View Full Version : Specialized Combat System for a Special Setting

2008-03-07, 03:28 AM
Imagine a grim'n gritty fantasy world. A world where there have been three (or five) epic heroes that could take on armies (monstrous or otherwise) all by themselves in all of history. A world that doesn't HAVE monsters in the first place. No cannon fodder races either. In a world where no sane human mage goes anywhere near drawn swords (for only a few are skilled enough to cast any combat applicable magic without a minute of defenselessly standing around) a realisticish combat system can be made with impunity.

Which I have done, and been using for a long while. It occured to me that it can be improved by other people's ideas. Note that the system is wholly homebrewed, fully d20ized and also geared for oneshot gaming. No levels or classes and little to no room for crunchy advancement. I have also been thinking about converting that d20 to 3d6 for some time (pretty certain those bell curves will do me good), but I'm not sure I want rolling multiple dice. I'm also slightly curious about its integratability into DnD. Without further ado, here comes:

Designated stat set is SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck). Only S and A are combat related, with P instead of S for ranged combat. [A=dex if we try it on DnD, but P is a ?] Scores are gone (which were useless anyway), replaced by modifiers. Humans can have up to 4 (plus or minus) in any stat. Straight zeros is the world famous "average human".

There are a total of 4 numbers used during combat. To hit and damage are folded into Attack, AC is renamed Defense, and there's Speed which determines how much can be done during a round. Plus the ever present HPs, but in a different form.

Speed is used up in walking and attacking (and other stuff, at DM's discretion) until it's finished then turn is over. Spending it all isn't required. It resets next round. There's the base racial speed, normally 20 for medium humanoids. Agi doubly increases it, meaning a +2 makes 24 speed for a human. Armor decreases it as much as it increases Defense (armored=slower).

Spending speed: Game is played on squares, moving straight costs 2, diagonal costs 3. Attacking costs depend on weapon size. Tiny weapons cost 4 speed to attack (including unarmed), and every size increase the cost by 2. So a greatsword costs 10 speed to attack, while a dagger costs 4. Meaning the average human can attack twice with a greatsword, but 5 times with a dagger in one round.

Defense is the renamed AC. As usual, base 10. Armor/shield increases it (values quite identical to DnD). Agi again doubly increases it, which makes agi the combat stat. A combatant's skill with the weapon he wields definitely affects his defending ability, which is glaringly absent from DnD. Half of skill in weapon is added to Defense. Speed also affects it by one tenth of it (round down).

You all know what Attack is. But I've seen fit to fold attack roll and damage roll into one, mainly because I hate excessive rolling (a waste of precious gaming time). Which coincidentally removed all those platonic dice.

Both agi and str increase it (agi+per for ranged attack). Then the weapon skill, which is a number that can be as high as 5 (remember DnD feats: proficiency, focus, specialization, mastery, grand mastery). Finally, the weapon itself plays a major role. Wapons increase attack depending on their size. Tiny weapons provide +2, then each size category increases attack bonus by 2. The aforementioned greatsword gives a whopping +8 to attack, while that puny dagger gives a +2.

There are two kinds of Hit Points (sounds familiar I'm sure): Hit and Wound points. Here comes the main idea: Everyone has 10 HP and 5 WP. Mere HP damage heals with rest. It also affects combat stats by decreasing speed by 2, attack and defense by 1 for every point of HP damage.

WP damage must be treated and requires long periods of rest to even get a check for recovery (which can fail, restarting the process from scratch). WP damage also imposes double of its amount in HP damage as long as it's there. Heavy wounds also has a chance of becoming permenant: if the roll is below total WP damage, 1 WP and 2 HP is gone for good. More than 1 WP can become permenant this way.
Combat is something to avoid as a result. This is what I call gritty.

And the fun part. Attacker rolls against Defense, and the DIFFERENCE between the results determines what happened:

Attack 10 (or more) less than Defense: Attacker failed miserably, defender gets a free attack

Attack less than or equal to Defense: Missed

Attack exceeds Defense by 1-5: 1 HP

Attack exceeds Defense by 6-10: WP, 3 HP

Attack exceeds Defense by 11-15: 2 WP, 6 HP

Attack exceeds Defense by 16-20: 3 WP, 9 HP, defender saves vs difference or dies

Attack exceeds Defense by 21 or more: Kill

Then there's the matter of dual wielding. Which increases both attack and speed cost by half the second weapon's stats. Then decreases attack and so on and so forth and is in reality just a load of wash in need of improvement.

And then there's reach (which is something large weapons have). Which allows attacking two squares away, and not much else.

Plus a whole lot of confused combat magic rules that I can't bring myself to use.

Not to forget the exceptions: undead and demons and constructs. Undead have no HP and a truckful of WP, while demons have regeneration that completely heals them on their turn. And constructs are mostly invulnerable.

Since neither I nor people I usually play has time (and perhaps attention span) for an extended campaign-style game, the lack of character development is immaterial. And it's a real plus for a setting designer not having to worry about a group of random guys able to topple governments and take names.

So what do you think? Does this seem like a good way to run a game? Would people like to play in such a game? Any glaring mistakes I've overlooked? Comments welcome.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-07, 03:44 AM
It is an interesting sytem, but I don't think it could really be converted to D&D (I'd say Perception would translate to Wisdom, though). Would there be any way at all of getting rid of perminant wound points? While the system is really realistic while achieving your aim of making it gritty, taking a couple of unremovable WPs would probably cause a lot of people to roll up new characters. Admittedly, I like playing as magic users, so I probably wouldn't want to play using this system that much.
I think adding magic and some character development would be better (the latter recommendation is mainly for longer campaings due to how being stuck with the same bilities could get boring). Mazes and Minotaurs has a level system based on presteige which only goes up to 6 which could be adapted for your system: http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/revised.html . Coincidentally, this M&M also has a system for decreasing stats a bit due to peminant injuries. If you want help with magic, I could help (I don;t have much experience, but I hae a fair bit of free time). If you didn't want magic users to be used for battle, they could use magic for other things (eg: flight, buffing fighters, charming people, etc).

EDIT: if you wanted to avoid levels altogether, expensive potions could b used to raise stats, and the characters could pay NPCs to teach them new abilities and spells depending on what their class is.