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Combats too long

 
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Nostromo
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject: Combats too long Reply with quote

My group is still finding combats taking a bit too long. One of the reasons we switched to SW is that a basic combat in DnD takes forever. Where that same combat can be significantly shorter in Savage. And as a bonus its WAY easier on the GM. But as we play more we are realizing the Savage system is more easier on the GM than actual shorter combat times.

Do other folks have this same issue? If so, do you guys do other things to shorten the time combat usually takes.

I do try and disperse dramatic tasks, social conflicts, chases etc to mix it up and to not always have a combat focus.

I have heard of people going 'gridless' combat and just roleplaying/describing the combat instead of working everything out on a grid. Does this help?

Thoughts? Thanks!

BTW this forum is awesome! I use this forum (and search function for older posts) to make my games so much better! Thanks everyone in advance!
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Zadmar
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few quick suggestions:

1. Make sure you're not drawing an initiative card for each NPC - split them into 1-3 groups and draw one card per group.

2. Make sure the bad guys don't have too much Toughness for the PCs to reliably hurt them.

3. Don't overuse Wild Card NPCs, stick to Extras as much as possible and occasionally add one Wild Card boss to an encounter.

4. Don't use GM bennies for Soak rolls, use them to recover from Shaken and reroll failed attacks.

5. Have the bad guys use Wild Attack more frequently. If everyone uses Wild Attack, combat speeds up dramatically.
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Nostromo
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Zadmar these are awesome suggestions.

On #1, ya i do that too much. I need to group my NPC's into 1 or 2 groups.

I don't do wild attack so i should consider that, thanks!
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GruffaloCrumble
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Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The recurring problem I have always had is that combat in SW does not seem to challenge my group. Admittedly, I am very generous with bennies and with what crazy stunts I'll permit, but they still tend to steamroll everything I put in front of them. As a result, I started adding more enemies, increasing their TN, etc... This caused the length of combat to increase significantly.
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ValhallaGH
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not having a map does not speed things up, overall. Some actions resolve faster but others don't, and the overall effect is combat takes the same amount of time.
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GruffaloCrumble
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Joined: 19 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest issue with going mapless is trying to remember which mooks are shaken, etc... with a map and tokens it's a doddle, without them it can be a bit of a chore.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GruffaloCrumble wrote:
The biggest issue with going mapless is trying to remember which mooks are shaken, etc... with a map and tokens it's a doddle, without them it can be a bit of a chore.

Even when I don't use a map, I still use minis - I'll place them beside a PC to represent who is fighting who, and turn them on their side to represent Shaken.
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Nostromo
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone.

To Gruffalo, I started having that problem as well. All my combats were useless (and long). A hero MAY have gotten shaken here or there but no real wounds delivered so I know what you are saying AND the heroes had all there bennies remaining.

What I did (and you may have already done this) is get a good list of edges to help define and help your Extras (some really good threads on this BTW). marksman, brawny, sweep, command, frenzy and imp. frenzy as a combo etc). Once I did this and put more details/variety into my mobs the carnage definitely increased.

Where as before it was heroes walked through combats with so many bennies left (spending none). Last play session I had a good variety of edges on the field and at the end of combat, 1 hero has 3 wounds, and I delivered so many needed soak rolls and shakens the heroes have literally no bennies between them and they all started the combat with 4-5.

In addition, what I have found is: Be sure to boost your self a couple extra bennies if you have an 'important fight' coming up. Get the normal 1 per hero as per the rules but even if there aren't any wildcards AND the combat is a significant story development or you want it challenging I throw in 2-3 (50%) more bennies my way to signify this. The heroes have not complained yet. I use these extra bennies for 'rerolls' which increase my odds of causing damage. I don't think I have used one yet as a soak. I like my heroes bloodied up every once in awhile.

I hate to say ( and I hope I get attacked here which I probably will) I go pretty tight on bennies. Because if you think about it, they are extra hit points (soak rolls). Try and keep them at all times around 3-4 max and do things that make them use them. I guess, I feel benny management is a significant factor in the games. And I know the rules are pretty loosy-goosy with them but they are actually pretty core and important to track. Meaning: Being more stringent if you want a more 'serious' game and less stringent if you want the heroes to walk through everything...I think there could be some more core rules to help address this IMO.

</dodging rotting tomatoes mode on>
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thomas5251212
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do have to say that the need for bennies and the impact on combat speed doesn't seem close to unitary in how they work out; in my XCOM game extras would have only helped so much, since of the three times someone was injured, twice one was sufficient, and once a dozen wouldn't have helped (there's only so much soak you're going to do when the damage is seven raises over Toughness).

My own feeling from running it is what complicates battles isn't the system so much as specific choices; in the above campaign, people sticking to cover, because everyone on both sides has guns, by its nature slows things down. But as others have said, not rolling separately for every separate extra (because what's the point?) will help some.

But one question you need to ask yourself is how fast you want battles to resolve; because the truth is, fast resolving battles are either one sided battles, or battles that are set up to turn over fast. The first can be uninteresting, and the latter can be pretty dangerous to a campaign where lethal combat goes on.
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Valanti
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found that if your fights are too easy its better to up the skill level of the opposition than their number or their Toughness.
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thomas5251212
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Valanti wrote:
I've found that if your fights are too easy its better to up the skill level of the opposition than their number or their Toughness.


That only helps a limited amount with ranged attackers, honestly, because there's not much skill does for defense.
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Jonah Hex
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thomas5251212 wrote:
Valanti wrote:
I've found that if your fights are too easy its better to up the skill level of the opposition than their number or their Toughness.


That only helps a limited amount with ranged attackers, honestly, because there's not much skill does for defense.


I was actually going to argue the other way; against primarily melee opponents, raising skill, and thereby parry, can slow down combat as much as raising toughness, sometimes more.
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chugosh
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Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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Location: Kelso, Washington, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also morale may come into the combat. Whether they make a rout or a tactical retreat is, I guess, up to you and how you run it, but in the real world, relatively few battles result in all of one side incapacitated.

I've found my battles going fairly well, all told, and the time they take is often a good time had by all. The cards make sure everyone gets a turn to at least say something. The only way to really win these games, after all, is to have fun.

Also remember to gang up on guys and get those bonus points to their attacks which makes it more likely that they will get a raise right off. Use every trick and test of wills so the players know that is something they can do as well. They make the combat more fun, as well.
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thomas5251212
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jonah Hex wrote:
thomas5251212 wrote:
Valanti wrote:
I've found that if your fights are too easy its better to up the skill level of the opposition than their number or their Toughness.


That only helps a limited amount with ranged attackers, honestly, because there's not much skill does for defense.


I was actually going to argue the other way; against primarily melee opponents, raising skill, and thereby parry, can slow down combat as much as raising toughness, sometimes more.


Yes, but my comment was in regard to fights being too easy. Easy fights are often fast fights; the inverse isn't necessarily true (really hard fights can be fast too if they're hard because the opposition is flattening you fast).

The issue with upping skill to make opponents more dangerous is that it only matters if they get to attack when it comes to ranged attacks; with melee it also makes it more likely they'll be around to do so.
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cousinned
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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GruffaloCrumble wrote:
The recurring problem I have always had is that combat in SW does not seem to challenge my group. Admittedly, I am very generous with bennies and with what crazy stunts I'll permit, but they still tend to steamroll everything I put in front of them. As a result, I started adding more enemies, increasing their TN, etc... This caused the length of combat to increase significantly.


You can always up the ante by boosting enemy damage. My supers game was a cakewalk until the PCs traveled 10 years into the future. Instead of facing bad guys with guns, they faced power armored mooks with laser cannons (which was really just an excuse to increase the damage by another die). Environmental hazards, mid-fight, can be lethal as well. Have a fight take place on an airplane or in the caldera of a volcano. Lethality follows naturally.
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Jounichi
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming the game isn't running on a fixed benny mechanic, like Fate Chips in Deadlands: Reloaded, I tend to give out a benny with each time a player WC downs an enemy. When you have a ton, it encourages spending.
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