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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: True fight Split from Pondering called shots  (Read 2877 times)
Hereward The Wake
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Posts: 173


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« on: August 29, 2007, 03:36:35 PM »

The below definition of combat is by 16th Century fight master Joachim Meyer. I think it sums up the reality of combat but in a way that makes it possible to transfer to a game enviroment.

"Now combat with the sword is in essence a practice in which two opponents strive against each other with the swords with the intent that one will out manouver and overcome the other with intelligence and nimbleness, artfully, finely and manfully, with cuts and other handwork; so that if it were necessary in earnest cases, through such practice one may be more quick and skillfull, and more judicious for the protection of his body"

However most combat doesn't IMO come anywhere near representing this simples outline.
I can think of TROS and swashbuckler are there any others.

JW
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
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Vulpinoid
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Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2007, 04:43:07 PM »

I like that description of combat, and it certainly makes the context of many games unwieldy and cumbersome.

I could be wrong here, but it seems that most designers who strive for "realism" in their games become too intensely focused on the actual act of striking the opponent and penetrating their defenses. The die rolls and other factors focus heavily on the mechanics of the individual thrust and parry rather than keeping a flow and sweeping continuity that keeps the adrenaline flowing.

Having studied Kenjutsu for a few years, I can tell you plenty of stories about swordfights and injuries when two unbalanced parties go into a duel. I can tell you about where to thrust, how to percieve peoples weakness and how this weakness can be used to your adavnatage to get in a strike. I could resolve this into a complicated system that takes into account opponent's skill levels, armour types, weapon traits, environmental factors, and a dozen other influencing factors.

But when an inexperienced fighter is sparring, these factors are often far too complicated to keep track of, and when an experienced fighter is sparring, these factors are accounted and kept in the back of the mind as potential advantages to be used when the opportunity presents itself. A simple system would present the ability to keep these factors in the back of the mind and bring them to bear at the right moment, such a simple system would probably just apply this knowledge as a melee skill, maybe with some kind of specialty in certain weapon types for those warriors to choose to master the nuances of a particular weapon.

Critical hits seem to imply a devastating strike that has done more damage than expected, there is no reason that these hits couldn't rely on random luck. After all, two opponents are just waiting on the right moment to strike for maximum potential. Sometimes it just happens that someone slips up and a really great opportunity presents itself.

Called shots imply the ability to think at such a rational degree during combat that you can hit a specific area of your opponent, and from my experience of swordplay this is rarely the case. You go for the strike you can get, and you take it at the moment when it presents itself. If a combatant was only interested in a specific target for a called shot, I'd enforce a random chance each strike that the combatant simply doesn't strike. The area they were aiming at doesn't present itself. The more specific the target location, the more likely that the character simply won't act until the right moment. It's like the movies where a sniper avoids taking the shot because it just isn't clear enough.

I'm sure similar points could be made with regard to ranged combat, but my experience with such has been limited to fixed target shooting, not hunting (and certainly not shooting people).

I think I'm going to keep a copy of this quote because it sums up the kinds of ideas I've been aiming for in the game I've been developing.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Ghola
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Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2007, 12:02:06 PM »

I've been working on a combat system for about a month that I believe acheives this description.  I'll give a summary here, and can post a more elaborate description upon request.

Each combatant (intended, generally, for only two) builds three dice pools: Footwork, Guard, and Threat.  Each of these will be built by adding your Skill+Relevent-stat, and will possess both a static and dynamic value.  Footwork is a measure of stance, mobility, and a characters influence over the spatial dynamics of combat.  Guard is a character's control, and defense, as well as influence over their personal space.  Threat is a character's latent and active ability to threaten and affect their opponent.  A single, different-coloured die will also be placed in the center of the table, representing Edge.  It will be given to the character who currently controls the pace, and rythym of combat, and can be won or lost in many different ways, as well as utilized by it's possessor to great effect.

Combat is divided into rounds, with each round consisting of 6 "Beats".  Players roll their Footwork at the begining of each round, and gain an action in every beat that shows on one of the die facings.  Combat will reslove beat by beat, in ascending order.  You may either use an action in the round it occurs, or hold it until your next action or the end of the round, at which point it becomes forfeit; you have missed your chance.  There will be a few other methods to influence the initiative order during a round, either by delaying or eradicating an opponents action, or sacrificing or borrowing actions from later in the round.  Most actions will consist of increasing or decreasing your or your opponents dice pools, as well as replenishing your lost dice pools.  Players jockey back and forth, trying to both create an opening and cover their vulnerablities, with the only decisive events coming when you reduce an opponents pool to zero.  In the case of guard, your strike becomes a "Telling blow".  The others are yet unclear.

Weapons will possess very few statistics.  They will have a Threat value, added to your pool (A greatmaul is more threatening than a knife) perhaps a damage rating and at most, one or two adjectives (like Fast, Unwieldy, Heavy, Long) that augment their use in combat.

That is the skeleton.  I am toying around with what actions can take place, as well as a few different options.  Stances would give you +1 to one pool at the expensive of -1 to the others.  Gambits would voluntarily lower a pool by -2 to gain +1 die on the current action.  Perhaps a "Press" option, that would freeze-frame the current struggle, and resolve it play by play with higher stakes.



In preliminary playtests, it meets my design goals.  Combat is fluid and dynamic, with each character changing strategies from round to round.  Momentum is very prevalent, with one person generally dictating the flow of the battle, but turnarounds occur with enough frequency to make it exciting.  The mechanics are abstracted enough that with FitM the narritive really shines through (For instance, one action simply called "Manouvre" allows the winner of a footwork test to gain bonus dice on their next action.  It can be describe as anything: closing for the kill, circling for the blindspot, pulling back into a guard, or just giving yourself room to breath and move.)

Tell me what you think,
Ezekiel
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Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 04:54:39 AM »

Sounds interesting, you mentioned that you could post a more detailed breal down?
JW
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2007, 03:55:10 PM »

There are a few ways I could look at the skeleton system presented by Ghola. Two come to mind first...
  • Great Minds think alike.
  • When you try to keep things simple, there aren't alot of options available.

I've tried to keep the weapons in my system as simple as possible as well (unlike games where you have modifiers, damage values, critical hit chances, critical hit modified damage types, and a dozen other stats that just complicate things...)

The idea of a 2 number weapon description (with a couple of traits) is concise and elegant. I went with a weapon modifier, that defines how much more likely you are to hit with this type of weapon (or conversely how cumbersome it is if the value is negative). And a flat damage score that basically shows the amount of damage you can expect to deal if you get in a decent hit (this value is modified by the actual result on the attack roll).

The core version of my game mechanic can be found here.
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=24385.0

Note that this is still a work in progress, and a new version will be posted soon.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 02:25:11 PM »

Yes I think the problem as has been said is that most systems deal with the actual hitting part, which even for someone who has little or no training is actaully something that can be done with success. The ned result seems to generally become an exercise in rolling dice, all beit with different actions attached to them.

What was being descibed above in my opion is rather the interaction of different stratergies and tactics which both side apply until one side uses one for which the other doesn't have an answer.
Pwerhaps what is needed is something that doesn't use dice at all until someone makes some thing work, ie gets the opponent where they don't have an answer.
A reflection of skill would be in the number of stratergies the fighters had available or could bring in to play at a certain time. Almost perhaps like a game of lopsided poker where different skilled fighters could have different sized hands?

Adding to games that IMO come close to the initial description, the system in Contender could be added.

Best
JW
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
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Ninetongues
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Posts: 21

Nine Tongues Cunning


« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 11:09:04 PM »

Wow.

You made me think about changing fighting mechanics in my Soul6, and that's like... Wow.

Ghola's idea is really very fluid. Characters moving around, trying themselves, checking on the enemy skills, before a real blow comes. Yes. I'm fencing amateur, and I fancy Kenjutsu too, as well as all other styles of fighting. And what Ghola described, is really what I would call a realistic-in-looks fencing.

Though.

First of all, this mechanics would be great with two people fighting. But what happens, when You fight with something else, something that doesn't care about Your "Footwork"? Something that just want to bite Your head off?

Second - when You start reading all those mechanics, and each round composed by "six beats"... It's starting to get awfully slow. I'm thinking if there are any rolls that could be irrelevant...

The idea is great. But I think the mechanics resolution You presented is a bit too complicated. It feels for me as if You tried to make players to fence. If it's gonna be small game, where guys use swords only, and fight on different arenas with eachother - it's okay. But it's not elastic enough to put it into some bigger setting I think.

Ghola's proposition is a very fresh and logical look at the fighting mechanics though, and it made me thinking. Thanks for that. And please - do post something more about that fighting system, and the game You are developing it for.

Cheers
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Raphael "Nine" Sadowski
Nathan Weston
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Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 09:21:45 AM »

I've been working on a system that's kind of similar to Ghola's but a bit simpler.
Most of the system is fairly conventional -- characters have skills and attributes, combat goes by rounds, and each character gets to take one action per round (plus possible defensive actions).

The interesting part is the Position pool, which represents all the complex factors that might give a character a tactical edge at any given moment in combat (balance, stance, momentum, distance, etc).

You can either attack someone outright (attempting to stab/injure them), or you can undermine their position (put them off balance, back them into a corner, or whatever). In the latter case, a successful attack takes points away from the opponent's Position pool. You can also spend Position on any action to give yourself a bonus. Finally, when you make a successful attack, you can allocate some of that success to increase your own Position pool rather than attacking your own opponent.

If your Position pool ever falls to zero, something bad happens to you, such as falling down, dropping your weapon, etc.

I haven't got to the point of playtesting yet, but if it works out as I'm hoping, it will have a few nice properties. The first is that on just about every roll, something interesting happens. Instead of just hit/miss or wound/no wound, there's a wide range of outcomes -- you might hit but overextend yourself and be vulnerable to a counterattack, or miss but force your opponent off balance.

The second is that, if Position scores are high and the opponents are evenly matched, it should be hard to land a significant blow. Which means the wound mechanics can be fairly deadly (it's quite possible to kill someone with one or two good hits), without characters getting killed off left and right.

There are some details that I've left out here for the sake of brevity, but that's the basic gist of it.


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Justin Nichol - BFG
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Posts: 95


« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2007, 03:30:08 PM »

This sort of stuff has interested me for a long time.

In the system I am working on everyone has Focus which essentially represents their ability to pay attention and put the full force of their wits behind an action or to what extent they can multitask. Players use Focus to take actions in ways that I wont go into at length here, but essentially it allows for a wide variance of possible attacks, defenses and other actions at a given time, this is coupled with a mechanic sort of like Wushu or Sorcerer in which a character receives modifier dice for interesting and entertaining actions/ descriptions and loses them if they perform boring or needlessly repetitive actions. So in essence a player would have a wide array of options and would be penalized if their actions became predictable to their enemies through repetition. I also want to try to incorporate something like Swashbuckler where characters have different options for actions they can take, and the options effect what they can do later. I also want to introduce either explicitly or implicitly into the system some sort of leverage mechanic where it may be far more strategically sound to perform a feint or maneuver for ground than to attack relentlessly.

The issue with my system is that it's generic and I'm a big fan of consistency between systems so I would really want to have a radically different system for fencing than for gun-play so I have been struggling with trying to find some way to have cinematic fights in many different genres that at least bear a strong resemblance to one another.

Does anyone have any idea how these sorts of ideas apply to ranged combat. So often ranged combat seems a stapled on afterthought in games with a lot of melee combat.
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Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2007, 10:44:16 AM »

Thats because they operate in very different way mechanically, and as so many systems focus on the mechancs of hitting etc they are added on.

If one views as a series of action to put you opponent then perhaps they can work on similar lines.
Ie anybody being shot will ry to find some kind of cover or at least make themsleves a smaller target, in affect this is similar to trying to avoid/dodge block an attack. Yet is someone is just walking toward the opponent blasing away they are in affect making an all out attack with no though of countering any atttack the opponent may make.

Archery is a little different but could work on similar lines.

The main thing IMO is to work from the stratergy/tactics employed in combat rather than the specifc mechanics of how we hit, fient etc. then things start to share a more similar thread in the design.

JW
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
Secretary EHCG
secretary@ehcg.net
www.ehcg.net
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