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Default 12 ways to improve TB RPG combat systems @ Sinister Design

July 8th, 2011, 05:47
Craig Stern follows up his controversial op-ed piece on D&D combat with 12 ways to improve turn-based RPG combat systems. A sample:
(2) Give the player at least six characters. This one is absolutely key, and yet most western RPGs of the past 20 years have missed it. Imagine playing chess with only four pieces–you’d be looking at a game with greatly reduced tactical complexity and far less interesting matches.
Putting more characters under the player’s control pays great dividends in terms of tactics. More characters means that the player can be expected to handle much more involved combat scenarios, and becomes responsible for keeping more characters alive. This naturally gives rise to dilemmas about how to balance multiple objectives with minimal losses, which in turn make combat more interesting.
Jay Barnson also responds to the original article with Roll D20 to Hit:
Now onto the biggest subject: Randomness. Craig’s game doesn’t have randomness in combat resolution. There are many games that do not. They can be a lot of fun.
But for me, a lot of the fun (and skill) in RPGs comes from manipulating the system to get luck on your side. And the chance of failure – no matter how carefully you’ve tried to work the odds – keeps things exciting, and demands risk management. Sure, you may be 90% likely to kill the dragon before it gets the chance to attack again… but what happens if you don’t? Can you survive another onslaught of its fiery breath? Is it better to plan accordingly, sacrifice your chance of a quick kill to reduce your vulnerability?
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July 8th, 2011, 05:47
So why couldn't all of those be done with the dnd system.
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July 8th, 2011, 05:55
They could and many are part of 3e and even 4e.

This article is really silly, the guy has no idea what he's talking about.
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July 8th, 2011, 13:27
Originally Posted by darkling View Post
They could and many are part of 3e and even 4e.

This article is really silly, the guy has no idea what he's talking about.
Why do you say so? I totally agree with the author. I cringe when I see a turn based system with only one character, so much wasted potential. Same with terrain options, distance, randomness, everything he mentioned is spot on IMHO. The more options I (and the enemy) has, the more fun it becomes.
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July 8th, 2011, 18:39
Big blender.

At last, it indicates TB combat.

What RPG has to do in that? His design and desires might be worth any TB combat style. Wargames alike.

Especially when it comes back with RP a party. Already having RPing a single character before wishing for RPing a whole party.

Article brings discussion from the wargaming/ RTS side which are going to nurture the exactly same observations and stuff.

So how a TB combat system can be improved, 12 ways. Not needs to appeal to RPG.
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July 8th, 2011, 20:15
These are all good suggestions, though hardly revolutionary. The only reason they're so rare IMO is that turn-based games themselves are rare. One stand out though is 11. Support multiple objectives. This would even improve games where the other stuff is already done right, like ToEE, JA2, King's Bounty, etc. Have some objective other than slaughtering everyone, or better yet tiered objectives:

1. get inside the camp without raising the alarm
2. kill commander
3. spare civilians

Give a separate reward for each objective, but the mission is only "failed" if the main objective is bungled.
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July 9th, 2011, 00:22
Hey guys I like game systems with stuff in it. Stuff is cool.
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July 9th, 2011, 10:25
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
These are all good suggestions, though hardly revolutionary.
That's reinventing the wheel indeed.

Looks like people wished they were involved in the 1980s. Discussions already made, nothing new, nothing revolutionary.

Still havent figured how RPG is drawn in the mix as this affects TB combat, and only by ricochet, RPGs that choose to include TB combat.
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