Thursday, February 2, 2017

In a previous post I talked about how combat sometimes bogs down in H+I and I suggested some house rules for Fast Combat to address this. In our last session we got a chance to try out Fast Combat. I had already presold the idea to my wife prior to the session. Ironically she is the fastest at using the existing rules but equally comfortable with roleplaying with fewer, lighter, or even no rules. So she was an easy sale. For the other players I pitched the idea at the start of the session. Unsurprisingly reactions were mixed. My player who least enjoys rules was a bit optimistic. My player who most enjoys rules has some trepidation about how this would work, what impact it would have on the heroes in general, and how it would effect his characters in particular. I think he was comforted by the fact that what would constitute an "important confrontation" was going to partially be determined by the players themselves. So if he wanted to use the full system he had that as a justification.

Overall they were willing to give it a try.  I used the examples of natural language from my post and they seemed to Grok that.

Fast Combat seemed to work well - it certainly accomplished my intention of speeding up conflict resolution while retaining most of the look and feel of H+I. In that session they managed to achieve their goal of obtaining documented evidence of who was involved in plotting treason against King and Cardinal and what some of their specific plans were. This involved a lot of roleplaying and talking and required the resolution of a fair number of confrontations. By my rough count there were

  • (4) Fast Combats where lone Heroes fought pairs of Pawns.
  • (14) Miscellaneous non combat conflicts e.g. climbing walls, persuasion rolls, searching, and such.
  • (1) Big Confrontation. 

The big confrontation had 2 Heroes and 2 Retainers on the player side vs. 1 Villain, 3 Retainers, and 6 Pawns on the opposing side. This is the sort of combat that can end up taking half or more of a 3.5 - 4 hour session. But by using Fast Combat for some of the confrontations we were able to resolve the combat in about an hour or so. And we reached a good stopping place well before our turn into a pumpkin midnight deadline. 

One unanticipated result of using fast combat was that I think it may have helped the players try some more creative actions instead of trying to choose the most optimal of the combat maneuvers listed in the rules. That may simply have been coincidence at work, but if it is an actual outcome of the rules switch that would be an unexpected bonus.

Next session the PCs plan to blockade the Loire river and interdict the supply and troop boats that the traitors are sending upriver from Nantes to Orleans. This will provide another opportunity to use Fast Combat and to dust off the H+I Shipboard and Battle rules. It should be fun.

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