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Aliquid
2018-08-23, 11:07 AM
I'm looking for ways to make combat a bit more interesting by having characters do more than just "attack with sword" etc.

Things where a player does something exciting or clever to build up to the next action.

For example:

Fighting dirty - e.g. throw sand in opponents eye, then take advantage of them being temporarily blind

Other distractions - "Look over there!", and take advantage of them being distracted (if you want a more light-hearted goofy style)

Teamwork such as having someone "cover you", while you move to a more strategic spot

Tripping an opponent, so your teammate can take advantage of them being down

Disarming an opponent (bonus for grabbing the weapon before they can)

etc


I'm really looking for "teamwork" type ideas, where players can work together to set up the perfect assault, rather than just each doing their own thing.

(please do not worry about what system I am using or the mechanics. The game mechanics will be designed around the playstyle ideas, not the other way around)

DeTess
2018-08-23, 11:32 AM
I'd take inspiration from FATE in this regard. Rather than directly attacking, you can set up an advantageous situation that an ally can make use of. I wouldn't worry too much about creating a rule for every trick your PC's can pull, as its better to create one generic rule to cover all cases.

Nifft
2018-08-23, 11:50 AM
Trope Cards.

PCs get a few cards handed out at the start of the session. The DM hands out the cards face down, and is unaware of who has what.

These trope cards are split between tactical maneuvers and narrative declarations.

The tactical cards have the sort of cinematic tropes that you want to see. Stuff like "Swing From Chandelier - use furniture to make aerial movement + attack with system-appropriate advantage."

The narrative declarations are things like: "You're not a guard, either - when caught sneaking around, the person who catches the PCs turns out to also be a criminal of some kind."


When a card is used, it's put on the bottom of the deck.

Players return all unused cards at the end of a session, and get new cards at the start of the next session.

Optionally: players who played into their character flaws in the previous session get an extra card in the current session.

Aliquid
2018-08-23, 11:54 AM
I'd take inspiration from FATE in this regard. Rather than directly attacking, you can set up an advantageous situation that an ally can make use of. I wouldn't worry too much about creating a rule for every trick your PC's can pull, as its better to create one generic rule to cover all cases.

Oh, don't worry, I have no intention of making rules for each trick. I'm just looking for trick suggestions.

I'm looking for a list of ideas to give to players with the message of "you can do whatever you imagine, but here is a bunch of ideas to prime your imagination"

Nifft
2018-08-23, 12:00 PM
I'm looking for a list of ideas to give to players with the message of "you can do whatever you imagine, but here is a bunch of ideas to prime your imagination"

One of the central problems with freeform "whatever you imagine" combat is that the players might be rewarded for imagining the same winning tactic over and over and over.

Tactical games remove that problem by ensuring that you must adapt your imagination to the environment presented by the current encounter.

Randomly available tactics (like the Trope Cards which I describe above) compromise by forcing players to adapt to both the random nature of their available "cheat" tropes, and also to the environment of the current encounter.

Darth Ultron
2018-08-23, 12:05 PM
Well, unless you are playing pure free form, you need mechanics to back up the actions. And a great way to get the players to do things, is to make them mechanical cool. Like:

Player says ''I hit the guy with my sword" is a -10 to hit and -10 to damage.
Player says "I swing my sword in low and strike for his chest" is a -5 to hit and damage


Player says "I whirl around and cut the rope holding the chandler up and the instant it falls I spin around and do a double somersault and swing my sword in a tight arc at his neck" would be a +5 to hit and damage.

Player says "I whirl around and cut the rope holding the chandler up and the instant it falls I spin around and do a double somersault and knock the legs out from under them...so they fall right perfectly for Player 2's attack, is a +10 bonus to hit and damage for both players.

Knaight
2018-08-23, 12:35 PM
The first and by far most important step is to just have less combat than you otherwise would. There's only so many fight scenes that players can do in short succession before everyone starts getting bored and phoning it in.


Randomly available tactics (like the Trope Cards which I describe above) compromise by forcing players to adapt to both the random nature of their available "cheat" tropes, and also to the environment of the current encounter.
There's also some pretty good collections of these - for instance, Fudge Firefight II (http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/06/fudge-firefight-part-ii.html) has a pretty decent list for action movies (most notably Glass Dancer, which is there explicitly to create the scene where someone jumps through a pane of plate glass into a room full of foes, they all shoot and miss, and the jumper wreaks havoc).

Mark Hall
2018-08-23, 12:41 PM
As a DM, I describe the combat cinematically, and let them add, if they like, based on the results of the roll. Roll just at the AC and low damage? Stagger them a bit. Great hit for good damage? Knock their shield aside.

DeTess
2018-08-23, 01:00 PM
Trope Cards.

PCs get a few cards handed out at the start of the session. The DM hands out the cards face down, and is unaware of who has what.

These trope cards are split between tactical maneuvers and narrative declarations.

The tactical cards have the sort of cinematic tropes that you want to see. Stuff like "Swing From Chandelier - use furniture to make aerial movement + attack with system-appropriate advantage."

The narrative declarations are things like: "You're not a guard, either - when caught sneaking around, the person who catches the PCs turns out to also be a criminal of some kind."


When a card is used, it's put on the bottom of the deck.

Players return all unused cards at the end of a session, and get new cards at the start of the next session.

Optionally: players who played into their character flaws in the previous session get an extra card in the current session.

Huh, I'm going to have to remember this to try out in a one-shot some time. Is this based on any existing system, or something completely homebrew?

Nifft
2018-08-23, 01:07 PM
There's also some pretty good collections of these - for instance, Fudge Firefight II (http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/06/fudge-firefight-part-ii.html) has a pretty decent list for action movies (most notably Glass Dancer, which is there explicitly to create the scene where someone jumps through a pane of plate glass into a room full of foes, they all shoot and miss, and the jumper wreaks havoc).


Huh, I'm going to have to remember this to try out in a one-shot some time. Is this based on any existing system, or something completely homebrew?

Both homebrew and stolen from sources like the excellent one Knaight mentions above.

BRC
2018-08-23, 01:15 PM
So, you want the system to be engaging enough that people will enjoy using it, but NOT to the point where the players regularly waste time repeating the same pieces of "Cool" description.

In my mind, players shouldn't get "Free" Bonuses simply from adding cinematic flair, unless the Flair in question is especially cool, unique, and not especially repeatable.

For example, if a character jumps off a rooftop and lands on the Dragon's back, stabbing down, you can give them extra damage.


However, in general, I would go for the principle of these "Teamwork Moves" involving some sort of basic minor penalty, in exchange for a moderate Benefit, this way they stay special, rather than just being spammed over and over.

For example, Alice and Bob are fighting a big dude with a shield. Alice wants to pin his shield (Hooking her axe around it or something) so Bob can make an attack against the unprotected foe.

Have Alice deal, say, 5 less damage (She's focusing more on pinnnig the shield), and in exchange Bob gets a +5 bonus to his accuracy.

Ideally, you want something quick to reference so combat doesn't get bogged down in numbers and modifiers.

Here's what I would do. If you're sitting around a physical table, get some poker chips or some other color-coded token, at least 4 colors. Assign them to Offense Penalty, Defense Penalty, Offense Bonus, Defense Bonus.

Offense Penalty: You've put yourself at some sort of disadvantage due to the manuever. Next attack is at -2 (or whatever).
Defense Penalty: You've overexposed yourself due to the Manuever. Next attack against you is at +2.
Offense Bonus: You've been put in an advantageous sitauation/an enemy has been exposed to your attacks. +3 on next attack.
Defense Bonus: The enemy has been hindered/you've been given cover. -3 on next attack against you.

Tokens Clear on the next round.

So, for example, somebody trying to use a Shield to provide protection for their squishy wizard friend would take a Defense Penalty token to give their friend a Defense Bonus token. Trying to knock down an enemy (assuming the rules don't already account for such maneuvers) means taking on a Defense Penalty (You've overexposed yourself), but handing the nearest ally an Offense Bonus (That enemy is now on the ground).

Run this system quickly, but with discretion. If Alice knocks down a foe, and hands Bob an Offense Bonus token, then it should be understood that Bob only gets that bonus against the foe Alice knocked down, unless you can justify it otherwise. For example, Alice knocks down Orc 1, giving Bob an Offense token.

Bob could argue that he can use that token against Orc 2, who was right behind Orc 1, since he now has a clear shot, and Orc 2 thought that flank was protected until seconds ago.
He probably shouldn't be able to use that token against Orc 3, who is 50 feet away.

Don't let yourself get bogged down in arguments about this.

Aliquid
2018-08-23, 04:29 PM
One of the central problems with freeform "whatever you imagine" combat is that the players might be rewarded for imagining the same winning tactic over and over and over.

Tactical games remove that problem by ensuring that you must adapt your imagination to the environment presented by the current encounter.OK... I don't know how to say this, because I run into this problem constantly in these threads.... but simply put I don't want to talk about mechanics. I know what I'm doing with mechanics, and I have absolutely no interest in discussing it. It isn't relevant to my question.


Player says ''I hit the guy with my sword" is a -10 to hit and -10 to damage.
Player says "I swing my sword in low and strike for his chest" is a -5 to hit and damage


Player says "I whirl around and cut the rope holding the chandler up and the instant it falls I spin around and do a double somersault and swing my sword in a tight arc at his neck" would be a +5 to hit and damage.

Player says "I whirl around and cut the rope holding the chandler up and the instant it falls I spin around and do a double somersault and knock the legs out from under them...so they fall right perfectly for Player 2's attack, is a +10 bonus to hit and damage for both players.That's sort of what I'm looking for (minus the info about the mechanical impact of + or - to attack). If you can think of more "teaming up" ideas, that would be great. I might make it more generic like "Knocking an opponent over so they land perfectly lined up for second players attack".


The first and by far most important step is to just have less combat than you otherwise would. There's only so many fight scenes that players can do in short succession before everyone starts getting bored and phoning it in.Already took that into account. I have played a bit like this already with different players, and a combat scene goes on for a while... but I also deal with that by making many opponents easier to kill. One good hit for the trivial opponents and they are down.

There's also some pretty good collections of these - for instance, Fudge Firefight II (http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/06/fudge-firefight-part-ii.html) has a pretty decent list for action movies (most notably Glass Dancer, which is there explicitly to create the scene where someone jumps through a pane of plate glass into a room full of foes, they all shoot and miss, and the jumper wreaks havoc).I like the Glass Dancer description.


As a DM, I describe the combat cinematically, and let them add, if they like, based on the results of the roll. Roll just at the AC and low damage? Stagger them a bit. Great hit for good damage? Knock their shield aside.I'm looking for the players to be more engaged and describe what they do. It also works well for a failure, some players start to have fun with failed rolls if they can "own" it and describe the failure. Some go for the comical screw up, others go for the stoic "almost pulled it off"


So, you want the system to be engaging enough that people will enjoy using it, but NOT to the point where the players regularly waste time repeating the same pieces of "Cool" description. Maybe... but I'm not asking for advice on mechanics. I have that figured out and I'm not interested in reading a bunch of posts with people debating on the best mechanic... when I already know what I'm using. I also don't want to listen to people critiquing my choice of mechanics, because that will completely take over the thread rather than actually helping me with in game descriptions of actions.


For example, if a character jumps off a rooftop and lands on the Dragon's back, stabbing down, you can give them extra damage.I'm not concerned about extra damage, but I like the idea "maybe your character is skilled at jumping off of things and landing on their opponent, or their horse, or whatever... without worrying about twisting and ankle or falling on their face." Make it a tag-team thing. Super strong character and acrobat... strong guy throws acrobat in the air to strategically land somewhere.


For example, Alice and Bob are fighting a big dude with a shield. Alice wants to pin his shield (Hooking her axe around it or something) so Bob can make an attack against the unprotected foe. Another good one. Thanks


So, for example, somebody trying to use a Shield to provide protection for their squishy wizard friend"shield a friend while they prepare something nasty without distractions"

Anonymouswizard
2018-08-23, 05:47 PM
As a side note, the Exalted/Scion mechanic of Stunting is great. The basic idea is that the cooler your description the bigger bonus you get. In both Exalted and Scion this is a case of 1, 2, or 3 dice being added to your pool, but in D&D this could easily be a case of +1/+2/+4.

But here's the thing, the GM is expected to have out a lot of 1 die stunts. Like potentially on every roll. They're basically the reward for putting in any more effort than 'I slash at the centaur's head with my sword'. Two and three dice stunts are meant to be rarer, three dice being the level of 'beautiful described and thematically appropriate to the encounter'.

You haven't seen awesome until you've seen that critical success on a boating till they allows you to position the dingy in precisely the right position for the rogue to keep up and hit the dragon's weak spot thanks to the helm belting out a prayer to the gods of the winds and currents at the top of their lungs.

Psikerlord
2018-08-23, 06:52 PM
Low Fantasy Gaming encourages these kinds of actions via minor and major exploits (as well as rescue exploits). Anything that affects a single target for 1 round (disarm, grab, throw sand in eyes, trip, etc) is an opposed ability check of some kind in addition to the normal attack and damage roll (so you cause damage + the special effect). If you make it it happens, if not you cant attempt another exploit against the target until circumstances signficantly change. Major exploits are much more permanent effects or affect multiple creatures, inc death if your level > monster HD, so for example cut off a scorpion's stinger, knock 3 foes off a bridge, spear out one eye of a tyrannosaurus rex, or indeed decapitate an ogre (if high enough level). Such heroic feats require the usual attack and damage roll, plus a Luck check however (if successful, costing a point a luck).

Many games make the mistake of requiring players to choose between a special move (throw sand in eyes) - often with a penalty attached - OR simply attack like normal and cause damage. Which inevitably leads to players simply attacking for damage all the time.

Thinker
2018-08-23, 06:56 PM
In my experience you need four things to make combat more cinematic. First, you need mechanics that support more than just pass/fail - there needs to be at least three degrees of success - failure, partial success, full success. Optionally, you can add total failure, critical success, and others, but they become harder to gauge appropriate outcomes the more you add. Second, you need to expand the use of single-turns or actions beyond a simple attack action or ability use. Third, you need to eliminate turn orders. Lastly, you need to adequately describe the situation at hand for the players to interact with it.

Mechanics supporting more than just pass/fail are pretty easy. In d20, it would be something like if you are trying to complete a DC-15 task, a 10 might grant partial success, a 15 a full success, and anything 9 or below a failure. With rolling multiple dice, it's as simple as counting successes - 3 successes are a full success, etc. The thing to keep in mind with partial successes is that the player should more or less get what they asked for, but there should be something lost along with it. That might be resources, allies, or a worse outcome. The strongman holding the door shut to keep out the mob might get a partial success that allows him to hold it closed, but the cost is that one of the mob members smashes a window and now they're slowly climbing through!

You also need to expand the use of actions. A player should be able to describe more than just attacks during a cinematic scene and that should be tied mechanically to one of their characters' abilities. If a player wants to lay down suppressing fire on a group of enemies, s/he should roll her/his gun skill. Likewise, leaping into a fray of foes to cut them down as a whirling dervish should be supported with a single use of the blades skill. Partial successes help empower this interaction - the player doesn't have to worry that failure means being put in a terrible spot. The players should be able to update their actions as the scene unfolds - the enemies who were pinned down by the rifleman have broken cover to run away so now the player wants to fire at them as they retreat.

That leads me into the point that you don't need turn orders if you're doing cinematic combat. As the action begins, ask each player what they're doing. They describe their actions. The rifleman is laying down suppressing fire because he doesn't have a clear shot while the bladeswoman is rushing them to hack them to pieces. Let their actions unfold in an order that makes sense - the bladeswoman won't rush in until the foes are pinned down. This also makes the bladeswoman's success reliant on the rifleman's abilities. If the rifleman fails, the enemies are now not only not pinned down, but also are alerted to the threat and are ready for the bladeswoman. If it's only a partial success, some of them might be pinned down, but others have escaped to try to flank the rifleman. This gives the bladeswoman the choice of how to react to the changing situation.

My final thought is that you have to describe the situation well. You need to give detailed information about the terrain - Is there good cover? Are there shadows? Does the ledge look weak, like it might collapse? Is there a big barrel labeled "Inflammable" at one end? All of these things are areas where the characters can interact. In my rifleman example, he's not gunning down the foes because there's too much cover and he doesn't have a clear shot. You might have a rogue who wants to sneak around to flank the foes or you might describe an alarm that can be raised if the enemies can reach it. All of this gives your players the tools to create cinematic content and also for you to give cinematic results. The rifleman messed up the suppressing fire and now one of the enemies is running for the alarm. Is there time to take a shot at that guy? What does that mean for the rest of the enemies? Does the calculus change if they're armed with guns instead of batons? That's all important information. Don't keep it from the players.

An example tying all of the above together:

John is a rifleman, Bex is a bladeswoman, Mercutio is a suped-up street thug, and Wai Li is a hacker. The party has been hired to break into this armored car and steal a briefcase that's being transported to the docks. The scene unfolds with the party ambushing the car just a few blocks from the depot it left from. This stretch of the road has a few parked cars lining the street. Low roof-tops make for more difficult line of sight and poor cover from the ground. The guards are in shielded cars accompanying the heavy, tank-like van. They're armed with rifles and intel says they have stun batons as sidearms. This late at night, there won't be any witnesses or bystanders, but it makes the shadows long and the sewer fog is starting to come in.

John says he wants to open fire on the lead car to make them stop and then keep up suppressing fire as they come out of their cars. Bex says she's going to rush in as they get out of the cars and cut them down with her whirling blades. Mercutio says he's going to block their exit by pushing one of the parked cars into the way and then rushing in to help out Bex. Wai Li says he wants to wait until the guards are engaged before sneaking to the van and hacking the locks.

John rolls and gets a partial success - he's able to stop the cars with his gunfire, but they're not even slightly suppressed. They're getting out of the cars and readying to fire back. Bex says "**** it" and rushes in, she wants to try to get in there before they can fully get ready and slice them to pieces. Mercutio agrees and wants to rush in with Bex and maybe punch a one of the guard cars into another. Bex rolls and gets a full success - she's in the fray, but there's too many to control just on her own. Mercutio rolls and fails. He punches the car and it goes flying, but right into the van, smashing the access hatch and blocking their path. Worse, one of the guards is trying to run away to get help. Wai Li sighs and pulls out her sidearm, firing at the fleeing guard while they figure out how they're going to get into that van.

I hope that jives with what you're looking for.

Aliquid
2018-08-23, 10:06 PM
In my experience you need four things to make combat more cinematic.The system I'm using covers all four of those... I'm good.


An example tying all of the above together:

John is a rifleman, Bex is a bladeswoman, Mercutio is a suped-up street thug, and Wai Li is a hacker. The party has been hired to break into this armored car and steal a briefcase that's being transported to the docks. The scene unfolds with the party ambushing the car just a few blocks from the depot it left from. This stretch of the road has a few parked cars lining the street. Low roof-tops make for more difficult line of sight and poor cover from the ground. The guards are in shielded cars accompanying the heavy, tank-like van. They're armed with rifles and intel says they have stun batons as sidearms. This late at night, there won't be any witnesses or bystanders, but it makes the shadows long and the sewer fog is starting to come in.

John says he wants to open fire on the lead car to make them stop and then keep up suppressing fire as they come out of their cars. Bex says she's going to rush in as they get out of the cars and cut them down with her whirling blades. Mercutio says he's going to block their exit by pushing one of the parked cars into the way and then rushing in to help out Bex. Wai Li says he wants to wait until the guards are engaged before sneaking to the van and hacking the locks.

John rolls and gets a partial success - he's able to stop the cars with his gunfire, but they're not even slightly suppressed. They're getting out of the cars and readying to fire back. Bex says "**** it" and rushes in, she wants to try to get in there before they can fully get ready and slice them to pieces. Mercutio agrees and wants to rush in with Bex and maybe punch a one of the guard cars into another. Bex rolls and gets a full success - she's in the fray, but there's too many to control just on her own. Mercutio rolls and fails. He punches the car and it goes flying, but right into the van, smashing the access hatch and blocking their path. Worse, one of the guards is trying to run away to get help. Wai Li sighs and pulls out her sidearm, firing at the fleeing guard while they figure out how they're going to get into that van.

I hope that jives with what you're looking for.Yes, that's a good example of strategic teamwork. The sort of thing that I am trying to encourage for gameplay. Thanks

AceOfFools
2018-08-24, 06:15 AM
Exalted stunting mechanic was the best at creating this sort of cinematic combat I've seen.

The basis is: there are concrete, but not overwhelming, mechanical advantages to describing how a PC performs their actions in a genre appropriate way. One of the criteria used to evaluate how good a stunt is how well it uses or creates the details in the surrounding scene. Players are inherently and automatically rewarded for setting up and executing on teamwork plays without needing to build anything resembling a limited list of ways of working together.

Another criteria used is originality. No matter how amazing a stunt is, if it's just a repeat or copy, it's judged as boring and given the minimum rating (or nothing if it was already only a minimum rated stunt).

MrSandman
2018-08-24, 09:19 AM
OK... I don't know how to say this, because I run into this problem constantly in these threads.... but simply put I don't want to talk about mechanics. I know what I'm doing with mechanics, and I have absolutely no interest in discussing it. It isn't relevant to my question.


Well, you'll notice that people talk about mechanics because they affect how the game goes and all that. It would be a lot easier to give ideas if we knew what sort of system you've got in mind.

That being said, if all you want is a list of "cool" cinematic stunts for combat, I'd suggest watching Princess Bride (esp the combat between ═˝igo and the man in black, though there are other interesting scenes), The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Underworld, and other such films. They'll give you a much more complete list than this forum can.

Aliquid
2018-08-24, 11:27 AM
Well, you'll notice that people talk about mechanics because they affect how the game goes and all that. It would be a lot easier to give ideas if we knew what sort of system you've got in mind.It shouldn't though... I find people get way too caught up in mechanics. For me it is "putting the cart before the horse".

I like to design games with the idea of: what do I want to happen in this game, what's the style, what's the "feel", what do I want to happen in game with the characters and the NPCs. When that is figured out, I can find a rule set that will support it.

I find it to be completely backwards thinking when people look at the rules first. The rules are a tool to support the gamestyle you want... they should never be a straight-jacket.


That being said, if all you want is a list of "cool" cinematic stunts for combat, I'd suggest watching Princess Bride (esp the combat between ═˝igo and the man in black, though there are other interesting scenes), The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Underworld, and other such films. They'll give you a much more complete list than this forum can.Good point... but I am really looking for teamwork or "tag-team" sort of tactics, and most of those movies have "one on one" combat.

Actually one thing that annoys me with fight scenes in movies is where it is always "one on one", even if there is a single hero, the bad guys wait their turn to fight rather than ganging up on the hero.

Now that you have me thinking about films, Gladiator is a good example where Maximus is in the ring and gets the other Gladiators to work with him strategically. Crime fighting duos sort of work, but most of the time you have a hero and a side-kick... and the side-kick really isn't that useful.

MrSandman
2018-08-24, 11:46 AM
Actually one thing that annoys me with fight scenes in movies is where it is always "one on one", even if there is a single hero, the bad guys wait their turn to fight rather than ganging up on the hero.

That is, indeed, really annoying.



Now that you have me thinking about films, Gladiator is a good example where Maximus is in the ring and gets the other Gladiators to work with him strategically. Crime fighting duos sort of work, but most of the time you have a hero and a side-kick... and the side-kick really isn't that useful.

A couple of examples from The Two Towers are when Aragorn and Gimli go out of Helm's Deep to protect the gate while it's being fixed, and when Gandalf dazzles the Uruk-hai with light to protect the other riders.

(EDIT: Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of fighting scenes in the Lord of the Rings are good examples of teamwork. You only need to look for the ones that don't include Legolas)

In Princess Bride, you've got Wesley, ═˝igo and Festus cooperating to scare away the guards at the castle's gate (though that's not strictly combat).

Rhedyn
2018-08-24, 12:14 PM
Savage Worlds plays more traditionally, but it covers "movie-combat" pretty well. Savage Worlds is a generic that covers "movie stories". So not completely generic but close.

Arbane
2018-08-24, 01:45 PM
It shouldn't though... I find people get way too caught up in mechanics. For me it is "putting the cart before the horse".


You get what you reward.

Aliquid
2018-08-24, 03:45 PM
You get what you reward.And I want to focus on getting a good idea on what I want to get... and then I can worry about how to reward that. Rather than the other way around.

Knaight
2018-08-24, 11:36 PM
Good point... but I am really looking for teamwork or "tag-team" sort of tactics, and most of those movies have "one on one" combat.

If you have a local SCA chapter or something that you can visit a few times you can potentially get some tactics out of firsthand experience. Alternately, leaning on my own firsthand experience:

Striking low with a long weapon while an ally strikes high, especially against a shield.
Peeling around the edge of an enemy line to distract everyone near that edge for your allies.
Looking at someone while holding a bow, while they're fighting an ally. It's a surprisingly effective distraction. This also works with thrown weapons.
Pulling multiple people away from an enemy battle line to fight you, then carrying on a defensive running fight for as long as you can while the main fight suddenly has a numerical advantage.
Hooking an opponent's ax to yank it around for an ally.
Grabbing an opponent by their weapon hand, then having this turn into an elaborate grapple where neither of you can do anything, but hopefully your ally shows up first.