View Full Version : Original System Making a Combat System - is this a good direction so far?

2014-12-23, 08:55 AM
Right now I'm currently pondering the underlying fundamentals of an RPG Combat system. Whether I'll ever fully flesh it out remains to be seen, but in the meantime I'm looking for advice on whether this seems like a decent direction for the mechanics and what some good existing examples of said mechanics are that I might look too for inspiration.

To summarise, the system uses of a sort of Action Currency which can be spent to perform actions. Rolls are skill based d12* roll under; combat uses opposed rolls and features a pseudo RPS-style mechanic relating to three different forms of active defense. HP is not a number but reflected by three* different wound severities - think FATE stress boxes.
At this point there is no defined setting or genre, though I have some other fantasy oriented ideas (but it could well stand as a generic).

*As currently envisioned. Die size and wound tiers aren't set in stone, they're just what feels right at the moment.

There are no d&d style attributes; everything is based on the skill alone. I haven't quite nailed down what all the skills will be yet, but I have enough of an idea for combat.
For offense, I will have different skills for different styles (eg Melee, Shoot) and it may be further broken down based on individual weapons or weapons types (axes, swords), or ways of using those weapons.
The one thing I am solid on though are the three different defenses: Dodge, Block, and Parry. Each will easily foil some attacks but prove ineffective against others. For example, a dodge can evade a strong, powerful attack that would bust through a parry. A precisely aimed attack can be used to find the weak point on a static blocker that, but a parry will easily cast the attack aside. This is honestly one of the ideas I'm happiest with; most games I know of don't differentiate much between different defensive styles, but I wanted to come up with something that did.
Skills range from 2-12.

Each character has a certain number of action points that determines how much "stuff" they can do in a round. 1 Point will often (but not always) be equivelant to a single dice roll, so I guess it could be described as a dice pool system?
Points can be spent actively on your turn to attack, use skills etc. You can probably only perform 1 action in your turn normally (on top of movement, which is probably free), but certain abilities and strong characters may have conditional extra actions (eg Dual Wielding). You can also spend points to modify or enchance your action. But, using powerful or multiple actions will cost a lot of action points.
They can also be used reactively. Generally this means spending points to defend from attack, but it could be other things depending on your character. There's no limit on most reactions, but they'll chip into your Action Points.
Since both actions and reactions are tied to the same pool of points, you have to decide how to spend them. Going all out with attacks leaves you with little to spend on defense and vice versa.
Some things, such as damage, might remove your action points*.
You regain action points up to your maximum at the start of each turn. Some severe enemy actions may reduce that maximum*.

*see "Damage, Armour and Wounds"

To attacks, you declare what kind of attack you're using, spend the required number of Action Points and then roll a number of d12s specified by the attack. If the result on the die is less than your attacking skill, then that die is a success.
However, before dice are rolled, the target can declare that he is going to defend. He will declare what kind of defense he is using (Dodge, Block, or Parry), spend some action points and then roll a number of d12s based on the points spent. If a die is less than the defending skill used, then it is a success.
Whoever gets the most successes wins; if the attacker wins, he hits and may wound the target. If the defender wins, he successfully prevents the attack from hitting him. Ties will probably go to the attacker, but I'm not certain of that yet.
As I mentioned though, the type of defense chosen by the defender can make a difference. I'm not 100% decided on what that means yet, but it may be one or more of the following:
- The advantaged party rolls an extra die/dice
- The advantaged party recieves 1 free "success" in addition to those rolled
- The advantaged party can reroll unfavourable dice or force the opponent to reroll
- The advantaged party regains 1 of the action points spent on the attack/defense
- The disadvantaged party loses an action point in addition to those spent to make the attack/defense
I'm currently leaning towards a combination of 2, 4 and 5. The trick though is striking a balance between making the choice of defense matter without utterly making or breaking the result. I don't want it to be literally RPS after all.
There will probably also be the option of taking a "neutral" defensive measure that is weaker but has no risk of leaving you vulnerable.

When you are hit, even if you take no damage, you flinch a little - costing you an action point.
The Attacker than makes a damage roll. This is another d12 roll. If the result is less than the Power of the attack then he has successfully dealt damage. He may then re-roll the dice, taking note of the success, and then once more after that. This results in up to 3 rolls and as many potential successes.
The target then makes a single d12 roll comparing it to his Armour Value. If the number on the die is less than his Armour, then one of the attackers successes are discounted.
The number of successes determines the severity of the wound. 1 success deals a Minor Wound, 2 deals a Moderate wound*, and 3 deals a Major wound, though other effects may raise or lower the severity of the wound, or make the result irrelevant.

Each player can take up to a certain number of wounds of each type. Not sure exactly how many, but a small enough number for them to feel important, and obviously Minor>Moderate>Major, with most low-level characters having only one of the latter.
When you receive a Major wound, you also receive a level of fatigue which remains until the wound is healed. Fatigue reduces the amount of action points you have.
If you take a wound but can take no more of that severity, you take the next level instead, so many Minor Wounds eventually add up to a moderate. In the case of a Major Wound, the wound is upgraded to a Critical Wound. You can also recieve Critical wounds in other extreme circumstances. When you are critically wounded you are incapacitated and out of the battle unless healed, and a second Critical wound will kill you outright.

*Moderate wounds may be unnecessary; it's occured to me that they aren't really any different to Minor wounds other than that they become Major when you take a lot. It might be better to just ditch them and have a larger number of minor and major wounds.

Another thing I'm toying considering. Turn order is fixed to begin with, but effects can change it. For example, you could intentionally delay your turn, which would come at the cost of permanently bumping your turn rank down. Or you could spend Action Points to act sooner than normal (within reason). You could also have your initiative lowered by attacks if you don't have any AP left.
Idk, just some ideas.

John, renowned Swordsman and Scoundrel, finds himself locked in close combat with two lowly bandits, Steve and Allen.

John attacks first with his Rapier, using two of his 5 AP. He rolls a 6 and a 9, which is one success with his Sword Skill of 7. His target, Steve, attempts to dodge the attack, also spending 2 AP. He has a Dodge of 10, so the rolls of 4 and 8 allows him to overcome John's single success and evade the strike.
Steve's AP refreshes as his turn begins, and he opts to go all out, spending 4 AP on his retaliation. 3, 6, 5, 11. Unfortunately Steve was never that great a Swordsman, with a skill of 4, so he gets one success. John spends 2 AP to parry the attack, rolling a 4 and a 7 - two successes with a parry of 8. But wait! Steve's attack was a powerful overhead blow, and John's parry attempt can't withstand the force! You should've dodged, John! One of his successes is discounted, leaving him with the same amount as Steve, and the attack goes through! A few rolls later and John takes a Minor wound. Not only that, but the hit causes John to flinch and robs him of his last Action Point, leaving him defenseless as Allen readies a hefty battleaxe for the killing blow...

So yeah, as mentioned not all the mechanics are finalised, but that's how a small exchange might play out.

So, thoughts?