Friday, 23 August 2019

Tarragon Oubliette: Combat Thoughts

I've been thinking about how combat will work in Project Tarragon Oubliette.
I want to condense everything down to as few die rolls as possible to keep things moving quickly.

Usually combat goes:

  1. Initiative roll
  2. Attack roll versus Defence
  3. Damage roll
    Then back to the start

But I've already screwed things up with my plans.


I'm using a version of the Mearles initiative system. Which is to say initiative uses different die sizes depending upon the weapon, or spell. With a melee weapon's initiative die being the same as its damage die. Higher numbers go later.

So a sword that 1d6 damage rolls 1d6 for initiative.

To add insult to injury I've settled on a 6 second round and a 5 foot/1.5 metre step.

Given that the largest weapons do 1d12 damage, this would mean that each pip on the die was half a second long. I could either go with half second "segments", decide its all abstract and each "pip" doesn't represent real time at all, or go with 1 second segments/"pip" and just accept that the heavier weapons will be going once every other round.

Or do I need rounds at all?

If I'm measuring things in seconds maybe I could just have an accumulating shot counter. first strike is on 3, second goes on (3+5)  8, third goes on (8+5) 13, and so on and so forth. Campaign for Real Time, and all that.


I want active defence rolls. I want the PCs to be rolling for both attack and defence. However this runs counter to my idea of reducing rolls to speed up combat. I can think of a couple of ways around it.

  • Players roll 6d6 and split into two sets of 3d6. Once for attack and one for defence.
  • Players roll 3d6 and decide if it's going to be an attack roll or a defence roll. The other gets a flat +10 to it.
Attack roll would be a contested task:
3d6 + [Attribute Bonus] + [Skill Ranks] +/- [other modifiers]  ≥ 3d6 + [Attribute Bonus] + [Skill Ranks] +/- [other modifiers]

The Attribute Bonus for the attack side of the equation would be Strength Modifier for Melee and  Brawling, and Dexterity Modifier for Ranged.
The Attribute Bonus for the defence side would be Dexterity Modifier.
Skill Ranks for attack would be based on weapon? Base Attack Bonuses? It's something I need to write about down below.
Skill Ranks for defence would be a dodge skill? Possibly weapon or shield skill for parrying.
Other modifiers for the attack side would be general bonuses from weapons and talents. But most importantly it also includes the damage die.
Other modifiers for the defence side would include bonuses from armour, possibly including an Resistance die. Which is a die roll to soak damage using armour; sort of an anti-damage die.

Why is damage part of the attack roll? Because of this:
Critical Hits
To keep things simple, instead of lengthy critical hit tables, this is what we'll do:
For every point you roll over to hit your foe you do an extra point of damage.
So if your foe had AC5 and your THAC0 is 20 a roll of 15+ is a hit. At 16 you'd do +1 damage. At 20 you'd do +5.
All the math is at my end too.
Heroic Effort
Since everyone is rolling to-Hit and Damage at once (good players, DM like) I'm going to implement a rule that applies to Players Only.
If you miss but your target is within your To-Hit+Damage roll I will deduct damage points until you successfully hit.
So, FoEx, if you roll 14 and 6 damage but you needed a 15 to hit, You'll hit but only do 5 damage. So if you had only rolled 1 damage you'd have miss because you'd have done 0 damage if you had hit.
I hope this makes sense.  
That comes from a CSIO campaign I ran on using OSRIC. Everyone would roll attack and damage at once, which was good because it kept things going. It also tempted me to apply damage as a bonus to hit.

Since Project Tarragon Oubliette doesn't have a critical hit system I thought applying damage to hit  to the attack would mean an exceptional roll would result in exceptional damage.

The idea is that, if you hadn't guessed from my terrible explanation above, the Effect of the attack roll (degree of success or failure) is applied as a modifier to damage.

However when just plugged into the resolution formula like that the effect that I was hoping for ("I rolled poorly on attack but did just enough damage that some sneaks through their defence!") is lost. Instead of modifying damage it becomes a case of whomever rolls highest applies the Effect as damage to their opponent.

In which case do I even need a defence roll at all? Just attack roll versus attack roll, highest wins...

But if I don't include the damage (and resistance) dice as part of the combat roll then combat becomes:

  1. Roll Initiative
  2. Attack roll versus Defence
  3. Damage roll; apply Effect of attack to damage.
  4. Defence roll versus Attack
  5. Resistance roll to reduce damage
Its gone long rather than short.


I'm unsure what to do combat, skills-wise.

The simplest is the good old singular Combat skill with different techniques and weapons as specialisations of that skill. The old BAB route.

The other extreme would be seperate skills for each weapon and technique.

The middle ground would either be to split combat into two skills; one for ranged combat and one for close quarters/melee. Or to divide in some other way, such as Archery, Brawling, Melee, Throwing, and if/when I include them Firearms.

I dunno seems too much.

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