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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Swordfighting  (Read 3700 times)
Jared A. Sorensen
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« on: December 16, 2002, 05:22:16 PM »

Something I thought up while driving home tonight.

A swordfighting mechanic based around the concept of healing damage with damage that would ordinarily affect your opponent. At this point, "damage" becomes an inappropriate term, but nevertheless...

Here's how it could work (really abstracted out and rough):

Characters X and Y both have a Threshold of 20. This is the number of "points" they can withstand -- any more and they're hurt/dead. If both Thresholds are at 0/20 (meaning it's unchanged), the fight is essentially "over" (or it hasn't started). At the end of the fight, the survivors' Threshold scores are restored to 0/20 (unless one score has been reduced...see below).

X scores 5 points against Y and applies this against Y's Threshold (now at 5/20).

Y then counters by scoring 5 points against X. Y chooses to bring his Threshold back down to 0/20.

In game terms, nothing has really happened. Both sides remain as they were at the start of the fight. Onscreen (as it were), what has happened depends on the flavor and mood of the fight. It could be a flurry of quick strikes and parries, a powerful swing blocked by an equally powerful defense, or two swordsmen sizing each other up.

At Threshold (20/20 or higher), the swordsman begins to suffer penalties. If Threshold is exceed by a certain number of points, that character is killed (or whatever is chosen by the winner). Characters can also reduce their total Threshold in order to do more damage or to engage in risky behaviors (like dual-weapon fighting, disarms, etc.).

The key here is that a fight doesn't happen in a cause/effect fashion -- it's not over until that Threshold number has been reached. Also, fighters aren't nickel-and-dimed to death. The fatal strike is swift and unavoidable...the actual narration (the onscreen imagery and special effects) are all left up to the players. Two fighters could slash at one another for hours, inflicting superficial wounds here until both men drop, exhausted, and the fight ends. Or the fight could be very one-sided, with a blinding maneuver that results in a swift and painless decapitation.

Physical mechanics could use 2 20-sided dice for each player. Each player has a Threshold d20 used to keep track of total Threshold and a red d20 used to gauge the points inflicted onto the opponent (red because, well, it's like blood). The actual attack mechanic would be, roll N number of S sided dice (open or closed rolls, whatever). That's the number of points the player has to either add points to his opponent or subtract from his own total.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2002, 07:46:16 PM »

Jared-

I think that this mechanic could really go somewhere. You're definitely right in not wanting to call it "damage." It seems more like "pressing the advantage" or some such thing. When you finally drive the other guy up to 20 is when you drive the killer blow home.

You could work the "advantage" on a slider mechanic, with a 40 places (20 to each side) and work it almost like tug-o-war.

You mechanic as it stands seems trickier than it needs to be, I think (yes, I know it's really rough).

A question, though...sometimes folks are nickel-and-dimed to death, even though that isn't what the winner wanted to happen. I can see a number of ways this early mechanic might handle that, but what did you have in mind (or were you just not going to worry about it)?

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2002, 04:02:22 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
A question, though...sometimes folks are nickel-and-dimed to death, even though that isn't what the winner wanted to happen. I can see a number of ways this early mechanic might handle that, but what did you have in mind (or were you just not going to worry about it)?


Hmmm...tug-of-war idea is good.

Nickel-and-diming: realistic, yeah...but that's your bailywick. I'm looking for something dramatic -- kind of an all or nothing endeavor.

(hmmm...maybe this is all because I watched Brotherhood of the Wolf on Sunday?)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2002, 09:20:22 AM »

Hi Jared,

This is a lot like the Action Points in Hero Wars, but a lot less fine-grained. Which is a good thing - in HW, the points are "little," like, you have 40 or so, and sometimes well over 100. The amounts to lose or gain are set by bids, so one possible annoyance of play is when people bid little tiny 2 or 5 points. We found that bids of 10 or 20 or more are way more fun, so that's what we tended to do.

Anyway, in your system, it seems as if the scale of point loss or gain is more suited to any change being dramatic and interesting.

Best,
Ron
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2002, 10:05:49 PM »

Quote from: Jared A. Sorensen

Nickel-and-diming: realistic, yeah...but that's your bailywick. I'm looking for something dramatic -- kind of an all or nothing endeavor.

(hmmm...maybe this is all because I watched Brotherhood of the Wolf on Sunday?)


Cool. I figured as much, but I also know that you're big into the "the players can do what they want" thing, and I wondered if you had an interperetive rule/principle in mind (not neccessarily an actual "rule" specifc to this). Dramatic is good, though.

Have you developed any more ideas for it?

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Valamir
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2002, 06:38:13 AM »

You might want to check out Zenobia.  Combat in that game (from memory) involved opposed combatants each rolling 2d6 + mods with the difference being the advantage earned by the winner.

Advantage does nothing (or maybe it provided additional mods...don't remember).  You simply accumulate it round over round until you decide to cash it in.  When cashed in you purchase various effects depending on how big an advantage you have.

If you have just a small advantage you can only "buy" flesh wounds (like reducing hitpoints).  If you have a big advantage you can buy critical hits that make you opponent worse off, or you can try to save up for the big insta kill blow.  The catch is that you lose your advantage if your opponent beats you in the next roll, so there's the tug of war over spending what you have on a lesser effect and resetting the match to even or continueing to press your opponent back blow after blow until you've got such a large advantage you can finish him off.
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