View Full Version : "Duel Mode"-An alternative to normal combat.

Teapot Salty
2017-01-01, 04:13 AM
A little while ago, I homebrewed a system for a "The Last Airbender" style game. Combat was handled in that system by each player getting one second of proactive (attacking) time per turn, and one second of reactive (defensive) time to be used on enemy turns. During these times, the PC's could describe what they were going to do in great detail, since it allowed for very flexible combat. This was to encourage creativity and let players do cool stuff with their bending instead of just saying "I throw a rock at it."

The problem with this system was that it did not lend itself very well to large scale battles, because it was very time consuming, and it can be difficult to remember specific actions taken.

Now, my problem with melee combat in D&D, is that it can often feel like "I walk up and hit it with my axe" instead if "I use my dagger to impale the mage's hand, pinning it to the table and preventing him from casting spells." So I figured, what the hell? Why not let players do attacks in very high detail, when fighting in situations that would allow it? And reserve the "normal" d&d combat to moderate to large scale battles, fluffing the change in mechanics as not being able to focus on precise moves in a large battle.

So what I propose people try is: In small scale combat, such as a duel, or during a surprise round, let players have a smaller, more detailed combat system, allowing players to do individuel moves and defensive actions, and encouraging creativity.
I'm not 100% sure how you would handle damage and health. Still use the HP abstraction? Or actually base it on a more realistic "vitals" system.

Anyway, what do you guys think of this?

2017-01-01, 05:24 PM
I played in a group that did some combat like this. We basically fought regular D&D style but in situations that lent themselves to the action we wanted we could go into detail. We had to make much more rolls, like skill checks, but it was really fun to do. It really only worked in small combat and when our party size was small. Large parties made the detail a little too much because it bogged combat down.
edit: Forgot to answer the question. We used the same HP abstraction but more detailed stuff like shooting an arrow through someone's hand an into a wall made them pinned. We added a few extra rolls for pinning and after his hand was stuck he couldn't use the hand. It worked quite well.

2017-01-03, 07:44 PM
YESS!! I've always wanted to do a system like this for dramatic duels, and had actually worked something similar out. However, it would have still used the Hit Point system, but now I have a better idea. Basically, each section of the body has a separate AC, and if you miss what you are aiming for (or your opponent uses his defense action to make an opposed attack roll to deflect your attack(?)) then you use the same roll against the two nearest body sections, then if you fail again, you 100% miss/get deflected. Of course, this is kind of more suited to single combat, and has never been playtested at all, so I don't know.