Switch Theme:

Best RPG combat system??  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
Author Message

Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.

Made in es
Skilled SDF-1 Pin-Point Barrier Jockey

Best for what? There's plenty of good combat systems out there, but each one has a set of design objectives attached.
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
That’s the burden of the GM, I guess?

I mean, no system is perfect. And when you’ve a story to tell, it’s for you to set the frame work.

In fact, I do wonder how much of a persons opinion of a given system depends upon the GM/DM/Story Teller?

We all have our preferences, and one man’s meat is another man’s poison

Yep. my personal favorite combat system is the one out of the PBTA games. it's got everything I like:

-Randomization factor is 2d6, leading to a nice average curve distribution where player stats are maximally impactful. A character in DnD with 18 strength up against a character with 8 strength is at a 25% advantage. A character in PBTA with a 3 stat up against a character with a -1 stat is at a nearly 60% advantage.

-Combat is reactive, DM doesn't have to be rolling dice for a giant mob of creatures on top of tracking their stats

-Most of the time, any kind of roll result comes with a choice. The better you did, the more beneficial the choice is tilted in your favor, and on failure, the GM gets a choice of action they get to take.

I can absolutely respect though that this system, while it is my favorite, would be absolutely MISERABLE in the hands of an uncreative GM.
Made in es
Skilled SDF-1 Pin-Point Barrier Jockey

There's the example of the "Dragon Fight" for Dungeon World ("A 16 HP dragon"), which is a PbtA game designed to simulate the style of gaming of oldschool D&D, and it's glorious:


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/05/29 11:56:04

Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord

Dungeon World has been pretty superb (only been playing it for a few months). Vastly more interesting that D&D in my experience. Definitely an adjustment for D&D players though who are far more comfortable in the "rules" thick kind of game style.
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot

 Elbows wrote:
Dungeon World has been pretty superb (only been playing it for a few months). Vastly more interesting that D&D in my experience. Definitely an adjustment for D&D players though who are far more comfortable in the "rules" thick kind of game style.

Yeah, I don't think either rules-light or rules-heavy systems are inherently better, I think they just work better with particular groups and particular styles of play. Honestly, I don't even want to describe either because it almost automatically results in someone perceiving one description as intended to be "inherently superior" to the other.

If I am able to carefully curate the group I'm playing with and I know that everybody is on a similar page in terms of what they want out of an RPG experience, I will always choose a rules-light system with minimal structure to allow the game to be a group narrative-bulding/improv exercise with randomization elements.

If I am going in without knowing exactly who I'm going to be playing with or I know I'll be playing with people who are newer to RPGs, I would choose a system with much more defined rules structures.

The only thing that doesn't tend to appeal to me personally is when any kind of RPG delves into "meta-game" territory, and players start talking about how to optimize builds and pick things based on known combinations that create in-game power. Because fundamentally, in an RPG you are essentially playing against God. If one player in a group begins to meta-game and builds some unstoppable combo or character build or whatever, all that's going to happen is God pits you against stronger and stronger enemies, which means that the optimized player doesn't feel any stronger but everyone else feels much more useless, or the GM puts into place some sort of change in the system to counter that one player in particular and all their efforts just don't produce anything, and after like 2 sessions with that kind of countermeasure in place it always starts to feel artificial.

Someone playing a caster finds out online that they can combine Spell A, Spell B and Subclass C to do a bajillion fire damage to enemies, and he can do it every turn! Oh no, now the kingdom is being attacked by an uprising of Rock Trolls, Water Benders and Asbestos Elementals! Either that, or the next fight the party is up against some kind of uber-dragon that can handle the caster's super-combo and every other character is getting one-shot or plinking away doing next to nothing.

I have heard though that some people really like playing RPGs as a kind of one-vs-many game where the GM is required to run a fixed, agreed-upon scenario pack and the players all try to metagame as hard as they can, though. I've never played in that kind of a campaign so, maybe it's something people have fun with, I don't know.

Made in gb
Scheming Archon

Between the sacred silence and sleep.

I agree. I have tended to play games on the crunchier side, but I'm currently reading my first PbtA game, and I'm really interested in how it will run.

On the subject of meta/optimization, some games encourage it more tha others (Exaled spring to mind in particular), and I can understand some player getting enjoyment from theorycrafting certain combos as long as it doesn't undermine the fun of the game.

Kabal of the Mon-keigh's Paw - 2500 pts

"Death is only a concern if you're both weak enough to be killed and dumb enough not to arrange your own resurrection." PM713
Made in us
Dominating Dominatrix

I don't think a ton of crunch or rules "lite" are anything other than tools in the tool box to develop a system and neither is particularly better or worse at creating a kind of experience. They may even be less than tools and more broad categories with the vaguest definitions.

It's what the developers do with the tools they use to build the systems that end up creating better or worse combat systems that push players towards particular types of play. Whether that system encourages min maxing or RP or both is a factor of how the individual components interact with each other and the sum of their parts.

D20 isn't bad for RP because it's crunchy. It's bad for RP because the individual components are bad and they interact in bad ways to build an experience that encourages players to move away from viewing combat as part of the RP experience and instead as a miniature war game where they need to optimize their actions to "win".

Likewise the unisystem isn't good because it's more rules lite. It just happens to have it's options encourage visualizing the combats as scenes in a movie or TV show that help invest the players in the action as a person in a world.

You can have a very in-depth system with a lot of crunch whos net result is as or more engaging as the unisystem. And you can have a rule lite system whos sum total takes players out of the world quicker than dnd does.

I find it important, personally, for a games systems to help players invest in the idea of their characters as people in the world. When the game fails to do that I ask what the point of that game is then? Because it's not functioning well as a RPG at that stage. And if it's a poorly functioning RPG then why the hell are we role playing?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/02 02:38:29

These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
Made in it
Skink Armed with a Blowpipe


I am kinda happy with Sine Requie combat system. Using cards instead of dice is very nice. So every "results" gives you a number and a seed (which is used to define the damage according to your weapon). Furthermore you have King,Queen and Jack for special effects.

Unfortunately is pretty hard to stay alive in the game. It is a survior RPG more than a D&D style. Combat are quick and brutal.

- I was born too late - 
Forum Index » Board Games, Roleplaying Games & Card Games
Go to: