Simulating 4e combat
This is really just a "hey look a thing" post, but read on if you are interested in using more 4e ideas in Dungeon World.
Playing with some friends this weekend I hardly ever get to play with and we are going to try Dungeon World as their first "indie game". It will be a big group that have played lots of D&D 4e. During this first session I am going to make it easier by removing the only real stumbling block I've had when explaining this game to 4e players and running it with large groups: having the monsters hit when the player makes a move. I'm going to do this by using D&D-style combat and having the monsters hit only on their turns. The players can then learn the Apocalypse World-style combat if they like the game.
In working out the eventually very minor rules changes to allow this I came across this interesting effect when I tried to re-write the combat moves. I found it was really, really easy to get something that feels like (faster) 4e combat using a hack of Dungeon World. Whether you want to may be the question. This is really just a thought experiment right now, but I have learnt a lot about move options by doing it.
So look at this re-drafted basic move:
Hack and Slash (Str)
Hold 1 or Roll+Str. On a roll:
7-9 hold 2
10+ hold 3
Spend your hold now to:
• Deal normal damage to an enemy
Knock an enemy to the ground
Push an enemy to an adjacent area
Move to an adjacent area
Cancel an opportunity attack
In five options it simulates the Basic Attacks, the two main non-Power combat options (Charge and Bull Rush), all the 1st level Fighter and Ranger At-wills (only checked PHB1) and many of the Encounters (eg: deal x2 damage) and Dailies (eg: x3 damage).
Then add this as a Barbarian move to make them feel like a rampaging striker:
Rampage: Hold +1 when you successfully roll to Hack and Slash.
Now look how easy it is to create balanced and flexible Wizard combat spells. Assume a Wizard can cast spells using Intelligence and the Hack and Slash move:
Magic Missile (counts as Ranged, 1d6 damage, choose hold 1)
Burning Hands (counts as Melee, 1d6 damage)
OK now look at this re-drafted basic move:
Make a Stand (Con)
7-9 hold 2
10+ hold 3
You lose this hold if you move areas or use this move again. You can only choose each option below once per enemy. Spend your hold at any time on enemies in this area to:
Deal normal damage
Halve the damage of an attack (after Armour)
Cancel an attempt to move out of the area and hit for normal damage
Grant an advantage to an ally
It sort of covers Flanking, Total Defence, and the Fighter's Combat Superiority and Combat Challenge. But most importantly this really feels like you are making a stand to me. You can hold hits for monsters that run into your area or try to leave. At the same time you can partially protect yourself and your allies.
Now add this simple move to make the Fighter really feel like a close area defender:
Combat Superiority: Hold +1 when you successfully Make a Stand.
So what was my point again? Really just to show how awesome the modular Apocalypse World design is. Both 4e and Apocalypse World use exception based design and single rules being able to define a character type or monster, but in my opinion 4e is limited by having to "feel" like D&D by include Hit Points, skills and other unnecessary maths (http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=661.0
I like the requirement for tactics, combat balanced classes and non-exception bits of D&D 4e. But I don't like the combat length, disconnect to roleplaying or volume of exceptions. Maybe I could use a limited hack of Dungeon World like this to play 4e the way I want...
Notes: Other background rules to make this work...
I'm using the idea of areas similar to that outlined by Mike Mearls (http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=4112306&postcount=25
). For example there could be five areas connected in a line: the entry tunnel; this side of the bridge; the bridge; the other side of the bridge; and the altar.
A Melee Attack can hit any creature in your area, and a Ranged Attack hits creatures in one area of your choice you can see. A Ranged Attack usually uses Dexterity instead of Strength for Hack and Slash.
Each round on your turn you can move to an adjacent (connected) area and also use a Move. You can swap your Move to move again to another adjacent area. (Seems complicated because everything is called "move", but it's probably clear if you've played 4e. Note there is no concept of shifting or exact locations - you are somewhere in the area.)
Monsters attack on their turn and always hold 1 on Hack and Slash. (This helps explains to my confused new players why the DM never rolls. ;) )
Opportunity Attack: If an creature willingly leaves an area or uses a Ranged Attack one of their enemies in the same area may hit them for normal damage. A creature can only make one Opportunity Attack each round.
You can add this simple related move to the Ranger playbook improve them as a mobile / ranged striker:
• Nimble Strike: You can cancel one Opportunity Attack per round.
Pull a Stunt (Dex)
No real changes needed, just a couple of notes:
- You can only move yourself up to three areas when using the "Put yourself where you want to be" option of this move. Add "(up to three areas away)" at the end of this option.
- "You take no damage in the process" means cancelling all Opportunity Attacks against you.