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My rough idea of meleé combat...has it been done before?

 Post subject: My rough idea of meleé combat...has it been done before?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:11 am 
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Lance Corporal
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Hey all, I've been working on a rules system for close combat. I have no idea what game it should go with but it is geared towards on one on one sword of other meleé weapon duels.

In real life meleé is a dance of offensive or defensive movements with a delicate balance between unrestrained aggressiveness and thoughtful defense. This is my attempt to make combat more involved, interesting, and realistic.

I'm not going to copy and paste the whole thing since it is very rough and mostly just random thoughts, but i will give an overview and you tell me if it sounds interesting or tedious...


Summary
Basically, combat is broken down into states of being on the offensive (off.) or defensive (def.) Usually the only way to strike a blow is to be on the offensive. Both sides start off. and after one round the winner (however that is determined, probably a head-to-head roll) stays off. while the loser is now def. No damage is done unless an off. defeats a def. This could play back and forth to give a sense of suspense and fight momentum...either that or just be really boring! Damage is done when an off. character defeats a def character.

Here is where it gets interesting, i hope! Off.characters build up rage points for each attack they make and can spend them for devastating special moves such as shield bashes, hamstrings, wrist attacks, etc...

Def. characters can choose to either dodge or parry.

Parrying is riskier than dodging (depending on agility) as it relies on weapon skill and beating your opponents roll with some kind of negative modifier. A successful parry will create an opening and switch the off. def. status of the combatants. A failed parry will result is getting hit and damage applied however it normally would be.

Dodges are based on your agility and a successful dodge will build up focus points which may be used for def. techniques. A failed dodge will also result is getting hit and damage applied however it normally would be. The advantage of dodging is to build up focus while the draw back is not getting an immediate chance to gain the advantage and go on the offensive

I imagine very basic techniques to be known at first with more advanced ones unlocked with experience. That basic focus vs. rage system is an idea i thought of after playing a certain MMO. The parry or dodge is somewhat borrowed from =][=.

Advanced focus techniques could allow for counter-attacks so that agile characters could dodge and build up focus to unleash devastating attacks, while lumbering slow characters could parry, soak up damage till they succeed, and then start attacking when they gain the advantage.

I hope all this makes sense.

What do you think of this basic idea and has it been done before in an RPG or war game?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:14 pm 
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Rogue-Psyker
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As you say, it's kind of vague right now, so I can only offer somewhat vague suggestions.
I've never had much interest in 1-on-1 combat systems. The only one I can really think of was the Lost Worlds books. I just find bigger fights more interesting than 1-on-1 duels. Though, when I was younger and had hobbies that involved actual physical activity aside from rolling dice or pushing a mouse around, I did some fencing (foil, as opposed to other forms).

I would say that if you want to make the combatants offensive or defensive, it should not be an absolute thing. You can be defensive while waiting for your opponent to make a mistake and leave himself open. Or you can be so focused on defense that you are not ready to take advantage of openings. Likewise, there's a difference between a berserk onslaught and a carefully measured stroke, though both are broadly "offense". You can also have a fight, or a period during a fight, when both combatants are offensive or defensive at the same time.

You might have each combatant have a "stance" which describes their level of offense or defense, maybe as a ratio. This would describe the fighter's state of mind as much as actual body position.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:56 am 
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Lance Corporal
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I'm thinking this could easily be made larger by giving multiple attackers bonuses like necromunda and penalties for extra defensive actions.

I left out details like fumbles and attacks of opportunity for simplification purposes above. These take into effect your suggestions. Basically if someone rolls in their fumble range you get a free attack at which they can only dodge. Those who fumble become defensive.

Offensive characters can go on the defensive whenever they want but rage points degenerate one per round.

Also a tied score mean the warriors are dramatically locked and a test of strength would be needed to gain advantage.

Perhaps rage points is not the right term i should use, maybe it should be aggressiveness points. This would not make it seem like such a reckless stance.

As for weapon stats I'm thinking:

Wight=gives bonuses to tests of strength and negative modifiers to weak characters swinging a heavy weapon. Fatigue loss maybe?

Length=(0-fists, 1-dagger, 2-short sword, 3-longsword, 4-spear) not sure how to handle this... Option A: The difference is some kind of modifier making short weapons harder to win. Option B: To prevent yet another modifier to your attack score shorter weapons don't automatically put people on the defensive if you win a round. Perhaps you must win multiple times to work around the length barrier equal to difference is weapons.

Damage= obvious

Balance=well balanced weapons will give bonuses to attack scores while unbalanced weapons will apply penalties. This can be over come with advanced training.

Sample rage techniques: Bull rush, Sweep, Dagger Stab, Mighty Blow, Shield Bash, Head Butt, Grapple, Cleave, Hamstring, Throw Weapon, Shield/Weapon Throw, Dirt-in-the-Face, Wrist slice...

Sample Focus techniques: Step aside, Switch Positions, Turn blow, Trip, Weak spot, Disarm, Counter Attack, Jab, Taunt,

One last thought, fatigue. It build up while you attack and drains when your not. Once it reaches a certain point you are less effective so it encourages fighters to stop attacking and go on the defensive once and a while. Unnecessary complexity? To keep track of all the points, rage focus, and fatigue, each character would have a sheet with spaces for glass beads. Also each technique and dodge/parry and attack/switch to defensive would have cards. You would reveal your intended action whether it is a normal move of a technique simultaneously with the opponent.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:31 pm 
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Master Gunner
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Sounds more like a roleplaying game level of detail. Combat would quite simply take too long in a minatures game, IMO.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:01 am 
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Sounds like you may have the basis of a perfectly workable detailed combat system. Though not necessarily realistic.

I don't really like the idea of being stuck in either offence or defence, or of building up points to perform special moves.

The detailed combat system for role-playing I plan on eventually writing will allow combatants to divert points from their offensive ability (weapon skill) to their defensive ability (initiative), which will make them more difficult to hit, but also prevents them from attacking effectively, reducing the probability of their attacks hitting, and reducing the power of their attacks.
The levels of offence and defence would be determined at the begining of each turn/round/activation.

This would allow for a wide range of ways in which a fight can play out. By fighting entirely offensively, two combatnts could literally kill eachother at the same time, or by both fighting defensively, the fight could be long and drawn out, eventually being determined by the slightly more skilled fighter wearing away at his opponent, or by the fighter with better cardio having enough energy left for a decisive finish of an opponent who has gassed. A skilled fighter could be held up by a lesser opponent who fights defensively, or reversed, the skilled fighter could toy with and pick apart a lesser adversary who attacks aggressively.

If you actually want to make a realistic system, something you will need to take into account is the wide range of grappling and wrestling techniques used in combat - something entirely overlooked by practically all games, movies, books, etc.
Historically, especially in a one-on-one fight, grappling and wrestling were as important aspects of fighting as thrusting and parrying, especially in a fight between heavily armoured opponents. Your chances of defeating a plate harnessed opponent by cutting at him with a sword are practically nil, and only slightly improved if you thrust at him. Wrestling him to the ground and finishing him with a dagger in the armpit or through the visor are the preferred techniques, if you don't happen to have a polaxe on hand.

If you want to learn about the much maligned reality of fighting with swords and other period weapons, the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts website is a good place to start.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:35 pm 
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Lance Corporal
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ah thanks for the insight lafunk, although when i say realistic i mean on a swords and sorcery level of realism. The basic idea behind techniques in my system is to account for all the various attacks that could be done, including grapples. To prevent an overwhelming amount of options and to provide some level up fun they are not all known at the start.

The points are an abstraction of watching your opponent. When attackers build up rage they are not just getting points but rather testing the enemies defenses until they find an opportunity to do something interesting, like a sweep or tackle. Defenders are waiting for an opening as they build focus as well. Also bear in mind that each round is a few seconds.



Feasibly both characters could play defensively while circling each other (dodging) until they strike with a powerful move (use focus points)

I am toying with the idea of having an attack que at the start of each round, maybe 3 actions that are compared with each other to determine the outcome.

I am also toying with the idea of letting rage/focus points be used as a basic modifier to attacks/parries respectively, This is for those without many skills, so they can gain an advantage for persistence or patience without doing the same move over again.

As far as not being able to hurt an opponent from a defensive position, well there is always fumbles and focus moves.

I guess i need to make a functioning rule-set for anyone to comment on all the ideas floating ijn my head!


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