View Full Version : New d20 game (no not just combat)

Hiest, monkey
2007-11-28, 04:55 PM
So I've been playing Assassin's Creed, and I realized how muc more realistic it is than Dnd. And this is the game where you can jump from building to building and catch yourself on a two inch ledge.

So I figured I could design my own combat system

As I kept working on Idea's in my head, I realized I could entirely revamp dnd.

I haven't actually mad it yet, I just wanted to see if anyone was interested.

Core concepts:
Hp is very low, but attack works in such a way that if you are attacked you can dodge counter and other options

the biggest idea I had: skill systems. Many actions i.e. jumping from building to building and catching yourself on a windowsill, could require multiple skills. Lets say climb, jump and a dex check. You may (haven't decided yet) Either use one of the skills/ability checks for the whole thing, or for every 1 by which your check exceeds the DC move a +1 bonus to the other checks. This works with physical skills and others (Diplomacy and Bluff)

I've always despised how a rogue stabing an unarmored adventurer in the back when he is flatfooted will probably not kill him, or an ogre with a club not killling a halfling in clothes with a critical hit because of level (this is my gripe with hitpoints). I like t when my character is frickin mortal, ya' know? (both are average damage actual examples from a campign). I want to make proficiencies stay but you deal limited, if variable, damage per weapon to make this more interesting. To see my solution see below.

Make weapon damage modifiers a skill. Say like 2-3 points a +1 bonus or so.
Make counterattack, dodge, countergrapple/ grapple, skills

Now it may seem this doesn't work because it relies on tons of skill points. My solution? Make classes non-existent. There are "specializations" you may take to get skill points per level for cetrain skills only, or less points but for any skill dstrubuting differently for different specs.

All archtypes remain (name it yourself, and arange skills how you want)

For casting stay tuned!

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-28, 05:43 PM
I'd like to help with the project (even though I have a lot of other projects going on). I actually set up a "featherweight" RPG system called Fantasy: Ultra-Light that is extremely flexible and can do almost anything. Unfortunately, its not up to snuff and I'd like a chance to start over. It was supposed to be highly realistic with the whole 1 good hit kills but also very simple.

Suggestions for combat (I know you want more but this is the hardest part):
Parry/Block system based off the weapon type being wielded. Each round is not a set of turns, but rather each combatant chooses a stance (aggressive, defensive, passive) possibly of varying levels, those in an aggressive stance can attack, those in a defensive stance cannot attack, but can counter and block/parry, and those in a passive stance cannot attack or counter, but can block/parry and have free movement. Movement in combat is based on a tactical stance. All movement is based off circling an opponent or opponents (changes from stance to stance). At the start of the round each combatant makes a move in reverse initiative order then then all attacks are made at the same time but take effect in initiative order.

As for the acrobatics aspect, I would love to see an indepth system for it but that requires some thought...

Edit: Woah! Stupid internet cut me off....

2007-11-28, 06:01 PM
Actually, combat is one area that I would really like to see revamped. The whole, "roll to hit, roll damage, nope, you didn't kill'em" thing is just boring. I have been working on something similar to Lord Tataraus' system, but a little more elaborate:

Characters have six cards; three offense, three defense. When attacker declares his attack, she chooses one card (high, low, middle), while the defender declares a defense (parry, dodge, or counterstrike) and adds a card (also high, low, or middle). Compare attacker and defender choices on chart; modifier "to hit" and damage, with values slightly to defender's advantage (in actual melee combat, the attacker commits a few seconds before the defender, giving the defender a split second to adjust).

Still clunky, still working on the details. Let me know what you think.

2007-11-28, 06:16 PM
If you are gonna stick with a d20ish combat system, I'd have to argue for dnds hp system. Hp goes up in level because the player is better trained in rolling with blows and such nonsense. I think maybe just have the set hp for when he is flat-footed and can't defend himself. Also just use max damage rules and put the bar alot lower.

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-28, 06:52 PM
I've never cared for the Rock-Paper-Scissors system, I prefer a slightly complex skill system with Die roll and counters. Here are a few stances:

Combat Stances
Forward|Offensive|+2 Parry|-2 Block|You gain an extra point of reach
Open|Offensive|+2 Dual Weapon Attack|-2 to Parry and Block|+2 Tumble and Jump Acrobatics
Shield Striker|Offensive|+2 Block|-2 Parry|+2 Short Weapon Attacks
Wary|Defensive|+2 Counters|1 less Movement point|+2 Perception
Closed|Defensive|+2 Parry and Block|-4 Counters|+2 resist trips and throws
Turtle|Defensive|+2 Block|-2 Parry|+2 Short Weapon Counters
Runner|Passive|2 extra Movement points|-2 Dodge|Don't lose dodge while running
Dodger|Passive|+2 Dodge|2 less Movement points|none
Jumper|Passive|+2 Jump Acrobatics|1 extra Movement point|none

Tactical Stances
8|1/2 focus|+1 Attack
6|1 focus|+4 Attack
6|Full focus|none
4|1/2 focus|Tag all focused opponents
4|Full focus|+4 Attack vs opponents tagged by a leader
1|Full focus|+2 Block and Parry
n/a|No focus|You do not have the normal parry and block penalties vs unfocused opponents; you may enter a Passive Stance

Focus: An attribute that determines how well you take in a battle. This determines the number of opponents you can "focus" on. You can attack, tag, and circle focused opponents. Other opponents are immune to those effects. You gain a -2 penalty to all parries and blocks against opponents you are not focused on.
Circling: You may only move around the battle field by circling (except while in a Passive stance). Circling is changing your relative position with a focused opponent. You are still limited by your normal movement rate, but are additionally restricted by your Movement points. You may not change a number of squares relative distance and position with any focused opponent more than your Movement points.
Tag: You may choose any single focused opponent to "tag". You gain a +4 Attack bonus against your tagged opponent. Tagging an opponent is a Neutral Action.

Offensive Action: You have 1 offensive action per round to take against any focused opponent. An offensive action can only be taken by those in an offensive stance. This is an attack such as a weapon attack, trip, or throw.
Defensive Action: You have 1 defensive action per round to take against any. A defensive action can only be taken by those in a defensive stance. This is a parry, block, or acrobatic movement.
Neutral Action: You have 1 neutral action in a round where you gain a new focused opponent or each round you are in a passive stance. This is a tag, immediate counter, or dodge.
Counter Action: You have 2 counter actions per offensive action taken against you in a round and 1 counter action against per defensive action taken against you in a round. You may only use 1 counter action each from an offensive and defensive action taken against per opponent. This is a recover, grab, counter-attack, etc.

What do you think so far? I'll try to get some acrobatic stuff up later...

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-29, 10:41 AM
Alright, after thinking about the acrobatics, based mostly off Assassin's Creed, I've come up with 4 skills:

Leap - Used to launch yourself with a jump or dive from a ledge or wall.
Climb - Used to cling and climb up surfaces and ledges.
Acrobatics - Used to roll, dodge, or direct a fall/dive as well as balance.
Combo - Used to execute successive Leaps, Climbs, and Acrobatics in a smooth fashion, also determines how fast you can execute these moves.

I kind of like a d10-based system with a d20-like success system. Meaning something anyone could do is a DC5, a little difficult is DC10, even harder is DC15 and DC20 is only the best can do it. With a d10-based, d20-like success system with no ranks on an average roll you can meet a DC5, on a very high roll you can make a DC10. You need at least 5 ranks to reach a DC15 (on a lucky roll) and 10 ranks to meet a DC15 consistently.

So, anyone have an opinion or am I alone in this?

Thanatos 51-50
2007-11-29, 11:02 AM
I've been playing alot of Assassian's Creed lately, as well, and heres something I noticed: hitpoints

Note than usually, when you get hit and loose synch, Altair actually BLOCKS the incoming blow most of the time - you loose more units of sych when he doesn't block.
Now, go crazy and just WHAIL on one guard with your longsword for a while (like at the begining of the game, before I knew how to do counters), you'll wear him down alot, sure, he'll be "blocking", but thats just so you don't have gratitous blood flying about before you break through.

Reducing HP and renaming them "Guard Points" would be useful, and what you're looking for, I guess - A reflexive guard that wears down after you keep getting pelted, but they "regenerate" at a decent rate - much like how your sych bar fills up in the middle of a fight.
Then you'll have to introduce a parry/riposite/counterstrike mechanic, something to the tune of critical hits.

Working with the whole "half-block" deal would be the whole "Vitality points/Hit points" thing, you have Guard Points, "GP", that get used up during a fight, but after that, you only have one or two measly points of "soak" (or actual HP) to use.
Remember, swordfighting =/= gunfighting. Swords are messy. You can cut someone up bad and not kill them.

On that note:
Guard, Stamina, Health:
Guard - those little blocks you didn't quite get in
Stamina - Oh, noes, he hit me with his fist/boot!
Health - Those blocks you didn't get in at all!

So, the Hidden Blade would go straight after your Health, and ignore your guard, punching somebody alot would knock them out, and render their guard useless.(Seriously, try throwing a Templar to the ground and then just use your Hidden Blade - easiest striaghtfoward kill in the game - short of throwing him off a roof or into the water)
As for the whole FreeRunning bit, thats really just a ton of tumble, climb, jump and balance checks, isn't it?

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-29, 11:20 AM
Hit points need to be completely scratched for a realistic combat system. Thanatos is right along with what I was thinking. You have Stamina which gives penalties as you lose it, possibly similar to M&M's bruise/injury system. Then health or vitality which is a small number that hardly increases. Hits that don't strike true but just cut you would not take out all your vitality, but a true hit instantly takes out all your vitality. Of course, only a true strike can kill in the time frame combat takes place so 0 vitality via cuts and such would leave the victim helpless, though alive.

So, lets throw out some attributes:
Strength - Determines how much you can lift and how hard you hit.
Agility - Determines speed and initiative
Vitality - Determines how more damage you can take
Focus - Determines how many opponents you can focus on and your Perception.

Combat skills:
Grab/Throw - How easily you can grab and throw opponents
Weapon Training - Your skill with a given weapon type (short sword, dagger, etc.)
Trip/Feint - How easily you can trip and feint your opponents
Parry/Block - Your skill with parries and blocks.

2007-11-29, 11:23 AM
But... why keep D20 if you intend to throw away the classes, and HP systems? It would probably require less work to mod a skill based system than to turn D20 into one. I prefer muliple dice systems (3D6, or L5R Roll and Keep, or WW/Shadowrun), as they give a non linear result distribution (so that you have more chances to hit in the middle than to get a critical success or failure) , but that's just me.

Concerning stances, I think they are needed, especially in a magicless game, to offer some tactical choices during combat.
The riddle of steel offers a good maneuver based combat mechanism (although it is maybe too deadly). Basically, during a duel, one character is in attack, while the other is in defence, and the role are reversed as soon as the defender outperforms the attacker, or if he tries to steal initiative. It doesn't work too well with multiple opponents, though.

For a realistic combat system, shouldn't the damage resistance be based on strength? Muscles use to lower damages received.
Stamina could be used to determine how many rounds you can fight before your abilities drop.

2007-11-29, 11:37 AM
Indeed. there are already plenty of RPG systems out there with more realistic combat systems, mostly created as a reaction to Dungeons & Dragons. Role Master, Harn Master, Rune Quest, Hero Quest, War Hammer Fantasy Roleplay - we're already spoilt for fully supported systems. Granted, none of them may be quite what you're looking for, but any one of them might serve as a better base than Dungeons & Dragons. Failing that, there's always True20.

Saying that, I did help Kiero with a few ideas for a D20 Alternate Damage System (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55052) a few months back, which might be helpful.

You could also take a look at Golthur's Combat Style and Manoeuvre Thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32372)

Thanatos 51-50
2007-11-29, 11:57 AM
Now, how to work the social stealth: any ideas?

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-29, 02:27 PM
Now, how to work the social stealth: any ideas?


You have two kinds of reputation, Look and Legend. Look is how well people recognize you, the lower your check, the more people recognize you. Then Legend is how much others know about you either in a good or ad way depending on their outlook. The higher your Legend, the more people know of you and the lower the DC is for them to notice you. Sound good?

Thanatos 51-50
2007-11-29, 02:34 PM
Organization Clothing (The assassian's robes, for instance) would have to have an effect on Look and Legend, of course.

The town is FRIENDLY to the Knights Templar, and their uniform is easily recognised - wearing the organizational clothing of the Knights Templar is likely to make you stand out in the crowd - but noone will be after your hide unless you do something really stupid.

However, wearing normal Peasant Garb will get you around just fine, even better, actually because you won't stand out.

Wearing the Assassian's Robes will have a negligable impact on Look, but your Legend will almost uniformly be detrimental if you are recognised.

do I have your mechanic right?

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-29, 02:43 PM
Organization Clothing (The assassian's robes, for instance) would have to have an effect on Look and Legend, of course.

The town is FRIENDLY to the Knights Templar, and their uniform is easily recognised - wearing the organizational clothing of the Knights Templar is likely to make you stand out in the crowd - but noone will be after your hide unless you do something really stupid.

However, wearing normal Peasant Garb will get you around just fine, even better, actually because you won't stand out.

Wearing the Assassian's Robes will have a negligable impact on Look, but your Legend will almost uniformly be detrimental if you are recognised.

do I have your mechanic right?

Yep, that's about it. You have a base score/rank/whatever in Look and Legend that is increased based on level (or something like that) with boosts from certain actions that might have a duration and then you get circumstantial bonuses and penalties based on garb and action.

So, assassinating an important individual in a crowded market (like the teaser video) would give you a permanent +5 or so boost to Legend and a temporary +5 boost to Legend for 2d6 days and a -5 penalty to Look for 1d6 days. Then circumstantial modifiers based off your clothing, assassin robes would give an extra +2 Legend and -2 Look while peasant garbs gives a -2 Legend and +2 Look. Remember that high Legend can be good, but high Look is almost always good.

Hiest, monkey
2007-11-29, 04:16 PM
So first, sorry for not answering all your great ideas, and, erm, productive commentaries.

Secondly this not a Creed game adaptation it was simply derived from inspiratoin I got while playing.

Special thanks Mr. Tartarus for all the tremendous work. Great tables, and ideas and such. So sorry everyone else but I will be mostly speaking to him in this post. I will try to adress other concerns.

So Mr. Tar, I would like to say I love your stances, but I think to be realiistic you treat them to specifically to have so few. If you treat them this way you will need limitless options. I was going for a general system that is exteremely flexible.

My stances are basically the dnd stances, defense, total defense, and none. I liked your dodge stance, that will be adopted too.

I did take in the fact that countering is more an action you take while defensively looking for an opening. As par to dnd tradition, I have moved all similar actions into one skill. Counter, parry, and block can all fall into the same cartegory. I named it counter.

Because of the customization of the system Base Attack Bonus is now a skill. As par tradtion, all who have this as a specialized skill (specialized skills get more points, limited to a certain discipline) also have few skill points (heh, stupid fighters). I am aware that this also triggers major problems. What problems? AC is now virtually useless. Oops. I can solve that. You get dodge, or counter options, but for tank characters who don't want this to happen, there still is the skills ranks per level cap. Also with the vast majority of other things that will now require skill points (i.e. class abiities and feats, as they used to be called, more on that later) hopefully maxing it out will not make sense. Also since the most you can get out of skills is one more rank a level, it should be a simple matter to just adjust armor bonuses, which I am already doing, for different reasons.

Skills I am adding:
Attack (BAB)
Dodge (as a standard action you may add a few of the ranks to AC if fighting defensively)
Counter (block, parry, or counter another's attack)
I'll cover more on these next time, sorry, but I'm pressed for time.


My gripe? Armor has always been unrealistically dealt with. If you slash at fullplate, even if you do punch through, you're not gonna do your d8+5 damage, passing through metal is not that easy. Armor should be more like DR, and AC. That way wearing heavy armor isn't cosmetic anymore, it will save your life if you aren't the constitutioniest guy on the block. I don't have numbers but I know that bludgeoning bypasses leather armor DR, if there is any, that is. also take into account piercing beats chainmail, meduim, light, or no. with lowered hitpoints this is vital. The DR, that is.

Weapons (Who pwns? we pwns!) :

Obviously with my new system d6 d8 and others no longer work. I have no Idea of what to do with this. I was thinking soemthing along the lines of PC's have like 10 HP most NPC's like 8 HP average 3 damge a hit, averaging all weapons. I also wanted to induce penalties to counter with small weapons, and to attack with big ones. You can't strike as fast with a greatsword, and you can't block on with a dagger. I was also thinking simplify the weapons to like 15 total categories, that can be fitted to different weapons for cosmetic use. Frankly in the "olden" days longsword and rapier were one and the same.

more later, right now I got to go.

2007-11-29, 04:24 PM
You should add a new skill called smell. Overtime a character would become accustomed to the scent of a certain creature. I've always been curious as to why smell was never a skill. I find it just as important than you're other senses.

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-29, 04:27 PM
Glad it helped, I'm just throwing out ideas based off a system I did a while back. I would stress that adapting D20 to a realistic combat system will be extremely hard to do and you're best starting from scratch and then use a d20 (though I like d10 better as stated before). In the system I had before there was no such thing as armor. You countered with a parry/block skill or dodge skill and the winner got a hit (true or injury).

As for the stances thing, that was more or less a sample. More stances could be added, or you could knock it down to three: offense, defense, passive. As I said before, everything's a suggestion.

Unrelated comment to Hiest, monkey: Wow, Mr. Tar is a new one, I'll add that to my list...

Hiest, monkey
2007-11-29, 05:09 PM
I try, I try.

I'm back. Adressing the social stealth comment Thanatos had: I was thinking of splitting hid into two branches granting synergies to eachother, simply hiding, and social stealth. So I didn't ignore you.

I like armor. I'm keeping it.

Now back to the show. I'd like to state, I will be making it so you can make two standard actions a round, by sacrificing your move action, but because of the shear challenge of such, only one may be an attack.

Class abilities:

I haven't renamed these, but at every level an ability for any old fashioned clas of that level, sneak attack, fast movement, uncanny dodge and the like will be allowed at the cost of a few skill points. This will give you more freedom in your custom class. You may not select an "improved" ability say sneak attack 2d6 until you have bought sneak attack 1d6. "Improvable" abilities will cheapen slightly at every point at which they become improved. for example by level 12 or so when you have both sneal attack 1d6 and 2d6 available, they will be so cheap you can buy 2d6 and get 1d6 free, still not unbalancing. ( am aware the exact numbers are not realistic to the new HP system, I just said the old and farmiliar ones as an example.)


Systems (this is the awesomefulicious part):
to prove good faith that this isn't just combat or action I'll start with a few typical actions that may trigger a system

Note to Systems: these ae really things you must decide on a situation by situation basis. THere is only so much help you can get to another action by doing exceptoinally on the first. The point transfeer cap is at 5(?)

New to a hostile town?: walking through town inconspiciously while gathering information: gather information (with penalty for not activily asking for it) and hide(social). If you blend in really well (hide) you may here more information since people will not mistrust you, so you transfer every point you exceed the DC by into gather information, it goes the other way too. Gather information and you may find out typical, and atypical behavior and hid better. Htis isa stretch and the cap therefore is at 3 points.

Jumping from one building to another's window sill, as an escape plan?: Jump, dex. check, climb: an exceptional jump may make it easier to land, an subsequently climb. This type of system is a order skill system, you can't move points back in time, so if you exceed your climb check you can't get a jump bonus.

There are many things you can do with systems, but I've only listed two.

Te other thing I wanted to include but I forgot. The +3 -3 system. Meet DC? good. Exceed DC by 3? Better. If you exceed the DC on things like counter, you may make an attack, if you have an attack action left. Fail DC? bad. Fail by less than 3? okay. You succeed at the action (not all skills have the -3 "buffer") but with a penalty. Couner as an example. You block from -3 the DC to +2 the DC but you only actually get a counter attack if you exceed by 3 or more. TH Penalty for geting -3 or less than the DC? you are left vulnerable o attacks that round no longer geting counters or dodges.

His system is more like life, and I will eventually type up for each skill affected the reason and effects.


I love magic. It's the bread and butter of fantasy. I've never played a charcter that wasn't at least a support caster. So needless to say I'm cutting it from this game. Well not exactly, I'm making each school a skill, and making most magic supporting, or detrient magic, with no direct damage or anything flashy. More on that later.