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Mass Combat Rules Constraints
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
If your system cannot model what happens if the players do not act, it cannot model the effects of the players' actions. Period.


Uh, wait, yes it does.

Edit: You know what, never mind. I leave it up to you if you wanna scroll up and figure it out.


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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
FrankTrollman wrote:
If your system cannot model what happens if the players do not act, it cannot model the effects of the players' actions. Period.


Uh, wait, yes it does.

Edit: You know what, never mind. I leave it up to you if you wanna scroll up and figure it out.


If you think you can meaningfully affect something that hasn't been defined, we have nothing to discuss. Your position is mathematically untenable and totally bugfuck insane.

-Frank
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

@Zinegata

I think we would both agree that prior to the campaign start, the DM decides whether there was a humanoid invasion and/or whether that invasion was successful. Choosing 'territory overrun by orcs' as the campaign starting state is just as valid a choice as 'heroic general overcame impossible odds and preserved civilization for another generation'.

If you have the same event during the campaign, there are reasons that the PCs might not be able to directly intervene. Perhaps they're making sure that Ark'aoloth the Wyrm of Destruction doesn't involve himself in the battle. At this point, the DM is going to decide how the battle plays out based on what he thinks is 'more interesting' from a narrative standpoint, right? So maybe he opts for 'heroic general leads army to victory against impossible odds'. Sure, it was UNLIKELY but not impossible so there's nothing necessarily wrong with that decision.

But what if the players ended up finding a scroll of teleport randomly generated in the dragon's hoard. They were efficient and they can travel to the battle before it is decided. At this point, even if they 'move every step' on the ladder, the ultimate effect is, at best what would have happened if they had not participated. In fact, if they're only SOMEWHAT successful, the results of the battle will be WORSE than DM fiat.

If you have a resolution system the players won't know how the battle will go if they don't intervene, but they should have the ability to figure the odds. Maybe 10% total victory, 40% defeat and 50% total defeat. They could hope to get lucky, but they'll be inclined to contribute if they can to shift those odds substantially. In any case, if the battle is resolved without DM fiat in either situation, there is NO CHANCE that the contribution of the players actually makes things WORSE for their side.
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Another instance when the PCs might care about a battle but not care enough to get involved is when they send an NPC commander to reduce an enemy's secondary fortification while they deal with another more important fortification. They can't be at both places at once, but they do care about the outcome of that battle, even if it's just at the level of "how long did it take and how many casualties do they have to replace"? That's happened 4-5 times in my campaign.

It's actually useful to have a very stripped down version of the mass combat mini-game for those situations. But I agree with Frank that the basic mass combat mini-game needs to work even when the PCs don't show up to the battle.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:

If you have a resolution system the players won't know how the battle will go if they don't intervene, but they should have the ability to figure the odds.


*sigh*

You do realize that multiple people - aside from myself - have already pointed out that my system does have a very abstracted resolution system that you keep claiming it doesn't?

More specifically, I provided a resolution framework. It's little different from coming up with a loose algebra equation where you can punch in different numbers and still come up with a sensible result.

It doesn't have precise calculable odds yet, but that's because I refused to make up stats for Fire Giants just because Chamomile threw a tantrum. There is no point to creating stats for Fire Giants unless people agree how strong a Fire Giant should be; and I'm not interested in a debate about whether Fire Giants are stronger than Frost Giants - especially when Fire Giants aren't real to begin with.

And really, let's not kid ourselves - the real reason why there's so much drama over the proposal isn't because its math is bad. The real reason is because it questioned the underlying premise of the design and how no amount of math is going to save an unsure premise.

The core of my starting argument is again really simple. RPGs are about dramatizing heroes and individuals. Wargames are about dehumanizing individuals to allow the control of thousands of soldiers. How can you mesh the two and make it a compelling experience without feeling disjointed?

That's not a question that has been really answered (note that my proposal is premised on the idea the two can never be fully integrated, which is why the battle is highly abstracted and it's largely treated as a special kind of dungeon).

Indeed its answer cannot be found in any mathematical equation. It can only be found by defining the play experience; based on observation of how people actually play and enjoy games.


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Zaranthan
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
The core of my starting argument is again really simple. RPGs are about dramatizing heroes and individuals. Wargames are about dehumanizing individuals to allow the control of thousands of soldiers. How can you mesh the two and make it a compelling experience without feeling disjointed?

I'll try to meet you on this one. While wargames may have no place for plucky heroes, RPGs DO have design space for dehumanized soldiers. We call them mooks, or minions, or trash mobs, or a dozen other monikers, but they all serve a single purpose: to stand around dressing up the scenery until the Luminaries decide they need to be slaughtered in the triple digits so they can get more magical swag.

Typically, said mooks get killed by an invisible assassin's vault-breaching spree killing, or a wizard incinerating 5 thousand square feet with a single gesture, but a mighty Paladin pointing his standard at a horde of orcs and sending thousands of footsoldiers to their death isn't out of genre either.

A minigame that resolves that last scenario with an level of complexity somewhere between that of the first two is what most of us are after.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Don't be a dishonest shit, Zinegata. I mean, we all know that's your schtick and you're not going to give it up just because I say so, but it's still not okay. Asking "what happens when we recruit the fire giants" is not about the specific stats of the fire giants - and you're not even the first person I've explained that to. It's about whether or not your system can, in principle, handle recruiting an unusual ally, which is one of the principle things players will be doing, by force or diplomacy, when trying to win a war. "Round up a bunch of allies" is by far the means of preparing for war most conducive to 3-6 people going on an adventure, which means your mass combat system must be able to handle it or it is a failure, full stop. Bear in mind: This is coming from someone who is generally very willing to accept less-than-perfect systems that are at least better than nothing, because if you can't turn adventures into some kind of trackable advantage in the mass combat, what you have isn't better than nothing. What you have is Magic Tea Party with a bunch of obfuscating math, at which point you may as well save time and just go legit Magic Tea Party.

And also, those "multiple people" you're relying on can only be Zaranthan and MGuy, since no one else has spoken in favor of it in any capacity, and MGuy has done so through blatant dishonesty while Zaranthan hasn't made a single post since I first rebutted his defense of your system (edit: he ninja's my post here - to disagree with you), which is hardly the ringing endorsement you think it is. There's reasons besides being wrong to leave a conversation, but it's enough of a possibility that it's dishonest to lean on someone who defended your system once, get rebutted, and then left.

I guess in theory you could also be referring to Judging Eagle and tussock, but I have those people on ignore for a reason. Judging Eagle's got some weird inability to recognize the actual content of the conversation he's participating in that is obvious from reading nearly any of his posts, and tussock is famously wrong about absolutely everything, so the support of those people (if indeed they have offered it) isn't doing your position any favors, either.

It's also really telling that you've skipped the part where you actually explain how your resolution system works without player intervention and have gone straight to pointing out how you have the support of a blatantly dishonest idiot and also one guy posted in defense of your system one time before immediately leaving the conversation upon rebuttal.

Also, if climbing a ladder of encounters is anything like one of your dungeon crawls, you make really boring dungeons. That isn't directly relevant to the topic of conversation, but I figured I may as well mention while I'm at it.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
The core of my starting argument is again really simple. RPGs are about dramatizing heroes and individuals. Wargames are about dehumanizing individuals to allow the control of thousands of soldiers. How can you mesh the two and make it a compelling experience without feeling disjointed?

I'll try to meet you on this one. While wargames may have no place for plucky heroes, RPGs DO have design space for dehumanized soldiers. We call them mooks, or minions, or trash mobs, or a dozen other monikers, but they all serve a single purpose: to stand around dressing up the scenery until the Luminaries decide they need to be slaughtered in the triple digits so they can get more magical swag.

Typically, said mooks get killed by an invisible assassin's vault-breaching spree killing, or a wizard incinerating 5 thousand square feet with a single gesture, but a mighty Paladin pointing his standard at a horde of orcs and sending thousands of footsoldiers to their death isn't out of genre either.

A minigame that resolves that last scenario with an level of complexity somewhere between that of the first two is what most of us are after.
While it isn't outside of the fantasy genre I'd say that it becomes a different game when you try to make a game out of commanding those thousands of tiny men instead of the dungeon delving all star hit squad that you play normally in DnD. While you can make a system with the DnD skin that does the whole thousands of tiny men fighting the more details you insist on adding the more detailed your system will inevitably become its own war game. As I pointed out Cham here has produced something that will inevitably become its own war game and it will become more apparent the closer he gets toward trying to finish it.

I don't think Zin is saying there shouldn't be mooks but that the focus of the game isn't those mooks and ordering around a bunch of mooks on the battlefield shifts your focus to those many nameless mooks. Cham here believes that he can produce something that somehow avoids becoming its own war game where you can have these mooks, their stats, formations, abilities, rules for a multi phase per turn combat game (with its own percentage based values), and all kinds of other possible considerations like the effects of morale and likely terrain. None of that has to do with being individual dungeon delving evil Lord assassinating badasses. That sounds like a war game. Zin's the one saying 'how about we not do war game?' which is something that I like the sound of. Also in looking back over the thread K mentioned battlefields as terrain.
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Omegonthesane
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

MGuy wrote:
Zin's the one saying 'how about we not do war game?' which is something that I like the sound of


In the thread about "how do we make a working wargame as a minigame of D&D", "you don't" is not a valid answer.

By the same principle under which in the thread about "how much should each level get you", "why do we even need levels" is not a valid answer.
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maglag
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:

Typically, said mooks get killed by an invisible assassin's vault-breaching spree killing, or a wizard incinerating 5 thousand square feet with a single gesture, but a mighty Paladin pointing his standard at a horde of orcs and sending thousands of footsoldiers to their death isn't out of genre either.

A minigame that resolves that last scenario with an level of complexity somewhere between that of the first two is what most of us are after.


Following on that thought, how about simply making army battles as spells that "consume" lots of troops instead of fancy reagents? Make everybody learn some with their Bab increases so paladins and fighters and barbarians do it best.

So for example:

Sudden Horde charge
Demands Bab 10
Action: Fullround
Cost: You deal X slashing damage+ in a 30 feet burst whitin 1000 feet.
Cost: 3000 warriors with axes.

You could have some army action demands certain types of troops, and/or each type of monster troop grant a special effect like there's special spell reagents that add extra effects. Fire monsters add fire damage, halflings can attack without breaking stealth, so on.

You could have the ability to get your troops killed to increase the effect, otherwise they're simply left exhausted and must rest, or you can force said exhausted troops to act again, which gets some or all of them killed.

Formations and whatnot would be as wall/fog spells, just standing there and do nasty stuff to anyone who gets close, except you can consume them for offensive effects.

This way the PCs get to directly interact with the battle, and be interacted with. You can also put stronger minions as commanders if you need to be somewhere else.

It also means you only need to take out the enemy leader(s) to win.

And you can justify everything with "It's magic tactical genius, I don't need to explain shit."
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Omegonthesane wrote:
MGuy wrote:
Zin's the one saying 'how about we not do war game?' which is something that I like the sound of


In the thread about "how do we make a working wargame as a minigame of D&D", "you don't" is not a valid answer.

By the same principle under which in the thread about "how much should each level get you", "why do we even need levels" is not a valid answer.
You say this but both Frank and Cham have spent considerable time insisting they have no intention of making a war game. I think the actual point is how to fit mass combat into a game like DnD and I believe having a system that generates encounters that utilize DnD's actual primary minigame is a better option over making a new minigame and a war game at that.
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:

The core of my starting argument is again really simple. RPGs are about dramatizing heroes and individuals. Wargames are about dehumanizing individuals to allow the control of thousands of soldiers. How can you mesh the two and make it a compelling experience without feeling disjointed?

That's not a question that has been really answered (note that my proposal is premised on the idea the two can never be fully integrated, which is why the battle is highly abstracted and it's largely treated as a special kind of dungeon).

Indeed its answer cannot be found in any mathematical equation. It can only be found by defining the play experience; based on observation of how people actually play and enjoy games.


So as the person who has actually been running 40 sessions of a fantasy RPG with a lot of mass combat in it - a campaign that has been very enjoyable for many of the players - my experience is that Frank's concept of an abstract mini-game where you total the strengths of the opposing sides, derive some modifiers from those numbers, throw in some more modifiers to represent PC activities, and have a skill contest that determines the outcome of the battle works fine. It's engaging enough in its own right, and it gives reasonably predictable and deterministic results so the PCs can estimate the chances of winning and then figure out how to set up battles so their armies can expect to win.

Roughly half my campaign has been of the form "the next larger bunch of orcs have noticed your rebellion against their Empire and dispatched what appear to be overwhelming force to crush you. What are you going to do about it?" They've schemed, plotted, conned the enemy into splitting his forces, forged orders to make the enemy attack at the wrong time and place, acquired allies, assassinated enemies, raided supply lines, staged ambushes, and prepared for fighting withdrawals in order to deal with various threats within the context of the mass combat mini-game.

My experience says your premise is wrong.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mlangsdorf wrote:
Zinegata wrote:

The core of my starting argument is again really simple. RPGs are about dramatizing heroes and individuals. Wargames are about dehumanizing individuals to allow the control of thousands of soldiers. How can you mesh the two and make it a compelling experience without feeling disjointed?

That's not a question that has been really answered (note that my proposal is premised on the idea the two can never be fully integrated, which is why the battle is highly abstracted and it's largely treated as a special kind of dungeon).

Indeed its answer cannot be found in any mathematical equation. It can only be found by defining the play experience; based on observation of how people actually play and enjoy games.


So as the person who has actually been running 40 sessions of a fantasy RPG with a lot of mass combat in it - a campaign that has been very enjoyable for many of the players - my experience is that Frank's concept of an abstract mini-game where you total the strengths of the opposing sides, derive some modifiers from those numbers, throw in some more modifiers to represent PC activities, and have a skill contest that determines the outcome of the battle works fine. It's engaging enough in its own right, and it gives reasonably predictable and deterministic results so the PCs can estimate the chances of winning and then figure out how to set up battles so their armies can expect to win.

Roughly half my campaign has been of the form "the next larger bunch of orcs have noticed your rebellion against their Empire and dispatched what appear to be overwhelming force to crush you. What are you going to do about it?" They've schemed, plotted, conned the enemy into splitting his forces, forged orders to make the enemy attack at the wrong time and place, acquired allies, assassinated enemies, raided supply lines, staged ambushes, and prepared for fighting withdrawals in order to deal with various threats within the context of the mass combat mini-game.

My experience says your premise is wrong.
You got a link to what you're using?
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Zaranthan
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mlangsdorf wrote:
So as the person who has actually been running 40 sessions of a fantasy RPG with a lot of mass combat in it - a campaign that has been very enjoyable for many of the players - my experience is that Frank's concept of an abstract mini-game where you total the strengths of the opposing sides, derive some modifiers from those numbers, throw in some more modifiers to represent PC activities, and have a skill contest that determines the outcome of the battle works fine. It's engaging enough in its own right, and it gives reasonably predictable and deterministic results so the PCs can estimate the chances of winning and then figure out how to set up battles so their armies can expect to win.

Roughly half my campaign has been of the form "the next larger bunch of orcs have noticed your rebellion against their Empire and dispatched what appear to be overwhelming force to crush you. What are you going to do about it?" They've schemed, plotted, conned the enemy into splitting his forces, forged orders to make the enemy attack at the wrong time and place, acquired allies, assassinated enemies, raided supply lines, staged ambushes, and prepared for fighting withdrawals in order to deal with various threats within the context of the mass combat mini-game.

My experience says your premise is wrong.

That's awesome. That sounds like an actual playable example of what we're all trying to create. You got anything written down about how you presented and resolved this stuff? Because if so, you win the thread.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I too wish to see what mlangsdorf's got here. It sounds awesome.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Niles wrote:
If people really need more information on mlangsdorf's campaign, I'm just going to put up these links to his blog posts on the subject and his campaign wiki.

It was linked back on page 5. It's the GURPS 4e mass combat system.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Omegonthesane wrote:
In the thread about "how do we make a working wargame as a minigame of D&D", "you don't" is not a valid answer.


Sorry, but that kind of thinking is also precisely why there are so many pointless mini-games in many other RPGs; like the infamous Hammerhead driving sessions or the "Mining" mini-game in the various Mass Effect videogames. Indeed, many players of these games feel that Mass Effect as a whole would be much better games without these mini-games.

Moreover, I'm not disallowing people to do it. I never said "You don't".

Rather, I asked people to more thoroughly inquire as to why the mini-game is necessary; and that they key challenge was threading together two disparate systems - one about individuals, and one that is about armies.

It's really that simple.

Now, I personally don't think you can really thread the gap. But again that shouldn't stop people from trying.

A real designer instead takes input from the naysayers, gets to work and produces something to prove the naysayers wrong. Shouting at the naysayers by contrast is just pointless drama; and in most other venues would actually be the surest sign that your actual design chops are extremely weak - because why else would you be so threatened by pointing out such basic design principles?
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:
I'll try to meet you on this one. While wargames may have no place for plucky heroes, RPGs DO have design space for dehumanized soldiers. We call them mooks, or minions, or trash mobs, or a dozen other monikers, but they all serve a single purpose: to stand around dressing up the scenery until the Luminaries decide they need to be slaughtered in the triple digits so they can get more magical swag.


I think there's a subtle misunderstanding of my position here:

Wargames do have a place for hero units. Most wargames in recent times feature them a lot more. Warhammer for instance has various "hero" units that get attached to bigger units.

The issue instead tends to be that their role in the battle tends to be a lot more muted as compared to a fight where there are just four player-characters and six Orcs. Instead of being a fighter who can do six attacks with twin swords and various styles, your fighter in a wargame tends to... just add two dice to the overall attack and a +2 to the morale bonus?

That's the dehumanization issue that I'm talking about. Yeah, RPGs have lots of expendable mooks. But the problem with wargames is that your heroes start looking more and more like the said expendable mooks and just a bonus on the stat line.

It's also why I asked people earlier in the thread how they actually imagine a battle to look like. The Hollywood version of armies smashing into each other with bodies flying is cool... for the first couple of times. Then it looks all same-y.

That's why most "battle scenes" in movies instead tend to switch focus and "zoom in" on the individual heroes - Aragorn facing off against the Troll in the last battle of "Return for the King" for instance - rather than just keeping the camera at the bird's eye view Total War-style. From high above, it's just CGI armies pretending to kill each other. Zoomed in, some people might actually feel worried that Aragorn is in real danger.

This is the particular disconnect that I'm worried about, hence my proposal "zooming in" to party-based encounters and abstracting the rest of the battle.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If abstracting the battle involves inputs and outputs the players can toggle to achieve real effects, congratulations - you're describing a mass combat mini-game.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mlangsdorf wrote:
My experience says your premise is wrong.


Lol.

Look, if it works for you, then more power to you. I just find the Internet's general need to posture "I'm right you're wrong!" to be pretty amusing nowadays given what it really reflects Smile.

What I don't think you realize however is that your "abstracted" system is actually pretty close to my proposal; mine is only even more abstracted and with a ladder to facilitate "zoomed in" encounters rather than resolving a lot of battle with just high-level rolls.

Indeed, I'd note your only objection early in the thread was that you didn't think there should be "zoomed in" encounters - you thought it would bog the game down - and only a lot of direct battle vs battle rolls was needed.

I actually agree with that assessment, but with the caveat that it works for a very particular type of campaign - namely one where you will almost never have any individual encounters and all the "encounters" are battles or high-level diplomacy.

===

Your campaign in particular is unusual because you have two characters per player - with one character being specialized as a battle piece and the other as an individual diplomat, and that the "battle" party and the "diplomat" party tend to work separately.

That's clever design mind you - it's the kind of "two separate genres melded into one" that's been implemented in some games. War of the Ring for instance is the most well-known boardgame version of this, as it combines a Risk-style war with the adventures of the "Fellowship of the Ring" (composed of individual heroes) on the same map. Notably, heroes in the Fellowship can stay with the group to help Frodo dump The Ring into Mount Doom, or they can peel off and join armies to fight in the big war.

But I am not sure that is the kind of game most RPG players would be willing to play. In fact, I would wager that it's the kind of campaign that would interest wargamers more, particularly as there's a specific genre of "campaign wargames" (see Titan and Federation Commander) which take 60-100 hours to complete but have "zoomed in" individual battles. Indeed, just reading your campaign description makes me think it would make for a terrific basis for a campaign wargame design.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
If abstracting the battle involves inputs and outputs the players can toggle to achieve real effects, congratulations - you're describing a mass combat mini-game.


Color me amused by the very low bar you set for defining a "mini-game" just for want of posturing.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
If abstracting the battle involves inputs and outputs the players can toggle to achieve real effects, congratulations - you're describing a mass combat mini-game.
I don't think you're posturing but given all the demand for less abstraction and more details by some very angry people in this thread I don't think that this really means anything to anyone here. If people were willing to accept the bare minimum necessary to answer the basic questions that Frank claims need to be answered to get something that works then there really wouldn't be this angry dismissal of ideas that suggest that detailing less of the battle itself and more of the player's personal encounters within that battle.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
Niles wrote:
If people really need more information on mlangsdorf's campaign, I'm just going to put up these links to his blog posts on the subject and his campaign wiki.

It was linked back on page 5. It's the GURPS 4e mass combat system.


I knew it was the GURPS thing, but I wanted to see his house rules/tweaks. Thanks for reposting the link, though.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
deaddmwalking wrote:
If abstracting the battle involves inputs and outputs the players can toggle to achieve real effects, congratulations - you're describing a mass combat mini-game.


Color me amused by the very low bar you set for defining a "mini-game" just for want of posturing.


From 2009 (emphasis added)
RandomCasualty2 wrote:

PL: Every minigame should pretty much play differently. A combat minigame is basically a game of math and probability game theory. A social minigame may well be an analytical game of psychology, or even a test of acting skill. A puzzle minigame is a test of IQ. The fact that solving a puzzle doesn't feel like combat is actually a good thing, since it adds spice to the game (assuming your PCs enjoy it). The bottom line is that we want different types of minigames, so we can play a bigger variety of game types. You don't solve every encounter with the combat system, and that's a good thing.

In fact, I'm all for RPGs having tons of little minigames and for groups to pick and choose which ones they want to use. For instance, you could have an economic minigame, a puzzle minigame, a stealth minigame, a social minigame, a combat minigame, a mass combat minigame, a kingdom building game and so on. All these minigames should be robust and allow for meaningful choices. Note that not all these minigames would even necessarily involve rolling dice.

So if people wanted to run a quest about merchants going from city to city fighting off bandits, then your game would probably be the economic game and the combat game. If your game was about the PCs playing rival kings, you could run the social, kingdom building and mass combat game. You may never actually get into personal combat. Basic dungeon crawls may be all about the puzzle and combat minigames. And so on. But ideally each group would decide what minigames they'd want to use. If people don't want to play the economic or puzzle minigame then you simply don't use those for that game. In that manner, your RPG becomes a lot more versatile and modular.


I'm not sure that I want Shock Values that require adding numbers to every monster or combination of monsters that could exist from 10 to millions. I'm not sure if I want to have 'left/center/right' and 'orders of battle'. The mini-game can involve virtually any level of abstraction and still be resolved outside of the existing 'single-combat rules'.
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:

That's awesome. That sounds like an actual playable example of what we're all trying to create. You got anything written down about how you presented and resolved this stuff? Because if so, you win the thread.


As noted, it's GURPS Mass Combat for 4e and while I don't think it's the end-all solution for mass combat in D&D, it's a good place to start and mine for ideas.

Particularly relevant session write-ups:
* The PCs con the orcs into marching out from a castle, then conquer the castle, raise a local militia, and defend the castle from the orcs when they return:
http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com/2017/02/new-dawn-session-6-orcs-are-jerks.html
http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com/2017/03/new-dawn-session-7-some-orcs-are-stupid.html

* Two huge armies of orcs form up. The PCs ambush one, con the other into splitting up and ambush half of it, and then besiege the rest.
http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com/2017/06/new-dawn-sessions-17-20-liberation-of.html

Our (extensive) house rules for Mass Combat, which mostly expand and formalize things that G:MC says "the GM can do this" but do fix a couple of things like having multiple PC commanders in a battle.
http://newdawn.wikia.com/wiki/ND/Mass_Combat_House_Rules
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