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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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How to implement combat maneuvers?

I was thinking about how to implement, as an optional rule, the classic combat maneuvers of other games (disarming, attacking the weapon, pushing, feinting etc.) ... it is not so easy since the NPCs have few parameters and you can not use skill contest.

I thought about this:

Combat Maneuvers:

to carry out a maneuver the attacker performs a normal attack. Instead of consulting the attack table if the total obtained exceeds a certain threshold value, the maneuver is successful. Some maneuvers allow the defender to make a save roll to resist the effect: the difficulty of the roll is the total obtained by the attacker.

Disarm

Threshold: 90

Save roll: -

Effect: The target's weapon falls to the ground at a randomly determined adjacent point.

Feint

Threshold: 100

Save roll: WSR

Effect: the defense score against the attacker's next attack is halved.

.... (others combat maneuvers follow the same schema: they are just a first exploratory draft)

Hi Giovanni.

Combat Maneuvers will be in the Full Rules and they are already written down.
They work more or less as you describe, but there's no Save Roll.
Instead we use a conflicting actions (aka skill challenge) mechanic to determine the outcome of conflicts and race conditions.

Stay tuned 'cause we might want to post some teaser in the blog any soon!

-ToM

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

Can't wait to read this!

I've used the principle of action/ save roll myself so far…

My gallery on DA: https://www.deviantart.com/fred73fr/gallery/

Well actually we think that the Save Roll mechanic is not the best suited to represent this kind of situation.

First because of the Save Rolls math is a little awkward. Why should you ever factor your level (and your opponent's) in what is obviously a skill challenge? Yes, level can to some extent be interpreted as "Experience" ; however why a level 10 Wizard should be better at resisting a disarm attempt than a level 1 Warrior? Doesn't make much sense.

Then again, from a game design perspective, we tried to strip away from the game as much as possible any fortune in the end situations. Save Rolls are a fortune in the end mechanic and players do not have any control over a NPC save roll. They can spend on their own roll but if the NPC rolls high this may be frustrating. So we tried to leave Save Rolls like a last line of defense mechanic and use them only when no other player driven mechanic is available. Yet we're still deciding if keep Save Rolls at all or strip them away in favor of a conflict resolution mechanic...

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

A question: the best choice is skill contest of course but.....how do you figure out the skill value of the NPC? It is also important for lot of others purposes. In the NPC tables there are only combat related values. Maybe is somewhat inferred from the level of the NPC?

Against the Darkmaster’s Combat Maneuvers are not developed as separate skills (a-la Rolemaster), since the game is streamlined. They are free for all characters to use and generally based on Combat Bonus or other standard values like Acrobatics, BRN, or any other. Those values are provided for NPCs and Creatures, too. We aim to make the game crunchy, yet make it play the smoother we can.

We don’t really want to bog down the game and character creation and development process with tens or hundreds of secondary skills, options, and talents. We think this doesn’t add as much detail to the game, but rather possibly unneeded complexity.

Of course there is room for house rules and maybe also a future “Advanced Darkmaster” book featuring more detailed rules to handle such situations.

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

Understood: for me avoiding a relationship between skills and combat maneuvers is the the best choice.

So you can introduce 'advanced' or 'restricted' combat maneuvers easily without the need of introducing new skills. You can create fighting styles (set of restricted combat maneuvers) as background options. A fighting style can represent anything from elven double scimitar style to shorinji kempo. They can be litterally hundreds. Have a look at GURPS martial arts or the equivalent for the HERO system to get an idea.

Anyway: great news!

I will wait impatiently for the blog articles with infos on combat maneuvers.

 

(I explain better my previous post: best choice is skill contest as meccanic but avoiding the schema 1 combat maneuver - 1 skill. So some sort of skill contest based on value possessed by both NPC and PC)

Combat Styles will definitely be part of the Full Rules, in the form of Background Options. Stay tuned for them ?

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!
Quote from SOLIDToM on December 2, 2018, 1:55 pm

First because of the Save Rolls math is a little awkward. Why should you ever factor your level (and your opponent's) in what is obviously a skill challenge?

True, but then, why using levels in VsDM, at all ?

I completely agree with your argumentation.

So far, my thinking is … I believe that, sometimes, you can sacrifice realism for the sake of making things easier and quicker. What I like about VsDM is that it got rid of the heavy rules stuff. Using Save rolls isn't perfect, but keeps it consistent with the mechanic, no specific rules. It makes it also easier to remember. One single rule for multiple situations and resolutions. Ther's nothing wrong about that.

But… if you guys came with a nice rule, not too far from what has already been done, not one rule for each specific situation, I guess I'm gonna like it 😀

My gallery on DA: https://www.deviantart.com/fred73fr/gallery/

Don't worry, there might be some small variations, but we're not going to introduce specific rules covering each possibile situations. Mostly, combat maneuvers (like the rest of the game) will be resolved using Skill Rolls, so we'll be using something that's already part of the game.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.