02 March, 2013

Moves on the Combat Wheel

This notion of a twelve step combat track seems to be generating a bit of interest, which is great.

So it's time to move forward on the concept...time to really get into the minutiae of how the system works and how to keep it running smoothly in a variety of situations.

Characters in this system are chosen avatars of spiritual forces, perhaps demigods. They are a distinct class separate from the citizens of the world, they will be constructed by combining a heroic path (an occupation)  with their culture (the people they grew up with). Each of these will be defined by a single pocketmod booklet, and the character will be written up in their own pocketmod. In addition to the character's pocketmod, there will be a series of quick reference cards indicating weapons/armour/equipment and special powers/spells available (Much like the way you open up side menus and submenus when you are playing a computer game). There will also be combat manoeuvres written on cards so they can be quickly referenced.

Every aspect of the character is simple. Like most of the game designs I aim toward, it's only in the interplay of aspects that the complexity of the system develops.

Hits and Damage
First we'll work off the assumption that there are six basic combat actions available to all characters.
Quick Attack (3 Timing "Ticks")
Slow Attack (5 Timing "Ticks")
Block (1 Timing "Tick")
Dodge (2 Timing "Ticks")
Move (1 Timing "Tick")
Non-Combat Action (3 Timing "Ticks")

Beyond this, there are a range of additional combat actions that are opened up in different circumstances.
Parry (1 Timing "Tick") - Available when certain mastered weapons are wielded
Follow-Up Strike (3 Timing "Ticks") - Available to certain warriors
Counterattack (3 Timing "Ticks") - Available to certain warriors
Rapid Spell (4 Timing "Ticks") - Available to certain mages
Intense Spell (6 Timing "Ticks") - Available to certain mages
Quickdraw (1 Timing "Tick")
Backstab (3 Timing "Ticks")
Battlecry (2 Timing "Ticks")
Taunt (4 Timing "Ticks")
etc...

Each of these additional actions is bought with experience points.

But before we get into the mechanisms for these alternate actions, we need the basics. And we need these basics to be fast and intuitive.

This isn't the type of game where called shots are important. In most computer games you just mash the buttons (or elaborately work through the button combo) and if the opponent has an opening, that's where you hit. So the same sort of thing applies here.

The sequence currently flows like this:
1. Declare your card
2. Roll equal or under your attribute for a success, a single successful die earns a hit (additional successes may open up action bonuses [extra damage, reduced action time, damage opponents weapon/armour, etc.]).
3. If opponent has declared some kind of blocking action, they need to roll under their attribute for a success.
4. Highest successful die wins. Both dice are eliminated.
5a. If the attacker had extra dice capable of dealing damage, they may be resisted by any additional dice possessed by the defender, otherwise the attack simply goes through accumulating toward the final damage result.
5b. If the attacker had extra dice with some other effect, they might be resisted in some way if the defender has a suitable ability to do so, otherwise their effects occur unchallenged (such other effects might include pushing the defender in some direction, demoralising them, poison strikes, activating weapon abilities, etc.)
6. For combat actions, roll an extra die on the successful strike to determine where the hit occurs and how savage it is. Compare this die and the original successful die. The higher of the two dice determines the "Strike" (and this is added to any other successful dice), the lower of the two dice determines the location [some advanced characters may have an alternate method to determine hit location].
7. Add the "Strike" to the attacker's Weapon Strength and subtract the victim's Armour Strength (in the struck location).
8. Each increment of 5 points strips away a spirit/health level from the victim (where most people have 3 health levels: "Healthy", "Battered (attributes at -2)", "Broken (attributes at -4)", before ending up risking death).
9. If a victim has reached the point where they are risking death, they must roll an extra die (of a different colour) during every action. This counts whether attacking, defending or anything else.

  • On a 1-2, they pass out before the action is complete, they die.
  • On a 3-4, this will be their last action after it is performed they will die.
  • On a 5-6, this action will push them past their limit, they will pass out and be at the mercy of those surrounding them (they lose a permanent point in the attribute associated with this action). 
  • On a 7-8, this action causes them immense pain and thy lose a permanent point in the attribute associated with this action).
  • On a 9-10, they suffer no further ill effects (for the moment).

10. Next action

This action cycle is very much a work in progress and the last bits of it are still having trouble gelling in my mind. Steps 7 and 8 are basically ported from the Confrontation miniatures game, so I know that they work relatively quickly, but they move away from some of the concepts I originally envisioned. Step 9 is the big one that I'm working through at the moment. It's got the right kind of feel to it, but I'm not sure how well it will actually work in play.

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