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Simple Combat for Newcomer


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If I’m just getting started with the system and want to keep combat speedy while learnIng the rules, what rules can I skip without breaking the game? One idea is not to track endurance. What else should I consider?

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It depends on what genre you are playing, but in general you can skip:

 

Hit Locations, and partial armour protection

Presence attacks - these allow exceptions to the order of play in combat

Knockback/Knockdown

Turn modes for movement

Pushing - implied by not using End anyway

 

You could also make sure every character has the same Speed characteristic. Then you don't need to use the Speed Chart apart from periodic post-Segment 12 Recoveries. If everyone has, say, 3 Spd (or 5, for superheroes), then "post-Segment 12" becomes "after every three (or 5) phases".

 

Also avoid complex power constructs. Simple characters can be just as powerful and interesting anyway, in many cases.

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Even in Fantasy you can get away with Hit Locations and even Activation Rolls. Just make sure killing attacks have a chance of getting through. We never worried about Turn Mode in our group lol. Agents don’t get recovery nor do they take one. If playing Supers, use play Normals with a weapon and some armor. Also once agents go 0 Stun or negative, they’re out of the game.

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5 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Also stay away from Martial maneuvers until you’re more comfortable with the Standard Maneuvers. That being said, I would encourage you to play mock battles when not gaming and go-let’s try this! I still do that.

 

I think you have had some goo advice already.  It depends on how simple you want to get.

 

You could ignore all manouevres.  You lose some elements of complexity such as blocking an attack or dodging but it gets right down to the hit and record damage.  You should be explicit with the group that you would like to do that for a session and then begin introducing manouevres as everything else becomes second nature.  HERO does have the complexity of multiple forms of damage and it bears remembering (for us old timers) that it can be difficult for folk to get their head round that in the midst of all the rest of the numbers...

 

Do not worry about breaking the system, it is designed to be modular and for things to be used or not used.  There is no absolute 'ideal' way for the system to be used in a game.

 

My big thing is looking very closely at the attacks and defences used.  I use lots of the complexity to justify that I set the attacks and defences to mean that most folk will not be able to take more than a few hits before being taken out of a fight - I hate fights of attrition where folk have to whittle down opponents STUN scores.  I much prefer a lot of manouevering and looking for advantage before going toe to toe.  If a fight only lasts a couple of rounds of combat then it will indeed be swift but if you have no access to manouevres then it might seem a bit arbitrary as a few lucky dice rolls might swing it. 

 

That would be fine if everyone was aware that it was basic stuff to get used to hitting and damage. 

 

There are a lot of moving parts and so it is worth moving slowly to ensure that you are al comfortable with them.

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Oh and another thing is if you can print off some sheets like combat maneuvers (or make your own) or at least use sticky notes to mark in the book for important rules. It really isn’t hard to learn. Actually a good thing is to take a normal versus skilled or versus competent that way you see the difference between CVs and PDs and SPD too. 

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15 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

You could ignore all manouevres.  You lose some elements of complexity such as blocking an attack or dodging but it gets right down to the hit and record damage.  You should be explicit with the group that you would like to do that for a session and then begin introducing manouevres as everything else becomes second nature.  HERO does have the complexity of multiple forms of damage and it bears remembering (for us old timers) that it can be difficult for folk to get their head round that in the midst of all the rest of the numbers...

 

I disagree. Many of the standard maneuvers are fairly straightforward, both in concept and mechanic (Block, Dodge, Grab, Throw, etc). I expect players will ask how to do them at some point in the demonstration, even if you don't mention them.

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Lots of good stuff on simplifying; lots of stuff on not simplifying.

 

Welcome to the boards! :)

 

My suggestion:

 

Make a list-- a short, simple list-- of what you'd like to learn about combat.

 

My own suggestion:

 

Range modifiers.

"Special" damage

Skill levels.

maneuvers -- I recommend taking those is small groups:  start with Strike and Dodge.  Once you've got that, add two more, then two more, etc.

Endurance Tracking

Hit Locations

 

Seriously:  start just as simple as it sounds:

 

11 + OCV-DCV.

 

Run around; map it out (it helps with Range modifiers, which you'll get to next).

 

Once you are very comfortable with that, add in Range Modifiers.

 

Once your comfortable with that--

 

yeah.  You see the pattern.

 

 

See, here's the thing:   everyone has a "you have to include this or there's no point!" list.  Even me.  :lol:

 

Ignore _all_ of it.    Strip down _everything_.  Learn each part one at a time, adding each as you go.  Or _don't_!  Maybe once you're nice and comfy with range mods, drop it completely and go to Endurance tracking _only_.   At any rate, if you focus _only_ on the basics, then focus on the other components _one at a time_, it comes quickly.  You'll have the hang of it in a few hours.

 

Seriously.  I don't know you well enough to make jokes. ;)

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

I disagree.

 

You disagree that you could drop manoeuvres?? 😄

 

5 hours ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

Many of the standard maneuvers are fairly straightforward, both in concept and mechanic (Block, Dodge, Grab, Throw, etc). I expect players will ask how to do them at some point in the demonstration, even if you don't mention them.

 

Absolutely they are, and they will add to a combat and players may absolutely ask about dodging or throwing.

 

It might be better to have players asking and being given than to be overwhelmed with everything upfront.

 

However, the OP asked what could be dropped in the interest of making combats faster.  Manoeuvres do not make combat faster, choices don't make combat faster.

 

Doc

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I disagree with Indiana Joe about Grab. Grab changes the grabbers CV based on who he’s attacking and who’s attacking him. The same thing with the Grabee. Then there’s the STR vs STR roll.  (Yes this could be simplified too for now). He I would recommend a 4x6 index card with these notes on it for easy reference. Heck I do that for myself.

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6 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

Absolutely they are, and they will add to a combat and players may absolutely ask about dodging or throwing.

 

It might be better to have players asking and being given than to be overwhelmed with everything upfront.

 

However, the OP asked what could be dropped in the interest of making combats faster.  Manoeuvres do not make combat faster, choices don't make combat faster.

 

 

Starting with the very basics, then adding as issues arise is an effective way of learning a game.  It means some page-flipping during the game, and it should be expected that those early sessions may be slow for that reason, but learning the rules while applying them is typically far more effective than just reading the, with no context.

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For what it’s worth, there are a lot of playing aids in the downloads area. I mean a lot! See if there’s anything you like that you could use as handouts. Or get ideas to create your own handout. [Name redacted] is such a nerd that he actually owns a laminator to create player aids as laminated cards to have on hand each game session as [name redacted]’s players learn the game. 
 

 

 

[Name redacted] may or may not be me. Don’t tell. 🤫

 

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Not about what rules you should skip, but in general, I think running a heroic level game without hit locations is a good way to start.  I think the most daunting task to the new player is powers creation.  Something about the math drives new players off.

 

The best scenario to start in the heroic setting is the bar fight.  Seems to work for any heroic level genre with generally low fatality rates and pretty easy foes to beat up to build confidence.

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33 minutes ago, dsatow said:

Not about what rules you should skip, but in general, I think running a heroic level game without hit locations is a good way to start.  I think the most daunting task to the new player is powers creation.  Something about the math drives new players off.

 

The best scenario to start in the heroic setting is the bar fight.  Seems to work for any heroic level genre with generally low fatality rates and pretty easy foes to beat up to build confidence.

Bar fight would be great! You can have Normal damage-day a tankard that adds +1D6 to STR. Oh I throw that tankard well that’s say a 2D6 Blast  let’s look at Range. I throw my beer in his face-that’s a Flash attack! He pulls a dagger well now that’s a killing attack.

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  • 1 month later...

If I want to speed up and simplify combat action a few seconds for newcomers (including me as GM), how about:

  • For normal damage, instead of calculating BODY by counting up the dice, use the number of dice rolled. (BR 6E, p. 101 points out “The number of BODY done is usually close to the number of dice rolled.”)
  • For killing damage, instead of using 1/2d6 to determine STUN, use x2 (x1.75 rounded up).
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2 hours ago, jfg17 said:

If I want to speed up and simplify combat action a few seconds for newcomers (including me as GM), how about:

  • For normal damage, instead of calculating BODY by counting up the dice, use the number of dice rolled. (BR 6E, p. 101 points out “The number of BODY done is usually close to the number of dice rolled.”)
  • For killing damage, instead of using 1/2d6 to determine STUN, use x2 (x1.75 rounded up).

That works especially well against mooks. I’d use this a little against minions and named characters get the full dice rolled.

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Here's what I'd do.  It sounds like you're just wanting to learn the combat system for yourself.  Rather than worry about a bunch of optional rules, I'd just set up a few fights with you acting as both player and GM.  Start slow, focusing on one aspect at a time.

 

Fight #1 -- Take a Champions brick (somebody like Ogre) and let yourself fight a group of regular cops.  I don't know what books you have, but if you don't have any stats for Ogre, use a generic super-strong guy.  60 Strength, 18 Dex, 30 Con, 30 PD and ED (all resistant), 4 Speed, 60 Stun, OCV 8, DCV 6, 10" of Running, 20" of Leaping.  Now go rampaging through town.  Every turn two cop cars pull up, with two cops getting out of each one.  The cops shoot at Ogre with their guns (damage is inconsequential -- they're all too weak to hurt him, but it's good for you to practice rolling to-hit).  Set out some figures on a game mat and just learn how the basics of the game work.  Spend a phase or two grabbing cop cars and hurling them through the air.  Use your high leaping movement to bound away off the map and leave the cops behind.  Smash holes in walls and rip trees out of the ground.  Just think of cool things you could do if you were a rampaging super-strong monster, then look up how to do it in the book.  Don't worry about trying to be efficient or effective in combat.  Don't track endurance, or calculate knockback, or even worry about damage if you don't want to (anything Ogre hits will shatter, nothing can hurt Ogre).  Just learn the basics of rolling to hit, and how the Speed chart works.

 

Fight #2 -- Now a local superhero shows up to fight Ogre.  Make sure the guy is a little weaker than you (of course, you're playing both sides, so it doesn't matter who "wins"). Fire Lad has a 20 Dex, 25 Con, 25 PD and ED with his fiery force field, 5 Speed, 40 Stun, OCV 8 and DCV 7, 15" of Flight, and a 10D6 Energy Blast.  He will have a very hard time whittling Ogre down.  Try to play each guy to win.  Look at how damage works now.  Don't track endurance, but maybe look at Knockback, and maybe range penalties.  Ogre should still win this fight -- Fire Lad will have to get close to Ogre to hit him, close enough that Ogre can jump through the air and smack him.  And remember to be creative with how you fight.  If Fire Lad stays too high in the air, Ogre can always smash through a wall and go inside a building.  Or he can throw a manhole cover and then drop down into the sewers.  Or he can climb inside some poor lady's minivan and hide ("No go out there lady, fire guy shoot at Ogre!").

 

Fight #3 -- It's time to add in some other powers besides raw damage.  After Fire Lad's defeat, the Caped Avenger shows up.  He's a dark and mysterious avenger of the night.  26 Dex, 25 Con, 20 PD and ED, 6 Speed, 40 Stun, OCV 10 and DCV 10, 10" of Running and 10" of Leaping.  He's highly skilled in the martial arts (the character has 25 Str and +2 damage classes with martial arts).  He has an Offensive Strike maneuver (a powerful spinning roundhouse kick) that does 5D6 for Str, +4D6 for the Offensive Strike maneuver, +2D6 for extra damage classes, for a total of 11D6.  Doing it increases his DCV by 1, but decreases his OCV by 2 (OCV 8, DCV 11).  It's hard to hit with.  He's also got a Martial Dodge maneuver that increases his DCV by 5, but he can't attack the phase he uses it.  And he has a Nerve Strike maneuver that does 3D6 damage and ignores defenses (it has the same OCV/DCV as the spinning roundhouse).  Finally he has a Martial Strike maneuver, a basic punch that does 9D6 damage, but boosts his DCV and doesn't hurt his OCV (OCV 10, DCV 12).  He'll have a hard time hurting Ogre with the basic punch, so that's why he carries a Utility Belt.  His Utility Belt is a Multipower (don't worry about exactly how this works yet), which lets him use different tricks.  He carries 4 blinding flares, which is an 8D6 Flash vs Sight (which will temporarily blind Ogre).  Once he uses the 4 charges, they're gone.  He has 2 gas pellets, which do 3D6 damage on each of Caped Avenger's phases for a full turn and ignore defenses, but they can be avoided if Ogre holds his breath (they are not Area of Effect -- to hurt Ogre the Caped Avenger has to throw them in his mouth).  The Caped Avenger has enough options available that he should be able to beat Ogre, but it's not a sure thing.

 

Fight #4 -- If the Caped Avenger falls, then Ultra Guy shows up.  Use Ogre's stats, but he has a Dex of 26, a 6 Speed, an OCV and DCV of 9, and 20" of Flight, as well as a 12D6 Energy Blast and 10" of Knockback Resistance (i.e., he doesn't get knocked backward).  In addition, he has N-Ray vision so he can see through walls.  Ultra Guy should whoop Ogre's butt.  But Ogre has a secret (that he doesn't know -- Ogre is dumb).  This whole rampage was set up by Bald Scientist Man.  Bald Scientist Man is hiding in a nearby dumpster (no game stats needed), and after one turn of combat, he peeks out and fires his Green Kelvarite Ray at Ogre (no game stats needed).  Ogre becomes charged with Green Kelvarite Energy.  Ultra Guy has a Vulnerability to Green Kelvarite, and takes x2 damage from it.  If Ogre can last this long (remember, he doesn't know it's coming, so he shouldn't be dodging around waiting for it to happen), then he'll do double damage every time he punches Ultra Guy.

 

Above all, have fun with it.  That's why we play this game.  And don't worry if you forget something (like skipping somebody's action or forgetting to see if the damage they take exceeds their Con score).  Even very experienced groups forget things virtually every session.  Each of these scenarios gives you a little something to fiddle with and figure out.  You can make it as complex as you want (I always liked knocking people back through buildings), or as simple as you need.  Welcome to the game.

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