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The Skyrealms of Jorune 3e Combat System Intrigues Me

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
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So I've been reading my Skyrealms of Jorune 3e book a bit each night, and last night got to the combat section. After reading through the section a bit, I have to say that I am intrigued. It's like no other combat mechanic I've ever seen. (Which is not to say that it's like no other combat system, period -- I'm sure there are other games out there with similar mechanics. I've just never run across 'em.)

To summarize, for those who aren't familiar with it:

Combat rounds are 2 seconds long.

Each round starts off with an "Advantage" roll (basically an Initiative type roll). Depending on the outcome of the roll, you may:

* Do nothing
* Defend only
* Attack OR defend
* Attack AND defend

The higher the roll (on a single D20), the better.

After the advantage roll, the PCs/NPCs with the lowest advantage declare their action first. However, the PCs/NPCs with the highest advantage actually acts first.

So, like, if the NPC rolled a 9 on the advantage, and the PC rolled a 14, the NPC declares that he will defend (he has no other option, since 9 is a "defend only" advantage). The PC can either attack or defend, but he'd be silly to defend since he knows the NPC will also be defending. So he declares that he will attack.

If the attacker succesfully attacks and the defender successfully defends, no damage is taken. However, there are also "Force of Blow" rules that could mean the character was knocked down or loses the grip on his weapon, even if he otherwise takes no damage.

All in all, it really appeals to my inner simulationist.

Has anyone actually used these rules successfully in a game? Do they work well once it becomes routine? Or is it just horribly kludgy?
 

philippe tromeur

Rogue Nacaal
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Afterburner said:
Has anyone actually used these rules successfully in a game? Do they work well once it becomes routine? Or is it just horribly kludgy?
I used it as written, and it's quite good. I especially like the fact that armor reduces damage, but not the temporrary advantage penalty (IIRC). That is, if you're hit by a big club and the attack does not penetrate the armor, you'll be thrown out of balance (temporary advantage penalty), even if you're not actually wounded (durable advantage penalty + stamina loss).

The only problem is when players do actions other than attacking or defending. You have to be creative !
 

RPG_Wombat

ZIVEN la vida loca
Validated User
Well, it's been a very long time since I got to run it, but I don't remember having any real qualms about it. But now you can see where the adv bonus to higher level (expert or seasoned, I forget where it kicks in) weapon skills comes into play. Especially since many of the combat manuevers result in adv penalties the following round.

Will say this though, combat is much more dangerous than in, say, a standard d20 game. The combat ended after only two or three rounds, with the "bad guys" either dead or limping away with major wounds, one PC down (nasty head shot, d20 days in coma on wound table), and the other PCs in none too good shape.

I suspect that in longer combats, the first combatants to get a successful hit in will tend to dominate the battle, but I honestly doubt most combats would last long enough for that to be a real issue.
 

Morfedel

100% GM, 5% player
Validated User
Actually, with two opponents of high skill you can fight for quite some time; I had a PC with an 18 in sword, and an NPC opponent with same said 18; since thats what they needed to parry as well as attack, they couldnt get past each other's defenses without great difficulty. :)
 

Nick

Retired User
If I recall it right (its been a while) the combat system works, but can be slow; taking everything from advantage to rolls to stay upright after a good hit it can be 5 or 6 rolls for each character to complete each blow (if they succeded in the previous rolls). Thats a lot of dice rolls for one action.

That said if you can train your players to uses different coloured dice and roll for several things at once, then it trips along ok. But we had one player who simply would not do this, and when it came to his turn I do recall it being an ordeal waiting for him to finish his turn

you know it really is a long time since I played this game... I must blow the dust off them one day and try and run it again

Nick
 

Valandil

Loves Sci-fi RPGs
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I haven't played it but it sounds cool.

Because of it, I've toyed with systems where the idea of 'adavantage' resource management as the sole randomizing element of a combat.
 

jrients

Order of the d30
Validated User
Each round starts off with an "Advantage" roll (basically an Initiative type roll). Depending on the outcome of the roll, you may:

* Do nothing
* Defend only
* Attack OR defend
* Attack AND defend
That sounds fabulous. This part:

After the advantage roll, the PCs/NPCs with the lowest advantage declare their action first. However, the PCs/NPCs with the highest advantage actually acts first.
I'm not so keen on. I've seen this sort of thing in another system and it seems to slow things down. Of course, without a reverse order delcaration many combat systems end up with the fasters characters perpetually holding their action to react to the slowpokes.
 

Afterburner

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jrients said:
I'm not so keen on. I've seen this sort of thing in another system and it seems to slow things down. Of course, without a reverse order delcaration many combat systems end up with the fasters characters perpetually holding their action to react to the slowpokes.
Yeah. If you don't have the reverse order declaration as the default, then it becomes the defacto standard anyways for precisely the reasons you suggest.

I also like it because it (ostensibly) gives higher skilled characters a tactical advantage -- you can react to what the other character is doing.

I have discovered what appears to be a flaw in another aspect of the mechanics, however.

There are three melee combat ranges: hand-to-hand range (2 yards or less), melee weapon range (2-3 yards), or polearm range (3-5 yards). You can only attack at the proper range, and you can only defend at the proper range or greater. If you have a sword and your opponent has a pike, and you're at polearm range, he can attack you, you can defend, but you can't attack him. If you're at sword range, you can attack and defend, but he can't attack or defend.

The way to close (or open) the distance between your opponent is to make an advance (or a withdraw) instead of an attack. If you succeed, you move to the distance you want.

However, the opponent can defend against this by making the opposing move. If you advance, he can withdraw. If you withdraw, he can advance. Resolving this advance/withdraw sequence works just like resolving combat. You treat your offensive distance change as an attack. He treats his defensive distance change as a defense.

The thing is: There doesn't seem to be any way for the defending player to keep you from advancing (or withdrawing).

An illustrative example:

Derek and Charles are at polearm range. Derek has a halberd. Charles has a mace.

Derek rolls an 11 for his Advantage roll. This gives him the opportunity to either attack or defend.

Charles rolls a 14 for his Advantage roll. This also gives him the opportunity to either attack or defend.

Since Derek has the lower advantage, he declares his action first. Since Charles has the higher advantage, his action is resolved first.

Derek can attack or withdraw.

If he declares that he will attack, Charles can counter that by simply declaring an advance. Since Charles's action is resolved first, Charles advances (assuming a successful roll), putting him at sword range. Derek can now no longer attack, because Charles is within his weapon range.

If he declares that he will withdraw, Charles simply advances (again, depending on a successful roll, for both parties in that case).

Maybe it's not that bad in actual practice, but it certainly looks like it would be trivially easy to get into an advance/withdraw back-and-forth situation where the character with the longer weapon would be at a clear disadvantage under almost any circumstance.
 

Nick

Retired User
Hmm, well afterburner that is true. However my guys never tried this on any of the NPCs they fought who had longer weapons (and thikes were very popular with my lot).

However this disadvantage for the guy with Pole arm only applies if the other character makes his advance roll.

If he fails he then starts downward spiral of evading, as he has not declared a defence against the pole arm attack, having tried to advance in instead.

If I remember right doesn’t the character evading get an auto penalty to the next rounds advantage (umm, -5?) and run the risk of falling flat on his arse as well, which had a really bad advantage penalty I think.

Sure if you have a high advance skill, you can really screw up the guy with the longer weapon, but had better be very sure of making those rolls. I think this must have prevented my guys from using that always advance tactic; they much preferred getting the target drunk and then stabbing him to death in his sleep with thikes, by far the safest option in Jorune, which has very high risk factor for combatants

Actually its sort of odd that the end of a fight was often determined by role-playing (i.e. N/PCs that get a major wound usually surrendered or ran away) for a system with such a high level of detail in its combat system. Or was that just the way we play high detail combat games? The role playing element tends to go out of the window and it turns into a frag feast?

Nick
 
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