RE: Re: ...gameplay in general...

From: Mike Holmes <homeydont_at_...>
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 17:12:58 -0500

>From: "Rob" <robert_m_davis_at_...>
> > I don't buy that a low number of rounds is unrealistic.
>Realistic? Well its supposed to be kind of *cinematic realistic*
>isn't it.

Well, "dramatic" at least. But the fact is that realistic is plenty dramatic, no? That is, the system allows you to be as detailed as you like in terms of your descriptions. One roll could have an hour of description associated with it if you so felt like it.

>I have done karate for years and some of those combats
>can go on a bit when your similar skill levels. But yes I agree if
>someone gets hurt by a sword or an axe then they *dont want to play*
>so give up, so in that respect you could be right.

Yep, sometimes things happen fast in unusual circumstances. An extended contest only gives the opportunity to stretch things out mechanically for those who might be interested in doing so. It doesn't garuntee that people will be interested.

>Sure, different strokes and all that. But do they never bid large
>and stuff the die rolls? IE roll a 20?

Not getting what you're trying to say here. My point was that my players do bid large. So, yeah, they botch things like this all the time. I don't see this as a problem.

>Next round, player all his remaining HP 85, rolls a natural
>20 and the bad guy rolls a 1. Even with a HP the PC is dead. I
>know, happened to me in a one off. Even a bid of 60 odd would have
>the same result.

Again, not sure what you're getting at here.

Interestingly, for a long time there was this notion that lethal combat was "realisitc." That is, Rolemaster is touted as realistic, because, as a friend of mine put it, "Rolemaster is the game of Mighty Warriors perishing at the hands of perturbed barmaids." Truth be told, I'm of the opinion that what most people think is "realistic" isn't. That is, in doing research for game design, I learned a lot about trauma, and the reality is just not what anyone gets taught. For example, the idea of "knocking somebody out." As a Physicians Assistant I once talked to said, "Any blow to the head that renders somebody unconscious, is potentially life-threatening." There is no safe form of this sort of trauma. Despite lots of "realistic" games telling us that there are. Firearm wounds are lethal in less than 10% of cases overall, and then only mostly if the person in question doesn't get to medical attention in a reasonable amount of time. People fall over when hit by firearms because they think that's what they're supposed to do - there's no such thing as "stopping power."

I could go on and on. Know what? It's all useless information. Because people don't want "realistic" they want dramatic. They want what they've seen on TV and in movies. And that's a fine thing.

Hero Quest allows the players to be precisely as "realistic" or "dramatic" or whatever as they feel the need to be. Because it doesn't tell you what the "units" of conflict are. You make those up as you need them.

To be pedantic, your example is incorrect. Those characters did not die as a result of their bids. Nowhere in the system does it say that if you go to -X AP or roll such and such that the PC dies. Nowhere. What it says is that the characters are dying, and will probably die without intervention.

So, allow intervention. Usually another Hero intervenes, IME. When that doesn't happen, ask the player if they think that the character should die. I've found that usually if they were bidding that big in that large a contest, they often want to die in such a situation. But if they say no, then intervene. Somebody comes along and stabilizes the character. Usually this is a great opportunity to complicate things.

Again, this is the logic of drama. If you're looking for a game that delivers a simulation of combat that includes "appropriate" chances of dying in combat per reality, well, I don't think HQ is it (nor do I think most RPGs really do this, either). But what HQ allows is for the results of conflicts to be a springboard to more adventure. Whether success or failure. I can only heartily suggest using it that way.

What does this mean for extended contests? In fact, players shouldn't fear going all out whenever they like to do so. Basically, I think it's an awesome feature of the game that players seem to be more concerned with what's the more interesting thing to do than with what's the most sound thing to do. Big bids are fun, and I have no problem with them.


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