Different products

Frequently Asked Questions about the Codex

Re: Different products

Postby JoseFreitas » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:51 pm

A few quick replies before I actually take the time and sit down to write down more things.

Galloglaich wrote:1) How fast did the combat go? How would you compare it to other systems in terms of speed.


Pretty fast. Not as fast as the basic AD&D rules, but then that's to be expected. Not significantly slower than the AD&D 2nd Edition rules with all the Combat & Tactics options. It went a little slower at the beginning, but the system of assigning MPs is VERY intuitive and everybody seemd to grasp the idea quite fast. There's a learning curve in the sense that players (well, me and the other player) have to try to get the feeling for when it's worth keeping MPs for defense, combining MPs for attacks and so on. But it's fast and as I said, intuitive.

It's certainly faster than HarnMaster or GURPS with all the frills, two systems I'm fairly familiar with. And it's easy to use, since from the mechanical point of view it's still D&D.

Galloglaich wrote:2) What kind of weapons and armor were you using? What kind of monsters or opponets were you fighting?


Three "famous" characters from my campaign: Falkyboot, Halfling Fighter/Thief 5/10 (Two weapon fighting with dagger and sword, Magical leather armor+2, Dex15, AC5 under the old system, or +5 under the new), Mazar Isharif, Human Ranger 8 (Two weapon fighting, Sword and Dagger, magical chain mail+2, Dex15, AC 2 under the old system, +8 under the new) and Rumbir, Dwarven Fighter Thief, 7/7 (Warhammer generally used two handed for an extra +1 dmg, magical plate mail+1, AC2 old system, +8 new system), plus Cassie Bryant, Henchman, Human Ranger 3 (Bastard sword, chain mail, Dex15, AC4 old system, +6 new).

Orks: 5 armed with scimitar and shield, chain mail, AC4 (+6 new system), 5 armed with halberd, chain mail, AC5 (+5 new system. 1HD each, 8 hp.

Ork Captain: 4HD, 25hp, Chain mail, AC5 (+5), Str+1 dmg, Pole axe.
Ork Lieutenants (3): 2HD, 14hp, chain mail and shield (AC4 or +6), heavy mace.
2 Dire Wolves. HD4, 30 hps each.

All chain mail was the equivalent of Mail Byrnie and the Plate Mail was Plate harness, for simplicity's sake. All shields equivalent to Viking roundshields.

Galloglaich wrote:3) Which weapon / strategies did you find most effective?

Halberds... VERY DANGEROUS!!! The orks only had one MP (excep for leader types), that was the only thing that saved the PCs hides, but with the Orks ganging up on them it was a close thing. Even with magic protection, they had a hard time with this. It was a tossup between the DR system (PCs armor took some of the dmg, but a lot more hits) and the no DR system, fewer hits, but all dmg. Both were dangerous.

We used a house rule I've used forever: if a weapon has more than 1' of reach over the opponent's, it takes the initiative automatically in the first exchange. With a few lucky blows the Orks did A LOT of damage initially. Also, they were able to keep a few of the Orks in onset range (you need a rule for this: how do different fighters attack a single target and cooperate to have one or two of them at Onset range and benefiting from the Reach bonus when all fighters have only one MP) to benefit from the Reac bonus of+7.

Twisting the Blade doesn't make Piercing weapons a little more dangerous: it can be a fight finisher! The ranger killed the Ork captain on a lucky critical by throwing all the MPs at the Twist.
Galloglaich wrote:4) Did you use missile weapons or just melee weapons?

Just melee, for now.
Galloglaich wrote:5) Which variant worked better no DR or armor as DR / Bypass?

Both worked well. Bypass had fewer hits (more difficult targets) but damage was greater, I think the fights were slightly faster. But it had other types of impacts. Players commit fewer defenses, sicne fewer attacks hit, the whole thing is alot more aggressive, and reverts slightly to the more abtsract D&D fight, but with a wholelot of fun options. I think a good middle ground. But the DR works quite well, with a slight tendency for fights to drag on a little more.
Galloglaich wrote:6) Were there any "derailments"? Did you get stuck on anything in particular?

Nothing got us particularly stuck, we're old hands at this and do not mind improvising. But some questions:

Fighting in Tight Spaces: I don't think the way you resolve the problem (-1MP) is good. What of the Orks, do they get 0MPs per round? We thought of having them able to only use 1MP for attacks every other round, with the remaining round having the MP mandatory for defense, but in the end this was unsatisfactory. We neded up assigning a penalty to hit to large swung weapons equal to their Reach bonus, but still not the perfect rule.

False edge Cutting. even though we didn't use feats in this fight (except for those necessary for two weapon fighting, and the Poll axe fighting for the lieutenants etc... (a small selection) this Feat raises some questions: what is False edge if you are assuming double edged weapons? this means that by definition they have no false edge... do you mean cutting on the return move, not just on the "entering" strike? Need clarification, please.

Feint:we feel the feat is not "powerful" enough, because for the most part you'll be sacrificing one MP to make your opponent lose 1 MP, therefore ending up in the same situation. I can see how it is ocasionally useful, but not so useful that anyone would pick this feat up. It could also be argued that feiting should be a general ability, not one requiring a feat.

I also disagree with the conversion you use for DR for animals hides/skins. It feels like it is too powerful, with most animals having the equivalent of chain mail or better! The solution seems to me to be assigning better dodge bonuses. Or more hit points.

For now this will have to do!
JoseFreitas
 
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Re: Different products

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:15 pm

Thanks for the description Jose, it's much appreciated, sounds very similar to my own experiences. Yes indeed a halberd is a dangerous weapon! Especially out in the open. Just like in real lifie. Did you do any 'grappling from a distance'?
Getting ganged up on is also very dangerous in the codex rules.

JoseFreitas wrote:We used a house rule I've used forever: if a weapon has more than 1' of reach over the opponent's, it takes the initiative automatically in the first exchange.


That is a pretty good house rule (especially for AD&D) do you roll initiative every round?

Twisting the Blade doesn't make Piercing weapons a little more dangerous: it can be a fight finisher! The ranger killed the Ork captain on a lucky critical by throwi[ng all the MPs at the Twist.
that is exactly how I wanted that to work, sounds very cinematic :)
Nothing got us particularly stuck, we're old hands at this and do not mind improvising. But some questions:

Fighting in Tight Spaces: I don't think the way you resolve the problem (-1MP) is good. What of the Orks, do they get 0MPs per round? We thought of having them able to only use 1MP for attacks every other round, with the remaining round having the MP mandatory for defense, but in the end this was unsatisfactory. We neded up assigning a penalty to hit to large swung weapons equal to their Reach bonus, but still not the perfect rule.


You may have a point. Maybe it would just be better to grant a Free Dice to everyone who is using short weapons instead? What do you think?

False edge Cutting. even though we didn't use feats in this fight (except for those necessary for two weapon fighting, and the Poll axe fighting for the lieutenants etc... (a small selection) this Feat raises some questions: what is False edge if you are assuming double edged weapons? this means that by definition they have no false edge... do you mean cutting on the return move, not just on the "entering" strike? Need clarification, please.


This is a fundamental feature of Western fencing. I know it's counterintuitive to people who haven't experienced it, maybe I should put in an extended sidebar in the rules book to explain the concept. Essentially, with western style double-edged swords, you cut with both edges in combat , the 'false' edge is the one which starts out facing the back of your hand instead of your knuckles (the side lined up with your knuckles is the 'true edge' or 'long edge'. This is especially critical for longer swords particularly those in the longsword / bastard sword / greatsword family. For some cuts (a lot of cuts) the false edge is actually faster, it is also a necessary aspect of some of your Miesterhau or master cuts, like the Shielhau and the Zwerchau, and critical for followup cuts; in the zucken you cut from true to false edge or false to true edge, it makes it much faster, it effectively doubles your speed because you don't have to turn the sword over, and allows for unexpected body mechanics such as with the plunging strike (Shilehau) which will go over an opponents guard (i.e. cut them even when they are parrying). Zwerch works much the same way even as it protects you from their cut.

Like the guy on the left executing a Zwerchau in this Talhoffer plate

Image

or the guy in the foreground executing a Schielhau in this Joachim Meyer print

http://www.higginssword.org/guild/study/manuals/meyer_illustrations/meyer_longsword_g.jpg

Here is a pretty good (somewhat dated) article on Mastercuts which explains some of these concepts.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/mastercuts.html

...but the Miesterhau is only one of numerous fundamental techniques in Western fencing which rely on the false edge. No part of the sword was made in vain, and they wouldn't have forged a double edge if they didn't need to use it.

Feint:we feel the feat is not "powerful" enough, because for the most part you'll be sacrificing one MP to make your opponent lose 1 MP, therefore ending up in the same situation. I can see how it is ocasionally useful, but not so useful that anyone would pick this feat up. It could also be argued that feiting should be a general ability, not one requiring a feat.


Feint is basically useful if you have a high Charisma (and or high bluff or intimidate skills), and goes especially well with a counterstroke or if you have initiaitive. A feint lets you control when your opponent runs out of MP. I have found it useful.

I also disagree with the conversion you use for DR for animals hides/skins. It feels like it is too powerful, with most animals having the equivalent of chain mail or better! The solution seems to me to be assigning better dodge bonuses. Or more hit points.


You are probably right about this, someone else brought it up as well. I was just using the standard SRD (OGL 3.5) rules on that without thinking too much about it, but all the DRs on the animals should probably be halved. I'll take another look at it.

G.
Last edited by Galloglaich on Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Different products

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:20 pm

JoseFreitas wrote:Pretty fast. Not as fast as the basic AD&D rules, but then that's to be expected. Not significantly slower than the AD&D 2nd Edition rules with all the Combat & Tactics options. It went a little slower at the beginning, but the system of assigning MPs is VERY intuitive and everybody seemd to grasp the idea quite fast. There's a learning curve in the sense that players (well, me and the other player) have to try to get the feeling for when it's worth keeping MPs for defense, combining MPs for attacks and so on. But it's fast and as I said, intuitive.

It's certainly faster than HarnMaster or GURPS with all the frills, two systems I'm fairly familiar with. And it's easy to use, since from the mechanical point of view it's still D&D.


I'm particularly happy to hear this. This has also been my own experience. A couple of reviwers who read the book said it was "realistic and fun but more complicated and therefore slower than DnD". I think that is a false paradigm. I don't think that is the case when compared to 3.5 DnD which I find very complicated i spite of being totally unrealistic. I believe the Codex is fast paced because nothing forces you to look at tables or do a lot of math (most math should be done beforehand while making your characters or writing up monsters) and you hold most of your combat options in your hand in the form of dice.

I also think it's better to put your luck into the dice (i.e. extra dice) before rather than after you roll. I want the players to have some control over their own destiny but I also place a high value on retaining immersion so i don't like rerolls.
Anyway I'm really looking forward to your review because I think you understand the system better already than a lot of people who read the rules and idn't play it before they wrote about it.


G.
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Re: Different products

Postby JoseFreitas » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:23 pm

Some answers:

1. No Grappling from a distance, we tried to keep it simple for the first time. We even only picked those 2 or 3 Feats we thought would be a nice addition to this particular fight.

2. We do roll initiative every round, 1d6. We roll... group initiative! I know this sounds extremely passé and grognard stuff, but it works very well and gives a certain "tactical" flavor which is different than the typical D&D fight. More wargame-like. In the rules as we play them, a tied initiative results in first blow of the round going to the faster weapon. In AD&D 1st every weapon has a speed, and light, easy to use weapons will tend to go before the others about 1/6 of the time. It's a simple easy to use rule which gives lighter weapons an advantage, without making it too big. Also, as per those rules, if the difference in speeds is big, the faster weapon may get in an extra blow (ie. an attack of opportunity).

3. Reach and confined spaces: I do not favor giving an extra MP for small weapons. What we did: a penalty to hit equal to the Reach Bonus, and if the confined space is really cramped, no Criticals can be scored, except possibly for thrusting strikes; you may add more restrictions in terms of MPs and Feats: for example, no using more than 1 MP per strike (ie. increases likelihood of Fumbles), or restricting some Feats. An idea from Harnmaster is to allow fighters to ignore the penaly to hit, but assign a % that an ally is hit (if fighting close quarters with a companion nearby) or of hitting a wall or obstacle, forcing a damage roll against the weapon. This % could be 5% or 10% per + of Reach Bonus.

4. False edge: OK, I see exactly what you mean. Since I'm not familiar with the "technical" terms in english of medieval/renaissance martial arts, I assumed you meant that the sword hand an ACTUAL false edge, as in "not really double edged blade" which is what was really bewildering me! Being a 15 year veteran of Taiji and Northern Style Jian I know exactly what it is, since it is an integral part of fencing with the Jian, especially more so given the "dueling" roots of a lot of the styles and the prevalence of "sticking and following" methods.

5. Feint: AD&D1 doesn't have skills. And I feel strongly that it should not be restricted to high Charisma since experience probably counts for more in this than innate ability. I'll think about this some more.

6. Speed of play, combat resolution, tables and whatnot. I equate speed of play with plenty of things, but one of them is how many rolls you need to resolve one exchange. In D&D this goes fast: roll to hit, roll for damage. Possibly roll for critical results. Harnmaster, on the other hand has: Roll for strike, roll for defense. Roll for hit location. Roll for Impact. Almost certainly roll for extra results from Combat Table (fumbles, stumbles, weapon breaking rolls) and from Injury tables (roll for shock, endurance, bleeding, amputate, decapitate). You will almost certainly have to roll at least for one of these things. So one exchange requires 2 rolls in D&D and 5 in Harnmaster. Now, Harnmaster is a great system which I dearly love, but it is slower and more complex, and not suitable for certain styles of play like I want with AD&D.

The other thing, though, is complexity in "options for fighting", and for me, 3rd or 3.5 is hopelessly complex and slow. Insisting on miniatures, 100's of feats and options make it very complex for me to run. I like to write "Boris the Brute, Fighter 5, CE, Hps 40, Str 16, Chain mail and shield, AC4, sword, Dmg 1d8+1" and that's enough. It makes my work as a DM that much more easy, and if I need more I'll make it up as I go. Of course, AD&D takes the abstraction to a level that makes fights less fun, but I'd rather have a system with not-that-much individual customization of PCs, and with 10-12 good combat options anyone can attempt, and with rules that permit sophistication in the choices the PCs have, than one that allows for customization, swamps us in 100's different combat feats, and in the end almost every fighter of level 1 to 8 has exactly the same feats since those are the good ones.

In this regards, Codex, even though it keeps some of the problem that 3.5 has, works very well. The same mechanics, so that we don't have to relearn everything, a lot of good options everybody can use, and the MP system which generates a lot of variation in outcomes and tactics. It is a little more complicated, but not that much. Plus, it doesn't really go slower than a AD&D fight with all the extras thrown in, and certainly doesn't go slower than your typical 3.5 fight (which I play a lot since my friend's campaign uses the Pathfinder rules). My only question now is DR vs. All Armor Bypass. I have to admit I'm undecided, but I'm going to go over a few more fights before making up my mind. I think that because of creature's AC, and in a slightly more "fantastic" vein, probably Armor Bypas makes more sense.

(I will add though, that Tables aren't always that bad - they've sort of fallen in disfavor but for complex games, with a good presentation, they do make play faster. See for example Rolemaster)

We'll see, but only after Easter, since I'm taking the week off with my family, and tuesday's session is now officially HeroClix day!
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Re: Different products

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:41 am

On AD&D vs 3E I started another thread:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=324&p=843#p843
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