Thursday, July 13, 2017

Combat and Smart Play

In very thoughtful recently posted video on Combat in RPGs I was inspired to consider how I handle combat and talk a little bit about it.

This was my comment:

For me Combat is the "Game" aspect of my RPG GMing. It's where the dice become Fate and Destiny. However, my rules are such that characters can, if they plan ahead, or are clever people, augment their chances of success by exercising what I call "Smart Play". So if there's a scene where the guards are heard clamoring down the corridor one group of players might ignore them in their pursuit of treasure until the guards burst through the doorway. Their odds in this case are normal. Another group, lets say, panics when they hear the sound and start arguing and a few of them try to run into an adjacent room. This group's odds are lower and they may get negative modifiers on the initial round of combat because they're in a state of panic. Another group might quickly assemble around the doorway with weapons drawn and with the thief hiding behind the door so that he can get a backstab in at the right moment. This group will get bonus attack level modifiers for being prepared, and are more likely to win the initiative in the first round because the guards may be surprised. For me the last group represents what I think of as "Smart Play", and those guys augment their chances of success. Now does this have much to do with role playing? Yup. In my opinion it does. I have some great players. They don't meta game. If they're low level dumb dumbs with a thimble of intelligence between them, my players will play their characters that way - and they'll faithfully play the group that panics. And it will be fun and funny, and we'll have a ball. But if they're playing the highly skilled veterans then that group will be exercising "Smart Play", and it will be neat and effective and they've got a good chance of achieving their goals. And there will probably be some laughs along the way, because they're witty as hell. At any rate, that's my concept of "Smart Play" and a little bit about how that plays out in my game.

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