapons could allow extra loads to be carried or extra grenades.

That's similar to an idea I had earlier about making every "reload" into 4 boxes and tracking 1/4 magazines instead of full magazines. Make it a compromise abstract system. Certain weapons would have special qualities that would add boxes to each reload, much as you've described. So, MP-105s might be "Caseless" and get 2 (or even 4) more boxes per reload, but the Reloads would be double the normal Encumbrance. Or something, I haven't thought this through yet, but that's the basic idea.

I'm also happy to just data from certain other RPGs and extrapolate ammo weights to more exactitude (though I admit that's not really in the spirit of MC, even for me).
JamesFischl said Mar 17, 2015 00:35:22
So it will take at least a restricted action to move to somewhere in the same zone as someone (close range). By my reading of the rules, moving to an adjacent zone (Medium Range) with a restricted action will not also allow you to move within reach of them. So the Movement restricted action lets you move to anywhere or anyone in the same zone as you, OR move to be located in an adjacent zone, but not at any specific point within the zone.

See this to me highlights an inherent contradiction with these super-abstract rules. "Within reach" is stated to be a specific location within a zone that you must spend an action to move to. Yet player locations are never specifically tracked,you are just "in a zone." How is it, then, that you must move to a specific point for melee range? How do you know you aren't already there? If it takes two actions always to move into melee range from a different zone that must pre-suppose your target is not at whatever point in the zone you are at when you initially move into that zone. That also pre-supposes a defined position for that target; if the area in which they are not is defined then therefore the area in which they are would also have to be defined.

Again we have the need to define exact positions in a system that eschewes them. This is why this whole abstract movement system feels confusing and counter intuitive to me. It's just a big headache to try to picture in my mind in any realistic sense and for me it breaks any narrative you try and make with it.
[Last edited Mar 17, 2015 00:55:28]
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Nicholas Simpson said Mar 17, 2015 04:06:41
I've explained this before, but abstract "zones" work on the same principal of having an attack during a round of combat represent more than a single swing of the sword. A lot of modern, and even many older, rpgs define a combat round as a set amount of time, and an attack action as representing a bunch of ducking and weaving and slashing and so on. This is because most folks don't want the granularity of timing out each swing of a sword (due to it taking a lot of time to implement and due to most people not being swordmasters who know how to swing a sword) and so that they don't feel like they're only swinging their sword once in a six second round.

So for these abstract zones, consider that in a lot of combats, people will be moving around a lot, ducking and weaving in and out of cover, attacking and counter attacking in melee, and just plain navigating the battlefield. During those 6 seconds, your character could be anywhere in the zone, the same way the blow that actually hits an opponent might be the first swing of the sword or the tenth. Consider that most people don't sit or stand still when they're fighting, and you can see that it's actually kind of unrealistic to have folks engaged in melee be confined to a single spot in a map as they swing their swords back and forth at each other. It makes more sense that they'd be battling it out all over the zone. By requiring a move action to engage someone in the same zone as you, you're not just moving to where they're standing, you're seeking them out, following them as they move, and springing at them to attack.

Something else to consider is that if you've ever played with a grid, you're effectively just using fairly small-sized abstract zones. Most grids have one square equal 5'x5', and only allow one person to exist in a single square. So right there, you have something similar to the zone mechanic.

Also, I know you'll want to mention that some people will just stay in one place during combat, such as ducked behind cover. If there's a really good holed up position, consider making it a zone unto itself. That gives it some extra tactical considerations for people assaulting it.
JakeBernstein said Mar 17, 2015 05:33:46
Actually, I kind of like that explanation of zone combat. The ammo thing is a much bigger deal to me, along with the associated burst fire rules.

Nicholas, I'm curious if you think the burst rules are useful at all for the cost or if they seem okay to you as is.
JamesFischl said Mar 17, 2015 06:37:53
OK Nicholas, I see what you're getting at and I agree with that concept; it makes sense and is cohesive when you look at it that way. However I still find it difficult to picture in realistic terms for many situations. Let me give an example. Maybe this represents a misunderstanding of the rules, in which case I would appreciate being corrected.

Let's say we're in a modern day backyard, say 100ft square. The yard is empty save a small toolshed, 6ft wide and square footprint. The heroes have chased a Legion cultist to this yard in a running gun battle and they think he's hiding in the shed. They want to go flush him out and capture him.

We have a combat situation here. We could say the entire yard is a "zone." What if the players want to sneak up on the shed and pounce on the Cultist, surprising him? They move into position first turn and, once there, strike on the second. They know the Cultist may have the door cracked to watch outside so they want to move to the rear of the shed.

Now let me describe the same situation purely in terms of the game's rules system. A party of heroes enter a zone. There is a cultist within the same zone. The major feature of the zone is a toolshed. The heroes want to move into melee range and do. Fight happens.

I would expect the game rules to be representative of the game narrative and to resolve "how the action unfolds." But the amount of creative effort and suspension of disbelief to convert that scene as described in the game terms to the scene in cinematic, visually imaginable terms is ridiculous! The combat system is so completely divorced from an imaginable depiction of events that it represents a huge detraction from immersion or any cinematic experience. Their effort to simplify and smooth things has resulted in a completely conceptual and non-imaginable modelling system.
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AmazingOnionMan said Mar 17, 2015 10:45:02
A "Zone" is just newfanglish for "either you're within reach or you're not - and that's up to the GM".
It works very well in a loose and fast game, but breaks down a bit or two if you're using a battlemat and trying to approach a situation in a tactically sound manner - which the game simply doesn't seem to cover.
I'm used to the zone-structure even if I've never referred to it as such, so that doesn't bother me much. But I'd have preferred a more detailed system covering all bases instead of the single base it's covering now.
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JakeBernstein said Mar 17, 2015 14:59:31
I have hope that they will produce a "tactically sound" combat system too at some point. I think people would like it for this game.
JamesFischl said Mar 17, 2015 15:16:52
It works very well in a loose and fast game, but breaks down a bit or two if you're using a battlemat and trying to approach a situation in a tactically sound manner - which the game simply doesn't seem to cover.

See I can't understand how anyone would fail to look at combat in a non-tactical manner, especially when you begin to involve professional soldiers that are a big part of the MC universe. It doesn't necessarily mean playing Rainbow Six with every encounter; tactical thinking could be so much as using cover or approaching stealthily. If that kind if action is 100% abstracted in this system then combat is reduced to nothing more than move and attack. Might as well get rid of all the rest of the rules, they would be extraneous anyway.

As we discuss this game's combat system I am having more and more difficulty seeing how it possibly adds to the narrative and makes things cinematic and smooth. It seems to be increasingly doing the opposite.
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Nicholas Simpson said Mar 17, 2015 17:01:52
As far as the burst fire rules go, I know that the original implementation was vastly overpowered. Getting up to 3 extra d20s (which could each be worth an extra momentum for damage or something else), AND an extra damage die was a bit too overpowered. The current implementation seems okay, as it's similar to spending a DSP with an added effect of extra damage. Is it as good as what you get for spending banked momentum? Eh, not really, but I've already made it known that banked momentum kind of breaks the economy of the game as an easily renewable resource with no drawbacks to its use and a powerful effect. So as it stands, spending one of you very limited stock of reloads gives a fairly paltry effect. I think that bumping it up to adding 1d20 and 2 damage dice per reload spent could be a good compromise. I also agree with you that the naming of the different firing modes doesn't really fit with what those firing modes actually mean in combat.

It occurs to me that another way to use reloads would be to have each weapon essentially have a "super Attack" that costs one reload. Maybe it adds damage dice, weapon qualities, free momentum, or other things. The same would apply to munitions weapons as well, to get past the issue of them taking up too much weight. Plus, super attacks! That's always fun.

Well, your problem is that you made the area one big zone when it should obviously be divided up into multiple ones. At the least, the shed should be its own zone within the field. And if "behind the shed" is a tactically important spot, it should be its own zone as well. So now you have in front of the shed, behind the shed, and the shed itself as zones. Yes, this means that the effective range of weapons may differ based on how you define zones. This game is more concerned with basing a map on its tactical situation than on its exact distances, however. I would again say that this kind of distortion isn't really that far off from trying to fit maps into grids and then adding things like debris or cover to the map that dont fit In an exact number of squares.

So yeah, when you make a zone map you need to think tactically and use the map to emphasize tactics. Being behind the shed makes sneaking less difficult but requires hopping the fence around the yard. Being in the shed provides cover. The shed can only exit into the front part of the yard, not the back. Things like that. Provided you're not trying to mode exact distances, the abstract zones can reflect most any kind of situation you come up with.

Like I demonstrate above, there's a bit more tactical nuance to using zones than just using abstract ranges alone. It's up to the GM to define the parameters of the zones and how they affect the rules. Ideally, the GM section would just list out a bunch of different rules effects of zones that the GM can choose from when making a map. Barring that, the community can make the table themselves.

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