July 25, 2013

[Let's Look At] Mutants & Machine-Guns: A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG, Part 10: Sample Combat

Several weeks ago, I was delighted to find a couple friends of mine in my hometown have been up to something exciting, and I thought what better way than to launch a new series of posts to revive this long-dead blog. [Let's Look At] is where I try to read through and dissect every chapter and corner of a new RPG that I have yet to play, and explore it with all of my musings about its design, some notes, and experimental plays to better understand it. I don't really intend these examinations to be a review of the game, but rants and raves may seep through the seams at times.

For the past [Let's Look At] posts, I started going into the character creation process for Mutants & Machine-Guns. Now that I have a character for each of the Races (Pure Human, Mutant Human and Evolved Animal), I can move on to the next part of the rules that I wanted to test out with these characters.

To test out the Combat, I would be creating a simple scenario to test run the Combat rules and see if there are any deficiencies that would need to be addressed, but more importantly for me is to see how smooth and/or easy combat can be run by me as GM.

For the sample scenario, I would have my characters be attacked by a group of four Spike Mushrooms; the sample critters that were provided at the end of the rules, using the battle field that is provided.

So let's begin:

After traveling for days across the wasteland in search for anything they could salvage, our characters have stumbled upon a wreck site. Delighted that they may find something useful stashed underneath the wreckage, their joy was shortlived when they heard angry chattering surrounding them. Little do our characters know, they had walked into a temporary lair of a group of Spike Mushrooms, and the owners are not too happy in having guests.

To begin combat, all the combatants are placed at the ends of the battlefield with the characters on plane A, while the Spike Mushrooms are on plane F. For the sake of this combat, I would consider that my Mutant Human character had generated 1 Detonating Pod from her Mutation for the day, which she keeps as her equipment.

Combat Setup

As combat begins, we first decide who would go first. So each of my characters would roll their own separate Combat Rolls, while I decided that the Spike Mushrooms would share the same Combat Roll for their order.

Pure Human rolls 7 from 2d6 plus his Combat ability of 2 for a total of 9.
Mutant Human gets a 7 too and her Combat ability is also a 2 for a total of 9. 
Evolved Animal gets a 5 from his 2d6 roll, but add a 3 from his Combat ability for a total of 8.

The Spike Mushrooms all share a roll of 12 and with their Combat ability of 1, they go at 13.

While my Pure Human and Mutant Human share the same initiative count because of their same results, neither of them would need to re-roll or compare their Combat ability because in Mutants & Machine-Guns, it says that characters that get the same Combat Roll result would act simultaneously. 

So this would be the initiative order for this sample scenario.

Spiked Mushrooms 13
Pure Human 9 (simultaneous)
Mutant Human 9 (simultaneous)
Evolved Animal 8

Round 1
Armed with nothing but their spiked heads, all the Spike Mushrooms use the Move action to move up one plane as they angrily chatter amongst themselves on what they should do to these scavenging invaders.

Up next, unable to reach the Spike Mushrooms with their ranged weapons (both with a range of 2), the Pure Human and Mutant Human also take the Move action to move up a plane as well.

Lastly, the Evolved Animal gripping his Battle Axe and eager to have a bite at his enemies also charges forward with a Move action.
At the end of Round 1

Round 2
Seeing their enemy getting closer, the Spike Mushroom advance as they want to get closer to engage with their enemy and use the Move action once again to move up to plane D.

Finally within range of their weapons, Pure Human pumps his Shotgun and fires into one of the Spike Mushroom. He uses the Attack action and makes a Combat Roll against the DEF of the Spike Mushroom to see if he hits. Rolling a 6 out of 2d6 and adding his Combat ability of 2, he hits a DEF of 8, which exceeds the Spike Mushroom's Defense of 5. As the buckshot tears into the flimsy body of the Spike Mushroom, it deals 5 Damage out of 1d6+3, just enough to put the Spike Mushroom out of commission.

The Mutant Human seeing that a blast from the Shotgun is able to kill a Spike Mushroom, tries using her Pistol from the same range to get the same effect on another Spike Mushroom. She rolls a 5 for her Combat Roll, adding a 2 from her Combat ability which hits a DEF of 7; more than the DEF of the other Spike Mushroom. Not as effective as a powerful Shotgun though, her Pistol only deals 3 damage from 1d6 but badly hurts the Spike Mushroom by taking its Hitpoints down to 2.

After firing their weapons, both Pure Human and Mutant Human will have to roll 2d6s each to see if they need to reload. The Pure Human gets a 6 and 2, while the Mutant Human rolls a 4 and 3. So both of them are free to fire again in the next round. 

Not distracted by the bangs of his allies weapons, the Evolved Animal runs close towards the enemy, gripping his Battle Axe ever tighter and grinding his teeth to bite into some Spike Mushroom.
End of Round 2
Round 3
Seeing one of their own being taken out further enraged the unwounded Spike Mushrooms as they charge in and use a Move action to enter into plane C where the Evolved Animal had entered in the last round. But for the one that took a shot is starting to falter and decides to fall back into plane E to make towards the exit.

Charging headlong into the Evolved Animal, both the remaining Spike Mushroom rushed towards him head first with their spikes as they try to impale him. The first Spike Mushroom rolls a 9 out of 2d6 and adds 1 for their Combat ability for a total of 10, which is more than the Evolved Animal's unmodified DEF of 9. The Spike deals 4 Damage to the Evolved Animal.

For the second attacker, the Spike Mushroom gets a total of 9 for his Combat Roll, which is barely enough to rip into the Evolved Animal and deals another 3 Damage to the him. Taking both hits head-on, the Evolved Animal is weaken down to 4 Hitpoints from his original 11.

Seeing the ruthlessness of the enemy in close combat, the Pure Human decides that it would be best to support his wounded comrade if he could down one more Spike Mushroom with his Shotgun. Since there aren't any penalties for firing into close combat In Mutants & Machine-Guns, so without hesitation he fires another shot at one of the Spike Mushroom engaging with the Evolved Animal. Hitting at a DEF of 8 with his Combat Roll, the Pure Human's Shotgun blows a hole into the Spike Mushroom with 8 Damage, killing it.

Not willing to let her target get away, the Mutant Human pursues it and uses a Move action to move into plane C. Aiming down her sights, she rolls a total of 8 for her Combat Roll and hits the fleeing Spike Mushroom, putting a bullet through its spiked head and downing it with an additional 2 Damage that it had sustained earlier.

Both Pure Human and Mutant Human cock their firearms once again and still find another bullet loaded into their chambers (Pure Human: 1,3, Mutant Human: 5,6).

Taking a real good beating from the initial charge of the Spike Mushroom, the Evolved Animal smiles a sadistic grin from his bloodied maw as the rush of close combat fuels his primal instincts. With a predator's eyes, he swings his Battle Axe at the standing Spike Mushroom and hits it with a total Combat Roll of 8. With one mean swing, he cleaves his opponent into two and kills it with 5 Damage.

Combat Ends

Well, that scenario ended a little easier than expected but it did give a real good sense of how combat feels like. There weren't a lot of variables that could have happened in this combat, although I wanted to try out the Flee action but that would seem to require tougher opponents to outlast from being fired upon.

Some of my thoughts after this combat.

For the sake of speeding up combat, I think combatants should be allowed to use the Move action twice, so that enemies or characters that need to get into close combat won't have to waste their turn by just moving and not doing anything for their second action.

It's either that or there should be some form of penalty to firing into close combat because as witnessed from my Pure Human character, they are more than happy to stay behind and out of harms way while they keep using their ranged weapons until they have to reload.

Although I had initially thought of having only one sample combat scenario, but there were a few other concerns that were at the back of my mind while I was playing this one out, but the critters were not tough enough to let me see those concerns being played out. So to demonstrate some problems that I foresee in this combat rules, I'm going to be running another sample scenario with some tougher enemies then may be I be able to see what happens.

So I will see you again in the next post of [Let's Look At] as the adventure of our characters continue.        

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