Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Combat experiment revisited

OK, here's another idea that's more streamlined but keeps a bit of the flavor of the first attempt:  Two phase combat.  In this method, like the last one, you would still have the GM call phases and both sides would do actions in order of initiative but there would just be the two phases, Missile and Melee. Both phases would have a move option so if you moved in missile phase you could close with an enemy or run away.  You could also move for both phases if you didn't attack.  Also changing/picking up a weapon would take a move - Actually even simpler than that - instead of having major and minor actions and all that I think you can just have two phases in which to do one of those minor things like pulling out potions, readying weapons or tipping tables over.  Casting, which still takes a full turn, would have to be stated* in phase 1 and would go off in phase 2 (again initiative order).  So combat would look something like this:

Surprise roll or determination.
Roll for initiative.
All sides do the following each phase in initiative order:
  1. Prepare spell/missile attacks/move/change weapon/etc...
  2. Cast spell/melee attacks/move/change weapon/etc...
So there would be the same fight as the previous example under this design:

Two groups meet on the road.  Each consists of a mage, a hunter and a fighter.  I determine there is no surprise (no free attack).  Assume they had weapons ready...

Round 1: Group A wins initiative.
Missile Phase:
  1. Hunter A fires two arrows at Fighter B (misses, hits), 
  2. Mage A declares a spell, mage B declares a spell, 
  3. Fighter A closes with Hunter B,
  4. Hunter B throws 2 daggers at Mage A (miss, miss).
  5. Fighter B closes with Fighter A
Melee phase:  
  1. Fighter A attacks Hunter B (hit), 
  2. Mage A does counter spell, 
  3. Fighter B attacks Fighter A (hit), 
  4. Mage B spell is countered,
  5. Hunter B switches to short sword and shield.
Round 2: Group B wins initiative.
Missile Phase:  
  1. Mage B prepares a spell,
  2. Hunter A fires at Fighter B (hit, miss),
  3. Mage A readies a crossbow
Melee Phase:
  1. Hunter B attacks Fighter A (miss),
  2. Fighter B attacks Fighter A (hit),
  3. Mage B casts Spell (magic Missile) Hunter A,
  4. Fighter A attacks Hunter B (hit - Hunter B dead)
Round 3:  Group B wins initiative
Missile Phase:
  1. Mage B prepares spell
  2. Fighter B runs over to Mage B
  3. Mage A fires bolt at Mage B (miss)
  4. Hunter A fires at Fighter B (hit)
  5. Fighter A closes with Fighter B
Melee Phase:
  1. Mage B casts Mage Armour on Fighter B
  2. Fighter B attacks Fighter A (hit)
  3. Fighter A attacks Fighter B (miss)

And so on.

So how is this better?  Well it has less phases and it's easier to track movement, if you moved that phase you can't attack that phase.  You still get the distinction between missile and melee attacks which makes things more fun, and it mixes up the combat so you don't have one side just rolling over the other. Your 5 brawlers aren't going to kill all the bowmen before they get a shot off just because you got initiative.  And you have less moving parts than the old one attack/2 moves or 3 minor actions.  It's almost as simple as the glorious 'you get to do one thing' but it incorporates full/partial movement, minor actions and all that into it.  Maybe tomorrow I'll find a problem with it but I think it might viable for now.

*to be real clear - in both this example and the one from the last post you wouldn't have to say which spell you were casting, just that you were going to be casting a spell.  Assume all spells have a similar prep action - like cracking your knuckles and humming a scale.


  1. This is sounding like a pretty significant version update. ETA on a draft? I am pretty keen on giving it a once over and trying to get my kids to play again.

  2. Excellent, kids are great play testers. I'm hoping to get something out in November.