Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: My take on initiative.
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
hunter5150
I was wanting to get everyones opinion on the subject of initiative. I noticed that with a group of cybered up sams, thay could concievably kill an entire team of (insert badguys here) before the (said badguys) even got a shot off. This seemed a little lopsided. My thoughts were to roll initiative like normal but have players announce all actions at start of turn. Then play out all combat phases according to their declared actions. Wanted to kill that guard in one phase? Oops missed that second bullet. Move on to next target as per declaration. I have heard that a turn lasts 3-5 seconds. This seems to fit better with time. Now please tear into my thinking like a band of hyenas. My group sure as hell will.
GrinderTheTroll
What's so wrong with the rules on Initiative as they stand? Don't change the rules because your players are beating your opposition, change the opposition.
James McMurray
Unless of course your group wants to change the rules, in which case you should change the rules. smile.gif

I don't have a problem with the rules as they are right now. My players all (except the mage) have around 5+2d6 for init. The mage will soon be bondign a sustaining foci to give himself extra initaitive dice. With only 4 characters, usually only one or two enemies die before they get to act. Starting the round in cover, running the previous round, and various other targetting TN raisers really slows down the kill rate.

Its when you have people standing right in front of the gun adept that the higher inits really start to shine. But with even semi-intelligent opponents that should happen fairly rarely. I know that if someone were on the other side of the room from me and they had a gun, I wouldn't run out in front of them.
hunter5150
I may not have been clear. I suppose I am looking at it from the timeframe point of view. I know that their are reaction enhancements, but it just seems to me that players are accomplishing way to much in the alloted time of a combat turn. I have no problem with them shooting the five people standing in front of them but its the whole, kill one person ,make sure he's dead, check to see where person two is, calculate invariable tangent of a quantum emulciphier, shoot second person, shoot second person a second time, check third etc. To me it just seems overly "cluttered".
The Grifter
Well, as the old saying goes, "play whatever way is fun".

However, I personally wouldn't change the rules just because some characters have a high Init. If they've earned it through karma or paid for it with their hard earned nuyen, it wouldn't be fair to deny them a chance to shine.

And also, I guess it epends on the campaign style you're running. A cinematic game would play itself to this style well, while a gritty one wouldn't.
James McMurray
Require more actions spent on observing to determine who is a good target. But if its the number of actions that bothers you, you could instead lower initiative modifiers across the board. Get rid of wired reflexes and change the adept power to match boosted reflexes. Drop rating 3 VCRs and spells that give +3d6 initiative. Do other stuff to lower the average intiative score per person.

Alternatively, just say that rounds are 6 seconds long, or 10, or 15. Whatever seems to be a more logical time frame for someone being able to kill three people in a gunfight.
The Grifter
You need more than six seconds to kill three people?
James McMurray
I would, but I'm a bit squeemish and would probably spend a large portion of the time in psychological trauma after the first guy's brains went splat.
The Grifter
Use a flamethrower. No brains, omae. LOL
James McMurray
But then you have that whole "smell of burning flesh" thing. It would probably make me toss my lunch. Then there's the screaming waking up the neighbors. It just wouldn't work.
Sabosect
Flamethrowers take longer than six seconds. I prefer white-phospherous minigrenades for that anyway.

Now, you want to kill in three seconds? One second to aim and push button, one second to throw, and one second to dive for cover as the two-second time on the C4 reaches zero.
tisoz
My experience from tense situations - time seems to hang and take forever to pass. It may have only been 30 seconds, but seemed like 5 minutes when it was happening. When you are dealing destruction, you do it. Afterwards, when you have survived and the adrenaline is wearing off, you may have a reaction. Most times I have been shot at or had a gun pulled on me, I haven't slept that night. The last time it happened it took about 3 extra hours to get to sleep, but at the time I was so exhausted I should have been to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
James McMurray
You may want to think about moving to a better neighborhood, saying pleas and thank you tot he mafia dons, and/or paying off the loan sharks.
tisoz
Held up at work a few times, silly situations my friends got me into, and acts of random violence. When I lived in the bad neighborhood, I was the scary guy. wink.gif
mfb
heh, i know what you mean. characters in SR are impossibly efficient in their movements during combat.

some things that might help slow combat down would be:
1) try using the Sudden Shock rules on Raygun's site. basically, every time you take M damage or higher, you have to roll or lose your next action (at least, i think that's how they work).

2) if there's a surprise situation, don't tell the players how many opponents their facing. if they want to do a headcount, they have to take a simple action to Observe in Detail.

3) use the knockdown rules, but don't tell the players how much damage they've done to their opponents. that way, they might see a bad guy go down--but he might not be out. if they want to make sure a bad guy's dead, they'll have to use Observe in Detail; and even then, you might require a Biotech roll.
The Grifter
Ah, but the smell of burning flesh is the reward for lugging around the flamethrower.
Method
Liberal use of target modifiers is also helpful. Your players will complain at first, until they get used to the idea of needing 6's or 8's for all but the most trivial actions.

Higher target numbers = less sucesses = less damage to bad guys = more player actions.

If you really think about it you can add +4 or +6 to just about any situation.

Low Visibility, Movement, Stress (mental), Weather, Damage (once your NPCs start living longer), NPC magicians/Spirits with Confusion Spells.... it all adds up to less efficient killing sprees for your PCs. smile.gif
tisoz
QUOTE (mfb)
some things that might help slow combat down would be:
1) try using the Sudden Shock rules on Raygun's site. basically, every time you take M damage or higher, you have to roll or lose your next action (at least, i think that's how they work).

I'm not sure about this. I don't know anything about Raygun's rules. But from first hand experiences with gunshot wounds - the severity of the wound isn't obvious from the pain or degree it incapacitates you.

Knew a guy that shot himself in the side showing a rifle to buddies from the rack in his pickup. Everyone wanted to get him to the hospital. He laughed it off, and went back into the bar to finish his drink, then later fell over dead as he had a few more.

A friend got shot in the ankle with a shotgun, and walked home on it, said it didn't hurt until he got back from the hospital. An older teacher got grazed across his forearm in WWII, said it hurt like hell even though it didn't really do more than take about a 6 inch streak of skin.

But, if you don't like the way combat seems, I'm wasting my time saying it is just a game and it could be close to how it sometimes seems.
Lindt
Oooo I like that... I may have to implment that one. Will (4) sound good?
James McMurray
QUOTE
Low Visibility, Movement, Stress (mental), Weather, Damage (once your NPCs start living longer), NPC magicians/Spirits with Confusion Spells.... it all adds up to less efficient killing sprees for your PCs.


For the most part unless the character has natural low light vision, they'll almost always have at least a +1 modifier for partial light. Without cyber lowlight that goes up to +2.

My party has begun to fear NPC shamans more than anything else because they can summon a force 4 spirit pretty easil and royally screw the runners via confusion.
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (hunter5150)
I may not have been clear. I suppose I am looking at it from the timeframe point of view. I know that their are reaction enhancements, but it just seems to me that players are accomplishing way to much in the alloted time of a combat turn. I have no problem with them shooting the five people standing in front of them but its the whole, kill one person ,make sure he's dead, check to see where person two is, calculate invariable tangent of a quantum emulciphier, shoot second person, shoot second person a second time, check third etc. To me it just seems overly "cluttered".

It's not. Check out some Maximum Exposure or COPS episodes to see how fast gunfights go. Most are resolved in a few seconds and involve a hail of bullets when multiple gunmen are involved.

Personal opinion: the initiative rules work great within the SR3 game mechanics.
mfb
QUOTE (tisoz)
I'm not sure about this. I don't know anything about Raygun's rules. But from first hand experiences with gunshot wounds - the severity of the wound isn't obvious from the pain or degree it incapacitates you.

well, the degree to which you're incapacitated is handled by the wound modifiers. Raygun's sudden shock rule, as i recall, basically handles how you react to the actual wound as you take it. most people, when they take a bullet--or even a punch--are going to stop and blink before they do anything else, no matter how tough they are or how much shock/adrenaline has them tweaked. losing a single action seems like a decent way to handle that.
Method
QUOTE (Lindt @ Jan 31 2005, 07:21 PM)
Oooo I like that... I may have to implment that one.  Will (4) sound good?

Lindt: ? to what are you refering question.gif

Regarding pain: There are numerous studies that show pain isn't just subjective, it has a lot to do with one's perception.

A guy named Beecher conducted a classic study on WW2 soliders and found that 58% of men with severe battle wounds (gunshots, compound fractures, missing limbs) reported no pain at all. He theorized that they were so happy to have escaped the battle alive that thier pain responce was curtailed.

Two researcher named Melzack and Wall came up with theory called "the Gate Control Theory of Pain" back in 1965. They argued that some gating mechanism exists at the spine that amplifyies or dampens pain signals and that the brain itself controls the gate. They also suggested that even subtle mental suggestions could drastically reduce pain.

For example, in one study 500 dental patients were given a placebo instead of a local anesthetic. Those who were reassured the shot would reduce thier discomfort reported less pain than those that were not assured AND those that recieved real anesthetic but were told nothing.

EDIT: Sorry! Almost forgot the point. Pain can be a tricky thing to quantify in game terms, because in real life it depends on lots of things. I think the damage mods to init and TN are ment not only to represent pain, which is mental, but also physiological things you can't just "wish away" like loss of blood, shock, adreanalin rush and the fact that if your arm is shot off its difficult to aim and shoot a gun.

But I also like raygun's/mfb's suggestion of an "oh-shit-i-just-got-shot" pause...
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Method)
I think the damage mods to init and TN are ment not only to represent pain, which is mental, but also physiological things you can't just "wish away" like loss of blood, shock, adreanalin rush and the fact that if your arm is shot off its difficult to aim and shoot a gun.

This is also quite obvious from the fact that the Pain Editor bioware doesn't reduce wound modifiers from physical damage at all.

I like a lot of the stuff that's been mentioned so far: Making people Observe in Detail a lot is a good idea, as is using Knockdown rules without telling the players how much damage they did, and using lots of TN modifiers.
Omega Skip
Just my 0.02, counting inflation:

I tried to use the knockdown rules in my game, but in most cases they resulted in just some more dice rolling and no one being knocked down. Knockdown seems a bit "drastic" to me; either nothing happens, or you're knocked back a step or two (which , unless you're up against a wall or standing close to the edge of a tall building, usually doesn't affect combat that much), or you fall over and lose at least your entire next phase just to get up. The Sudden Shock rule sounds like a really nice compromise; will try to use that.

But yeah, if you want your players to "waste" actions during combat, withholding information is the way to go. This is most obviously true in surprise situations where the players have little information about their opposition to begin with; I'd say it should take a player at least one phase to figure out which guy to shoot first, two if he's smart enough to not just stand there and spend all his actions looking.

One thing that I've used a couple of times in my game to slow down combat a bit was coordination. My players usually target the same guy to take down their opposition more quickly. The tricky part is explaining to the players why they need to spend a simple action to observe combat before they can shoot the correct target. The possitive thing about this is that by having them "waste" actions like this during combat, they started coordinating their strategy before engaging the enemy so they wouldn't lose any more actions.

End result: Combat that was quick and efficient because my players made an effort. It still seemed like the 3-4 seconds were packed with lots of actions, but it made sense because the players had planned their attack beforehand.

But of course, stretching combat so that one turn takes 15 seconds is probably the simplest way to make combat less "crowded".
tisoz
Doesn't the wound level modifier to initiative create a small pause? And it can sometimes eliminate an entire last pass.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (tisoz)
Doesn't the wound level modifier to initiative create a small pause?

A fraction of a second, usually. Nothing compared to the pause people often have to take when they suddenly get wounded.
tisoz
You are basing this on current people, who probably have an initiative of 10 or less? (Average person's reaction is 3 plus 1-6.) So three seconds a phase. A Light wound would cause about a third of a second pause, a moderate wound a two thirds second pause, and a serious wound a full second pause.

If the person somehow achieved an initiative of 11-13, they could lose their entire second combat phase. Example, they win initiative, act, subtract 10, incur a wound, and the modifier takes them to zero or less.

It is sometimes hard to remember how fast initiative boosts speed things up.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (tisoz)
A Light wound would cause about a third of a second pause, a moderate wound a two thirds second pause, and a serious wound a full second pause.

Apart from the fact that good reflexes probably have nothing to do with the shock effect, that's still nothing compared to the pause people IRL often have to take when they suddenly get wounded. IRL, we're talking several seconds easily, sometimes tens of seconds before your brain can process anything else than the fact that you were wounded and it hurts.
tisoz
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.
Crusher Bob
Another thing you can try, to reduce the amount of 'god like knowledge' players often have of the situation, is to run most of the combat using little slips of paper.

Everyone anouces their actions on little slips of paper and you tell everyone what they see on little slips of paper. That way, one guys preception action dosen't tell all the players what's going on... And you end up with real life screwups like everybody shooting the guy on the right, and no one shooting the guy on the left...

Another thnig that might be worth doing is making all actions within 10 points worth occur near simultaneously, so that if the sam going at 33 blows a guy to bits, the sam going at 32 might waste his action shooting at a fine red mist, rather than switching targets...
Demosthenes
QUOTE
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.


Isn't that the general point of hitting people hard and fast and from surprise?

Speaking from personal experience (unfortunately), the shock effect of even the lightest physical blow, if you don't expect it, can be a lot greater than the shock effect of something a lot more traumatic that you do expect.

dead.gif
Crusher Bob
Yes, hitting someone just 'standing around' with the same force will produce much more shock and wound effects than a person undergoing the full 'combat stress reaction'. This is one of the reasons that snipers and ambushes are generally more effective...
tisoz
QUOTE (Demosthenes)
QUOTE
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.


Isn't that the general point of hitting people hard and fast and from surprise?

Surprise is a bit different, the victim doesn't get an action.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (tisoz)
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.

Or, you know, you could use some of the suggested rules for this situation, such as Raygun's sudden shock rules, or some of the ones suggested in this thread. In which case every now and then people who suddenly get wounded might be out of the fight for a while -- the less combat experience, the lower the Willpower (and perhaps Body), the more likely it is that they're out after a sudden wound and the longer they'll stay out.

QUOTE (tisoz)
Surprise is a bit different, the victim doesn't get an action.

Has very little to do with it. I completely agree with Crusher Bob on this.
tisoz
QUOTE (Austere Emancipator)
QUOTE (tisoz)
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.

Or, you know, you could use some of the suggested rules for this situation, such as Raygun's sudden shock rules, or some of the ones suggested in this thread. In which case every now and then people who suddenly get wounded might be out of the fight for a while -- the less combat experience, the lower the Willpower (and perhaps Body), the more likely it is that they're out after a sudden wound and the longer they'll stay out.

QUOTE (tisoz)
Surprise is a bit different, the victim doesn't get an action.

Has very little to do with it. I completely agree with Crusher Bob on this.

Or I could just use the existing rules and role play the other instances at times to provide a better story.

And how in hell do the surprise rules not fairly represent a sniper situation? No combat pool, no dodge, no reaction to getting cover (kind of like a deer caught in the headlights.) I'm starting to think you are disagreeing with anything I have to say for the sake of disagreeing.

Could the surprise rules be more detailed? Yes, all the rules could be more detailed.

Do I need or want these rules more detailed? No, I'm content with them.
hahnsoo
What about folks with a pain editor?
toturi
If you arbitarily declare that the PC is Surprised, then it could reflect the sniper situation. But if you allow rolls by the book, then there is a chance however small a PC might not be Surprised. For example, a Reaction 4 sniper takes a shot at Mr Ultrafast Sam with React 14. Sniper rolls against TN 2. He gets 4 successes. Sam rolls against TN 4. He gets 6 successes. Oops. Sam is not surprised.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (tisoz)
Or I could just use the existing rules and role play the other instances at times to provide a better story.

Yes, you could. And, extending that logic, you can also get rid of most rules and just role play them -- knockdown, movement in combat, all TN modifiers, etc. If you manage that, that's great. Mostly people don't which is why we've got such specialized rules as those dealing with different appliances of fully automatic fire (plain, suppressing, searching).

I'd say the type of shock discussed here is a major factor in firefights, and thus has just as much right to have separate rules covering it as searching fire or knockdown does. If you tend to get rid of all such extra rules then that's fine, at least there's internal logic there.

QUOTE (tisoz)
And how in hell do the surprise rules not fairly represent a sniper situation?

Because what is being described doesn't have that much to do with being able to react to a threat as it does with being able to react to the sudden pain. You may be dodging and taking cover to evade the fire of a recently spotted sniper, and yet if you do get hit you can be "rendered inoperable" for an amount of time.

Excluding what toturi said about the Surprise rules, which is a major problem with them, they work pretty well. Especially if you apply TN modifiers to those, and always require Perception tests to be able to react in the first place. They allow for a surprise situation to be very deadly. But that doesn't really have to do with the shock of being hit that we were discussing -- a character getting tagged with a Light wound in a surprise situation is not numerically worse off for that wound than s/he would be if s/he'd received it during a prolonged firefight, or even if s/he'd received it after already taking a Moderate and 2 Lights in said firefight.

Central to the whole issue for me is that taking a wound is something major and the rules should reflect that. Instead of a Other Game -like reaction to taking a Medium ("I'll just tick off the boxes, too bad about the (possible) modifiers."), I'd prefer rules which make the player realize just how bad the .357 Magnum JHP (or the 2060s equivalent thereof) which just passed through his abdomen hurt his character. A sudden shock rules helps reflect that.

QUOTE (hahnsoo)
What about folks with a pain editor?

Both Raygun's rules and people in the thread I linked agree that a Pain Editor pretty much bypasses the whole sudden shock thing.
Cray74
QUOTE (hunter5150 @ Jan 31 2005, 10:04 PM)
I was wanting to get everyones opinion on the subject of initiative. I noticed that with a group of cybered up sams, thay could concievably kill an entire team of (insert badguys here) before the (said badguys) even got a shot off. This seemed a little lopsided.


Since when is to-the-death combat supposed to be fair? Modern militaries and soldiers dream of stomping "the bad guys" before they get a shot off in return. IMO, letting cybernetically enhanced, professional killers (like street sams) go first is fine.

If you're not happy with that, make "the bad guys" smarter rather than adjusting the initiative system. For example, give the bad guys cover where the samurai can't reach the bad guys before the bad guys attack.
mfb
no, tisoz. you're going to use sudden shock rules, and you're going to like them because, by god, they're in the book.

oh, wait, we're discussing house rules that are completely optional, that no one is forcing anyone else to use. my bad! the way you were acting, there, i sorta assumed we were discussing canon stuff.
tisoz
I think there are rules that explain it already, others don't want to see how an existing rule could explain it.
mfb
the existing rules don't explain it very well. others want a better rule.
tisoz
So the better explanation is a pause that cause loss of a pass or turn or round? When I pointed out how that could go astray, people started in about sniping sittuations. When I reminded of how surprise rules helped explain that situation, I got more crap about how that fails to represent diddly.

I think I will just wait for you guys to come up with a perfect house rule then, or even a new combat system, and then respond. Because you do not seem to want weaknesses, larger than original problem, pointed out, or how an existing rule or incorporating an existing rule will get the desired effect.

TTFN smile.gif
mfb
QUOTE (tisoz)
Cool, so you just lightly wound each security guard in the first pass and then deal with them at your liesure while they reel in their wounds, totally unable to defend themself or raise an alarm.

i didn't see that you'd said this. my bad, i'll take it apart now: raygun's sudden shock rules only come into play when you take M damage or better; lightly wounding someone (i'm assuming you're referring to actual L wounds) won't do anything. besides which, losing your next action does not negate the free actions you can take--one during every other combatant's initiative pass. speaking is a free action; ergo, even if they get knocked down and shocked into not shooting back for a few seconds, the guards will all be able to holler to momma about how bad it hurts. this will, presumably raise an alarm.

you might also note that there were quite a few other direct responses to your post, several of which addressed your concerns almost as ably as this one.
Austere Emancipator
Even though I'd personally like to force a sudden shock test even with Light wounds, based on what I've read of soldiers reacting to sometimes relatively minor injuries, it would under no suggested rules be a reliable way of disabling foes, as I already pointed out. Especially with minor injuries, like a thumb-sized hole through your abdomen, it would be just about as likely that the security guard in question barely budges and then functions with only the slight setback of +1 or +2 modifers.

And like mfb said above, they would be perfectly able to cry out or hit a panic button/Big Red Button in any case, shocked or not.
Fortune
I think the Knockdown rules adequately reflect the 'Sudden Shock' situation. We all know that most guns don't actually cause the knockdown effect, but this kind of mechanic can easily be adapted to the shock of suddenly being wounded.

YMMV of course. I'm fine with the rules as they are, and don't find the need to add even more rolls to combat in my games.
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (Fortune)
I think the Knockdown rules adequately reflect the 'Sudden Shock' situation. We all know that most guns don't actually cause the knockdown effect, but this kind of mechanic can easily be adapted to the shock of suddenly being wounded.

Agreed. I don't story Knockdown into my games as necessarily being completely from the power of the weapon. Often its due to the shock of the hit.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012