Skip to Content

Trying to stick to a simple combat system with some strategy.

7 replies [Last post]
Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016

For my game the player will controll one of nine typical fantasy heroes.

Each hero has different base stats, different abilities, and a unique set of items. Their items are stored at their home, they can carry three items. They have these items from the start. A few powerfull magical items can be obtained through the game that can be used by all, but they are very difficult to get.

I plan to have the attack stats of heroes depend completely on their weapon to not get it too complicated.

For combat I am considering to first have the player roll a D20 to see if the attack hits, and then roll a D6 for damage.
(The D20 is also used to determine what event happens when entering an area from an event list, so its already in the game.)

An encountered enemy as well as the heroes themselves will have the required number needed to be hit by their opponent listed.
Items can make a hero slightly harder or easier to hit. (a shield makes it harder, a heavy crossbow easier for example.)

If an attack misses, no damage is done. But if an attack hits, a roll for damage follows. A D6 is used for this, and the weapon damage is added to this.

The knight sword could deal 4 damage for example. A 3 was rolled. So you deal 7 points of damage to the enemy.

However, the number of someone's defense rating ignores that amount of damage. So if the enemy has a defense rating of 5, you deal 2 damage.

A typical fight would end once either one of the combatants has no hitpoints left. Players dont die but are knocked out when defeated.
If players defeat the enemy, they obtain the listed reward.

I think there should be an escape mechanic too of sorts, but I'll get to that later. Overall I think this might be reasonably balanced and allows for differentation between tanky and dodgy combatants.

Regarding the effects of different weapons:

I want to keep weapons more situational, with no clear overall best weapon in a hero's arsenal.

If 4 damage is the basic damage a weapon does for example, if a weapon does more damage its hit chance would decrease and if it does less damage the hit chance increases.
A huge warhammer could deal 6 damage, but would also have a -2 modifier to your hit chance. And a short sword that deals 3 damage could have a +1 modifier to hit chance.
All fair and balanced.

Only one weapon can be used in combat at once, so you cant use two at once to increase damage.

Every single weapon will provide bonus damage to a specific enemy type only, which is where preperation comes into play. Players should try to take the weapon with them that they expect they will need the most.

A blessed sword would do +2 damage against undead for example, in addition to its standard 4 damage. Against bandits it would only do the basic 4 damage. So its always a usefull weapon, just more usefull when you are heading to the graveyard.

None of the heroes will have a counter weapon for every enemy type in the game, so they will keep their weaknesses.
Some may also have two weapons that do bonus damage to a specific type. The palladin for example could have a slow but heavy hitting holy hammer, but also a holy sword.

I am still considering between giving each hero a single weapon that does more than the +2 standard +2 bonus damage to a specific enemy to give them a specialisation of sorts, or to make this one of their abilities instead which means they'd deal that bonus damage without needing the weapon.
Or perhaps I could mix it up and decide this on a hero by hero basis? In that case the abilty based bonus could be smaller than the weapon based bonus.

Other than this, some enemies will have unique abilities listed but they dont have weapons or such come into play. Maybe the main villain, but for now I want to focus on the most common combat in the game first.
I dont want to overcomplicate the abilities.
It will be stuff like the enemy fleeing after a single fight round, stealing an item from the player if they knock them out, more of this enemy type spreading across the board when not defeated, etc.

Thats pretty much all I have so far, I'd love to hear thoughts so I can work out the kinks, there surely must be things I might still have overlooked.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
If your weapons are

If your weapons are "balanced" through to-hit/damage, then there is no difference which one to pick - statistically they'll be the same.

If you don't know the opponent when picking the weapon, then there's no choice there either - there's guessing.

Don't see much strategy here, I'm afraid.

Sounds like you take D&D and combine it with Munchkin.

Sorry, for being blunt, but this is how it sounds to me.

Squinshee's picture
Joined: 10/17/2012
ElKobold is right. Your

ElKobold is right. Your weapons might appear differently, but mathematically they're the same. Now, if enemies have weaknesses, it doesn't become a choice as to which weapon to bring because if they're all the same (as stated before) except one does more damage to a certain enemy type, players will just choose that.

While this combat is simple conceptually, its also monotonous. Roll 1d20, see if hit. If so, roll 1d6. Repeat until over. What happens if both attackers miss 12 attacks in a row? That'll stifle any excitement there is to be had. Keep your combat to a single dice roll if possible. One really important attack is WAY more exciting than 4 negligible attacks.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Another important thing, I

Another important thing I forgot to mention. Not related to the combat system specifically, but still.

Try similar games.

Check out play-through videos and/or play yourself and/or read the rules of at least 4-5 recent games in the niche you are going for.
See how your concept compares. Make sure it's fresh enough. Make sure there's some gimmick which makes it special.

If a potential player asks you "I already have the game A, B and C, why should I buy yours?" can you answer that question?

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
Regarding opponents, there

Regarding opponents, there will be a good idea about what you will be facing since each region has a different event list thats rolled for.

Undead are common enemies at the graveyard, goblins are common in the swamp, bandits appear mostly in the forest, etc.
There will always be something there to fight thats not the expected category however.

Weapons will indeed be similar exept for the bonus damage, because you start out with all of them and have to pick what you take with you and what you leave behind.

I suppose I should try and make the combat shorter, but when its too simple it can get boring, so I do think it should be more than a single dice roll.

I've also thought about special attacks linked to a stamina system, but cant quite figure out how to put that into play.
A number of stamina points could be restored each game turn, and places like a tavern could replenish it completely.

I suppose that instead of rolling to hit, the roll with the D20 could be the damage roll instead, with the number to beat being whats required to beat the enemy, and special attacks allowing you to increase your dice result at the expense of stamina, giving them limited use.

I certainly do need to play more games, not having much work sadly limits my budget otherwise I'd have bought more games.
Suggestions for games I should look for playthroughs from are welcome though.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Willem Verheij

Willem Verheij wrote:

Regarding opponents, there will be a good idea about what you will be facing since each region has a different event list thats rolled for.

Then there's not much choice either. No reason not to pick a weapon with the bonus that fits.

Willem Verheij wrote:

I suppose I should try and make the combat shorter, but when its too simple it can get boring, so I do think it should be more than a single dice roll.

While rolling dice is fun, adding more sophisticated dice roll doesn't mean more fun.

Willem Verheij wrote:

I certainly do need to play more games, not having much work sadly limits my budget otherwise I'd have bought more games.
Suggestions for games I should look for playthroughs from are welcome though.

Don't have to buy them. You need to be aware of what's out there, if you plan to design games. And there's not enough free time to play everything anyway, so buying is not the only way.

Pick your favorite reviewer and go see those playhroughs. Many of them do reviews. You can start with dicetower and go through some of the "Top 10". Narrow down what might be useful to you and research further.

I think there were like 10 or so successful dungeoncrawlers on KS over the last year. Might check those out too.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Why different weapons indeed?

Seemingly different weapons, but not?

Had the exact same problem.
Main problem was that when pitting them against each other; the lower accuracy, where worse. While I already had some reasons that fitted the detailed strategies in the game. But I too, searched for more.
If interested...

The summary is, to have the difference in weapons, "matter" to the game. This means that you need to have a fitting strategy with your choice of weapon. But also a risk, fitting the choice of weapon. And with risk, I don't mean the accuracy. But I mean that something might occur that is bad. If players know this on before hand. The best weapon is chosen, aka, no choice. If players don't know what bad things might happen, or at least how bad or how often. They will start "gambling", aka, choice.

A little further.
Sure you can use the sword against goblins was it? But if it is the only weapon. And you know you are going against goblins. It is the only option. Thus not a choice.

If you expect something different happening. And you need a weapon that is slightly worse against goblins (Mace). But good against the other possible event (Orc). Now you have a choice.
You either gamble to have a nice day with the orc. Or "Have a nice day" when dealing with the orc.


I don't know how much tools or mechanics you have working for your game.

Before my topic, I had already seen the effect on opportunity strikers and long run fighters. Meaning that when you need to gamble, the difference matters. A good hit meant a lot of damage. And another group could make a move now.
What I want to ask is. Do you have team play?
Meaning that one does a job (low accuracy, high damage). If success, the other player moves in, to finish the job. If fail, both run!

Has your game short battles? I mean, 1 hit = 1 kill. But the chance is low for that?

After my topic, I got a more or less "it does matter later on" effect. When using Event Cards, which are unforseen, or saved up until that point. Through these Event Cards, some weapons are better than others. Thus while they started with the "same" effect. With help of an Event Card, one "choice" would be better than another.

Now, I see this working for you in several ways.

One would be that, if you use cards, some of them contain a bonus for some weapons. But can only be used when fighting. Thus a choice, but one of the 2 choices means consuming a card.

Durability of weapons. Some weapons might take damage over time. This could also be depending on the accuracy or times used.

Another suggestion is, to have some sort of effect on your accuracy as well.

Weapon A: 6 damage, accuracy 4
Weapon B: 4 damage, accuracy 6

Armor could take down 2 damage. Meaning that Weapon A is better.
Agility could take down 2 accuracy. Meaning that Weapon B is better.

Bonus to damage, would be better on B.
Bonus to accuracy, would be better on A.

And let's not forget. That pile of Event Cards. Might contain more and more of a certain card to grab. Thus saving up a certain weapon. To gain all that bonus later on is a good strategy!


I hope,.. I was of some use here.

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
Maybe cards could be usefull

Maybe cards could be usefull yes, to go with the combat and them being more weapon specific.

Each weapon could then just be basic weapons without bonus damage to specific enemies, and each weapon would have its own set of cards.

Maybe each weapon type could function a little different still, but with accuracy not being a thing I'd need to look for other ways.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut