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Old 04-11-2020, 03:23 PM   #1
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
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Default Fixing round length in GURPS

The Dungeon Fantastic blog makes several good points in the April 2, 2020 article, "Turn length in GURPS". This is attempt to fix certain problems noted, including that turn lengths make sense on the micro scale, but not on the macro scale. A battle involving 1,000 individuals on each side, still proceeds at 1 second per round, with no game time given to Oberve, Orient, or Decide in the game time. No time is given to pauses, unless rules such as exhaustion mechanics force it. In addition, everyone is clearly shown as perfectly aware of everything that doesn't need an explicit per roll.

This post, then, suggests a fix to round length. Apologies if the wording is confusing; I lack sleep.

Round length is increased using a chart with both logarithmic and triangular numbers. The length of a round is based on the number of combatants. In each round, you may take a number of discrete actions as specified in the chart. In addition, you may take a number of non-discrete actions. Each action, discrete or non-discrete, takes one second; this is unchanged from the default rules. Making an attack, picking a lock, attempting to intimidate someone, or driving a vehicle towards a specific destination are all examples of discrete actions. Aiming, feinting, taking extra time, taking an item (such as a gun or a lockpicking toolkit) out of your pocket, and adjusting the speed and direction of a vehicle, are all examples of non-discrete actions. If you are not sure, it is probably a discrete action. The chart only notes discrete actions; the number of non-discrete actions remaining is equal to the number of seconds left after discrete actions have been allocated. You need not take your full number of discrete actions, or any discrete actions at all; the only limit is that the total actions taken cannot exceed the number of seconds per round.

Code:
                    Discrete
Combatants  SpR     Actions
*1-2        1       1
3-4         2       1
5-8         4       2
9-16        8       3
17-32       15      5
33-64       30      7
65-125      60      10
126-250     2 min   15
251-500     4 min   21
501-1,000   8 min   30
1,001-2,000 15 min  42**
SPR: Seconds per Round
* In case a character finds themself in mortal combat with themself. In such a case, shooting oneself in the cheek as repayment for their cheek is traditional.
** Mathematically a little over, but then, that's the point.

Edit: In the case of the longer round lengths, with 5 or more discrete actions per player, it is recommended that GMs apply a secondary house rule, such as resolving rounds simultaneously.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:54 PM   #2
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

I don't see how the proposal fixes any of the issues raised in your first paragraph. Also, I wonder if the discutants at the blog are aware of the GURPS Mass Combat system.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I don't see how the proposal fixes any of the issues raised in your first paragraph. Also, I wonder if the discutants at the blog are aware of the GURPS Mass Combat system.
Since the only issue named, and the only one really raised, is the Observe-Orient-Decision-Action loop, and that GURPS rounds mostly consist of all characters doing Action, with no evident Observe or Orient, and less time spent on Decision, I'm curious as to where you got multiple issues from. Unless you're importing the entire blog post into my post.

Quite simply, my proposed house-rules fix this problem by limiting the number of Action... actions you can take (otherwise known as Discrete Actions), based on the number of individuals present in the combat, and thus an implicit amount of time that must be spent on Observe, Orient, and Decision actions (otherwise known as Non-discrete Actions). As long as there's more than two combatants, anyway.

If you don't feel this is a problem, then this thread is probably not of any interest to you.

I dunno; you could always ask him. He's on the forum.
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Old 04-11-2020, 09:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Looking at this while (slightly) more awake, I've realized it's not all that good a solution. I mean, it is a solution; but it's also a blunt instrument.
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Old 04-11-2020, 09:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Say, it isn't that bad! View Post
Since the only issue named, and the only one really raised, is the Observe-Orient-Decision-Action loop, and that GURPS rounds mostly consist of all characters doing Action, with no evident Observe or Orient, and less time spent on Decision, I'm curious as to where you got multiple issues from.
My added emphasis and inserted numbers in the quote below indicate how I got to the idea of multiple issues.

Quote:
This is attempt to fix certain problems noted, including that turn lengths make sense on the micro scale, but not on the macro scale. A battle involving 1,000 individuals on each side, still proceeds at 1 second per round, with no game time given to Oberve[1], Orient[2], or Decide[3] in the game time. No time is given to pauses[4], unless rules such as exhaustion mechanics force it. In addition, everyone is clearly shown as perfectly aware[5] of everything that doesn't need an explicit per roll.

Quote:
Quite simply, my proposed house-rules fix this problem by limiting the number of Action... actions you can take (otherwise known as Discrete Actions)
I guess I don't get how forcing inaction creates any more ability to do those things than just letting them choose to do those things with their turns by choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Say, it isn't that bad! View Post
Looking at this while (slightly) more awake, I've realized it's not all that good a solution. I mean, it is a solution; but it's also a blunt instrument.
Maybe you need to find a way to incentivize pauses to reflect and look around, or to disincentivize flat-out action without reflection. An idea I have considered without finalizing is expanding the utility of the Evaluate manouver.

Last edited by Donny Brook; 04-11-2020 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 04-11-2020, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Ah! I see the confusion now. "Observe-Orient-Decide-Act" is *military jargon for a standard and practical decision loop. Basically "normally", you'd look to see what's going on; figure out how you fit into the current situation; decide what the best next step is; and then take that next step.

Since the "Observe-Orient-Decide" is done by the players at the table, each round basically consists of Action on the part of characters.

So I was treating the general lack of in-game "OOD" of "OODA" as one issue, as the acronym describes a single system.

The OODA loop is explained in the blog post, but I can understand not wanting to read an entire blog post to understand some not-great house rules. :)

Also I was basing the idea off of other game system, which typically limit number of attacks per (longer) round.

Thanks, GURPS, for making me dislike other systems oh so slightly more through my own blunt-instrument house rules. :P

* I am not military; just have an interest in military history and science fiction.
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Old 04-11-2020, 10:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

This observation:

Quote:
Since the "Observe-Orient-Decide" is done by the players at the table, each round basically consists of Action on the part of characters.
makes for an interesting framing for some kind of rules-based adjustment. I understand your initial purpose better now, I think.
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Old 04-11-2020, 10:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
This observation:



makes for an interesting framing for some kind of rules-based adjustment. I understand your initial purpose better now, I think.
Thanks for taking the time with my not-that-good house rules.
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Old 04-12-2020, 01:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Three remarks, unrelated:
1) I do not see any justification for the time...thing being a function of the number of combatants. If two groups of three pair off and fight, there's no reason for those sub-fights to be less intense for the presence of the others. (I find I tend to view the determination of scaling factors like this with intense suspicion. I don't believe I'm wrong to do so, but it's worth mentioning.)

2) It seems like you probably intend that "non-discrete" actions are, in a sense, really components of a larger multi-second action defined by one "discrete" action? If so, you might want to say so explicitly.

3) Of the "discrete" actions listed only one of them is a thing GURPS would tend to say takes one second. Picking a lock and driving a vehicle to a place are both longer than that pretty much all the time, and Intimidation probably usually is as well. 1 second lock-picking likely entails a -10 penalty...
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Old 04-12-2020, 01:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fixing round length in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Three remarks, unrelated:
1) I do not see any justification for the time...thing being a function of the number of combatants. If two groups of three pair off and fight, there's no reason for those sub-fights to be less intense for the presence of the others. (I find I tend to view the determination of scaling factors like this with intense suspicion. I don't believe I'm wrong to do so, but it's worth mentioning.)

2) It seems like you probably intend that "non-discrete" actions are, in a sense, really components of a larger multi-second action defined by one "discrete" action? If so, you might want to say so explicitly.

3) Of the "discrete" actions listed only one of them is a thing GURPS would tend to say takes one second. Picking a lock and driving a vehicle to a place are both longer than that pretty much all the time, and Intimidation probably usually is as well. 1 second lock-picking likely entails a -10 penalty...
1. Typically, it's not a matter of who's paired off, but who do you need to keep in your "awareness space"? In addition, a team tends to fight as a team, with each member taking on distinct responsibilities, but all working together - and thus, needing to be aware of not only each other, but members of the enemy team.

2. Yeah, pretty much; on both counts.

3. Yeah, I did not design the time component well, there. Perhaps the last second of picking the lock would be the discrete action, while the remaining 59 seconds or so would be non-discrete actions.
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