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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: Vladius on September 04, 2009, 11:52:07 AM

Title: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: Vladius on September 04, 2009, 11:52:07 AM
I did a playtest of my own game. It was pretty fun, but I noticed that the combat took a while. It was approximately as long as 3.5e D&D for a regular battle, but I had designed some of the stuff with shortening this in mind.

The system (combat and everything else) is based completely on a d20 die.

Basically, for every Skill, there is a Trait (attributes in D&D). You add the Trait to the roll based on your training in the Skill. If you get a specific category of Skills, then you get at least half of your Trait added onto the roll. If you train an individual Skill, you get the full bonus, and if you have nothing to do with it at all, you halve the roll after adding the full bonus.

Your main weapon will be in the Tools section of your inventory, meaning that you always have the full bonus with it and you usually won't have to worry about your Skill Sets unless you're improvising with your weapons.

Attacking is based on the weapon. Weapons are divided into Melee, Ranged, Area, and Barehanded. Area is for stuff like magic and grenades, and hits multiple squares. These have subcategories (Long Blade, Short Blade, Blunt, Small Guns, Big Guns, Bows, Magic, Grapes, Explosives, Exotic, etc.)

You roll d20, then add your Skills (the Trait used for stuff), then add any other modifiers to it. The target you're trying to hit makes a d20 roll, then adds their Quickness (somewhat like Dexterity), the adds any other modifiers to that.
If your roll is higher than theirs, the GM tells you how much damage you did. Your weapon will usually have a predefined range of damage, like 2-3 Cuts.
Damage is usually on a scale of 1-5 (but can go higher) and has the subtypes of Burns (cold, heat, acid, etc.), Cuts (piercing, slashing, puncturing, stuff that causes bleeding), Bludgeoning, Astral (weird paranormal things and antimatter), Poison, Fractals (disease, cancer, infection, etc.), Magic, and Divine. The first four are "External" and the latter four are "Internal." Combat is mostly in External damage, because it happens immediately. Armor removes some damage, but the GM ultimately decides which types get through if there are multiple types.

If you're in Melee combat, you can decide to take away a certain amount from your roll before rolling, then add it to your defense on all subsequent attacks directed at you before your next turn.
If you're using a Ranged weapon that's automatic or rapid fire, you make two attacks instead of one.
There are also "Special Attacks" and "Entanglements."
Special Attacks include things like Grappling, Tackling, etc. and take more of your turn to accomplish, but can be made after regular attacks.
Entanglements are where somebody stores up some of their "squares" (Action Points, basically) for use on another person's turn and makes a counterattack at the same time as they get attacked, and the weapons are both Melee, Ranged, Area, or Barehanded. There are special conditions for this, but I won't go into details.

There are tons of other factors, including attacks from stealth, mounts, etc. but I won't go into them.

So, what I was wondering, and what I want you to help me with, is whether I should have a system of "Micro" combat, or just simplify this one. I already have a system of "Macro" (large armies and stuff) combat, and I want the players to have a feeling that you could have a gunslinger-style duel or a sword fight where one-hit-kills are commonplace. This is in contrast to the "Dungeon Crawl" regular combat where you're taking on monsters.
More often than not, during my playtest, because of Armor and other factors, combat started to bog down because no one took very much damage.

If so, what would be the best way to go about the rules? Should there be a system of "rock-paper-scissors" hidden actions where you plot out a series of maneuvers and then reveal them at the same time? Should I have a different type of dice (d6s, probably)?


Title: Re: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on September 15, 2009, 11:56:00 AM
Hello Vlad

I noticed you actually playtested your game, this means you'd be better off posting in the Playtest forum (see the directions for this forum (, and it's less crowded there). Try to put your point in context with the experience you've had, so that we may understand the bigger picture you're working from.

As the post stands now, I find it too technical. I would only feel comfortable talking about such detail if I actually had played the game, or at the very least if I got some play accounts to work from. See, your questions may get very different answers depending on where you aim to go. I could imagine some games where I'd suggest one option, and for others it'd be the contrary! Right now, if I'd be giving you advice, it'd be right taken out of my ass and most probably completely useless to you. How could I know if your game would benefit from a "rock-paper-scissors" mechanic?
Plus, the Forge has a rather strong history of working from example and in my opinion, that kind of discussion is what works best for all implied parties. I suggest you try to take advantage of that and post an account (even a "failed" playtest, so that we can really grok what you want to improve) in the Playtest forum.

Also, any previous play experience that has a vague connection to why you're actually designing this game in the first place would be added gravy.

Title: Re: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: Callan S. on September 16, 2009, 02:13:51 AM

The idea of condensing a fun combat so the fun over time ratio is even better, makes sense to me. But alot of gamers seem to have combat not because they find it fun, but because it's just out of habit. In those cases, making combat faster wont help at all.

You mention one hit kills. Are these fun for you group, or when you say you want them to feel there are one shot kills, do you just want to add tension to affairs?

Title: Re: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: Vladius on September 16, 2009, 09:35:35 AM
Is there some way I could delete this thread? I don't really want to use the Forge anymore.

Title: Re: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: Callan S. on September 16, 2009, 03:35:37 PM
Weird, I'm rereading myself again and I'm seeing myself suggest something constructive; ie, while combat might not be for fun itself, it might be for adding tension to something else, which seems a valid thing to do. How can you talk design without actually getting into the design and applying some critical thought?

Title: Re: Dice-based Combat (Grapps)
Post by: JoyWriter on September 17, 2009, 12:06:43 PM
Deleting should be easy, just PM a mod and they can get rid of it.

While I'm here I'll add some critique: To make your system run like you want it may be a feature of shifting the numbers, more than simplifying it. For example, perhaps if you increased the damage, "one hit duels" would work because people weren't wearing much armour!
Simplifying is always a good goal though, finding out how to do exactly what you want with the minimum of steps, while retaining all the options you want.

Anyway, I hope you get the kind of feedback to make this a good game, wherever you do it.