Zenbitz:Combat system thoughts

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Deprecated mechanic.png This article covers a deprecated game mechanic.

There are two main reasons why game mechanics become deprecated. They either have been fleshed out in more detail and became a full fledged proposal this way. Or they have been rejected in favour of other proposals and have been abandoned. Either way: deprecated game mechanics are no longer utilized by the mechanics department at this point.


General comments, holes to fill

Time and distance scales

What is the time and distance scale in the game? Is it fixed, or variable?

Terrain, Weather and Vehicles

How will the environment effect combat? Since we have no plans to consider vehicular combat - it is included here as "environment"

Missile combat

How will dudes kill other dudes from far away?

Melee combat

How will dudes kill other dudes "up close and personal"

Non-lethal combat and surrender

Wait, what if the dudes just want to incapacitate each other?

Tactical options design

Here are some ideas for a detailed but fun "command" set for the game. My thinking here is from the GUI out - the idea was that every "move" you select an action for PC. What a "move" is, is not yet defined, but anything here can be adapted to some kind of action point or phased action system. Right now, I envision this as a context "double" menu, so right click pulls up Move/Command/Missile/Melee, mouseover reveals the submenu, then switch cursor and left-click to select target (if available). Command->Shout a Command needs a "further" submenu to select command and possibly a "name" as well. Example "Ian: Spray". The idea is that in a short (ca. 1s) combat round, you aren't going to get out more than 3 words coherently.

This might seem like too much of a tactical squad game than a RPG - but consider Basic GURPS has 10 combat maneuvers, not including the difference between a thrust and a cut, Advanced added another 10 including some catch-all's like "long action" (say picking a lock), plus 3 choices for defenders _and_ an optional retreat. Now, GURPS is a very tactical RPG - but remember you are playing it without a computer to keep track of everythiing.

Another possible concept for real strategic depth: Stack actions - the better your leadership, the fewer actions you have to sequence. The analogy is to "plotted" movement in a naval game. By forcing a tactically inferior character to plan farther ahead, you make him vulnerable via lack of flexibility. Realistically, I would see this as sequencing 1 (best), 2, or 3 moves ahead.

Move actions (click on desired destination): [ purpose]

  • Charge / Bug Out [ change range quickly, no attacks except "bash" at end, terrible defense]
  • Dodge [ avoid missile fire, increased defense]
  • Covering fire (hipshots) [cause distractions, lucky hit - no defense mod]
  • At the walk [move delibrately - no modifiers]
  • Double time [between walk and charge, reduced defense]
  • Take cover [maximize missile defense within 1hex]

Command actions:

  • Shout a command ([list of actions - tactics lvl 0 - reduced list of commands, lvl 1 full list, lvl 2 "name: command", lvl 3: code words, silent commands]
  • Assess chances [prereq: tactics, try to determine how likely your side is going to win this fight]
  • Surrender [give up]
  • Ultimatum / Bluff [demand foes give up]

Missile actions: [restricted by "distractions" - enemies + 1/2 x friends + terrain]

  • set stance [prereq. for aim, removes "hip shot"]
  • aim [increase chance to hit, prereq. for called shot, subsequent "aims" stack to 3-4 levels?]
  • fire [hip shot unless set] - can move 1 hex if no aim
  • called shot [shoot at hit location]
  • spray [fire as many "shots" as possible * may be 1]
  • reload [different weapons have N reload actions, depending on acessibilty, stuff] [auto take cover if available]
  • traverse [autofire only: "controlled" spray]
  • opportunity fire [prereq: advanced level - "hold" your attack until bad guy moves into the open]

Melee actions: [Must be in weapon range + 1 hex to close to enemy, reduces offense and defense.]

  • attack 1, 2, 3... [basic attack keeping offhand for defense - numbers represent different types of attack by weapon type (cut/hack/thrust/club/punch/kick)]
  • aimed attack 1,2,3 [prereq: advanced level with weapon, reduced attack/defense - higher skill = finer targeting]
  • feint [prereq: Advanced level with weapon increased defense, increase offense for next attack - special: can retreat 1 hex back]
  • *feint/attack [prereq: 2 weapons, advanced level: attack with increased chance to hit, reduced defense as extra attack]
  • grapple [ prereq: empty handed - grab opponents arms/weapons. Note this will have to trigger separate subsystem]
  • *extra attack [ 1 or 2 weapons, but restricted for some weapons, decrease defense (slightly less decreased with 2 weapons)]
  • *coup d' grace [ powerful attack - zero defense]
  • all out defense [ no attack, enhanced defense - special: can retreat 1 hex back]
  • fancy martial arts moves? Throws, trips, disarms, submission holds?

=* "double" actions, no move allowed.

Sequencing and Turns - Different options

AKA - should we have actions points? Here is a short list of possible ways to do this. It's not meant to be complete, or even a "pick one of 4" but it will just illustrate different ideas I know. I am leaving out stuff like "surprise" and "opportunity fire" which may or may not be in various games.

Trivial aka "IGO-YUGO" (old D&D and GURPS both use this)

Every player gets 1 turn. You do 1 thing per turn. All things take the same amount of time (GURPS had "long actions" which took > 1 turn, also some compound actions - like step & attack, step & feint). GURPS "rounds" were 1s, AD&D (1st ed!) 6 sec(!) You go in "initiative" order (set by a stat, or rolled, or combination). Sometimes, you could do 2 attacks/turn. In GURPS, you could move your "Move" stat in movement points per turn (facing change costs 1, side or back 2 points). Move was like (HT+DX)/4 - Encumbrance, so average unencumbered person moved 5 hexes per turn = 5m/sec.

SPECIAL (fallout)

(This is from memory, I could look it up in PnP version, or docs somewhere. Feel free to correct)

  • Players are have a number of action points (AP) and a sequence in which they move (determined by agility?)
  • Each character in combat takes a turn in which they use all, some, or none of their APs to conduct actions.
  • Actions take a varied amount of APs - move 1 hex = 1, punch = 3, fire a gun = 5 (usually), reload = 2. Access inventory - which allowes you to do 2 reloads and take any amount of heals/buffs, 4 AP. Items (including exit stairs/elevators) could be used in combat, not sure how many AP this took. You could also loot corpses in the middle of a fight.

Aftermath! (I am going to paraphrase some of this because it can get ridiculously detailed)

  • 1 combat turn (approx. 6 seconds) had a varied number of "phases". The first phase was when the fastest character started moving (based on Speed stat). This start phase was called BAP - maximum was 20, average about 6. You then count down the phases until 0.
  • If you had a high Deftness, you might have 2 or 3, even 4 or 5 actions in a turn (note 5 requires VERY high DF)
  • You number of actions were just divided along the phases evenly. So if you had 4 actions and a BAP of 8, you would act on phases 8,6,4 and 2.
  • A human could walk a 1 hex (meter) per phase - regardless of whether or not they had an action. So if you had a BAP of 8 you could walk 8 hexes. Dogs and horses and other fast critters might move 2/phase. If you were running could move 2x as fast. Which means, hilarously, that a 40 SP (Max human), could run 40m/sec! 144 kph!!! It took you 1 phase to accelerate to run speed. There were also some fairly extensive velocity/momentum rules as well, but that's outside the scope.
  • Regular actions were declared (example say at phase 8, but resolved at the end of the period - so 6 for the above guy). These can usually be done with a 1m move. If you had an autoloading pistol, you could typically fire 3 rounds per action. If it was a burst weapon, you could fire 3 _bursts_ per weapon.

HERO system (champions)

(This was sort of what GURPS ripped off - originally a superhero game, but expanded to mutiple genres)

  • Used bigger hexes, 2m. Combat turns were apparently 1.2s long (I had to back figure this from the movement rate of a vehicle going 360kph...)
  • 12 phases (called segments, but I will use 'phase') Characters have 1-12 actions = "Speed" stat. Superhero game, so avg. human = 2 actions. 10 was really, really high. There was a chart which showed which phases you moved on depending on your speed. Basically, it just divided them up (Speed 6 - move on 12/10/8/6/2) You counted up, not down like Aftermath! but it hardly matters. * *
  • actions took either 0 phases (like turn on/off a power), 1/2 phase (regular attack, move half your movement allowance), or 1 phase (move whole movement allowance, recover from being stunned). You could do a half-move and attack each phase. An average human running was at 6 hexes, and could do this twice a turn. If people moved on the same phase, it was in Dexterity order. You could "delay" you move to see what other people did.
  • You could "abort to dodge" - if you had an action pending, you could sacrifice it and dodge/block/parry if attacked before you get to act.
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