Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fancy moves in combat

After tonight's 7th Sea session I've come to the realization that there's a side effect to trying to make combat more interesting by adding options.

Now we have had a few fights where my players have started to use their fancy moves, paid for with hard earned XP. But, every time someone want to Tag an opponent, or Feint him or Riposte, we have to look it up in the rules.

Guess which move is most commonly used? The one you first bothered to look up, since that's the one you remember the procedure for.

Somebody is right now probably thinking I must have missed the whole conversation about how Feats and Powers not make combat more interesting, just take longer. Yeah, I know. Sometimes it takes a while to penetrate this thick skull of mine.

Seriously, though.

This makes me think of general resolution mechanics. It's so much easier to add options and have complexity in a system if everything you do is based on the same mechanic. D&D 4th ed. does that, but only makes it dull. I on the other hand feel the idea have merit, knowing how well the basic percentile roll works for any kind of action in RQ and other BRP based games. In 7th Sea you sure can have interesting combats, but every option is handled differently. Some people like so called sub-systems. I'm less than charmed.

A general resolution mechanic, and some more options in combat. That's something to chew on.


  1. Howzabout something like this, custom-tailored to each character, and their particular shtick?

    Succeed By-
    +_0: Standard Attack
    +01: Flourish:
    +02: Flourish and Free Defence
    +03: " " and Second Attack at +_0
    +04: " " and Free Move Afterwards
    +05: " " and Disarm/Temp. Blind Opponent

    Then each PC would have their 'idiomatic moves' which were Okayed by the GM, and everyone would have their little Moves chart on their sheet, and/or the GM would have a copy for narrative/descriptive editing/control in setting the scene in the aftermath of the action(s) taken.


  2. As an old player and GM of 7th Sea, I ended up leaving the game behind for a very similar reason. I agree that I am not a big fan of "subsystems" and I like a game with a clean central mechanic.

    I think one of the ideas that the new editions of Shadowrun and Mutants and Masterminds, despite being rules heavy, got right is that all their subsystems work very smoothly with the main rules.

    One game I've found that is really rules-light but handles more complex actions (like car-chases, etc.) well is the Barbarians of Lemuria system (also used for Dogs of War). I highly recommend these for reading, even if you don't play.

  3. PS -- Warhammer Fantasy Second Edition did this very well also -- if only the career system worked more smoothly...

  4. One of these days I need to take a closer look at Barbarians of Lemuria, I guess.

  5. Timeshadows, that is actually quite an inspired idea!

    In 7th Sea, for those who don't know the game system, you roll against a target number, and usually for every 5 above that (a raise) you get some special effect. Maybe that could be used to tie the system tighter together? Hmm.

    I'm totally for having small charts and stuff on the character sheets. Those you'll have in front of you all the time, so *everything* should be there. I have designed a few character sheets myself, and in those game where mechanics can be summarized in a table, I'd put it in the middle of the sheet.

  6. Andreas,

    I am glad that the suggestion may be useful to you and your group! :D

    I would be eager to see such a character sheet. :)


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