Saturday, May 29, 2010

Revised Variant Combat System

Apologies to the seventy folks that already down-loaded this once, I have now REVISED my variant combat system (the "no attack roll" system) based on the continued voiced concerns regarding ranged combat.

Those concerns have now been addressed: here's the download.

To sum up: Subtract 1 point of damage (NOT a "shift" of dice type) from damage for every range increment at which missile fire occurs. So at short range you subtract 1 from the dice roll, 2 points at medium, and 3 points at long. This range penalty can be off-set by the "missile adjustment bonus" for a high dexterity. For example, a character with a Dexterity 13 receives a +1 to missile fire. At short range he will always do at least 1 point of damage (no penalty)...the opponent better be expending energy to dodge (fatigue) or he'll be getting drilled. At medium and long range, the character still has a penalty (-1 and -2 respectively) meaning there's still a chance he might miss from those ranges.

Yes, a dexterity 18 character will always do damage (+3)...they are just too dangerous with a ranged weapon. Take evasive action or you'll be getting at least a decent scratch from a marksman of that caliber.

This bonus ONLY applies to off-setting range penalties; it adds no further bonus to damage. Some DMs may wish to use the halfling's bonus to missile fire to off-set range as well; others may see this bonus as a positive damage "shift" instead. I leave that choice up to the judgment of individual DMs.

All right, try it out folks!
: )


  1. Two thumbs up. I love this sort of approach.

  2. @ Pal: Thanks, man! If you use it, please let me know how it works for you!

  3. If you had Attack Bonus add to damage, and armour subtract from it, you wouldn't need a chart.

    (I thought I'd posted this already, but it seems to have disappeared)

  4. @ anarch [posted originally @ Wheel of Samsara, but pertinent here]

    One issue I had, and the reason I eliminated adding "points" to the damage roll (for example, magic weapon "+" and Strength bonuses only shift the dice, they do not ADD) is that I wanted their to always be the possibility of rolling only 1 or 2 damage points.

    Why is this? Well, because of the Normal Man of course!

    The Normal Human has only 1-4 hit points...they are dolts in combat compared to adventuring humans (fighters, clerics, etc.). Easily run through. However, they are still humans...and possibly very fit humans (HP 3 or 4). And people can get lucky and survive a "scratch" from a weapon.

    They don't necessarily get lucky MORE than once, but definitely they can get lucky once.

    When you have a character wielding a +3 sword, or a character with a 16+ strength and a +1 sword, or any similar combo, than the lightest love tap from a weapon is going to slay even the heartiest normal human. You know like a Palladium MDC weapon against an SDC character.

    I don't like that.

    To me, it doesn't reflect the possibility, no matter how slim, that a normal person might get hit and survive with naught but a juicy scar.

    If you want the over-flow (above D20) damage to be reflected in re-rolls (like D20 +2 means re-roll damage twice or something...there's an arcane notation for a table!) that's fine...make the chance of survival all the more slim. But give an upright, able-bodied and aware opponent (even a non-combat-worthy one) the chance to survive a shot.

    Now backstabbing thieves/snipers (double damage) or horrendous creatures that can pulp a horse with a claw or bite (multiple damage dice) can kill a Normal Human with no chance of survival, and that's fine with me. The former still needs to get the drop on the Normal Man first, the latter...well Joe Average has no business getting within bite range of a T-Rex.
    ; )

    [specific to anarchist comments]

    Adding attack bonus and subtracting armor takes away this possibility of allowing the Normal Man to "luck out" as well.

  5. Hm, true. A couple of suggestions:

    i) Every natural 1 counts as damage of 1 ignoring Attack Bonus.

    ii) Attack Bonus grants extra dice, but only the highest single roll is counted.

  6. I am going to try this the next time I run a B/X game. I like it a lot. I was thinking of making a similar chart using the d20... I still might. I just figured that people really like the d20... :)

  7. Further meditation has borne fruit regarding the +X...
    Keep the added damage. Make the wielder responsible socially for their behavior. They used a superior weapon against an inferior opponent and should be held liable for that, much as we (NA, Common Law/Napoleonic Code culture) are held liable in cases of "excessive lethal force."

    This also puts a burden on the players to NOT go H+S on random humanoid passersby and actually interact socially with them first. The guy in the bar who wants to start a fight with "he said he doesn't like the way you look"? Sure, chop off his arm and make a mess of the place and have quite a few people think you're utterly badass... You just need to deal with the added LEO attention, possible legal ramifications and morale/social penalties for doing so (can you say "no longer a paladin"?)

    Another way, a truly nasty way, compatible with my hacking of BECMI into Fudge: the +X isn't adding pips but shifting rows. The weapon ignores X amount of armor and does just totally superior damage. A normal sword illustrates this in sort-of plain English: it does a Fair amount of damage when it hits a target. A +3 sword would do a Superb amount of damage with a blow - only the really tough or heavily armored could survive such a strike. It would also really encourage an intelligent opponent to flee rather than just get mowed down. Using the auto-hit scenario, this would eliminate *all* rolls for this combat - compare attacking trait with defending trait, then assess damages. No rolls, just death and destruction.