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Old 01-04-2018, 03:58 PM   #71
Steve Jackson
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

I joined the SCA to research MELEE (and had a lot of fun, and stayed in for years). One of the first things that I learned is that most swordfighting does not involve parries; fencing is a spectacular exception. If you are using your weapon to parry, you are not using it to strike.

Now, rattan (which is what SCA weapons are made of) is NOT the same thing as metal. It is known :) I am told by those who have swung real swords at real shields that metal has less "bounce" even when it does not bite into its target. But I came away feeling that if you have a blocking device (cloak, shield, second sword, chair) you should use that to block with, and use your weapon to hit with.

I enjoyed SCA fencing a great deal, and eventually became competent, and it really is a different art.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:03 PM   #72
luguvalium
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

TFT was my first role playing game and my high school group ran a campaign using it for two fun years. We created a science fiction version that had new talents, weapons, and a starship design process. We created a Melee-like microgame based on these new rules and a magazine article to introduce them and presented to Metagaming but they were not interested, I suspect, because Starleader was under development. They did publish the magazine article in Interplay #4 which I still get see mentioned in various forums. In the last two years I've revisited those original rules to update them. I would like to see some way to get these into wider use.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:25 PM   #73
larsdangly
 
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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
Steve, since we're on the subject of rules issues, one of my main ones has always been "attribute bloat."......
There is a pretty simple way I address the use of XP and 'attribute bloat' in my house rules: I introduce an attribute I refer to as Talent Points. When a character is first created TP equals IQ. If IQ is increased by 1, TP also increases by 1 automatically. Talents and spells are purchased by expenditure of TP, at the normally given rate, and the pre-requisite IQ for a given talent or spell is unchanged. Importantly, TP can be purchased alone at a rate equal to half the cost of raising one of the 3 core attributes.

One could quibble about the perfect rate of XP cost progression and ratio of costs for TP vs. other attributes, but I've run the rule I describe for decades, over several thousand hours of play in all, and it is a simple formula that never seemed to bother anyone.

As for the finer details about languages and so forth, I think the most straightforward way to address this is to add new talents. In the published game, there are well over 100 talents already (so another few doesn't really change the scale or complexity of the game), and they are used to cover everything from life skills, natural gifts and all sorts of other things. So, it is doesn't really change what a talent means in the game to declare a 1 TP talent can be purchased to learn an exotic language, etc.

The broader point I would make is that the game should not be changed to improve it as a simulation, or to improve it in response to some theoretical game-design goal; it should only be changed in ways that make it even more fun to play, which can mean 'fixing' places where you encountered a problem, in play at the table, or where you had some desire for your character to do something that seems like it would be fun and should be possible, yet the rules don't support it (examples from the original game could be the new weapons added going from Melee to AM or new spells and enchantment rules going from Wizard to AW). In both cases, the litmus test is not how clever it looks on the page, but rather how successfully it integrates with the rest of the game in play, at the table. The hobby is littered with 'fantasy heart breaker' rules sets that have all kinds of cool concepts baked into them, yet they just aren't fun to play, or they aren't functionally different than much simpler games. The strength of TFT is that it came out of a pair of super well engineered board games, and when it was translated into a roleplaying game it didn't fundamentally change. That should remain the core idea behind any revisions that happen over the next year or three.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:38 PM   #74
JLV
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
The broader point I would make is that the game should not be changed to improve it as a simulation, or to improve it in response to some theoretical game-design goal; it should only be changed in ways that make it even more fun to play, which can mean 'fixing' places where you encountered a problem, in play at the table, or where you had some desire for your character to do something that seems like it would be fun and should be possible, yet the rules don't support it (examples from the original game could be the new weapons added going from Melee to AM or new spells and enchantment rules going from Wizard to AW). In both cases, the litmus test is not how clever it looks on the page, but rather how successfully it integrates with the rest of the game in play, at the table. The hobby is littered with 'fantasy heart breaker' rules sets that have all kinds of cool concepts baked into them, yet they just aren't fun to play, or they aren't functionally different than much simpler games. The strength of TFT is that it came out of a pair of super well engineered board games, and when it was translated into a roleplaying game it didn't fundamentally change. That should remain the core idea behind any revisions that happen over the next year or three.
And I've "playtested" my ideas for over a decade (actually, closer to two) too, so there you have it. Everyone's a little different in how they approach things. I'm sure that whatever Steve comes up with (if he even feels it's necessary to address it) will be different from either of our solutions, and that's not a bad thing...
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:41 PM   #75
larsdangly
 
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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
I joined the SCA to research MELEE (and had a lot of fun, and stayed in for years). One of the first things that I learned is that most swordfighting does not involve parries; fencing is a spectacular exception. If you are using your weapon to parry, you are not using it to strike.

Now, rattan (which is what SCA weapons are made of) is NOT the same thing as metal. It is known :) I am told by those who have swung real swords at real shields that metal has less "bounce" even when it does not bite into its target. But I came away feeling that if you have a blocking device (cloak, shield, second sword, chair) you should use that to block with, and use your weapon to hit with.

I enjoyed SCA fencing a great deal, and eventually became competent, and it really is a different art.
Good insights here! I would add that the more recent emergence of HEMA has provided another window into how armed martial arts work with other kinds of rules sets and equipment, and that is really worth look at for new insights into what might be found in a set of game rules that are both fun to play and have a certain feel of verisimilitude.

The weapon systems considered by HEMA include some where a 'empty parry' (a displacement of an incoming attack that does not simultaneously attack or threaten the foe) is a mistake, and others where an empty parry is a core part of the system. Longsword, messer and sword+buckler are good examples of the first type, and military saber is a good example of the second type. The ideal response to an incoming attack for this first type of weapon system is an action that negates the attack by displacing or avoiding it, while simultaneously returning an attack of your own (or at least a threat that sets you up for an immediate counter) as part of the same motion. The core techniques for german and italian longsword provide lots of examples of this principle.

In translating this into game design, I would say the important point is that there are three reasons to add some kind of active, skill-based defensive capability into melee combat: (1) two of the ways the game 'breaks' as characters progress in experience is that they can only become harder to kill by getting stronger or wearing more armor, and they can't get better at killing others by raising DX past a certain point. This makes characters evolve in strange and unsatisfying ways as the game advances. (2) everyone is pretty easy to kill, even when they are quite dexterous and have lots of talents. And (3) it violates the feeling of verisimilitude to have no ways to actively defend yourself, even when a less skilled foe attacks you. For all of these reasons, I think the game is better when you toss in a well designed rule for something more or less like a parry.

The rules I described in a post a couple of pages up accomplish this, and in a way that doesn't change play much for low-DX characters but allows high DX combatants to both defend themselves actively and attack on the same turn, with some significant chance of success at both.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:58 PM   #76
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Dodge and Defend options already exist in the rules so I'm not sure why the need for new defensive rules such as "parry" etc. Obviously as adj DX rises the value of 4DX rolls in defence become less valuable, but that to my mind is a basic flaw in the rules which is easily fixed via a "versus mechanic" and not by introducing new rules for individual cases.
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:08 PM   #77
JLV
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Good insights here! I would add that the more recent emergence of HEMA has provided another window into how armed martial arts work with other kinds of rules sets and equipment, and that is really worth look at for new insights into what might be found in a set of game rules that are both fun to play and have a certain feel of verisimilitude.

The weapon systems considered by HEMA include some where a 'empty parry' (a displacement of an incoming attack that does not simultaneously attack or threaten the foe) is a mistake, and others where an empty parry is a core part of the system. Longsword, messer and sword+buckler are good examples of the first type, and military saber is a good example of the second type. The ideal response to an incoming attack for this first type of weapon system is an action that negates the attack by displacing or avoiding it, while simultaneously returning an attack of your own (or at least a threat that sets you up for an immediate counter) as part of the same motion. The core techniques for german and italian longsword provide lots of examples of this principle.

In translating this into game design, I would say the important point is that there are three reasons to add some kind of active, skill-based defensive capability into melee combat: (1) two of the ways the game 'breaks' as characters progress in experience is that they can only become harder to kill by getting stronger or wearing more armor, and they can't get better at killing others by raising DX past a certain point. This makes characters evolve in strange and unsatisfying ways as the game advances. (2) everyone is pretty easy to kill, even when they are quite dexterous and have lots of talents. And (3) it violates the feeling of verisimilitude to have no ways to actively defend yourself, even when a less skilled foe attacks you. For all of these reasons, I think the game is better when you toss in a well designed rule for something more or less like a parry.

The rules I described in a post a couple of pages up accomplish this, and in a way that doesn't change play much for low-DX characters but allows high DX combatants to both defend themselves actively and attack on the same turn, with some significant chance of success at both.
Most of my personal experience has been with oriental martial arts (other than fencing), and the same situation accrues there. Tai Chi Sword prefers to use the deflect and counter approach, all in one motion, while basic Japanese Katana tends to go with "empty" parries/blocks a (to me, at least) surprising amount of the time. It shouldn't be much of a shock then to realize that Ninjutsu goes with the "deflect and counterattack in one motion" approach for the Ninjato -- precisely to defeat the "standard" Katana user's tendency to make "separate" blocks and counterattacks. (Besides, the generally low manufacturing quality of the Ninjato compared to the average Katana meant that a block was as likely to cause the Ninjato to break as stop the opponent's blade, whereas a slip and attack put a lot less stress on the Ninja's blade...) In fencing terms, both Tai Chi and Ninjutsu rely a lot more on the "stop thrust" than they do the "parry and riposte."

Still, all of this is pretty "tactical" for a five-second Melee turn!
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:17 PM   #78
JLV
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Which reminds me, one talent my original group back in High School/College absolutely insisted on, even before Metagaming went bust, was a "Quick Draw" talent to simulate Iaijutsu. It was originally even called that, but later morphed into "Quick Draw" which could also be used with a trusty six-shooter in the old west...
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:53 PM   #79
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Dodge and Defend options already exist in the rules so I'm not sure why the need for new defensive rules such as "parry" etc. Obviously as adj DX rises the value of 4DX rolls in defence become less valuable, but that to my mind is a basic flaw in the rules which is easily fixed via a "versus mechanic" and not by introducing new rules for individual cases.
Agreed. The beauty of the game is in its simplicity. If I want something more complex, or something that is going to give me ultra-detailed combat, I'll just use GURPS.
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:18 PM   #80
Dave Crowell
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

I think that a melee combat game should have some sort of dodge/parry/all-out defense mechanism. I'm not sure that it really needs more than one to be a playable game. From a game play point of view I don't see it being important that opponent A is parrying with his sword, opponent B is hiding behind his shield, and opponent C is dodging out of the way, what is important is that each of them is harder for me to hit and damage.

My primary experience of a game with seperate attack and parry was Stormbringer and combats between well matched, skilled opponents could drag on in an endless dance of Attack-hit, Parry-blocked (or Dodge-miss), lather, rinse, repeat until finally someone landed a critical hit and it was game over for one of the fighters. Realistic, maybe, but it made for boring game play after a while.

I like combat games to be decisive.
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