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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.
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Vini, vidi, vici et fuit facilis. Alakhai
http://www.mutantchronicles.es/
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71 replies
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JakeBernstein said Mar 20, 2015 16:52:58
Thanks, that's super helpful. Vicious and other DSI qualities will change that too.
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Nicholas Simpson said Mar 20, 2015 20:52:20
Actually, I had it wrong. You should actually add the spread value for EACH [DS] rolled. So go to the example of a weapon dealing 2 + [3DS] Spread 2.
1) baseline average of 3.5
2) half of that rounded down is 1
3) subtract .5 damage (average DSI damage) from that to account for each DSI rolled not adding to the baseline average to get .5 (I'm pretty sure this is correct, but im not 100% on it)
4) Spread is 2, so each DSI rolled will deal .5 damage to 2 locations for a total of 1 damage
5) you now get this new average damage for a DS (average of 1, 2, 0, 0, 0, 1) for 2/3 average damage per die
6) so now your final average damage is 4

I'll have to get back to you after just running the numbers and tallying out all of the results. It shouldn't take too long. Just have to result out all of the possibilities for a couple different weapons.

Vicious is much easier. It just adds to average damage. So to average out damage, you just take the average of (1,2,0,0,0,damage added by DSI ability). So vicious 2 would change the average to .83.
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JakeBernstein said Mar 21, 2015 04:38:05
So, here's my thinking/problem/ideas:

I could go one of two ways:

1) Try to balance the weapon damage with Soak values and either eliminate entirely or only allow Momentum spend for damage on certain types of attacks and use the concepts for autofire that I've already mentioned where you compare FULL damage of the weapon against the Soak of the target.

2) Try to balance weapon damage with Soak values, allow the player to allocate Momentum to damage freely and use the current rules for Spread (the half damage thing) and then allow Autofire to add to Spread (as Nicholas suggested upthread).

I'm not sure that either of these is "better" than the other. The main issue is that Option 2 will play havoc with player expectations regarding the effectiveness of armor. The main issue with Option 1 is that it may make armor "too good" and too difficult to deal with (this was always a conflict in the original game rules vs. the fluff--guns seemed to pierce armor regularly in the fluff, but in the rules, it was nearly impossible to hurt certain types of armor).

I know for me that Option 1 will be easier to eyeball, since you will primarily be comparing weapon damage to Soak value whereas with Option 2, the result of the skill roll is going to have an immensely important role in determining how much armor you can get through (Piranha handguns will blow away Doomtroopers with Soak 5 torso armor, which is...questionable, at best).

The thing about my option 1 is that will result in a LOT more damage rolls than the RAW requires. If you like rolling damage, that's fine, but if you don't, it will slow things down. OTOH, rolling more allows those averages to show up more often, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Either way, I want to be mindful of the fact that MC isn't exactly a hyperrealistic game and that handguns routinely punch through heavy armor. (Note that the Piranha vs Punisher used to be 1d4+1 vs 1d6+2, and the weapons are closer together now...Punisher is 3 average + Knockdown vs Piranha's 2.5 average.)

As much as it makes the simulationist side of me cringe, I'm actually starting to lean towards Option 2 as "best" for the game as written. After all, the fiction is full of handguns killing armored troopers--that's just how the universe operates. I'm still not sure the best way to deal with Ammo consumption, but I think I will go with full ammo tracking anyway.

Burst: 3 rounds, 1d20+Spread 1
Full Auto: 10 rounds, 2d20+ Spread 2
Let Rip: 20 rounds, 3d20+Burst (Close) + Spread 1

So, example: a character firing a Punisher on Burst without buying DSP dice rolls 3d20. Let's assume 3 successes for Momentum 2, both of which get added to damage. Damage is now 1+DS4+2 and Spread 1. Let's say the damage dice are 1, 1, 3, 6. This is 5 damage to 1 location and 2 damage to another.

With option 1 (and my other rules), the result from above is actually 3 hits all dealing 1+DS4, so 3 damage to 3 locations (on average).

So now I've talked myself back into Option 1. I don't know, guess I'll have to run some more examples.
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Alakhai said Mar 21, 2015 18:13:54
I have been thinking in another 'patch' for the ammo problem, but it needs set it for ALL the weapons.

Each reload represents a pool of dice that you can use and expend depending if you fire mode is 1,2 or 3.


Examples:
Punisher has a pool of 3d20/3d6 per reload representing the magazine, you can expend it in 'let it rip' actions, 3 actions with +1d20/1d6, 1 action of +3d20/3d6 or a mix of 2 actions +1d20/1d6 and +2d20/2d6.
When you have used all the pool you need to use a reload action and use a reload to take again another pool of 3d20/3d6.

MP-105 has a pool of 9d20/9d6 per reload representing the magazine, you can expend it in 'let it rip' actions using the 3 different fire modes 1, 2 or 3.


Weapons like the Justifier, Light or Heavy Machineguns with ammunition belts should be on the top of these ones, maybe 15 or 20 dice.

This also will reduce the use of Dark Symmetry dice from the players, so, its is a core problem of the game.
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Vini, vidi, vici et fuit facilis. Alakhai
http://www.mutantchronicles.es/
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JakeBernstein said Mar 21, 2015 21:27:40
I agree that the DSP economy conflicts with the notion of autofire being more easily available, however, I think that can be resolved. For example, maybe it takes 2 momentum for an "Extra Hit" or something. There are so so many ways to look at and play with this that I'm 100% confident a relatively "balanced" (whatever that means) solution can be found.
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Nicholas Simpson said Mar 21, 2015 23:01:31
@james

I'm not sure what about Spread bothers you. I look at the half damage thing being more like the first hit has the majority of the shot/pellets/whatever hit it, with additional hit targets getting hit by fewer shots/pellets. So you get full damage to the primary hit location, because it takes the brunt of the blast, plus half damage to other locations, which get smaller amounts of the blast. The damage values for weapons are taking not just bullet calibre/characteristics into account, but also the ability of the gun to hit someone with several bullets at once.

Also I've been trying to run numbers on a precise formula to calculate the effect of spread on average damage, and it's a bit of a nightmare. I think the formula I mentioned above works decently as a "good enough" heuristic.
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JakeBernstein said Mar 22, 2015 02:56:10
I think you meant Jake, but I get ya.

Anyway, I tend to always start with a simulationist bent to RPGs, so the Spread bothered me because I wasn't sure why bullets impacting later had less kinetic energy than the ones that hit first--it simply doesn't compute from that point of view. However, I also later took a more gamist view of things and that's what I was kind of getting at in my post from yesterday.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it--it's probably better design to keep things gamist and try to move on from simulationist thinking with this combat system. If you do that, then I think it might make a fix easier for all this, but I'm not sure how yet. The simulationist route DOES provide some advantages though, and I'm not ready to give up on making that work with respect to damage, ammo tracking, armor penetration, and automatic weapons.
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JoshuaKlug said Mar 23, 2015 12:52:08
Suggestion for Let Rip:
Using the Let Rip action adds the weapon quality "Out of Ammo X", where X equals the number of d20 added to the attack roll. The Out of Ammo quality causes the loss of 1 reload for each DSI rolled up to X.

This allows for the longer potential use of a single reload to balance the encumbrance issue and it helps to address the description conflict. It also uses current game mechanics to execute.
[Last edited Mar 23, 2015 12:55:10]
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JakeBernstein said Mar 24, 2015 05:44:06
I have been thinking in another 'patch' for the ammo problem, but it needs set it for ALL the weapons.

Each reload represents a pool of dice that you can use and expend depending if you fire mode is 1,2 or 3.


Examples:
Punisher has a pool of 3d20/3d6 per reload representing the magazine, you can expend it in 'let it rip' actions, 3 actions with +1d20/1d6, 1 action of +3d20/3d6 or a mix of 2 actions +1d20/1d6 and +2d20/2d6.
When you have used all the pool you need to use a reload action and use a reload to take again another pool of 3d20/3d6.

MP-105 has a pool of 9d20/9d6 per reload representing the magazine, you can expend it in 'let it rip' actions using the 3 different fire modes 1, 2 or 3.


Weapons like the Justifier, Light or Heavy Machineguns with ammunition belts should be on the top of these ones, maybe 15 or 20 dice.


This has a lot of potential. It's a way to track ammo without tracking the full numbers. If we assume that +1d20 is roughly 3 bullets, then we can obtain reasonable numbers from 1st edition stats. The Function then limits the number of d20s you can spend in a turn (semi-auto is 1, burst is 2, full auto is 3). Still not sure what to do with the extra bullets, but hey, it's a work in progress.

For pistols, for example, you'd get:

Bolter: 6d20
Ironfist: 8d20
Ronin: 5d20
P1000: 7d20
Aggressor: 9d20
Punisher: 4d20
Piranha: 3d20

However, you still have the oddity of infinite magazines if you choose not to use the d20s, so I'm just going to stick with ammo counting.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Mar 28, 2015 21:39:42
There's a chapter dealing with environments, zones, and scenes. It's not been laid out yet, but it's coming. There are several fairly extensive examples there - I chose to provide examples of complete environments, in this case a section of street, a night-club, and a section of a trenches and no-man's land.

To the example brought up... the 'open yard with a shed' would be one zone if I was running the game... but it wouldn't be the only zone. The adjacent street, and the building across the road, would both be additional zones (the building may be many, depending on how much detail you want, as would other locations nearby. Combat, by design, happens across larger areas, so that open yard would be one part of a larger environment.

With regards to special ammo... I wrote rules for it (it was in the Belongings chapter), but a lot of things had to be cut for space reasons (the belongings chapter is a little over half its original size). Broadly, it's a way of applying certain Ammo qualities to a weapon - so ammo blessed by a Brotherhood Mystic gains Ammo (Pious 2), for example.

With regards to ammo... it took a long time to get to a version of the rules that accomplished the right results. Earlier versions just added weapon qualities, or bonus Momentum. One earlier version gave each weapon a rate of fire and a capacity - each weapon could spend up to RoF loads of ammo on a single attack action, and when the weapon had spent a number of loads of ammo equal to capacity, you needed to spend an action to reload. Eventually, after a number of iterations, we dropped the capacity and the action to reload.

The idea is that faster-firing weapons can use up their available ammunition more quickly, and in action-movie style, blazing away with a machine gun produces an apocalyptic hell-storm of firepower, compared to firing your handgun until it goes click. Action movie logic trumps realism where the system is concerned.

With Spread, it's not that bullets are hitting with less force, because we aren't tracking individual bullets during an attack. With an attack action being a collection of individual attacks abstracted into a single game event, we've got several shots impacting against the target hit location. Spread means that a few of the shots fired clip other locations, but nowhere near as many as hit the main location, because the shots have spread out or there's simply a lot of shots being fired.

With regards to damage, it's deliberate that weapons overpower armour alone. Firstly, action movie logic means that blowing away monsters with big guns (because even the Piranha is huge) is the intent. Secondly, taking cover (Gears of War style) supplements armour. PCs have layers of wounds to help keep them alive, but it's still important to take cover.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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JakeBernstein said Mar 29, 2015 00:21:49
Action movie logic trumps realism where the system is concerned.


Well, that's fine for some limited set of players, but quite honestly a deal breaker for many others. Can you make some alternate rules available at some point to solve the issues with it? And it's not simply that you are trumping "realism," with many of these rules, the rules as written, in some areas, make zero logical sense to the point of becoming headache-inducing and suspenders-of-disbelief breaking.

The damage is fine, the big guns is fine, the cover rules are fine, the zones and environments seem interesting to me and more detail will help. The ONLY thing that I simply cannot figure out is the combination of the ammo, firing mode, and Reload rules.

Frankly...

One earlier version gave each weapon a rate of fire and a capacity - each weapon could spend up to RoF loads of ammo on a single attack action, and when the weapon had spent a number of loads of ammo equal to capacity, you needed to spend an action to reload. Eventually, after a number of iterations, we dropped the capacity and the action to reload.


I'd love to see that iteration of the rules.
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JakeBernstein said Mar 29, 2015 00:26:13
With Spread, it's not that bullets are hitting with less force, because we aren't tracking individual bullets during an attack. With an attack action being a collection of individual attacks abstracted into a single game event, we've got several shots impacting against the target hit location. Spread means that a few of the shots fired clip other locations, but nowhere near as many as hit the main location, because the shots have spread out or there's simply a lot of shots being fired.


I'm coming around to this idea, mostly because keeping it abstract will probably work better than trying to mix and match simulationist and gamist design theories (which is the problem with most of my alternate rules). With autofire adding d20s and damage dice (and possibly Spread, I still like that idea), you can spend Momentum on damage and make Spread pretty useful.

I think with the cut Belongings rules for Ammo (Quality) and the Capacity/RoF rules you discarded, I'd be ready to go. Please please post them?
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JakeBernstein said Mar 29, 2015 04:31:07
Ok, so I have an idea here that I'm starting to like a lot. This is a middle ground between trying to go overly simulationist with a game that wasn't designed that way and which also recognizes the inherent action movie-esque of MC, even if you try to play it fairly grim & gritty (and I have further ideas on how to do that...for one, just make ALL NPCs "Elite" so they all have full hit location tracks and all roll 2d20) and maintaining the overall abstract feel of the current system.

First, I will track ammo fully and use MC numbers from 1st/2nd edition (I'll just guess for the Whitestar guns).

Second, I will assign Cost, Restriction, and Encumbrance to the reloads in a way that seems logical.

Third, I will introduce the following set of Fire Modes and 1 new Weapon Quality.

Single Shot/Manual: Fires 1 ammo per attack. This is commonly used for sniper rifles and rocket launchers. This mode allows use of the Brace or Exploit Weakness action as Restricted Action instead of Standard. If this would already be allowed due to equipment or Talent, you may do so as Free Action instead. Additionally, Momentum spent on Penetration counts double (so ignore 2 Soak/Momentum).

Semi-Auto: Rapidly fire 3 ammo per attack. Receive +1d20 on skill check and +1DS on damage.

Burst: Fire 3 rounds in short, controlled burst. Provides +1d20 on skill check and +1DS on damage. Additionally, Swift Strike may be used to fire another Burst at no change in difficulty.

Full Auto: Fire a 10 round burst. Provides +2d20 on skill check and +2DS damage. Additionally, Devastating Blow costs 1 Momentum and may be chosen twice.

Let Rip: Fire a 20 round burst! Provides +3d20 on skill check and +3DS damage. Additionally, Devastating Blow costs 1 Momentum and may be chosen three times, AND Secondary Target only costs 1 Momentum and may be chosen twice.

New Weapon Quality: High Rate of Fire X. These weapons fire incredibly quickly for their class and gain Spread X. In addition, these weapons fire X+1 times the normal number of bullets for Burst, Full Auto, or Let Rip fire modes. For example, an MP-105 has High RoF 1, so it gains Spread 1, but fires 6 bullets for a Burst, 20 for Full Auto and 40 for Let Rip. (Note that I haven't decided how to assign available Fire Modes yet...I'll get there.)
[Last edited Mar 29, 2015 05:23:08]
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Nathan.Dowdell said Mar 29, 2015 17:15:57
Well, that's fine for some limited set of players, but quite honestly a deal breaker for many others.

There's a lot of that in any game; you can't design something that will please everyone, and trying typically results in something that satisfied nobody.

I'd love to see that iteration of the rules.

Functionally, the biggest difference between the final rules and the older iteration I mentioned is that there's no listed Capacity for the weapons - RoF as 'maximum number of reloads used' is what became Mode (Munition, Semi-Auto, Burst, Automatic). However, that version of the rules was written long before we had the full weapons list (we used a set of rough baseline weapon types - "light pistol", "heavy pistol", "assault rifle", etc - before we finalised the weapon rules, so we didn't have to redraft the full weapons list every time we changed something). Fundamentally, I've already provided that older iteration of the rules - what I've mentioned here isn't meaningfully different from the drafts and notes of that iteration.

As for the special ammo, those are likely to appear in a later book, likely a freelancer's guide or a guide to Luna (books that are useful for everyone, rather than just one specific corporation). Remember, while you guys are only seeing the rulebook now, I've been working on sourcebook rules for the last three months, so there's plenty of content yet to come, and plenty of places for cut content from an overstuffed rulebook to go into.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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JakeBernstein said Mar 29, 2015 17:31:06
Yea, I don't want to sound unexcited. You guys have done an absolutely amazing job with this game so far and aside from my little nagging issue with ammo, I'm really pleased by everything I'm seeing from Modiphius. Keep it up!!
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