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Old 09-20-2017, 08:33 PM   #1
jason taylor
 
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Default Combat by Chess

I don't know how interesting this is going to be as a topic. But suppose two masters have a combat by champion over a chessboard with a suitable wager-the life or death of a princess, the fate of a kingdom whatever. The board and pieces have an ancient and interesting history of course. Perhaps Fu Manchu took them captive and will release them if they win. This of course can be done with any game with suitable charisma: Go for instance(which would go well with Fu Manchu).

But anyway, imagine playing this out on Gurps. How would one do it?
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

For a typical contest I would use Games (Chess) as a Quick Contest.
For a dramatic scenario like this I would do an extended contest instead.
I would also include complementary skills or modifiers for stress.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

If each individual piece on the board has its own sub-water, you could get a very interesting meta-game going - though I don't know how well that flies with the GURPS extended contest rules.

Random thought: suppose a very prestigious tournament ends in a draw. Tempers flare in the tournament hall, and soon in the halls of diplomacy. And before you know it, a war is underway to determine the result of a chess game.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

>And before you know it, a war is underway to determine the result of a chess game.

Y'know, I actually have a campaign where I might be able to use this idea in the near future, not so much as a true cause, but as the final straw between two parties who can't see eye to eye in the first place. Thanks! -GEF

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Old 09-20-2017, 11:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
I don't know how interesting this is going to be as a topic. But suppose two masters have a combat by champion over a chessboard... How would one do it?
I'd have a real chess game. Yeah, the player may not be as good as his PC, but I'm not as good as the hypothetical NPC, either. I'd probably allow other players to advise my opponent. The real chess match would be representative of the fictional one, though not exactly the same. I think it's the best way to get the feel; rolling dice and debating modifiers is a poor substitute. Some things need to be abstracted (no fighting with real swords in the living room), but things like diplomacy - and chess - can be acted out, and that seems to work best. -GEF

PS: I once had a player whose PC drank a lot of potions in a short time for extra fatigue to cast spells. Now, there's no way she could cast those spells in the real world, but it is possible to determine how many 8oz glasses of water a girl can guzzle, so I asked her to show me. She was a good sport about it, and it actually produced real dramatic tension.

Last edited by Gef; 09-20-2017 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

If you don't use a real-world chess match, an in-game Quick Contest is of course a canonical way to go. It's a little lacking in drama, though, as it ends with just one pair of rolls.

You could quickly wing some way to stretch out the drama: Multiple Contests, with victory for the first to win 5 (or whatever) bouts; or run multiple Contests and keep a cumulative total of Margin of Success for each side, with victory going to the first to reach 10; etc. Any back-and-forth see-saw action that results should be fun.

Or go the "faux combat" route: Each side has virtual ST, HP, DX, HT, attack TH, etc. equal to level of Chess, virtual Dodge equal to Chess/2+3, virtual damage dice based on Chess, etc. Play out a "combat", complete with the option to use AoA ("a bold sacrifice!"), Deceptive Attack ("a cleverly executed counterattack!"), etc. "Death" or "KO" of the foe means victory.

Whatever the method, after the battle ends, see how long it takes for some player to announce "Fifty points for Gryffindor!"
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

I would bring other skills and advantages into it.

You could have a contest of research skills to learn the opponents strengths and weaknesses. The winner gets a +1 bonus to their effective chess skill.

A contest of strategy skills to develop the best overall plan for another +1 bonus.

Contest of tactics skills to execute the best opening granting another +1.

Add some social engineering, maybe an intimidation check to rattle the opponent and give them penalties. Or an acting skill roll to sell a gambit yielding a bonus.

Maybe multiple will rolls to maintain concentration during the game. Every failed roll is a cumulative -2 penalty to chess skill.

You could also split the chess game into the opening, mid hand and end game for the actual contest of chess skill.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
I would bring other skills and advantages into it.

You could have a contest of research skills to learn the opponents strengths and weaknesses. The winner gets a +1 bonus to their effective chess skill.

A contest of strategy skills to develop the best overall plan for another +1 bonus.

Contest of tactics skills to execute the best opening granting another +1.

Add some social engineering, maybe an intimidation check to rattle the opponent and give them penalties. Or an acting skill roll to sell a gambit yielding a bonus.

Maybe multiple will rolls to maintain concentration during the game. Every failed roll is a cumulative -2 penalty to chess skill.

You could also split the chess game into the opening, mid hand and end game for the actual contest of chess skill.
This is pretty good. Having players collect a bunch of minor bonuses that add to a single grand roll is a fantastic way to build tension. The stats might be effected a little, but in the end is essentially a single roll.

Part of me wonders if a single roll is too "Swingy" though. Perhaps double the part of the skills above 10?
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

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Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
You could also split the chess game into the opening, mid hand and end game for the actual contest of chess skill.
If you don't want to have it all decided by one roll, you could have contest rolls to decide who gets the advantage in the opening and middle sections of the match, victory in each of which conferring a bonus to the contest in following section. Thus, if you win the opening section, you increase your chances of winning the middle, which, if you win, increases your likelihood of dominating the endgame. But, it still leaves both players open to making brilliant or blunder moves (represented by dice rolls) that could decide the game.

I'm not so sure about using Tactics or Strategy or whatever to accumulate bonuses; I think that stuff is all in the Chess skill.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Combat by Chess

I recently had an in-game chess match. It was pretty heavily rigged in the PC's favor, so I knew ahead of time that the PC would win the quick contest. I am also a much better chess player than any of my players. In order to keep it interesting and moving I did the following:

Set up a real chess set, I played against the collective of all my players. As the GM, I played the opponent and did not give myself any opportunity to think on my move. I was forced to move right away. This kept tension.

The PC who was nominally running the show rolled a quick contest against my NPC and the resulting margin of victory was the number of moves they could take back upon realizing that they were bad.

They trounced me. It was good.

To make things more balanced... maybe...

Each character rolls at the beginning. You get 10x margin in seconds to decide?

Only the winner gets time to think, and it's 5 seconds x margin?

both sides get one take-back?

The key to not loosing interest or having your GURPS night become chess night is time constraint, I feel.
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