View Full Version : Working on a combat system - ideas, critiques?

2013-02-12, 09:22 PM
Looking for some critiques here. I'm trying to work through the basics of a combat system. System uses d6 dice pools. 4+ is a success.

Basic 1st level class archetypes would look something like such. I'm not set on the particular attributes and their applications yet:



Each character would have a number of HP/Wound points, and a number of Action Points.

Each attack/spell would have two attributes, a primary and a secondary. For instance:

Punch Him in the Face would be (Body, Reflex) while Shocking Grasp would be (Mind, Reflex).

If your fighter gets close to the wizard, and attempts to Punch Him in the Face, the wizard can choose to either roll his 1 Body Dice against the Fighter's 4 body dice, or pay an action point to instead roll his (2) Reflex dice against the Fighter's (3) reflex dice.

The difference in the two scores indicates damage done. Damage can only be done to the defender.

Different types of actions would typically have certain types of attribute riders. Up close combat abilities would have either body or reflex attached, stuff far away would be more likely to have mind and spirit.

My thought is this should lead to combat that is initially non-lethal, where the combatant with the advantage is going to go through the other combatant's action points quickly, and then once action points are expended, should get lethal quickly.

Any thoughts

2013-02-14, 10:11 AM
Is there anything else that needs to be explained/fleshed out before people have enough information to comment? Please let me know.

2013-02-14, 10:44 AM
This means that skill at performing an attack type and skill at reducing it are pretty much the same. You sure you want that?
How do you get action points, and what determines whether an attack does lethal or nonlethal damage?

2013-02-14, 11:02 AM
I have a somewhat similar concept for my game - in it, "Action Points" are regenerated at the end of a player's turn, (not the beginning - that's important.)

When you're attacked, you can use an action point for an active defense - blocking, parrying, dodging or counterspelling. These defenses are generally pretty effective, so unless there's a big difference in attack vs. defense skill, you won't get hit much.

However, those action points are also what you use to attack - so, even between two combatants of equal skill, one can get forced onto the defensive, using their action points for active defenses to avoid getting hurt, and thus unable to mount an offensive without doing something to break the pattern.

I like the minimal stat system. I actually set mine to 0 as a baseline, so there's no difference between a stat and its modifier.

How do you plan to handle wounds/hp, and what level of lethality are you aiming for? I chose to go with low lethality but no raise dead (Though they can attempt CPR) in order to keep death meaningful from a story perspective; to keep combat interesting and risky without much chance of death, I made nasty wounds tough and expensive to heal.

2013-02-14, 02:34 PM
I do want attack and defense to be pretty much the same. I don't think there's any real reason to separate them, because the attacker has an intrinsic advantage: he gets to chose which attributes to attack. He sets the basic terms of the fight. If you're a wizard and someone attacks you with Body/Reflex, you're in trouble, not matter which one you chose.

I'm thinking that similar to your system FreakyCheeseMan, that it'll be low lethality initially, but if you run a character out of action points, hes going to be in big trouble. For example, if you've got two fighters slugging it out, they should burn through action points at a similar rate. If you've got an archer taking pot shots at someone at a distance, he's really not going to be using any AP, while the target is.

I could see levels giving boosts to attributes, maybe a high level character is 8/6/4/2 instead of 4/3/2/1. I'd have to play with that more to determine whats appropriate. There'd be some customisability where you could sacrifice one of your better abilities to improve one of the worse ones if you wanted to be a more defensive minded character.

I'm thinking AP would be a per/combat sort of thing, with maybe some sort of mechanic for recovering a small amount within combat.

One of my goals is to get away from all the big numbers involved in D20, especially with a melee character. Rolling 7 dice on your 2WF and trying to keep track of where the +17/+12/+7/+15/+11 gets applied is just a pain.

I was thinking that skill checks would use the number of dice for the underlying attribute, and characters would be able to be "trained" in a low number of skills, and on those skills success would be designated as 3+ instead of 4+

2013-02-14, 05:43 PM
One other thing - dice pools aren't bad, but they are a bit complicated in terms of probabilities. As the designer of the game, you want to have a very specific idea of what the probabilities of success or failure are, and how they're modified by bonuses.

For my system, I use iterated rolls/flips of a coin; you continue to flip until you get a result different than your original one. You then have as many successes or failures as you got heads or tails (or high or low rolls) in a row.

HHT = 2 successes
TTTTH = 4 failures,
HT = 1 success, etc.

This is then modified by direct bonuses and penalties (1 Failure + 1 = 1 success, past that it's all normal). So, I have a very strictly defined probability curve laid out, and I always know exactly how bonuses and penalties will work out (by shifting the apex of the curve in one direction or another.)

2013-02-14, 05:45 PM
Would you be able to train your combat skills? Because going from each die being successful 50% of the time to them being successful ~65% of the time is pretty impressive.

2013-02-15, 09:20 AM
Would you be able to train your combat skills? Because going from each die being successful 50% of the time to them being successful ~65% of the time is pretty impressive.

I don't think so, but I think applying that benefit would make a great temporary buff