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Old 06-08-2015, 08:00 PM   #11
Anthony
 
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I have not found combat to be dull, but then, like John, I don't make much use of mooks. My usual assumption is that every fight is going to be a serious one for the heroes.
You can have a serious combat with mooks. It just requires lots of mooks, which is something GURPS doesn't handle all that well.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

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Originally Posted by c0matose View Post
I really mean more cinematic. Sometimes i feel like all i say is "ok roll to hit" "ok hes dead" "roll to hit the next guy" "hes also dead" until theyre all dead.
1), describe more, and have the players describe more. Given GURPS rather more precise nature than most systems this can naturally follow the game effects .

So it's not: "I hit him with my sword" "Ok you hit him he goes down, next"

it's: "I thrust my sword into his torso (thrust attack non specific location, default torso)" "OK it enters his torso, he drops is sword, clutches at the wound and falls to the floor curled over in an vain attempt to protect himself from your next blow but currently unable to do more (well done a major wound, he fails his knock-down roll and suffers stun but not by -5)"

2). the second is counter intuitive to speed (but speed follows familiarity), but have the players use more combat options that way they are making meaningful decisions in how they are going about stuff and feel more invested in the immediate results of doing so. Introduce the options slowly though (its easy to get overwhelmed) and set up combats so those different options are more workable. So for example if your encouraging feints have the opponent use a weapons that need a ready after being used.

2a). Signature moves are cool, give everyone one for free (say up to a 10 point technique/combo), this will introduce combinations & techniques, but in a way that isn't overwhelming.

Teamwork perk give it to everyone
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

In my campaign, in the very first fight, one of the heroes lost his left arm. These players are all used to D&D3.0 and 3.5 rules but did see the movies on which my campaign was based on.

They encountered two droidekas (the type of rolling tripod droids seen in Star Wars Episode I from which a Jedi Master and his Padawan flee from). The heroes in my campaign were just starting (some weren't even adult yet) but they came soon to know that combat could be deadly. From then on, they first decided, when they encoutnered an enemy, if they could reasonably win the combat without losses (if they recognize the type of opponents) and if not, what are the retreating options if it goes wrong.

During the campaigns, the heroes have grown and are able to grind themselves through mass numbers of opponents (as long as they don't something stupid or very heroic) but still have to rethink their option when they encounter tougher enemies. Even then, the danger of getting badly hurt, losing limbs (which can be replaced) is very real.
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:08 AM   #14
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

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Originally Posted by c0matose View Post
I really mean more cinematic. Sometimes i feel like all i say is "ok roll to hit" "ok hes dead" "roll to hit the next guy" "hes also dead" until theyre all dead.
Do you want more cinematic, or more mechanically interesting, or higher stakes?

Is it that you're getting tired of saying "Roll to hit. Did you roll a 16 or less? You hit! He's dead. Well done! Roll for the next guy!"? Would you be okay if it was: "Roll to hit. Did you get a 16 or less? FANTASTIC! The orc stares down at the blade jutting out of his chest before lifting his tusked face to look at you in growing horror and then he explodes showering the room in gore, light and rock-and-roll. A mist begins to rise from the floor as the remaining orcs back away, nervous and confused. Roll for the next guy!"?

Is it that you want better descriptions?

Or would you be alright with "Roll to hit? Did you roll a 16 or less? He's dead! Great. Now, there are 5 other orcs, who are armed with heavy mauls, each of which will certainly penetrate your armor, knock you down and break your flimsy rapier if you try to parry them, who are screening you away from the priest who is calling up a dark miasma that requires an HT roll every second or you take 1 toxic damage (it also applies a -2 to vision unless you have penetrating vision) and you were pretty sure there was a half-orc assassin-girl somewhere around here who will stab you in the back unless you make a roll to spot her. So what's your next action? Rolling to attack another mook, trying to find the hidden assassin, Defending, moving, what?"

Is it that you want more mechanically interesting combat?

Or would you be alright with "Roll to hit? Did you roll 16? You killed another mook! Your former ally shouts at you 'Why must you slaughter my forces? I've done all of this, all of this, for you! To further your goals, to further your ambitions! Now you declare me a monster because the best minions to further your goals were orcs?' The orc, as it dies, looks up at you with betrayal on its face, is black blood-crusted fingers clutching at your robes. Behind you, the wizard in grey growls 'It must be done, for the sake of the princess!' Do you want to roll to kill another orc?"

Do you want more pertinent stakes?

Or do you want all three? I find rich descriptions (soundtracks optional), interesting mechanical choices, and interesting dramatic choices, when combined, make for pretty epic fights.

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
You can have a serious combat with mooks. It just requires lots of mooks, which is something GURPS doesn't handle all that well.
Eh, it goes okay, you just have to bundle the mooks down into something simple, and think about what makes them a threat. I ran a game where I had zombie mooks that just couldn't threaten the players (literally, in one case, as the target was a robot that their plague couldn't affect and their damage was too small to penetrate his DR). That was the lamest fight I ever ran. But in my samurai campaign, I was loaded to the gills with interesting mooks: Ninjas required an alertness check to spot and threw 1d-1 poisoned shuriken at you. The Silent Legion were all DR 5 and wielded huge tetsubos, and would open with a slam and follow it up with an attack against you while you were on the ground. The Mountain Guard were a flippin' pike square, so they just lowered their pikes and Waited, usually supported by archers and such on the side.

You just focus on: What is their DR, what is their attack, what is their move, and what makes them a threat to the PCs?
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:38 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

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Eh, it goes okay, you just have to bundle the mooks down into something simple, and think about what makes them a threat.
That's not the issue I was getting at. GURPS can do a fight with hordes of mooks; it's just a giant slog. To be fair, it's a giant slog in many game systems, but the dice mechanics make GURPS a bit slower. In D&D, if six orcs are attacking a PC, I can pick up 6d20, roll them all, count the hits, and apply damage. The equivalent in GURPS would typically involve on the order of 30d6, which have to be bunched in threes.
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
That's not the issue I was getting at. GURPS can do a fight with hordes of mooks; it's just a giant slog. To be fair, it's a giant slog in many game systems, but the dice mechanics make GURPS a bit slower. In D&D, if six orcs are attacking a PC, I can pick up 6d20, roll them all, count the hits, and apply damage. The equivalent in GURPS would typically involve on the order of 30d6, which have to be bunched in threes.
This is true. You can get around that by running a die system on a computer, of course, but that could be said of any system, and it hardly solves the problem for 90% of the audience (well, maybe 80% nowadays)
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

I resolve battles with enemies that have few chances to damage the PCs by a simple skill roll. The squad leader states what he wants to accomplish and rolls against tactics. Every player rolls against one applicable skill, success gives +1 to the leaders tactics roll, failure -1.

If the tactics roll succeeds the PCs achieve their goal. If it fails the mission might be a failure or a success, but with bad consequences (someone got wounded, an important target got away, some equipment got damaged...).

But this procedure is probably not very adapted for D&D style play, in which detailed battles with low power enemies are part of the adventure.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: How to make combat more exciting?

1. Create a "battle mat" in your mind or on paper with a list. Jot down some skills that can be used on the terrain then place it on the mat before combat. Something like;

a. Large outcropping of bolders, sharp inclines, climb difficulty -3. Once on top, archers or spear users get higher ground advantage.
b. Pooling stagnant water/thick mud, jump over at no difficulty, slows movement by 1" if walked in, make Hiking skill check to not get stuck for 1 - 3 seconds.
etc.

2. Martial Arts has piles of great maneuvers in it. PCs should be feinting and using deceptive attack. PCs should gang up on formidable foes, surrounding them is effective (bonuses for flanking or rear attacks). The maneuver cards you can get on W23 are nifty and could work as great reminders to the PCs of their options. Someone around here made a complete set including the MA maneuvers.

3. When getting hammered, people (monsters?) are not likely to just sit there and take a beating. People will retreat. I also use fighting retreats where monsters cover each other as they start backing away looking for a better strategic position. Humanoid monsters skilled in banditry, thuggery and combat should use more advanced tactics. There's a reason they've survived to meet your PCs. :-) Movement can make a combat WAY more dynamic.

4 Prep! a quick handful of various opponents with 1/2 HP and move, 0 HP pre-calculated can speed up combat. Just look at your notes and you know ahead of time what affects injury is having on them.
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