Faster Combat...Lovelier Women...More Money

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Supplement Four
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Faster Combat...Lovelier Women...More Money

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:24 pm

I've been thinking a lot about this "Player Rolls All Dice" variant of the d20 game. Have you seen this? It's pretty cool.

Nothing changes, really, about the mechanics or the chance in the game. A player will roll his attack normally. But, instead of using an AC, he rolls his defense. The defense number is akin to the character Taking Ten on his Defense throw, right? If a character has +3 Parry, then his Parry AC is 13. Instead of using that 13 AC, the player rolls a d20 +3 to represent his Parry AC, returning a number between 4 and 23.

The percentage chance to hit the character remains the exact same--only the method used for attack and defense change.

Now, here's the kicker. Player rolls all dice, right? So, when a bad guy attacks, the GM Takes Ten on the attack throw. There is no throw. If the guy is +6 attack, he'd normall throw a d20 +6, right? Well, under the player-rolls-all-dice method, the attack is always 16. It's like having an attack armor class. The player rolls his defense against the attack of 16.

How do you handle criticals? Just reverse the dice. If a weapon gets a critical check on a 19-20, then it happens under this method on a defense roll of 1 or 2. Simple as that.



Just so that we're all on the same page, let's go through a simple example: Thrallan is +4 attack and +5 on his Dodge defense (normal Dodge AC 15).

He's fighting Caelis, who is +6 attack (now a flat 16), and he's +3 with his Parry, giving him AC 13 parry defense.

Let's give Thrallan the initiative. The attack round would play out like this...

1. Thrallan attacks. Player rolls d20 +4 against Caelis' AC 13 Parry defense. Any hit means Player rolls Caelis' damage against his own character (because "player rolls all dice").

2. If Caelis is still standing, Caelis can attack. The attack is a straight 16. Thrallan must roll defense or be hit. Thrallan's defense is d20 +5 Dodge Defense.



The reason why I'm looking at this is that I think this method has the opportunity to both speed up combat and encourage a more cinematic experience.

The game is sped up because you've cut the dice throws in half. You're no longer throwing for the bad guys. The GM has static numbers for attacks and defense for all the opponents.

This takes a load of work off the GM. He can litterally write down stats on a line of notebook paper and use that to narrate the fight.

Assume Caelis has the initiative when reading the below:

"You see Caelis, a barbarian of the Grath clan, coming towards you. His sword is out. His walk is determined. And, you can see the hatred in his eyes. Blood Feud."

"I pull my weapon out."

"As you do, the hulking barbarian raises his sword with both hands and brings it down towards your right shoulder as if it were a meat cleaver!"

Player rolls Dodge defense of d20 +5 vs. Caelis' attack of 16. Player rolls a natural "1".

"You're not quick enough! Roll damage!"

Player checks for critical, which is successful, and rolles Caels' damage against his own character. Damage is doubled, but Thrallan still has a few hit points left.

"That blade came down, and you started to dodge, but it caught you on the shoulder and upper arm, slicing off some skin. Blood streams down your arm."

"I recoil, sling my sword around, and with all my weight onto my right foot and slam the point towards my enemy."

Player rolls attack of d20 + 4 against Caelis' Parry AC 13. It's a miss.

"The tip of your sword extends toward his gut, but he twirls his weapon around low in front of him, knocking your sword off its mark."




This is a pretty interesting way to play the game, is it not? I think it may speed up the game quite a bit and keep the battles exciting.

OTOH, will it be boring for the GM? Not getting to roll dice and particpate in the fight by controlling the NPCs is part of the fun for the GM. Would the GM still enjoy the game only narrating it?

Thoughts?
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:07 pm

I used to use PRatD for a while, and found it quite successful. The main advantages I see in it are that 1.) the players have the impression they can actively avoid being hit (even though the math remains exactly the same) and 2.) it frees up the GM's hands to do different things.

Then my player group changed, and my new peers for some reason do not like the PRatD method. Well, revert to normal mode.
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Postby strategos14 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:47 pm

hell, you could play and not roll at all ever if you wanted to. i think the more rolling the better. adds more randomness and it's always fun when unexpected things happen. good or bad
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Re: Faster Combat...Lovelier Women...More Money

Postby thulsa » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:27 pm

Supplement Four wrote:I've been thinking a lot about this "Player Rolls All Dice" variant of the d20 game. Have you seen this? It's pretty cool.

OTOH, will it be boring for the GM? Not getting to roll dice and particpate in the fight by controlling the NPCs is part of the fun for the GM. Would the GM still enjoy the game only narrating it?

Thoughts?
I've been using this method for several years, and I can recommend it. The most important benefit is that it gives the players something to do (roll dice) even when it's not their turn.

I still roll the saving throws for NPCs, since this happens much less frequently than attack rolls.

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Re: Faster Combat...Lovelier Women...More Money

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:27 pm

thulsa wrote:I've been using this method for several years, and I can recommend it. The most important benefit is that it gives the players something to do (roll dice) even when it's not their turn.
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing, then. How would a player roll dice when its not their turn?
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Postby Clovenhoof » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:21 am

Well, just as you described.
Whenever an enemy attacks a PC, it's that NPC's turn, but still the player rolls the dice to defend against that Take-10 attack.
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:34 am

Clovenhoof wrote:Well, just as you described.
Whenever an enemy attacks a PC, it's that NPC's turn, but still the player rolls the dice to defend against that Take-10 attack.
A player would roll the attack and defense rolls for his own character. Where is the part where the other player is rolling for something other than his character?

Ah...you're talking about rolling defense when it's not their turn?? Got it.
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Postby Spectator » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:58 am

So I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, bear with me please.

All MOOKS have a Take-10 attack and never roll, but player defends as normal?
Then no mooks will ever score a Crit, since it requires a 20, right?
I know no-one likes to a decent PC die, but removing a large threat posed by a mook, is what you want to do right?

Not my style if that's it, sure its faster, but when a mook rolls on a one and as GM I can decribe how he misses the PC with his sword and lops his right leg off or his mook-friend's head off, I guess that may be the end result you will miss, as well.
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:25 am

Spectator wrote:So I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, bear with me please.

All MOOKS have a Take-10 attack and never roll, but player defends as normal?
No. NPC never roll. Take 10 on everything. Player makes attack roll normally. For defense, player rolls d20 + mods instead of having an AC.
Then no mooks will ever score a Crit, since it requires a 20, right?
Sure they do. It's just inverted. There is no NPC throw, so a weapon that scores a crit check on a 19-20 can't roll that. But, the player is rolling defense. So, if he throws a 1-2 on defense, it's a crit check for the NPC attacker.
I know no-one likes to a decent PC die, but removing a large threat posed by a mook, is what you want to do right?
This isn't my rule at all. It's an official d20 Variant.


Player Rolls All Dice



It works something like this:

Player's Attack: functions normally

Player's AC: functions abnormally as 1d20+(AC-10)

Monster's Attack: functions abnormally as (10+attack bonus)

Monster's AC: functions normally



The player rolls the dice. Anything the NPCs do is converted to a target number...a DC.

The idea is to make it more exciting and cinematic. The GM isn't fuddling around with dice throws and modifiers for his NPC bad guys. If he's got 8 goblins to attack the players, and they're +2 to hit, then he's already written the DC 12 next to the goblins.

Goblin - DC 12, AC 13

That's what you'd need.

"The goblin is a dodgy little fellow. You swing (player rolls attack vs AC 13 and misses), and he scoots out of the way adroitly, hops three times, and somehow lands next to your left leg, jabbing his little dagger at you (player rolls defense vs DC 12 and is successful). You slap the small blade away and go in for your next attack (round two, player rolls attack vs AC 13....)".


It seems like this method would lend itself to some very smooth, action and story oriented gameplay.
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Postby Spectator » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:14 pm

So when the player rolls a crappy defense roll, then the goblin has scored a critical, right?

If that's it, it makes for some pretty good and cinematic play and does free up the GM.

I like it.
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:37 pm

Spectator wrote:So when the player rolls a crappy defense roll, then the goblin has scored a critical, right?
Yep. The gobbie's attack is always a DC 12. (He's Taking 10 on an attack roll where he has a +2 modifier). The player's AC is turned into a roll by subtracting 10 from his AC (so, AC 15 becomes d20 + 5).

All the GM has to do is describe the action. "Goblin walks almost sideways in some strange attack posture he's learned. Swipe! And, for his size, it's effective! His blade darts fast up at your torso!"

The attack is DC 12. The player rolls to Dodge or Parry: d20 + 5 vs DC 12.

If that's it, it makes for some pretty good and cinematic play and does free up the GM.

I like it.
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Postby Der Rote Baron » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:17 am

Not for me. For a (very) short while I entertained the idea of rolling a Parry or Dodge AGAINST a hit-roll.
GM: "Curgan the Cimmerian attacks with his sword - result is 18!"
Player:" Aslag from Asgard Parries with his Shield - so I got +3 for Parry, +2 for high STR and +4 for my large shield. Thats is +9 to Parry."
GM: "Roll!"
Player: "I got a ... 7. Plus 9 is Parry 16."
GM: "Gotcha!"

Of course in a real game you should have your bonus ready to roll (was just to illustrated the example). But that would double the dice-rolls and make comabt even more unpredictable (yes you can Parry/ Dodge a hit of DEF 27, but maybe next round a hit of DEF 7 kills you).
Another problem is flat-footedness and low rolls, especially with ranged combat (back to Palladium Fantasy - every 5 is a potential hit - yuck!).

So I said no to that. Maybe be okay with a very small group (1-3 players). But even then still a nightmare for the gm who ha sto roll for every stupid mook.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:30 pm

Rolling Attack _and_ Defense is indeed too boggy, I fully agree with Baron here.
With PRatD however, the number of die rolls remains the same. If anything, it should speed up combat, because it distributes the number of rolls more evenly across the table.
For example, say there are 4 PCs fighting 4 NPCs, in duel situations. Normally that means the GM has to roll 4 attacks (at low levels) and each PC rolls 1 attack. With PRatD, each player rolls twice, 1 attack and one defense, while the GM can focus on tactical options, bookkeeping (how many HP does everyone have left) etc.

I'd be more than happy to play this way if my players could be interested in it. :6
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:18 pm

Der Rote Baron wrote:For a (very) short while I entertained the idea of rolling a Parry or Dodge AGAINST a hit-roll.
I'm using Active Defense in my game. We quite like it. It puts some sweat into the fights. The combats somehow feel "deadlier".

We're roleplaying the combat encounter, though. We're not just rolling dice. That may be the difference in what you did and what we're doing. I have my players describe exactly what they're doing--exactly how they're swinging--and, I do the same with the NPCs. Just like you would when you have a player describe how he's picking a lock that you know is trapped. It makes combat in the game quite breathtaking.

Player: Thrallan jabs in straight, using the point of his sword, trying to skewer the Vanir. (Player rolls attack and gets an 16 total.)

GM: (Rolls Vanir's Parry defense behind the screen, getting an 18 total). With a massive sweep of his arm, his blade fans and connects with yours, knocking it to the side. All part of the same motion, the blade completes the circle and slams down at your right shoulder. (Rolls Vanir's attack behind the screen. Gets 7 total.)

Player: Thrallan takes a step left trying to avoid the blade (Player rolls Dodge of 12.)

GM: You easily move out of the way.

Player: I circle, 180 degrees, with both hands on my sword, swinging for his exposed right side. (We've move into a new round, and the player seamlessly goes into his attack).




In a real game, the dialogue is a bit more exciting about this because the players many times motion to show exactly how their characters are performing their actions. This makes the combat so visual--you wouldn't believe it. And, when I hear them saying "I move this way...." instead of "My character moves this way...", I know I've got them involved.

So, we're big fans of Active Defense.
But that would double the dice-rolls and make comabt even more unpredictable (yes you can Parry/ Dodge a hit of DEF 27, but maybe next round a hit of DEF 7 kills you).
It's not really unpredictable. The chance of being hit does not change one iota. Whether using Active Defense or the usual Static Defense, the probability of being hit is EXACTLY the same.


Another problem is flat-footedness and low rolls, especially with ranged combat (back to Palladium Fantasy - every 5 is a potential hit - yuck!).
What's the problem?


So I said no to that. Maybe be okay with a very small group (1-3 players). But even then still a nightmare for the gm who ha sto roll for every stupid mook.
With the Player-Rolls-All-Dice method, it would be easier for the GM.

Think of it this way.

It's akin to pre-rolling the attacks of every mook. You already know what they're going to roll when they attack.

For a mook, you just need minimial info, like this: Vanir - Battleaxe - Attack 16; Parry 11; Dodge 9 - HP 27.

Now, you move that mook however you want to. When he swings, it's a 16 total that will be his attack. When a player's character swings at him, an attack roll of 12+ will beat his Parry.

It makes the game for the GM pretty easy.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:28 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:For example, say there are 4 PCs fighting 4 NPCs, in duel situations. Normally that means the GM has to roll 4 attacks (at low levels) and each PC rolls 1 attack. With PRatD, each player rolls twice, 1 attack and one defense, while the GM can focus on tactical options, bookkeeping (how many HP does everyone have left) etc.
Yes, I think the PRaD method becomes more useful the more players and baddies that you have on the table.



Since I'm already using Active Defense, the dice rolling is the same for the Players. And, since I always roll behind the screen (I think that lends itself to drama in the game--not knowing), I can swich back and forth from rolling or not at my whim.

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