Author Topic: Improved combat moves  (Read 10398 times)

higgins

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Improved combat moves
« on: November 28, 2012, 10:29:32 PM »
As I was reading AW/DW, I found that I really dug the 10+, 7-9 and 6- formula. I also dug skipping half the rolls most traditional games have. However, reading the combat moves left me kind of... wanting. All success in AW combat revolved around harm, taking hold of stuff and impressing opponents. And while the Hack and Slash in DW definitely works as a replacement for traditional D&D attack roll resolution, I... simply wanted more.

So, I present you guys... Meleé Brawl, which is intended as a Hack and Slash replacement in DW.

MELEÉ BRAWL:

On a 10+ you avoid harm and get to pick one of these:
- deal massive harm (+1d6 extra)
- enter grapple with +1 on all rolls
- disarm and knock down a human opponent
- throw a human opponent (overboard works fine)
- knock down one opponent and deal harm to another
- opponent deals harm to his ally, spreading confusion; your party gets +1 next round
- shift to a major position of advantage (towards the door; on a horse; only one opponent can face you now; etc)
- push your opponent to a major position of disadvantage (away from the door; off the horse; into a swarm of men; etc)

On a 7-9 you either deal harm or enter grapple. The GM will pick one of these:
- opponent deals harm
- opponent enters grapple
- your weapon gets stuck; choose between Defying Danger and leaving it
- you cause collateral damage and a lot of noise
- you get separated or end up further from your objective
- you're being targeted as the greatest threat

On a miss, the GM gets to use 10+ options, but to your disadvantage. All +1 results count as -1.

Since PC's attack will connect first, there's a chance he will knock his opponent out on a regular 7-9. In that case, the opponent's buddy can deal harm back or grapple. If the opponent didn't have any buddies, the GM will probably pick something else.

Grapple sounds like a big deal in here, and it is. "Grapple", "Tangled Meat" or whatever I end up calling it, is supposed to be one of the basic combat moves, but I've yet to write it up.

So, what do you guys think of Meleé Brawl so far? Ideas? Improvements? Additions? Criticisms? I'm looking forward to hearing it all =)

zmook

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 11:00:44 PM »
A couple thoughts, from someone who's played some Apocalypse World but is still getting ready for Dungeon World.

1. Pluses on rolls are a big fucking deal in DW.   Look at it this way:  the fighter probably starts with a 16 STR (+2).  Each level up you can increase a stat, so by level 3 they could easily have 18 STR (+3).  Clerical Blessing can offer +1 ongoing.  That gives +4, which means you can only get a 6- on a roll of natural 2.  If they've got an additional +1 on top of that they literally cannot miss.

2.  Grapple can totally be handled in the standard rules.  If a character wants to disarm or pin a monster, make them roll to Defy the Danger of the monster's attack.  If a monster grapples or pins a character, and that character does not have a "hand" range weapon, make the character Defy Danger to escape (one of the triggers is "when you suffer a calamity...").  This sort of thing is the whole point of the game, but since it doesn't have a lot of explicit mechanical support it's easy to assume that somehow you can't do it.

Admittedly, it would be nice to have some ideas ahead of time for "worse outcomes, hard bargains, or ugly choices," or else you're going to be on the spot at the table over and over again for the whole game, and if you don't come up with good ones the game will be pretty flat.  Grappling, disarms, knockdown and knockback, shifts in advantage, and moves into position to threaten vulnerable targets are all good ideas.

sage

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 11:13:32 PM »
At one point we had hack and slash that looked a lot like this (check out the history in advanced devling at the back of the book). The reason we moved away from it is that it doesn't always line up with the fiction very well.

That said, your list is pretty great and comprehensive and most of the options are solid!

Most of the those options would, currently, be covered by defy danger (if anything). If I say "I throw the first mate over the railing!" the GM will probably call for defy danger, maybe with str or dex, depending on how our back-and-forth goes. That's assuming the move triggers, of course—if the first mate is helpless there might not be danger to defy, or if I've been weakened by goblin poison I just might not be able to do it.

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 11:31:41 PM »
The reason we moved away from it is that it doesn't always line up with the fiction very well.

Can you bring an example or two? Or is it because DW focuses on fighting monsters a lot? I'm definitely from the "human is the greatest monster of them all" school of thought and my Meleé Brawl is definitely designed with mostly human opponents in mind.

sage

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 11:43:18 PM »
Here's what I mean:

Gregor the fighter is charged by goblins. He says "I run the one leading the charge through with my sword!" He rolls hack and slash and gets a 10+. Awesome! Now he has to choose, but some of the choices don't line up with the fictional situation. For example, he chooses knock down + deal damage, which doesn't quite match up with what he started out doing. Likewise, how did his one stab make his opponent deal damage to an ally?

I think the intent here is that your attack always has it's full fictional effect, right? The list of choices both helps that (running him through sounds like massive damage, sure), but it also provides a lot of options that can't be chosen because they don't make sense.

If the players aren't on the same page it gets even weirder. He says "I run him through" and then expects to be able to choose deal damage to an ally, which then creates some really weird fiction.

The intent here I'm totally for: an attack can deal more than deal damage. We just haven't had a lot of luck with implementing that via a list.

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 10:44:20 AM »
Gregor the fighter is charged by goblins. He says "I run the one leading the charge through with my sword!" He rolls hack and slash and gets a 10+. Awesome! Now he has to choose, but some of the choices don't line up with the fictional situation. For example, he chooses knock down + deal damage, which doesn't quite match up with what he started out doing. Likewise, how did his one stab make his opponent deal damage to an ally?

My versions:

a1) The attack has been declared on the lead goblin, so, the lead takes a full blown hit from Gregor and the fighter knocks another goblin down for good measure.

Or the other way around then.

a2) The goblin lunges at Gregor with his spear, but the fighter knocks it aside and smashes the leader into the mud while cleaving the goblin next to him.

And I'd hold that the goblin leader getting the first attack isn't a stretch regarding to fiction. If Gregor had rolled a miss instead, that "one stab" wouldn't have come to pass either.

b1) Goblin manages to swing at the charging fighter, but misses as Gregor ducks and hits another green man instead, spreading panic and confusion in their ranks.

Okay, I could see the B1 being awkward if the lead goblin had a spear -- completely swingable, but not in a charge, so...

b2) The lead goblin lunges at Gregor with his spear. The fighter ducks and gets close the demon leader, but another swing aimed at him clocks the goblin on the head before Gregor can run him through, spreading panic and confusion in their ranks.

And what I find odd about this, is the ease of coming up with such a complicated maneuvers on the spot. We have the situation. We have the result. Now we simply need to figure out how it would make sense.

And if it doesn't make sense, is there any reason why all options should be viable all the time? I mean, my disarm and throw manuver are meant specifically for human opponents, and you can't pick them when fighting a warg for example -- that's the very reason I put "human(oid)" in there.

GM: "No, you can't do those multiple opponent maneuvers as we established that the lead goblin was several yards forward from his band."

sage

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2012, 05:50:01 PM »
Nope, not every option has to apply all the time!

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 07:08:29 PM »
1. Pluses on rolls are a big fucking deal in DW.   Look at it this way:  the fighter probably starts with a 16 STR (+2).  Each level up you can increase a stat, so by level 3 they could easily have 18 STR (+3).  Clerical Blessing can offer +1 ongoing.  That gives +4, which means you can only get a 6- on a roll of natural 2.  If they've got an additional +1 on top of that they literally cannot miss.

While that may be true, I didn't actually change the miss probabilities compared to the core. Sure, two 10+ results give +1, but those are both temporary. Either one "round" for the confusion... or for the duration of the grapple. Since +1 bonuses can be received with aid and some other effects, I don't think these rules act differently at all.

zmook

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 08:27:18 PM »
Since +1 bonuses can be received with aid and some other effects, I don't think these rules act differently at all.

That list of "some other effects" that can give bonuses to Hack and Slash, even situationally, is actually extremely short.  There's the Aid move, and there's Blessing, there's Paladin's Charge, and that's actually all I can find right now.  Maybe Revelation, with a relevant prayer (and that's a 5th level spell).  Just FYI.

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 08:48:34 PM »
MISSILE MAYHEM:

On a 10+ you get to pick one of these:
- deal massive harm (+1d6 extra)
- deal harm and knock the target down
- deal harm and disarm the target (probably an arm hit)
- deal harm and shift to a better position (towards the door; on a horse; etc)
- drive group back, dealing harm to one
- drive group back, NOT dealing harm to anyone (good for crossbows, doesn't work twice)
- move into danger of the GM's choice, but deal harm to two adjacent targets
- shooting into a grapple, deal harm to a grappler of your choice
- if truly your last arrow, ignore armour as you deal harm

On a 7-9 you deal harm, but must pick one other thing:
- you have to move to get the shot, placing you in danger of the GM's choice
- you have to take what you can get: -1d6 harm
- you have to take several shots, reducing your ammo by one
- shooting into grapple, deal harm to two grapplers of GM's choice

On a miss, the GM gets pick one of these, as well as your target:
- you receive harm from a projectile or nearby enemy
- you lose both your footing and the grip of your weapon
- nearby enemy jumps and grapples you, with you getting -1 on all rolls
- you deal harm to an ally, spreading confusion; your party gets -1 next round
- all your ammo gets dumped; picking up a projectile requires Defy Danger
- shooting into grapple, deal massive harm to an ally (+1d6 extra)

As before, any additions, comments and criticisms are welcome =)

Jeremy

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 11:12:11 PM »
Higgins, I share some of your concerns with Hack & Slash as written.  I also don't think there's a problem with a list of options, and applying the "it must follow from fiction" approach to a player's choices.  See this conversation for an earlier discussion:
http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=2731

My main concern with the moves you present is that they've got too many choices. That's an awful lot to wade through during play, and an awful lot options to weigh against each other.

Also (and this might just be you shorthanding it for brevity's sake): the moves you present don't have a fictional trigger.  Are you thinking they'd be the same as H&S and Volley's, just with different results?

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2012, 09:54:35 AM »
My main concern with the moves you present is that they've got too many choices. That's an awful lot to wade through during play, and an awful lot options to weigh against each other.

I don't think it's too much. If a player has chosen his primary weapon, I think a quick glance over the possible options is enough to get an overview of them... especially since only a third of the options (either 10+, 7-9 or miss) apply on every given roll. I mean, I find the classes and their abilities a lot harder to orient in than these options here. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Also (and this might just be you shorthanding it for brevity's sake): the moves you present don't have a fictional trigger.  Are you thinking they'd be the same as H&S and Volley's, just with different results?

Yes, Meleé Brawl and Missile Mayhem are intended as drop-in replacements for H&S and Volley. But... my intention is that, if your character wants to deliberately disarm someone, he will still have to it the normal way -- which, as I get it, is Defy Danger. Granted, it sounds odd and the 10+ results of my moves can also have the same effect, but they do it only in passing... if you really want to disarm someone bad, even with 7-9 result, you'll have to Defy Danger with that end in mind, as disarm isn't a 7-9 option for my moves here.

Also, I don't quite get what you mean by fictional trigger. You mention that term in other thread too, but... I think you mean that... the name of the move just feels odd, when you apply it to a certain situation? Like the... disarm feeling more like an offensive action than Defying Danger if your character is the one that initiates it? If that's the case, I totally agree. I even debated adding a Create Advantage move that would have handled disarms, etc, but I couldn't see much functional difference between that and Defy Danger.

Jeremy

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 02:30:39 PM »
Also, I don't quite get what you mean by fictional trigger. You mention that term in other thread too, but... I think you mean that... the name of the move just feels odd, when you apply it to a certain situation? Like the... disarm feeling more like an offensive action than Defying Danger if your character is the one that initiates it?

No, I'm talking about the fictional events/actions that trigger the move.  The names (Hack and Slash vs. Melee Mayhem) are just shorthands for "when you take this fictional action, roll +STAT. * On a 7-9... *On a 10+."

See page 18 of the rulebook:
Quote
Moves are rules that tell you when they trigger and what effect they have. A move depends on a fictional action and always has some fictional effect. “Fictional” means that the action and effect come from the world of the characters we’re describing. In the move above the trigger is “when you attack an enemy in melee.” The effect is what follows: a roll to be made and differing fictional effects based on the outcome of the roll.

One of the ways you can change a move is to change the outcomes (which is what you've done here).  Another way is to change what fictional actions trigger the move.  My argument in the other thread is that the current H&S trigger isn't specific enough and thus needs more possible outcomes.

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2012, 02:40:09 PM »
Ah, I get it now. As Meleé Brawl and Missile Mayhem are intended to be drop-in replacements for H&S and Volley, they are also intended to have the same triggers than the moves they are intended to replace.

That said, I should probably move the "shots into grapple" results to a separate move with distinct fictional trigger. Good point.

higgins

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Re: Improved combat moves
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 03:45:55 PM »
Version 2.0

MISSILE MAYHEM:
When you launch a weapon at an enemy at range, roll +Dex.

On a 10+ you get to pick one of these:
- deal massive harm (+1d6 extra)
- deal harm and knock the target down
- deal harm and disarm the target (probably an arm hit)
- deal harm and shift to a better position (towards the door; on a horse; etc)
- drive group back, dealing harm to one
- drive group back, NOT dealing harm to anyone (good for crossbows, doesn't work twice)
- if truly your last arrow/bolt/etc, ignore armour as you deal harm

On a 7-9 you deal harm, but must pick one other thing:
- you have to move to get the shot, placing you in danger of the GM's choice
- you have to take what you can get: -1d6 harm
- you have to take several shots, reducing your ammo by one

On a miss, the GM gets pick one of these, as well as your target:
- you receive harm from a projectile or nearby enemy
- you lose both your footing and the grip of your weapon
- nearby enemy jumps and grapples you, with you getting -1 on all rolls
- you deal harm to an ally, spreading confusion; your party gets -1 next round
- all your ammo gets dumped; picking up a projectile requires Defy Danger

CLOSE SHAVE:
When you launch a weapon into grapple or close combat with an ally in it, roll +Dex.

On a 10+ you get to pick one of these:
- deal harm to a target of your choice
- shift ally near the target to a major position of advantage (n/a for grapple)
- push the target to a major position of disadvantage (n/a for grapple)

On a 7-9 you get to pick one of these:
- you deal harm both to your target and your ally
- deal harm, placing an ALLY near target in a danger of the GM's choice (n/a for grapple)
- deal harm, placing yourself in a danger of the GM's choice (n/a for grapple)

On a miss, you deal massive harm to an ally (+1d6 extra)