# Need help with a combat mechanic

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questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

Okay,

So I have been "kicking around" a combat mechanic for my current "Dungeon Crawl" game. I am trying to find a more suitable mechanic since mine is not perfect or ideal.

So instead of trying to explain what I am looking for, I will explain my existing mechanic and maybe people can derive a better system from it...

Here I go...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
My Combat Caculation

Okay so suppose we have a Fighter with ATK=6 and DFS=6 who is fighting a Skeleton ATK=4 and DFS=4.

You roll 4 polyhedral dice: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8 and 1d12.

1d4=Monster's Battle skill
1d6=Player's Battle skill
1d8=# of attacks this turn
1d12=Special abilities

Now to explain:

Basically the first thing is to compare the 2 battle skills. By doing 1d4-1d6, you determine who will be attacking, either the monster or the player. Next that value is multiplied by the 1d8 to determine the amount of damage. Then we subtract the ATK - DFS and add that amount to the amount of damage.

Here is an example:

1d4 = 4, 1d6 = 2, 1d8 = 5, 1d12 = 9

This is BAD for the player because the Monster's Battle skill is HIGHER than the player's this turn...

So 4-2 = 2 x 5 = 10 damage against the player.

The 1d12 is not a 6, so no special attack. Special attack is on a roll of 6 (monster) or 12 (player) and MUST have the corresponding intiative. So in our above example, if the value had been a 6, the Skeleton would have used his special attack instead of doing damage. Same goes for the player, except the roll must be 12 and the player's battle skill must be greater than his opponent.

Next we perform the ATK vs. DFS calculations:

10 + (Monster ATK - Player DFS) = 10 + (4 - 6) = 8 damage in the end.

Here is one last example:

1d4 = 3, 1d6 = 5, 1d8 = 2, 1d12 = 6

Good news, the player has the initiative:

So 3-5 = 2 x 2 = 4 damage against the monster.

Next we perform the ATK vs. DFS calculations:

4 + (Player ATK - Monster DFS) = 4 + (6 - 4) = 6 damage in the end.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

Players and Monsters have 2 stats:

-ATK (Attack) a value <= 20.
-DFS (Defense) a value <= 20.

MarkKreitler
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Joined: 11/12/2008
Back to front?

questccg wrote:
Okay,
So instead of trying to explain what I am looking for, I will explain my existing mechanic and maybe people can derive a better system from it...

For me, at least, it would be better to do it the other way 'round: instead of showing us your existing mechanic, explain what you are looking for.

Were I to guess what you want from the system you've shown, I'd shoot for something that uses a lot of calculation, lots of dice, and linear scalability -- but I'm guessing those aren't the elements you feel the need to keep.

So...

1) How do you want your combat to feel?
2) Are there any stats which must be included?
3) What kind of distribution do you want in your randomness?

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

MarkKreitler wrote:
1) How do you want your combat to feel?

I would want it to be quick to resolve. I would like the feel to be more about "Dungeon CLEARING" (eg. you battle many monsters). So basically you battle many monsters and lose health as you do so. When your health gets to a dangerous level, you simply back off. Monsters are dumb (or smart) and wait for you to attack them (and then they retaliate).

I like the idea of INITIATIVE (instead of turn based attacks): the higher roll is the one who has the initiative and therefore the one on the offensive.

MarkKreitler wrote:
2) Are there any stats which must be included?

I would want only 2 stats: ATTACK (ATK or ATT) and DEFENSE (DFS or DEF). Those 2 have a maximum of 20 points. HEALTH is 5x DFS (Maximum 50). Not sure about MAGIC yet.

MarkKreitler wrote:
3) What kind of distribution do you want in your randomness?

You'll need to explain what you mean by "distribution"... I need Monsters to go up in difficulty are you go up in levels. So a level 1 Skeleton will have 4 ATK and 4 DFS. However if it is encountered on level 5, it will have 9 ATK and 9 DFS. Something simple like that...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Causing damage

questccg wrote:
I need Monsters to go up in difficulty are you go up in levels. So a level 1 Skeleton will have 4 ATK and 4 DFS. However if it is encountered on level 5, it will have 9 ATK and 9 DFS. Something simple like that...

I have also thought of using d6's for damage. For example levels 1-3: use 2d6, levels 4-6: use 3d6 and for levels 7-10 use 4d6.

So a Skeleton of 4 ATK, 4 DFS, 20 HLT (4x5) on level 1, it may take 2 or 3 rolls to defeat. However on level 7, you can kill it in 1 shot (MAX(4d6) = 24)!

It's kinda cool... The only problem is that I don't know how to handle "initiative" (instead of attacking turns - eg. first the player attacks and then the monster retaliates).

I think this "Damage mechanic" is pretty good, especially when working with levels.

MarkKreitler
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Joined: 11/12/2008

Yo Quest,

By "distribution" I mean the mathematical spread of possible outcomes. For example, if you roll a single die, there is an even chance to get each of the numbers on the die. However, if you roll more than one die, there are more ways to get numbers close to the average than there are to get the minimum or maximum possible values, so you end up with a distribution closer to a bell curve.

In the system you originally proposed, each of the polyhedral dice has a flat distribution (equal chance to roll every number), but since you subtract the skill values, then multiply by the "attacks per turn" value, you end up with non-linear damage distribution. This means your system will favor "average" results over extreme ones. That's neither good nor bad, but I wondered if that was an intentional design decision. If so, I assume you want to preserve it.

As for "initiative," the way you're using it is non-traditional, if I understand correctly. Usually, "initiative" implies "attacking turns" -- but determines who takes the first turn. In your system, it determines which side attacks -- with the other side not getting a turn. There's nothing wrong with non-traditional use of the word, but it does make me wonder: do you want players and monsters to alternate turns but randomly determine who makes the first turn? Or, do you want one side to lose a turn each round (in which case, a few lucky rolls could see players not getting to attack for long stretches)?

To some degree, it sounds like you already have a system in mind. The stats you've named and the numerical ranges you've selected lock your design in, to a certain degree. That's not a bad thing, especially if you strongly favor that particular math. On the other hand, if you're looking for brainstorming help on the combat system, it may behoove you to express your desires in more general terms. For example:

1) You want players to defeat a lot of monsters (dungeon *clearing*, not crawling)
2) You want to resolve a series of attacks with a single die roll
3) You want "streaky" damage, where one side can dominate the other for several turns in a row (your use of the word "initiative")
4) You want the following stats: ATK, DFS, HLT, & SPECIAL
5) You want monsters and players to level
6) You want damage distributed in a pseudo bell curve (not sure you really want this in particular)

I'm not suggesting you reformulate your request in terms of the above points. I'm wonder where, between these very general points and your very specific requirements, you want the discussion to fall.

Sorry to ask so many questions.

M.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

MarkKreitler wrote:
1) You want players to defeat a lot of monsters (dungeon *clearing*, not crawling)
2) You want to resolve a series of attacks with a single die roll
3) You want "streaky" damage, where one side can dominate the other for several turns in a row (your use of the word "initiative")
4) You want the following stats: ATK, DFS, HLT, & SPECIAL
5) You want monsters and players to level
6) You want damage distributed in a pseudo bell curve (not sure you really want this in particular)

My problem is HOW to use the stats with the dice rolls. I like the stats having values less than 20 and only having ATK and DFS. Why? Esthetics: I don't want to crowd the cards with too many stats.

I REVISED the original combat method with one that is similar but more in-line with the values.

Let me explain how I have changed the combat calculations:

1-1d12 to determine if a Special Skill will be used, Player or Monster. Roll a 12 or 6 respectively.
2-1d8 Player's Battle skill
3-1d6 Monster's Battle skill
4-1d4 # of attacks this turn

This produces a maximum damage of 24 points for players and 20 for monsters. This means that a bad roll *could* kill certain players (4 DFS * 5 = 20 health points).

The problem I have is determining HOW the ATK and DFS stats with this system. Yes, I am using the BASE DFS stat to determine how many health points (HLT) a player has.

Maybe as before subtracting (ATK - DFS) and either adding or subtracting that value?!?!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

MarkKreitler wrote:
1) You want players to defeat a lot of monsters (dungeon *clearing*, not crawling)
2) You want to resolve a series of attacks with a single die roll
3) You want "streaky" damage, where one side can dominate the other for several turns in a row (your use of the word "initiative")
4) You want the following stats: ATK, DFS, HLT, & SPECIAL
5) You want monsters and players to level
6) You want damage distributed in a pseudo bell curve (not sure you really want this in particular)

Bell curve means that you rarely have end of curve (beginning and end) values and most of the rolls lie somewhere in the middle. That to me sounds RIGHT. If your combat mechanic deals 20 points of damage and your PCs only have 20 points of health, well you can assume that that amount of damage is dealt only in the most rare of occasions. (Point #6)

Typically I would want the players to defeat a lot of monsters... The pseudo bell curve distribution helps since it is rare the extreme low or high attacks will occur. Having them mostly in the middle implies more average damage and therefore more opponents to battle/defeat. (Point #1)

I would like the amount of stats to be minimal but enough to work out combat calculations in an original fashion (unlike the typical 1d20 roll for everything). (Point #4)

What you call "streaky" damage, I call no need for taking turns... That's right, one side can dominate for several turns making the combat more challenging (even though there is not much a player can do but hope his LUCK increases - if it is not in his favor). (Point #3)

The only point I seem to believe is incorrect is point #5: PCs and Monsters level. What I would like to achieve in battle is a mechanic that works well for early-on combat in which players are not very experienced to something just as challenging in the later stages of the game (Say when a player is on level 7-9). Level 10 is the Final Boss level and so there is a reason to play through the last level, however in level 7-9, the gameplay may seem a little repetitive and I would need a FUN combat mechanic that would allow those levels to be sufficiently challenging.

There are obviously different end-level objectives which are determined at the beginning of each level which again make for a more diversified game. But still I would want the challenge of beating monsters to remain even later in the game.

Tell me what you think.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Custom dice

questccg wrote:
Let me explain how I have changed the combat calculations:

1-1d12 to determine if a Special Skill will be used, Player or Monster. Roll a 12 or 6 respectively.
2-1d8 Player's Battle skill
3-1d6 Monster's Battle skill
4-1d4 # of attacks this turn

All this talk about CUSTOM dice has got me smitten with the idea of have a custom 1d6 for #4. It would have 1 blank face, 1 two-swords face and 4 one-sword face. Basically it means that a player/monster can deal NO DAMAGE, SINGLE DAMAGE and DOUBLE DAMAGE.

With the odds 1:6 for DOUBLE about 17%. And 17% for a dodge/parry roll.

The even nicer thing is instead of having 4x, 3x as a multiplier you only get 2x (With the DOUBLE damage face). Again it lowers the extreme high (and low) ends when we talk about the "distribution".

MarkKreitler
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Joined: 11/12/2008
All set

Hey Quest,

Sounds to me like you're all set. You know what you want and you have a mathematical model that delivers it, so all that's left is the playtesting.

I'm still confused about levels, but I don't think that matters. You said you don't want monsters and players to level, but then you talk about having 10 levels in the game. Are these physical dungeon levels? Or do players and monsters level at the same rate, keeping combat difficulty constant even though everyone is growing in absolute power?

Not that you need to clear it up. You've got your system, so you're all set.

Not having seen it played, I can only guess, but I suspect it will feel...how to say this..."casino-ish." That's not a bad thing. There could very will be a "push your luck" kind of feel, especially with your initiative rules. Your idea of custom dice will help reduce the "casino" feel and connect back to the theme.

I hope you'll post results as you test. It sounds like an interesting system. Good luck with it.

M.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

MarkKreitler wrote:
I hope you'll post results as you test. It sounds like an interesting system. Good luck with it.

So here is the math: ((1d8+Player's ATK) - (1d6+Monster's DFS)) x 1d4

This is the *complicated* formula. But it is still pretty straight forwards (I think you will agree).

So let's simplify the formula (doing some basic math):

1- ((1d8+Player's ATK) - (1d6+Monster's DFS)) x 1d4
2- (1d8 + Player's ATK -1d6 -Monster's DFS) x 1d4
3- ((1d8 - 1d6) + (Player's ATK - Monster's DFS)) x 1d4 !!!

So basically that #3 formula is REAL SIMPLE: Subtract the dice rolls (1d8 - 1d6) and ADD the result of (ATK - DFS). Then multiply by 1d4.

I think that is *real simple* (or as simple as it gets).