Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Putting the Abstract into Fighting

A few days back, on the B/X BLACKRAZOR blog, JB talked about removing the To-Hit roll out of combat and making hits automatic. This got me to thinking that I could expound on an older post of mine.

- Break -

Ok, the break is because I started that at 2:30 this morning and thankfully I stopped when I did. I was amazingly tired, but could not sleep. I was having all kinds of 'grandious' ideas at the time though they probably amounted to nothing more than a game that was not D&D. Which, I will say, is not such a bad thing, but I hesitate to succumb to my ADD. Or, give it room to flourish, let alone fertilize it. I do however have to get it out of my head. So, intention: get it down and force myself to forget about it.

If the following is true:
  • Hit Points are abstractions of Heroic Resources that have to be whittled down before you can actually damage them.
  • To Hit rolls are just another mechanical save for the target and can be eliminated.
  • Hit Dice are source of an abstract randomly generation of a character's potential prowess (HPs).
  • Damage rolls are used to remove that potential prowess and to determine the severity of the eventual physical blow.
I came up with a whole bunch of stuff that boiled down to a single roll mechanic that didn't really resemble 0e D&D anymore.

Basically one would use Red, White, and Blue dice and based on my thoughts in my older post, linked to above, would be rolled for representations of the the abstractions, or would be physical representations of the same. Wow, I realize that makes little sense, but I know what I am thinking but just can't articulate it well. So I will attempt to use examples.

Combat is resolved by dropping the Initiative and To Hit rolls. Players grab a number of white dice equal to their Hit Dice (rounded down), a Red Die, and a Blue Die if they have a shield. The Red Die represents their damage potential, the White Die their combat prowess (for lack of a better phrase), and the Blue Die their shield (if they have one).

The person that goes first is the person that declares an attack first. Imagine a group sitting around the table with a hand full of dice (not that many actually) staring each other down (would like to try this in an E6 game). I kind of envision that calm before the storm, as opponents circle and size each other up. If no one initiates, the side with the most participants goes first. If that is a tie, IDK, roll.

Once someone declares a target for an attack, they cast their dice. The defender does likewise. The Attacker's Red Die is turned from potential into action with the roll, and if it beats any of the Defender's White Die, damage is inflicted; the White Die is permanently removed and taken from the table (Does NOT go back into the hand in subsequent rounds), Hit Points are subtracted equal to the damage of the Red Die to the opponent. However, the defender may use their Blue Die to Block (used Blue Dice are removed from the table but are added back into the hand on the next combat round), or their Red Die to Parry (Losing their attack and removing the Red Die from the table but not permanently, and not losing Hit Points either). Now the Defender (assuming they are still alive - have HPs remaining) can counter attack, or hold their action until their target presents themselves. Of course, they could be chopped down before they get the chance.

Once Dice are cast, they remain on the table until all participants have a chance to act or the target is unconscious or dead.

Tracking monsters is rather easy, but granted more difficult than normal. A notation might be: Orc 1 (4) or Troll 6+3 (24) for HD (HP). When the monster (or the dice representing it) is recovered from the table, the HD should be updated so that when they are cast for the next round an appropriate number of White Die will be thrown.

If all HPs are removed, but there are White Die still present (HD) then the opponent is unconscious. If all the White Die are removed, but their are still HP the opponent is Dead!

That's it in a nutshell, and I can see it bordering on a totally different mechanic than traditional 0e D&D, or even a mechanic for miniature war games but I think I like it enough to try it (or something similar) if given the chance (not likely)

If anyone tries this, or something similar, please let me know how it goes.


Thought: an option could be that if the opponent loses a White Die, but is not dead and left on the table, the dice are picked up and re-cast (used Red Dice do NOT get added back into the re-cast hand). Some dice might be lower this throw (representing them staggered and off balance from the previous successful attack) or they all may be higher (representing them fortifying themselves from the same).

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