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Old 01-10-2011, 11:45 AM   #1
Jason
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Default A revised d666 combat system

I'm looking to do combat differently for my group. I was afraid I might derail the In Nomine Second Edition thread with too much talk about what I want over what players think might be good, so consider this a specialized house rules thread. (And actually, this older house rules thread has some useful discussion about combat that is relevant.)

The combat system as written (or, at least as it plays out in every group I've run) makes fights take longer than I'd prefer, and forces me as the GM to create more selectively merciful NPCs than I imagine to be realistic. A single hit from even my weak bad guys is enough to stun most of my PCs, but not enough to pose much of a threat to our 50+ hit tank. This results in a slog-fest to take down anybody with a lot of Body Hits (like the 36-hit demon guards I just threw at my PCs, or one of my own PCs with over 50 hits), a quick would-be massacre to take down characters with very few Body Hits (like most of my other PCs), and NPCs who stop trying to kill a stunned character out of GM mercy.

As I see it, the issue with this isn't that "it's easier to kill characters with fewer Hits" (which is precisely what you should expect), but that such a broad range of hits exists at all. It's really hard to throw enemies at the PCs that will pose a moderate threat to everyone, rather than a lethal threat to some and no threat at all to others.

As it is, I also find there to be too many stats and modifiers to keep track of during a given fight. (As you see in my most recent post in the Second Edition thread, I prefer not to have to keep track of punch damage, for instance, as a function of a -3 punch damage modifier, a superhuman strength modifier, and a bonus to check digit from the target number exceeding 12, which in turn only results from adding corporeal forces to the target number, which only happens for some kinds of attacks and not others).

Ideally, then, what I'd like to do is:
  1. Make vessel level more crucial to durability than Strength
  2. Tighten the range of Body Hits that characters might have
  3. Make weapons do reasonable damage in relation to each other
  4. Involve fewer stats and modifiers, not more, if possible

I realize I'm phrasing this very specifically in terms of what I need for my own group. I'm posting it here, though, because I figure others might have similar thoughts (or even just useful advice). Even if nobody else responds, I hope you don't mind if I reply to my own post, and/or send my own players here to respond instead of coordinating with them via email.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
Jason
 
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

As a sort of postscript, I should add that this past session I ran used two house rules for combat:

Dodge was eliminated entirely as a skill, instead defaulting to an unmodified Agility roll. I did this for both game-world reasons (who just practices dodging independent of other combat strategies unless it's a fighting style specifically about defense, like aikido?) and for combat-mechanics reasons (I wanted my PCs to actually hit my NPCs). This DID succeed in making it easier to kill my NPCs, but it still took several rounds. The other side of the coin, of course, is that it made my PCs go down much faster too. (Maybe I should also add that my favorite "combat system" is the original Castle Falkenstein's, where fights are over pretty much instantly depending on who has the higher relevant combat ability, possibly modified by placing down a playing card from the hand.)

Bullets were more damaging and caused more disturbance. I didn't come up with a house rule I really liked before the game started, so I used an improvised one in the middle of a fight. Bullets did double CD damage plus Power, but the Dodge CD was subtracted before any damage modifiers were added or multiplied in, so a result of 0 damage was still possible. In other words, Damage = (2 x [AttackCD - DodgeCD]) + Power. Any shot from a gun automatically caused AttackCD disturbance. I'll probably modify this house rule quite a bit in the future, but it actually worked quite a bit better than I expected. Guns did consistently more damage than close-range weapons, but not so much that it would necessarily outweigh the use of Symphonically quiet methods.

Last edited by Jason; 01-10-2011 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
JCD
 
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Might I suggest that this is an organizational problem in some respects. The Character Sheet is very little help and redoing one would be a big start.

The Target number and Power of the Weapon is understandable WELL before the combat starts.

Sword (8 Str + 3 Crop + 4 Skill) Target 15 Sword Power +4 CD Mod + 3

So you know what he's rolling and his damage mod. Just add CD
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCD View Post
Might I suggest that this is an organizational problem in some respects. The Character Sheet is very little help and redoing one would be a big start.
Yeah, I redid the character sheet as an Excel spreadsheet with target numbers all down the left column, in bold. I suppose part of the problem is that "fists" is not an item listed on the sheet. Maybe I'll make a separate section at the end just for "common attacks."

(And feel free to message me if you want an Excel character sheet with target numbers down the left column.)
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:25 AM   #5
tHEhERETIC
 
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Yeah, I saw the Body hits spread and went ick...and then went with the GMG alternate rules, pg 120. It's still a pretty big spread but not an obscene one.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

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Originally Posted by tHEhERETIC View Post
Yeah, I saw the Body hits spread and went ick...and then went with the GMG alternate rules, pg 120. It's still a pretty big spread but not an obscene one.
I use that rule in my low-power campaign, where no PC has more than 7 Forces. The only problem I have with it is that it makes regular humans significantly tougher to kill with a single gunshot (and I think a single gunshot should be enough to reduce someone to 0 Body Hits with a CD of 6). Probably I should just use that Body Hits rule and raise gun damage...
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
I use that rule in my low-power campaign, where no PC has more than 7 Forces. The only problem I have with it is that it makes regular humans significantly tougher to kill with a single gunshot (and I think a single gunshot should be enough to reduce someone to 0 Body Hits with a CD of 6). Probably I should just use that Body Hits rule and raise gun damage...
Which gun? A .22 derringer? (5 body) A 9 mm? (7) A shotgun? (10)
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:44 AM   #8
tHEhERETIC
 
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
I use that rule in my low-power campaign, where no PC has more than 7 Forces. The only problem I have with it is that it makes regular humans significantly tougher to kill with a single gunshot (and I think a single gunshot should be enough to reduce someone to 0 Body Hits with a CD of 6). Probably I should just use that Body Hits rule and raise gun damage...
CD 6 meaning it hits something vital? Okay maybe. But when I wrote the Gavin Russo death scene in my PbP I asked a Marine I know how many shots an office jockey could take and still keep walking. I subtracted two from that number because it struck me as too high to be believable.

In other words, a gunshot IRL is not an instant kill. Fiction, games...your mileage may vary.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Quote:
Originally Posted by tHEhERETIC View Post
CD 6 meaning it hits something vital? Okay maybe. But when I wrote the Gavin Russo death scene in my PbP I asked a Marine I know how many shots an office jockey could take and still keep walking. I subtracted two from that number because it struck me as too high to be believable.

In other words, a gunshot IRL is not an instant kill. Fiction, games...your mileage may vary.
Yeah. My uncle the paramedic told me about this guy who had a large caliber bullet in his heart and he's just sitting there talking to him. He died, but it wasn't anywhere like immediate.

On the other hand, I think it reasonable to say that two shot gun blasts should kill most humans and make most Celestials miserable.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:10 AM   #10
Jason
 
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Default Re: A revised d666 combat system

Hm, maybe I have a skewed idea of how many bullets it takes to kill somebody. (The notes about people dying slowly, though, do make me wonder if I should revisit an idea I had for a "mortally wounded" mechanic: more than 50% of total Body Hits in one blow, and you're GOING to die eventually unless you get some help.) The ER doctor in our party seemed to agree that guns need to be doing more damage, but maybe that's because he's an "aim for the head" kind of player. (Does anybody here have a standard damage modifier or effect for head shots?)
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