RPG Blog Carnival April 2015 – The Combat Experience
This month the subject of the carnival is The Combat Experience and it is being hosted by RPG Alchemy.
Love it or leave it combat is one of those parts of the system that has more than it’s fair share of table time so finding a system that the players engage with is something that is always something I look for.
At school I studied fencing and attended an after school fencing club, the romantic ideal of swinging a blade was what attracted me to the idea. Since then I’ve always checked to see how a combat system models something as simple as feints, parries and riposte.
When I started gaming combat was something I enjoyed, as it gave me an outlet to swing swords or blast away with rayguns. I remember finding Pheonix Command and relished looking up on the various tables to see where someone had been shot. While this appealed to me as a games master it was very time consuming for the players as I had to perform a few calculations and look up the result.
While Phoenix Command handles gunfights and the aftermath of being shot I was very disappointed by the hand to hand side of things; even with the hand to hand supplement things never got any better. Millenniums End also had a novel way of doing things, align a template over a silhouette of a person and then you could work out where you hit. This also worked for hand to hand and I remember an afternoon of two players consistently kicking each other in the groin for what seemed like ages; the happy spree was broken up when one of the combatants switched locations and axe-kicked his opponent in the head.
I even tried playing Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) but I was confused more by the game mechanics than the combat system, add percentage this to skills etc.
Warhammer 1st edition had a pretty solid combat system that was only slightly wonky but did cater for hit locations.
In the end I decided that I preferred a system that gave me the detail if I was after it, something the narrative games like FATE cater for and the system is a lot more cinematic and pulpy which is something I always enjoy playing with.