[Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles... - Page 7
  1. #61
    It seems to me that mid to high level 3e is very CaW-like. Take a few rounds to buff the whole party, summon minions etc.; teleport into BBEG's room; kill everything then loot and teleport back to base. Everything done under 5 minutes.

    How do you play Oregan Trail if the mage can just teleport between Missouri and Oregan?

    It also seems to me that CaW play wants a lot of out-of-combat agency for all characters and that's something that's currently missing from a lot of non-caster classes.

  2. #62
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kendall Keep, Bissel
    Posts
    2,591
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block haakon1


    Friend+

    CAW as serious gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Transformer View Post
    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.
    Agreed. I feel like I finally understand the root reason why 4e didn't work at all for me and most of my friends, but did work for some other folks (including some I game with).

    Quote Originally Posted by Transformer View Post
    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?
    Not in my experience. I've always done CAW (in AD&D, 3e, 3.5e, RECON, and Boot Hill). Only in Boot Hill -- which has no magic or special effects -- did it tend to have a comedic tone.

    I think the example of the bees and the owlbear is more of a gonzo one.

    I'll give you a recent example from one of my campaigns of "CAW played straight".

    In the Forge of Fury (my modified version of it), the PC's spotted an orc sentry in front of the old dwarven gates. So they decided to have a halfling PC walk up, in the open, with their packmule, and offer to trade some of the local ale (Falwur Stout), while the rogue tried to move closer.

    Roll, roll. The orc doesn't fall for the obvious ruse. And the rogue is spotted. Ranged combat and melee by the rogue and halfling ensues. The second orc sentry, around the bend, manages to run for it, and alerts the other orc guards.

    The PC's are now facing a "Saving Private Ryan" opening scene scenario, where orcish archers behind arrowslits are opening up on them as they come around the turn and run a gauntlet towards the main door.

    The rogue uses smokesticks for cover, and the halfling cleric casts a similar mist spell. The orcs fire into the smoke and mist, with 50% miss chance if they guess the right square that a PC is in (random determination on that).

    The wizard steps out of the smoke to use Magic Missile, the halfling cleric summons a Celestial Monkey BEHIND one of the orcish archers, and the rogue climbs in the smoke to an arrow slit, and ganks an archer with his rapier -- but it's too narrow to get in that way.

    At the gate, the orcs try melee, then realize that won't work and try to close the door. The ranger gets there in time to keep the door open, but gets ganked in close combat. The paladin eventually gets there and defeats the orcs, and the PC's are in. More archers across the chasm bridge inside the gate (hey, dwarvish fortress, it's awesome) open up on the ranger and the paladin, but miss, then try to destroy the bridge. The wizard gets in there and takes them out before they can destroy the bridge. Then it's just mopping up.

    But the PC's are badly depleted and wounded, and the orcs lock the heavy door at the other side of the chasm. So the PC's retreat, dragging the unconscious orc wounded with them and camping in the open, realizing they may have to fight their way in again.

    In the morning, the orc leader -- who is a female cleric of the neutral goddess of caves and fertility -- offers parlay. They agree to a prisoner exchange -- the orcs have two random gnome prospectors as prisoner, and to give the orcs the ale in exchange for free passage through the orc's part of the dungeon, and info on what lies beyond. The deal is negotiated, and both sides make the deal.

    That's old school, serious CAW. And to me, seriously awesome roleplaying and action by my players.

  3. #63
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kendall Keep, Bissel
    Posts
    2,591
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block haakon1


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    Primarily through the vast array of utility/battefield control spells.

    Spellcasters have more potential to affect the field then non-casters who are limited to whatever local resources can be massaged.
    Perhaps because I play at lower levels (never beyond 13th or so), I've never had that feeling, in AD&D or 3e/3.5e.

    Or maybe it's just because a lot of CAW is about coming up with plans or on-the-fly actions, and I've never cared about balance.

    Which is another difference, perhaps.
    -- In CAS, balance matters because it's fundamentally about "fair fights", and balance is perhaps the highest design goal for 4e.
    -- In CAW, balance within the party doesn't much matter, because it's a team game, and everyone doing their job as a team is where the fun comes in.

    For example, in RECON, which is absolutely CAW but without any magic, you might have a 6 man team with a scout, a sniper, a machinegunner with an M-60, a radioman, a grenadier with an M-79, and a team leader with an M-16 and a backup radio.

    Nobody seems to care in RECON that the radioman "can do more damage" because he can call in artillery and air strikes (analogous to the wizard). The radioman may cause more enemy KIA's in some scenarios (though not all), but it's not inherently more fun to play.

    It's not any cooler or more/less necessary than the scout on pointman (arguably the most important job, analogous to the rogue of course in D&D), or the sniper who can "reach out and touch someone" in cool ways, or the machinegunner who can just tear the heck out of the enemy in a fight.

    Everyone has their own job, and every job is cool in its own way, and vital to the success of the team.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    Absolutely.

    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.
    .
    In an old game (1st ed) I was playing in the players were mostly direct damage mages, and we ended up fighting a lot of drow. They were complaining to the GM about how this made the game too tough. I told my wife (A brilliant player) and she came in and played one of those mages when the player couldn't make it for two sessions Changed out his spells to ones that worked against drow (Rock to Mud was a favorite).

    She did this because she was almost offended by the report I brought home from the game about what the Magic Users were doing.

    She is the second best tactician/strategist I've ever met (the one better than her is our current GM )

    Alternately when I played Battlesystem for the first time, I saw how really useful move earth, Earth to Mud and Blade Barrier were - mostly having played in dungeons settings before that.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by haakon1 View Post
    Perhaps because I play at lower levels (never beyond 13th or so), I've never had that feeling, in AD&D or 3e/3.5e.

    Or maybe it's just because a lot of CAW is about coming up with plans or on-the-fly actions, and I've never cared about balance.

    Which is another difference, perhaps.
    -- In CAS, balance matters because it's fundamentally about "fair fights", and balance is perhaps the highest design goal for 4e.
    -- In CAW, balance within the party doesn't much matter, because it's a team game, and everyone doing their job as a team is where the fun comes in.

    For example, in RECON, which is absolutely CAW but without any magic, you might have a 6 man team with a scout, a sniper, a machinegunner with an M-60, a radioman, a grenadier with an M-79, and a team leader with an M-16 and a backup radio.

    Nobody seems to care in RECON that the radioman "can do more damage" because he can call in artillery and air strikes (analogous to the wizard). The radioman may cause more enemy KIA's in some scenarios (though not all), but it's not inherently more fun to play.

    It's not any cooler or more/less necessary than the scout on pointman (arguably the most important job, analogous to the rogue of course in D&D), or the sniper who can "reach out and touch someone" in cool ways, or the machinegunner who can just tear the heck out of the enemy in a fight.

    Everyone has their own job, and every job is cool in its own way, and vital to the success of the team.
    Optimally played, a spellcaster brings capability that is otherwise absent from the team and allows a much wider potential solution space for an obstacle.

    Where balance comes into play is internal contribution meters that people seem to run. CaW works extremely well as a team game. Some people want to feel they are contributing equally and can feel they are under-performing compared to other specialists depending on how the situations evolve. The game has tried to compensate in a variety of ways: better survivability, higher single-target damage, or access to different out-of-combat abilities to varying degrees of success.

    This often has more to do with the party's choice and preferred tactics undercutting some of their own strengths. In an ideal world, the challenges and the solutions chosen to overcome them would be varied enough that everyone's abilities would shine. What I have seen happen in a couple of cases is the party gets stuck using consistent tactics that don't rely on specific qualities inside their team. In those instances, it is typically the more specialised characters that get undercut. Very flexible characters can compensate more easily. Vancian spellcasters tend to be flexible and are less affected.

  6. #66
    Member
    Lama (Lvl 13)



    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    1,200
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block GSHamster


    Friend+
    Very insightful post, OP. I once wrote something similar, but in the context of the mindset of PvP and PvE players in MMOs (Blessing of Kings: Some Thoughts on World PvP).

    One of the problems with CaW is that logistics is hugely important to making it flow and be balanced. But logistics also happens to encompass elements that are often the first elements to be singled out as "not-fun".

    Things like tracking arrows, weight carried, penalties for excessive weight, light sources, food, etc. are more important in CaW. In many ways, CaW is about resource-management more than tactics. And if the PCs aren't constrained by resources then CaW stops being interesting.

    That's why world PvP in Eve Online works, but doesn't work in World of Warcraft.

    But there's a large segment of the audience that does not like tracking logistics at all.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Mhoram View Post
    In an old game (1st ed) I was playing in the players were mostly direct damage mages, and we ended up fighting a lot of drow. They were complaining to the GM about how this made the game too tough. I told my wife (A brilliant player) and she came in and played one of those mages when the player couldn't make it for two sessions Changed out his spells to ones that worked against drow (Rock to Mud was a favorite).

    She did this because she was almost offended by the report I brought home from the game about what the Magic Users were doing.

    She is the second best tactician/strategist I've ever met (the one better than her is our current GM )

    Alternately when I played Battlesystem for the first time, I saw how really useful move earth, Earth to Mud and Blade Barrier were - mostly having played in dungeons settings before that.
    My preferred style when playing a Wizard/Magic-User is to improve the environment so that those best-suited for the killing can best take advantage of the opponents. Kill it myself? You know how much raw power that would take? How dangerous it is? Let the specialists take care of it! My job is to control the environment and get the the best odds possible while reducing the possibility the enemy can inflict damage on our team.

  8. #68
    Daztur,

    Thank you so very much for putting into words the feeling that I had but have struggled to express for a long time.

    Your analysis of Combat as War cuts to the very core of why I like short combats.

    Your description of the bees encounter was so cool! I wish I could play with you guys.

  9. #69
    Member
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)



    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Seongnam (Seoul, South Korea suburb)
    Posts
    547
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Daztur


    Friend+
    I write up my monster posts on the subway and I'm home with the kids for the weekend, but I will write up another monster post on tone, balance and class roles when I get the chance.

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfan View Post
    In a "combat as war" game, much of the interaction with the enemy takes place outside of combat, where there may be the ability to rest before actual combat begins. ...

    Additionally, at higher levels, the spellcaster is going to have more spells by far than there are rounds in the typical combat. ...

    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.
    This has been a consistent balance flaw for CaW games, but I don't think it is inherent to the genre. If you want to play a CaW game that is balanced between spellcasters and non-spellcasters, the non-spellcasters need access to resources (armies, spies, political influence) that are outside the normal combat and adventuring. These resources can come through "kingdom" management rules (for a broad definition of "kingdom"), or through rules that provide the resources without requiring hands-on management.

    Similarly, this kind of powerful out-of-combat spellcasting is only balanced with a hefty time/resource limitation so the spellcasters don't just recruit kingdoms of their own. In other words a tower should be a limitation, not a benefit. It's not that the wizard gets the tower, but that the wizard needs the tower so the wizard can store his difficult-to-procure ritual components and cast 8 hour long spells without interruption.

    -KS

+ Log in or register to post
Page 7 of 47 FirstFirst 1234567891011121314151617 ... LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. New Ranger combat styles
    By Logan in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Wednesday, 12th August, 2009, 11:53 AM
  2. combat styles for fighters
    By Kerrick in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Saturday, 18th June, 2005, 04:12 PM
  3. New Ranger Combat Styles
    By A2Z in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: Monday, 14th March, 2005, 02:48 PM
  4. Ranger Combat Styles?
    By dagger in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Monday, 8th December, 2003, 10:37 PM
  5. 3.5 Ranger Combat Styles
    By Merlion in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 68
    Last Post: Saturday, 15th March, 2003, 08:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •