Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by aramis erak View Post
    Looking at 1976 photos of convention play
    D&D - several tables shown using miniatures on gridded 3D surfaces.
    ...
    Later convention photos indicate a continued mix of modes.
    So... it's not hard to post photos...

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    I'm kinda confused here.

    What tactics are viable in AD&D that don't exist in other editions? If you're a fighter type in AD&D, in combat you have pretty much only have the choice of attacking monster A or B. Flanking? So few monsters actually used a shield and none of them had Dex bonuses, so, flanking was largely pointless.

    Compare to the shopping list of tactical choices a later era D&D fighter has in combat, I'm really confused as to how someone can claim that tactics were even remotely supported in AD&D.
    If you were fighting an Orc at the top of a Tower with a burning Brazier nearby a stack of barrels what tactics do you have?

    In ADnD you could just choose to attack with your sword but there was always the chance, depending on your DM, that you would try to push the Orc off the side of the Tower, or shove the Brazier on top of it or throw a Barrel at it. The problem is that there was no rules for that and there was no character button written on your sheet that you could mash to do those actions so really it was up to you and the DM on how worthwhile it was to try anything tactical.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by aramis erak View Post
    Looking at 1976 photos of convention play
    D&D - several tables shown using miniatures on gridded 3D surfaces.
    EPT - "Phil" Barker shown running it with extensive 3d play surfaces
    T&T - No maps in sight; some maps from adventures survive. (Rules do not support gridded play at all until 1979, and it's not accepted as a standard mode of play until 2015...)
    Met-Alpha - no photos that I've seen of play-in-progress.

    Now, several old salts claim that it was all Theater of the Mind, but the photographic evidence includes visual evidence of minis-on-grid play. The split between the two styles is not a clear one, tho', and many tables used then and still use now both modes, and modes between the two - except for T&T (but T&T was always written for a nearly pure TOTM mode).

    Later convention photos indicate a continued mix of modes.
    I suppose if by "tactical" we are creating a divide between using minis and a grid and using TotM, then you may be correct (since you didn't post these picture you claim exist, I cannot be certain of the veracity of your claims), however, I don't believe that the dichotomy of "tactics" is defined by use of a grid, minis and rulers and that people who do not use those things are conversely not playing a tactical manner.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    If you were fighting an Orc at the top of a Tower with a burning Brazier nearby a stack of barrels what tactics do you have?

    In ADnD you could just choose to attack with your sword but there was always the chance, depending on your DM, that you would try to push the Orc off the side of the Tower, or shove the Brazier on top of it or throw a Barrel at it. The problem is that there was no rules for that and there was no character button written on your sheet that you could mash to do those actions so really it was up to you and the DM on how worthwhile it was to try anything tactical.
    That's precisely my point. The game provides zero tactical options. Pushing that baddy off the tower or throw a barrel at it was 100% free form gaming. The DM decided, not the system. I can do that in any game at any point in time.

    The difference is, now, as a player, I can actually have some idea whether or not any of those tactics are worth trying. I should have a pretty decent idea of how hard/easy it would be to push that orc off the tower. Depending on the edition, I might just be able to do it 100% of the time.

    IOW, these become ACTUAL tactical decisions.

    I honestly have no idea what video games @lewpuls plays to have the idea that the game will protect you and usher you along. About the only thing games do in order to allow that is save points, and well, that's been part of video games for a VERY long time.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    That's precisely my point. The game provides zero tactical options. Pushing that baddy off the tower or throw a barrel at it was 100% free form gaming. The DM decided, not the system. I can do that in any game at any point in time.
    I would have phrased it as the game allowing you to do 100% of your tactical options. Because we dont want it to swing the other way where you can only do a tactical option if you happen to have selected that tactical option when you last leveled up and only once per encounter (or per day in some cases)

    The difference is, now, as a player, I can actually have some idea whether or not any of those tactics are worth trying. I should have a pretty decent idea of how hard/easy it would be to push that orc off the tower. Depending on the edition, I might just be able to do it 100% of the time.

    IOW, these become ACTUAL tactical decisions.
    I dont see that as being more Tactical rather more reliable. But then again some games force you to specialise in certain tactics to be able to use them at all so then you get some limited reliable tactics and nothing else.

    I honestly have no idea what video games @lewpuls plays to have the idea that the game will protect you and usher you along. About the only thing games do in order to allow that is save points, and well, that's been part of video games for a VERY long time.
    I think some games have a story mode - or even an easy mode I guess.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    I would have phrased it as the game allowing you to do 100% of your tactical options. Because we dont want it to swing the other way where you can only do a tactical option if you happen to have selected that tactical option when you last leveled up and only once per encounter (or per day in some cases)
    Thing is, this was a red herring argument even in 4e when you had AEDU structures. There was absolutely nothing stopping you from going outside your class defined actions and in fact, 4e actually actively supported (unlike pretty much any other edition) doing so with Page 42 guidelines. The idea that you can only do what was on your sheet was edition warring balderdash. It simply wasn't true.


    I dont see that as being more Tactical rather more reliable. But then again some games force you to specialise in certain tactics to be able to use them at all so then you get some limited reliable tactics and nothing else.
    Part of tactics is being able to accurately predict your odds of success. Unless it's the only possible option, no one chooses an option with a very low chance of success. Not when there are other options that have higher chances of success that are still viable. So, to use your example, if pushing the orc off the tower requires three separate checks, each with a 50% chance of failure (a ridiculous example, but, bear with me), no one is going to do it when they could just stick their sword in the orc and have a much better chance of success.

    And the problem with leaving everything in the DM's hands is that very, very few DM's are good at judging risk vs reward. If swinging across the room from a chandelier costs you more than you could benefit from doing it, no one does it. And, very often, when it's left up to the DM, options that are not rules defined are generally not taken.

    @lewpuls even mentions the idea that stealth is something you do with the aid of magic. Why? Well, because using magic means that the DM isn't coming up with off the cuff rulings and your chances of success and failure are known. A group that doesn't have access to those magic items simply doesn't do the stealth stuff.

    I think some games have a story mode - or even an easy mode I guess.
    Fair enough. But, they also have hard modes too. Shouldn't games cater to everyone?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    After 3E WotC tried to minimize the importance of strategy to the point when they tried to get rid of most strategic options with their combat as sports aporoach.
    Sports and games have a lot in common. 'Combat as Sports,' is just a cryptic. condescending, way of conceding that the game you're talking down is strictly a better game than the one you're talking up.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Thing is, this was a red herring argument even in 4e when you had AEDU structures. There was absolutely nothing stopping you from going outside your class defined actions and in fact, 4e actually actively supported (unlike pretty much any other edition) doing so with Page 42 guidelines. The idea that you can only do what was on your sheet was edition warring balderdash. It simply wasn't true.
    Of course you could do anything as long as you did not mind it being much worse then what was written on your sheet.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    In ADnD you could just choose to attack with your sword but there was always the chance, depending on your DM, that you would try to push the Orc off the side of the Tower, or shove the Brazier on top of it or throw a Barrel at it. The problem is that there was no rules for that and there was no character button written on your sheet that you could mash to do those actions so really it was up to you and the DM on how worthwhile it was to try anything tactical.
    Exactly: there were no rules, therefore you were at the mercy of your DM.

    Even in the Pathfinder campaign, I'm currently playing in, I've encountered that problem:
    Our DM is quite inexperienced and tends to be _very_ unflexible. In one session he complained when I wanted my character to move off the battle-map. "You can't." was about all he had as an argument.
    And when I wanted to balance on the rim of a well during a fight, at first he didn't even get what I was trying to do, and only after I showed him that were actually rules that explicity covered this very situation, did he allow it.
    I find it particularly annoying because when I'm DMing, I tend to be very lenient and try to encourage my players to think out-of-the-box and experiment with unorthodox tactics. But I have a few decades of experience under my belt and rarely find it difficult to come up with reasonable rules on the fly.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    Of course you could do anything as long as you did not mind it being much worse then what was written on your sheet.
    Only if your DM was an ass. Considering the DMG pretty much flat out tells DM's that they should be encouraging their players to go beyond their character sheets.

    Problem was, people looked at the character sheet and figured that was the end of everything. It really was a shame that people got fixated on this idea that your character sheet was the be all and end all of what you could do. The system certainly didn't mandate that.

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