Author Topic: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?  (Read 813 times)

vulcanology

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Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« on: April 03, 2018, 01:51:48 AM »
Any help at all is welcome! I'm writing my own campaign and I'm currently working with a modded version of the d20 system where I've simplified it and removed the combat. I was wondering if there's any better way of doing this, such as a format that already doesn't feature much combat and focuses more on the storytelling aspect of tabletop roleplay. I've heard good things about the Powered by the Apocalypse system but haven't looked too deeply into it yet.

I want a system where combat is removed because all characters are humans who will be essentially "hunting" (term used loosely) and investigating cryptids. Combat seemed a bit superfluous as I want players to explore avenues other than 'attempt to kill it' to solve problems - I want the cryptids to be something they can't kill.
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Tusky

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Re: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2018, 08:57:05 AM »

There are a few examples in computer games that have no combat, often focusing on avoidance of combat entirely for example amnesia - dark descent. There is a great game called the sexy brutale (I mentioned this elsewhere as well. It really is great). It is a series of murders that happen on the same day set in a casino / masquerade ball. It's groundhog day style so you can play through the same day numerous times in an effort to prevent the deaths. You cannot interact at all with the NPC's. Instead you must just observe and keep track of the movements and actions of the NPC's on that day and investigate rooms whilst they are not there.


For tabletop RPGs I know one example: mansions of madness. There is combat, however it is generally a bad idea to do it because each scenario is quite a challenge to get through with your health and sanity intact so you are better off avoiding combat.


The focus in that game is the investigation of the mystery in each given "mansion", and the unravelling of a broader plot. This is achieved by each (of up to four) investigators having 2 actions which they can spend either moving, or collecting clue / item tokens on the map. When you encounter NPC's you can also decide what to do with them: speak, observe their actions etc which will also give you clues. At certain points events are triggered as well which, usually, force the party to hurry up by introducting quite a pressing challenge. If you don't get to the bottom of the mystery in time then you all become too injured or driven insane and so fail that scenario.


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Jubal

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Re: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2018, 09:45:25 AM »
Will the cryptids ever attack players (who might need to defend themselves/could act as bait) and are you sure they'll never have to fight with e.g. rival hunting parties? My initial reaction would be "make the cryptids unkillable" rather than "cut all the combat rules" from your description of the setting...
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vulcanology

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Re: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2018, 11:10:06 PM »
Tusky, for one I adore Amnesia: The Dark Descent! Mansions of Madness seems very intriguing and closeish to what I want to go for, so thank you for recommending that. The investigation aspect of it fits really closely with what I have vaguely planned so far, so I'll be sure to look further into it.

Jubal, I'm kind of thinking the cryptids can attack players but player characters taking an attacking role back would be a Bad Idea. So making cryptids unkillable is a pretty good idea if I do end up sticking with the d20 system, to be honest. There won't be rival hunting parties or anything - I'm kind of going for a Scooby-Doo but the monsters are real vibe.
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Jubal

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Re: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 10:24:07 PM »
Yeah, I guess I'm thinking that there are a lot of "combat style" actions that could be involved in trap or chase scenes even if toe to toe fighting isn't wanted. Especially wrt ranged combat, where cannon-netting, tranquilisers, firing guns/rockets to make distractions, etc could all be valid tactics.
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Pentagathus

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Re: Combat free tabletop roleplaying formats?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 10:45:06 AM »
Iirc the game system designed for Glorantha (Runequest I think) has a combat system that is meant to be descriptive and could be cut out quote easily as far as I can tell.