How to hit on people

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How to hit on people

Post  Erik Sieurin on Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:21 pm

Or was that how to hit people?

I have several ideas about how to make the basis of the combat system work. All the difference is: how do I determine what I need to roll to hit? In other words: what’s the Defense score.

”Armor Class”?
The first version is in line with both M&M and D&D: The Defense score is based on my armor. The main advantage is that it is very simple. It all fits with DADA being based on weirdo home rules for M&M 1st.

Armor goes between 1 and 12. It will be like a Virtue. The Gift added to Armor is your Agility (for dodging and general defense). Hence, it goes on the same scale as your attack scores, which are Virtue + Gift. Using the same scale for numbers that oppose each other is always a Good Thing.

The bad thing – for me – is that it makes Defense so much dependent on equipment. I like when Defense is mainly dependent on your skill. In this system, how hard it is to hit your opponent is entirely dependent on his armor. Of course, one good thing is the same: it makes armor very important. Armor should be important in a setting with heavily armored and armed knights as an elite!

Systems that feature armor-based defense usually depend on escalating hit points to represent increasing defensive skills: DADA will have escalating hit points (”Combat Points” are supposed to be X + Valor + Will, where X is currently 10) but they don’t escalate that much.

They may also (for instance, Palladium System) use some defensive mechanism in addition to armor, like dodge and parry rolls.

This could be incorporated into DADA as well. You could say that under certain circumstance, you can make a Defense roll (what to roll depends on the kind of attack, and will be similar to the virtue-based Defenses below). The easiest interpretation for me is that you can make a Defense roll if you are aware of the attack. If your roll is higher than your Armor score, use the roll instead. You can even use special mechanisms for extra good rolls (or extra bad rolls).

However, this doubles the amount of d20-rolling. Most people will want to make a defense. You could also limit the amount of defense rolling you get to make, but I generally dislike those kind of rules. I especially dislike rules that removes your right to do anything offensive if you defend yourself. First, it makes me feel irritated as a player when I don’t get to ”do” anything. Second, it is not very ”realistic”. IRL, anyone fighting is currently both defending and attacking; the division in roleplaying games is entirely a game construct. Game constructs should only be used when they are funnier than reality!

It should be noted that the Initiative system I want to use (because I am in luuuuuuuv with the concept) that your roll to act in a phase/round is also your Initiative, can be used as a ”defense score” as well, with the bad effect that whoever hits first can never be hit… but it might not be that bad. That could be a limitation on defense rolls; that you can only make a defense roll on an attack if you have already acted in the attack phase (or is not going to attack at all); otherwise you are not ”on the level” enough to defend – or maybe you can give up your action and make a defense instead if you roll lower than your opponent? But then we go again with giving up offense to make defense.

It should be added that Armor + Agility +10 would be your Physical Defense. Against mystical attacks you would use your Spiritual Defense, which would be Piety + Will + 10. This makes Piety very valuable and easy to use.

One final advantage: if using the rules with special effects for special weapon groups, I like that each weapon group is useful against one opponent. Simply giving hafted slashing/bashing weapons a bonus that cannot be higher than your foes’ Armor score is a piece of cake.

Skilled Defense?
The second version is to calculate a defense score depending on character skill. This is the version used in the posted document. I like this one very much because it makes a ”match” between two equally skilled opponents very even – and between two unequally skilled opponents very uneeven.

The main trouble then is that I have to use Armor for something.

One alternative is to use Armor like in, to use an old game, RuneQuest: it subtracts from damage done. That has two disadvantages:
1, You have to do subtraction! Boooh! There is enough arithmetic in the game already!
2, An accquaintance on the net who worked on games have noticed one problem with that. Here I am, and have finally hit the bastard – and then I can’t penetrate his armor! Raargh! When you have an armor-based defense score, you know you have done something when you hit someone! This is sometimes known as the ”bonk!” effect; you hit the guy but just goes ”bonk!” against his armor.

The solution said guy used in his system was to have a ”threshold” when damage becomes dangerous. Otherwise, getting hit is a temporary nuisance if you just win the battle – but if you overcome this threshold A, you can get taken out of battle quickly and B, you get hurt on a longer scale, so to speak. You get an actual wound that takes time to heal, not just a bruise or lose your breath or get a close shave that makes you close to running. I had intended to have something similar anyway... but more on that later.

This threshold, in his system, is based on mainly how big you are – which would be Might, in DADA. (I had an idea to have a Size system like in M&M where all PCs are Medium but currently that is sort of scrapped… almost). However, armor adds a bonus. That means someone with armor gets hit as often as someone without armor, but not as badly as often. Normal warriors who get downed more often get serious injuries than knights in heavy expensive armor; knights get taken down with bruises and fatigue and stunning, and get taken for ransom (very Dark Age!).

The trouble is I have a hard time finding a good number to use for the threshold! A human’s Might can vary, at worst, between –5 and +5. Of course, I could say that the base figure is 10, like it is in the current system. With an Armor score between 1 and 12, that means a heavily armored opponent is incredibly hard to injure seriously. I could make Armor score vary less (between, say, 1 to 3, or 1 to 6, etc) but that makes Might comparatively more important, known in Warhammer circles as the Naked Dwarf Syndrome; a naked dwarf is more tough than a normal human guy in platemail. That feels weird (not that there are any ”dwarfs” in DADA, but there are human equivalents, so to speak…)

The second problem is that this still is more complex.

Save Our Bodies!
Another way in combination with skilled defense might be an armor roll; your opponent gets an ”armor save” vs Armor + Might. If he rolls higher than your damage, he still loses Combat Points (maybe? or maybe not?) but he isn’t seriously damaged. This calls for even more rolling (aaaaafghrsfstsl!) but makes it possible both that people without much armor can escape unscathed from heavy injuries if lucky, as well as people with lots of armor rolling badly and get hit (maybe a 1 always means you get a serious injury?)

At the most extreme this could be a system with some kind of injury levels, which I frankly dont like mostly because it don’t feel that oldschool.

Since a lot of DADA is rooted in my manly love for Dragon Warriors, of course I could use their system: attacks do fixed damage, but you make a "penetration roll" to see whether you get through armor. However, their system was pretty much rooted in different weapons having different damage scores and penetration dice... and I kinda wanted to avoid differenting weapons using different damage. M&M nicely avoided that.

In this system, you have the same parallells using Piety + Will to represent ”serious spiritual injury”.

Anyway I don’t have the energy to write much more about it… I don’t know what alternative to use and have dithered about it so far…


Erik Sieurin

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Hitting on people revisited

Post  Erik Sieurin on Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:46 am

I still haven't figured out this central point in my thinking. I think I have reached a compromise, however.

When you attack someone, you can make either a physical attack (usually a Melee or Missile one, but some attacks like that might count as a spiritual attack, such as the horrid grasp of a barrow wight) or spiritual one (usually a Mystic one, but some attacks might count as a physical attack, such a blast of eldritch fire).

For a physical attack, the roll is made against 10 + Agility (-3 - 3) + Armor (0-12), your Physical Defense.

For a spiritual attack, the roll is made against 10 + Will (-3 - 3) + Piety (-12 - -12), your Spiritual Defense.

You can chose to defend if you are aware of the attack. You can only defend once each attack phase, but you are allowed to wait until you see the attacker's roll before you choose to defend.

If the attack was a Melee one (+ Might (-3 - 3) + Valor (0-12)), regardless whether it was a physical or spiritual one, you can block by rolling 1d20 + your Block score (+ Agility (-3 - 3) + Valor (0-12)).

If the attack was a Missile one (+ Dexterity (-3 - 3) + Cunning (0-12)), regardless whether it was a physical or spiritual one, you can dodge by rolling 1d20 + your Dodge score (+ Agility (-3 - 3) + Cunning(0-12)).

If the attack was a Mystic one (+ Wits(-3 - 3) + Wisdom (0-12)), regardless whether it was a physical or spiritual one, you can ward by rolling 1d20 + your Ward score (+ Will (-3 - 3) + Wisdom (0-12)). ("Warding" might mean that you cross yourself, mumber a short prayer, touch an old charm you carry, etc.)

  • You can defend any number of times.
  • You can only defend if you have already acted in the Attack phase (i.e., if you have a higher Initiative than your attacker), otherwise you must give up your action this round
  • When you Dodge, you must roll higher than your Encumbrance, or the attack hits anyway.
  • Everyone has two Defense scores - one for Armor/Piety and one for Block/Dodge/Ward, and can use the highest, unless they are unaware of the attack; then they must chose Armor. No rolling is necessary for the defender. Some other situations may make you chose another one (like when grappling someone you use Block, since armor is irrelevant, or an area attack targets Armor, since you cannot avoid it).
  • If you roll a 1 on the Defense roll, your opponent hits automatically. If you roll a 20, he misses automatically.

Opinions, comments, papal bulls?


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The dithering fool repents, part 1...

Post  Erik Sieurin on Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:35 pm

Sometimes you feel really stupid...

I have been hung up on the idea of Armor being a "Virtue", going from 0-12. I didn't want to just add Armor to Melee and Missile Defense, because I don't want to add too many figures together.

But obviously, Armor is a "Gift", going from -X to +X. Except negative Armor is normally not an issue. Basically, your Melee and Missile Defense normally add your Agility to the suitable Virtue (Valor for Melee, Cunning for Missile). However, if you are wearing armor with better Armor than your Agility, you add it instead - replacing the Gift with a "Gift"!

Likewise, Piety is still a "Virtue". In your Mystic Defense, you replace the Virtue with the "Virtue" if it is higher - place Piety instead of Wisdom. (Normally rare with PCs, but it can happen...)

So there! Problem solved - easier than any other bothersome solution!


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Re: How to hit on people

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