Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Snippets from Grim Tales Combat Rules

In dramatic situations, such as combat, the sequence of events becomes increasingly important, so determining who may act after whom is necessary. Participants (PCs and NPCs alike) roll 1d20 + Wits (+other bonuses if any) to determine their initiative score, based upon which they are placed in the Combat Queue in decreasing order. Equal scores favour PCs, and further ties are broken by negotiation between the players.

The first character in the Queue takes two actions (either two Minor actions, or a combination of a Major and a Minor action), then they are placed to the bottom of the Queue, and the next person takes their turn, and so forth. Characters may have a Reaction even when it is not their turn to act. That, however, puts them on the defensive, and they are placed right below the participant whose action they attempt to counter, thus delaying their own turn.

Major actions include melee and ranged attacks, charges, and most actions aimed at significantly altering the opponent's state. Minor actions include readying a weapon, reloading a crossbow, or traversing the battlefield (distances are handled in abstract Zones). Reactions are the likes of parrying an attack, rolling behind cover, etc.

If an attack hits, roll two six-siders called Red and Black. Damage depends on the weapon wielded (light weapons deal the lowest of them, heavy the highest, and medium equal to Red). If Black is a 6, it also triggers the weapon’s special effect.

Damage is deducted from the target's hit points. When someone loses all of their hit points, they become Incapacitated. When an Incapacitated character takes Damage, they receive an Injury, that applies one of the following three conditions to the character: (1) scarred, (2) maimed, or (3) dead. Each can only be opted for only once.

3 comments:

  1. Very nice!

    I'm interested in the idea of the combat Queue. It seems like it does away with strict combat rounds, and it is the first time I've ever found the idea of reactions in combat to be palatable. I've just found your blog, but is there more information about this somewhere?

    Using two d6s for light, medium and heavy weapon damage is something I do as well. I like the red and black dice - not something I've done.

    All in all, very elegant mechanics that make complexity easy to use. Good job.

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  2. Glad you like it!

    I have only recently begun developing this, so there isn't much to share at this point. I can, however, add a simple example I actually just told my players to get a better grasp of how the Queue works (even though I haven't figured out all the possible Reactions myself):

    Johann the Brave and Melvina the Witch face two brigands and their pet bear in mortal combat. They roll initiative (the Referee rolls only once for the brigands), which yields the following starting Queue:

    Johann
    Brigand #1
    Brigand #2
    Melvina
    Pet Bear

    Johann charges in, attacks Brigand #1; then he's moved to the end of the Queue. Brigand #1 hits back, then he's moved to the end of the Queue as well. So far, the Queue looks like this:

    Brigand #2
    Melvina
    Pet Bear
    Johann
    Brigand #1

    Brigand #2 steps forward and threatens Melvina; he scores so well he could oneshot poor Melvina, so Johann uses a class ability of his to suffer the damage instead of an ally in his zone (an abstraction for distances on the battlefield) - but it costs him a Reaction. Had Johann elected not to use the ability, the Queue would've looked like this:

    Melvina
    Pet Bear
    Johann
    Brigand #1
    Brigand #2

    However, because Johann reacted to Brigand #2's action, he's moved _after_ him, so our Queue looks like the following instead:

    Melvina
    Pet Bear
    Brigand #1
    Brigand #2
    Johann

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