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View Poll Results: How long should combat for 5 players in your favorite game system take?

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  • about 15 minutes

    25 18.80%
  • Maybe 30 minutes or so

    55 41.35%
  • Could be an hour, maybe slightly more

    41 30.83%
  • 90 minutes solid

    6 4.51%
  • 2 hours of action packed inch counting!

    4 3.01%
  • 3 hours! Sometimes we have to break for lunch AND dinner during 1 combat!

    2 1.50%
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Thread: Combat time

  1. #1
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    Combat time

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    After much hearing of how easy this game or that is or cinematic it is, I've decided to ask a poll of P&PG members.

    How long should a 10-minute (in game) combat for a group of 5 take using your favorite game system? And please both vote in the poll and post your answer with the name of the game you're representing.

  2. #2
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    10 minutes is forever

    in D&D a minute is 10 rounds; so 10 minutes is 100 rounds, even if you have a rules savvy group of players it'll still take at least a minute to adjudicate everyone's actions for the round so that's about 100 minutes or a solid 90 (which is what I voted for)

  3. #3
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    It is rather unusual to have a combat run 10 minutes of game time in most cases. It all kind of depends...
    The last couple that have run that long, were in D&D. A couple weeks ago in my Wednesday group, one ran for about 15 minutes of in game time and took a little over an hour to resolve. There are 5 players and all but one has a henchman or follower. There was a lot of magical effects and poison which kept over half the people paralyzed or otherwise out of commission through the combat.
    I remember one that lasted about 10 minutes of game time a couple months ago in my Sunday group. It involved mostly grappling and stymied the 4 players for a long time. That took a little less than an hour.
    I have had similar fights in the past take several hours to finish, like a very long battle with a dragon and his minions, where everyone was afraid they would lose their character. Every round they agonized over what to do to stay alive. I think it lasted nearly 4 hours of real time, but I think it was only about 12 minutes of in game time.
    I once had a combat that lasted hours of game time taken care of in about 45 minutes. There were several flying creatures with weak spell-like abilities that they could use every couple rounds. They picked at the group from long range while they tried to get from one place to another. The party had nearly no response for a long time. It wasn't very lethal, but began to take a heavy toll. They did finally take care of the pests with a little creative thinking. It is not good to walk around with no ranged weapons and a mage that is built for touch attacks.
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    The vast majority of combats in my D&D games are over within ten rounds (one minute). I have had a few notable exceptions. In fact, I remember one game that started with an intense combat situation which fell at the end of the current story arch. That combat took the entire eight hour gaming session. But, it was an incredible encounter and involved a lot more than just "do damage to the enemy until they are dead". No one was bored, that much is certain. In game time was probably somewhere around ten minutes... I don't really recall the exact length.

    So, I'd vote more than three hours. But, that would be a very atypical combat to last for so long.
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    I'm pretty strict as a GM when it comes to knowing what you are going to do when your turn comes around so combat moves quickly in D&D. As a player I know what I'm going to do when its my turn and I make a point of knowing what my spells can do ahead of time to minimize any research.

    In Champs, combat take about 15 minutes because of the number crunching and the counting of pips. If you play with players that have a solid math skills set then I can cut combat down a couple minutes. Its the people who need to add using a pen and pad or their fingers that draw combat out.

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    Right now my group games using the d20 system (D&D and Modern) over Skype. Role-playing over skype changes the dynamic from across the table playing, and, consequently, the length of time for combat. This is mostly due cutting and pasting of dice roller results and typing text of actions.

    Also, we are currently playing our own joint Weird War II Supers campaign using d20 Deeds Not Words. Supers combat takes longer than normal fantasy or modern combats due to addition of super powers and rules adjudication of powers and effects.

    So, I voted for an hour or more.
    Last edited by Drohem; 12-08-2007 at 01:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Truth & Justice (PDQ), Fudge, Wushu, and Risus allow for as much or as little time to pass for combat as dictated by the scene.
    10 Minutes game time combat has taken about 10 Minutes or less, but it has also gone an hour.

    Also, I had a DM that synchronized game combat time to real time. He did it without letting us know right off the bat. We figured it out. It was frantic, but it was great change of pace. In D&D of all things! Though, to be fair, we did miss out on a lot of our turns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronpyatt View Post
    Truth & Justice (PDQ), Fudge, Wushu, and Risus allow for as much or as little time to pass for combat as dictated by the scene.
    10 Minutes game time combat has taken about 10 Minutes or less, but it has also gone an hour.
    Maybe it's subjective, but combat in Spirit of the Century seems to take about 15 minutes or so. Then again, die-rolling and assessing results in FATE is relatively quick, and most of the rest is narration. Most of our combats have been thinking of cool stuff, then rolling dice to see whether it works or not. So maybe it actually takes an hour or two when we start a battle with the "Big Bad" and his myriad minions.

    Contrast this with the last d20 game I was in, where we were essentially whacking at enemies (and being whacked at) until someone reached zero hit points.
    Last edited by fmitchell; 12-08-2007 at 06:42 PM.
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    it totally depends on the EL. we found that at higher level stuff a single encounter can take hours; but at level 1 a 10 round encounter can take as little as 10 mins.
    Our Dragotha, the dracolich, encounter lasted about 3 hours, but that was partly because the group had to retreat for a few game rounds to heal up and then there was all the discussion on tactics which really dragged stuff out, but they were having fun so no biggie.

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    In my favorite system, Alternity, I find that about all of my encounters take about 30 minutes or so, but that it mostly due to their initiative method. However, on the bright side, it also rarely ever takes any longer either, so I find it balances out. Most of the delay is players figuring out what they are going to do, and not the mechanics.

    In D&D, I find the duration of the encounter scales up with the level of the characters. At 20 minutes fight at 5th level takes 60 minutes at 10th. Again, most of the delay is people going, "What am I going to do?" with the more experienced players taking less time.

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    In Star Wars:

    In the Revised edition a challenging encounter took an hour +.

    In Saga I have found a challenging encounter to take 15 to 30 minuets.

    The major difference is that combat in Saga is much simpler to run than in the Revised edition. Revised is basically D&D 3.5 but Star Wars. So you have all the intricacies of all the rules to contend with as opposed to Saga where the majority of those intricacies have been eliminated.

    All this equals a quicker paced combat that equals more cinematic.

    You can draw out combats in Saga by having each PC attempting to over come their own individual obstacle. Much like in Return of the Jedi when Luke rescues Han from Jabba. Luke fights off Thugs, Han rescues Lando, Chewie assists Han, Leia takes out Jabba, R2 saves 3-PO.

    Fun times!
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    This is the number one reason I no longer play Champions/HERO system. One battle, 4 hours of my life I'll never get back.

    Saturday Night, we played D&D. We played from about 6pm till 10pm and had around 8 combat situations. The rest of the time they were dividing treasure, visiting with Myconids, avoiding being stepped on by tame Bullettes, and grave robbing.

    So, if it lasts more than 15 minutes, that's probably too long for me.
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    Oh Mo, I'm going to have to have you come visit me or maybe go to DFW and show you what a Champs game is supposed to be like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Arcanist View Post
    Oh Mo, I'm going to have to have you come visit me or maybe go to DFW and show you what a Champs game is supposed to be like.
    I've played Hero/Champions twice, and both game sessions turned out to be exactly the same. One was run by a science (chemistry) major and the other by an electrical engineering major. Both games were literally 3 hours of me watching the GM do math. Hero isn't a game; it's a physics class in disguise. So, I say No thanks.

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    If your GM has to do math then he/she is unprepared for the game. It takes about 5-10 secs to resolve any action in the game.

    There are tables a GM can utilize to speed up calculations or take my preferred method of using the Deluxe character sheet that takes your OCV and calculates the corresponding DCV's for all the dice rolls. Physics has nothing to do with the calculations and GM's that aren't physicists shouldn't be dabbling in forces they don't understand.

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