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Old 01-21-2011, 10:56 PM   #1
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

In my fairly realistic fantasy campaign, I've run into two issues. I've got a few thoughts on how to solve them, but I figured I'd share what I've come up with so far. See if this sounds right to you, and let me know if you have other ways of addressing these issues(other than hand-waving, of course).

Big Fights:
I'm using Mass Combat, but I find that I'm a little worried about making templates for NPCs in GURPS-scale that relate well to their Mass Combat stats. For instance, I might make a unit of fearsome mercenaries that operate as elite, well-armed foes in Mass Combat, but if their GURPS stats don't stack up well, they might be pushovers in personal combat.

I understand that unit cohesion and discipline are principal in making them fierce combatants in Mass Combat, but if tough foes in Mass Combat turn out to be reliably easy to kill in personal combat, my players will doubtless seek small battles for mechanical reasons rather than role-playing reasons. No amount of explaining 'oh, well, their teamwork is better when fighting in large battles' will make that acceptable to my way of thinking.

My thought for this is similar to hari's suggested skill values here. I might state something along the lines that a given Mass Combat TS(the most important stat for me to translate properly), average troops will have an offensive skill, a defensive skill, and a soldiering skill at an average of 10-11, and scale the others from there. However, ST, HP, and DR seem like they'd be big factors in the setting, too, so I'd like to incorporate them into the guideline.

And the second issue...

Long Fights: This is a similar issue, but unrelated to Mass Combat per se. Say you have major NPCs or the PCs themselves fighting an absurdly long, sustained combat--the sort that would be stretched out over as much as an hour--but it wouldn't involve enough combatants to merit bringing Mass Combat into play. For instance, I'm imagining something where less than five skilled warriors stand on the far side of a narrow bridge and see how long they can hold off a horde of unskilled fighters. If played on a one-second time-scale, this would be a tedious fight rather than an exciting one, since it could last hundreds (or thousands!) of turns.

I could use Martial Arts' tournament detailed method to resolve this, but I think that will still be too tedious, and the quick method would be too cruel to use on PCs with any regularity, since a single botch could easily kill them without narrative lead-in or dramatic build-up.

For resolving long, small-scale fights with fewer dice rolls, I think a turn scale of 1 minute sounds good. I imagine that most of the same maneuevers normally available to players would be viable, but would indicate their strategy over an entire minute instead. All attack rolls would be at +1, and all defenses at -1, to illustrate the fact that overtime the odds creep into the favor of offense.

For damage, I'm a little at my wit's end on how to resolve this to my satisfaction. Again, I want this long fight format to relate well to second-by-second combat. Perhaps use the attack's margin of success, similar to the RoF procedure, where each point of success (relative to the dodge roll) is an additional hit, with each hit causing the usual amount of damage?

So, anyways, thoughts and comments would be appreciated. Let me know if you foresee any problems with my potential solutions, or a more elegant way of getting around the issues at hand.
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Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

Big Fights--Relating GURPS and Mass Combat TS more closely

So I'm going to muse about Big Fights first. Note that these rules are with my fantasy campaign in mind, so while they'll likely be useful in other low-tech settings, I doubt they will be as useful past TL4. But who knows.

So the process is to add your potential soldier's ST, HP, main Attack skill, main Defense skill, and Soldier skill and divide by 5 to get their average. Then add an extra half-factor for every point of natural DR the fighter has, reduced proportionately for limitations to the DR. Then compare them with the following guidelines to figure out what the approximate Mass Combat quality is.

Average quality (average value of 11-12)
Spoiler:  


Inferior quality (average value of 8-10)
Spoiler:  


Good quality (average value of 13)
Spoiler:  


Elite quality (average value of 14)
Spoiler:  


So assuming this system works even half-way decently, a unit of 10 monsters with ST 18, HP 20, Attack skill 12, Defense skill 10, no Soldier skill, and 4 DR(average of 12, plus a factor of 2 for DR, giving a total of 36) should be a match for 3 units of Average quality soldiers. Does this bear out to your sensibilities?

This could also be used to guess at which point a monster should be fielded as an individual unit comparable to a unit on its own, if you just divide its average by to figure out how it would stand on its own or in reduced size units. For instance, a ST 20, HP 26, Attack skill 13, Defense skill 11, a 'soldier' skill of 8, and 10 DR(average of 16, plus a factor of 5, divided by 10 for a solo, for a final total of 10). So such a monster would be a match for a unit of Inferior troops, and therefore might be seen as the floor for a solo monster.

Notes: DR for armor is not figured into this estimation, because equipment is a separate, more easily defined entity, and because equipped armor has more disadvantages built into it as regards encumbrance, chinks, etc.

Also, the reasoning for the DR cost factor is that since natural DR is pretty much going to reduce every hit, a mere DR 2 will give a creature that many more chances to attack and attract a disproportionate amount of attention. The cost factors also ensure that nearly any creature with DR 11 or more is probably going to be treated as a solo monster in Mass Combat, which sounds about right to me considering how hard they'd be for average troops to fell.


Do these figures sound right? Care to plug in your own races, soldiers, monsters into them, see how they stack up in Mass Combat quality?
__________________
Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
Ten Green Gem Vine--Warrior-poet, bane of highwaymen

Last edited by Dunadin777; 01-22-2011 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:30 PM   #3
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Micro-TS house-rule

As an addendum to my system for figuring Mass Combat in the post above, I also think that there ought to be some way of representing sub-inferior forces. These might include completely useless civilians, or inferior troops of a race that is normally equated to Inferior quality. In that situation, I suggest the following rule:

If the average stat is worse than Inferior quality when using the system above, make a note of the difference. For every point of difference, adjust the standard unit size necessary to compose an Inferior quality troop, as below.
Spoiler:  


An example:
Suppose a race of small people akin to Willow's brownies. ST 2, HP 2, 12 attack skill, 10 defense skill, 10 soldier skill, and no DR. Similar to GURPS, we'll assume that their small size is equal parts asset and liability in large-scale combat. They are rated at an average of 7, which puts them 1 below the threshold for Inferior quality, and therefore a group of 20 of them forms a unit that is equivalent to a conventional Inferior quality troop, with the same maintainance value. (Though their equipment should probably also be scaled back in quality, due to their size)

Now, what if the brownies' village/dell, filled with civilians, was being attacked? They might be ST 2, HP 2, 10 attack skill, 10 defense skill, and no soldier skill or DR. They'd have an average value of 5, putting them 3 below the Inferior quality threshold. So 50 civilian brownies would need to form a unit to stand up against a standard unit of Inferior quality troops.

This might have been a bad example, due to the size issue, but I'd imagine that supplying odd-sized warriors would be equally difficult for a large sized army, due to the fact that any supplies would need to be specially made(and at fine skill level), and there'd be wasted logistics on them--setting aside a carefully protected section of the camp, far from soldiers' boots. And as regards a small army raising and supplying itself--well, currency is an abstraction of effort, so it would be equally difficult for any society to raise an army, regardless of size. Either that, or maybe a small discount that is not quite proportional to the number increase for supply from large-scale logistics?

What is the general concensus? does this sound like a worthy addition to the guidelines for equating GURPS stats to Mass Combat?
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Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
Ten Green Gem Vine--Warrior-poet, bane of highwaymen
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:42 PM   #4
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Long Fights in GURPS

Long Fights--Quickly summarizing long fights too small for Mass Combat

Basic principles: These house-rules are intended for use in games where the PCs find themselves in a combat grind. The most common example of a true combat grind might be in the case of a small group of PCs taking on a horde of undead in a narrow corridor, bridge, pass, etc. On a tactical scale, the PCs don't face much danger over the course of a typcial Tactical Combat--they could be playing for hours before the odds of botches start to stack against them. If you condense the game into turns lasting 1 minute each, however, then the odds of players lasting against an unlimited horde should diminish greatly.

Turn Length: 1 minute per turn. This serves as a nice compromise between GURPS' standard 1-second turn and Mass Combat's minimum 15-minute turn.

Allowed Maneuvers: Any from Tactical Combat. However, extreme maneuvers such as AoA and AoD are even riskier on this scale, and are only recommended to represent a foolishly reckless or fanatic fighter that is practically begging for death. Or, in AoD's case, someone who is shirking away at every opportunity, giving ground to the enemy, and likely to get trapped against a wall.

Modifiers: All attack rolls are at +1, and all defense rolls are at -1. Over a minute of combat time, the edge goes to the better offense.

Hitting: When you strike against the enemy(pick one of the most common types of enemies if you are fighting a large, heterogenous group), note your margin of success. The enemy's defense roll margin of success subtracts from your success. Every final point of success counts as one or more hits. If you are using a maneuver with multiple attacks or you have Extra Attacks or similar, each point of success counts as an additional hit per relative advantage.

*If you outnumber your enemies, you can only bring so many forces to bear on them at once. If you can only attack from one side, two melee or four ranged attackers may attack each enemy. If you can attack from three sides, three melee or nine ranged attackers can hit any exposed characters(such as on the end of a line). If you can surround the enemy, count all but 1/6th of the enemy(their choice) as being exposed to three melee/nine ranged attackers.

Damage: Roll damage and multiply by the number of successful hits to determine damage. PCs and important NPCs apply each multiple of damage one at a time, using healing abilities, making HT rolls, etc as necessary in between damage multiples. NPC mooks and minions take damage down to -HP and then any extra multiples can spill over to other NPCs of the same type.

Fatigue: FP can be exhausted for Extra Effort as normal, but at 6 times the usual rate. Also, FP penalties due to encumbrance and fighting are assessed after every third turn of combat.

When does it end?
This Long Fight style of combat ends as soon as the minority group(the one that started as the minority, that is) is collectively reduced to .25 HP. So, for a party of five adventurers with a total HP of 60, the Long Fight combat will automatically end if at the end of a turn they have 15 or less HP amongst them.



Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.
__________________
Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
Ten Green Gem Vine--Warrior-poet, bane of highwaymen

Last edited by Dunadin777; 01-31-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:20 PM   #5
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

Big Fights--Relating GURPS and Mass Combat TS more closely, REDUX
*Plus Finer Scale Troop Quality

I recently redid my Big Fights guidelines, making a few refinements and one big addition. Rather than simply edit the above post, I decided to repost(read: BUMP) this thread with the new guidelines for relating Tactical detail to Mass Combat detail.

Find Combat Value(CV)= (ST + HP + Attack skill + Defense skill + 2 x Soldier skill)/6
Multiply Combat Value by a half factor for every point of natural DR, modified proportionately for limitations. An attack or defense skill can add 1 for every doubling of the number of skills in that field. For instance, if you know only one offense skill, add nothing; if you know two, add 1; if you know four, add 2.
Compare to the qualities listed below. * marks qualities that I have added to the Mass Combat progression, to make it a bit more granular. The spoiler tags have an example of a build summary for a soldier that would fall under the bottom of the quality's range. The TS, Raise, and Maintenance values are relative to Average quality values.

*Inferior 4(100 people per unit): CV 1-2, TS:-50% Raise:+25% Maint:+25%
Spoiler:  

*Inferior 3(50 people per unit): CV 3-4, TS:-50% Raise:+0% Maint:+0%
Spoiler:  

*Inferior 2(25 people per unit): CV 5-6, TS:-50% Raise:-25% Maint:-25%
Spoiler:  

Inferior: CV 7-8, TS:-50% Raise:-50% Maint:-50%
Spoiler:  

*Raw: CV 9-10, TS:-25% Raise:-25% Maint:-25%
Spoiler:  

Average: CV 11-12, TS:+0% Raise:+0% Maint:+0%
Spoiler:  

*Seasoned: CV 13-14, TS:+25% Raise:+50% Maint:+10%
Spoiler:  

Good: CV 15-16, TS:+50% Raise:+100% Maint:+20%
Spoiler:  

*Veteran: CV 17-18, TS:+75% Raise:+150% Maint:+30%
Spoiler:  

Elite: CV 19-20, TS:+100% Raise:+200% Maint:+40%
Spoiler:  


If the unit has a CV of 21-40, divide their CV by 2 and compose by units of 5, instead of the standard 10. If it has a CV of 41-81, then divide CV by 4 and compose the units of 2 or 3. If the unit has a CV of 82 or more, then divide CV by 10 and field the unit on its own. Note that such a solo monster could be a Seasoned unit(CV 14) with 10 DR(+5 factor).

Notes: DR for armor is not figured into this estimation, because equipment is a separate, more easily defined entity, and because equipped armor has more disadvantages built into it as regards encumbrance, chinks, etc.

Also, the reasoning for the DR cost factor is that since natural DR is pretty much going to reduce every hit, a mere DR 2 will give a creature that many more chances to attack and attract a disproportionate amount of attention. The cost factors also ensure that nearly any creature with DR 8 or more is probably going to be treated as a solo monster in Mass Combat, which would ignore many average damage rolls that don't have some armor piercing ability.


Applying these guidelines to other races
To figure out how to compare one race of MC troops to the (presumably human) standard, follow these steps. Apply the racial template to the Average troop quality, look up the new CV, and consider that the stat-line for the race's 'average' troops. That race's troops cannot go more than nine CV higher than that(their 'elite' level) without having some sort of Unusual Background throughout the unit.



Any comments showing up in this thread would be scandalous. Don't reply. Really, just move along.
__________________
Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
Ten Green Gem Vine--Warrior-poet, bane of highwaymen

Last edited by Dunadin777; 03-26-2011 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Changed CV values and adjusted CV method slightly, weighting Soldier
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

Casualties, Experience, and Unit Degradation

Advanced Casualty Method

Sometimes both methods of casualty removal listed in the Mass Combat book might seem inappropriate. In such a case, use the following rules for detailed casualties.

Look at the total casualty value. Divide it into two equal proportions--wiped out casualties and general casualties. Then multiply the casualty percent by the TS. One half of those casualties are applied to as many specific units as they can eliminate--the wiped out casualties. Any units that were in risky positions or operations during the battle must be eliminated first, which generally means that half of them are killed with the rest dispersed or incapacitated. The other half of the casualties(plus any remainder from the wiped out casualties) are applied to all of the remaining units in the force--the general casualties.

For example, your force of 100 TS takes 50% casualties. 25 TS are eliminated outright. The rest of the 25 TS lost is then taken out of the rest of the army, as evenly as possible.

Unit Experience in Mass Combat

Part of the reason I added the above grades and detailed casualty method was because I wanted to have a smoother transition for units that gain combat experience over the course of a campaign. So, those who use the Mass Combat rules might like to incorporate these house-rules as well, if they want to make the force's campaign a bit grittier and dynamic.

If a unit survives an appropriate number of battles(see below), make a soldier skill roll. On a success, the unit will stabilize at the next level, either within their CV or going to the next CV(Low-end Inferior troops become high-end Inferior troops, high-end Inferior troops become low-end Raw, etc). Critical success results in two shifts. If the roll fails, the unit is treated as being at the next level for 1d weeks. If the roll critically fails, they experience no change in their combat abilities. Be sure to adjust their maintenance cost accordingly--even if they aren't formally of a different quality, seasoned troops tend to enjoy greater privileges that tax logistics more than average troops(At least... ;) I think).

Raw or worse quality troops test for improvement after each battle.
Average quality troops test for improvement after 2 battles in a season.
Seasoned quality troops test for improvement after 3 battles in a season.
Good quality troops test for improvement after 4 battles in a season.
Veteran quality troops test for improvement after 5 battles in a season.
Elite quality troops test for improvement after 6 battles in a season.

Remember: these are micro-CV improvements. If you're only concerned with improvement on a Mass Combat scale, double these numbers. So a Raw unit could become a high-end Raw unit after their first battle, and a low-end Average unit after their second battle. If dealing with the unit on a tactical level, they'd have a small stat boost after the first shift, but their Mass Combat stats only change after the second shift.

These improvements represent the ability of the unit to learn tactical lessons from a battle, make good decisions on battle doctrine, and apply it during their downtime between battles. That's why it's based on Soldier skill. When appropriate, successful Leadership rolls from the unit's commander may add a +1 or +2 bonus to the unit's effective Soldier skill for this roll

Unit Degradation

Likewise, units that suffer significant casualties will generally become worse in overall quality. Any time a Mass Combat unit takes 25% or more casualties, roll Soldier skill for it to maintain its current quality. On a critical success, the unit integrates the new recruits flawlessly. A regular success means that the more experienced soldiers take 1d weeks to bring the new guys up to speed, and they will be reduced 1 micro-CV level in the meantime. A failure reduces the unit 1 micro-CV permanently, and a critical failure results in two negative shifts. If the unit took 50% or more in casualties, it automatically shifts down 1 level, possibly more based on the Soldier roll.

Again, Leadership rolls can occasionally add a bonus to effective skill for these rolls, as can any exceptional medical methods with accompanying skill rolls(representing getting the walking wounded back into the fight immediately, effectively allowing them to replace themselves on the line).



[snark]Just posting for consistency's sake. Keep moving. Don't post replies. I don't want feedback for this.[/snark]
__________________
Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
Ten Green Gem Vine--Warrior-poet, bane of highwaymen

Last edited by Dunadin777; 07-09-2011 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Added an example of casualty method.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:45 AM   #7
Entsuropi
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

I just wanted to say that your Long Fights notes are quite useful - I find that sometimes 1 second turns are a bit too slow. The solution you picked seems quite elegant, and calls to mind the scene in Amber where the protagonist fights his way up a staircase, full of deeply inferior troops.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

Dunadin777,

Nice and detailed, but possibly more detailed than I care for; if I'm ever in a position to run this sort of campaign again, I'll take another look at this thread. Off-hand, I'd say that your method dilutes soldier skill more than I care for, but otherwise looks good.

GEF
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:35 PM   #9
Dunadin777
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entsuropi View Post
I just wanted to say that your Long Fights notes are quite useful - I find that sometimes 1 second turns are a bit too slow. The solution you picked seems quite elegant, and calls to mind the scene in Amber where the protagonist fights his way up a staircase, full of deeply inferior troops.
Glad to hear it, and glad to get some feedback. I'm not familiar with the Amber Chronicles--though a little wiki-fu yielded a pretty neat description of the setting--but the scene you describe sounds like an excellent moment for using the Long Fight rules. I really try to keep things as simple as my attention to detail will allow, but sometimes I have to make more effort to keep something truly elegant. All in all, I feel the Long Fight rules are easy enough to drop into a game without too much hassle. The biggest question is the relative accuracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Dunadin777,

Nice and detailed, but possibly more detailed than I care for; if I'm ever in a position to run this sort of campaign again, I'll take another look at this thread. Off-hand, I'd say that your method dilutes soldier skill more than I care for, but otherwise looks good.

GEF
By diluting the soldier skill, do you mean you feel it should be weighted more heavily than the other Combat Value factors? I tend to agree with you, which is why I made soldier skill necessary for gaining experience and avoiding degradation, but I felt that the sample values rang pretty true, so I'm reluctant to change the CV formula unless I see some pretty broken examples.

As for complex detail, that's certainly an issue with the Big Fights guidelines. I don't mind it as a GM, as long as the extra complexity is stuff that I can 'keep under the hood' in my campaign, and I feel it's essential for the sort of campaign I'm running. Might not be necessary for others, though. In my game, I'm going to have a lot of relevant variation of different kingdoms' soldiers, and when the PCs interact with them I want to feel certain that the GURPS write-ups are roughly proportionate to their Mass Combat ones. That's my biggest concern, as I anticipate my PCs eventually taking over commanding positions in the army, facing NPC classes that they'd fought in personal combat.

If it's accurate, the Big Fight guidelines can also be used as a rough guide for when a PC hero can count as a solo unit in Mass Combat purposes, and I think that might have more general utility for other forumites.

Thanks for the replies.
__________________
Finds party's farmboy-helper about to skewer the captive brigand who attacked his sister.

"I don't think I'm morally obligated to stop this..."
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:02 AM   #10
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Big Fights and Long Fights in GURPS

>By diluting the soldier skill, do you mean you feel it should be weighted more heavily than the other Combat Value factors?

Yes. You double-count ST and Skill, single-count Soldier skill, which is the skill that most affects fighting as part of a group.

>I want to feel certain that the GURPS write-ups are roughly proportionate to their Mass Combat ones. That's my biggest concern...

Not a big concern for me, as these are NPCs and I can make sure they have the expected traits. Frex, a player might design an overweight asthmatic dwarf who is also a cinematic master halberdier, but as the GM, I can make sure that non-player characters from elite units have the plausible, solid ST and HT stats that their lifestyles would maintain.

GEF
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