This may just be my experiences, but why is it that so many players just aren't interested in melee combat? If a player has a bow, crossbow or a gun they'll tug themselves off describing how they line up their aim, take a slow breath and fire as they exhale. But in melee it's always "I swing and...hit, cool, damage is ***"
As a GM I've tried to make it engaging, I really have, but I've bounced off the wall of Apathy one too many times and I can't handle another combat of four guys stood exhaling slowly and firing arrows across a field.
Yeah OP what system, because it could be that Melee isn't really effective in the late game.
Also if it has to be the issue where they always describe ranged. I blame Trick Shots, we always show amazing shots in movies and TV where they fire it awesomely but we just don't do that for fights with melee weapons.
Mostly because when it comes to melee unless it's a ohk we just go, OK and now he's dead.
Doing cool shit in melee requires too much complexity in rules. You can squint and flex all you want for a bow at the end, you are pulling and releasing.
Also games don't give a fuck if you uppercutting or jabbing. Abstraction makes descriptions tedious and boring
Because describing cool shit happening in melee usually requires you to know what the enemy's status or actions are. Guns are point and click.
As a gun user, after I pull the trigger I lose all control. It becomes the GM or the dices job to say where I hit or what the result is.
As a sword wielder, I can't say "I let out a roar and decapitate the goblin", because that involves knowing where you hit the enemy (which you may not, depending on system) and whether or not your attack does enough damage to kill them.
There isn't much you CAN safely say other than "I swing with my weapon, what happens?" And attempting to add more detail unless you use very neutral wording will probably force DMs to correct you. "Actually, you miss." "Actually, the goblin is still standing."
So Guns give the players more freedom to make shit up, because they shit they make up doesn't matter. In melee you have less wiggle room to insert detail without presuming to dictate the outcome, unless you have fancy shit like magic where you can charge your blade with fire or something.
I think this is basically it - even if you wait to describe what you're doing until AFTER you know if you've hit and whatnot - which some GMs will not let you do at all mind you - you usually don't know how MUCH you did. At best you know you got the finishing blow in, but if it wasn't, then that 10 damage could've been anything from a minor inconvenience to a devastating wound, depending on system and level and whatnot.
Well, one it could be because people dont understand the system well enough, so they have to chug through the rules and add the modifiers in their head. Also could be because of the vagueness of the attacks.
I like how with the Dark Heresy system, you have degrees of success which estimate how amazing or mediocre you landed an attack. If you earn like 10 degrees of success, then that gives the gang a sense of how flashy someone attacked their enemy.
It's happening in my Force and Destiny Game, but it's also happened in games of DnD 5e, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader. Combat monsters of all sorts reduced to "Swing and miss"
It's not even necessarily stuff that'd gain a mechanical advantage. The rules don't care if you're tackling a guy to the floor using your body or if you're using fancy footwork, but I sure as hell do because I'm trying to keep the combat interesting.
Unfortunately I think you're right. I'll always try to meet a player halfway if the die disagree with them though. If a player wants to try and decapitate a goblin but the die disagree, then their blade is caught at the last second. It bangs off the Goblins helmet with a heavy tolling, the Goblin staggers before turning his rusted blade on you, keen to return the favour.
>It's happening in my Force and Destiny Game, but it's also happened in games of DnD 5e, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader. Combat monsters of all sorts reduced to "Swing and miss"
How's melee combat in Sword and Destiny like?
I like the Fighter's extra die in Dungeon Crawl Classics for spicing stuff up. It's a really neat and simple mehcanic, if you don't want to go balls deep into tactical combat?
It's rather simplistic, you can make your attacks and then you spend advantage and triumph to do things like knock foes over or move them about. That's what gets me though. It's so simplistic that there's no "Gee I'm at a penalty if I try to hit them there", you roll some die and they tell you how cool you are.
Well, that at least sounds somewhat more exciting than melee combat in 5e.
Can't find anything about that game though, so not sure what to suggest. Probably reward and encourage improv with situational bonuses maybe?
For EotE and the other FFG SWRPGs it was kind if amusing that the guy who usually carried a heavy repeater was the only one who actually liked melee and would describe some of the footwork involved in some of the attacks where he would smack the shit out of something and it either do nothing or almost nothing to him in return.
This. Solution? Put the descriptions after the rolls.
>alright, you hit the goblin, dealing 5 damage, which is enough to kill him. How did you do it?
It doesn't just work for combat, either
>the guard notices you. How did you fuck up?
this desu tbqh familia
"real" melee combat is a mix of jabs, grabs, stabs, it's constantly shifting around and trying to fuck your opponent up while not getting fucked up yourself
D&D combat is roll dice, subtract hp, roll dice, subtract hp, and if you do anything else the system punishes you for it
Possibly, we started with Dark Heresy about four years ago, and while that does have a called shot system, I always encouraged them to work within the system though. If I spend a bit of time describing how they evade screaming chainblades drawn in the depths of a Hive city and it's a miss, it'd be nice if they put a bit of effort in as well.
I get that, but if a player fails a roll then they're less inclined to care, at least until they can roll again to finish the job.
I actually cannot get myself or my players interested in anything other than melee, describing fights is one of my favorite things as a GM. Not that I put too much of them or something, but I've always liked the varieties you can come up with.
For me, shooting is like:
>hit/miss/hit other ennemy/hit other player
boring as shit
Also, you can describe fancy moves and such, but it takes a bit of practice to get it right. Basically you have to leave it ambiguous enough when you pass the ball to the GM that he can easily continue with either result.
>I duck under a blow, sidestep to the right, and hook the other guy in the jaw
>[hit]right, he tries to lean back to dodge your blow, but your manoeuvre has enough momentum to catch him, sending him spinning to the left, spraying spittle and sweat. Then he goes for a clumsy straight jab as he regains his balance.
>[miss]he puts his left arm up, deflecting your attack upwards with the elbow and knocking your arm out of position. Continuing the spin, he goes for a sideways kick to your left side.
>Each melee "attack" during a combat round serves as an abstract representation of the total number of swings, hits, misses, feints, maneuvering, etc. that cause an opponent mental and physical damage
>Each ranged attack during a combat round is a single, discernible action of aiming and firing one specific weapon in one specific way that reduces the ammo count by 1
You yourself know this is silly, so ignore it. I just treat attacks as a less system-supported version of Exalted combat, where you make glancing blows or near misses that put the target in an exploitable position for an actual blood-drawing attack.
I think of that as having trained with your weapon enough that you've devised maneuvers allowing you to make multiple passes with your weapon in the same "swing".
I want to hazard that it comes down to two prongs:
>A: Lack of familiarity with melee combat in real life and exposure to physical combat. People who have been in fist-fights before can describe it, and thereby write it, to a much higher degree than those that can only guess at it or seen it in movies. Likewise, if they've ever had anyone come at them with a knife, they won't know how hard fear kicks in and adrenaline starts pumping.
>B: They're just lazy writers or RPers. When I GM I give (secret) bonuses to those who RP their melee combat in targeting things and displaying finesse in writing. Not necessarily finesse in combat, describing a clumsy attack can be just as enjoyable, if not better than an edgelord-supercool-gonna-decapitate-you attack
But it is an important thing for weapons that have +4 bolts of ogre slaying, but you only have four and there's five ogres. You can pretty easily say you have an infinite supply of regular ammo, but special stuff like requires some form of tracking.
How is it silly? Before 3.x rounds were a minute, you know. And post 3.x, characters explicitly take more attacks per round.
I think this guy's got it. We've all at least seen movies with firearms and have a basic idea of how it's done. There's a lot of Anons here with weapons training from their military service. But how many people have melee weapon experience? The closest a soldier's gonna get is bayonet drill and that doesn't help with swords. I have olympic-style fencing experience, but that's a sport with metal objects, not real fighting, and is not helpful. And that's before getting into the issue of experience with combat at ranges close enough to lay hands on your foe.
Another thing that really doesn't help is that it's like Dynasty Warriors for a melee combatant a lot of the time. You spam basic attack. (Granted that started to be less true about the time of MO2 and every character varies, but you get what I mean.) You don't change up your spells, you just mash X. I think that makes it less fundamentally interesting, and why I think Tome of Battle was such a good thing.
There might also be an aspect of modern video games, with so-called "MLG Pro" players, pulling all kinds of absurd shit, and games both encouraging and enabling it.
Personally, I'm of two minds.
I enjoy playing melee fighters, and describing the crazy crap I do, but when I play gunfighters, I go full tacticool: breach and clear, target prioritization, cool-guying explosions. Maybe it's because I don't like playing the ice-man stone cold lone-wolf sniper, more the affable, excitable bullet-hose fireman.
Conversely, when I'm GMing, I've been asked several times "wtf are you talking about?" when I try and describe how they shoot a guy, when they go "I shoot him" and leave it at that. It is unbelievably frustrating when players are just "trying to win" when I want to tell a story that they're driving.
It's obvious. When you fire an arrow or shoot a gun, you have absolute control with how it's going to go down. You have exact roleplaying say in how the gun works, how the bowstring responds, etc.
The only thing you don't control is where the arrow lands. That's the GM. Sure, you don't know if you're even going to hit them, but you can be as stylish as you want as you roll a 1 and accomplish jack.
But in melee it's a different story. You only control the swing. You can't style it as "I plunge my steel into his underbelly, growling as I tear into it!".. because you don't know if you've even hit them yet. You just know you're swinging at them, and you don't even know how damaging that's going to be. The only "assurance" you have is that you're moving your sword in their general vicinity. Before the mechanics confirm it, whatever system that may be, it could be a total miss, a glancing blow, or a devastating impalement that goes through their skull.
Why are so many players interested in combat? The world of imagination offers endless possibilities yet 90% of the time the game just revolves about punching things, or getting to a place where you can then punch things, or finding the guy you're supposed to punch.
Because it's the most basic conflict imaginable. Everyone can get invested in not getting killed by orcs, but getting even a small group of friends to agree on some other kind conflict is actually pretty difficult. Besides, what other way to express high stakes than with a fight to the death?
Because everyone wants to walk the hero's journey. The hero's journey always has a supreme ordeal that allows death and rebirth. A battle to the death with some great foe is an overt, intense, and satisfying ordeal.
Surprisingly few people want to be Jesus and have their ordeals be one of temptation and virtue.
because it's a hell of a lot harder to both get invested in, and RP literal world building. How fun does it sound to play an architect who drafts building blueprints? Or the carpenter, or welder working fifteen or twenty stories up, with no sound but construction and wind?
Would you like to sit around a table with four or five other people, open a drink, and plan a city? Slums go here, business district here, suburbs from here to here.
Or do you want to figure out how to raid the orc camps, and overthrow the warboss?
Because DnD melee combat is fucking boring. There is either only "You attack, these are your bonuses, you do this much damage" ad infinitum, OR the rules are so obnoxious that nobody bothers with them.
Try to build a grappling fighter and tell me how useless you've become.
Fighters make great grapplers in 5E.
Though, oddly, Valor Bards do it even better because they can pin shit down and still cast some spells. Fighters get all the glory of action surge though.
Of course, 5E grappling is mainly just to keep enemies from running away. So it's more like holding them still while you and your buddies start the shanking than wrestling with style.
You can control where you thrust, stab, or slash. You can say what your feet are doing, what you intend to do on your follow-through, sword fighting isn't a 'my turn, your turn' business like they show in choreographed movies.You also control how long you have trained those maneuvers, how to country their parries and rebuffs.
It is a 'Don't stop until they stop moving, or are down and you move on to the next one' system.
Granted that is bringing real life into RPG mechanics which are based around turn-taking.
Both of those options sound fun as hell to be honest. Too bad nobody else thinks so.