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Author Topic: [Intergalactic League of Brawlers] Combat Mechanic Revision  (Read 1787 times)
MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« on: September 04, 2009, 03:41:58 PM »

Two threads exist prior to this one concerning ILoB; one thread with lots of fiddly bits and an example of a battle and another thread concerning power sources. The first thread contains the most useful information as relates to this thread.

I haven't had the opportunity to playtest the game as it stands now... but thoughts have been occurring concerning the combat mechanics. I'm worried the original doesn't have interesting enough mechanics to hold attention...
This is practically a rebuilding of the game in a way so 'First Thoughts' seems like an appropriate spot for this. Note that the narrative aspects that have been previously mentioned are still very much intact.

Okay, on to the stuffy stuff.

Characters are governed by Four Attributes
Rated on a scale of 1 to 3.
Power:<Toughness:<Speed: Increases Initiative Rank (IR) gain. IR determines who goes when in combat.
Aura: Increases Ki Token gain.

Each attack is a Technique now.

Techniques have six different parameters...
Initiative Cost (IC), Ki Cost (KC), Offense Die (OD), Defense Die (DD), Ki Generation (KG) and Special.

IC: Time it takes to perform the Technique. Reduces IR. Ranges from 1 to 4.
KC: The amount of Ki Tokens that must be spent in order to perform the Technique. Ranges from 0 to 4.
OD: Determines the die rolled for offense. Ranges from 0 to D12.
DD: Determines the die rolled for defense. Ranges from D4 to D12.
KG: The amount of Ki Tokens gained after the Technique has been performed. Ranges from 0 to 5.
Special:<
Foundation Techniques
Quote
Basic Stance
IC=1 KC=0
OD=D4 DD=D4 KG=1
Special: 2 Initiative Damage

Quote
Power Up
IC=4 KC=0
OD=0 DD=D6 KG=5

Quote
Miscellaneous
IC=1 KC=0
OD=0 DD=D6 KG=0
Special: Allows the Brawler to perform a variety of non-combat actions including environmental manipulation.

Example Advanced Technique
Quote
Mega Assault
IC=4 KC=4
OD=D8 DD=D6 KG=3
Special: 2 Initiative Damage, 2 Ki Damage and 2 Damage Soak.

1) Techniques and targets are selected by all combatants at the same time thus OD and DD are rolled at the same time.

2)<3)<4) There are only 5 Advantage Tokens for every battle, whomever collects them all wins. If a Brawler would gain an AT and all have been picked up, that Brawler takes one from his opponent.

5)<6) Chain Attacks can qualify for additional Chain Attacks. Chain Attacks can net you additional Advantage Tokens.

7) Ki Tokens can be spent to gain the following effects; reduce the damage dealt by an opponent by 1 and increase IR by 1.

Cool<extreme length battles... as in, really fast and/or really long. If it turns out wonky, Fighting Spirit will be restored. Perhaps then Advantage Tokens could be fought over for the right to initiate a super duper technique.

What am I looking for here? Pretty much anything that comes to mind. Does the idea of building a Technique Set from a limited pool of 'known' Techniques sound more entertaining than the original design? The rigid structure for Technique creation should ensure that all Techniques have tactical uses...

Regardless, thanks in advance!
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2009, 10:14:09 AM »

Okay... Hopefully someone will respond soon. I have been thinking about it some more and I actually wrote a good deal of the core ideas in 'game form.' That help put things into perspective. Unless anyone has any riveting suggestions, the only thing left to do is to write up some Techniques.

Well, I've decided not to go with attributes to reduce math and to make Technique choices more important.

Tech Rings are going to be sets of 5 Techniques, each Brawler may have two. Mid-battle a Brawler can switch from using one set of Techniques to a different set. There are Master Techniques that have passive effects such as reactive damage when someone hits a Brawler. Each Tech Ring can only have one of such things.

Reduced Technique parameters to 5... Cutting out KG. Now Initiative Rank and Ki are gained through a dice roll that occurs every Round.

I'm kicking around the idea of using generalized, abstract and small grids for combat. Something like adding a 2x2 per Brawler involved in a fight... so the smallest arena would be 4x4.

I've decided, for now, to do away with Advantage Tokens. Now you only have two piles of tokens, Initiative and Ki. Each has their own specific uses... For instance, most Techniques lean towards requiring Ki. Ki can also be used to reduce damage on the fly. Initiative is important for turn order and it can be spent to move spaces on the grid.

Battle goes in this order...
Initiate=1D6, result is split between Initiative and Ki as the player sees fit.
Technique=Starting from the lowest Initiative, each player selects a Technique and reveals it.
Action=Starting from the highest Initiative, each player resolves his chosen Technique.
Return to Initiate.
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
drkrash
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 02:49:43 PM »

Continuing our PM conversation...

I like what you have done. 

A lot of these revisions are sufficiently out of context that it's hard to see how they'd work out.

I'm curious how a battle grid would work.  Keeping them small is good, though I ultimately ditched them for Fight!.

What would the 5 techniques be based on? Why 5? What am I missing in the shonen source material that suggests switching technique sets?

I also thought that there were some spiritual similarities between your abandoned technique creation ideas and my Special Move creation system.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Happy to help further when I understand more.  Your game happens to be more of a style and genre that I like than many I read about here.

C
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 04:38:13 PM »

Thanks for the comments!

Hm... Is there something in particular that isn't explained in enough detail? Its hard for me to tell because I have everything flowing around in my brain at this juncture. @_@

Originally I wanted the game to rely on a strictly imagined/described area. But then I realized I wanted some more unique things for the Techniques to do. For instance, the Air Move Set contains a Technique that allows the user to move as part of his attack. Another allows him to adjust the position of his opponent. It also means that some Techniques will be ranged while others will not. Of course, you'll end up paying for ranged attacks!

The 5 Techniques are based on the decisions a player makes before any battles begin. At character creation the player chooses 5 Techniques chosen from a pool of (currently) 70 for his Brawler to begin the game 'knowing.' Techniques can be picked up as time goes on, and often are. I note in the game text that achieving 10 total Techniques shouldn't take very long. After that Technique acquisition is completely up to the GM.

Why 5? Well, its not as restricting as 4 and not as wide open a 6. It should make for tough choices when you are trying to build a Tech Ring from a bunch of Techniques. It forces the player to build his Tech Rings intelligently... because the Round between switching from one ring to the next could be fatal. Also, this whole thing comes from my background in Magic the Gathering, I love deck building. ^_^

Tech Rings exist to replicate a martial artist ability to mix and match different martial arts. Think of each Tech Ring as its own stance... it has its pros and cons, works well against certain styles and terrible against certain others. This factor exists especially because of Master Techniques. Most Brawlers will build their Tech Rings around the central theme of their Master Technique. Or, perhaps they will use their Master Technique to limit the weaknesses of the other Techs. At least, this is the kind of character building I am hoping to achieve.
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 05:55:41 PM »

What am I looking for here? Pretty much anything that comes to mind. Does the idea of building a Technique Set from a limited pool of 'known' Techniques sound more entertaining than the original design? The rigid structure for Technique creation should ensure that all Techniques have tactical uses...

More entertaining? Well I think it depends on how good the technique pool system is! One one side it means that the game will have a lot more substance, in terms of rules details to learn, which could be pretty good, providing they provide real depth and not just difference.

Those tech rings sound like "stances" to my beat-em-up trained mind!

In the new version, what is the relationship between initiative and techniques? Is there countering? Blocking off certain options? What if you could only change stances if you are winning initiative, and by doing so give up the initiative?
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 06:51:59 PM »

First of all, I want to thank you for the response! Now, on to the action...

More entertaining? Well I think it depends on how good the technique pool system is!
Agreed. I'm trying to make each technique different enough to warrant a collection of interesting choices.

Quote
On one side it means that the game will have a lot more substance, in terms of rules details to learn, which could be pretty good, providing they provide real depth and not just difference.
I'm trying to figure out if this is integral to having fun with the game. My knee jerk reaction is to say no. But I'm not sure yet.

Quote
Those tech rings sound like "stances" to my beat-em-up trained mind!
For shneezy, I mention as much before. =) The term seemed right... I keep envisioning the five Techniques as a half-cards that are arrayed in a ring on the table.

Quote
In the new version, what is the relationship between initiative and techniques? Is there countering? Blocking off certain options? What if you could only change stances if you are winning initiative, and by doing so give up the initiative?
Initiative is used for turn order and movement. Turn order is really important because if you act first then you can see what technique your opponent is going to use and choose your own accordingly.

Attacks and Defenses are launched simultaneously by all combatants involved... essentially, each Technique represents the method by which you intend to approach that round. Each Technique has its own strength... some favor offense, others favor defense, some are balanced across the board, others still provide special effects... so often you have to make a sacrifice in one area.
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2009, 06:16:37 PM »

After taking some time off of ILoB and working on Farmer's Epic and The Babel Watch... I have decided to return to ILoB (without finishing either of the previously mentioned games, nonetheless! O_O).

I've come to the conclusion that the idea presented in this thread isn't necessarily a bad one but in the end it doesn't fit what I'm trying to create.

I recall something called the Codex Martialis, a supplement of sorts that modifies D20 combat. I don't know the details but I do believe it had something to do with a pool of dice that would be distributed amongst specific values.
I like this idea and wouldn't mind seeing how it would work for this game...


Core Idea
Okay, so there exists three categories; Offense, Defense and Advantage. Combatants have 5 dice to split between these categories (likely D6s or D10s). Each combatant rolls all three dice categories simultaneously. Dice are added together.

Offense is compared against Defense to determine if the attack is successful. Damage is equal to this value as well.
Defense is compared against Offense to determine if the attack is successful. A successful defense yields a +1 Advantage per die spent on Defense for the next Clash.
Advantage determines whom strikes first. If a Brawler is damaged before he can attack, he loses his chance to attack that Clash.


Wrinkles
You must place at least one die in each category.
You may gain additional dice to place by using special Techniques.
Qualities/Traits chosen at character creation can be used as permanent modifiers. IE: Powerful grants +2 to all damage dealt.
You never roll more than six dice. Every die applied after the sixth is considered a +1.
You may convert 6s from a category in the midst of battle to +2s for a different category.
Techniques also add special effects as usual
Techniques still need to be revamped from before... Power Level is likely to be removed entirely.


So what do you folks think? Is this a strong foundation for a better combat system?
For those who don't recall, this is the thread detailing the old combat mechanics.
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
drkrash
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 08:10:42 AM »

MacLeod,

I like the streamlined version.  As we discussed, I did that for Fight! also.

However, this system seems terribly blah without some idea of Techniques to give it flavor.  Any chance of seeing some of those?

C
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 08:53:12 AM »

Hello sir!

I do agree that the initial idea lacks depth... however, imagine a rough beta for a video game where the only point is to hammer out the obvious bugs before adding additional layers of complexity. Basically, I'm simply trying to build a strong foundation right now.

As for Techniques, I think I may replace the term with Stances. There are standard Stances that everyone has access to (such as Aggressive, Defensive, Haste, etc...) and then special ones that produce special effects.

The basic Stances would provide a minimal bonus to something and a minimal penalty to something else... the Advanced Stances would provide a special effect like Burning or Frozen... things like that. Some effects might only trigger if you win a specific category... The Riposte Stance, for instance, would allow you to deal damage when successfully Defending.

Some Stances might even have multiple parts that require specific actions to be performed or categories to be won before a massive bonus is gained. I know spamming the same moves over and over sounds boring... but it likely wouldn't happen. Once you've revealed your combo, an opponent would know what Stances to adapt in order to counter it fairly easily. So you'd have to sneak it in there at some juncture, or setup your combo in the midst of an opponent's to make him choose between completing his own or breaking it and actively seeking to stop your plan.

I'm also considering the following as a possible wrinkle...
Whenever an attack is successful... the player may opt to remove one of his Offense dice instead of adding it to the damage dealt. Doing so will add the value of that dice to a "special resource" pool (currently unnamed). This special resource allows combatants to do something. Maybe this is how extra dice are bought?

Perhaps... each category has a special effect for rolling a 6 (on a D6)? Offense would allow you to deal piercing* damage, Defense grants an Advantage bonus, Advantage grants an Offense bonus...

* I've also been thinking about a constantly fluctuating health bar sort of thing. Well, Fighting Spirit in this game. Each Brawler would have a Health stat... something like 5 or 6. The only way to deal damage to it is to reduce FISP to 0 and batter that opponent when they are down.

I don't know anymore... I always have too many ideas and no clue whether or not they mix well.

PS: I haven't forgotten about sending you that document. I've just been wrapped up lately in a lot of junk... Having a low self esteem extends into my writing, so I'm trying to tweak it a little... Not that I'm creating some sort of fool proof system or anything, they barely amount to more than scribbled notes on a piece of paper. O_O
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
drkrash
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 09:57:08 AM »

I wouldn't sweat the re-writes if you're doing this for your own mental amusement (which I understand is mostly the case).  But if you have the desire to even throw it out there as a freebie RPG (or even basically a combat system with some character creation attached), you'll need to decide which version you like best.

I like this one because it's easy to follow along, and with enough character options, could make for some fun interactions.
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2009, 10:13:38 AM »

So the idea above has evolved over time into something better. In reflection, perhaps I spoke too soon about this game considering all of the revisions...? Then again, this is 'First Thoughts' and that is about as early as it gets. O_O

Anyways. The following may repeat some of which was posted previously...

Three Combat Categories exist; Defense, Advantage and Offense.
Instead of a dice pool (since I hate those anyways) you distribute the following dice; D6, D8 and D10.

Defense: Compared against Offense to determine if you are damaged.
Advantage: Compared against Advantage to determine whose strike lands first.
Offense: Compared against Defense to determine if you deal damage. The difference between the two values determines how much damage is dealt

Damage: Damage reduces Fighting Spirit. Brawlers have 10 Fighting Spirit. If a Brawler takes 4 or more damage from a single attack, his attack is canceled for that Clash. This obviously only has an effect if the victim of the damage managed to lose the Advantage Combat Category.

Ki plays a major role in combat. It is used to increase Combat Category results, activate Abilities, Engage Techniques and regenerate Fighting Spirit.
Ki is generated in two ways; rolling the maximum value for a Combat Categories die and Powering Up a Technique. The maximum value method doesn't require an Action to perform but the amount of Ki generated is based on the die rolled, the higher dice generate more. Powering Up requires an Action, Locks one Technique and generates Ki based on its Affinity.
There are three types of Ki; Water (Defense), Wind (Advantage) and Fire (Offense). Type syncs up with Technique Affinity and Combat Categories. Using the appropriate Ki Type leads to better prices and/or more Ki generated.

Techniques are organized by Affinity. Each generally conforms to a specific style (think about the Combat Category each is based on). Techniques are composed of two parts; an Ability and an Engage Mode. PCs begin with four Techniques, Players will create their own Techniques by pairing an Ability with an Engage Mode. This hopefully creates plenty of variation... I intend to have at least 6 choices per category (six for Wind Ability, six for Wind Engage Modes, etc...).
Abilities are activated for an instant effect. Engage Modes are activated for a passive effect that  makes the Technique not usable for Powering Up. The effect ends if the Techniques' Ability is used.

Battles are suppose to play out very tactically. You see the results of Combat Categories at the beginning of each Clash (Round) then the players alternate taking actions until they are satisfied with the results or are out of resources. Then when all parties are finished, the effects of their choices come into play.
This fixes my issue with the previous battle system being too simple. I also think the way alternating actions are performed will promote lots of color for the battle. (I spend 4 Ki to regenerate 2 Fighting Spirit, Gorj allows the shadows to seep into his wounds restoring the destroyed flesh / In that case, I spend 1 Ki to activate my Critical Strike Ability, Trok presses the attack using Gorj's momentary lapse in defense as an opportunity to pin him to the ground!!!)

In closing... What do y'all think?
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
drkrash
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2009, 02:04:07 PM »

MacLeod,

Dude, this is a lot of revisions! Smiley

More seriously, though, I re-iterate what I said before: the core mechanic is simple and interesting enough.  The fundamental simplicity of this one is cool.  But I need to see some Techniques to get a better sense of how the game would go.

Have you designed enough Techniques yet to actually test these rules with actual dice in hand?
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2009, 11:34:39 PM »

Yeah, I know... The thing about not having anyone to playtest one's stuff is that the lingering feeling that problems exist is never erased. >_<
Then again... this is all for the best. This particular version of the combat mechanics should be pretty easy to grasp, requiring five different types of tokens (one for each type of Ki, one for Fighting Spirit and a double-sided token for Locked/Engaged) but no writing.

I have 32 Abilities/Engage Modes (the items that make up Techniques) as of this post. If I had some willing subjects I could playtest the thing. =) I only just completed this "idea draft" yesterday... and then my brakes went out while I was driving... so I haven't been able to sit down more than once for a session of dishing ideas out for Abilities/Engage Modes.

Here is what I have for Water Techniques, currently...
Note that the names of each are purely titles and not indicative of what the Technique would look or do in the game fiction.

Water Techniques, Abilities
Domination
Choose one of your opponent?s Techniques. The both of you roll 1D20, if your result is higher that Technique is Locked for this Clash. This Ability may only be used during the Preparation Phase. 1 [Ki]

Flowing Transition
Roll a D10. You may choose to replace your Defense die with that result. Activate. 1 [Ki]

Freeze
If your (Defense/Advantage/Offense) is successful, the opponent takes 1 damage during the next 3 Preparation Phases and takes a -1 Defense on his next Clash. Activate. 1 [Ki].

Ice Scythe
If your Offense is successful you deal an additional 4 damage if the opponent?s Affinity is (Fire/Wind). Activate. 1 [Ki]

Reversal
Switch one Combat Category die result with another, both must belong to the same target. Activate. 2 [Ki]

Typhoon Stance
You may switch either the Advantage or Offense die result with the Defense result. You may only target yourself with this Ability. Activate. 1 [Ki]

Water Techniques, Engage Modes
Aspect of the Glacier
Increase your [FISP] by 1 during the Preparation Phase. 3 [Ki]

Blood Shield
You take 1 damage during the Preparation Phase. +2 on Defense rolls. 2 [Ki]

Chilling Aura
Whenever an opponent gains [Ki] he takes 1 damage. This effect occurs once per instance, not once per [Ki] gained. 2 [Ki]

Flowing Form
+1 on Defense rolls. 2 [Ki]

Ice Rings
If your Defense result is higher than each of the opponent?s Combat Categories, you may Lock one of his Techniques for that Clash. 2 [Ki]
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
drkrash
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2009, 03:21:17 AM »

Now this gives me more context!

As you know, at the moment I have a fighting game RPG to finish (I'm definitely on or ahead of schedule for my March release date, and the cover looks amazing! - sorry, off-topic! Smiley).  But if you had some playtest doc to work from, I'd try to give it a go, at least as a dice-rolling tactical exercise, if not a full-out playtest.  I'm curious about it, I like the genre, and this appeals to my particular "medium crunch" sensibilities.

One comment on this post, though: I like a lot of the techniques, but you run the risk of having to create separate entries for every idea someone comes up with.  A long list can be a lot of fun to "shop" through, and I'm honestly not discouraging it.  For someone like me who is only a casual fan of shonen at best, the list is helpful.  Having said all that, have you considered an effects-based system of generating techniques instead?
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MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2009, 10:53:01 AM »

=) I'm still awaiting the release of your game!

 I'd like to power through one more think tank session for the Technique-related stuff then clean up a few loose ends... Which will take more than a solid day of effort. Problem is, my brakes died so I'm in the midst of waiting for them to be repaired and I'm a 90 minutes away from home without access to my files. @_@ Furthermore, even if I had a playtest copy ready... I don't know any gamers anymore. =(
Which is kind of sad because I only really need one other person. I designed the game with the intention of never exceeding GM + 2 players... and often just GM + 1 player. x_x

As for your comment, sir...
I thought what I created is effects-based...? The name of each Technique (Freeze, Ice Scythe) are just color. When you activate Freeze, all you know is that the opponent is going to be taking damage across the next three Clashes and his next Defense result is going to suffer. So based on your character's Power Source (talked of here) your Brawler may do any number of things. Your martial artist whom controls the Water element may do just as the Ability's title sounds like; the Brawler thrusts his palms out and sprays forth an icy blast that freezes his opponent momentarily. Then again, perhaps a villain that is constructed of an iron center mass with living tar making up the rest of his limbs will simply launch of a gob of superheated tar onto his foes (for the same effect).
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
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