Super Power Combat
Like Power Combat, only moreso. ;)
Time to Buckle Down
Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback. Keep it coming, if you've got anything else to recommend. But now I'll try to put together something more solid. Maybe after the weekend I'll have some real crunchy stuff here for you guys to rip to shreds.
ErykTheRed/SuperPowerCrunch - Either an awesome name for a breakfast cereal, or the page where I'll start to organize this stuff into a meaningful description of my completely untested rules. Totally unfinished.
Points of Difference
- Bonuses to Initiative for weapon Length (no longer called Speed) will only be relevant for attacks and parries with the weapon. Movement and other activities are performed during your normal Initiative turn. This is part of my plan to allow for greater freedom to spread actions throughout the turn, in an attempt to create more interactive combat. Weapons NEVER naturally have a negative Length, because Length represents how much the weapon extends my reach. Gauntlets don't make my arms shorter.
- Different weapons/attacks are labeled Power or Finesse. The dice pool for a Power attack is Strength + Ability, Finesse uses Dexterity + Ability. For example, a warhammer would be a Power weapon, whereas a rapier would be a Finesse weapon. Brawl attacks are Power, Martial Arts are Finesse. Chakram are Finesse, throwing axes are Power. And so on... Stunts, of course, might allow you to use a Finesse weapon as a Power weapon, or vice versa, though I defy you to find a way the use a rapier as a Power weapon.
- By driving it right through the sternum of a downed opponent and pinning them to the floor/ground/wall/ceiling/whatever. Booya! - Kurulham
- Well, there you have it. You win the prize. You managed to prove me wrong, and, in doing so, (in my mind at least) further validate my idea. Awesome. - Eryk
- By driving it right through the sternum of a downed opponent and pinning them to the floor/ground/wall/ceiling/whatever. Booya! - Kurulham
- Strength is no longer added to the raw damage of an attack.
- Attacks/weapons have two damage ratings: Base Damage and Success Damage (just preliminary names). Base damage is the raw damage you get just for hitting. Success damage is how much damage you add to your raw damage for each attack success.
- I do worry that this is a bit dangerous, due to the number of successes that an Exalt can rack up, real easily. Figure that it's almost nothing to come up with 10+ successes easily, and even if you're facing a relatively witty person, you've got 7 over-successes, which, at anything more than 2 damage per success gives an easy 14 damage dice, which is a lot of bonus. Just saying to be careful. - GregLink
- Attacks against aware opponents have a difficulty equal to their Wits. This represents those natural reflexes that make us move out of the way when something big and scary is bearing down on us. However, if you score at least one natural success but don't beat the difficulty, you still hit, you just don't get bonus damage for attack successes.
- Rate should be flexible. I'm not sure yet how, but I hate the idea that for some reason a daiklaive can be used exactly four times in a turn, regardless of my own capabilities, without using charms. I do not believe that charms are the magic bullet for design flaws in the mundane parts of the rules.
- Initiative. It's a problem, because of the theoretical "footrace to init 0". But, then, I think that the guy with higher initiative should have more freedom to choose when he acts, so restricting him to his own initiative or punishing him for delaying actions seems kinda wrong. Not sure what I want for this, but it definitely bears consideration. There's always the possibility of ditching initiative entirely and just going clockwise around the table. But that really doesn't seem to be Exalted style. (Though it would be an easy way out.)
- It seems ridiculous, but maybe there's something to the idea of going clockwise around the table. Roll initiative as a dice pool, each success lets you pass once when it's your turn to go. You have to declare how many actions you wish to take at the beginning of the turn... weapon length lets you jump in out of turn? I dunno... just ideas.
- Hardness. I have no clue yet. But armor traditionally serves to save you from glancing hits, not direct blows. Hardness is supposed to represent that, because it provides a minimum amount of power it takes to hurt you. But hardness sucks. It's usually too low to matter, unless you're in a Warstrider, and even then it's just a shield vs. extras. But if hardness ratings are too high, you become invincible. So I'd like a different mechanic for it. To make it interesting and useful. And simple. No extra dice rolling. (I'm making damage complicated, I should keep armor simple.)
- Ping. I like Essence-Ping. It stays. Maybe hardness reduces ping? Ouch. Probably not. Also, see above, about Wits difficulty on attack rolls. So if you don't beat the difficulty, doing only base damage, your ping is halved, round down. Maybe. I'm iffy about that. Since it just continues to make life suck for low-power folks, and the folks with high enough Essence for it to matter will rarely get so few successes.
- Sweep - I want the idea of "Sweeping" actions to be added. This is essentially a single action (usually an attack) with multiple targets. Dice pool penalties from any of the targets' charms or special abilities are cumulative. Successes are divided among the targets equally, before success reductions are applied and before successes are compared to each target's difficulty. This is a single action, including for the purposes of dice pool penalties for split actions and also for the purpose of Rate. This could represent whirling that Grand Daiklave around over your head (thereby smacking all those goons trying to jump you in the head with divine steel). I might leave Rate as it is since Sweeping would make it more flexible. Note that this would allow for Sweeping parries, too. Whereas a full parry has you focusing everything on parrying, a Sweeping parry has you defending against multiple simulataneous attacks (presumably from a bunch of extras) with a single motion. For visual reference, this can be seen in the film The Princess Blade, during a scene wherein the heroine is attacked by her former kinsmen, and she is on the ground, and they all strike at her simultaneously, but a single blade is held up to block all of their swords. Also, in the film Hero, there is a scene where a temple is the target of an unending barrage of arrows, and a woman (can't remember the name) is deflecting great numbers of arrows with sweeps of her robe. This would be a full parry made up of sweeping parries. Also note that if you have more targets than successes on the roll, you assign the successes as evenly as possible (player's choice on how to assign), and the extra targets who did not get a success assigned are ignored. The action against them failed. Sweeping Clinches are probably not allowed. At least, not without a stunt. Or a nasty lunar tentacle charm.
- I would allow characters fighting crowds of extras to declare an indefinite number of targets. Thus, each success is applied against a different target within a reasonable range.
- Clinches and the Range/Length Problem - I hate the Clinch rules. They're clumsy. So I intend to fix them, make them simpler and a bit more abstract. The primary function of the Clinch (I'm going to go back to calling it a Hold, though) is to keep the enemy at close range, limiting their movement and the usefulness of weapons of a certain size. Here's where I feel clever. This could just as easily represent maneuvering within the opponents weapon's range, and holding position there. A Hold, thus, is a combat maneuver that serves to hold an enemy at a particular range. Holds may cause no damage, instead having success determine effectiveness of the hold. The important bit is this: a hold has a Length, equal to the Length of the weapon used for the hold (which is zero if unarmed). When the Held person attacks, their Accuracy is reduced by the difference between their weapon/attack's Length and that of the Hold. This means that a Hold can also represent using a long weapon to fend off opponents. Holds last for the rest of your turn, after which you would have to perform another Hold to maintain it. Obviously this needs some mechanical cleanup, but I think it'll work.
I'll be interested to see where this goes. So far, the only thing I dislike is your approach to damage, and to an extent, hard delineations between Power and Finesse weapons. Some weapons, after all, could be either one. That said, I do like the idea of using Str for some attack rolls. - David.
- Agreed. Many weapons could be both, and would be allowed to be used as such. About the damage, well, it takes consideration. I figure that we'd probably have to increase the soak values of many armors. I never said this would be simple. And you have to remember a few things here: The base damage of many weapons will be much lower than they are now, and your Strength is not an automatic bonus. Yes, this system would still benefit the more powerful folks more, but I hope to work out that balance elsewhere. Like, theoretically, let's say you got your ten successes, on an attack roll, as GregLink described above. It's a grand daiklave you smacked me with. Under the normal rules, you get ten damage for that, twelve for the 'klave, and a healthy four for Strength. That's 25 damage, before soak. Ouch. My rules might give the grand daiklave five base damage, and three success damage. Opponent is Wits three, as above. 7 successes. 21 damage (yeah, ouch) for that, plus four for the base damage. 26. Not so far off. And I plan to increase soak values. Including how much weight Stamina gets, I think. But it is a work in progress and I'm very very excited to have gotten a response so quickly! - Eryk
- My main complaint with your damage system is that it's unnecessarily complicated. The passive Wits defense is rather charming, and it's one more thing to lose when you're flanked or attacked from behind - two things that I think deserve a little more attention in the system anyway. Another thought - you mention a rather dramatic reduction in the damage bonuses of weapons. That narrows potential for more variance between different weapons. I think I see the point behind multiplying successes for damage, and I like it, but Exalted combat is already very dice-heavy and has a lot of steps. I assume that Accuracy and Defense are still in place for weapons, and still function in the same way? - David.
- Largely, yes, Accuracy and Defense remain the same. Number balance changes, of course. I'd prefer to keep things quick, of course. I like the idea of combat being very fluid. I just want the ability to fight well to matter more. How well I hit should matter as much as how big my blade is. Because while a Grand Daiklave will crush my skull and tear through my chest, a rapier could penetrate my heart and kill me swiftly, with very little bloodspray. I want to represent that. Which (going off on a tangent now), leads me to believe that the way I'd want to do my damage structure is that high base damage is for the big "Kill-'em-to-death!" kinda weapons, whereas high success damage and low base damage is for the "Deadly-in-the-right-hands" kind of weapons. So I started with responding to your input and ended with spitting out more propaganda for me. I guess that's what you get for venturing into my borderline ADHD mind. ;) Now, of course, if you have an idea that's simpler than mine but helps accomplish my goal, please tell, I'd love some help. - Eryk
- A simpler system doesn't come to mind just yet, but I'll be sure to share if it does. ;) Another question, though. How do Charms like Hungry Tiger Technique (doubles successes for the purposes of damage calculation) interact with success-damage? - David.
- It's the answer no one wants to hear: They require a complete rewrite. Suddenly the number of successes matters a lot, so doubling would be huge. However, this mechanic opens up new possibilities, like increasing the success damage rating. Which, as it turns out, would add the same amount of damage as Hungry Tiger does using the normal rules. - Eryk
- I kind of figured it would do something like that. :) I have very mixed feelings right now about your success-damage stat, but I do have to admit that I like how it adds another dimension, another thing for Charms to manipulate, which I always enjoy, regardless of how impractical most things that add additional dimensions are. Something to consider, though: increasing armor soak isn't enough, I think. If the success-damage modifiers have much variation (which I, on one hand, really think they should), you suddenly find yourself dealing with enormous damage pools. It's my opinion that damage ratings for weapons - at least at the mundane level - are based on how much damage a human can take, and how a human handles that damage. That's sort of the bar by which we gauge how deadly weapons are, at least for the purposes of putting mechanics to them. Since you seem to have no aversion to major overhauls of the system, you may want to consider rewrites of the various Ox-Body Techniques (maybe they reduce damage taken, rather than add HLs?), and you should probably consider either an alternate approach to the health charts, or maybe even give Stamina some damage-reduction function. - David.
- I like the way you think. Maybe Stamina doesn't affect soak. Maybe it effectively reduces successes beyond the attack difficulty. Or it reduces the success-damage rating. Or maybe something ridiculous, like your stamina is a multiplier for your soak, like my success-damage rating (in that case, soak ratings shrink, of course). Not sure, but this is all a very fun exercise and I'm glad someone else out there is interested, especially someone with differing opinions who can intelligently criticize my ideas. Hopefully soon I'll come up with something more solid that you can properly rip to shreds. ;) - Eryk
I've always seen Rate as a workable maximum. Not everyone is going to be able to use the full Rate of a weapon - this is taken into account by the multiple-action penalties. I also share David's concerns about damage, and would like to point out that they are completely reworking the whole initiative thing for ExaltedSecond. That said, however, I am very intrigued to see what you do with this. Also, a question: how does the Wits difficulty interact with dodging? - Kurulham
- I'm intentionally ignoring ExaltedSecond. This is an exercise in making the fundaments of Exalted work better in application. For example, I intend to differentiate Brawl and Martial Arts, because I really like the idea of splitting them (as seen above, in my bit about Power and Finesse). As for dodging, little to nothing changes. Dodges reduce attack successes. Unlike the Wits bonus, a dodge can actually make you miss completely, as it negates successes completely. - Eryk
- Ah, I see. So do you subtract the defense (dodge/parry) successes before or after you apply the Wits difficulty? - Kurulham
- Defenses reduce successes first. So they can make you miss completely, by reducing successes to 0. If any successes remain, you hit, doing the attack's base damage in raw damage. Then you compare what remains to the Wits difficulty. Any successes beyond the Wits add the success-damage rating to the raw damage. I realize that "difficulty" is probably the wrong word to use with my Wits difficulty, because my use here differs from the canon definition of difficulty, so I'll probably use altered terminology. - Eryk
- No. Not to be rude or abrupt. But this is an exercise about the combat system alone. I've no interest in altering the Ability list. I want to make the one we have work better (in combat). And, like I said, I'm ignoring ExaltedSecond. It's not of my concern right now. -Eryk
Regarding the damage success multiplier: I believe, White Wolf allready has a general ruling about multiple multipliers. If you double your speed (via Lunar Gift for example) and then double it again, you effectively triple the basic speed (each doubling really being the addition of the basic value). If you use Hungry Tiger Technique to double the damage per extra success, why not simply let it add the basic value (1 raw damage per success)?
That being said, i'd consider not using multipliers for weapons at all. Keep the basic damage bonuses, or maybe increase all of them by two (since we don't add strenth anymore). Anyway, i think the basic ideas you posted have kick-started my rules-engineering genes back up to overdrive. :-) I really need to playtest all these cool ideas!
BTW: Feels nice to pull some weight off of dexterity once again. Never felt comfortable with it. - DogSkull [feeling touched by your devine inspiration]
- When white-wolf says "double", they really mean "+100% of base". - Wordman
- It's just semantics, really, but I don't think of my success-damage rating as a multiplier. It is simply how much extra damage each attack success beyond the Wits difficulty adds. Hungry Tiger, as it stands, doubles those successes, which in turn would each add the success-damage rating in damage to the raw damage. That's why I would instead have Hungry Tiger increase the success-damage rating by one, so as to keep it functionally the same.
Of course, you're right. It was just a misunderstanding on my part. I missed a detail of one of your earlier posts. But, if light and deadly weapons add more damage per success than Big Whackers, Hungry Tiger would loose some of its style! :-(. A qick fix could be to simply add strength or dexterity in damage dice for Hungry-Tiger-like Charms (depending on the attack form used) instead of doubling anything.
- As for Initiative, why not roll once at the start of combat, without Speed or Length modifiers. Combat then proceeds in the order determined. Only init-boosters can change that order.
- Since i never found any book-keeping to do at the end of a turn, we might as well define a turn on a personal level. It starts with your init-tick and ends just an eyeblink before your next init-tick. Any Charm of turn-duration would now end. When your tick arrives, you announce your action(s). If you want to wait for something else to happen before you act, just specify a trigger for you action. This is sensible, if you want to act AND keep a parry or dodge hanging, just in case. Also a useful idea to postpone an attack if you want to ambush someone or defend a door. In the case of an opportunity attack on a closing enemy, the longer weapon goes first. As a waiting pikeman you would realistically always get the first strike. You can only abort to full parry, full dodge or a Charm like the Lunar Flowing Body Evasion, if you haven't already used one or more actions at the time of your enemy's attack. That's just what you might do, if that Hulk with the Direlance was just waiting for you to step closer :-).
- Instant init-boosters could be used reflexively to react to an anounced enemy's action before it's his turn. If you are able to close the init-gap and your opponent did not announce an opportunity attack in HIS last turn, Length wouldn't matter. Alternatively you could rule that init-boosting can only raise your Initiative to the current tick, making the two actions happen at the same time. Your own turn would now start a bit earlier, but your init would immediately reset as soon as your unmodified init-tick is reached.
- What if two opponents have the same Weapon Lengths while attacking each other on the same tick? Well, the one with the higher unmodified init goes first. Break ties with a die roll or make them happen simultaneously. Maybe stunts should also be able to modify or circumvent a Length advantage.
- Regarding Hardness and Ping: Just remove a fixed value for Hardness and say you can only do Ping damage if you inflict more raw damage than half the total Soak of the apropriate damage type (B/L/A). Maybe keep Ping if your lethal or aggravated raw damage is less, but make it bashing or lethal respectively.
Is this going where your mind is going? DogSkull
- I may ditch the whole idea of rolling for initiative. Everyone has a fixed initiative value which determines order. Certain circumstances (short list) modify your effective initiative. I like the idea of a fluid turn concept, so your turn ends when the initiative tick of your base initiative is reached. Whenever defending after your action and before your next, you must abort your upcoming action to do so (unless you have a charm to help with that). Maybe Length does not increase initiative. It aids in performing "opportunity attacks" (an attack you make, but as a response to an attack against you, similar to the way you'd respond with a defense). More on how that might work soon. Delayed actions do not require a trigger. I personally find that to be an awkward mechanic. Instead, on your initiative, assuming you have not aborted the action already, you must announce how many actions you intend to hold for this turn. Initiative, somehow, will affect your ability to respond to an action. Perhaps if you have a lower initiative, you may only abort your action to respond. This means that if you held actions and haven't made any actions yet this turn, you can abort those actions. If you have acted, but have some held action, you would have to abort the remainder your actions, suffering a dice penalty to the new action based on what penalty the next held action would have had. That's the sort of thing I'm considering now. - Eryk
- I think Reach is a more elegant term than Length. ;) Anyway, as ways it might affect combat ... perhaps there are penalties for trying to fight someone with superior Reach, unless you move inside their Reach to make the large size of their weapon a liability? I toyed with a system like this (based on the work of others) on my UserPage, where weapons had a range of Reach stats - one where they were at their best, and two (one step closer, one step farther) where they were useable, but not to maximum effect. - David.
- I rather admire your Reach system, as well as that of CombatPlus. I think they work on the level I'm trying to; Length isn't about how easy the weapon is to bring to bear. It's about effective range. I want something even simpler, though. That's difficult, because of the complexity of the concept, but if I/we can create a simple, easy mechanic to represent the effects of distance on melee and the interactions of weapons of varying length in that context, we'd be heroes. I don't want to have to track distance between me and an opponent, I want to assume that there is constant movement. Most attacks involve closing distance. Moving within an opponents Reach probably shouldn't matter beyond the current turn. Like I said, constant movement, closing and retreating. I prefer that, it keeps things simple, as well as evoking an image of a more dynamic battle. -Eryk
- Well, I think making Reach matter generally runs contrary to a system that assumes constant movement, other than using initiative modifiers to represent weapon reach (which I dislike). I don't think it's all that complicated a concept, really, other than that it requires making movement matter a bit more. It also offers another sort of action: opposed Wits+(combat Ability) rolls (maybe some other Attribute) to try to alter the Reach state between yourself and an opponent.
- Hrm. Look at it like this: Characters do close the distance to attack. After all, that's the only way you COULD attack with a short weapon versus someone with a Reach advantage (barring cool stunts, obviously). However, doing so is difficult, hence the penalty on attacks (maybe remove the penalty on parries? I dunno, parry has so much love mechanically as-is. No penalty on dodges, obviously. Maybe penalizing parries wouldn't be a bad idea). Assume that characters are constantly trying to get to the optimum Reach for their weapons, but with both characters trying to gain Reach, typically neither makes any headway in that effort. However, characters could take an action and make a Wits + (combat Ability for the weapon they're using) to try to change the Reach state the two fighters are working in, which could be opposed by their opponent (also as an action).
- While I think that could work really well in duels, I think it would tend to fall apart in mass combat situations, though. :( I'll think on it more, if I can get my brain out of D&D mode and back into Exalted mode. - David.
- Therein lies my problem, my reason to go with simplicity and assume a mobile, dynamic fight. I'd love to see an RPG combat system suited specially to duels and fencing, with maneuvering rules, parry-riposte systems, counter-parries, counter-ripostes... but that's not what I need for Exalted. That's what I would need for a swashbuckling game (which would have a very simplistic system for fighting goons, so as to get straight to the duels). I need a system that supports equally one-on-one Kung Fu fights as well as the super-warrior slicing through thirty castle guards.And also super-warrior one-on-one Kung Fu fights amidst a battle between thirty castle guards and thirty mercenaries. So... yeah. We'll see. - Eryk
How about this for Hardness: If your Hardness is greater than the Base Damage of an attack, you ignore the Base Damage and may soak the Success Damage with your full Soak. Thus, those with less powerful weapons going up against those with more powerful armor will be completely dependent upon (strength/finesse) and skill. -szilard
- Interesting. Very interesting. Brilliant, really. It fits the theme perfectly. Protects against the glancing hit, the lucky damage that's dealt just because you hit your enemy a little. Useful, meaningful, not overpowerful or insignificant. You, my friend, get a cookie. - Eryk
- I just want to say, your Hardness idea gets better and better the more I think about it. It's just so conceptually perfect. So clean. Just right. I am very happy. -Eryk
- Glad to help. -szilard
I kinda like the (Hardness-)idea myself. But i would really not have it set as an additional trait for armor, but more like a derivate value as in "half lethal-soak" or something. On another note, now i remember what that success-damage-rating reminded me of. Apart from the base-damage of a weapon, any rating higher than one (like adding 2 or even 3 to raw damage per extra success) kind of sounds like an armor devisor at the same time. Well, these high-rating weapons punch through armor much easier ruleswise. Since they also kill easier even if there is no armor involved, a high rating only belongs on weapons where it REALLY matters where you hit! A long thin blade or an arrow come to mind. They'd be able to puncture the heart or lung. Swing a mace there and you might only break a rib, right? In "power-combat" this is covered by the rule that halves armor-soak, like for clinches or some arrow types. Maybe you ought to put up a (small) sample table for weapons and armor, so we can better see where there might be holes to fix.
- How about calling the base-damage Impact? (i know; i'm collecting ideas everywhere i go ;-))
- Some words for the "extra-damage" coming to mind: deadlyness, damage progression/potential, lethality, pointiness, piercing value, penetration (-value/level). Just don't use "phase-number"! Please :-) (Shadowrun anyone?)
I hope i could be of some help. This page is a good read. DogSkull
- Actually, I'm probably going with Glance Damage (for Base Damage)and Precision Damage (Success Damage). Glance Damage is what you get just for hitting (it's the minimum damage, the damage of the glancing hit) and Precision Damage is how much the quality of the hit matters. As for Hardness, I don't want it to be a derived rating. I want it to be an independent rating, because different armors will have different levels of hardness. Leather armor has no Hardness, though it could have decent soak. Conversely, plate armor would be more about Hardness than soak (though it would still have good soak). But I haven't worked all that out yet. - Eryk