So what about combat?

September 16, 2009

So I have a simple system from which gnomes can resolve tasks and challenges.  Simply roll the relevant attribute plus any relevant traits and compare them to the challenge number.  Straightforward, easy, no fuss, anyone can figure it out within seconds of seeing it done.  I’ve considered adding a bit of a stunt system in order to further add to the experience but I feel that may make this particular aspect perhaps a little too complex.  The simpler we are the less writing I do and the fewer potential mistakes I can make.

The first thing I have to consider is how to handle initiative and timing.  Wu Shu Renegades, my first attempt at game design pulled it’s initiative system straight from Exalted 2nd ed.  That wasa mixed blessing as it is perhaps the most realistic and strategically satisfying.  However Wu Shu renegades was a game about fast paced martial arts combat so it needed that kind of complexity.  Gnome does not expect it’s players to do a great deal of combat, eventhough combat is a part of gnome life so it is necessary to have some aspect of it in their.

So I suppose the easy answer might be a very simple initiative system of everyone roll the appropriate stat. The highest ones go first and then we go in numerical order from highest to lowest from there.  If we keep the same initiative from round to round then that keeps things simpple.  I’m thinking the appropriate stat for initiative should be Shrewdness.

So now we have an initiative system we have turns for characters to do things.  So nowe we need them to ahve thigns to do.  I’m thinking that combat should be mostly narrative without need of a mat and minis (afterall combat is not the focus of the game).  So the actions players can take should be simple and straightforward, but complex enough so the combat monkeys out there can have a bit of strategy to play with.  So for simplicity’s sake we’ll go with simple Attack and Defend actions.  Attack is simply rolling your dice agaisnt an opponents to see if you damage them.  Defense means you do nothing on your turn but you get a bonus 1d6 whenever you’re attacked.  Simple and easy.

For the combat monkeys I’ll add two more elements; the Narrative Attack and the Miscellaneous Action.  The miscellaneous action is exactly as stated, an action the gnome takes that is neither attack nor defense.  Opening doors, drawing weapons, getting up from a chair or bed, or any action that would take up the characters turn but not require a roll to attack ordefend against an opponent.  The narrative attack is the most complex action that a character can take as it’s three separate actions that a gnome cna choose from, they can Cripple, Overpower, or Open up an opponent.  What’s required is they describe their attack to the GM stating how exactly they plan on accomplishing that feat.  Crippling an opponent disrupts them in such a way that they lose their next turn but maintain their full defensive capabilities.  An overpowered attack grants a 1d6 bonus die to the attack for the potentnail to deal mroe damage.  Opening up an opponent adds the damge that the attack would have done as instead a penalty to the opponents defense for the rest of the round giving the potential for good team tactics as multiple gnomes take advantage and potentially deal a lot more damage to the oppponent.

Next we need to discuss how attack and defense actions are resolved.  Again I need this to be simple, so the attacker and the defender do a simple roll off to see how much damage the attack does. The formula goes: Attack(Athleticism+Weapon die+relevant traits and bonuses) – Opponents Defense (Athleticism or Toughness+Armor Die+relevant traits and bonuses)=Damage dealt.

So now we have intiative, we have thigns for players to do on their initiative so let’s have some resolution.  At first I was going to go with a simple Health score determined at character creation by rolling a characters Athleticism and Toughness and adding them together.  A neat idea but I think this combat system needs more.  So, instead of Health, we call it Fatigue.  Every action taken in combat costs a certain number of points of fatigue.  Because of this it’s necessary to add one more action a character can take.  We’ll call this the rest action.  With the rest action a character stops moving and tries to catch his breath.  The character can still defend himself as normal but if he takes any damage his action is wasted.  If they manage to go to their next turn they roll their toughness score and gain that much fatigue points back.  When a character takes damage it is taken straight from their fatigue score.  When their fatigue score runs out it goes to their wounds score (which equals one half of their fatigue score rounded up). When their wounds run out, they die.  Right noww the only question is the exact cost of each action  Attack, and Defense should cost one fatigue, with more complex narrative attacks costing 2 and finnally miscellaneous actions costing whatever the GM feels that iot needs to cost.  In case a character needs to move during any of these actions (in order to run away or charge in) it should cost extra fatigue or if a character needs to do something particularly drastic in their action.

So there we have it, a system complex enough to give the combat monkeys a level of strategy but simple enough that it can be sped through quickly enough to get back to the story.

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One Response to “So what about combat?”

  1. Dave M Says:

    John,
    RE: Attack (Athleticism+Weapon die+relevant traits and bonuses) – Opponents Defense (Athleticism or Toughness+Armor Die+relevant traits and bonuses)=Damage dealt.

    The issue with that is, it’s perfectly balanced. Fights are going to be looong. I would fix it by setting the armor dice smaller than the weapon dice.

    RE: The character can still defend himself as normal but if he takes any damage his action is wasted.

    The issue with this is they are likely to get hit, no? Is it your intention to nerf healing this way?

    What happens when they run out of fatigue points? Can they take no actions (niot even defend)?
    Dave M


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