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Both GURPS and White Wolf are both on a one-second combat round system, with actions taking a number of seconds to perform. Freaky, this is probably the first rule the two systems have ever had in common, ever, except when GURPS lifted the "Erotic Arts" skill during the GURPS/White Wolf cross-product period.

Scion (and apparently recent editions of Exalted?) use an odd system called "ticks," wherein each player has a stack of counters, and when they finish an action, they take a number of counters equal to its speed value, and every one-second action phase everyone throws a penny back in the hat or eats an M&M or whatever to get rid of a counter.

Some useful applications--running across the 7&11 parking lot takes five seconds, but they can interrupt that at any time, so the player counts down until they 1) get there or 2) interrupt to change actions. And the aim rules are very similer between the two systems - one second of aiming, +1 die of accuracy or a +X modifier (X=accuracy of the weapon). White Wolf assumes a few things (like "the wait maneuver takes three seconds but can be interrupted at any time," "the aim maneuver takes three ticks, each tick adds +1 die, but can be interrupted any time"), GURPS gives a bit more flexibility but at the cost of quick simplicity.

I'm still lurving the 1-second action concept--it's tight enough that you get the "feel" of different things happening at different times, rather than the sense that when two combatants are fighting, one barbarian strikes his foe, checks his watch, says "Your turn," the orc says "thanks," stops picking his nose, swings his club and misses and says "Hey, can I do that again?" and the barbarian says "No, it's not your turn anymore. Round's only ten seconds long, dude. You were picking your nose for like half of it. Green on the outside, green on the inside."

So, that's two recent adopters of the same basic round system (cosmetically different, but with the same results). Will there be a third?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Ok, all of that went completely over my head.
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
That one was for my pen-and-paper RPG friends.
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
I think the time system used in Dungeons and Dragons was actually quite good if used correctly. There are two main problems with 1 second melee rounds, 1) There really isn't much you can do in 1 second.
2) One second rounds make combat more deadly than it should be.

Medieval armor was quite difficult to penetrate and medieval weapons were not very efficient at dealing out death.
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Neither game is using combat rounds in the D&D sense of the word. They're using seconds to space out their actions. So a dagger attack takes one second, a boxer's punch takes one second, but an axe swing takes three seconds, a spin-kick takes two seconds, and casting a spell takes five seconds. So instead of a 5- or 10-second round that you have to fill with a variety of actions (creating weird issues like "can I jump out, shoot, and get back? Well, why not?"), rapid-fire characters can act every second (the boxer maintains a continual string of light blows), but the big damage bruisers and Gandalfs in the group have to sit out a few moments to act--so, a "price for power" for casters.

It's really a different definition of combat round.
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
How much game time is used up in a typical combat encounter?
Apr. 1st, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
In-character or out of character? It's hard to judge. The podcast game i'm listening to has a clumsy GM that doesn't have much of a sense of pacing. Honestly, any combat system is as slow as (granularity of game master + total rules lawyer factor of combined factors).

I haven't seen enough examples of this one-second sequence run to get a sense for whether it's smoother than a longer-turn sequence. It seems like it'd be a little bit slower in certain respects because of the shifting player action order (since actions take more or less time, the "initiative" order changes), but that might be compensated for by the simplification in simultaneous actions, interrupts, and multiple actions in the same round.
Apr. 1st, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
I once GMed a D&D session involving a sword fight between two high level characters. It took about 50 melee rounds for one to kill the other. While 50 minutes might seem like a ridiculous amount of time, Sir Thomas Mallory often described fights between knights taking that long or even longer. Now while it's easy to dismiss Mallory as a writer of romantic fiction, he was also an experienced knight and probably knew a great deal more about combat than the historians and game designers of today.
Apr. 1st, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
Well, in unmodified GURPS, it's possible for master fighters to attack-parry for a looong time without actually hurting each other. The basic duration of a combat isn't really affected by this rule system in a meaningful way--a standard sword strike takes 2-3 seconds, similer to GURPS 3rd ed (where all combat rounds were 3 seconds).

D&D assumes a round involves dodging, parrying, moving around, attacking AND winding up for the next attack. These two one-second durations assume that you can't do all of those things at the same time, so they break up the time sequence into little chunks to map out exactly how you're spending the time. But it's a pretty similer spectrum of time.

A melee round in D&D's about 10 seconds, I think? That'd be a five-minute melee--a little more believable :)

GURPs would probably shorten that combat duration with a few other rules--combat actually wears you out (in D&D, a barbarian can swing a sword all day without suffering. In GURPS, swinging a sword is tiring, and eventually you'll run out of energy).

Secondly--D&D uses hit points that don't really correlate well to real physical damage, but instead represent exhaustion, damage, luck, whatever. This is a conceit that causes weird cognative problems. In GURPs, people just have something on the order of 10-20 hit points, with attacks doing damage pretty much compatible with D&D. In GURPS, a bullet is usually lethal, it's a very real-world system in that respect.

However, GURPS complicates things with a dodge/parry roll, which will slow things down a tiny bit. Overall, though, the one-second round does not, in itself, change the "game world" duration of a combat, since they don't use rounds the same way D&D does.
Apr. 1st, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
The changed the melee round to 10 seconds in either the second addition or the third addition. In the first addition, it was 1 minute. But 10 second segments were used to adjudicate specific situations, like whether or not Gandalf can complete casting his lightning bolt before Conan whacks off his head.

A melee round in D&D's about 10 seconds, I think? That'd be a five-minute melee--a little more believable :)

More believable sure, that's why the wrote the rules the way they did. Some professor at the Reading University Engineering School performed some experiments on chain mail and plate armor. He concluded that even a strong man wielding a sword with both hands would have to hit chain mail repeatedly in the same place in order to hack through it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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