AAR: Fallout

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AAR: Fallout

Postby Mercevial Xenn » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:50 pm

RE:

AAR: Fallout

So this one definitely had a different vibe than the Black Company.

I just read over the entire battle, concentrating on Storyteller updates and my posts specifically.

I found the addition of armour into the defensive mix was invaluable. Suddenly the chances of being hit by some fluke series of rolls became much less as there was a defensive back up.

Although Xenn never actually lost any health rungs, the battle with the brute felt scary and severe. He was one tough son of a bitch to take down!

Mechanically, I thought it went about how I figured it might. With a d6 for melee, Xenn should be kicking ass in hand to hand and that's the way it ended up. I'm thinking the axe I carry isn't the best weapon for me to have as it actually reduces my chances of hitting (being an Archaic Weapon). I'll be ditching that heavy piece of equipment and only using Archaic in a pinch.

(So question: is my compound bow archaic or ranged as far as which skill I use? Or have we foregone ranged, instead using pistol/rifle/thrown etc.?)

I found no issues with this battle as far as Xenn was concerned.

I'll be eager to see how healing processes are played out with Mordecai. There's a section on healing in the Window handbook that I found interesting. (Although stim packs are basically Fallout healing spells!)

Epic battle for the first one!
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Herzog » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:14 pm

I'll be the first to say that i was winging this combat a lot more than the Black Company. I had just a general idea for the combat, and just went for the flow. I was less concerned about the rolls and you guys knocking down raiders. The main enemy in the combat was the super mutant. The raiders were more superficial, except that brute that Xenn faced. Had to come up with something since he split off from the others. Which was fine.

The minions concept was also something that came up on the fly, more so out of lazyness than anything. But it worked out well to add flavor to the scene.

Here are my issues, if you can call them that....

Armor - it was kinda ignored....i am still unsure how and when to roll for armor. I had it built into the raiders stats so I wouldn't have to worry about it. But Xenn had armor....

Damage vs the health roll...should we be rolling against a static target number or against the opponents attack roll?

And lastly, I am wondering if we got some high stats on our characters...ie the d6's and d8's....

as far as healing...havnt thought that much. in real life, Mord would probably be laid up for a few weeks. But story wise, we may have some hand waving going on.

All in all, I am pleased with the way it turned out.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby PMiller » Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:36 am

Herzog wrote:I'll be the first to say that i was winging this combat a lot more than the Black Company. I had just a general idea for the combat, and just went for the flow. I was less concerned about the rolls and you guys knocking down raiders. The main enemy in the combat was the super mutant. The raiders were more superficial, except that brute that Xenn faced. Had to come up with something since he split off from the others. Which was fine.

All in all, I am pleased with the way it turned out.

Overall, the combat sequence was good and fun. The narration was great all around and that was a key to enjoyment using these rules. It introduced a few new things, and also pointed out areas we need to look at. The seat of the pants method worked out okay too since we are all learning and it really did not get into the way of things.

Like Black Company’s combat, it was on larger scale than I think The Window normally takes into account.

Mercevial Xenn wrote:Another thing I thought about was the effects of a 'perfect hit' (or a natural 1 on attack roll) Perhaps some bonus (drop 2 rungs instead of 1 / have an option to knock the character unconscious regardless of health rung)

Attack versus defense is all on track, though there is allowance for increased effectiveness when you have larger differentials that we have not taken into account. After re-reading things in The Window, it looks like a 1 beating a 10 is supposed to be much better than a 1 beating a 2 for contest rolls. If we started taking in differential into account, that would be better than adding in the ‘perfect hit’ concept just because a 1 was rolled.

Herzog wrote:And lastly, I am wondering if we got some high stats on our characters...ie the d6's and d8's...

There were some things that got converted to The Window on our characters that did not match our d20 sheets. Right off the top of my head Robyn’s d30 in ranged combat with the rifle and Xenn’s d6 in melee and Zak’s d6 in Disabling and repairing things. We probably should not have any d6’s in skill since that would be competency reflecting levels 12+ in d20 terms. It also allows for more disparity with the supernatural without having to add in fudge factors (like a +1 added to the die). I am even questioning Zak’s d8 in firearms as well, I did invest in Dexterity and Range Combat feats in d20 Modern… Dunno.

But we were busy during the conversion time for Fallout and I have gone through a lot more character generation in the conversions since then too. All skills and traits got capped at d8 without some Superpower type skill to unlock it. I also reworked how we do combat skills and that was not carried over to the Fallout sheets either.

These issues did impact combat too.

Mercevial Xenn wrote:Mechanically, I thought it went about how I figured it might. With a d6 for melee, Xenn should be kicking ass in hand to hand and that's the way it ended up. I'm thinking the axe I carry isn't the best weapon for me to have as it actually reduces my chances of hitting (being an Archaic Weapon). I'll be ditching that heavy piece of equipment and only using Archaic in a pinch.

(So question: is my compound bow archaic or ranged as far as which skill I use? Or have we foregone ranged, instead using pistol/rifle/thrown etc.?)
I would not ditch the axe idea yet. Because when we have finished here, I think you will have a good reason to keep it. ;)

Combat Skills are used to reflect the proficiencies for weapons that were handled as Feat Proficiency in d20 Modern. Other Feats could be treated as Superpowers if not included as competency of a Combat Skill instead. Certain List includes:
    Archaic Weapons Skill
    Armor Proficiency
    Unarmed Combat (includes Brawl and Combat Martial Arts)
    Exotic Melee Weapon Skill (Specific)
    Firearms Weapon Skill
    Heavy Weapons Skill
    Gunnery Skill
    Simple Weapons Skill
This is different than the Pathfinder conversion because d20 Modern was different. Technically, Firearms Weapon skill covers pistols, shotguns, and rifles. So Rob would be as proficient in the rifle as the pistol. Advanced Firearm proficiency would unlock using SMGs and Assault Rifles to the skill.

The knife is a Simple weapon along with a club/baton.

In d20 Modern, archaic covered Bows and Swords. Not really that realistic, but it reflects the investment of the feat into its training.

Since I wrote the Guide, I am open to making d20 modern more like Pathfinder in you have Ranged Combat and Melee Combat skills and they include the weapon proficiencies you take as additional Skills. But personally, I think Modern made it simpler for a reason since more emphasis was to be put on the other skills.

Herzog wrote:Damage vs the health roll...should we be rolling against a static target number or against the opponents attack roll?
Static number called Target Number (TN).

I do think we have been off in how we have been using Health Checks because we have been trying to self-resolve like we have been doing in the d20 rule sets.

Firearm combat is deadly. So is melee combat with axes. The idea of minions was an interesting concept. But we are all still feeling our way out for damage because The Window left it very open for interpretation.

We have sort of strayed by treating Health like HP. If we are trying to capture that from d20 Modern, then it does make some sense. But that is not really the spirit of The Window.

So when you shoot someone with a powerful firearm such as a 7.62mm rifle, it is deadly. So if you get hit, you are likely to be incapacitated. That would mean rolling a Health check against a TN of 3-4 maybe. Failure would drop you multiple rungs depending on how bad you failed. Success will still drop you a rung, but you are still in the fight because adrenaline is countering the pain if nothing vital got hit.

Where Xenn stabbed/sliced with a knife, the TN to resist might only be 6-8 on average and failure only drops one rung. Yet that big axe would be TN 4-5 to resist and could take the guy down 1-3 rungs depending on the result.

But those TNs on Health checks could become lower if the Attack beat the Defense by a larger margin. So that Rifle shot of 1 that beat Defense of 12, could very well be a head shot where the Health check is going to be TN 2 or be dead. Success means you survived, but are knocked out since the bullet grazed the skull to deflect instead of penetrated. On the other side the knife slash of 4 that barely beats the Agility of 5 is likely to only be a flesh wound unless the foe really flubs their Health Check against a TN 8.

Trying to standardize things too much might actually hurt the role-playing where there is supposed to be room for creativity and doing cool things.

Ultimately, rolling Armor and Health checks probably needs to be done by the GM for the foes. The PCs roll theirs too, but only after being given a target number by the GM. There will be less self-resolving of their attacks in combat for the players, but they in turn self-resolve themselves instead on the incoming attacks.

The hard part is determining the Target Numbers (TN) for the Armor and Health Checks. But if you start with the base of 6 and modify from there it might not be too bad. Such on the fly modifiers could be:
    Attack/Defense could be a tie, raises TN
    Attack/Defense differential could lower the TN by 1-3
    The weapon itself be more deadly could lower the TN
    The Attackers Strength could raise or lower TN
    The foe’s size (smaller than Small or larger than Large) could change the TN

Herzog wrote:The minions concept was also something that came up on the fly, more so out of lazyness than anything. But it worked out well to add flavor to the scene.
I was a fan of the minions and added it into the Guides.
However it actually introduces an exception that we probably do not need as I am looking forward to refining combat. If Health checks are made against fixed numbers, minions might just have d20 health as default and when hit by a bullet, they usually die when facing a target number of 3-4. If the minion was a rat, then the target might be even lower at 1.

Herzog wrote:Armor - it was kinda ignored....i am still unsure how and when to roll for armor. I had it built into the raiders stats so I wouldn't have to worry about it. But Xenn had armor...
Yeah, that sort of went out The Window (heh, heh).

Armor is king for these games. I think it is supposed to be rolled to resist damage and a fixed target number. That number would vary depending on the attack being resisted. Failure can substitute Armor taking damage instead of moving on to a Health check.

It is probably something that needs to be more on the Story Teller side of the dice rolling instead of the players trying to self-resolve.

Herzog wrote:as far as healing...havnt thought that much. in real life, Mord would probably be laid up for a few weeks. But story wise, we may have some hand waving going on.
I suppose that really depends on how you are interpreting the drop to his Health. If he was just beat up, then some first aid and short rest will be okay.

New issues: How to handle cover, range, and being prone. I have thoughts on these too, but want to finish up the other ones first.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Robin » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:37 am

Very good comments, guys. I enjoyed reading what you had to say and seeing how you saw the combat.

I have a somewhat different perspective than everyone else, it seems. I did not enjoy the combat. It felt like my character was completely ineffective, and while he is not supposed to be very good at combat, he is not really supposed to be useless at this point - or at least he wouldn't be if we were still using Modern.

PMiller has addressed one of these issues, that Robin is not really supposed to be at d30 in rifles and he should be at d20 due to his firearms proficiency. That is good, and would be an improvement. But I still don't feel that it would get him back to the level of success vs. failure as when he was statted in Modern. Robin was rolling d20s for a time due to Zak's special ability, and it didn't really make much of a difference.

I think I know why, and I'll get to that in a moment.

First, I feel like I need to address the idea of my "bad dice luck". I know we joke about it and it seems quite real, even to me, but of course, there is no such thing as dice karma or the universe making me roll poorly. If you were to add up all my rolls and compare them with everyone else's, I'm sure I would succeed and fail statistically as much as the rest of you. I only notice because it's become such a joke, and confirmation bias causes me to remember the failures and dismiss the successes, so it plays out exactly the way I think it will, because I subconsciously want it to.

So for the purposes of this AAR, I am going to assume that I do not roll poorly because of "dice karma", but I only notice failures because I have conditioned myself to. This would seemingly invalidate my original premise - that I failed a lot in this combat, and that means there is a flaw we need to address in the system. But I don't think so. I think there is a flaw in the basic setup of the Window system itself. Typically, this flaw is not evident or a very big deal because of the way most people use the Window. But I feel we use the Window differently than most people do, and it really brings the flaw to light.

Here's why.

If you look at the mechanics of what we are doing with these rolls, the first roll is simply to see if you succeed or fail at the task itself. So you are basically rolling against yourself, to see if you perform the action correctly. Get a six or lower, you performed it correctly. Get a seven or higher, you did not. That's your first test.

Your second test is actually the opposed check vs. agility of your foes. Now you compare your total against the foe's, and if the foe gets a lower number than you did, you fail.

The third or even fourth tests involve armor and health. A successful armor check by a foe can negate or minimize your successful attack. A successful health roll can minimize your attack. I know we weren't using armor, but we are discussing doing so.

With d20, you have exactly one roll that covers the first, second, and third tests. Hit vs. AC. You don't have the first test of checking to see if you perform your action correctly; it is assumed you know how to use your weapon, and you aren't flinging your sword around by the tips of your fingers, or lining up your arrow the wrong way; a miss is due to the fact that your foe is quicker or more armored than you. That's it. Of course, going up levels and getting better BAB lets you succeed more often. But the actual mechanical part of the check is ALWAYS vs. AC, not vs. your own competency. And that's the difference. Conceptually, you are getting better because you have more experience. But mechanically, you are always checking against foes' AC, which also gets better and better as you go up in levels.

So what the Window is doing is giving you multiple chances to fail, an issue that is exacerbated if your weapon skill is low. Since foe agility is typically better than than a d20 or d30, and armor is the same, they have a better chance of succeeding at their check than you did, statistically. It is more likely you will fail.

I will note here that this effect is minimized if your weapon skill is very high - at d8, you fail rarely, and d6, you don't fail the first check at all. But few of our characters have skills this high, and we are talking about the fact that the ones that do might be too high for the level of this game. So if we knock back Mordecai or Xenn's skill levels, they will feel more of the effects of this problem.

Now what I meant when I said that this is probably not an issue for most Window players is that I feel like we are using the Window in a way that most don't. The spirit of the Window was for rules-lite gaming, where combat is infrequent and needs to be resolved quickly so you can get on with the story, but also needs to be randomized in a way that throws some uncertainty into the result and doesn't let things be completely freeform.

However, the flow of this game is not like that. I feel we are playing this game as if it is still a d20 Modern game, just subbing out Window rules for the d20. So combat is run as if we are still in d20 Modern - that is to say, frequently, and a focal point of the storyline. In a game where the combat happens maybe once every six months and is brief, not a big deal. But in a game where the storyline moves from one combat encounter to the next, and combat is supposed to be one of the primary challenges, the Window is not optimally suited, since advancement happens relatively slowly in comparison. In d20 Modern, going up a level could mean your AB goes up as much as +3, if you take into consideration level-based BAB advancement, potential feats you could take, and the ability to raise your attributes. Even if you don't boost it that high, you typically get another +1 at least.

Also, your AB advancement happens independently of your skill advancement. You typically don't have to choose between boosting a skill or boosting your ability to attack, except in cases of deciding what feat to take. But you still typically get your BAB boost with (almost) every level, and your skill boost at every level. Not so in the Window. If you want to advance your skill in any non-combat skill, you need to prioritize that over improving a combat skill. So that also slows down your advancement.

Again, it's probably not a typical problem for how most use the Window. But given how we use it, with this combat focus, it is.

Anyway, I am not arguing against using the Window here, or suggesting we go back to Modern, or suggesting we change anything at all. I am just pointing out what I noticed and what my experience was, and the conclusions I drew from that. I see that your guys' experiences were very different, and I'm glad. And my own experience would probably be quite different if I had a combat-focused character and I succeeded more. But the combo of a non-combat focused character and the way we are using the Window makes it less enjoyable for me, and will probably inform both character choices and game choices I make in the future, so this has been very valuable for me vis-a-vis exploring my likes and dislikes.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby PMiller » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:54 pm

I do not see Opposed rolls as needing to first beat a TN of 6. Now I understand why you thought some rolls were a miss without even rolling Raider Agility. So really a 13 Attack that beats a 14 Agility is still a hit. Since I speed read the rules, if that is a mistake, let me know.

Realistically minions probably should have more d20s than d12s because combat is going to be deadlier.

I am not sure which AAR I said this in now, but Armor rolls to negate attacks is not the way we should be going. That is my fault for doing that before. Armor is a target choice to use to negate damage like a Health Roll. In some cases, even succeeding an armor check would not mean a person was uninjured ether. Armor can stop a bullet, but we are not talking it pinging off like Superman, but the target is knocked down at least. Instead of taking 3 rungs off health, their armor holds and they only took 1 rung off of health. And instead of taking damage to Health the target hit can decide to have damaged armor instead if applicable.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Mercevial Xenn » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:00 pm

PMiller wrote:I do not see Opposed rolls as needing to first beat a TN of 6. So really a 13 Attack that beats a 14 Agility is still a hit.


Now THAT makes better sense.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Herzog » Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:27 pm

First, sorry that you didn’t enjoy the combat, Robin. Not sure what more to say about that, except I’ll try to think of more non-combat encounters. It’s just the nature of the setting I suppose. And you have a valid point that we are probably moving away from the spirit of The Window as far as how combat is run and the game in general. I got that feeling with the Black Company as well. But because we’re in a combat oriented game, straight Window rules are too loose in a sense. Anyway, we’ve really come up with a hybrid system


Anyway, Circling back around on this:

So to recap from what all has been said by Pmiller and such for combat

1.) The attack roll itself to determine if you succeed is the opposed roll vs opponents defense. Normally, this would be agility, correct. What about the instances like Xenn were he has Melee defense? Player chooses the higher rung?
2.) Once an attack succeeds, then we determine damage. Damage is against a TN based on weapon and situational modifiers. If the player fails, then he loses a rung (s) of health.
3.) Armor: If the player is wearing armor, they can decide to lose a rung off the armor rating to negate health damage. For instance…PC has d20 armor, gets shot. He fails his TN health check, so he would normally lose a rung of health. Instead, he decides that the shot penetrated his armor, but still stopped most of the force of the shot…but now the armor is less effective and loses the rung instead, going to d30.

Do I understand that correctly?

Another thing, should a Luck roll to negate damage still be rolled against a TN or an automatic loss of a rung?

Also, I am thinking we need to revamp the characters…for the reasons Pmiller has already said about having too high of traits…
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby PMiller » Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:03 am

Herzog wrote:And you have a valid point that we are probably moving away from the spirit of The Window as far as how combat is run and the game in general. I got that feeling with the Black Company as well. But because we’re in a combat oriented game, straight Window rules are too loose in a sense. Anyway, we’ve really come up with a hybrid system
Yeah, The Window is not really a combat rule system. But the point of combat is to be cinematic instead of rote hack-n-slash. I thing we would realistically avoid large combat encounters anyway, even in this genre. But smaller scale conflicts would be fine. They will be deadly and fast… feels appropriate actually.

Herzog wrote:So to recap from what all has been said by Pmiller and such for combat
1.) The attack roll itself to determine if you succeed is the opposed roll vs opponents defense. Normally, this would be agility, correct. What about the instances like Xenn were he has Melee defense? Player chooses the higher rung?
2.) Once an attack succeeds, then we determine damage. Damage is against a TN based on weapon and situational modifiers. If the player fails, then he loses a rung (s) of health.
3.) Armor: If the player is wearing armor, they can decide to lose a rung off the armor rating to negate health damage. For instance…PC has d20 armor, gets shot. He fails his TN health check, so he would normally lose a rung of health. Instead, he decides that the shot penetrated his armor, but still stopped most of the force of the shot…but now the armor is less effective and loses the rung instead, going to d30.

Do I understand that correctly?
I would say a Skill that is better and applicable can be used in defense instead of Agility. Unarmed Combat is good example in a brawl. Melee Combat skill would work that way as well, where Ranged Combat Skill would not.

Re: Armor: Yeah, I think you got it. As long as the situation makes sense, though. PC gets shot, fails armor check. They can drop the armor a rung to turn that into a success instead.

However, rolling all at once, I can see the decision being made after knowing results of both Armor and Health Check. But getting hit and passing Health Check doesn’t mean you don’t lose a rung of Health since it depends on the weapon. Bullet wounds are going to probably drop a rung of Health even on a success.


Herzog wrote:Another thing, should a Luck roll to negate damage still be rolled against a TN or an automatic loss of a rung?
Luck rolls against the TN. If failed, then PC can choose to sacrifice rung of Luck to make it a success instead.

Herzog wrote:Also, I am thinking we need to revamp the characters…for the reasons Pmiller has already said about having too high of traits…

I will try looking at that soon. I have been gaffing it off.

But the approach should probably be, start level 1 and then level-up by adding +8XP per level (16 since we are level 3).
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Robin » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:02 am

Herzog wrote:First, sorry that you didn’t enjoy the combat, Robin. Not sure what more to say about that, except I’ll try to think of more non-combat encounters. It’s just the nature of the setting I suppose. And you have a valid point that we are probably moving away from the spirit of The Window as far as how combat is run and the game in general. I got that feeling with the Black Company as well. But because we’re in a combat oriented game, straight Window rules are too loose in a sense. Anyway, we’ve really come up with a hybrid system


No, please don't apologize. It's not your fault. You are doing a great job and the my issues are with the rules and my character. I don't want you change anything about what you are doing, because it's obviously working for everyone else. It IS the nature of the setting for things to be so dangerous and for us to engage in so many fights. If a medic wasn't so badly needed, I could change up my character to a combat-focused one and all would be well. But I think we need Robin in this group. So I will stick with what I have, and all will be good.

When you guys finalize the parameters for the re-build, let me know and I'll add it to my list of sheets to re-do. HAHAHAHA.
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Zak » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:03 am

Robin wrote:If a medic wasn't so badly needed, I could change up my character to a combat-focused one and all would be well. But I think we need Robin in this group. So I will stick with what I have, and all will be good.
Even so, I think it will be better once his combat skills reflect his d20 Modern Skills. A d12 in Firearms Weapon Skill is much different than d30.

Robin wrote:When you guys finalize the parameters for the re-build, let me know and I'll add it to my list of sheets to re-do. HAHAHAHA.
I think all that’s needed is for Herzog to approve the method I used to redo Zak. But after seeing your sheet and mine redone, I think that is a no-brainer. :mrgreen:
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Re: AAR: Fallout

Postby Herzog » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:13 am

Yea, looks good to me.
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