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Two equally skilled weaponmasters fighting

posted Feb 04, 2013 08:57:05 by Skoll

Yesterday I run a session, where two runelords were fighting. Each had 4 combat actions, combat style of 110% and quite heavy armor. So each had 5% chance to fail and 10% chance to crit. For a long time, neither of them critted nor failed, so they were just exchanging blows, with nothing happening. I was wondering how to make this kind of fights more interesting. Any ideas?

(The fight ended when one of them got a crit and used it to disarm the opponent.)
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7 replies
DanTrue said Feb 04, 2013 09:32:41
Well, if matched against an equally-skilled opponent, I would quickly realise that it was just a matter of tiem before one failed - and that it might as well be me instead of my opponent.

Then I would change the game - if I were more dexterous, I would try to move the engagement onto rocky ground or in among furniture where I could gain an advantage. I might try to retreat (and thereby lure him) in among trees where I could use foliage etc.

Essentially - change the game to one where instead of being evenly matched, I get the upper hand. Of course, my opponent might try the same.

Also, remember that a fight is much more than number of AP and combat style skill. Did any of them have more Athletics? Brawn? Evade? All of these matter greatly, especially if one tries to trip the other. If nothing else, if comes down to Athletics and Endurance to check who can keep fighting the longest.

- Dan
PeteNash said Feb 04, 2013 10:10:03
Well, in that situation there would have been a 26.5% chance of a special effect per exchange, so on average there should have been one SE per round. However, sometimes the dice buck the odds. What can you do?

As a GM you can add atmosphere to the exchange, building up the dramatic tension - maybe by using verbal repartee or describing the tricks the foe attempts (and has countered). Rules-wise, there is little you can do without biasing the underlying mechanics, unless you introduce a factor like a weapon with exotic abilities over the opponent's armament, using magic or seizing some tactical advantage prior to close combat starting.

You could use psychology. Introduce a house rule which creates a 'pot' for special effects in single combat. Each full round of hand to hand where neither foe lands a blow on the other adds a bonus SE to that pot, and whomever wins the first LoS over the other gets to claim all the SE's in the pot too, making the blow/parry somewhat formidable! If nothing else it would add some stressful excitement. ;)

Like in real life, once you become engaged with someone of equal skill, it can be very difficult to overcome them quickly. A fifteen to twenty second bout between masters is not that unrealistic... although it can get a little tedious, but at least its not as bad as the interminable combats I used to suffer under RQ3. :D
lawrence.whitaker said Feb 04, 2013 17:36:24
And don't forget Luck Points. You can use them to force a re-roll, which may result in an opponent suffering a failure that leads to a Special Effect.

If you're a generous GM you may house-rule that a Luck Point (or even two) can be spent to generate an Effect if a combat has reached a stage where no one, after a few rounds, has gained any significant advantage. If you introduce such a house rule though, make it clear to players that it can only be used in specific circumstances, or when you say its available.
Skoll said Feb 05, 2013 08:07:34
Thanks for the replies. Some interesting ideas there.

The situation was a bit complicated, than what I described - both fighters were actually NPC's in midst of a bigger fight. At one point they both changed tactics to start hacking down lesser foes on the opposing sides in order to free their allies and allow them to gang up on the other guy. Also, the bad guy managed to summon a darkness elemental, which changed the tides for a while.
BruceMason said Feb 05, 2013 12:13:38
I like to use the Change Reach combat action as a more general purpose "manoeuvre" action. So it can be used, for example, to jump onto a table in the midst of a combat, grab a chandelier, kick a chair into the opponent and so on. If you use the same mechanics (Evade vs either Evade or a Combat Style) then if you win you get to do whatever it is that you were trying for.

90% of the time it works out the same as the rules as it is usually used to disengage. E.g. you use it to disengage so you can jump onto table. Now your opponent has to engage you at a disadvantage. Or you kick a chair into him so you are now disengaged and he has to spend a turn disentangling himself and so on.

Sometimes though, if it makes sense, you could use it with different skills (e.g. Brawn to push over a wardrobe or perhaps go shield to shield and push the opponent back (again basically a disengage).

Also, using abstract combat, then I figure it takes two people to agree to engage usually. So, if you have managed to disengage then unless there is something stopping you, you can normally keep an opponent from re-engaging you by simply running around the room. If you are lightly armoured and have good Endurance this can be a good way of exhausting an opponent.

Sometimes it is easy to get too obsessed with Action Points in RQ6 and try to plot everything out action by action. Generally it works better to deal with non-melee actions by going round for round. E.g. "I'll spend the round running up the stairs, knocking items off the wall so the guards can't catch me." That would basically be outmanoeuvre with a big advantage. In the meantime, the companion might be stuck in a frantic melee and be counting down actions.
Chris said Feb 06, 2013 22:12:36
When do the fatigue rules kick in? Been a while since I read the rules as I'm currently running Fantasy Craft
[Last edited Feb 06, 2013 22:12:56]
"This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!"
lawrence.whitaker said Feb 06, 2013 22:18:13
When do the fatigue rules kick in? Been a while since I read the rules as I'm currently running Fantasy Craft

CON in seconds, rounded up to the nearest combat round. So a combatant with CON 12 can fight for 3 combat rounds before he needs to test for Fatigue.
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