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Old 05-23-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
bongotastic
 
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Default [brainstorm] Evaluating for Combat openings

A friend and I have been working on a random combat opening generator. The idea isn't new, and I wrote more about it in a post on my GURPS blog. The idea originates from a post by Kromm here.

The idea is to infuse a bit of serendipity into the Evaluate action by proposing an option: Evaluate (opening). If it gets the players to try moves that they wouldn't, and throw a bit of unpredictability into fights, it will achieve its main goal.

The idea is that Evaluate involves a contest of Per-based weapon skill (Attacker) vs DX-based weapons skill (defender). Is there an opening? And if so, is it detected in less than a second? The contest and the subsequent random opening generation is rolled into a straightforward web app.

Here is the App: The Serendipity Engine

With this, Evaluate give bigger than +1 to Hit in a single turn, but with a probability of less than one. So the benefit should be about the same. Also, to make things more fun, the bonus is often conditional to a certain end state. This end state may be interesting to narrate as a GM, some random combination are just odd and should be removed.

It will take a sense of humor to test and refine the idea, but there may be people in here interested on this forum. Feel free to give it a click. If you have comments, by all means share here or on the blog.

Once that we are satisfied with the behavior, I'll write a formal description of what is the underlying rule and procedure. We are going to roll-in in the next few days context-specific events that will be selectable with toggle buttons (With Allies, Multiple Foes, Rough Ground, Harsh Failures, etc...).
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #2
DouglasCole
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Default Re: [brainstorm] Evaluating for Combat openings

Do you want a rehash of previously discussed comments and blog exchanges here as potential conversation starters?
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
bongotastic
 
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Default Re: [brainstorm] Evaluating for Combat openings

Douglas, good idea. This is a better venue than the blog. I'm pretty sure that I'll write something offensive in the process ;)

Quote:
Doug Cole's comment(s) on Evaluate timing
* I might look at a slightly different mechanic. Maybe declare an Evaluate, and on your NEXT turn, you can roll the contest as you describe. Then you can act using the opening, act some other way, or not.

* If you want to do Evaluate and Attack in one turn, roll at -6, just like a Rapid Strike.
This is a very valid point: should Evaluate(opening) behaves more like the base combat action and apply to the next second? I proposed not to do this to play against the main objection VS Evaluate: which is to waive the ability to strike for that second. I also assumed that an opening exists only for a split second.

Quote:
Doug Cole's comment(s) on closure.
I think it would be really cool if along with an opening, there's a corresponding "closure." So your foe is open to a low-line grapple (-2 to defend), but all high-line strikes might be at +2 to defend. High line grapples and low-line strikes are unchanged.
Douglas would like the reverse of openings as well. Maybe even if this comes down to changed modifiers on some body parts. This is doable. I don't think that it would be a problem to implement if I knew that there would be testing done on this variant. I am going to test the mechanics as implemented first.

Quote:
Peter Dell'Orto's comment(s)
The weird thing is, and one I know my players would moan about, is that the opening isn't really "there" unless you've got the Per to spot it. And nothing they do with their character allows them to, say, especially shield their weapon, counter observation, not expose what the app says you've exposed, etc.
This is why it is a skill contest of Per-based melee skill VS DX-based melee skill. It abstracts minute movements.


Quote:
Peter Dell'Orto comment on computer based mechanics
I'm a little unsure how this is generated. It seems like, lacking the app, I can't use this rule. It's app or nothing, which isn't something I'm pre-disposed to like in a rule.
Completely fair comment. The best that can be done is to make a very simple table of opening: but this goes against my inclination to do table lookup during combat. The other half of the answer is that the random generation will hopfefully create all sorts of interesting and awesome events that would otherwise never happen.

Quote:
Peter Dell'Orto comment on failed skill contests.

"Nothing's open!

No Opportunity observed, Do Nothing for this turn"

Okay, so I get this result - I can't convert to an immediate attack. I just "Do Nothing." Even the tiniest chance of that means my players won't try this, because almost anything is better than Do Nothing.
This is to counter balance the fact that if the check succeeds, you get much more than the usual +1. On average, the Evaluate shouldn't be more powerful in term of abstract "combat utilities". Someone on G+ proposed to default to a more defensive option where a failed check leads to a bonus on defense. However, the way it is implemented right now gives an edge to defense IF the Per-based check is successful but the Margin of Success is negative (the defender is well guarded than the attacker can spot).

The app doesn't really prevent from changing the mechanics. So it can be tried.

As an aside, the concept was tried in real game two weeks ago and lead to a weapon grapple which aborted a combat: something that wouldn't have happened otherwise. I plan to do some sandbox testing as well as some in-game testing in the Palantir Campaign tomorrow night.
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