Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Melee Academy: The Opening Move Minus One

Ah, I will TAKE the trap!
Gaming Ballistic apparently has a melee academy series where tactics for melee combat are discussed. This weeks subject: how do you start the combat. I typically start with a throw-away shot since projectiles take too long for me to reload typically; throw the weapon down, take out my sword, and go to town. But shooting someone in the face isn't very melee. To me, in GURPS, however, the real winner are the moves that come before the first move. Let's take a look at some of these preparatory tactics.


Something like this to lure them into
the trap.
Traps are a given when I have my way. This requires a bit of mastery of the terrain and dominion over the terrain. I need to control where I'm fighting so I can have the advantage. Nuts to fighting fair. Typically, as a GM, when I deal with traps set by players, I have the enemies roll a quick contest of Perception versus Traps skill, with bonuses or penalties for effort taken to disguise the trap. Failure at this contest usually results in some minor injury, but hey, free damage. If I'm feeling generous, I also roll for mental stun. I empathize with the "Oh geeze" the enemy must be feeling right about the point where TRIP WIRE OUT OF NOWHERE INTO FACE FULL OF GLASS occurs. I even wrote about this leading to a curb stomp in my previous session log post.


Tactics is given some amazing ability for what it is, according to martial arts. If my players have tactics, and follow the rules laid out, and role play approaching from a tactical perspective, I gladly give out the re-rolls and positioning advantages. My current players don't use it enough, I think (hint) but it worked out pretty well in a random online campaign a bit ago... well, the re-rolls actually were hoarded more often than not... but once when the enemies won the quick contest of tactics, it lead to some near fatal consequences.


Almost the same as the first. I love ambushes in video games, so I like it when my players try something sneaky like this. One decoy luring out some overconfident monsters,,, and then they are totally surrounded, or the ranged attackers are sitting way out of reach in trees so they can be close enough to not suffer distance penalties, but out of reach to melee fighters, as long as we don't switch it up and let them throw stuff, right?

Final Notes

I've never seen it used in GURPS, but in the game from the screenshot, organizing moles to disrupt troop formations or betrayals on the battlefield was incredibly effective in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. When you are toe to toe with a tough opponent, gaining an effective 10% in the middle of a fight, while they lose an effective 10% swings the battle to such a tremendous degree. Having soldiers defect in the middle of a battle, or create a distraction. I'd like to figure out scenarios to work this into some of my campaigns. Feels like something I'd need to research Mass-Combat for a bit, combined with stuff from social engineering. Maybe I could write some posts about how to prepare for fights. 

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