Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Abstract combat and ranged attacks.

 In old-school RPG land and elesewhere in broader rpg land there has been an age-old discussion about the nature of HP and "abstract combat" with a major dis-junction being how to account for the abstraction of ranged attacks and melee attacks. In D&D and many similar systems you have an amount of "still up and fighting points" damage suffered in a fight reduce these "still up and fighting points" when the number of ""still up and fighting points" reaches 0 or less a monster/PC/NPC is no longer still up and fighting. The abstraction is in how we get from "still up and fighting" to "no longer up and fighting".


Fighting in melee is a complicated and involved mess with a multitude of feints, parrys, dodges, strikes, and shifts in stance we don't overly concern ourselves with and each combatant has a limited number of chances to inflict damage on a foes in around... that's PART of the abstraction. The impact of blows in melee is typically communicated and recorded as a reduction of "still up and fighting points" the damage these blows are causing isn't a measure of force but a measure of the impact upon the target's ability to still be up and fighting. That blow that causes 4  "still up and fighting points" just isn't the same thing against an insignificant combatant as it is to a Player character,  Godzilla, or a door. Becasue it is a rough abstraction in how much a blow can reduce the targets ability to be still up and fighting (or in the case of the door to be an impediment in getting to or avoiding a fight). Most folks can see to handle the single blow we pay attention to is the only one that could matter in melee but somehow there is a disconnect in rationality when talkign about ranged attacks.

The disconnect many have baffles me and I believe it is becasue they don't understand the ultimate implementation of abstraction is on the results not on the means. A ranged attack just isn't the same thing as a melee attack, ranged attacks are generally limited by ammo supply. The nature of the attack isn't being particularly abstracted the impact is. Ranged attacks are an opportunity to impact an opponents ability to still be up and fighting without providing them the opportunity to do so against you as they would have in melee combat. the discrete number of attacks possible as counted by arrows in a quiver, charges in a laser cell, bullets in a magazine, or rocks in a pouch are not and never were what was being abstracted in old school combat the results of those arrows, bullets, laser blasts, and thrown rocks are what was being abstracted.Ranged attacks are the ability to impact a foes "still up and fighting points" over there instead of right up next to you.

Count those bullets, arrows, laser charges, and rocks, they aren't what is being abstracted.

No comments:

Post a Comment