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Custom Die Combat Mechanic

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/01/2008
Die Faces

I thought I'd share an interesting dice combat resolution method that has worked its way into a couple of my games.
It has so far been a successful method, and one that has a number of benefits.

First off, the goal was to reduce overall complexity while retaining interesting effects, and an element of variation, and the ability to easily modify the outcome probability.

This uses a single custom 6-sided die.
The faces have custom symbols, but simply relate to the sides as follows:
1) Miss
2) Miss / Accuracy (Miss, unless attacker has accuracy trait, then hit)
3) Hit / Evade (Hit, unless target has evade trait, then miss)
4) Hit / Damage (Hit, unless attacker has damage trait, then +1 damage)
5) Major Hit (+1 damage)
6) Major Hit / Critical (+1 damage, critical effect)

See the attachment for an image that shows the face graphics.

Each weapon has a listed amount of damage, then the hit and damage roll is combined.
There is a basic 2/3 chance of hitting your target, and then is some element of varied damage as 2 faces provide and extra point of damage.
To reflect that some weapons are more accurate, some targets harder to hit, etc. The following traits can be attached to various entities, weapons, or abilities:

Accuracy: Increases hit chance by 17%
Evade: Increases miss chance by 17%
Damage: Increases the chance of an extra point of damage by 17% (This is useful to create a more powerful weapon without having to increase its base damage, letting you keep damage values lower and simpler)

Critical: Special critical effects can be attached to weapons, items, abilities, etc. When a crit is rolled, the player gets to pick one eligible effect and use it with the attack. This can be additional damage, or some other fun effect. These add an interesting element but one that can't be predicted reliably.

For example:
One game is space opera in theme. I was able to move away from a standard method of rolling a d10 and adding the weapon score and trying to beat the target's defense score. Smaller ships had higher defense scores to make them harder to hit, while larger ships had more hit points. It wasn't bad, but tended to get a bit numbery.

With the new system, things got easier. The smaller ships instead got the Evade trait to make them harder to hit, while the large ships basically got an "every weapon vs. this has Accuracy" trait.
Beam weapons tended to get Accuracy. Missiles tended to get Damage/and or Accuracy.
Critical effects were things like: Ignore armor, drain 2 energy, choose the location of 1 damage, etc. and usually were attached to the individual weapons.

Basically, the system is quicker and more intuitive, yet retaines the variability, and even added interesting "once in a while" effects.

hotsoup's picture
Joined: 08/28/2009
Nice mechanic. As long as the

Nice mechanic. As long as the game isn't too realistic in nature I can see this working really well. I greatly dislike games that require me to think very hard to figure out the results of combat, so this is particularly appealing to me.

Joined: 10/13/2011
Custom dice

I like the simiplicity of the die graphics; even without explanation, I think a player could figure how how to rank them from best hit to worst miss

Joined: 12/01/2008
Card Example

Oh, here is an example of a weapon card showing how the symbology relates.

The big red diamond show that this weapons does 2 damage. It has a little hollow explosion icon that indicates it also has the Damage trait and relates to the same symbol on the die face.

It has the critical effect listed at the bottom, again with a matching symbol.

Joined: 03/15/2012
Hmm. I really like this

Hmm. I really like this system, with some modification - I'm not a fan of a 66% hit rating, although that might speed up a game and it seems to be working well enough for you.
It sort of reminds me of the Bloodbowl "block dice".

Attacker Down - attacking player fails/falls/injured
Both Down - attacker and defender fall/injured (unless either player has 'Block' to stay standing)
Push - defender is shunted 1 square, no damage
Push - defender is shunted 1 square, no damage
Pow - defender falls/injured, unless he has Dodge to stay standing
Pow! - defender falls/injured
-- any time the attack falls, the player's turn is over.

Joined: 04/13/2012
Simple and Effective

I like that system, do you mind if I use it?
Its simple, and effective, although I think I would use dice 8 for it with a bit more room to maneuver

Joined: 12/01/2008

That's why we share ideas here.

As far as d8 are concerned, just keep in mind that custom die are expensive. And non-6 siders even more so. Also, note that something like Game Crafter has an option to use special d6 with recessed faces to accommodate printed stickers.

Anyway, yeah I tweak the results a little as I adopt the die for different games.
Even now, I'm considering removing the Major Hit result and making it simply a Hit. As right now, a weapon with Damage is almost just like +1 damage.
I might even remove both Major Hit damage, and just give the Damage trait 2 die faces. Or maybe even introduce a new Burn trait, where an additional point of damage is scored on the next round. (Maybe even have a chance to spread?)

So yeah, there are always little changes, but the basic mechanic stays the same. Hope this helps.

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