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Mandatory Movement in a D20 Game?

 
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Heaven's Thunder Hammer
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:36 pm    Post subject: Mandatory Movement in a D20 Game? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So, for context, I'm running a Star Wars Saga edition game. (yes, yes, I know the issues with it, It's what I own from years ago, so it's what I'm using. And many houserules for balance etc.)

One thing I've noticed D20 games in general, as well as Saga are bad about (at least in my experience) is that melee duels involve the PC and opponent duking it out and not moving until someone dies.

Yet, in Star Wars films/tv series, (and in just any other tv/film) the duels are rarely static. Dualists constantly move around and interact with the environment while fighting.

So, I'm thinking about for melee fights, how to make them more dynamic/mobile/cinematic.

One thought I have is some sort of mandatory movement per round.

Some (not great) ideas are:

(1) Melee combatants must use their move action each round (no change to AoO rules).

This sounds *ok* but then Melee combatants can't use full attack actions. Not sure what this would do for balance and combat length long term. In the short term it would make no difference because my PC's are level 4.


(2) Give PCs a second move action that must be used to move each round they engage in melee combat (AoO rules don't apply to this move action). If a PC wants to disengage, this second move action wouldn't apply and normal rules come back.

Any other ideas are most welcome. Wink
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You may be running into an adaptation problem. Cinematic fights are mobile to be more visually engaging to the audience, but in tabletop the players are already engaged in a tactical wargame and their experience may not be enhanced by sliding their figures or whatever around. They already have a headful of modifiers to think about.

That said, if you want running battles you should provide mechanical incentives for them, not arbitrarily demand that people move around for no reason other than it would look cool if the game took place in a different medium.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If you want to encourage movement, then get rid of the grid altogether. The grid kills movement. Replace it with abstract distances (close, medium far), and had out free movement feats that give bonuses for flamboyantly moving between these distances.

As mechanically horrible as the Exalted stunt system is, giving real bonuses for flamboyant descriptions is really the only way you're going to reliably get flamboyant fights.

The first rule should be that everyone can swing on a rope, and swinging on a rope should be a meaningful action that people will want to do in the middle of a swordfight.
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czernebog
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Getting players to move around can be seen as a special case of getting them to interact with their environment. A simple idea is to develop a deck of "shit that comes up while you're in a fight/chase" cards that introduce scene elements.

The d20 SRD has a ton of terrain rules which an MC could use to sprinkle the battlefield with trees that provide cover, flagstones that you can't charge or tumble on effectively, etc., but I haven't had a lot of luck with them because of how fiddly things can get when modifiers to highly specific combat actions change on each and every creature's turn. But I'm fond of trees and New-England-style stone fences, both for flavor and to give combatants some tactical options when they need cover. And when I do provide terrain which renders characters at a clear disadvantage, my party has sometimes tried to herd their opponents into it.

Aside from random terrain elements, dynamic environmental hazards are genre-appropriate to Star Wars and might give players combat options beyond "I hit it." So take whatever planet-spanning biome the next fight scene happens in, crank up the environmental effects until you've got a mix of things that a reasonable PC won't stand still for, and draw a new one every so often.


Last edited by czernebog on Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If you look at the Star Wars combats, almost every movement is either someone running to either exploit or evade a specific terrain effect or else someone being pushed back by their opponent's superior swordplay. One of the ways you can tell Darth Vader is mostly winning throughout the entire Empire Strikes Back duel is that Luke is near-constantly being pushed back, and it also includes both sides taking advantage of some environmental effects around the carbon freezing chamber. In Return of the Jedi, Luke and Vader push each other around a little, but most of the mobility is Luke actively disengaging from the fight or else at the end when Luke's anger gives him the upper hand and he pushed Vader back consistently. In Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon together can push Darth Maul back pretty consistently, and Maul expends a lot of effort trying to separate them, most definitely including kicking Obi-Wan around and off of ledges, and possibly intentionally retreating towards the forcefields that eventually allow him to get Qui-Gon alone. Attack of the Clones' duels were terrible, so let's not talk about them, and in Revenge of the Sith we see mostly characters pushing each other around and also in the final duel the disabling of the heat shields and sinking of the facility into the lava means Anakin and Obi-Wan are dueling each other while simultaneously playing the last level of a Metroid game. We don't get a whole lot of movement in TFA duel because that movie uses injuries rather than positioning to show who's winning, but to the extent movement does happen, it's Kylo Ren pushing Rey around. And then in Last Jedi Kylo is able to push Luke around a little, but only because Luke is a Force illusion who can't actually attack or even block without giving away the game - and even then, Luke is able to "retreat" directly towards Kylo Ren's attacks and end up behind him, so he's clearly in control of the fight even though Kylo is forcing him to move.

So the key to good Star Wars fights is to let the guy winning a fight force the other guy to move around in exchange for some kind of damage reduction, and to have occasional environmental effects you can take advantage of if you're standing in a certain spot. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to tell who's winning any given lightsaber duel in Saga Edition combat, since there's never any kind of opposed combat test, and it would not be straightforward to add one.
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maglag
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:

So the key to good Star Wars fights is to let the guy winning a fight force the other guy to move around in exchange for some kind of damage reduction, and to have occasional environmental effects you can take advantage of if you're standing in a certain spot.


I would say do kinda the reverse and have "fallback" be some kind of immediate action that reduces incoming damage, something the defender wants to do when things are going badly. That's the main reason why people step back in combats, to get some breathing room. The attacker would rather you stand still so they can properly reach you.

This also means that if you find yourself with your back against a wall or a precipice or you're simply surrounded and thus have nowhere to fallback then things suddenly get pretty ugly.

Lotr tabletop has a system like this, where damaged units can move back to protect themselves, so surrounding is super effective, making cheap cannon fodder units really useful just for setting up flanks.

Of course in an rpg you can create magic walls and have exotic changing enviroments.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:37 am    Post subject: Re: Mandatory Movement in a D20 Game? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:


One thing I've noticed D20 games in general, as well as Saga are bad about (at least in my experience) is that melee duels involve the PC and opponent duking it out and not moving until someone dies.

Yet, in Star Wars films/tv series, (and in just any other tv/film) the duels are rarely static. Dualists constantly move around and interact with the environment while fighting.

So, I'm thinking about for melee fights, how to make them more dynamic/mobile/cinematic.


In general people move in melee combat, be it unarmed or swords, to...

-Evade enemy blows
-Box in their opponent
-Use the terrain features (such as cornering a guy in a cage fight)

The trick with turning this into turn based tabletop is how much tabletop time it takes and if you want interrupting turns to be a thing.
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Hicks
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So there needs to be an incentive to engage with movement: like a lion totem Barbarian 2, fighter 4 with the leap attack and shock trooper feat. That character really wants to charge at least 10 feet every round to get a +2 on their pouncing full attack, and +12 damage to each hit. Unless moving is better for a PC, they won't do it, and if you alter the rules to make moving manditory they'll rightly resent you for it.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Something else that comes to mind about movement and combat is...

The giant swings his club into the puny human and... the human stands completely in place, just takes HP damage. Only special feats and special attacks let a giant dude send a little dude flying. That sort of thing should be baked into the core combat system.

In a WotC d20 game I'd use the [Tome] edge rules to gain bonuses over foes like...

- When you hit someone and have edge you can trip, bullrush, disarm, grapple, trick, whatever maneuvers the game has. Maybe different maneuvers activate depending on how you have edge so "Giant sends you flying" is caused by the giant having a STR edge and "swordmaster disarms you" is from having a BAB edge.

Fixing maneuvers is another hassle, but tying them to fort/ref/will might work depending on how not-wonky everyones saves are.

Also modify full defense to put a condition where even if the opponent misses attacking you they can choose which direction you're pushed back in if they missed on an even number.

So if you're outclassed and turtling up the badguy gets to choose how you step back.

You can also give people move/swift action points once per encounter, and have interacting with the terrain take a move or swift action so swinging from the chandelier is move/move, so using a move action point lets you attack while doing that.


Last edited by OgreBattle on Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Blicero
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Keep in mind that, in d20, squares are five feet by five feet. So there's room for a lot of movement that the measurement system is not granular enough to model.

As a quick fix, you could say that, any round in which a character moves at least 5 feet, they get +2 to attack and -2 to AC. That's a small incentive toward generating more dynamic fights.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In the d20 engine; granting bonus AC for movement around/out of opponents threatened squares; and larger bonuses than currently exist for charging. Might encourage creatures to charge, fall back, and repeat.

I could see bonuses scaling with BAB or Iterative attacks; so that a higher level martialist's charge/advance is more powerful than a lower level ones.
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Grek
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
So the key to good Star Wars fights is to let the guy winning a fight force the other guy to move around in exchange for some kind of damage reduction, and to have occasional environmental effects you can take advantage of if you're standing in a certain spot. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to tell who's winning any given lightsaber duel in Saga Edition combat, since there's never any kind of opposed combat test, and it would not be straightforward to add one.

Dungeonomicon implements this with Power Slide, which lets you take half damage in exchange for moving 5' per 5 damage negated.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The issue with that (besides being a class-specific ability, but it's as easy to fix that problem as it is to bring it up) is that it leads to evenly matched fighters constantly pushing each other multiple squares around. It's fine that they tend to move a square or two and then recover that ground when they counterattack on their turn. The problem is that your heavy hitting damage dealers are going to push people back a whole lot, which is fine when they're fighting someone who isn't that, but when two builds stocking up on damage-per-round in one way or another face off against each other, then instead of being evenly matched and thus only moving a little, they'll have wild and crazy pendulum swings where on duelist A's turn he pushes duelist B back by seven squares, and then on duelist B's turn he gets up and pushes duelist A back by seven squares. I forget exactly how much damage someone optimizing for lightsaber melee could spit out, but I recall it being rather high if they're willing to drop Force Points into it, and in a climactic duel, both sides very likely are.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maybe tie this to swift immediate actions so using your swift to corner a guy leaves you vulnerable to things an immediate would’ve avoided
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Indeed, requiring players to move each turn is a Bad Idea.

Reward them for it.


This might seem radical for d20, but how about "facing"?
Each character would then try to get behind or at least beside the opponent each turn.
Like in Final Fantasy Tactics.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

JonSetanta wrote:
Indeed, requiring players to move each turn is a Bad Idea.

Reward them for it.


This might seem radical for d20, but how about "facing"?
Each character would then try to get behind or at least beside the opponent each turn.
Like in Final Fantasy Tactics.


Flanking works as a standin for me. I think combat would be improved by making it more abstract than more specific. Video games do real time action with 6+ dudes in a more organized and speedy manner than tabletop can realistically handle.

Then there's the issue of square horses and how many squares a serpent takes up...
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, as far as square creatures go, using flanking instead of facing is way superior. If you're going with facing, you have about three options:

  • No refacing: You can only change your facing on your turn. This leads to stupidity of two people jumping behind the other on their turn for the back stab bonuses, resulting in a stupid leap frog until someone is backed in a corner. It looks dumb and does nothing for realism or genre emulation.
  • Limitless refacing: You can change your facing on the fly, and only care if your back is turned on your current attacker. Congratulations. You have a game with facing rules that do nothing, because no one is ever stabbed in the back if they're not flat-footed.
  • Limited refacing: There are limits to how often you can change your facing, or you don't want to turn your back on someone who already attacked you, but isn't attacking you now. The first guy comes up to you, and you face him so you don't get back stabbed. The second guy comes up to your back, and you change your facing so your back isn't to him, but also isn't to the first guy. Congratulations, you have copied 3.5 flanking, but in a more complicated way.

Facing seems cool on paper until the players actually try to interact with the system during game play.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Something else that comes to mind about movement and combat is...

The giant swings his club into the puny human and... the human stands completely in place, just takes HP damage. Only special feats and special attacks let a giant dude send a little dude flying. That sort of thing should be baked into the core combat system.


Unless the puny human is named Kal-El, that isn't really something I'd like to see. I'd rather the giant swings his club and the puny human rolls out of the way, taking HP damage from impacting the terrain in his haste to avoid the club or the human stands completely in place and is transformed into something resembling a spilled tomato sauce.
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GâtFromKI
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Mandatory Movement in a D20 Game? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:
Yet, in Star Wars films/tv series, (and in just any other tv/film) the duels are rarely static. Dualists constantly move around and interact with the environment while fighting.

So, I'm thinking about for melee fights, how to make them more dynamic/mobile/cinematic.

One thought I have is some sort of mandatory movement per round.

I'm playing Luchadores (a wrestling RPG) (modified by our MC, i don't know what are the base rules and his houserules), some of the solutions it uses are:
- you may make as many action as you want during your turn (move, punch, catch the opponent, etc).
- you get 1 bonus die for every action you make, up to 3 dice.
- your opponent get 1 bonus defense die for every 2 action you make, up to infinity.
- you get up to 4 bonus die depending on how "flamboyant" you are.
- your base dice pool is usually between 3 and 6 dice for an action you're intending to use.

Hence:
- The bonus you get for making 3 actions and being "flamboyant" is huge. You want those bonus dice. And you want to add useless moves (like a taunt or a somersault) to get your 3 actions.
- You aren't restricted by the number of actions you have : making more than 3 actions is a possibility if you feel it's needed in the "flow" of the fight, but your opponent's defense explode if you try too much stuff.

In the other hand, all the fiddly parts of the system may slow the game to a crawl if you discuss every bonus die. The MC has to take quick decisions "you have X bonus dice", and you have to accept it without discussing every part. This is not something people like on the den - and this is not something I'd like with some other MC.


Last edited by GâtFromKI on Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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