Back to Crafty Games Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
August 21, 2014, 07:14:39 PM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Welcome to the Crafty Games Forums!

Note to New Members: To combat spam, we have instituted new rules: you must post 5 replies to existing threads before you can create new threads.

  Show Posts
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 18
16  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and You: What Happens Next? on: February 15, 2013, 11:27:17 PM
I agree that good encounter design (and, just as importantly, players who are willing to go along with that encounter kind) go a long way to reduce the boredom of combat, and it's a tool I've been using for a while. Varying primary goals (eg. hostages, timers, races, deathtraps) are the most suitable, because the primary goal in this case does not necessarily force combat.

I disagree on the "an encounter that you can mow through with nothing but standard attacks is an encounter with no element of risk to begin with". D&D encounters have been built around the dice game principle forever, and while there may be risk of dying, depending on the opposition, it's still a dull encounter (unless you find it exciting to see if you can roll a 20 when you need one, in which case straight up gambling might actually suit you better). The virtuoso fencer: getting the steel out of his hands sounds like a good idea, but should be almost as hard or harder than beating him down, if he really is a virtuoso fencer - lateral thinking would involve something altogether different in this case.

So agreed on the encounter design. However, what I wish for (and realize I'm not likely to get) is a system that encourages different actions, even in the "regular" beating down the bad guys. Or in other words, to me there are two ways of solving the combat issue in RPGs: make it short (ie finish a combat in sub 20 mins), which hardly any game does, or make the combat subgame an actual game that's worth playing (which also hardly any game does). D&D 4th tried the latter, but the result was, at least to me, not engaging enough to sink time into, and it took way too much time to finish combats.

FC is way better than most games in that you have advanced actions (which, for the record, I use extensively, even when they are less efficient, because it keeps me from getting bored in fights), but as pointed out, there still is a heavy slant towards the standard attack that makes it a favored option. Any optimal option (towards which I count the Feint/Attack with sneak attack dice combo) makes things less interesting.

Attack options that set up combos or open up actions that are otherwise not available make things more interesting. The mix-up trick is good. Actions that allow you to improve your chance to hit (like Feint) are good, but usually only if they can be followed up with actions that do more damage (which is how feint is used most commonly in practice). As long as you can compare action-to-action, optimal choices are easy. Once initial choices branch into additional choices whose efficiency increases as they are chained, optimization gets a bit harder, and things get more interesting.

Just think of board games: a game with a single obvious strategy will be won by the person with the most luck, which is unsatisfying, so you won't play the game often. If the game has many different paths to victory that vary significantly from the outset and may have to be rebalanced during the game, and the strategies are difficult to weigh against each other, then you get something that people come back to. While I think FC is taking steps in the right direction, it hasn't reached the latter, but I think it has the potential to do so with a few small tweaks, and those are what I'm looking for.

OK, done with off-topic.


17  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and You: What Happens Next? on: February 15, 2013, 01:28:49 AM
I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

If this has been your experience I feel that your party is not very good at using advanced actions. Even if using disarm makes the fight last 1 turn longer, the fight goes from 5 turns to six turns and the over all damage your party receives goes from 105 to 42. (that's the average of 1D12+4x10 or two attacks per turn for 5 turns vs the average of 1D4+1x12 or two attacks a turn for 6 turns without a weapon) and in reality it's less than that even as the sword stance that was factored in above also gives a +1 to hit that the opponent would lose so he'd hit less frequently. Feint or trip attacks can allow your knife wielding burglar or your scout to deal a large amount of sneak damage, a bull rush can move someone into a bad position or separate characters for a divide and conquer tactic. Distract could mean that the guy who has 1 hit point left doesn't take a hit at the next initiative count and thus doesn't die.

I really feel like people undersell the advanced actions.

And the bad guy would fight unarmed why for 6 turns, rather than picking up his weapon? Or drawing a new one?


 
Except for when they're not. Like when Threaten or Tire is a better option. Or you need to take something alive or in one piece so disarm followed by a grapple is a better choice. Or you need to push something away from it's goal. Or when protecting something is a higher priority then destroying the thing attacking it.

No, I get that. But the 'except when they're not' happens too rarely for my taste. Just look through the various online games and see how often people use standard attacks vs everything else.

I guess what I would like to see is a combat where people are encouraged to really do different things every turn, lots of maneuvers etc, rather than the advanced actions being the exception.
18  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and You: What Happens Next? on: February 15, 2013, 12:28:28 AM
I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

It would be nice if the other actions had some secondary effect that makes them a bit more valuable, eg stress damage if you are tripped or disarmed (hey, that other guy just showed off some superior skills), so that the follow up with the Threaten mentioned above actually has an effect on characters other than mooks.

Or maybe special actions could be made more important somehow, perhaps by enabling other new actions or tricks, eg:

At my Mercy
Threaten trick: use on an opponent you have just disarmed. The Intimidate check is made at +2, and the save DC increases by 2.
19  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Undead Heritage on: February 10, 2013, 10:28:41 PM
I like it, and it has ideas I might be tempted to use for a similar idea with constructs... something like:

Golem graft
We have the magic.  We can remake you.
[partial construct stuff, reviled]

Golem body
You're more machine than man now
[construct type, lumbering, Cha penalty]

This one has "cyborg" written all over it.... You might want to let people take it even after 1st level.
20  Products / Spycraft Third Edition / Re: Spycraft Third Edition and Mastercraft on: January 29, 2013, 01:32:05 AM
I would like to put in a request at this point, if I may, if there is an entire line of genre books based on Mastercraft: if the rules are the same for all of those books, please just print them once.

I have hundreds, maybe thousands of OGL pages in duplicate, because every single book had the (at best minorly modified, but more likely completely unmodified) skill system and combat system. I think this is a sorry excuse to fill more pages and sell a thicker, more expensive, book, and I don't have the patience for it any more. Even the Fantasyflight Games WH40K series are doing this, and I have in response drastically reduced the number of books I bought from the series.

I much prefer the WW approach: one single book with general mechanics, maybe general equipment and the like. Then genre/subgame books. This would really be "selling people only what they want/need". If this can't be done, I'd much rather have a single book with mechanics, and the rest just expansions, rather than getting a full book with everything for each genre.

Of course, if all aspects are significantly different, then I have no problem buying multiple books with the duplicate sections, because then they're not really duplicates.
21  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Running an urban campaign... on: January 08, 2013, 01:49:49 PM

Quote
Unless you actively set your campaign around the landmarks, conveying flavor is mostly about small, personal things: food, clothing and general similarity or strangeness compared to your usual environment.

Agreed, but noting that in a role-playing context you need to give the player a good list of those things that he or should would consider to be the halmarks of home to contrast off of. The whole exercise is directed towards aiding role-play in a mostly non-mechanical fashion. I'd love to have some sort of one page cheat sheet I could hand each player that would arm them with unique knowledge so they could spout local trivia and factoids at each other when it seems natural without the setting designer/GM prompting and vetting every nuance.

For example it'd be nice if the party has characters from multiple cities, and when the GM comments on some local feature, one player asks "is that normal around here?" and another player -NOT the GM- casually announces, "you'll get used to it" because they know it IS a regular feature of those parts.

You're taking it a step further than I would. I usually go with what's usual for the players, not the characters. The latter can be only done if either the players know the setting well, or if, like you propose, you hand out cheat sheets (which I admit would be kind of cool).

I think the Dresden Files RPG has a good start to city creation. Basically, you start out with one overarching phrase that you use to describe the city (perhaps even using movie/book tropes rather than real setting, eg. "Jack the Ripper's London"), and then you pick out a set number of locations where the action will occur, and give each of those also an evocative phrase. You can then flesh out from there, using the details in the list I posted above. I think it's very important to choose locales in advance, rather than thinking you'll deal with the entire city, simply due to the volume of information that you have to cough up otherwise.
22  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Running an urban campaign... on: January 08, 2013, 11:34:43 AM
If you want to convey local flavor, the standard numbers (like population) actually don't do anything for you, especially if you're on the ground. I've traveled to many, many places in my life, and I'll be damned if I'd have been able to give you a half-way accurate population estimate for any of them.

If you want to convey "local" flavor, then even the city as a whole is too big, and you have to start looking at smaller areas. Things that people tend to notice about their surroundings quickly:
- general state of building and road repair and cleanliness. Are the buildings freshly painted and new-looking? Is the facade crumbling? Are the roads bumpy and patched or smooth?
- size of streets and traffic (eg American streets tend to be very wide, European streets much narrower (also depending on where you are in a city)). Traffic, you mostly notice the density, the aggressiveness (do people wait? Do they cut? Do they honk?) and the makeup of vehicles. Is there public transportation, and how good is it, in terms of service and repair
- mix of ethnicity and status, status usually being inferred by quality of clothing and accessories. City sections that have a large population of ethnic minorities usually have a different flavor in some way than the rest of the city
- exceptionalities in appearance/dresscode. Does everybody roughly wear the same thing (either dictated by religion (Saudi Arabia) or fashion (you'd be shocked how similar Korean women appear, driven by the latest fashion, even down to cosmetic surgery)? Are there any items of clothing more common here (hats? veils? shorts? flip flops?)
- clustering of buildings and type. Does everyone live in high rises (don't think I've met anyone in Korea that lives in a house, eg. All apartments)? suburb-like, with yards? Where are shops? All clustered in multiple strip malls along the road? Shopping centers?
- are there any standout features? repeating shops, etc? One of the first things that pops out at you in Seattle is the huge number and density of coffee shops. In most of the US, fast food logos are ubiquitous. In Europe, other types of food qualify as fast food (eg, Germany has a lot more small Greek or Turkish places where you can pick up something to go than it has fast food places).

Unless you actively set your campaign around the landmarks, conveying flavor is mostly about small, personal things: food, clothing and general similarity or strangeness compared to your usual environment.
23  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Efectiveness Level on: December 31, 2012, 03:22:04 PM
You could also start at, say, level 4 and just raise the characters up a level after each session, after everybody has seen in play what they can do.

From my own experience, making a high-level character to start out with can be a bit daunting, especially for new players. There are just so many options. Letting the players mess around with their builds a bit after each session might be a good solution here to get the game off the ground faster, eg shift around attribute points or feats. This is something I almost always let new players do, or even veterans. After all, most people have a good idea what they want their character to feel like and be capable of doing, but translating that into game mechanics might be a bit daunting, especially since FC has some synergies in the feats and character abilities that don't always pop out at you.
24  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Efectiveness Level on: December 31, 2012, 08:41:35 AM
Damn, now I want to run Fantasy Craft...  My group will kill me.
I'll play! Cheesy (i am jonesing for a game, anyone in the SF bay area?!)

I am. Now we only have to find 1-2 more people!
25  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Which Setting? on: December 30, 2012, 04:49:50 AM

(click to show/hide)

(click to show/hide)
26  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Which Setting? on: December 29, 2012, 06:14:04 PM
I've been thinking about that as well, and it shouldn't be hard to port at least a simple system:

- assign aspects to characters as per DFRPG.
- if a character spends an AD on an action that uses his aspects, he gets rolls two AD instead.
- the GM triggers aspects as in DFRPG: he awards a number of AD, and the player can either accept or pay that many dice to decline

Never use that mechanic. It encourages antagonistic play and sucks for the player who had to blow his dice to avoid a complication. It also runs counter to similar mechanics in the system.

Don't punish the players for avoiding subplots and complications, reward them for going with it.

It's pretty much an exact copy of the Dresden Files RPG. Aspects are supposed to be benefits and drawbacks at the same time, and since I'm suggesting to add the Aspects at no cost, it would be silly not to have a drawback to them as well.
The one game I played in briefly didn't see a single refusal (or maybe one, but that was so weird a situation that I can't remember exactly what happened). It is a mechanic that has to be used constructively by both players and GM; if either side doesn't, it probably won't work.
27  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Which Setting? on: December 29, 2012, 06:04:17 AM

I love Aspects.  I've been pondering converting them into FC/SC for a little while now (my current thinking is using Studies to purchase them) because I really dig them.  The only downside for some games is that DFRPG really focuses on "this is out city", much the way that Dresden Files itself has Chicago as a main character.  DFRPG is one of those books I have zero regret purchasing, even though I haven't be able to play it yet (and I've had it for over a year - the planned game was kinda a nonstarter due to scheduling issues) because it's got some great GMing tips and ways of getting your players involved at a fundamental level in your game world.

I've been thinking about that as well, and it shouldn't be hard to port at least a simple system:

- assign aspects to characters as per DFRPG.
- if a character spends an AD on an action that uses his aspects, he gets rolls two AD instead.
- the GM triggers aspects as in DFRPG: he awards a number of AD, and the player can either accept or pay that many dice to decline
28  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: From the Ashes (OOC) on: December 23, 2012, 06:09:36 AM
After today, I will be out until the 27th. I don't think the game is waiting for me right now, but if it is, let me know.

Happy holidays, everyone!
29  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: From the Ashes (IC) on: December 17, 2012, 02:05:47 PM
Though surprised by the big cat going limb, Bronn wastes no time and attempts to snap its neck, which he follows up with dragging the beast to the fireplace. He's still ready for it to start moving at any time. Holding it with one arm, he douses the head of the beast in lamp oil and then thrusts it into the fire.

"Better burn these things. Sidari, have Lief and Ronan bring theirs over, too."

Once the bodies are disposed of and the fire is stoked, Bronn agrees that the party should start preparations for the next day. Those who can still sleep should do so, though.
30  Community / License to Improvise / Re: War Never Changes... or Does It? on: December 17, 2012, 10:00:28 AM
I think there's a good chance that especially asymmetric warfare might change soon.

Armor has a lot more development potential than guns do: chemical propellant is about as good as it gets, while we're only beginning to see what complex composite armor incorporating nanomaterials might look like, and how to engineer the armor for blast deflection. Armor stands to get tougher, lighter, and ultimately cheaper.

Now, if the average soldier cannot be stopped by an assault rifle or SAW anymore, then insurgents have to invest in heavier, more expensive weaponry, which in turn will be harder to transport, maintain, and supply. This makes it much harder to employ standard guerilla tactics.

Another thing that will change asymmetric warfare are surveillance drones with long operating times, such as aerostats. They can stay above the target area for days, and can fly high enough to be impossible to shoot down from the ground. Besides monitoring the enemy and being used to target air strikes, they can also be local relays or command centers for other drones, in case ground attack drones ever become interesting.

I think there will be no way around autonomous drones in the long run, especially if the enemy has the capability to attack the drones effectively. Due to lag, the reaction time currently is too slow to effectively fight with a drone in a dog fight.

On the other hand, I can see autonomous ground attack drones actually being a good thing: the average soldier gets a split second to decide if he's facing friend or foe, and whether to shoot or not, which can lead to civilian casualties. A drone should be much tougher and therefore have more time to decide.
Also, autonomous drones don't harbor feelings of frustration or hatred, and won't feel the need to pay anyone back for suffering injuries or losing comrades.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 18


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!