The quest for inclusive space combat continues
So, continuing on from last nights post regarding how my game went, i’ve been giving more thought this morning to how I can improve space combat in my Rogue Trader FATE game, in order to get to the point I want the space combat in my game is going to have to meet two criteria:
- The space combat should be short/quick enough so that any people not involved are not sat out of the game for an extended period.
- It should involve a series of rolls rather than just a single dice roll.
Dissecting what happened in yesterdays game
When we were engaged in the space combat part of the session yesterday, the turn sequence ran as follows:
- The navigator piloting the ship moving the ship.
- The Lord Admiral making the shooting rolls.
- The Enginseer making rolls to repair.
- Alternating people making rolls for the other fleet ship (crewed by NPCs).
I made an attempt to have players whose characters hadn’t acted in the last round roll dice for the NPCs to keep them involved, however, I can appreciate that rolling a few dice isn’t the same as having your character actually involved in the situation unfolding, the same level of emotional investment isn’t present IMO. There were occasions when people whose characters weren’t directly involved used their abilities or fate points to help provide bonuses to those people (whether PCs or NPCs) who were making the rolls.
Gaining FATE points
Another (very valid) point that was raised after the session was that when people were suggesting compels for their Aspects in order to gain Fate points, only the person gaining the fate point was actually benefiting, however, in a lot of cases the complications arising were affecting or stymieing the efforts of other players who were not benefiting directly from the accumulation of fate points.
So what is the solution?
My current plan is to distill the space combat down to a small series of rolls rather than an extended sequence of rolls; for example, i’m currently thinking that i’ll have a combat be resolved using the following rolls:
- The ships pilots position their ships, this provides a modifier to the next stage for whichever ship gains the advantage.
- Rolls are made for ships weapons, the number of shifts providing the total damage done to the opposing side.
- Repair rolls are made, the number of positive shifts repairing the amount of damage done.
- The amount of positive/negative shifts that each ship has remaining will be totaled and each side in the conflict will tally up their totals.
- Total damage is allocated to the various ships by the commander of each side in the conflict.
- The side with the least positive shifts in total is “Taken Out”, if they’ve taken a lot of damage then they may have been destroyed, or they may have been forced to surrender.
This should allow a combat to be kept reasonably simple and short and on a narrative basis with a number of dice rolls that can occur simultaneously.
In terms of Compels, I believe this is something that I can solve through my GMing by assuring that the complications arising from Compels are more personal and directed at the the character of the player receiving the fate point.