Investigative Combat - A Different Approach

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Investigative Combat - A Different Approach

Postby Jaeger » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:11 am

Investigative Combat Round
Rifts and many Palladium games on PbP often seem prohibitive in terms of using skills and observations during combat. Why? Because you are posting an entire set of melee actions per post, meaning the information you have in the first action is the exact same as the last action. You don't have ANY new information until 15 seconds later in-game time (4-9 actions depending on the PC!). That's okay in Rifts or say HU2 because the PC's are designed to take a beating and any new info can be assimilated into the next round of combat. In BTS-2, the stakes are much higher and the enemies much deadlier. In most cases you may have just plain old clothes on and wielding nothing more dangerous than a ball-point pen while your enemy has scads of SDC and 6-inch blades for teeth!

Fact is, BTS-2 is based on paranormal investigation and suspense, where combat prowess is not your strong point. Yes, you'll see plenty of combat in this BTS-2 game, because it's fun and scary -- but I aim to make it Investigative in nature! How? Read on!

When threatened, instead of going into a straight-up "bash 'em up" melee round, your PC's will get an Investigative Combat Round. What this means is that you can use observations (you'll get answers based on your Perception rolls), Skills and sensory abilities to LEARN about the situation you are facing.

What you can do in an Investigative Combat Round:
:arrow: You can observe any object/person in your environment and ask ONE question about it per the number of actions you possess in a melee round. This means you can ask questions about that thing, i.e. "is the demon beneath a heavy object I could knock free with TK to hit him?" or "What direction is the murderer looking at the beginning of our melee round? Is it away from me, because I need to know if I can use my prowl to sneak up on him!"
:arrow: You may elect to use ONE observational skill, i.e. Lore: Demons and Monsters during this Investigative Combat Round.
:arrow: You may elect to use ONE observational/sensory ability, spell or psionic power, i.e. "Sense Evil" during this Investigative Combat Round.
:arrow: You may use equipment such as a camera zoom lens, scope, binoculars, imaging device (thermal, UV, etc.) to help you make observations as explained above during this Investigative Combat Round. If it wasn't in your hand or hanging around your neck when the GM calls an Investigative Combat Round, you'll have to do without it :(

What you may NOT do in an Investigative Combat Round:
:arrow: Physically move other than the small movements it may take to activate an ability or use a piece of observational equipment readily at hand.
:arrow: Use any offensive or defensive ability, spell, psionics (fireball spell, TF Force Field, etc.)
:arrow: Take any offensive or defensive action (punch, tackle, take cover, roll, etc.)
:arrow: Manipulate anything in any way. The point is to OBSERVE not AFFECT! GM will rule on any ambiguity!
:arrow: Speak. You can think to yourself, but you can't speak.

Let's take a look at an example of an Investigative Combat round (maximizing the amount of things possible as mentioned):

Investigative Combat Round wrote:Perception: 18+4=22
JIC: 7, 38%
Initiative: 5+1=6
Current Conditions: Temporary Insanity: Afraid of the Dark
APM: 4

Action 1: Look at man with knife. Are his legs close enough together that he'd lose his balance easily?
Action 2: Look at woman with cut arm. Does she appear ready to run if we cause a distraction?
Action 3: Cast "Sense Evil"
Action 4: Use Crime Scene Investigation Skill to pick up anything the untrained eye might miss.

Seeing the gruesome murder scene before her, Gwen's mind immediately goes into action considering an escape plan but also concerned that not everything may appear as it seems. I want to make sure that guy with the knife is the real bad guy here... I'd hate to be caught off guard!

Okay, so there you have it. The PC above could have used all 4 actions to ask more questions. Or they could have asked 3 and chosen to just use 1 skill and skip casting "Sense Evil". But they could not have used "Sense Evil" AND "See Aura" in the same round due to the restrictions above.

How long is an Investigative Combat round? Much shorter than a melee round. Approximately 3 seconds -- in real life it seems like slow motion, seeing that danger come towards you, every little detail snapping into place to create a burning image in your mind! We've all been there, whether on the sports field or perhaps a fight or just seeing an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend suddenly appear! Good news: The enemy will NOT directly affect you this round (with the exception of HF and perhaps other passive abilities).

Once all Investigative Combat Round posts are in (and you can edit yours based on new ideas that come to you up until the GM posts, then it's locked), the GM will make a post telling you all what you observed. At that point, the normal melee round that you're all familiar with will commence, as you all hope that you asked the right questions to survive the encounter!

NOTE: One advantage of this is that if you fail a Horror Factor check, you WILL know in the GM's response to your Investigative Combat Round and RP out your "stunned state" for the first action and having your initiative reduced to zero!

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