Monday, June 6, 2011

More Bitching About Combat

Some sessions, I feel like an asshole.

I was completely out of sync with my Deadlands group last night. I found everything the group wanted to do to be shortsighted and unnecessary. In a game where combat does not yield xp, there is no reason to engage "wandering monsters." We as players sometimes get stuck in this Final Fantasy/Dragon Warrior rut where every single thing we encounter is meant to meet a violent end at our hands. Every foe must be engaged and slain. Hell, it doesn't even have to present itself as a foe.

I could blame all kinds of industry hobgoblins for the "degradation" of the hobby, but that would require some serious rose-colored goggles. I could also bust out some pop-psychology about a simulation that liberates us from the social contracts of real life and blah blah blah.

Combat is a part of RPGs. I get that. D&D is derived from Chainmail, which was a miniature war game. Hell, I'm running Pathfinder for chrissakes...(and I'm trying to make the fights interesting or more than just a random slugfest, but the experience system in that game damn near requires me to have one or two "filler" encounters per game) I'm also trying to come up with encounters that require wits and ingenuity or maybe even player skill to overcome. I do leave some fights in, however, because I know that many of my players, wife included, enjoy a certain degree of battle and mayhem in their fantasy game. I'm all about giving players what they want, but there will be plenty of the stuff that I want, too. (Interesting locations, puzzles, NPCs that let me do wacky voices, etc.)

I wonder if maybe my gaming style is becoming too nice/focused/out of sync/whatever you want to call it. I seem to complain about combat every time I mention it in my blog, and I know that when I play in games I usually find combat to be a huge snoozefest. (Hence my tendency to make non-combat characters) I also find myself very critical of combat systems in games lately... most of them feel wonky and slow to me. Savage Worlds is a notable exception, as long as you don't end up with the Extra From Hell. (Who has been mercifully absent from the last few game sessions, I might add.)

I might just be cranky. With summer school on, I'm not getting enough sleep during the week. (Hey, just like the regular school year!)


  1. I've been experiencing a very similar disconnect from combat. In our last session we needed to get past an ogre. We had no beef with the ogre other than he was in our way. We had the ogre outnumbered and should have been able to say, "Listen, we have you outnumbered five to one, we have magic at our disposal and a mean streak a mile wide. We'd rather save everyone some hassle and, say, give you 10 gp to let us pass. How's that sound."

    Instead we ran into his lair and killed him. I don't think anyone was so much as wounded.

    It was just so BORING! I've been playing D&D for 28 years and I need a bit more than random encounters for xps. I mean, I watch the news and I see stories of random, senseless, brutal violence. Why emulate that in a game? What's the point?

  2. I have also played this game many times and I the starting I mostly found it very interesting but in the later time it seems to be very boring and I also stop playing all of those games.