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Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 12:20 PM #51
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
This is one of the most legit bits of theorycraft, and one of the most fruitful and interesting discussions I've ever read on a D&D forum.
I feel like CaW is facilitated well by Savage Worlds, mainly because the system makes no provisions at all for encounter balance and it always puts all the PCs allies under the control of the players during combat. So during the one page adventure in the core rulebook, the final fight is against a village of 30 cannibal savages. 30 of them. Each with stats as good as the PCs. So what do you PCs do? Subterfuge, a distraction, or go recruit a crapton of cannon fodder to sacrifice.
We've already had several insightful posts about some of the downsides of CaW, but I'll try to add one more. Tone. I feel like CaW almost unavoidable adds comedy to any game. There's a reason why the excellent example of CaW in the original post and most of the other examples are funny. Because most CaW tactics are crazy and gonzo, and that's almost always funny. A relatively serious heroic game, or gritty game, is kinda difficult to keep compatible with CaW, isn't it?
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 12:26 PM #52
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 12:34 PM #53
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 12:38 PM #54
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No. The level of comedy is controlled by how outrageous the schemes can become before they collapse. It is entirely possible to run a serious CoW campaign -- I've done a moderately long one where the PCs were effectively waging asymmetrical warfare. It was more Rat Patrol than Hogan's Heroes in tone.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 12:56 PM #55
Lots of recon: determine where the strength of the enemy was as well as look for valuable targets not in those spots. Try to discover changes before they happen.
Lots of infiltration: never fight on your own turf if you want to keep your own turf. Try to get locals to provide clandestine support or at least get the locals to be willfully blind to your presence.
Lots of battlefield prep before engagement: always prep multiple ways out. Always make engagement expensive and give the enemy a clear path to retreat. Collapsing morale is a great way to win.
Lots of general prep: know the area, have places to hole up.
Collect and use resources discovered. Cursed objects can be great assasination tools. Non-intelligent/immobile creatures like molds and slimes are great battlefield hazards / weapons of mass destruction.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 01:06 PM #56
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Non-spellcasters can usually do one without sacrificing the other: fighters dig trenches or train militia and rogues disguise or prepare hiding places, neither losing any resources they would use in the engagement. In fact the opposite is true, if they build siege weapons or traps, or even fletch some more arrows.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 01:28 PM #57
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)
Pull punches, good gracious whatever for? Very unsatisfying.
A TPK? Can go either way. If it was entertaining then very satisfying.
Consistency isn't of value to me when playing a game in which anything imaginable can happen. In this case consistency is predictability which for active gameplay, is closely followed by boredom.
For me the thrill of play is not knowing if the outcome will be an all out slam dunk victory with PC's coming through unscathed, a hard won victory that was close and came with costs, a defeat that left PC's licking thier wounds and planning revenge, or total failure ending in the black shroud of death.
This is from either side of the screen.
Not quite. This is the fundamental difference between CaW and CaS the OP was talking about.
From a CaW perspective the correct answer is whenever it can be arranged.
CaW isn't about fair fights, its about survival and attaining victory however possible. Does a military officer pass up a chance to gain a tactical advantage simply because the fight is fair?
No. In fact the officer has a duty to minimize losses while achieving the objective. The whole concept of fair play belongs to the CaS theory.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 03:00 PM #58
It's just the utility/battlefield control spells end up more valuable to the team typically than any form of direct damage. Spellcaster become pivotal in CaW because of the extra capabilities they can bring to bear for the group including abilities that can't be emulated non-magically like levitate or water breathing.
The other classes still have strong roles to play under CaW.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 03:20 PM #59
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Additionally, at higher levels, the spellcaster is going to have more spells by far than there are rounds in the typical combat. The ability to cast those spells in advance, and still have them around once battle begins, lets them front load themselves and essentially get more actions per combat than non spellcasting characters. In the first round of battle, before initiative has even been rolled, there is the potential for the spellcasters to have accomplished more than the non spellcasters will accomplish by the end of the fight.
At best, the DM can mitigate things slightly by using non-rules based options like letting the Fighter have followers he commands, or the Rogue have a thieves guild, while not letting the Mage have a tower.
Friday, 3rd February, 2012, 03:30 PM #60
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
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