Friday, April 17, 2015

Proposed Combat System for New RPG System

As I stated in a previous post, my friend Brent K. Davis and I are attempting to create a new roleplaying rules set incorporating some non-D&D game theories.

I wrote an earlier article detailing the mechanics of spellcasting in this yet unnamed system.

While I've been working on the magic system, Brent was tasked with formulating a narrative combat system.

I was very impressed at this one!

There are several factors I like about it. 

First, although it incorporates realism it doesn't sacrifice streamlined mechanics.

It also permits a player to narrate combat objectives as simply or as creatively as the individual player wants...for each specific blow...and resolves it quite fairly by being based upon the number difference between your needed hit roll and what you actually cast on the die...Combat Effects are in steps according to this difference.

I also love the initiative system-- if you lose initiative, you state to the DM your actions and those who win get to tailor their response to your action and resolve theirs first! This works both ways and the players must take the black eye in this fashion if they lose to NPC combatants or monsters!

There are several other unique and creative aspects involved and I look forward to playtesting it, which we have yet to do.

We welcome your comments and input!

1. Determine encounter distance

2. Determine Surprise a. Stealth vs Perception b. Perception vs Whatever the Other party is doing and how immersed they are in it

3. Determine Initiative a. Dexterity/Perception/Intuition (?) Bonus +d10, higher is better. b. A Character that is Engaged by a Character with a higher Initiative total may only defend, not attack. C. Characters with LOWEST Initiative Scores state actions FIRST. Characters with HIGHER Initiative Scores may then react to the Characters with low Initiative.

4. Statement of intent. What do you intend to do? Move in, charge? Circle warily? Describe your intended action with as much detail as possible. All attacks are called shots. State your intended target.

 5. Determine Reach

a. Close Range weapons- Dagger, Hand-Axe, Fist, Cestus, Shield, broken bottle, etc. (A shield isn't a weapon? Get hit with the rim one time...)

b. Me-lee Range weapons- Swords, Axes, Cudgel, Mace, War Hammer, Flail, Staff, Spear in close mode, Short Pole-arm in close mode. (Lets face it folks, the spear is one of the most efficient hand weapons we as a race have ever devised.)

c. Far Range weapons- Spear, Pole-arm, Staff, Two Handed Sword

d. Far+ Range weapons- Pike, Lance if mounted

 e. If a Character with a shorter Reach weapon engages a Character with a longer Reach weapon, the shorter Reach cannot attack the longer Reach possessing Character. Regardless of Initiative. The shorter Reach may attack the weapon, or attempt to get inside the Reach of the opponent. The Character with the longer Reach may hold the shorter Reach opponent At Bay. Once inside the Reach of your opponent, they may only dodge, ignore or shield block. A parry with a longer weapon is no longer possible. Natural weapons MAY be used. They may attempt to increase the distance with a Combat Effect.

f. Larger or smaller opponents treat Reach as one or more steps higher for Larger opponents and one or more steps shorter for smaller.

 For example a Dwarf with a spear is at Me-Lee Reach versus a Human with a sword, and at Close Reach versus an Ogre with a club. In either case the Dwarf is at a serious disadvantage.

However, the disadvantage shifts if the smaller opponent gets inside the Reach of the larger. Once this occurs, any +1 or more complication on the Larger size
character may result in a hit on themselves. g. Mounted Characters use the size class of the mount to determine reach. 4. Roll Attacks and Defense a. The attacking character attempts to follow through with his stated action.

The defending Character may 1. Dodge the attack, or duck, or in some way not be in the place the attacker is trying to hit. 2. Parry the attack with a weapon. Unarmed and unarmored Defenders must pass a Will check in order to Parry an armed attack.

3. Block the Attack with a shield. b. Roll d20 +Weapon or Technique Skill Level +/-any Modifiers due to magick or circumstances (darkness, unstable footing, etc) for the Attack c. Roll d20 +Weapon or Technique Skill Level +/-any Modifiers due to magick or circumstances for the Defense d The Defense total rolled is the Target number the attacker must roll higher than for the attack to succeed. e. How MUCH the attacker rolls above or below the defender determines the effects of the attack. Each 4 above gains a Combat Effect for the higher rolling Character.

+12 +8 +4 +3 to -3 -4 -8 -12
+12 +8 +4 +3 to -3 -4 -8 -12


  1. Narrative and tactical, I like it. I'm sure the initiative rules will make combat more fun for the players, and I like the emphasis on positioning with the reach rules. Having read the magic system ideas I'm interested to see how the ruleset develops

  2. Thank you for reading Sean and thank you for feedback. Still at work on the ruleset! As soon as we have a complete skills list, weapon damage tables, and our attribute system worked out we can start playtesting it.