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Title: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on September 22, 2009, 09:32:52 AM
In most games, you fight monsters by rolling dice and attempting to make monsters lose all their hit points.

Here's a different idea:

Each monster has a certain number of hit locations. These can be physical or mental in nature.
Some of these hit locations are weak points, but the DM keeps these a secret.
When you attack a monster, you select a hit location, and simply ask the DM if it's a weak point.
If it is not a weak point, the attack misses and the monster makes a counterattack.
If it is a weak point, the attack hits and the weak point is damaged.
When all weak points are damaged, the monster is defeated.

DM's are strongly encouraged to invent their own monsters and keep them secret so that players can't just read the book and memorize the weaknesses of every monster.

Your character's abilities might limit you to attacking only certain hit locations, but they might also allow you to get extra hints for narrowing down where the weak points are.
Your thoughts?


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on September 22, 2009, 01:55:28 PM
Come to think of it, it isn't a puzzle so much of a guessing game with a bit of 'process of elimination', at least as I described it.
More thoughts:
Damaging weak points can also disable the monster's powers or open up more weak points.
Some monsters may be comprised entirely of weak points. I have to figure out how to make battles with these enemies fun.
It might be rough to have battles with multiple monsters. Perhaps this might be more of a 'monster of the week' type game where there is only a single creature you are after.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Kanosint on September 22, 2009, 02:13:34 PM
Hi Chronoplasm,

I must say I'm very much intrigued by this system, especially if you go further in-depth (with the revealing, etc). It seems similar to Battleships, is this intentional? Maybe you could use this as your strength and actually make this more of a vehicular combat system?

Groups of opponents could be solved by overlaying the grid, or simply targeting a specific foe.

Would the PCs have a grid as well? How how that work?

Defenitely something I find intriguing, I'd love to learn more.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on September 22, 2009, 02:37:55 PM
Battleships is one of my influences, as well as Guess Who and Clue.

I was thinking that the players should have a grid, but that they should also have the option to change it between battles to keep the DM guessing. I haven't figured out the specifics though.
I was also thinking of possibly including a card game element, but I'd like this game to be more play-by-post compatable. I know of a few sites like Invisible Castle that roll dice in your browser and allow you to link to the results, but I don't know of any sites that do the same for hands of cards. If I can find an online tool that does that, I think I'd do it thusly:

Each character sheet has a grid on it that represents the characters hit locations. At the beginning of combat, you are meant to draw a hand of cards and place these cards face down into these squares. When a monster attacks, it picks a card from the target's grid, turns it face up, and compares its attack rating to the card's rank. If the attack ranks higher, it's a hit and the card is removed. Otherwise it's a miss and the card stays, but face up.
'Priest' class characters get special effects from face cards, 'Witch' class characters get special effects from suite.
Anyone can get special bonuses to specific hit locations.

I am concerned that this would be hard to handle in a PBP game though, which is where I see most of my target audience if I ever decide to publish.



Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: David Artman on September 23, 2009, 10:42:33 AM
Feel free to steal my idea for Ebb and Flow, to handle HOW a given grid point (or, in E&F, a set of grid points) is hit.
http://davidartman.com/systems/ebb-and-flow-combat-system (http://davidartman.com/systems/ebb-and-flow-combat-system)

It started as a random system but become an action point system. You'd basically use E&F and then add on your "weak spots" concept. In E&F, it is sort of assumed (for instance) that if every neck grid is hit, the person is dead or bleeding out, arms can get lopped off, etc--not "hit points" so much as "seriously, dude, your arm is on the floor" full-blown effects triggered as a result of conditions and hit grids.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Chris Flood on September 24, 2009, 09:42:40 AM
I like the card idea. Maybe players could also layer cards over the same area to represent stronger armor. You could also use different color, suits, or just face cards to require a different type of attack, so if I try to smash your chest, the attack might not work, but, if I try to pierce it, the attack succeeds.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on September 24, 2009, 02:05:37 PM
Thanks!
Whatever I do for this system, whether I use cards or not, I think I also want to be able to use it for other aspects of play besides combat. For a 'monster of the week' game, this would include finding the monster's layer, figuring out the identity of the monster if it has a human form or disguise, and investigating places the monster has been in order to figure out the creature's weakness.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Callan S. on September 25, 2009, 04:42:27 PM
Come to think of it, it isn't a puzzle so much of a guessing game with a bit of 'process of elimination', at least as I described it.
More thoughts:
Damaging weak points can also disable the monster's powers or open up more weak points.
Some monsters may be comprised entirely of weak points. I have to figure out how to make battles with these enemies fun.
It might be rough to have battles with multiple monsters. Perhaps this might be more of a 'monster of the week' type game where there is only a single creature you are after.
Don't sell yourself short! Granted, naked of any fiction it's a guessing game. But if the monsters come with a fictional description, that may give a clue as to the right spot to hit. And even if it doesn't give a clue/the GM is too obscure in the clue, guessing games are all right. Why put down a guessing game - is rolling a D20 and adding a number somehow more cerebral?

Further, it can also act as a memory game - you need to remember the right spot in latter encounters (I'm just assuming a session has multiple encounters).

And as an extra idea, you could have sequences for monsters, where a sequence of locations need to be hit in order (which further ramps up the memory game aspect)


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Chris Flood on September 25, 2009, 04:46:52 PM
And as an extra idea, you could have sequences for monsters, where a sequence of locations need to be hit in order (which further ramps up the memory game aspect)

Excellent idea!

You could also connect components of one monster to another. For example, you need the Ring of Gnarl from Hideous Monster A to defeat Hideous Monster B. If you're using cards, the GM gives the players the relevant card when they hit A's hand, and then they have to use it when they are attacking B.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on September 26, 2009, 09:06:58 AM
Thanks. :) I like the idea of sequences there.

Various Ideas:

It might also be useful for hit locations and weak points to be more abstract in certain situations.
A hit location might be an actual location on the target's body, but on the other hand it could also be an area in the target's defense. Your enemy's head could be soft and unarmored like anyone else's, but if he blocks every attack directed toward that area then it might as well be indestructable. A weak point could be a gap in your enemy's defenses that must be tested for through clever boxing/swordplay.
Hmmm... Perhaps a combatant can even move his/her weak points around by changing stance?
When using cards, changing stance may allow you to rearrange the cards on your grid to put the stronger ones in areas where they are needed.

OK, so your character sheet consists of a grid.
Each square in that grid represents a hit location, with separate sections for physical, mental, and elemental locations.
Each square is keyed to some kind of skill or special ability. You may lose that ability when the square is damaged, but you are not brought closer to death unless the square is designated as a weak point.
Squares designated as weak points bring you closer to death when damaged, but they also grant bonus abilities when they are undamaged. You have to have a certain minimum number of weak points, but you can add more weak points for extra power.

Examples of special abilities that can be attached to hit locations:
Fighting (Gain a bonus to attack rating if the location is undamaged.)
Armor (Wear a layer of armor on this location.)
Guard (Choose another hit location. That location is not considered a weak point if this location is undamaged.)

You can also add or remove hit locations from your sheet, but doing so may designate your character as 'monstrous'.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Callan S. on September 26, 2009, 02:47:37 PM
Another idea is that while he can block his head all the time, that opens up a weak spot elsewhere. Your making an attack on his head not to do damage, but to open up an opportunity to do damage!

Also I was thinking, ala Buffy, you could have research time before battle, to help find weak points or narrow it down or something. Just another idea, since the research phase is another type of conflict adds some variety.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: JoyWriter on October 01, 2009, 06:00:53 PM
One of the minor things I loved about Deadspace was the altered "headshot" locations. After going through so many games going "ah random gribly shoot it in the head!" it was nice to have to learn the weaknesses of the opponents, even if it wasn't too tricky.

Considering that grid, my maths brain starts whirring up and I think about it like a matrix: Every row refers to a part of the body and every column to a form of attack. Each cell may have a token from a finite set (less than the number of cells) on it that is hidden from view, although you only have enough tokens to block a few. So you block sweeps to the head but not grabs to the torso etc. Like reverse battleships.

But for magic items or natural magic you could have additional columns for magic attacks of various kinds, with the capacity to fill up those cells with abilities. This could produce interesting dynamics, where mages fire spells that only do magical disruption, hoping to knock out a monsters magical power, by hitting it on the left antenna, while the fighter goes to sweep out it's feet. Blocking could be doing weird hand motions or twitchy eye expressions, or folding up your second arms and humming in an eerie manner, depending on what kind of creature you are!

It's pretty close to your idea really, just a different implimentation, that allows you to preserve the calling out of coordinates.

Perhaps magic weapons have that property because they simultaneously deal damage in magical form and physical. You could have vampires take no permanent damage except for a simultaneous strike+plant attack to the heart, and many more creative variants.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on October 02, 2009, 11:45:14 AM
^
I like that!
It gives me an idea for players that might prefer a more brute force approach...
Barbarian Feature: Guard Breaker Whenever one of your attacks hits a guarded area, you may choose to expend all remaining attacks for the turn to break that guard. If you do so, the target loses a guard token until it takes a short rest.
(This is starting to sound like a fighting game?)

I am considering a simple class system by the way, simply because I like solid archetypes as a starting point for characters. Barbarians would excel in combat through sheer power rather than finesse, but they would also have impressive perceptive abilities honed by living in the wild. Barbarians automatically detect and identify faint and unusual smells, and they can quickly find biological traces such as hair or blood.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: JoyWriter on October 02, 2009, 04:20:21 PM
High/low attacks, sequences like combos, it's got the makings of it. There's all sorts of ways you can go from here. The combat system really should be a fighting game to my mind; if your going to be spending a lot of time in it, it might as well exercise your mind!

Something to watch out for when adding variations is that they can swamp the original mechanic. For example multiple barbarians could go "guard hunting" and just spend all their turns removing all their opponents defences, and you'll need to insure that that is a strategy with drawbacks, for example with the debuff vs damage now trade-off, or others.

Also I like the barbarians having a "style" in more than just combat; classes have great potential to provide that kind of thing, by the freebees that come with what you were really after.

On that front actually, this mechanic has flowed very neatly from a single seed, and in that sense it seems quite self contained. I wonder whether there is some investigative mechanic that could be made to match it, as if anything suits diceless guesswork and guessing hidden information it's investigation!


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on October 04, 2009, 08:25:40 AM
Oh yeah.
While preparing for the game, the GM should not only fill out the monster's grid, but they should also be sure to fill out...

Territory Grid
This represents the monster's stalking grounds. The squares represent different locations (the clocktower, the dark alleys, the forest, the bottom of the well, etc.) Players may have to explore these locations to find the monster. One of these areas may be designated as the monsters den.

NPC Grid
The various NPCs that the players encounter are to be marked down here with some details and the role they play in the story. "Witness", "Red Herring", "Victim", "Marked for Death", "Monster in Human Form" etc. The GM may want to use this space to write allibis for these characters such as "Seducing the Dutchess when the Duke was killed."



Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Double King on October 05, 2009, 01:30:23 AM
You may also want to consider some hack of Masterminds with regard to the above:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_%28board_game%29


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: chronoplasm on October 05, 2009, 02:31:43 PM
You may also want to consider some hack of Masterminds with regard to the above:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_%28board_game%29

I've never heard of this before.
I found a flash version of the game and tried that out.
It's fun. I'm thinking of using something like this in my D&D game as a door puzzle now.


Title: Re: Diceless Combat Using Logic Grid Puzzles?
Post by: Double King on October 05, 2009, 05:30:01 PM
it's a pretty fun "straight math" game.  there are a number of versions of it.  i'd probably enjoy it on my iphone if i went hunting for the app.

as it applies to your diceless combat, you could scale the threat of the encounter to how long the puzzle chain was and how complicated the color wheel got.  Allowing bonuses to either effect that hard math or for reveals of the master code; proximity; clues etc...

anyway... good problems you've found for yourself.  i look forward in seeing what you do with it.