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    Default How to reward movement in melee

    So I had a conversation with one of my players recently, and he said that he doesn't like AoO's because they discourage movement during combat, meaning that everyone just sits in place and rolls dice.

    I said that it isn't so much AoO, there are plenty of ways to avoid or minimize those, but rather than there is no incentive to move.

    He lamented that combat in RPGs isn't as full of movement like it is in movies, where people brawl through all sorts of interesting scenery over the course of the battle and are constantly in motion.


    My opinion was that irl movement in combat usually just consists of circling your opponent or pushing them back, and that actually turning your back on your opponent or taking your feet of the ground (I mean actually jumping, climbing, crawling, swimming, flipping, etc.; not merely moving about) is a very risky proposition with no real gain.


    So, my question is two parts:

    First, can you come up with reasons, from a narrative perspective, why someone would want to move about during combat?

    Second, can you think of any rules to encourage movement in combat, which still remain "simulationist" and are not "disassociated" with what is actually being depicted rather than merely an arbitrary rules construct.

    Thanks!
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Make the environment more interesting. Fires, the pitching deck of a ship, herds of wild animals stampeding, giant swinging blades, or portals to Death can all add spice to a battlefield. Like any spice you need to use them in moderation, but they can encourage movement.

    You can also make the objective of the fight something apart from "Make the other side all dead before you are". If you are protecting someone, especially if outnumbered, movement may be necessary. If you just need to stay on this train as cars are progressively removed, movement is very necessary. If you're trying to get an item back, you'd better be chasing the person that has it and not just fighting the people left behind to slow you down.

    These ideas also make combats more interesting in general, which is nice. Arena matches in flat plains are ok in moderation, but they shouldn't be your whole story.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    You've mentioned "circling" and "pushing your opponent back". Those are things that happen in the ridiculously-constrained environment of a boxing ring, but D&D doesn't really allow even for them. That is to say, in a one-to-one D&D fight, there's generally no advantage to moving even that much.

    In a more realistic environment, where fighters may be thinking about terrain, lighting, allies and enemies, their own objectives - I imagine there should be quite a lot of movement in melee. I know, when I play Skyrim, I seldom find myself duking it out toe to toe with motionless enemies - usually there's quite a bit of manoeuvring going on. In D&D, this could be modelled as a sequence of 5-foot steps, but that doesn't explain why it does happen - merely removes one reason why it doesn't.

    There are, in fact, some rules in D&D to reward movement, but they're seldom used. For instance, when was the last time you saw a D&D character try to manoeuvre themself between an opponent and the sun, so that s/he'd be Dazzled? Or made a point of standing uphill from their enemy? Most DMs (and players) simply don't think that much about the environment during combat - they're too busy thinking about all the other rules and effects.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    First, can you come up with reasons, from a narrative perspective, why someone would want to move about during combat?
    Any reason must ultimately come down to "because it helps them either gain an advantage over their opponent, or denies an advantage to their opponent." A height advantage makes the vitals further away from your opponent, while their vitals are still within your reach. Keeping your distance means you have enough time to block or dodge should they attack. If you can back them into a corner then the range of their swing is limited where yours is not, and they have no ability to escape but running right beside you. Similarly, if you are higher on a flight of circular stairs, in addition to the usual height advantage, your swinging arm is relatively unimpeded while theirs is not (that's why fortresses used them).

    Second, can you think of any rules to encourage movement in combat, which still remain "simulationist" and are not "disassociated" with what is actually being depicted rather than merely an arbitrary rules construct.
    The two aspects of movement seem to be this: 1) freedom of movement is a defensive benefit, and 2) terrain features give substantial advantages if you can maneuver into or around them properly.

    So first, you have to make it difficult to hit someone who can just back away any way they want. If you attack an enemy who can move away from you freely, they need to get a bonus to AC, or maybe even a Ref save to take a 5-ft. step back. If they are constrained, like in a tight corridor or certainly in a corner, they need to get a penalty.

    And there needs to be a way to force or at least strongly control movement somehow, so that you can try to maneuver each other into terrain that benefits you. Obviously, if the reverse 5-ft. step is directional (which it should be), then it's actually useful to try to move around your opponent and attack them from a different angle (assuming you're not totally out in the open). But that's an AoO normally; maybe that's the right level of incentive vs. disincentive, or maybe AoO should be lightened up to encourage more movement.

    That's a pretty significant change (and I fear it would only further slow down and burden martial characters), and I think it would go most of the way to prompting more movement. Beyond that, you make terrain features matter more. Corners should give you a flanking bonus. High ground needs to give a bigger bonus. Difficult terrain cuts off the 5-ft. step reflex save and maybe counts as a wall for corner purposes. Beyond that, go through on a case-by-case basis and make certain kinds of features have their own characteristics that make it worth the risks. A +1, even a +2 is probably not enough.

    Of course, the downside to all this is it will slow down the game as options for movement and modifiers will change frequently throughout a round of combat and need to be re-calculated. That may or may not be worth it.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Well, I've been working on a simulationist attempt at realistic combat, and movement could be considered everything. Where you place your weapon, where you move, and how you move your weapon to defend or attack. If you can manage to outmanoeuvre your opponent and get into their blind-spot, they're generally toast. Footwork is very important in duelling. An opponent who stays still is easy to defeat.

    As to how to apply it, not sure what to say. My system has it that you don't just have an attack range, but an angle. You can't attack foes directly behind you. Some mechanic like that can make movement important, where you're trying to get into a blind-spot.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Terrain, Tactics and Time.

    Having more interesting terrain, so long as it is combat relevant, makes moving important. Fighting a bunch of enemies in the forest means that the trees get in the way; so if you want to flank then you have to move through the trees.

    Have several enemies spread out so that the party have to move to engage, some enemies can hide behind those trees I mentioned earlier, which block Line of Sight.

    Have some enemies use hit and run tactics, or have them fly.

    Don't just use standard encounter design - not everything is a meeting engagement. If the party need to assault a stronghold then movement, and stealth, becomes key. Also, chase scenes.

    If you look at real world tactics then you will see that movement and time become key. If you are running a simulationist game then this should also be true. Maybe you need to study tactics more ?
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Hmm, now that I think about Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and other movies where the characters move around in combat, it's pretty clear why they move: they usually try to avoid enemy attacks by dodging and parrying.

    So, every time your opponent misses in melee combat, you may immediately take a free Five Foot Step, without provoking AoO. It's this footwork (combined with parrying, etc.) that allows you to avoid being hit in the first place. Of course, you won't be hit even you don't or can't take the 5 ft. Step.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I had a conversation with one of my players recently, and he said that he doesn't like AoO's because they discourage movement during combat, meaning that everyone just sits in place and rolls dice.

    I said that it isn't so much AoO, there are plenty of ways to avoid or minimize those, but rather than there is no incentive to move.

    He lamented that combat in RPGs isn't as full of movement like it is in movies, where people brawl through all sorts of interesting scenery over the course of the battle and are constantly in motion.

    My opinion was that irl movement in combat usually just consists of circling your opponent or pushing them back, and that actually turning your back on your opponent or taking your feet of the ground (I mean actually jumping, climbing, crawling, swimming, flipping, etc.; not merely moving about) is a very risky proposition with no real gain.


    So, my question is two parts:

    First, can you come up with reasons, from a narrative perspective, why someone would want to move about during combat?

    Second, can you think of any rules to encourage movement in combat, which still remain "simulationist" and are not "disassociated" with what is actually being depicted rather than merely an arbitrary rules construct.

    Thanks!
    4e shows everything you want.

    Seriously. You can tweak 4e but a 4e like framework with forced movement is what you want. In 4e there's a simple rule of tactics. Monsters belong in their own pit traps. When about two thirds of the party has powers that push monsters around (and about half the monsters push back), adding any sort of dangerous terrain at all suddenly transforms even a simple brawl from a line-fight with people occasionally trying for flanking into a battle of maneuver where people are trying to force each other into the camp fire/over the edge of the dock/down the pit trap/wherever.

    Yes, you have the bull rush in 3.X but it's almost never worth it because, for one, it flatlines your damage even if you succeed, and for another it's a fiddly faff.

    And before you say 4e is disassociated (the term was popularised as an edition warrior term against 4e because someone couldn't understand why there might be bonusses when the demon captain pointed at a PC and said "Get that guy"), forced movement in combat certainly isn't. And neither is the idea that there are bits of the battlefield you don't want to go and certainly don't want to be forced.

    It's also worth noting at this point that if you play 4e in a white room almost all the movement disappears from the combats (which makes it a whole lot less fun and is one of the issues with Keep on the Shadowfell).

    And yes, 4e does have AoOs/OAs (and without the 1/round limit of 3.X) but has techniques to avoid them including the standard 5 foot step (and plenty of better ones for rogues).

    Edit: The 4e forced movement paradigm also leads to lots of on the fly tactical tricks where a monster thinks it's safe because it's 10ft away from the edge of the dock but three PCs team up to drive it back 5ft at a time in the same round, sending it swimming.
    Last edited by neonchameleon; 2016-01-18 at 06:17 AM.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    All that honestly depends so much on nature of 'melee' it's hard to answer generally.

    On one hand, yes, any excess movement in any sort of fight is pointless. It saps energy.

    On the other hand, something like D&D 3.5 looks a bit too much like a fight in phone booth -maneuvering has no much of a real purpose outsize flanking and some of such rules.

    All 'natural' movements seem to be waved off as happening in that 5x5 feet square which is obviously way too small.

    Hmm, now that I think about Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and other movies where the characters move around in combat, it's pretty clear why they move: they usually try to avoid enemy attacks by dodging and parrying.
    Well, combat in such movies is way too 'overmoved' though. Lot's of absolutely pointless movements and acrobatics, that would, aside from anything else, completely exhaust any combatant with roughly human capabilities in 2 minutes, tops.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    If you tried to simulate movie examples? Humm... maybe something like, you have balance points, and if you lose them then you're vulnerable. So, if you are losing, you want to run away and sling on the chandeliers or throw buckets at them or whatever strange thing, because you're buying time till your balance points recover. There'd be some sort of competitive pursuit vs. flight mechanic where if successful you'll buy yourself plenty of time and maybe hurt your opponent or damage their balance points.

    That's the best I can think of on short notice. Interestingly, this is sort of close to the reality of running away, you tend to run when you're losing, but could turn back and attack your pursuer at any time. And the one who is running away can change. Though often it's less clear as to when to cut your losses and run than if you had a balance bar, and stuff like injuries makes it hard to think about turning and fighting (or sometimes hard to think about running away).
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Step 1: Enable movement
    Depending on the system in question movement can be rather restrictive by design. In 3rd edition for example, you can only move once per turn regardless of distance traveled. However in the movies you will frequently see someone juggle moving and doing something or many somethings.

    Even after fixing the mechanical restrictions, one has to consider the battlefield. Does the battlefield have terrain that permits movement options or is it a dull hallway/room/field.


    Step 2: Reward movement
    Now that you have enabled movement and have a variety of relevantly different movement options in combat, now you need to assign benefits that the movement can get the character able to benefit from. This would allow the characters to make cost:benefit analyses of the various movement method costs:positional benefits ratios.

    Now the terrain based rewards are easy to imagine but might not be sufficient to motivate movement. So you might need to add some mechanics.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    It's important to note that Attacks of Opportunity do serve an important purpose, namely, to make it risky to just walk between two guys who are trying to stab you so that you can stab the squishy wizard in back. There are other ways to do this, of course, but the fact remains that if the fighter has no means of discouraging the other fighter from walking up and hitting the wizard with his trusty Battleaxe of Wizard Squishing +2, the game will rapidly devolve into the wizard desperately running away while the fighters chase each other.

    It's also important to note that the environment dictates not only how much movement is useful, but how much is possible. If you've got two groups of 5 combatants each engaging each other in a ten foot wide corridor, there isn't going to be that much movement going on.

    Next, it's relevant to consider how much fiddling you want in your combat system. A lot of positioning stuff is jockeying for advantages that would be frustrating, difficult to track, or otherwise problematic in an RPG.

    NEXT, it's good to consider what you are trying to emulate. If you're trying to 'realistically' model a broadsword duel, there's not actually that much moving going on, because once the combatants are engaged, it's over in a hurry. If you're trying to model a boarding action between ships or some other big clash of forces, there's going to be a lot of movement, but it's not going to be very tactical or often, even very VOLUNTARY because you've basically got two big masses of people striving against one another. Or, if you're trying to model an Errol Flynn movie...but I bet you're not, because you don't actually seem interested in a system that promotes dramatic combat over simulation. Which is fine, but you've officially prioritized simulation over excitement at that point.

    To answer your actual question, here are a few suggestions:
    -- Allow players to split up their move. If you can move 5 squares as a "move" action, they should be able to move two, attack, then move three.
    -- If the last move on your turn is away from an opponent, you get +2 AC vs that opponent.
    -- Remind people about flanking bonuses
    -- Remind people of and remember to apply cover bonuses for corners.
    -- Remind people of and remember advantages for higher ground; If your system doesn't have them, give a person on higher ground than their opponent a defensive bonus.
    -- Give people objectives other than "kill everyone" or at the very least, mix up the opponents enough so that there are some they really want to kill first (high threat, low defense enemies that want to be behind a screen of melee fighters - archers or squishy wizards.)

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    The thing is, unless you know there is a good incentive to move away and use an action to attempt to push someone into a pit, you're probably better off (in most games) using that time to try to hit them again.

    4th ed D&D did 3 things to help change up movement in combat:

    1-Attacks that force enemy movement: you hit them and you deal damage+force them to move. in short, you're not giving up any advantage, for the most part, by using this. except flanking.

    This allows you to do 2 things:
    a- push the enemy into an area that's more advantageous to you
    b- allows you to more safely disengage, forcing them to catch up

    2-Attacks that allow bonus movement: before or after your attack, you can move. this allows for you to take a more cinematic keep moving and dekeing around chest high walls and firing your weapons, and also confuse enemies while providing cover. also: a disengage.

    3-Attacks that force movement to stop or restrict movement: this is the attack and damage+prone or grabbed or something, meaning you have some way to control the pace of combat if you need to

    What normally happens at that point is you have easy access to ways to move yourself, your enemies and occasionally stop their movement so unless you have a good reason to stay rooted in place, you're going to want to be moving all over. plus 4th ed doesn't have the full round action idiocy of 3rd ed. you have your free, minor, move, & standard actions.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Well, combat in such movies is way too 'overmoved' though. Lot's of absolutely pointless movements and acrobatics, that would, aside from anything else, completely exhaust any combatant with roughly human capabilities in 2 minutes, tops.
    Yeah, but as other people have mentioned, there is a lot of maneuvering, positioning, and circling in a boxing or MMA fight.

    In the case of Star Wars, before the prequels introduced needless flourishes and backflips, the sword fights were pretty accurate in terms of movement too. If one combatant is on total offense and the other can barely manage to parry his attacks, you're going to see the defender backpedaling a lot - just like the climactic fight in ESB.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    In most games the one person most able to get movement going on the field of battle is who ever is running the game. Too often a GM/DM/Story teller/what ever will assume that all enemies stand around and fight to the bitter end. They don't make reasonable assessment for their villains/monsters/what ever. In real life if you are getting your butt handed to you, you try to get away. You don't stand around letting someone who's obviously a better fighter beat on you. You run.

    In your opponents start acting more tactically, and they start withdrawing when they are getting curb stomped, you will see a LOT more movement going on. NOTE: This is regardless of game system.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by John Longarrow View Post
    In most games the one person most able to get movement going on the field of battle is who ever is running the game. Too often a GM/DM/Story teller/what ever will assume that all enemies stand around and fight to the bitter end. They don't make reasonable assessment for their villains/monsters/what ever. In real life if you are getting your butt handed to you, you try to get away. You don't stand around letting someone who's obviously a better fighter beat on you. You run.

    In your opponents start acting more tactically, and they start withdrawing when they are getting curb stomped, you will see a LOT more movement going on. NOTE: This is regardless of game system.
    Having enemies that flee when they're losing also has the advantage (disadvantage to some) of giving the players more agency. That is, it forces them to make choices that impact the game. If the enemy runs, do they pursue, stay put and treat their own wounded, or continue toward their original goal? Each of these will lead to a different outcome (assuming the GM isn't forcing the party to stay on the rails no matter what).

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    He lamented that combat in RPGs isn't as full of movement like it is in movies, where people brawl through all sorts of interesting scenery over the course of the battle and are constantly in motion.
    This got me thinking. The best dual I've ever seen has to be the scene in Princess Bride where Wesley crosses blades with Anigo. Great scene. Takes a couple minutes or so to watch. If you were to try to replicate that in a RPG, you'd see that one fight take over an hour. That is one fight between a PC and an NPC. Try the same thing with 4 players and 4 NPCs and you'd see it take seven or eight hours.

    You can do it, but you run into player / GM fatigue quickly. Most RPGs have pretty short fights because the players don't want to spend lots of time beating the enemies. Especially when you have numbers on each side, descriptive or detailed movement systems bog down. To see just how long a simple fight would really take, try writing a detailed description of the fight from Princess Bride. Then think how long it would take if each of the combatants was working through all their movements AND you are working out what the benefits/penalties are for each.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    It sounds like he wants to play a Dungeoncrasher Fighter.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by John Longarrow View Post
    This got me thinking. The best dual I've ever seen has to be the scene in Princess Bride where Wesley crosses blades with Anigo. Great scene. Takes a couple minutes or so to watch. If you were to try to replicate that in a RPG, you'd see that one fight take over an hour. That is one fight between a PC and an NPC. Try the same thing with 4 players and 4 NPCs and you'd see it take seven or eight hours.

    You can do it, but you run into player / GM fatigue quickly. Most RPGs have pretty short fights because the players don't want to spend lots of time beating the enemies. Especially when you have numbers on each side, descriptive or detailed movement systems bog down. To see just how long a simple fight would really take, try writing a detailed description of the fight from Princess Bride. Then think how long it would take if each of the combatants was working through all their movements AND you are working out what the benefits/penalties are for each.
    That depends almost entirely on which game you're playing. The OP didn't specify, but if it's something like 3.x there are quite a few games that run combat much faster.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Douche View Post
    Yeah, but as other people have mentioned, there is a lot of maneuvering, positioning, and circling in a boxing or MMA fight.

    In the case of Star Wars, before the prequels introduced needless flourishes and backflips, the sword fights were pretty accurate in terms of movement too. If one combatant is on total offense and the other can barely manage to parry his attacks, you're going to see the defender backpedaling a lot - just like the climactic fight in ESB.
    You've given me a simple idea:
    • The target of a melee attack can reduce the damage received by two if they take an automatic shift away from the attacker. This benefit is reduced to one point of damage if the destination is adjacent to an enemy.
    • If you choose to reduce damage by moving away from an enemy, you grant combat advantage until you take a move action to steady yourself.
    • If you could not normally shift into the destination square, you fall prone in that square.
    • The attacker has the option of automatically shifting into the vacated space.

    Tactical positioning then has the motive of denying this opportunity to your opponent while leaving it open to yourself. Pinning them against walls, cornering them against a cliff, surrounding them with allies, etc.
    Also gives rough terrain more direct tactical relevance than just movement penalties.

    note: I'm more familiar with 4E, which may have been subconsciously relevant.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenerix525 View Post
    You've given me a simple idea:
    • The target of a melee attack can reduce the damage received by two if they take an automatic shift away from the attacker. This benefit is reduced to one point of damage if the destination is adjacent to an enemy.
    • If you choose to reduce damage by moving away from an enemy, you grant combat advantage until you take a move action to steady yourself.
    • If you could not normally shift into the destination square, you fall prone in that square.
    • The attacker has the option of automatically shifting into the vacated space.

    Tactical positioning then has the motive of denying this opportunity to your opponent while leaving it open to yourself. Pinning them against walls, cornering them against a cliff, surrounding them with allies, etc.
    Also gives rough terrain more direct tactical relevance than just movement penalties.

    note: I'm more familiar with 4E, which may have been subconsciously relevant.
    One system that I really like is the Lord of the Rings SBG. In that game when you are hit by a close combat attack you must back off one space, if you cannot or will not do this you are instead hit twice.

    It makes movement really important, and I tried adapting it to RPGs for a while, but the problem is that it makes a fairly extreme divide between "tanks" and "squishies" as the heavy armor types don't really care about double hits but the lightly armored back row guys died almost instantly if they were surrounded or backed into a corner.
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    One way to encourage movement is having abilities related to positioning be relatively common. DnD 3.5 relatively lacks these, due to heavily abstracted position system, but it does have it to some degree. I've seen many melees turn into very long series of 5-foot steps and attacks as one side tried to maintain flanking. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced (and Advanced 2), the melee fighters are constantly running around to try and get sidestab or backstab bonuses (while also looking for way to minimize the amount of sidestab and backstab bonuses that can be applied against them). So if you want movement to be more common, make up abilities that make it matter ,or point them to where such abilities do exist already. Going back to 3.5, a dungeoncrasher cares a lot about positioning and their fights can get very mobile (they want to full-attack someone into a wall for a whole ton of damage, the enemy wants to avoid that, so it will be a lot of running around between the two).
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    First, can you come up with reasons, from a narrative perspective, why someone would want to move about during combat?
    If you want movement and environment to be interesting, incorporate it into combat. For a basic example, a fight in the woods has lots of trees or bushes to hide behind. This makes find cover or avoiding ambushes more interesting. Take that a step further: I had a campaign where my players were attacked by goblins who ambushed them from the trees. Nothing gets a player to use the environment around them faster than their opponents doing it too.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I once had a desert battle where giant insects would pop out of the sand and try to drag PCs down. Your players will be terrified every time they see the sand shake.

    Other examples include: having the ground move, traps, race to get valuable item for reason X, lava/fire/acid/other mobile threat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Second, can you think of any rules to encourage movement in combat, which still remain "simulationist" and are not "disassociated" with what is actually being depicted rather than merely an arbitrary rules construct.
    "It's late day. Anyone facing West gets a -2 to attack because of difficulty seeing."
    "Ranged attacks get +2 against target that didn't move last round."

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    I will say - while I find the idea of movement for melee combat interesting - remember that if there are too many rules about it, the rest of melee combat should be pretty streamlined to keep the system from becoming clogged down. Like many cool ideas, it probably shouldn't just be slapped on top of an existing system as the system would need to be balanced with it in mind from the ground up.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Use GURPS instead of D&D?
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Use GURPS instead of D&D?
    How does GURPS handle it?
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    My Ranger is constantly moving, to keep the other side's melee fighters away from our casters.

    Moving to the right angle allows you to bullrush an opponent into another one, or into a well or over a cliff.

    Flank opportunities are created, or prevented, by movement.

    I can't flip the table over on several of them until I get next to the table.

    The occasional tripped opponent is an easy target, if you move to him.

    And finally, sometimes it's worth accepting an Attack of Opportunity, if it gives you more than it costs. If my ally is down, I need to engage the enemy whose about to kill him, AoO or not.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    In kumite (combat) in karate, we usually see the two combatants circling around each other and occasionally backing away, but nothing more than that. We are limited to a square, but it's large enough to not really constrain us at all.

    You could give each character the ability to make a 5ft step in melee to gain a small bonus to AC. That would probably be the closest approximation to how people actually move in melee combat.

    Of course, specific situations could add a lot more movement, such as one character trying to flee, obstacles or hazards nearby, etc.

    Also, try to have NPCs avoid being flanked. Then players who want to flank will need to move a lot more.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    How does GURPS handle it?
    Movement is a thing. Combat is on a hex grid and everyone has a specific Move score determining how many hexes they can move. Example things that mean you move around:

    - You get a defensive bonus if you Retreat 1 yard.

    - Attacking from the side makes defending harder and from behind makes it impossible, so fast or numerous attackers move to take advantage of this.

    - You don't want to get swarmed, so you shift positions.

    - You get penalties for moving a lot and then attacking, so a very fast combatant can often move around carefully and make it much harder to attack them.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

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    Default Re: How to reward movement in melee

    My experience from the small amount of fencing I have done - you always move. In fact, if you want to "stand ground", you have to focus on it.

    The narrative part has been answered several times and well, so to sum up and add few more:
    - environmental advantage - sun in the eyes, wind/rain in your back, back to the wall (just can't be backstabbed), protection against ranged attackers or even close-combat ones, fighting knee-deep in water as opposed to fighting waist-deep in water, uneven footing, higher ground, ice ...and let's not even start on hazardous terrain... (e.g. long fall down from tower)
    - location-based objective - protecting someone, reaching some point,
    - environmental requirement - e.g. dwarf needing to reach a ogre's head just has to get on some higher ground (ok, you can still cut off his knees, but...)
    - position advantage - flanking, getting to someone's back, getting out of flanked position, manuevering someone into a trap, standing ground in a doorway...

    As for the rules/mechanics... disclaimer: I don't play DnD/ADnD, have no idea what is AoO, so some esoteric advice from Riddle of Steel (may be combat-mat-unfriendly):

    During one exchange of blows, you usually have an attacker and a defender. Attacker moves forward, defender backwards. Usually they move at the speed of the slower of them, so by end of the round (2 exchanges), they are basically at the same point (if we assume they move in line, not erratically as they usually do).

    When there are two defenders, they only circle each other, watching for first attack (change in initiative, basically one player saying "I'm attacking").

    If we have two attackers, then it gets messy.

    The point is, if you want to push an opponent forward (even when you defend), lure him towards you (even when attacking) or you want to stand ground (stay directly at your place), you need to spend dice (=make your attack less effective).

    So if you want to reward movement, it would work by "punishing" staying at place. Establish a rule that with every attack they have to move forward/diagonally forward, with defence backwards/sidewards, or... they "stand ground" (take a penalty to attack roll/defence roll/give less damage/take more damag/make skill roll with possible consequences).

    For circling, pushing, luring and others:
    Circling - before first attack allow a skill roll - winner has a free change of position (e.g. his back to the sun/between him and the wizard), during combat there could be pauses (e.g. if there is fatigue system in place - or can be used to gain small amount of HP from last attack back), these could be offered from you as the GM.
    Pushing - manuever, take penalty/if he opposes make a skill roll - if you win, you push him back (either to fall down from the tower or deeper to the lake or if you roll critical, he falls on his backside).
    Luring - the same as pushing, however with each defence you draw him towards you (good for flanking).

    Of course, at first you should discuss this with players. If they agree...well, it's on.

    And as for turning your back to your opponent, jumping, climbing etc. - if it wants to be simulationist, then the climbing is possible if both climb (laaaaarge penalties), however, if you turn your back to your opponent, you get hit in the back
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
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    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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