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Old 11-18-2019, 02:41 PM   #1
bluekitsune13
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Some questions about Melee/Wizard

I'm thinking of adapting some of my Warhammer figures to use with this system. For the most part, it's pretty easy to figure out. I have been testing out some games and come up with some questions. Hopefully someone can help me understand the rules a bit better. In particular I'm wondering more about the meta strategies than actual rules as written.

First is the difference between armor and damage, or really ST and DX. I made two fighters and fought with them to see what happens. Both were 32 point fighters, but their ST and DX distribution was different. One was basically a slower tankier fighter with armor, while the other was quicker but unarmored. It seemed like a bunch of back and forth of not doing much. The tankier fighter with a DX of 9 couldn't hit the other guy. The higher DX fighter could hit reliably, but couldn't pierce the other guy's armor. It was fairly balanced to see who would win though. It just took a long time with them swinging back and forth. I was wondering if this is kind of how combat works?

Next I was wondering about the use of missile weapons. I've found that an optimal strategy would be to just rush at an enemy wielding a bow with your full MA. They get one shot off, and you can't attack, but then they probably have a weaker melee weapon. Doing this, it's easy to get a jump on ranged attackers. It's hard to kite enemies around on the small Melee map. Is this basically how it goes? I could see with more fighters you could set up some dudes in front to allow your archer to be unengaged maybe.

Those are my takeaway questions right now. Just wanted to know if I am kind of doing this right.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:49 PM   #2
hcobb
 
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Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

The full ITL has a fix for dealing with overarmored knights.

Go into HTH combat and take a head shot (-6 DX) in HTH (+4 DX) with a dagger. The double damage that bypasses armor should end the fight quickly.
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:10 PM   #3
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
The full ITL has a fix for dealing with overarmored knights.

Go into HTH combat and take a head shot (-6 DX) in HTH (+4 DX) with a dagger. The double damage that bypasses armor should end the fight quickly.
That's an incorrect reading of an optional rule.

Daggers only bypass head armor when thrown, if the GM is even using that part of that optional rule, and would at best be at -1 for range, or net +1 (so -5 total) if thrown at point blank range.

i.e. You could not get the +4 HTH adjustment.
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:22 PM   #4
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

As for the actual questions asked by a new player of TFT, about typical play (rather than a rule our group never used in years of play):
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluekitsune13 View Post
...The tankier fighter with a DX of 9 couldn't hit the other guy.
DX 9 hits a bit less than half the time, but a heavy weapon hitting a low-ST unarmored opponent even once may end the fight, and can easily happen on the first turn.

This is typical of TFT and different from some other games in that the specific situation and specific results (such as being hit with a two-handed battleaxe once) determine outcomes, much more than general expectations that a combat may tend to go a certain way just because one type of fighter is fighting another type of fighter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluekitsune13 View Post
The higher DX fighter could hit reliably, but couldn't pierce the other guy's armor. It was fairly balanced to see who would win though. It just took a long time with them swinging back and forth. I was wondering if this is kind of how combat works?
It may be somewhat typical for that kind of match-up, though as mentioned the hit by the stronger figure may happen sooner rather than later.

Or, someone may break a weapon, or fall into HTH. Even more typically, fights aren't just duels between two people with nothing else going on and no one else involved. Facing, falling down, or an Aid spell can increase effective DX by a lot, for example.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluekitsune13 View Post
Next I was wondering about the use of missile weapons. I've found that an optimal strategy would be to just rush at an enemy wielding a bow with your full MA. They get one shot off, and you can't attack, but then they probably have a weaker melee weapon. Doing this, it's easy to get a jump on ranged attackers. It's hard to kite enemies around on the small Melee map. Is this basically how it goes? I could see with more fighters you could set up some dudes in front to allow your archer to be unengaged maybe.
Well, it depends on the details of the situation, but yes, a fighter with melee weapons faced with enemies with missiles generally would want to charge the missile user, or perhaps charge at 1/2 MA and dodge. Or even better, move so that the missile user does not have a clear shot.

Really it depends on the situation, but yes you generally would like to charge enemy missile users or find other ways to avoid having them shoot you.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:52 PM   #5
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Welcome! You are in for a great time with this game, and asking the right sorts of questions.

First some over arching principles:
- TFT is built to enable lots of choices (stats, equipment, tactics) that convey advantage in specific circumstances, but to be balanced overall. Your experience that two very different character types end up feeling on a par with each other when they face off toe to toe and start rolling attacks is exactly right, and it is by design. If it didn't work that way, people would quickly figure out the ideal 'build' and that would be the end of diversity in the game. There are some things about this that are not terribly realistic (pole weapons are just better than other things, provided you have space to use them; armor is just better than no armor). But they did the right thing from a gamist point of view.

- The game has a lot of tactical granularity, but is abstract and very 'game-y'. It is not intended to model every cut and thrust, or to support every imaginable tactic with its own rule. In short, it is not GURPS (though the two have a lot in common).

Much of the nuance of the game only emerges when you add some degrees of freedom to the tactical choices. When two simple combatants face off in a flat, empty, well lit space 20 yards apart, there really is only so much that can happen. Melee is not a super realistic dueling game, so these sorts of conflicts often devolve to the same outcome: someone realizes it is better for them to be engaged than not, so they charge. Either something lucky happens for oen side or the other during that first 1-2 turns or not, and if not the combat is resolved over the course of the next 2-3 turns by swapping attack rolls. Repeat enough times with enough different 'build' characters, and you will find what I wrote above: it is a pretty well balanced, abstract game.

But if you add a little complexity, the whole thing blossoms. Multiple combatants per side. Pits and walls. Unusual lighting. Unusual victory conditions (i.e., you don't have to always murder someone in a small room as the object of the game). Once you introduce tactical choices with meaning, the game gets way more interesting. In this case, the intrinsic balance of the combat engine is very helpful, because it assures you can come up with tactical choices that tip the even odds in your favor.

In this sense, the game is a lot like chess: If you play chess with one piece on each side, there are only so may combinations of moves that can happen. Play chess with 5 pieces on a side, and it takes a super computer to think through all of the possible paths the game can take.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:59 PM   #6
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Hi Blue,
Welcome to TFT!

There are a couple really good answers above that cover some of what I would say (and better than I would have) about the big picture. But I wanted to touch direct answers to your questions.

Q1: is a long slug out fight typical?
A1: No. Two high damage combatants could have a very fast fight. For example, two spears or halberds charging each other. Usually it is between the extremes.

Q2: always charge archers?
A2: yes but you may want to consider all out running at the archer vs dodging (half MA but safer) on your approach. Also need to consider, does the archer have a buddy waiting for you.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:46 PM   #7
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

If you want to get a sense of the average duration of toe-to-toe slug fests, a reasonable approximation is to calculate the simplest version of your expected value ([average damage roll - target armor] x fraction of attack rolls that succeed), and divide target ST by this number. On average, this is how many turns your fight will last. This calculation breaks down when armor points are greater than average damage (in which case it is the distribution of damage rather than its mean that matters), and it doesn't consider the small increase in average damage resulting from 2x and 3x damage results. But it is pretty close.

The answer for typical 32 point melee fighters is somewhere in the range 3-4 points of damage per turn, making slug-fests last 3-4 turns. Of course you will see everything from first-turn kill shots to 10 turn sagas, but 3-4 is typical. Perhaps the slowest fight duration would be two fighters in fine plate with bucklers hacking at each other with broad swords. In this case 'mean' damage done to target per turn is 0 and only something like 30-40 % of attacks land. This will often take 10-15 turns to resolve.

Also, re. flat-out charging missile users. Sometimes this isn't a great move: It is possible to create a starting character who gets 2 bow shots per turn, or who fires a crossbow with a high chance of hitting. If you lack armor, these sorts of foes have a better than even chance of putting you on the ground as you charge them, so you are better off dodging or taking cover if that is an option.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:27 AM   #8
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Melee isn't at it's best for one-to-one duels, that's not what it was designed for; it was designed to be an improved means of fighting the sorts of combats that occurred in the RPGs of the time like D&D. These sort of combats typically involved a skirmish with a party of adventurers, often 4-6, against a number of monsters or other enemies. I think that's where Melee is at it's best. It can cope with higher numbers, but I feel it becomes less good once the number of combatants gets high because of the "everyone on side A moves first" initiative mechanic.

In one-to-one duels in basic Melee options are fairly limited once figures are engaged; you can either roll to hit, disengage or attempt HTH, that's it. However, if there are more figures, with varied weapons, armour etc, a lot more possibilities emerge. Facing becomes much more important for a start; with only two figures, you never really get any outflanking. That changes completely with multiple figures.

I'd suggest playing "four v four" to really get a sense of what the game can do.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:28 AM   #9
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Agreed. One on one duels between mundane humanoids (i.e., no wizards; no crazy talents or gear) would need an extra couple of GURPS-like rules to be spicy. And combats involving a total of more than 10-15 figures start to feel pretty crowded. Personally, I think the possibilities in game would really open up if there were a couple of short, punchy supplements (e.g., Hexagram articles) that address duels and skirmish+ mass combat.
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:32 PM   #10
bluekitsune13
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: Some questions about Melee/Wizard

Thank you for all of the replies. I've been playing around a bit more in the game with multiple combatants. One thing I'm trying to do is translate some of my models into the game.

After reading through the wizard rules, it made me wonder if perhaps there could be more interesting skills for fighting types. Things such as abilities that allow you to modify your dexterity, but give you bonuses. I know there are already some like sweeping blows, but would be interesting to add some more.

One thing I've been wondering is how to represent a fighter that should be hard to hit. Since you only roll against your own score to hit, the opponent's dexterity isn't really taken into account. I would think that a very Nimble elf Swordsman could have an effect on the opponents chance to hit. The only way I see of doing this in game, is by allowing the elf to disengage when his turn comes before the slower fighter. He could keep jumping away, and the opposing fighter would never be able to hit the elf. I don't know what a better solution could be. All of the actual mechanics for making yourself harder to hit mean that you don't actually get to attack.

Another thing I was thinking about is armor piercing. It looks like the only way to actually damage an armored foe is to Simply do more damage. I think it would be easy enough to create a weapon that has armor-piercing properties. The idea is that it wouldn't do a crazy amount of damage to an unarmored foe, and would be most effective at attacking someone with armor. Say it was a weapon that only did one die of damage, but had armor-piercing 2 on it. It could do at most 6 damage to an unarmored so, and 5 damage to an opponent wearing chainmail.
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