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Old June 29th, 2014, 02:33 PM
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Default CT Combat Round - By The Book

-- THE CLASSIC TRAVELLER COMBAT ROUND --



I am writing this post to explain the Classic Traveller Combat Round to newbies and those Refs who have forgotten the details as written in the Traveller Book. I'll list Traveller Book pages references for any who wish to study the CT combat round procedure as it is written in the rules.





BASIC ASSUMPTIONS

CT has a few basic rules about the combat round.

1. It's a 15 second combat round, or there abouts (pg 34).
2. During the combat round, each character is allowed to move and attack (or move and act...pg 34)
3. Movement is generally considered first, followed by the character's action (pg 34).





TYPICAL ACTIONS

Typical combat actions are discussed in the text (pg 37) and are listed in a table (pg 45). This is a remarkable tool that the Ref can use to break down and adjudicate any combat situation. When a player states what he wishes his character to do, the Ref should think about the character's actions in terms of the Typical Actions Table.

Quote:
TYPICAL ACTIONS:

Run, Walk, Close Range, Open Range, Stand, Evade.

Shoot, Switch (semi or full auto), Reload, Throw, Draw, Swing, Hit.
I will write a detailed combat example below, but consider this with regard to the Typical Actions Table: We have a game situation where Ari, an unarmed PC, is being led down a forest trail to the enemy NPC camp. Regg, the NPC guard who follows Ari, has his rifle pointed at the small of Ari's back. The player says, "Ari is going to turn around suddenly and grab the end of the rifle, giving it a big yank! I want to disarm that SOB!"

The Ref should process this in terms of the Typical Actions table. The Ref picks two typical actions--one movement action and the character's main action--from the table, listing the movement action first (because, under Basic Assumptions above, we consider movement first, before other actions, in terms of the combat round). The player says that Ari will turn and grab. Looking at the Typical Actions table, the Ref translates this to: Ari will Stand and Swing. I picked "Swing" because it's the closest typical action listed that would describe Ari's action of attempting to grab his opponent's weapon. Because the table is flexible like this, any combat action can be described by just using two of seven words on the Typical Actions table.

Seeing his captive turn on him like this, the Ref decides that the NPC guard, Regg, will just blow the idiot away. Again, in terms of Typical Actions, Regg will Stand and Shoot.

Ari - Stand and Swing

Regg - Stand and Shoot






COMBAT PROCEDURE

Besides the Typical Actions table, CT gives us a three step Combat Procedure table (pg 34 and pg 46). We may have questions about the combat. Can Ari turn and grab the gun before Regg fires? The proper, by the book, method of carrying out any combat is done by playing out a character's two typical actions in the order presented on the Combat Procedure table.

Quote:
COMBAT PROCEDURE

STEP 1: Determine Surprise. Determine Range. Allow escape or avoidance.

STEP 2: Character moves then he attacks or acts. Damage is applied at the end of the round, after all combatants have moved and acted. Determine morale for NPCs.

STEP 3: Shore up the results of this round in order to begin the next round.
With the combination of Typical Actions and the Combat Procedure steps, it is easy for a Ref to play out any encounter. Follow the example below to see how Ari and Regg will fare.
















EXAMPLE

The NPC guard, Regg, has Ari at rifle point. The two are walking along a forest trail. Regg is taking Ari to the guard camp. Ari leads Regg on the trail, and the guard has his rifle pointed at the small of Ari's back. At this point in the game, the player playing Ari says that he wants his character to suddenly turn around and grab the rifle, jerking it out of the guard's hands.

The Combat Round begins.

The Ref processes Ari's actions in terms of the Typical Actions table. Ari will Stand and Swing.

In response to the PC's action, the Ref decides that the NPC Regg will squeeze the trigger, attempting to kill Ari. In terms of Typical Actions, Regg will Stand and Shoot.



STEP 1 of the Combat Procedure indicates that the Ref should consider Surprise first. Since a character with Surprise must be able to escape and avoid the combat encounter altogether (pg 34), it is obvious that Ari cannot do this and therefore is not elligble for Surprise. Next, the Ref must determine range, and since Regg has Ari at rifle point as the combat encounter starts, combat starts at Short Range.



STEP 2 is where the characters move and act, and movement is considered first (pg 34). It does not matter which character is considered first as all characters are allowed to move and act during the round, and damage is not applied until all characters have had their turn. In this situation, Ari is driving the action, so I would start with Ari's actions first. But, it doesn't really matter. I could just as easily get Regg's shot out of the way then allow Ari to peform his action. It makes no difference.

If Regg's action to shoot is played out first, Ari cannot change his actions. This is how Classic Traveller plays out what is supposed to be simultaneous movement and actions. As Ari is turning and grabbing, Regg is quickly aiming and firing. It is not until the end of the round, when damage is applied, that we find out the exact order of things: Was Ari able to grab the weapon and not get shot doing it? Did Regg miss? Or, did he shoot Ari then have the rifle pulled from his hands a fraction of a second later? This is all decided by the dice rolls.

Ari's Turn: He turns around and attempts a grab at Regg's weapon. In CT, there is no book rule for this action, so the Ref must govern the situation using his own estimation (pg 37).

If you are interested in reading how I would govern this situation in a game, click on the spoiler below. I put that in a spoiler box because what I would choose to do has nothing to do with the rules as written. Another CT Ref might very well devise a different throw. This post is about how the combat round plays, rules as written.

Spoiler:
I might adjudicate Ari's grab for Regg's rifle like this:

Ari turns to grip the rifle....

Ari gets a 2D Brawling attack throw to grab the weapon, except the target number will be Regg's DEX score instead of the standard required 8+ needed to hit. I decided upon this because a high DEX might allow Regg to avoid Ari's grab before the guard levels the weapon and fires at his prisoner. This attack is played just like a normal Brawling attack except that the target number is Regg's DEX score (not 8+). If this throw succeeds, Ari has grabbed the weapon, but he still needs to play a tug-o-war with Regg in order to pull it from the NPC's hands.

Instead of rolling damage, a successful grab on Ari's part gets him a roll to yank the weapon out of Regg's hands. This roll only happens if Ari is successful with the Brawling attack above (indicating that he has gripped the rifle), and this roll will be made at the end of the round, after Regg has move and acted, when the damage rolls are made.



Ari grips the weapon, and now he yanks....

If Ari successfully grips the rifle, he is allowed an attempt to yank it from Regg's hands. This will be a 2D throw, looking for a number that is equal to or higher than Regg's STR score. Regg has STR 6, so Ari's tug will be 2D for 6+, before modifiers are applied.

Modifiers: +1 if PC STR higher than NPC STR. -1 if PC STR less than NPC STR. +1 if PC STR is twice NPC STR. -1 if PC STR is half NPC STR. +1 if guard is distracted.

Regg is intent on his prisoner, so the distraction modifier does not apply. But Ari does have STR C, which is twice that of Regg's, thus Ari gets +2 on the throw.

The final throw that Ari needs to make in order to grab the rifle from Regg's hands is 2D +2 for 6+ (or 2D for 4+).



Looking at the chart in Book 0, I can see that Ari has a 92% chance of success if Ari can get his hands on the weapon. Ari has an incredible strength advantage over his smaller captor. But, the weapon is the great equalizer. Regardless of Ari's action to take the weapon, Regg can seriously wound, incapacitate, or kill the PC if Regg is successful with his shot--especially with the implementation of the First Wound rule (pg 35). It's a big risk that Ari is taking.


Regg's Turn: He makes a rifle attack on Ari, using the standard CT attack throw and modifiers. The range is Short.

End of Round: Here, at the end of the round, we apply Regg's damage on Ari, if the guard was successful with the attack. The First Wound rule (pg 35) will apply if Ari is hit. (And if I am the Ref for this game, this is also where we will determine if Ari can pull the weapon from Regg's hands, as I detailed in the spoiler block above.)



STEP 3 indicates the point in the combat where the situation is shored up in consideration for the next round. Neither character moved, so positions stay the same, and next round will again begin at Short Range. Ari may or may not now be in possession of the rifle, depending on the result of his attempt to grab the weapon. And, Ari may be injured or incapacitated if Regg scored a hit with his attack. If Regg missed, then Ari begins round two uninjured.



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Last edited by Supplement Four; June 29th, 2014 at 05:22 PM..
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Old June 29th, 2014, 03:10 PM
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Nice!
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Old June 29th, 2014, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enoff View Post
Nice!
Thanks! Revised and expanded, now, with a little bit extra below.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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A NOTE ON COMBAT RANGE

CT range categories are extremely easy to use. Most of the time, you will deal with either Medium or Long Range. The other range categories are for special circumstances.

BRAWLING: When fighting with hands or hand weapons like a sword or broken chair leg, default to SHORT RANGE.

INDOORS: When inside buildings or spacecraft, default to MEDIUM RANGE.

OUTDOORS: When outside, default to MEDIUM RANGE unless the enemy is a long distance away. In the case of the latter, default to LONG RANGE. Medium Range is also called pistol range, and Long Range is also called rifle range.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: If physically touching an enemy, as when a PC sneaks up behind a guard and puts a knife to his throat, or when two characters are wrestling and grappling each other, use CLOSE RANGE. VERY LONG RANGE is reserved for extremely long distances that might be used for a sniper and his rifle or when flying grav craft attack each other.





COMMENTARY

It's a brilliant system! CT nailed it! Any combat situation that can come up in your game can easily be governed by using the two simple tools: Typical Actions and the Combat Procedure.

If you ever have any question about how to play out an encounter, simply break the characters declared actions up into two words from the Typical Actions table, then just follow the steps of the Combat Procedure table in order.

CT is truly a marvel of a game.






ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION

Click on the links below to additional discussion about CT's Combat Round.

RANGE BANDS and RANGE CATEGORIES a CT Ref's Friend....

PERSONAL COMBAT RANGE BANDS Explained Graphically....
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Old June 29th, 2014, 04:29 PM
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I would have them both roll 2d and add dex, if Ari wins then the attempt to disarm can take place.

If the guard wins then bang...
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Old June 29th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I would have them both roll 2d and add dex, if Ari wins then the attempt to disarm can take place.

If the guard wins then bang...
I see. Not that I think it's wrong, but in my opinion, you default to the Draw rule too often (and interpolate the rule) to decide these types of matters when the standard rules handle things just fine.

For example. you'd go with 2D + DEX and basically give the winner a Surprise Round (a Surprise Round because you allow damage to be administered before the loser of the toss gets to go).

That breaks the official rules on a few counts. First, if a character has Surprise, then he should be able to leave the combat without engaging. That's one benefit to having Surprise (where your foe is surprised but you are not). Obviously, that's not a logical possibility in the scenario, thus Surprise is not an option for either Ari or Regg in this encounter.

Two, when Surprise is checked, there should be an opportunity for neither side to be surprised. Your throw does not allow that. With your check, one side will win the toss and get what amounts to a surprise round.

Third, your interpolation of the Draw rule turns the rule into an initiative roll. Used too often, the Classic Traveller combat round loses its simultaneous action effect that it was designed to emulate.

The Draw rule does, indeed, give a character a moment of Surprise, but it's clear from the wording of the rule that it is meant to cover actual draw situations only--Old West style situations where both characters start with weapons holstered, pulling, and only one character walking away from the encounter).

Remember, the other half of the Draw rule is that a character receive a -3 DM to his attack if he starts the round with his weapon holstered or strung over his shoulder. The penalty modifier accounts for the time it takes for the character to ready the weapon (we are dealing with a 15 second combat round).

The Draw rule reads as if the -3 DM is the normal method of dealing with holstered or slung weapons unless an Old West style draw situation arises.

Fourth, the combat system deals easily with the many different outcomes without using the Draw rule. In the example, neither Ari or Regg have holstered weapons, and, in fact, Regg starts the round with his weapon leveled at Ari--which is another reason I think the use of the Draw rule is a poor choice in this scenario.



Quote:
OUTCOMES OF THE EXAMPLE, JUST USING THE COMBAT SYSTEM

1. Ari can grab the weapon and not get shot (Regg misses).

2. Ari can grab the weapon and get wounded.

3. Ari can grab the weapon but be incapacitated or killed. The combat will end with Regg looking at a dead man on the ground with Regg's weapon being pulled from his hands.

4. Ari can fail in grabbing the weapon and not get shot.

5. Ari can fail in grabbing the weapon and get wounded.

6. Ari can fail in grabbing the weapon and be incapacitated or killed by the gunshot.
It's all covered, just by using the rules as written. The Draw rule need not be misused.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 08:11 PM
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The rule about playing movement first on a character's turn then playing the action (the attack) got me thinking because it is worded like this:

Quote:
Generally, all individuals perform their movement first, followed by their attacks. -- pg. 34, The Traveller Book.
The use of the word "generally" indicates to me that it should be the default to run movement first before that attack throw but that there may be exceptions where the attack comes before moving.

I started to wonder about a good example to use to illustrate a logical time when action would come before movement, and then it dawned on me that the scenario used as an example in the OP is perfect.

To recap the situation, Regg is a NPC guard who has captured the PC, Ari. Ari is now unarmed, and he walks in front of Regg, single file, down a forest path towards the NPC base camp. Regg walks with his rifle leveled at Ari's back, ready to blow the PC away if he tries anything fishy.

Ari's player is, indeed, a risk taker because he says, "I'll turn around and grab his rifle. I'm going to disarm him!"

And, this is what is different from the situation in the OP: The Ref decides that, in response to Ari's actions, Regg will fire at the PC first, then backup, keeping his weapon pointed at Ari, to put some distance between the two.

Clearly, this is a logical thing to do. It's also as clear that Regg's declared actions are contrary to the normal rule that movement is considered before actions.

Using the Typical Actions Table, the Ref processes that....

Ari will turn and grab. Ari = Stand and Swing.

Regg will fire and backup. Regg = Shoot and Open Range.





From here, we just play these actions through the Combat Procedure steps.

STEP 1: No Surprise. Range is Short.

STEP 2: Play through actions in no particular order.
Ari's Turn: He turns and grabs for the weapon. The Ref must govern this non-standard action. Determine if Ari is successful in grabbing the gun.

Regg's Turn: He fires then moves backward , making increasing range to Medium. Determine is Regg hits Ari with the shot. Then move the NPC backwards by 5 meters (a couple of steps), putting him at 6+ meters from Ari.

End of Turns: Resolve damage on Ari if Regg hit. Resolve Ari's action of grabbing at the weapon if this wasn't completed earlier (I say this because, the throw I suggest for this in the OP spoiler box is a two step process, just like attacking and rolling damage.)
STEP 3: Note whether Ari is dead, incapacitated, wounded, or unarmed from Regg's rifle attack. Note who has the rifle, or if it lays on the ground, as a result of Ari's attempt to grab it. And, note that the range between the two combatants is now at Medium for the start of the next round. Move on to combat round two.

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Old June 30th, 2014, 12:12 PM
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I only use the first draw rules occasionally, only for situations when who goes first is really really really important

The simultaneous nature of most combats being resolved by the hit rolls is usual enough for most combats. It is just the right amount of abstraction for most encounters I have found.
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