First Combat Test

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

First Combat Test

Postby Kaleb7 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:47 am

So we sat down to do our first combat 'test' after getting the rules.

Instead of going straight RAW, we did add a house rule where the maximum number of stunt points you could use from the Dragon dice could not exceed your margin of success. (So even if you roll three sixes, if you only succeed by three, you only get to use 3 points)

We setup a duel between two characters:

Draeden, the Rogue City Elf armed with a crossbow and a shortsword

Throshbeard, the Dwarven Warrior, armed with a crossbow, two-handed axe and spear.

The fight begins with both combatants 40 yards apart, and Draeden easily wins the initiative, steadily aims his crossbow, fires and hits, also managing to yield a stunt point which he uses to push Throshbeard back. (error number one: he should have burned the points on instant reload.)

Throshbeard loses almost a third of his hitpoints due to a really good roll, and decides that his best bet is to close range, so he starts running towards Draeden.

Draeden then reloads while Throshbeard moves forward and draws his axe.

Draeden smiles, levels his crossbow and aims. Throshbeard is no longer at long range so this should bean easy shot... Unfortunately the bolt whizzes over Throshbeard's head.

Draeden uses a 'free action' to stop smiling.

Throshbeard manages to close the gap on a full run (Dwarves in the open with no terrain and no missile weapons seem to be meat on the table versus faster missile armed opponents... Which is good.)

Draeden foolishly swaps weapons and takes a swipe at the dwarf with his short sword, missing by a mile.

Throshbeard finally has his chance to thank the elf and hits for almost 50% of the Elf's health, but manages to not roll doubles. Given his two handed weapon mastery, he pushes Draeden away (Error number two: Good to keep missile armed opponents in melee...)

Draeden runs, Throshbeard runs after him.

This continues for a bit until Draeden gets some room to do a weapon swap for his crossbow, followed by a move and fire on the following round.

This time the bolt hits home, with doubles, allowing him to add another 1d6 to the damage roll, knocking the dwarf down to 8 hitpoints.

Throshbeard is in charging range and rolls a devastating hit, yielding enough stunt points for a lightning strike.

His first damage roll with modifiers came to 20pts of damage, his second attack also hit for 20pts.

Draeden had 15 hp left before the attack, after armor soak, he took 36 points of damage leaving naught but an elf-shaped bloodstain on the battlefield.

Thoughts:

- Limiting stunt points to no more then margin of success seemed to tie the end result of the attack to 'solidness' of the hit in a fairly satisfying way. It also hamstrung Draeden as his first hit would have been MUCH more effective using RAW.

- Fast, mobile archer types should avoid crossbows. Major reload times mean great limitations on 'shoot and scoot' tactics which is realistic. If Draeden had a regular bow, he could have whittled the swarf down in this fashion.

- Dwarves should pick fights with others that are already within easy axe-swinging distance. Those tiny legs make for slow charges :)

Overall alot of fun, looking forward to actually playing an actual adventure next...
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Postby Bill » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:51 am

I would suggest playing a dozen or so battles with RAW, and with your house rules to see what is most fun.

It may very well be that limiting stunt points is a good thing, but I would like to see how it works in practice with both.

I need to do some combat testing myself before I start the campaign so i'll have a clue :)
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Postby Kaleb7 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:12 am

Very good point.

We were just concerned that if there wasn't a cap on stunt points, then you run into the situation where rolling 3 sixes might barely succeed on a hit, but guarantees massive stunt points when it happens.


We were also looking at giving folks a dexterity/strength 'save' when being 'moved' over the edge of a cliff (etc) with a penalty matching the margin of success.

But I also like playing Tunnels and Trolls, so we may just go RAW and let the carnage commence. >:)
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Postby Saisei » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:39 am

When I ran the Dalish Curse we played with RAW and it was immense fun. I can see your point as regards fighting an enemy with 17 or Defence but I doubt that'll be an issue until set 2.

I've tinkered around enough with the stunts as is so I think I'll leave it be! (The more stunts the better IMHO)
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Postby Bill » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:24 am

I have a theory that the Dragon Die should be a fourth die you roll and not part of the 'to hit' roll itself.

I will experiment with that at some point.
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Postby Drew D Scott » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:38 am

As I see it ability rolls are binary, a yes/no indicator of success and nothing more. Whether you make the roll by one or twenty points is irrelevant. It's the Dragon Die and only the Dragon Die that measures your margin of success. So whilst I appreciate your desire to houserule a perceived problem I still think it's an unnecessary complication to DAs resolution framework.
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Postby Kaleb7 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:38 pm

I think we are going to try the same combat setup a few times running it RAW as well as house ruled and see how it turns out. THe more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards ditching the house rules due to added complexity as well as the increased lethality of the original rules (which is always fun....)
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:01 pm

What's raw?
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Postby Kaleb7 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:02 pm

RAW = "Rules As Written" (i.e. the state of the game before we break it :) )
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Postby Kaleb7 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:30 am

So we re-ran the fight a couple of times without any house rules...

The verdict seems to be that the fights are MUCH more fun without limiting the dragon die based on margin of success.

The theory about an elf being more effective with a bow versus a crossbow also seemed solid as the elf was always able to move/fire, or move/reload every round keeping the poor dwarf out of melee while he was peppered with arrows.

Another house rule suggestion was to allow the 'charge' maneuver for thrown weapons as (at least for spears). This would allow them to be used more effectively as 'skirmish' weapons before charging into melee...
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Postby discuit » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:00 am

Kaleb7 wrote:
The verdict seems to be that the fights are MUCH more fun without limiting the dragon die based on margin of success.


Wowzers! Who would of thought that Mr Pramas and his playtesters may have had some idea of how to build an rpg system! ;)

I am jesting, but one thing that astounds me is how much "theoretical houseruling" goes on before people have actually even played a few sessions of a game. :lol:

Each to their own i guess. :P
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Postby Bill » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:17 am

Drew D Scott wrote:As I see it ability rolls are binary, a yes/no indicator of success and nothing more. Whether you make the roll by one or twenty points is irrelevant. It's the Dragon Die and only the Dragon Die that measures your margin of success. So whilst I appreciate your desire to houserule a perceived problem I still think it's an unnecessary complication to DAs resolution framework.


Not sure if you are saying the same thing as I am, but the problem I see, is that the dragon die will always be high when you need a high roll to hit. I think that the dragon die should be an independant 4th die, and not part of the to hit roll itself.

But more playtesting is needed before I can be sure.
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Re: First Combat Test

Postby Krovikan » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:33 am

Kaleb7 wrote:This time the bolt hits home, with doubles, allowing him to add another 1d6 to the damage roll, knocking the dwarf down to 8 hitpoints.


Third and final mistake actually; knock prone would of probably kept him alive and probably would of allowed him to win or at least stay alive a bit longer.
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Postby Kaleb7 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:51 am

discuit wrote:
Kaleb7 wrote:
The verdict seems to be that the fights are MUCH more fun without limiting the dragon die based on margin of success.


Wowzers! Who would of thought that Mr Pramas and his playtesters may have had some idea of how to build an rpg system! ;)

I am jesting, but one thing that astounds me is how much "theoretical houseruling" goes on before people have actually even played a few sessions of a game. :lol:

Each to their own i guess. :P



In my defense I started playing RPGs with 'Rifts', so the need to fix it out of the box was assumed :)
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