Thursday, November 9, 2023

Quicker Combat - Some of My Ideas

Following up on my post on Monday, here is some of what I'd do to speed up DF combat.

Range Bands

This one is a no-brainer. Mapped can use hexes, if people really want to, but it and mapless can use range bands based on those in GURPS Action. I have specific numbers in mind, but I'll save those for once I've been able to better test them. But skipping hex counting - people trying to imagine the map when we don't have one to maneuver to specific ranges - will speed things up.
Ramming Speed!

All slams use your maxium move to calculate damage. You must move at least 2+ steps for this, otherwise it's just a "punch" with your shoulder, shield, etc. Another way to reduce the importance of counting hexes.

No Retreat

As I discussed in an earlier post, no Retreat. Optionally you could just allow everyone a free +1/+3 to one defense, without any movement, which was suggested by Angon on this post in the comments. Either way, removing the movement aspect makes for a faster game.

Fixed Feints & Deceptive Attack

I've talked about this endlessly. Feints fixed at -4, -8 if you roll a critical success and your opponent does not, Deceptive Attack fixed at -2 and -4.

Cuts down on decision time and calculation.

This next one is very optional, but I think it shouldn't be overlooked as a possible way to speed up play in general.

Wider Use of No Nuissance Rolls

Treat anything that has a 16 or less to succeed other than combat rolls and consciousness/death checks as an automatic success. Have Acrobatics-16 after modifiers? You succeed. DX roll not to fall is 16+? You don't fall. Etc. This is a small class of rolls, but say you have HT 13 and Resistant to Poison 5, and get hit with a poison resisted at -2 or less - you don't roll, you just resist. Speeds things up for sure. Only roll if the roll would otherwise change things - Lockpicking-22 vs. a -6 Lock is still rolled, because every point of success shortens the amount of time needed to pop the lock, if time actually matters.

I have another idea or two . . . but I'll keep them close to my vest to avoid my players reading this post, arguing against them before trying them, and then not letting me try them. Heh.

The others? I'd like to give them a try and see if it speeds things up.


  1. For what it's worth, the Ramming Speed thing makes a lot of sense, because displacement isn't velocity. Woo hoo, physics.

  2. For Ramming Speed - does this imply that the Combat Perk in DFD: Barbarians (p18) goes away? Or would it be modified to still offer a benefit to a Barbarian?

    1. It would go away. It's just a perk to allow my old slam house rule to be purchased and played in campaigns that didn't otherwise use it. Once DFRPG came out, we swapped to the system there, instead, since that was pretty simple compared to Basic Set's rules.

  3. It is very meta-game, but when I used to run large Frag tournaments I had basically a 'shot clock'. When I ask you what you are doing, you get (1 question/30 seconds) and then tell me what you are doing, or you do nothing. It also helped raise the tension/pressure in combat.
    For GURPS, maybe have some modifier for character brainpower (max proportional to IQ+PER+DX, +15 seconds for combat reflexes?)

    1. That would speed up the decision making process, but not the calculations. Plus someone would need to time each and every turn, which would get old, fast.


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