Favorite Combat System

Lxcharon
Lxcharon
edited March 2016 in General Discussion
So while I was out of commission this past month (hi again everyone) I started putting thought to something I feel a lot of GM's start moving to at some point in life, and that is making my own game system. I have quite a bit of tabletop rpg experience and have a world I want to create, but haven't found a system that I like for it yet, so I'm making my own! (I mean this will be a slow side project when I'm not working on my other more important projects) I think I have a pretty decent character creation and magic system down, but I'm having difficulty with the combat system.

So what are your favorite combat systems? Which one sets itself up as really fun? Or really thematic? Let me know!

(And don't worry Killervp, I actually looked to see if there was already a topic on this and couldn't find one.)
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Comments

  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    And if you're interested in my new game system it's a highly thematic horror/urban fantasy game similar to KULT or the mmo The Secret World, if you're familiar with either of those games. Magic is available to all players, but comes at a high price, and human is the only playable race.
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited March 2016
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record... Fate Core is my favorite system for combat as well.

    There are really two reasons:

    1) There are only a few basic rules you have to know, and everything runs on those rules. I'm not much for overly crunchy combat.

    2) Since the combat engine isn't really separate from the rest of the game (it runs on the same basic assumptions), you can mix things nicely. For example, if your PCs are in combat against a horrific abomination that they should be hesitant to look at or approach, the creature can use its "non-combat" skills to place an aspect on them that makes combat harder (maybe harder to hit or injure or similar). But if the PCs manage to get a specific holy artifact from the 8th century, it might mitigate that advantage with an aspect or stunt of its own. These aren't "special" rules, its just kind of how the system basically works.

    Honestly, I used to play with developing systems, but after discovering Fate I always find myself asking "Why not just run it on Fate and make a few small adaptations?" It's sort of my default for everything.
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    I keep starting the the fate core book and keep getting distracted and never finishing. I guess I'll have to check it out for realz now. Haha
  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 407
    ShadowRun 4th Ed, though I'll probably make 5th the replacement when I get to really study the rules(only briefly flipped through enough to make a cyborg street samurai a year or 2 ago) for again, 1 set of rules, just change the terms and maybe context and voila, matrix rules, or magic rules. Or even WoD ruleset runs similar and GURPS as well. Very low on crunch and copy pasting of what crunch there is.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,883
    Basileus, you are a broken record, but I do love your passion for Fate- even if I don't share it...

    Just trying to help out.  Changed name from killervp to Gaming Megaverse to match other sites.

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,748
    Heads or Tails! (Best of three!)

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

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  • UselessTriviaMan
    UselessTriviaMan
    Posts: 499
    While I love a good, crunch-filled tactical battle, I have to share the love for Savage Worlds.

    It's elegant. It's pulpy. And it's usually very quick. PCs still get to be badasses, but the combats don't take an hour or more to resolve.

    Ptolus, City by the Spire - 2016 Campaign of the Year

    "Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life."  - - Kevin Smith

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited March 2016
    I think it depends on the genre - for a horror type game: Gritty, debilitating and quickly fatal is what I believe is best - especially if its combined with an excessivly long and cumbersome character creation process... You really truly do not want your character to die as it is such a pain to make a new one! here are a few examples

    GURPS - GURPS Horror is one of the best horror games out there IMO - partly because character gen takes forever!
    CoC - of course. nothing like a couple rounds from a .38 to kill a PC
    Traveler - I've only played the older versions where starting PCs could die in character creation and you would have to start again! (does the newest edition still do this?) again you do NOT want to go through character gen if you can help it.

    in terms of modelling debilitating injuries well, one of the best I was introduced to was a small press game called "stocks Lite":http://www.iworg.com/waste/ they had a an 'all action modifier' system instead of hit points or wounds that felt significant, and was so easy to keep track of (so long as you'r happy dividing one number by another)

    oh and did you know that "KULT is being kickstarted":https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1037361623/kult-divinity-lost-horror-roleplaying-game-rpg again ?
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • UselessTriviaMan
    UselessTriviaMan
    Posts: 499
    I really need to try out more horror systems. Only one I've run so far is Dread, which friggin' rocks, but there are several others I'd love to play. CoC and GURPS are atop that list.

    Ptolus, City by the Spire - 2016 Campaign of the Year

    "Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life."  - - Kevin Smith

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited March 2016
    I am always amazed when people tell me they have not played CoC... its like never having playing D&D or read a 'choose your own adventure' book or something in my mind! apparently Unkown Armies is great as well, but I have only ever read it, not played it.

    anyway if your going to play CoC 'Masks of Nyralathahotep' is the off the shelf campaign I would recommend. Make multiple PCs for each player at the start though....

    KULT is great as well, but you may want to wait for the new edition

    I love Horror games :)
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    or, you know to get back on topic, buy Lxcharon's game when it comes out... :D
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    Is GURPS 4th edition much different than 3rd edition? I love me some GURPS but haven't upgraded since the 90's so I'm behind. I'm totally going to check out STOC's Lite I love me some indie games. I haven't played CoC, as much as I love HP Lovecraft and his lore I'm a little burnt out Cthullian games. Like I've reduced myself to about one (Mansions of Madness) and I probably won't pick up another. Unless it's the Elder God game to end all Elder God games.
    I do enjoy the combat in Shadowrun Weasl0, I'll have to revisit it.

    And I've totally backed KULT on kickstarter already NikMak! haha

    Horror games are amazing. If you're a fan of horror NikMak have you tried Little Fears? You play kids and it can be creepy as fuuuuck.

    Definitely play more horror UTM. The thing about horror is it relies entirely on the GM. There's no mechanics to rest back on that will convey horror unless the GM brings it.

    ~
    The wars of man are nothing to the wars of Gods.
    "Realm of the Six Gods":https://terrasia.obsidianportal.com/
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    Also, let's not get ahead of ourselves haha, I don't think I'll be publishing this game engine, at most maybe i'll drop a free pdf if i even get it that organized.
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited March 2016
    OK, little fears added to the list, along with dread as well. I'll see your little fears and raise you a Puppet land RPG. Another game that sounds nursery school, but has a very dark heart (its been a decade. But as i recall it Mr Punch kills the toymaker and wears his skin!)
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    Ooh, ooh, and 'My life with master' only played it twice but it was great both times :)
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    Puppetland looks AAAAAMMMMMAAAZZZINNG and 100% down my alley. (The only thing I love more than horror is twisted things that should be for children) It apparently also had a successful kickstarter recently and was rereleased. I'll have to check out My life with Master.

    If we're still going look at classic CHILL. (not the new CHILL but the original) simple, weird and if played right creepy as hell.
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    I owned and ran Chill a couple of times, I found it was great to read, but didn't flow well as a game for our group. Though to be fair we had a couple of massive CoC boys in our group at time (I almost feel I should apologise for that last sentence... Almost ;) )
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    Chill is definitely a very unique taste. I've only played it a handful of times myself. (and I don't even want to know what type of group you roleplay with....)
  • UselessTriviaMan
    UselessTriviaMan
    Posts: 499
    I definitely need to try Call of Cthulhu, and I know I'll get to it sooner or later.

    That said, I can't recommend Dread highly enough. The Jenga mechanic may sound gimmicky, but it genuinely ratchets up the tension at the table wonderfully.

    Ptolus, City by the Spire - 2016 Campaign of the Year

    "Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life."  - - Kevin Smith

  • HumAnnoyd
    HumAnnoyd
    Posts: 260
    I am with Basileus. Fate Core is pretty sweet. Although in my case we have been using Fate Accelerated which simplifies the system a bit further and really has allowed my players to get creative in combat. We have a Force Sensitive mechanic who is constantly overloading conduits or slicing into entertainment systems in night clubs to cause overwhelming sound and light aimed at opponents. One of the Jedi is more of an archaeologist and often uses his wits in combat instead of his lightsaber finding weaknesses in opponent's movements and attacks and striking at just the right moment to win a battle. My character is a whirling dervish with a lightsaber who is constantly flipping and jumping and outmaneuvering his opponents. Finally, we have a cyborg Jedi who is clumsy and slow with little connection to the Force but uses his cybernetic's inherit toughness and strength to batter opponents and stand between his allies and attackers. I love how Fate allows each and every one of the characters a chance to shine and to work together to achieve our goals. I have played so many games over the last 30+ years and Fate has been a great find.
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    Lots of love for fate out there :). Anything to recommend it for the darker / horror type game though? I get the impression its better suited to pulpier type games (though many have said CoC /BRP is pulpy anyway, apart from the insanity rules)
  • HumAnnoyd
    HumAnnoyd
    Posts: 260
    There is a really cool Fate Core version of Actung! Cthulhu that is fairly gritty. But you are right in general. Horror is not Fate's strong suit. Although I suppose it could be done with a few rules changes. Perhaps dropping the Stress track altogether so damage always causes consequences. Although Fate's strongest attribute is the agency it gives players for controlling the game. That kind of control would likely have to be tweaked to make a true horror themed game. The thing I love most about Fate though is that it is so damn easy to hack. I am sure there is someone out there somewhere who has come up with some great horror rules for Fate. :D
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589
    Here's a short discussion of how to make it more horrific:

    "Fate SRD - The Horror Paradox":http://fate-srd.com/fate-system-toolkit/horror-paradox

    It talks a bit about the "theory" of horror, but from a mechanical standpoint there are basically three things you can do:

    1) Lower the character's starting numbers for skills/refresh/etc... (Fate characters are pretty competent and resilient by default, so there is room to make them more vulnerable)
    2) Use lots of "dark" Aspects and compel them frequently.
    3) Since things will be harder, use the "succeed at cost" mechanic more often than outright failure when they fail a skill roll or similar. That way things don't grind to a halt, but the situation get progressively worse, and the players have to choose what sacrifices to make to keep going.
  • HumAnnoyd
    HumAnnoyd
    Posts: 260
    Nice.
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited March 2016
    I like enforcing limited resources myself - action-horror is the genre I lean toward, so I let my PCs have their fancy equipment and abilities, but find some way to encourage them to use them sparingly (limited ammo, breaking/jamming, drawing attention to themselves, limited-use extras that aren't part of a character, etc...)

    i.e. _"Sure, you can blast that xenomorph with the half-empty pulse rifle you found, but the rest of the hive is lurking around here somewhere and gunfire is awfully loud..._"

    Then compel the PC's "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" Aspect and THEN compel "Aliens Around Every Corner" scene Aspect!! >:D The player has the option to opt out of the compels, but if they take them then the tension ratchets up and they have more Fate Points to spend on doing awesome things themselves!
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    I do love how easily customizable FATE seems to be. And thanks Basileus for the Fate Horror article, it was a great little read.

    Limiting resources is my favorite way of amping up tension and horror. I am actually setting up a haunted house adventure for D&D right now and totally plan on limiting what the characters can do. Nothing gives me glee than watching my players who (in d&d) have gotten use to chopping their way through anything, come up against a foe that their weapons and/or spells don't effect.

    And HumAnnoyd your star wars group sounds pretty awesome and varied. I love a good well rounded group.

    ~
    The wars of man are nothing to the wars of Gods.
    "Realm of the Six Gods":https://terrasia.obsidianportal.com/
  • HumAnnoyd
    HumAnnoyd
    Posts: 260
    Yeah I have been very lucky with my group. We have all been playing or running Fate as a group for 6 nearly years now. Most of that time with DF and now it along with the SW game.
  • Keryth987
    Keryth987
    Posts: 879
    D&D/Pathfinder has become far too complex a combat system for me. They took all the fun out of it when they designed it into a miniatures game. Shadowrun is fun, but my god does combat take forever. Yet another reason I love FATE as a system. Simple and smooth. Combat is just another part of the story, not the highlight.

    Keelah Se'lai,
    Keryth
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  • cgregory
    cgregory
    Posts: 772
    Shadowrun is one of my favorite combat systems.

    Unlike Keryth, I find the combats are fairly quick, mostly because they are quite deadly. I do think using a turn tracking app has helped in some of the more complex combats.

    Rolemaster I found to have long combats. Well, except for that time the party killed the big bag guy in one extremely lucky shot with an extremely lucky critical.

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  • BearerOfTidings
    BearerOfTidings
    Posts: 28 edited March 2016
    I'm all in on 4th Ed GURPS if you keep it simple. Like Fate, it uses the same mechanics for in and out of combat situations and I've yet to see cause any problems but I will also admit that I am a stickler about keeping it simple. Yes, there is more dice rolling but I can tell you from a lot of happy experiences that it generally produces the fastest and most interesting results I have ever seen in a tabletop RPG. The Fear system from GURPS Horror (standard in 4th ed) can make things very Cthulhu-like. The other thing to love about GURPS is the outrageous amount of background information available to use (or not use if you don't care) on weapons from the ancients to the future.

    The problems with generating a character are now MOSTLY solved by using the GURPS template system. I can typically get a novice up and running in a simple adventure in 10 minutes but usually I sit down with the novice before the session starts and help them generate their ideal character. It usually works out really well.
    Post edited by BearerOfTidings on
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