Combat moves for Sword & Sorcery

  • 3 Replies
Combat moves for Sword & Sorcery
« on: May 26, 2015, 11:54:59 AM »
For a game with archaic fighting I wanted closer, more cinematic moves for the fighting. AW RAW are great for 'seizing' things and exchanges of gunfire between groups of people where you're rattling off magazines of ammo in one dice roll. I streamlined these moves for simulating the back and forth of melee combat between mostly single opponents. Kept the AW names of the stats here to be clear. Please tell me what you think.

When you wade into battle roll +Hard. On a hit you inflict harm. On a 10+ you have the advantage and may press your attack. On a 7-9 you are now defying danger.

When you defy danger roll +Cool. On a hit you've avoided the danger. On a 7-9 it costs you (you take incidental harm, were noticed, lost something, etc).

One of my goals here is to simplify the moves so they can apply to different situations. You will notice in the first one "the advantage" could be a thing or position like AW's 'seize'. But here it is kind of folding 'Go Aggro' into the 'Seize' move. The 'advantage' may simply be the initiative and drive to keep pressing your attack through a series of swings and thrusts. If you 'lose the advantage', that represents your opponent rebounding and beating you back, putting you on the defensive.

One of the things I liked about AW was the 'Act Under Fire' move. I liked how it represented dodging, stealth, balance, positioning, etc. All at the same time with one move and one stat. This was my inspiration for a more simplified combat move. Here the 'Defy Danger' move acts the same but now explicitly applies to dodging, parrying, and being on the defensive during a fight as well.

A potential flaw here is that these moves place a lot of emphasis on weapon ranges as to who gets to inflict harm first. There is no harm exchanged in one roll. You're either delivering harm. Or avoiding harm. I also plan to keep harm numbers small (A 4-part Harm Wheel?) and use Armor as 'Roll +Armor when you take Harm' move. I want characters to be a little more resilient than in standard AW, without resorting to hit points like some *W games.

Re: Combat moves for Sword & Sorcery
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 06:08:32 AM »
I'm not quite sure about the 7-9 of wade into battle. Having it trigger a second roll seems a bit too.. rolly for me. Would much be lost by simply having it be "you take incidental harm, are in a bad spot, lost something, etc". Basically giving the MC a soft-ish move. That might lead to defying danger (if you are in a bad spot, for instance), but doesn't lead directly into a second roll.

Re: Combat moves for Sword & Sorcery
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2015, 01:27:53 AM »
I agree now that I've played with it a little bit. After checking out Worlds in Peril, I do like the same kind of MC 'softish' move you were talking about from the AW RAW harm roll. That would simulate a little bit of the cinematic melee that I'm looking for. -Being knocked down, weapon knocked out of your hand, shaken, etc.

But I'm rethinking the whole offensive/defensive fighting altogether.

What I would like is to rewrite the RAW moves so that they more explicitly describe things like 'moving inside a weapon's range defensively until you have the perfect moment to strike' would be something like Acting under Fire and then Go Aggro, or just Inflicting your weapon's Harm -no second roll.

Re: Combat moves for Sword & Sorcery
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 06:44:51 AM »
Maybe steal a page from FATE. Have a move that gives the player +1 forward (or maybe 1 hold that can be used for +1 as well as other effects). Decide whether this bonus stacks, and if there is an upper limit.

So when the player is moving trying to move inside the weapon's defensive range, he is making the Create An Advantage move, which if it succeeds gives him the aforementioned mechanical bonus. The same move can be used if the player is seeking higher ground, or trying to disorient the foe, or perform a feint.

If you choose hold for the bonus, maybe the hold can also be used defensively. Maybe 10+ gives hold (a more permanent advantage), while 7+ merely gives +1 forward to the next action.