Is the reaction system getting removed

It's a broad topic, but it's essentially anything pre-gun era. Warrior Heroes, Red Sand Blue Sky, Rally Round the King for a start.

Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Deathworks » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:19 am

Hello!

I have started doing a dungeon crawl with 2HDC, mixing up rules (including the campaign add-on). I really love the idea of the reaction system in that the side not active may strike back at times during the active side's turn to get away from the strict IGO UGO, as you call it. Searching through the rules I have, I found that in the fantasy section for personal level play, only the old Sword Play and WHL have more or less the full reaction system, with WHAA having the proto-types for it. Talomir Tales, for instance, seem to be going IGO UGO. Am I missing something or is that a trend at THW?

Yours,
Deathworks
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Buffrockjaw » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:45 am

It's rolled into the "action table" rolls. You could be active, or you could be inactive (but still reacting to the active player).
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Mehman » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:30 pm

I had similar thoughts the other day - well, for the past few months, actually. The IGO UGO idea didn't occur to me, but the streamlining that has been occurring in recent titles seems like a huge departure from rulesets that are just a few years old. The "crunch" is going away, and I don't know why.
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Buffrockjaw » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:23 pm

I think it's to rope more new gamers in. There are still some titles with mechanics similar to the "old" ones, I have Star Army 2nd Tour and Hammer and Anvil, and they still use the different color dice for activations and in-sight tests.
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Mehman » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:48 pm

I'm talking more about the complexities of the tables in the rulesets, the use of the Battle Board for combat, etc. I should have been more clear, Buff. You do bring up a good point about Activation and In Sights, though.

For instance, the new Talomir Tales has an option to go hunting (and also gathering), which is always a fun thing to do. This had me remembering the tables and instructions in After the Horsemen and the supplements for All Things Zombie for hunting. It really made you see your character stalking, aiming, and bringing down game, all the while wondering if you'd generate a PEF or, worse, get mauled by a bear or something. I was baffled to find all that information packed into a 2d6 table for Talomir Tales.

I'm not trying to tarnish the Talomir Tales mechanics in the least. At the end of the day, I can always port in the Reaction System, expanded rules from WHL, WHAA, Sword Play 2015, and whatever else I fancy into the ruleset. Or, rather, use the scenarios with the mechanics I prefer. This new way of doing things just isn't my cup of tea, though I do hope it brings in new gamers, as you say, Buff.
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Buffrockjaw » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:40 pm

In defense of "crunchy" rules I am starting to wrap my head around "in sight test" (like in Star Army 2nd Tour) and finding that I like it.
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Deathworks » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:49 pm

Hello!

I was also among those who were turned off by needing minis and a table. But by the time the necessity for the table was removed (I think Lovecraft's Revenge started it), I actually began liking having the PEFs moving on the table.

As for the reaction system - it is simply that it tells an individual story for me. The received fire test, for instance. There is the young guy carrying his bow into his first real big fight. He gets shot at but missed. Does he have the nerve to fire back, or is he too scared and ducks back? By granting the figure a test to check how it reacts, life is breathed into it, whereas a single table that depends only on the initial shot leaves things rather automatic and in my eyes a bit lifeless.

That telling of stories by the dice is actually what sets THW titles apart for me. This is why I want to use THW titles for dungeon crawling or adventuring, even though there are tons of other dungeon crawlers or fantasy games with lots more magic and magic items, a bigger list of monsters. For me, at least, that is what THW makes special for me.

Anyhow, as you pointed out, there is nothing preventing me from mixing the rules as I need them and maybe even adjusting them altogether to my needs. After all, Ed always reminds us to make the games our own.

It is just that I am saddened to see this change in agenda.

Yours,
Deathworks
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby stryderg » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:37 pm

I would like to pile on here...ummm, I mean, offer my opinion, as well.

I played the original 5150 where each race had a different reaction table and weapons had different impact values based on the target's armor (so you sort of rolled a classic to-hit / to-damage, sort of). I liked going through the meta-gaming aspects of creating my own tables for other aliens, figuring out which weapons worked best vs which armor, etc.

Then I got a real job and my already scant play time seemed to evaporate. So I welcome the change to faster battles, fewer tables, etc.
The trade off is fewer details. It took me a while to convert from my D&D mindset (sword = 2d6, long sword = 2d6+2, etc) to realizing that getting hit with either a sword or a mace is going to hurt.
So now, what breathes life into the characters is more my imagination than the tables. Still a great set of rules, and don't forget the challenge test!
Diplomacy is the weapon of the civilized warrior.
-- A. T. Hun (Robert Aspirin)
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby davidlhsl » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:24 pm

This is a fantastic conversation, and I have to admit that I've been thinking about this topic myself. However, I realize that I've actually been playing games battleboard style before it was incorporated into the rules. When you're playing an encounter where you're just moving across town to meet someone for a job offer, or when you're in a tavern chillin', moving your group and PEFs on a map seems to be the wrong tool for the wrong job. A lot of my games, in fact, have been just me sitting at a table, dumping a bunch of d6 in two -- or sometimes more -- colors, and playing an encounter using the dice as figures (turning the numbers up to indicate Rep and weapon target rating). The dice don't move; they are positioned against who they're attacking when battles break out. Often, I don't even crack open a rulebook; I'll just wing it based on what I recall from the various tables.

But there are times where setting up a map, whether using grids on a spreadsheet or drawing them on a wet-erase battle mat or sheet of paper, enhances the action and the narrative. This is especially the case where you're raiding an enemy base, facing a final boss, or foraging for supplies in ATZ. The activation system where it's frequently possible for each side to miss turns due to rolling their die higher than their rep amps the tension. There is nothing like trying to flee a firefight where your activation rolls pin you into place for a turn (or several), watching helplessly as zombies amble towards you, or escorting a prisoner in Six Gun Sound while a pair of outlaws sit perched on a far hill and don't move. What happened on that last example? I imagined them arguing with each other over the best course of action to take.

I also like the ATZ use of activation for triggering random events. In one scenario I introduced to my nephews, we each selected a random event for me to list on a table. The scenario was to travel to a restaurant to eat dinner. My older nephew suggested "poop in your pants" to add on the list, and I gladly did so. When we arrived at the parking lot and got out, a PEF resolved into gangers attacking us. A random event triggered, and the poop event was rolled. I randomly determined which one of us pooped, and it was the nephew who suggested it. It was hilarious, and I determined it would give us a negative modifier on getting a table once we got inside. We never did because we got wiped out, but that's another story.

But the non-tabletop way of playing allows things like Larger Than Life scenarios to flow from one part of the quest to the next more smoothly. Playing the action in the theater of the mind can fill in a lot of the blanks, and I'll often use more challenge tests and other non-PEF related activities than I would in a tabletop setting where I have a focused objective in front of me on the table to achieve.

Another area I have mixed feelings about is phasing out the testing for successes (roll Rep number of dice +/- modifiers, with 1/2/3 being successes) in favor of rolling 2d6 (with modifiers for both number of dice and Rep) and comparing to see which side has passed more dice. I think successes works really well for opposed challenge rolls, especially for Talk the Talk. But making the switch in melee combat has resulting in battles feeling pretty much the same, so the switch didn't feel so bad in this case.

What's really exciting about the new releases, however, is that we're now getting battle boards and counters in these rules, and the newer rulesets are including both generic encounters followed by a generous set of prewritten encounters that are a lot of fun to play. If you're already familiar with the way the mechanics work, you can quickly review the rules and start playing very quickly. In fact, I've often procrastinated in the past with playing table top style, where these latest rules have resulted in me dumping out my dice and diving in.

In the end, it's all about having a nice tool chest of options. Hopefully, all options will be made available for players to use what works best for them.
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Re: Is the reaction system getting removed

Postby Buffrockjaw » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:18 am

This has been a very helpful (to me at least) topic. I've narrowed down what I like personally to the action table/battleboard but, LOTS of tables to use in between battles if needed/wanted.
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