Tuesday, October 1, 2013

GURPS 6 second combat rounds and 1d6 minute luls

I'll be doing some experiments for my upcoming game two weeks from now (oct 12). Basically reviewing the video and how the players did. I can objectively say the 1 to 1 second combat round is very biased against non-combatants.

Is it really sacrificing abstraction for simulation? I don't think so, not with what we now know about Attention, Perception, and the Human Mind**. to keep it short,

6 Second Turns.

Actions are pretty much like DnD, MgT, WH40k, SoIF, and all those combat systems with 6 seconds and 2-1 actions in a round. Take your pick. But this time instead of just firing off a round, you can spend 4 seconds doing an attack with all the bonuses possible.

  1. You have 6 Seconds to spend on your turn. In this 6 seconds you can still do what you can do in a GURPS second, but you have to Condense it to a COURSE OF ACTION instead of Action. 
  2. Declare (what is visible; Pm the GM in PvP) by Initiative (from lowest to highest), BUT Resolve the Actions According to the Initiative minus Amount of SECONDS used Course of Action. Assume remaining seconds in a Short Course of Action is done observing, coordinating and waiting etc.  GM typically sumarrizes the NPC group.  In Roll20 using the new Macro, the Player just input all their Speed -actions in second until it cycles back to the first person who acted then it is a new turn, the person who Resolves his action first reminds everyone its a new turn. 
    1. The GM has a Second Initiative Chart, probably written down with everyone's Circumstantial speed. A simpler matter is just to have groups. Mooks First, average NPC vs PCs and, BBEG last.  
    2. Macro
      @{selected|character_name}'s basic speed is [[@{selected|SPD}-?{Course of Action} &{tracker}]]
  3. A Course of Action vs an Action. A Course of action is made up of multiple seconds. The more seconds in a CoA the Lower the SPD, and the later in the turn the action is resolved. 
  4. On the Players Turn to Declare (prior to resolving) they must allocate all their Seconds. if they just spend 1 second waiting for X to trigger, they must declare how they spend the rest of the turn.
  5. Wait Course of Action.  Characters who use Wait Course of Action, must declare the conditions of their trigger or what will they are anticipating, and the Course of Action they will react with.  
    1. This allows a character to Interrupt or Coordinate with another character even if they don't have the same initiative. 
    2. Wait and See. is a common Course of Action. When characters do this. I, the GM, will Double their Field of Vision in Roll20 since applying x2 to Light ( Per*3 (Fade)/Per (Light) ). I will switch things back to normal when the trigger occurs (or end of the turn if they spend all their time). Having the Observation Skill increase perception Range by +4 in Wait and See.   
    3. Since Actions are resolved from the Shortest to the Longest, while declaring is actions (declaring what is visible)

  6. All Extra Time goes to Talking, Concentrate, Passively Watching, Reloading, Moving, Etc...  

1d6 Minute Luls.

Every after 1d6+2 seconds of combat there will be a 1d6 minute lul where everyone can only perform mental actions. Best use of this is when everyone seems tired and itching to do more Non-combat actions. If they want to Role-play they can force a Lul. The time duration is just a guide, baddies may start shootinig by that time to give tension and a sense of urgency.

System Drawbacks

  1. Every Second is an opportunity lost... or is it? First of I'm biased in favor of 6 seconds so take my Defense with a little salt. I think this the thinking that a Second is an opportunity is a munchkin problem more than a legitimate Simulations problem.
         Defense: That is a theory that assumes we can act on every second of opportunity, infact its our ability to concentrate and follow through a process means we do not have ADHD. The topic discussed in Google Scholar.  
  2. It will Take Longer to resolve each second. Because there is more seconds means there is more things to do. This hinges that you believe Every Second is an Opportunity.
          Defense: Players just tell me what they are going to do, and In GOOD FAITH (I think this is part of the covenant between players and GMs), I will assume their character will perform it with optimal use of their Time and Abilities. Without this Good Faith, there can be no trust in the table, and with no trust then Everyone would have to declare every specific action you can possibly figure out ever turn. Now that's a difficult game to play.

System Strengths

  1. It makes combat more about maneuvering more than exchanging Blows. Because you can do so much in one turn, but it can be countered, I hope the system will encourage more Maneuvering over exchanging blows. If Maneuvering is the focus, then even Non-Combat Characters will have a BIGGER contribution to combat as Support, Logistics, and Recon. If this ends up being a system that encourages maneuvering over exchange of blows I think this should be enough for other GURPS GMs to consider.
            Flaw: What about the Characters who just like Exchanging Blows, its practically bringing down the value of such a way of enjoying a game. It is a claim that Manuvering is more Tactical than Exchanging Blows second per second, the merits of the argument is purely subjective. 
  2. More Natural Feeling Encounter length. Combats that are a Minute Long vs 10-30 seconds long. Just Build in the Noise and Wasted Seconds into the TURN. Simulationists IMO should not mind that there are wasted seconds. Think of it this way, when there is confusion and lack of information to act, you don't need to waste a turn saying DO NOTHING, Wait or Observe.
           FLAW: There is no definitive definition of what is a Natural Combat Flow or Length. Its more of a subjective statement.
  3. More things can get done in 10-20minutes of Playing because we boiled away the wasted actions and do-nothings. The GM can assume in good faith characters use their "wasted" seconds observing and getting up to date of the situation. In One Second, your input for that second is really limited.
           FLAW: like above, all are speculative claims that need more hard evidence to prove. 
  4. Its Easier to Learn. Just RP what you can do in 6 seconds vs 1 second. Getting stuff in a bag in gurps is 2d6 seconds! Not everyone gets into a situation where what they need is in their WEB web gear, holstered, etc.
          FLAW: relative difference is speculative and not definitive enough to be fact. Such pins an assumption on Attention Cycle Premise. 
  5. Conversations as a Free Action makes more sense. NOW this is more realistic. One second conversations in GURPS is really stretching it. IMO, you cannot converse you can only Declare, because Conversation means you spend time LISTENING instead of Talking Simultaneously.     
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