Tactical Maneuvering

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Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Casey on Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:57 am

This is a proposed set of rules to replace the Tactics skill based rolls used to represent control of distance between combatants in melee combat in my 3rd Edition game. This is a rough draft, and is open to criticism and correction. At any rate, I don’t plan on using these rules unless they’ve been playtested and are suitable for the game. The core of the idea is from Eric, so if you don’t like it, it’s his fault.  Smile

The new way of doing this is substantially different from my old house rule. First of all, we will not be using the Tactics skill for this. The roll will be replaced by an IQ based melee weapon skill roll. See page B172 for details, but the easy way to do it is to take the difference between your DX and IQ, and add or subtract the difference. This is because all melee combat schools will teach the importance of maintaining proper distance! Some may emphasize this more than others, and may offer the Tactical Maneuvering technique.

See below  The idea of tactical maneuvering is that if a combatant wins a contest of skill versus his opponent, he can move if he has not used yet used up all his movement allowed by the maneuver he took on his last turn. If the combatant wishing to move out of his turn loses the contest he does not move unless his movement counts as a Retreat. If this is the case, the attacker still gets his attack as normal per Retreating rules for his turn.

For example, Joey is armed with a broadsword (reach 1), and is fighting Mikey, who is armed with a dagger (reach C). They are 1 hex apart. This means that Joey can attack Mikey, who cannot attack Joey. Joey moves first, and takes the Attack maneuver. He misses Mikey. Now it’s Mikey’s turn. He also takes the Attack maneuver. This maneuver allows him to take a Step as part of that maneuver, which Mikey does so that he can attack Joey. However, Joey has not taken the Step allowed as part of his Attack maneuver. He can thus try to take that step now to move back out of Mikey’s reach. If he wins the Quick Contest, he does so and remains out of reach of Mikey’s knife. If he loses, he still takes a step back as per Retreating rules, but Mikey gets his attack!

Hopefully this new way of doing things will be easy to implement. I think it will be. It will also tone down the advantage of someone with a high Tactical Maneuvering ability quite a bit. If an attacker needs to get closer, he can always take an All Out Attack, an All Out Defense (Dodge), or many other maneuvers and will be able to get within reach of his opponent.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?


Last edited by Saule on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:21 pm

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Not at present. Much like the lull rules, I think the way to test this rule would be with play testing followed by discussion, an argument or two, hot cocoa and biscuits, more discussion, a general schism, one filibuster, and then a massive leaflet campaign.
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Re: Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Casey on Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:22 pm

Tom and I play-tested these rules (slightly different than shown above, but I'll post a clarification) a few weeks ago. We also used the optional Extra Effort in Combat rules. It actually worked quite well. I had a lightly armored fencer, and Tom had a sword and shield warrior with some decent armor. Using these options, it was an epic battle that lasted well over 30 rounds, and no we did not playtest lulls. The way the idea worked out seemed to be balanced. It did not give an overwhelming advantage to the person with the longer weapon, like it did under my old house rules, but it was still a useful technique.

I'd still like to do more playtesting, but I am pleased with the results so far.
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Re: Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:01 pm

30 rounds

30 rounds of combat? Yowser! There must have been some sore virtual arms as a result of that combat.

I think that more play testing might be a good idea. Do you think that combat will generally lengthen as a result of following this new rule?
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Re: Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Casey on Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:44 pm

Alpha Centauri wrote:
30 rounds

30 rounds of combat? Yowser! There must have been some sore virtual arms as a result of that combat.

I think that more play testing might be a good idea. Do you think that combat will generally lengthen as a result of following this new rule?


Yes, I think it might. I also think that it wouldn't be a bad thing either. In this combat using tactical maneuvering it did make it a bit harder for his character to hit mine on occasion. However, most of the reason the combat lasted so long was because my character couldn't penetrate his armor and had to make hard-to-hit face shots. Likewise, my character frequently took the Defensive Attack maneuver and combined that with a Retreat, which made my rapier guy hard to hit. Thus there was a lot of "I try to hit your face - oh I missed" and "I hit you - oh you parried again". By using the extra combat options and the Extra Effort rules it made the combat much, much, much more interesting than the usual "attack parry attack parry attack hit" combats that we've frequently had. My character often used both the Feverish Defense option as well as Mighty Blows, while Tom stuck mostly to Mighty Blows. By the end of combat both of us had used most of our Fatigue Points. In fact, if I had not been so low on FP I probably would have used Feverish Defense again on the blow that felled me...

But anyway. Yeah, let's play test this some more. It should work rather well. I think we should also keep trying out some of the additional combat options. We have been doing so somewhat in Eric's game, e.g. everyone knows what a Telegraphic Attack is, but I think that if we all learned a bit more of what GURPS has to offer, we'd have more fun during the fights.
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Re: Tactical Maneuvering

Post by Casey on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:12 pm

The technique “Tactical Maneuvering” defaults to the character’s highest melee combat skill, and is based on IQ. It is a hard technique, and can be improved up to skill +4. It is universally taught in any melee weapon school, as being able to control distance can give an edge in a fight. Remember, as per any technique, to improve it above default you must have been taught a combat style, i.e. have a point invested in that style’s Style Familiarity.

The Tactical Maneuvering technique is used to control distance in a fight, either to make sure a person with a shorter weapon cannot easily reach you, or if you have the shorter weapon, to be able to better get to your opponent. To be able to use the skill, both persons must have an unspent movement point and be able to move in the needed direction. Normally at the beginning of combat those who have not taken their turns yet are presumed to have taken the Do Nothing maneuver, and cannot take a Step. As an exception to the RAW (rules as written), a Step is allowed at the beginning of combat. Also as an exception to the RAW, if a character has spent all of his movement points, he cannot take a Step, and can neither retreat nor use this technique on that round.

We’ll start with the basic scenario that comes up most often: A person with a shorter weapon who wishes to reach his opponent, and that opponent wishing to use the advantage of his longer reach to keep out of range of the shorter weapon. For simplicity’s sake, in this discussion we’ll call the person with the longer weapon “Spearman”, and the person with the shorter weapon “Swordsman”, even though the same rules apply any time two opponents with weapons of different lengths are fighting.

In combat, if the Spearman is two hexes away from the Swordsman, he can attack the Swordsman, who cannot attack him without moving. If the Swordsman is granted the movement based on the Maneuver he selects for his turn, he can move towards the Spearman. If the Spearman has not used up the movement points granted to him on his turn, he can elect to use the Tactical Maneuvering technique to keep the Swordsman at bay. To do so, he must take a Step away from the Swordsman. Both warriors roll a Quick Contest against their Tactical Maneuvering technique. If the Swordsman wins the contest, he moves forwards, the Spearman moves backwards, the Swordsman gets his attack, and the Spearman defends with his retreating bonus. Note that they are still two hexes apart. If the Spearman wins, both still take their Step, but the Spearman has moved out of the Swordsman’s range and the Swordsman does not get his attack! They are still two hexes apart.

If one of them wins by 5+, then he wins the contest as above and can dictate whether his opponent takes his Step!

In 4th Edition GURPS, there are many ways that the Swordsman could negate the need to roll the Tactical Maneuvering contest. He could take an All Out Attack or Committed Attack, which both can allow more movement, or he could use the Giant Step extra effort option, spending a fatigue point to get an extra point of movement. Thus, while a high skilled Spearman has an advantage over the Swordsman, he cannot automatically keep him at bay forever.
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