View Full Version : Freeform Combat System - Ideas?

2009-01-04, 02:37 AM
I have been thinking about doing this for some time now. I have always been fascinated by the magic system found in Mage from oWoD. I have always liked it and I really enjoyed being able to do whatever I wanted with it. I have been tempted to use that system to replace D&D magic, but while that is easily done, I find myself wondering why would anyone play a guy with a sword and an armor when someone else shapes reality with his will.

So here's the question. Do you think it is possible to do something similar, based on "spheres" (which would be called "stunts") for physical, mundane-ish, combat?

I have made a simple list of possible "spheres", and what they would basically be for, but I don't know if that would work. The first level should reflect either the most basic thing for that sphere (like a power attack for Power 1), or just an understanding of the whole thing (after all, forces 1 used to just allow you to perceive stuff, not manipulate it), while the 5th level should reflect complete mastery (to continue the example with power, you could probably perform feats of superhuman strength).

Focuses on damage dealing. Should mimic things like power attack or cleave.

Damage reduction, endurance, absorbing blows of inhuman strength, etc

Physical dexterity. Dodging, mobility, and the like.

Things like using a fine touch instead of brute strength. It can be used to disarm, parry, whatever (unless I put deflection)

Speed could mimic extra attacks, fast movement, running away, jumping.

The ability to hit very distant targets, slip a stiletto in an armor's weak spot, hit the head of a foe without a helmet.

Obviously I need more (the optimal number would be 10, to be on par with the nWoD mage spheres), so ideas are welcome.

After this I have only two more aspects that I may need to tweak, in particular Stealth and Social stuff. So far, the only way to mimic a bard or a warlord would be using some mind magic, and I would prefer not to do that. I was thinking about either making different disciplines for that (but it would take a whole lifetime to actually convert every single thing from D&D to a discipline) or proceed along the same lines, making general "spheres" for those two areas too.

Anyway, is the idea even remotely feasible? Also, how do I limit the use of these things, since Paradox doesn't exist, and anyway would not apply to mundane things? I can probably make mages and warriors alike tire after using these powers, but I need to work some mechanics for that.

Anyone knows how nWoD mages deals with avoiding overusing magic? Just curious.

Tempest Fennac
2009-01-04, 03:26 AM
It's an interresting idea, but I don't think it's really freeform if it has a system (to be fair, some sort of system would help as far as combat goes; I know that some people in the ACRONUM organisations in this forum's Freeform section get annoyed about some people using D&D stats and abilities for some reason).

2009-01-04, 03:42 AM
It's an interresting idea, but I don't think it's really freeform if it has a system (to be fair, some sort of system would help as far as combat goes; I know that some people in the ACRONUM organisations in this forum's Freeform section get annoyed about some people using D&D stats and abilities for some reason).

((*nodnod* And they entirely ignore it for people like Draken.... makes me angries sometimes that they choose to focus on someone who isn't abusing it to the extent someone else is. Focus on the worst then work your way down I say!))
To keep this from bweing entirely off topic. The combat system is good, but not freeform.

Tempest Fennac
2009-01-04, 03:59 AM
I tend to use D&D stats and abilities because I find it just makes things easier for me to be honest. I don't think combat in freeform is honestly ever a good idea due to how hard it is to do it unbiasly, though.

2009-01-04, 05:14 AM
I understand. That's probably why I have never been tempted to try a freeform system. I apologize for the misuse of the term, but my old group kept on referring to the Mage sphere system as "freeform", so I just carried on the mistake.

My only concern is that if I make all the spheres for combat, it may get either overcomplicated or too unrealistic (especially if level 5 stunts have to be compared to level 5 spheres), which is probably not something I would go for.

Maybe I should just stick to D&D :smalltongue:

Tempest Fennac
2009-01-04, 07:31 AM
It is an interresting idea. I'd recommend making a new system out od it, though.

2009-01-04, 11:22 AM
I like the fact that you split Agility and Accuracy. A fast person is not obligatory an dexterous person and more systems should make the difference. For this, I applause.

Lots of ideas for the rest but it depends of what kind of warrior we are talking about. The "realistic" kind or the manga kind ? The "realistic" kind would stick to D&D rules and be nothing but an über human. The manga kind can specialise in one domain or another to accomplish largely inhuman feats (thousand sword cuts in a blink of eyes, lifting a sword three times his own weight...with one hand, running at light speed, ect...)

2009-01-04, 06:46 PM
I was hoping to lean towards a more realistic kind, even if I admit that the whole system can be used to accomplish more than human feats. I was planning to fuse this system with the Storyteller system, meaning that a normal fighter would have nothing more than Strength + Weaponry + Damage Rating (and whatever fighting style merit), which can be rather dull when you consider that the mage next to you is raising a zombie army.
Now, in the nWoD system combat is meant to be quite dangerous, so I was thinking that this would allow the non-casting type to either be more dangerous or to survive more damage. I haven't read how things like the old Potence, Celerity, and Fortitude have been translated in the nWoD (does anyone know?), but I guess that some of what they used to cover could be done with these spheres.

Let me make an example, just to see if it sounds plausible or if it is ridiculous.

Let's assume that Fortitude allows the character to accomplish things focused around endurance or absorbing damage. Now, a normal warrior would have to rely on his defense value (to avoid being hit) and his armor (which, correct if I am wrong, works in the same way in nWoD). If he is hit, he is hit and sucks to be him. Now, D&D is supposed to be at least a bit of heroic (generally speaking), but not manga style. So our warrior-type with Fortitude uses his sphere, rolls, and is able to survive things that would have killed someone else. Obviously, his incredible stamina cannot make him impervious to damage, that would not be realistic, so while he can shrug off some hits, his ability to do so either runs out (like out of blood points) or becomes impossible (like removing dice from the dice pool).

A stunt like Fortitude should encompass mechanics from D&D like HP, Fortitude Saves, Constitution checks, Damage Resistance, Temporary HP, and the like. It would be something along these lines.

1: Perceive Stamina (No idea for a better name :P )
The character has a more resilient body than most. He can probably drink most people under the table, succeed at most strenuous tasks, and rarely catches diseases. If I have to mimic mage, this first level should offer small benefits, mostly related to perceiving stuff. A character could be able to notice if someone is under the effect of some poison, or if a person is relatively frail. Obviously, I need to work the details out. The first level could basic stuff like "Great Fortitude" or "Endurance"

2: Vitality
The character has a reserve of stamina that most people don't have. He can gain the benefit of 9 again on Stamina rolls, or he can augment his own stamina, effectively augmenting his health levels. Also, he can activate to downgrade kind of damage (from bashing to none; lethal to bashing; aggravated to lethal). The effects should still be quite limited, nothing major.

3: Negate Death
The character effectively becomes almost immune to most diseases (like a D&D paladin, for instance). He could be able to gain the benefits of Diehard, meaning that he can keep on fighting even when his rightmost health level is filled with a bashing or lethal damage. Doing so costs 1 power point per action if the rightmost damage is lethal, since the character would be effectively bleeding to death at that point. He can also shrug off damage better than most, allowing him to "heal" some non aggravated damage (effectively saying that the wound is not as serious as he thought he was).

4: Resilience
Beside gaining a permanent health level, the character can now use this power to reroll a failed stamina roll. He could also be able to resist attempts to overpower him physically with relative ease (think about calling upon the power of the mountain or earth, or just being used to the abuse). Or he could be able to boost his stamina above 5. Stuff like that.

5: Aegis
This level represents the pinnacle of human resilience. The character can probably absorb relatively big amounts of damage. He can add a number of temporary health levels equal to his Level (which would work probably like Blood Potency, Wyrd, what have you) and he is considered to be wearing armor even when he isn't (the rating would depend on a roll, I guess). He can accomplish things that most people would not be able to accomplish, like completely ignoring the effect of Wyvern poison for a whole scene (but not longer), or going out without food or sleep for days. Once again, the character should not be able to have a building fall on him and just shrug that damage off, but he should be able to resist most sources of damage.

Comments? Ideas?

2009-01-04, 07:10 PM
Well now you are no longer Freeform as you have rules. :smalltongue:

I personally invite the OP to try out Nobilis. Cut out the fluff-baggage and you've got demi-god level freeforming based on 4 stats and some other abilities built on a simple point scale.

Or if you'd like an interesting magic system: Monte Cook's WoD...

2009-01-04, 09:01 PM
One fairly open thing I have seen, with a skill based system(and sort of poorly mimicked in 4e) is to have several combat skills, and opposed checks. For instance lets say that you have skill, speed, and stance. Skill is basically technical skill, speed is quickness, and stance is balance and such. To throw somebody you might do stance against stance(both of you try to throw eachother) stance against speed(you try to throw, the other guy tries to move out of the way) or something else like that. To just hit somebody you would use technique, which might be countered by technique(blocking and parrying), or speed(dodging). A feint would probably be technique against technique. This is sort of like 4e with their attacks being attack against save, but a bit more sophisticated.

The Fudge-Fu combat system for fudge is probably the best example of this I have seen, but thats one of the things in the book, so I cant really explain how it would all work unless its given up online for free. A lot of stuff from the book is online for free, so maybe it will come up, if it does, take a look.