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Speedier combat sessions


While the combat rules in TNE are quite fast, they are also very technical and may bog down the game when players plan their moves.

I am thinking about making turn planning timelimited and probably also semisecret among the players to simulate somewhat the chaos during the combat.

The limit the players have to plan their actions are calculated based on the initiative of the player characters, something in this fashion; Ad up all the initiative points to the player characters. Find the average and multiply with 20. This is the number of seconds available for the players each turn.

All players have two actions during a turn. One primary and one secondary. Initiative 6+ players may have 4.

Print up chits with various commands and options like:
Fire singleshot at NPC#
Run towards dest#
Throw grenade
and so on

Chits are also needed for marking intended target areas on a map. For instance destination for a run. Primary action is revealed to other players in the order of lower Initiative first and higher ones later.

Secondary action is revealed when the player does his action. Here conflicting actions may put players into danger of friendly fire and so on. Of course there will be opportunity to prevent this to happen, but only after a successfull observation test.

This far I have come with the planning, but a lot of details may still needed to the rules. ANy suggestions or ideas. Would this bring any fun to the game?
I've never _played_ or run TNE, but have done lots of D&D (1st and 3rd editions) with excruciating levels of detail on combats (lots of house rules, following virtually all the written ones). We never did anything like your suggestion, though -- except for being pretty strict about communication and collaboration. (That is, for example, if you were under a Silence spell, or drowning, or too far away, etc., then you couldn't communicate verbally, only gesturally, etc.)

Sounds like a cool way to (try and) simulate chaos, as you say. _Sounds like..._

Of course, I'd be concerned that this would add a whole new (order of magnitude) level of bogged-down-ness.

Finally, remember that you, as GM, will have to do this for all your NPCs, or at least some of it. Or at least you should be prepared with some arguments for your players when they point out that their opponents don't have to do this (^_^)

That all said, I'd LOVE to hear how this goes for you, what feedback you get (pro and con).

Obviously, this could be applied to any combat system, not just TNE, not just Traveller...

I only see this as a system for small encounters 2 to 5 players and a little more NPCs. Usually GM uses shorter time than the players to do his actions.
One con I can think of is that the NPCs will due to the fact that the GM controls the NPC and can in this way coordinate their actions, something the players cannot. My players are relatively good at not communicate their intentions if they are somewhat seperate from the rest of the group.
One player helped us keep combat moving quickly - inspired by the 'crunch gun' in the equipment guide, he took the FF&S rules and built the "Munch Gun" - he desired the final design's muzzle energy to be 1 joule over a cutoff point [was it 20 001? something like that, it gave a hideous damage level], and built the gun around that. It had a 12 kilo battery, built as a prototype - I shouldn't have allowed it, but the guy went out and bought his own copy of FF&S, didn't want to turn him off the game entirely.

Anyway, if the guy got a hit on anyone in combat, there wasn't much point in rolling damage, the target wasn't getting up again. NPCs learned to hide very quickly.

It was blatant munchkinism, but he actually made an effort to role-play well.
Critical hits, D10 for damage (at least for guns, if not everything), called/head shots, etc all add to the realism.

It goes faster the more you play, though it is kinda cumbersome, particularly when starting out.
Munchkins! Gotta love em!

I did something like that for a spacecraft; made it 999 Dtons to take advantage of the better mods over a 1000 Dton ship. Gave it a fusion rocket and a big-ass laser too. No sense in the typical TNE ship engaging it; though the bloody thing cost as much as a fleet, it could take one out given enough time. :D

But that was of course unsatisfactory to me, as a GM, to say something like that should be possible. Even downgrading it to 900 Dtons was unsatisfactory. So this eventually drove me to figure out a number of formulas, so that this kind of munchkining couldn't be done. You had to design your ship, THEN you could use these formulae to figure out its characteristics, and THEN you would know the values. You could go back and adjust a few things here and there, but if you tweaked TOO much, the results of the formulas would be different, and you might have to tweak back to get the intended results.

Basically, it was about having more resolution. Instead of increments of 10 for ship size, there were increments of 2, for instance. More numbers means that smaller changes have meaning. There's no difference in the regular rules between a 100 ton ship and a 200 ton one, but in the rehash I started, there was one; there may have been several, I don't remember it all now. But for the sake of simplicity, and to aid back-of-the-envelop calculations, I did break down and make charts.
Combat doesn't necessarily have to go fast to be enjoyable, or is that memorable?
In a Ref Col game I ran my players did the raid on Kide to capture the patrol cruiser. (it's one of the adventure hooks for Kide in Path of Tears.)
Anyway, that combat; orbital drop on the airport and destruction of a Grav Cavalry company and the actual storming of the patrol cruiser, took us three gaming sessions of several hours each. After it was all over I went over my battle notes and counted up roughly how many 5 second combat turns we had played out. It came out to be about 2 minutes and 40 seconds from memory, if that. Yet it is still the most vividly recalled and fondly? remembered combats of that entire campaign which went on to span 4 in game years taking us two years to play.
Incidentally that same combat was the birthplace of three or four of the most long term, detailed, fully realized, and best loved NPC's the group ever had.(long live "Headless", "Chicken", and "Girlfriend".) Perhaps you shouldn't be in such a rush to get a technical or time consuming combat out of the way or over and done with.