Author Topic: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.  (Read 3583 times)

Offline Ynek

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Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« on: June 15, 2010, 03:24:39 AM »
My local gaming group has been fiddling around with our house Close combat rules recently, and I thought I would bring our musings on here to get some feedback from the wider Inquisitor community. Some of these rules are taken from other 'house rules' that have been seen on this site and on others. (So if you see some of your own ideas in here, take it as a compliment that our gaming group thinks that your rule is excellent and has chosen to use it! :D )

Essentially, when a player‘s character wishes to initiate close combat, it takes a single action point to do so. When close combat is initiated, both the player initiating close combat and the player he is attacking roll a D100, and add their weapon skill to the result. Whoever has the highest overall total gets 'the initiative', which represents finding an opening in their opponent's defences, and deciding to capitalise on it. Note that the player who wins 'the initiative' is not necessarily the player who initiated combat. (Imagine a grot with a kife running headlong at a swordmaster. The swordmaster sees him coming, and beheads the grot before the diminutive greenskin gets a chance to do anything. The idea of 'the initiative' is that an experienced and skilled combateer is more likely to get the first blow, regardless of who charges at who. It also elimintates the “I hit you, then you hit me” mechanics of normal Inquisitor combat.)

The character who has taken ‘the initative’ can choose to make a close combat attack (and if he is the one who initiated combat, his attack action is free), but before dice are rolled, the player who is being attacked must choose a 'defensive action' (Parry, block, dodge, sidestep, etc.) with which to defend themselves. Both making close combat attacks and making certain defensive actions uses up action points, which the player will require to have left over from the previous turn. (So, for instance, a speed four character who used two action points last turn will have two actions remaining, with which to fight in close combat if anyone chooses to initiate combat with them.)

To clarify, this is treated in a similar way to a ‘pause for breath’ action. Unused action dice are simply put aside (Or, as has become the norm in our gaming group - put on the base of a character) to represent them being in a state of readiness to fight. It is worth noting that these dice are never rolled. Reacting to someone initiating combat with you is always automatic - you don’t need to roll the normal D6 roll of 4+ to get your actions.

Action dice which are set aside in this way can never be used to do anything other than fight in combat, and are lost at the beginning of the player’s next turn. (Because they get a handful of new action dice to spend… and putting action dice aside is never cumulative.)

Once it has been decided who has won the initiative, both players choose their actions. The attacking player chooses his attacking action, and the defending player chooses his defensive action, each of which are dealt with in a different way.









Defensive actions:
Block - requires no action points.
When a player attempts to block an incoming attack, he is basically sticking his weapon in between the incoming weapon and himself, to protect against the incoming attack. He rolls a D100. If his score is equal to or less than his WS, minus twice his weapon’s parry penalty, minus however much the attacking player passed his WS test to attack by, then he successfully blocks the incoming attack and no further action is taken. If he fails to block it, resolve the injury as normal.

Parry - Requires one action point.
When a player attempts to parry an incoming attack, he is deflecting or redirecting the blade to ensure that it misses his body. An exceptionally well performed parry can also open up an opponent’s defences, allowing for a follow-up attack to be made. Roll a D100. If the score is less than or equal to your WS, minus the weapon’s parry penalty, minus half the number that the attacking player passed his WS test to attack by, then the attack is successfully parried. If the test to parry succeeds by less than half the required number, then the player may choose to make a free follow-up attack as if he had just won a dice roll to take the initiative. This ‘free’ attack does not use up any action points. If the weapon skill test is failed, then resolve the injury as normal.

Sidestep - requires no action points.
When a player attempts to sidestep, he is essentially attempting to get out of the way of an incoming attack. Take a weapon skill test. If the test is passed, then half of however much the test is passed by is taken as a negative modifier for the attacking player’s attack. If the test is failed, then however much the test is failed by is added as a positive modifier to the attacking player’s attack. (Imagine someone misjudging the direction of an incoming blow, and ending up sidestepping right into it.)

Dodge - requires one action point.
When a player attempts to dodge, he is carefully and skilfully avoiding an incoming attack, making it very difficult for an enemy to hit them. Take a weapon skill test. Whatever the test is passed by is taken as a negative modifier to the attacking player’s attack. If the test is failed, then there is no additional consequences (unlike sidestepping).








Attacking (offensive) actions. All attacking actions require one action point, unless performed as a free action for a particularly good parry, as described above, or unless the person who won the initiative is also the person who initiated combat. (Since he has already paid one action point to start the combat).

Attack: Pretty self-explanatory. The attacking player is attempting to whack the defending player with whatever is in his hand. Roll a D100. If the result is less than or equal to your Weapon Skill (minus any other modifiers, such as a successful dodge or sidestep action performed by your opponent) then you successfully hit the opposing player. Resolve any defensive actions as normal, and then resolve injuries.

Disarm: The attacking player attempts to take away the weapon of the defender. Roll a D100. If the result is less than or equal to your Weapon Skill, and your opponent fails to defend the disarm action, then your opponent must pass a strength test with a negative modifier equal to how much you passed your Weapon Skill test by, or drop their weapon. If your weapon skill test result is lower than their strength test result, the defending player’s weapon ends up in the disarming player’s hands.

Punt: The attacking player gives the defending player a punt with his weapon, in an attempt to move them back. This is resolved as a normal attack, but damage is halved for the purposes of injury, but doubled for the purposes of knockback.

Feint (Note that this is a special skill which should be on your character sheet, and the following replaces the normal ‘feint‘ rule in the LRB): The attacking player makes it appear as if he is doing something, to mislead his opponent into giving an opening with which an attack can be made. This is resolved as a normal attack, but no damage or injuries are caused. Instead, if the attacking player scores a ‘hit’, an opening in the defender’s defences is created. If the attacking player attacks the defending player in the next immediate action, the defending player halves his weapon skill for the purposes of defensive actions.







Summary of close combat modifiers:

Positive:
Your weapon’s reach is greater than your opponent’s: +10 to WS for all tests (regardless of how much longer your weapon is)
Your opponent is prone: +10 to WS for all tests
You are on higher ground than your opponent: +10 for all tests.
Your opponent failed a sidestep: + however much he failed by


Negative:
Your weapon’s reach is lower than your opponent’s: -10 for all tests (regardless of how much shorter your weapon is)
Your opponent successfully sidestepped: - half of however much he passed by.
Your opponent successfully dodged: - however much he passed by.
You are attempting to parry: - half of however much the WS test for the incoming attack was passed by
You are attempting to block: -however much the WS test for the incoming attack was passed by. (and parry penalty is doubled)
Parry penalty: -varies (and only applies to blocking and parrying)






NEW CLOSE COMBAT SPECIAL ABILITIES:

Swift footwork: The character has exceptionally fast footwork in close combat, and can move at a run whilst maintaining a stance. Additionally, they gain a +10 modifier to their weapon skill when sidestepping or dodging.

Always alert: The character is always alert, and has grown to expect someone to jump out at them at any moment. Whether this is through paranoia or experience depends on the character in question. If the character has not set aside any dice for in the event that someone initiates combat with them, then they count as having a single dice set aside. This only applies for the first turn of combat, and does not apply if this character initiates combat - only if someone initiates combat with them.

Stances: The character is well versed in a particular martial art or form of combat, and can utilise one or more of the stances described below:

A character who has a close combat weapon in his hand may choose to adopt a combat stance. This takes a single action point, but may be performed as a combined action with any other action which does not require the hand which is holding the weapon. Two handed weapons require both hands to make a stance. If the character uses his hands or moves at faster than a walk whilst in a stance, the stance is lost.

Aggressive stance:
The character draws their weapon back, ready to make an attack at a heartbeat’s notice. However, this leaves them very vulnerable and open to attack. This stance relies on being the first to land a blow, hopefully killing your opponent before they can strike back. (Real world equivalent: Kendo Jodan Kamae.)
This stance confers a +20 modifier to a character’s weapon skill for the purposes of rolling for the initiative, but -20 to their weapon skill for all defensive actions.

Defensive stance:
The character puts their blade between them and their attacker, making it very difficult for their attacker to get any blows in without being countered. (Real world equivalent: Kendo Chudan Kamae.)
This stance confers a -20 to a character’s weapon skill for the purposes of rolling for the initiative, but +20 to their weapon skill for all defensive actions.

Rooted stance:
The character bends their knees to lower their centre of gravity, and centres their mass to make them very difficult indeed to knock down or move. (Real world equivalent: Aikido “ki” (Not quite a ‘stance’, but the principle still stands.)
The character halves all knockback distance. (Moving causes a character to lose this stance)

Soft stance:
The character relaxes his body and prepares to crumple, effectively allowing themselves to fall or be pushed around rather than resisting incoming blows. The principle behind this is similar to how a willow tree bends in the storm, but the rigid oak is uprooted.
The character doubles all knockback distance, and falls prone if he ever suffers a knockback distance greater than one tenth of his strength. This stance allows a character to ignore the strength bonus of an opponent’s attack. (Since they’re just folding and going with the attack, rather than standing steadfast and being pummeled)

Deceptive stance:
(Real world equivalent: Kendo Waki Kamae)
The character stands in a manner that makes it very unclear what he is attempting to do, or even if he is armed. This makes planning a fight against them very difficult at a glance. (He’s armed with an… I don’t know… And he’s going to try to… I don’t know either. Hmm. How do I counter that if I don’t even know what it is?)
This stance cancels the effects of any of the above stances.


[EDIT: Fixed a fairly bad mistake. I accidentally said that initiating combat did not cost any action points. In truth, it takes one action point to initiate combat, but if you initiate combat and then go on to win the initiative, your attack is free, since the action to 'initiate combat' will be the attack itself. The way I had written it down implied that you could just sit there, infinitely 'initiating combat' a theoretically infinite number of times, since it did not take up action points. This means that if your opponent has no dice set aside, you could just keep initiating combat with them, and since they have no dice set aside with which to attack you, and since this means that they cannot do anything if they win the initiative, you could just keep initiating combat until you win the initiative, effectively guaranteeing that you get the initiative, regardless of what happens. This was not my intention, and I have now corrected this relatively noobie mistake]
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 07:35:29 PM by Ynek »
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Offline GhouraAgur

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 05:25:51 AM »
I was rather hoping to see the insights of the sage Veterans, alack!  It'll take some time for it all to sink in, but as I'm reading them, they seem truly intriguing.

They definitely add a deal of depth to combat, a flavourful, characterful depth.  All I might ask for is a tiny "battle report" wherein I might "observe" the rules in action.

Offline Flinty

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 07:26:28 AM »
Interesting, and a good way of introducing something more flavoursome/proactive, as opposed to the ''you, then me, then you'' mechanic. As a GM I try to provide a commentary on hand-to-hand fights in an attempt to cover what is essentially as rather boring series of dice rolls. This strikes me as a good way of immersing/making players think, rather than chucking cubes until the probabilities decide thier fate.

I'm sure once you've had a couple of play throughs it runs fairly smoothly, and I shall be giving it a go myself - cheers!
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Offline Myriad

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 01:28:45 PM »
These seem like a good start and are quite interesting, but I'm confused as to what happens to spare action dice after the first action - can these then be used to attack even if you've lost initiative (or if the defender wins initiative but has no action points - it seems tempting to give him one for winning initiative, or introduce a 'swipe' action that he can use anyway).

Certainly the h-t-h system in Inq. isn't especially fluid (esp. when dealing with high speed characters) and could use some revision.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 02:35:24 PM »
I'm confused as to what happens to spare action dice after the first action - can these then be used to attack even if you've lost initiative (or if the defender wins initiative but has no action points - it seems tempting to give him one for winning initiative, or introduce a 'swipe' action that he can use anyway).

The dice that are put aside are spent pretty much the same way as normal action dice. Assuming that the character is being attacked, and has won the initiative, then he may use the dice which he has put aside as normal, and each attacking action he performs will use one action dice.

If you lose the initiative to your opponent, and your opponent has no dice put aside with which to attack you, then no further action is taken - your character simply cannot find an opening in your opponent's defences, and whilst your opponent can see an opening in your defences, he is either too tired, deems it too risky, or simply doesn't want to capitalise on it just yet.

We did try introducing a 'desperate slash' attack, which was pretty much exactly how you described a 'swipe' attack, but we soon found that a lot of people were choosing to perform these 'free' attacks instead of using attacks that would use action points. You soon found that people could have a combat that would last several minutes, because one side is using free attacks, and one side is using free defences. For this reason, we limited free actions to defensive actions, simply because that way, you didn't get bogged down in hundreds of free attacks being made in a single turn of combat.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 03:35:13 PM »
I would advise something like "degrees of success" from Dark Heresy. That is, for things like dodges, the penalty is -10% for each full 10% (possibly including "or part of 10%") they pass by.

The fact is, it's much quicker to slap on penalties that are in chunks of ten, than individually have to work out exactly how many points they passed by, then add on that same number to the other person's chance of success or failure each time.

If I need a 67, and get a 43, that's a pass by two full tens, which is a -20% (or -30%, depending on whether parts of ten count) to the other person's hit chance of 78, meaning 58.
This is as opposed to having to work out that it's a pass of 24, and thus a hit chance of 54. Doesn't make much difference in the end, but it does speed things up.

~~~~~

On the note of the current combat system, what normally happens is a lot of dodging, and that doesn't make the combat all that interesting.

What I find usually makes a combat a more entertaining story is a character who parries, and consequently, I usually design most of my hand-to-hand characters so that parrying is worthwhile for them.
I'll reference Silva at the Spring Conclave, who with WS 72, a bionic arm with built-in weapons that use the buckler parrying rules and a short chainsword (which gave her a second weapon bonus) was able to reel off an impressive array of parries and counter attacks in her fight with Auric Morchai.

She still eventually lost that fight, as Auric somehow managed to avoid being hit (in spite of the WS divisor he faced after the barrage of her attacks) but I'd like to say it was still more interesting than "Attack. Dodge. Attack. Dodge." In the end, it was ultimately an interactive fight that went on for a few turns and which could have easily gone either way.
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Offline JoelMcKickass

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010, 10:03:04 PM »
After looking at some of the Pegaso models (i think it's Pegaso), particularly the Gladiator ones, i was wondering if the Inquisitor rules could be used in 54mm Gladiator battles. This looks like a nice way to do a game which will be heavily based on combat.

Offline JOlson

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 01:09:31 PM »
Any combat system can work with those who are familiar with it (I'm a personal fan of degree of success based damage systems that generally require each player to have a damage chart for each weapon that they use). As house rules, they are fine. I disagree a bit with MacroSkoll about wanting degrees of success the way that he does, however. I don't think that it is asking too much of players to be able to do basic addition and subtraction (as a famous member of the Conclave has said: "It's a d100 game for a reason.").

What I'm not such a fan of is the initiative system. This adds an extra die roll to the start of every single close combat situation, and it will discourage low to mid WS characters from even thinking about charging someone. I'd prefer to see this as a special skill that someone could use on the defense so long as they had used an action to enter a kind of defensive stance to end their previous turn.

I'm also not a huge fan of sidestep/dodge taking place before the attack, while block/parry take place after the attack. I think you'll also find that block will not be used much by characters who use a weapon with even a mild parry penalty, and they'll end up choosing to sidestep instead, due to block applying a double parry penalty (pitty the poor fool with the chain axe!).

I really like the simplification of the reach system to a static +10 or -10 regardless of the degree of reach difference.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010, 03:22:44 PM »
I don't think that it is asking too much of players to be able to do basic addition and subtraction (as a famous member of the Conclave has said: "It's a d100 game for a reason.").
And I don't have an issue with using it as a full D100 system, most of the time. However, as combat is a rather dense series of dice rolls, you don't want to be taking extra time to work out what value is needed every single time you roll a dice.

I find calculating modifiers one of the more time consuming parts of the game, so while with shooting, there are several shots all with the same hit chance and only one calculation needed (or possibly with the loss of aim for a second sequence of shots), having to calculate every last die roll will probably wear rather thin after a while.

And I say this as someone who has passed A-Level Maths, so it's not like I'm a mathematical dunce.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2010, 01:42:06 AM »
What I'm not such a fan of is the initiative system. This adds an extra die roll to the start of every single close combat situation, and it will discourage low to mid WS characters from even thinking about charging someone.

I would argue that it doesn't. The initiative system only puts you at a disadvantage if you are charging at a character who has a significantly higher weapon skill than you, which is already suicide in the current rules. The idea around the 'initiative' system is that if a person like you or me attempted to hit a master swordsman in combat, we would probably be dead a hundred times over before we even got so far as lifting our blade. The other main idea behind it is that it gets rid of the 'I hit you, you hit me' mechanic which I've always found to be irritating at best, as it doesn’t give a realistic, or even a believable idea of how the fight is going on.

I'm also not a huge fan of sidestep/dodge taking place before the attack, while block/parry take place after the attack. I think you'll also find that block will not be used much by characters who use a weapon with even a mild parry penalty, and they'll end up choosing to sidestep instead, due to block applying a double parry penalty (pity the poor fool with the chain axe!).
Choosing to side-step isn’t quite as beneficial as it might at first seem. When you fail a sidestep, your opponent gets a positive modifier to his chances of hitting you, so if your weapon skill is in the medium-to-low range…. let’s say 50, for instance… Then you would have a 50% chance of IMPROVING your opponent’s chances of hitting you, which is quite a hefty negative consequence of failure.

I’ll admit that sidestepping is often more popular in my gaming group, but due to the fact that it often confers positive modifiers to the attacker, combats are normally quite short affairs. In this version of the rules, there is a lot more ‘getting hit’, and a lot less ‘dancing around’.
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Offline Dust King

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Re: Ynek's "house rules" for close combat.
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2010, 11:52:34 AM »
On the note of the current combat system, what normally happens is a lot of dodging, and that doesn't make the combat all that interesting.

I agree with this, in our group we have used a couple of house rules to try and stop characters just dodging attacks.

For a while we just had a rule you could only dodge once a turn. This did force more parrying but it also meant characters without any close combat weapons (anyone armed with anything less than a rifle) were quickly cut down in combat.

Right now we're trying that once you fail a dodge you are wrong footed and unable to dodge or parry any more that turn. This seems to be a bit more balanced, allowing ranged characters a better chance of defending themselves in close combat while encouraging combat characters to parry more.

It is great when you get two characters in a drawn out duel with chains of attack-parry-counterattack-parry-counterattack...

There was a great combat of chainsword against chainhalberd which had about six parrys, three counterattacks and ended in a character having his leg cut clean off... good times...