Skip to Content

Ranged combat in a turn-based RPG like combat system

26 replies [Last post]
devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014

Hi all,
Sorry if this is a bit of a vague post but I need help on this and also would like to know how other games that have similar combat have handled this type of thing (so I can get ideas for my own):

In the game I am making you move around on a board and adventure, but when it comes down to combat it turns into a turn-based combat system. There is no grid or anything you move models on it. Picture it sort of like a more in depth version of Wrath of Ashardalons combat but with no map is sort of what I'm going for.
In a turn-based gridless combat like that, what are some ways I could implement ranged combat? Perhaps have it so they always have the highest initiative in combat? Or perhaps do it like Mage Knight where there's one ranged phase before the regular fight?
Any ideas or letting me know how other games out there may have handles this system would be appreciated thanks!

WCanepa
WCanepa's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2014
Spellbound Kingdoms is

Spellbound Kingdoms is something to look at.

http://www.spellboundkingdoms.com

They have "combat zones" instead of squares or precise movement. You move from zone to zone, and are either in a zone, or you are not. Ranged attacks can be made in the same zone and the adjacent zone at no penalty. Each zone beyond that incurs a cumulative penalty. (You can look at their free combat primer on that site.)

Then, you could grant targets cover, or something. Just an idea.

But if you're getting into the minutiae of combat movement and positioning, like a wargame, maybe look into tabletop war-games for inspiration? Like Warmachine from Privateer Press?

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
WCanepa wrote:Spellbound

WCanepa wrote:
Spellbound Kingdoms is something to look at.

http://www.spellboundkingdoms.com

They have "combat zones" instead of squares or precise movement. You move from zone to zone, and are either in a zone, or you are not. Ranged attacks can be made in the same zone and the adjacent zone at no penalty. Each zone beyond that incurs a cumulative penalty. (You can look at their free combat primer on that site.)

Then, you could grant targets cover, or something. Just an idea.

But if you're getting into the minutiae of combat movement and positioning, like a wargame, maybe look into tabletop war-games for inspiration? Like Warmachine from Privateer Press?

I'll read the rules for those games. I was thinking of using zones at one point so I'll consider that again. I recall in some console rpg games that are turn based there being two zones, one for ranged which reduces damage you take but you deal less unless you used range so that is an idea too. I want to have the combat not have to involve movement in it and just consider that all the guys are always in their respective positions.
And yes, tabletop games are an influence, mainly warhammer 40k. I haven't read Warmachines rulebook yet but I have a friend who's into that game so I'll check it out.

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
They are not moving on a

They are not moving on a chess like grid?

I guess, if you work with melee and 1 type of ranged units. You could implement "First Strike" just like in Magic the Gathering. Or as you said, a ranged phase before the regular fight like in Mage Knight.

If you want to use more then 1 range. Then using numbers is what I suggest.
Simply have the highest number strike first. Then second highest etc. Melee weaponry are range 0.
A common RPS effect used in that one is that the longest ranges often beats shorter ranges. But the shortest ranges are capable in defeating the longest ranges.

If your combat allows for 2 or more units to fight as a squad. You can allow the longer ranges also to stand behind the shorter range. The shorter range will take the damage first.

RGaffney
RGaffney's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/26/2011
You could do the ranged

You could do the ranged combat "out of combat" so to speak.

So if someone has archery they automatically have a % chance to deal # damage to any enemy that comes close to them on the board, then when they enter combat it is too close for archery and they have to fight normally.

If units are archers exclusively and they get into combat they are sitting dicks who can try to attack with a little pocket knife if they want.

WCanepa
WCanepa's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2014
Excerpt from SBK:"Ranged

Excerpt from SBK:

"Ranged attacks suffer a -1 die size penalty per area after the first if they travel more than one area away.
Example. Lydia shoots an arrow from the
deck of the Tumult, across the docks, and into the harbormaster’s office. This is two areas away (deck --> docks --> office), so she takes a -1 die size penalty to her attack die.
Example. Samuel Torch throws his knife from the entryway all the way across the great hall, which the GM has described as divided into four areas (entryway at the foot of the hall, feasting tables, low stairs, and lord’s table). Samuel takes a -2 die size penalty because the lord’s table is three areas away (footfeasting tables --> stairs --> lord’s table)."

Their system uses increasing/decreasing die sizes (d4 --> d6 --> d8 --> etc.), but the concept could easily be applied to static bonuses.

I really like the suggestion for different attack types granting different initiatives. Say, Longbow/sniper rifle grants the highest bonus, then close range shots, then reach weapons (pole arms), then regular melee, then close weapons like punches and daggers, assuming it could be quickly and painlessly integrated.

I also like the idea of archery acting out of combat, as above. If not a % to auto-damage, at least hindering advancing troops, or damaging them if they eschew defenses?

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
X3M wrote:They are not moving

X3M wrote:
They are not moving on a chess like grid?

No grid or models, it's simply your stats against an enemy ai card(s)

Jarec
Offline
Joined: 12/27/2013
Lost Odyssey was this old

Lost Odyssey was this old school jRPG which had it's front and back rows, but unlike other games of it's kind there were a barrier between the rows which would deplete with attacks to your front row exposing your back row.
As I recall, the barriers percentual strength was how much damage your back row would suffer if targeted. And its strength was the combined HP of your front row, but it couldn't be healed back like the front row dudes.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
Hey guys sorry I haven't been

Hey guys sorry I haven't been able to respond more in depth I've been busy, but I will respond soon.
One thing I should have been more clear upon with my post is that I'm looking primarily for abstract ways to represent range since there are no models or grids involved etc.
I do appreciate the responses so far, and that Lost Odyssey example is an interesting one with the barriers; I like how Jrpgs handle combat in games and I'm looking to implement something similar for my board game's combat.

Shoe
Shoe's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/21/2012
characters with range can't

characters with range can't be attacked until all the characters without range on the same team are defeaated....to represent hiding behind the meat shield?

VS system CCG used that mechanic, and i've seen it in turn based RPG combat on old video games

Dan Felder
Dan Felder's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/06/2014
Does the game need it?

I recommend asking yourself if your game really needs to simulate ranged combat. It doesn't sound like your game is going for simulated hyper-realism. If that's the case, adding extra rules for ranged combat probably won't make the experience more fun - it'll likely just complicate the system.

Lots of games don't attempt to distinguish between ranged or melee combat and they work just fine. JRPGs are famous for this. Neither Final Fantasy nor Pokemon needed to simulate ranged combat, though it would have made sense for many of the characters to attack at range. In one of my own projects, an RPG designed to be played over Skype and similar voice-chat programs without the need to use an unwieldy virtual tabletop program, I followed this model and kept range abstract. It certainly didn't hurt design space and it worked very, very well. I'm glad I didn't follow my original idea of front ranks and back ranks in combat on each side (with ranged characters able to shoot up to 2 ranks away while melee characters could only attack up to 1). Combat flowed much more smoothly without trying to account for ranged combat.

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
If you want to introduce

If you want to introduce ranged combat. It should have strategy value for the player.
If it doesn't have strategy value, I recommend as well, not to introduce it.

Another important thing to know is, are your units going to have 1 on 1 battle's? Or is it an army versus army battle?

Possible strategy value's that I can think of with just melee+range(1) games:
* Always having melee taking the first damage, and ranged a reduced or no damage. Without this, the rest of strategy value's have no use.
- Melee has more health and ranged does more damage. The complete strength of an army increases exponential.
- Ranged may shoot first before melee shoots.
- Ranged might shoot more often than melee units. You could introduce targets that are "slow" and can be hit more often by Range.
- Are you going to have a complete melee line in front of a ranged line? Or are you going to give every ranged unit 1 "protector"? In case of 1 protector for each ranged unit. You could introduce mass weapons that kill a lot melee units. Then a lot of Ranged units are temporary unprotected and killed of easily.

And as suggested before, you can also add various ranges for units without using grids. Extra range could mean extra shots against the slow. Firing even before shorter ranged. And having even less health, but more damage in the long run.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
X3M wrote: Another important

X3M wrote:

Another important thing to know is, are your units going to have 1 on 1 battle's? Or is it an army versus army battle?

In terms of scale the players are their own character and may have some follower(s) with them at some point. Picture a turn-based combat version of something like Wrath of Ashardalon or Mage knight
And thanks for all the suggestions everyone

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
I've been contemplating the

I've been contemplating the ranged thing since this post. Here's an idea I had, let me know what you all think or ways it could be improved:

Combat is turn based and based upon order of speed. On first round determine speed for everyone that lasts for rest of combat.
Speed=weapon reach + agility roll (roll dice =to agility score, choose highest number). Monsters have a set speed on their card so you don't roll for them.
Ranged combat is one round before determining regular speed. You get a shot with your weapon before anyone else gets to act. Some rare ranged options could give you two shots before regular turn order.
Then after the free shot(s) with ranged attacks the ranged weapons are always shifted to the lowest turn order and hit last for rest of the entire combat.

So in short, ranged hits first but after those shots it always goes last

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
Sounds plausible. But ranged

Sounds plausible.
But ranged combat is based on the fact that one reduces the attack power of the other on before hand. By taking out enemies.

For example. Snipers take out some infantry. Then the remaining infantry do less damage in return. However, the weakness of snipers is that they can't take out tanks, and have an overkill in costs due to this fact.

If you do ranged combat in a RPG. Make sure you can apply effects to the enemy. Like reducing their attack for a round, or armor for a second attack. For this, I suggest you take a look at WOW, the archers. Some of them can pause the enemy, doing lots of damage. But also reduce their speed, armor, attack, attack speed etc.
My personal favourite is putting someone to sleep. Then buff/upgrade the very next attack.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
Well, in regard to my game,

Well, in regard to my game, the scale of it for combat is basically a PC with maybe 1-3 along with them fighting usually against 1-3 enemies, so no big battles.
I never got into WoW much (only played like the first two hours of the undead campaign), but I will keep in mind what you said concerning status effects/effects in general archers/ranged can do besides just damage the foe.
As said, there is no grid or map for combat in my game and on large forces fighting against each other either so I need to keep ranged simple and not overpowered.
And with what you brought up about snipers against tanks could translate into the dark fantasy setting of the game perhaps by incorporating rules that those with large shields or wearing plate armour are nearly immune to ranged damage perhaps...

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
Ah, almost forgot. Your melee

Ah, almost forgot.

Your melee fighters could choose to take the arrow and do normal damage afterwards. Or shield themselves from it and do less damage when they reached destination.
A choice for the defending players.
And this extra option can be upgraded as well. Like having one being a shield specialist.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
" Your melee fighters could

"
Your melee fighters could choose to take the arrow and do normal damage afterwards. "
I'm not sure what you mean by that.

As far as shielding themselves, I mentioned that idea earlier during the thread where I would have it so large shields could protect easier from the ranged hits.

Also, it's possible for player(s) to escape from battle so an archer could be like a scout in the game if I were to use the rules I mentioned concerning ranged having free attack on first round (and then last initiative on all rounds after), so an archer could essentially function as a scout by entering combat, taking a shot, then escaping (and sometimes failing...).

I was reading through a lot of rulebooks the other day and I found one that handles ranged in a way I really like. Someone made a rpg based around the Final Fantasy series , in a turn based way. Look at the combat section in the rulebook at the part where they talk about ranged attacks and how range isn't meant to be a big thing in the game, here's the link:
http://zodiac-ffrpg.wikidot.com/

Fhizban
Fhizban's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2009
(ah this is the thread you

(ah this is the thread you referred to devaloki)

I can only recommend using a zone type system, or a range band system. Im using it in my game and go the idea from other RPGs like Agon, Ancient Odysseys - Treasure Awaits! and Meikyuu Kingdom!!

See this example from Meikyuu Kingdom:

http://mondbuchstaben.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/meikyuu-battlefield.jpg

There is no real movement, you are in a zone or not and can only melee attack from the vanguard zone. you must target enemies within vanguard zone too, or attack the next zone behind it if its empty.

missile combat is divided into short and long range and can take place from the zones that are further away.

...

the idea of a M:TG like "first strike" is also nice, im using it in another one of my games. but instead of a ability, its a attribute (initiative) and combatants strike in order of their initiative rating. like a numerical first strike.

both are really simple methods to reduce the complexity of combat, without taking away too much of the strategy involved.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
Thanks Fhizban! and yeah, I

Thanks Fhizban! and yeah, I really do like those ideas you mentioned!

I like the idea of using a battle mat once combat initiates in the game.

"missile combat is divided into short and long range and can take place from the zones that are further away."
In regard to that, how are you having it work in your game? Is both short and long range in zone 3? or do you mean some can shoot from zone 2?

"the idea of a M:TG like "first strike" is also nice, im using it in another one of my games. but instead of a ability, its a attribute (initiative) and combatants strike in order of their initiative rating. like a numerical first strike."

I have been contemplating a similar system recently too.
Here's an idea I had of how one system could work:
Enemies and equipment have 3 stats in regard to combat speed/range:

1. Range
2. Reach
3. Speed

If the weapon can fire from Range it will have either "Range 1" or "Range 2". The number in front of Range symbolizes how many shots they can take before combat moves into next phase. So ranged attacks get to shoot first 1 (or 2) times. After these ranged phases Ranged weapons count as Reach 0 and Speed 0.
After that combatants strike based upon Reach. Highest Reach can strike first, lowest reach strikes last (or possibly not at all, not sure).
And finally after the Reach phase you go into normal combat rounds , which are based upon Speed rating only.
If there are combat zones in it then you can only attack those in back rows with a ranged weapon only unless the enemy force has no front row left. This is if there are only 2 rows used that is...

Fhizban
Fhizban's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2009
good - you have outlined the

good - you have outlined the system already in your last post!

here is how it works in my game, just a little bit different from your current idea:

1. Initative
when a new combat round starts, all participants roll for initiative and act in descending order. no matter where they are positioned or what weapons they use.

2. Range + Reach

Melee Range (0) = only usable from the vanguard zone and the only legal targets are opponents who are also at that zone. attacking the next zone is only allowed if the vanguard zone is empty. this goes on until the farthest zone actually.

Short Range (1) = this is used by short bows, throwing weapons and pole arms. you can shoot one zone across. so if you are in the vanguard (frontmost) zone you can attack an enemy in the center (middle) zone. when you are in the center (middle) you can strike at a foe in the vanguard zone. its not possible to use ranged weapons from the rearguard (farthest) zone.

some short range weapons can also be used while engaged, so you can shoot them from the vanguard zone while there are enemies present. this is not possible with any other type of ranged weapon.

Long Range (2) = you can shoot across two zones. So: From Vanguard to Rearguard or from Center to Center or finally from Rearguard to Vanguard. only long range weapons are usable and its a nice way to stay out of trouble.

3. Aura
you should check my other thread regarding "Aggro" and "control" (named Aura in my game). this further influences the battle. thats it, a nice system with medium complexity. please note that the "Aggro" mechanic is borrowed from MMOs, so it might not appeal to every RPG player out there.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
Sounds pretty good with

Sounds pretty good with everything you mentioned.
I'm not a fan of MMOs but to each their own!
Though why implement the Aura system if you are using a battle mat? Or is the aggro thing for when you're off the board? Or does it simply affect which players the enemies target while in battle?

Fhizban
Fhizban's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2009
hey, well the game is just

hey,
well the game is just inspired by some MMO mechanics, thats all. the "aggro" most MMOs use when it comes about combat is such a mechanic.

The point is: there can be quite a lot characters in a single zone, as combat in my game is planned to play a big role and it will most often be some kind of "mass combat". its common that a party of 4 faces 8-16 enemies at once.

now. if you have many characters in a single zone, they could attack who they want and switch targets as they like. I do not want this. there will be a rule that prevents both players and monsters from selecting targets as they see fit.

this is where the "aggro" rule comes into play. it is a important factor to both players and enemies. two examples:

we have 8 goblins in vanguard as well as a Knight and a Rogue. The knight is a typical tank class, while the rogue is weak but deals large amounts of damage. the knight got the higher "Aura" rating and therefore the goblins must attack him. they can only attack the rogue when risking a heavy penalty.

why? because otherwise the games master would attack the rogue to quickly eleminate him. thats unfair, a knights role must be to protect the others.

other way round:

a minotaur and a skeleton necromancer are at a zone, as well as a barbarian (player). the minotaur has the higher "aura" rating, therefore the barbarian must attack it first. it would be unfair if he could attack the necro directly. the necro is a weak damage dealing class, its just obvious that he would hide behind the minotaur. of course, if the barbarian really wants to attack the necro first - he can, but he has to deal with the penalty.

well, thats it in a nutshell.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
I my implementation of

I my implementation of "Wizardry Legacy" video game, the range system works as follow.

You have characters in the front row and characters in the back row. Range can be

Melee (range 1): Close combat
Short (range 2): Thrown weapons and items
Long (range 3): Bows, wand, etc.

The range determine the nb of row ahead they can target.

So melee can only target the row in front of them. So if they are in front, they can target the ennemy front row.

Short allow back row to target ennemy front row, or front row to be able to target both enemy back and front row.

Finally, long can target any row from any row.

Some spells, can attack all the monsters in the same row, or all the monster in the whoel party.

If you want to use a grid less system, I am sure something similar could be used. Thobias also seem to have used this range system for his card game. (He had an nice illustration than I cannot find)

Fhizban
Fhizban's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2009
As we are talking about it, I

@larienna and others: the range bands diagram im using in my card game can be found here:

http://godsandminions.com/blog/gods-minions-project-update-1st-quarter-2...

...

As we are talking about it, I have a question myself (a bit off topic though):

Assume we do NOT have a grid/board/play mat, how would you simulate range and distance?

This is a question that bothers me since a long time actually. Imagine all the CCG/TCG card games out there, most of them do not have a board. How would you properly simulate missile combat in these games? Just by striking order?

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Thanks tobias, nice graph by

Thanks tobias, nice graph by the way.

You can also take a look at ogre battle video game (Which I am currently playing)

Units has various attack pattern according to if they are in front, middle or back row.

You could have a similar system where a part of the game stategy is to place your units at the right place in the formation and then use your units to attack opposing units.

Maybe you could replace or manuver units between turns to addapt to your opponent's strategy.

Maybe the attack resolution is done in initiative order. Some weapons or characters are weaker but attacks first, allowing to get rid or certain units first.

If you want random initiative, you could roll a die and all units with the same value act first. Maybe it could work like rock paper scisor. The first unit is random, if it's rock, then the next unit to act are paper and then scissor. If you have almost only scissor units, then you are strong if you win initiative, but if you lose, you are very weak, so you might want to balance out initiative.

In my wizardry legacy video game, 1 front unit can block up to 2 back unit. So busting front unit force the player to move forward a unit from the back to fill in the cover.

These are just some random ideas.

devaloki
devaloki's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/15/2014
I came back and have been

I came back and have been thinking about this aspect of the game recently and thought of a way it could work, would this be feasible or am I missing something?:
Instead of having zones or range bands, combat is simply turn based but when you use weapons the accuracy of weapon is versus evasion based upon what weapon style you are using. So if you are using melee weapons you face their Combat Skill (melee weapons skill), if you are using a ranged weapon it is versus their agility ...same with regard to magic perhaps.
Ranged weapons could also take more time/Action Points to use, due to having to reload certain weapons etc.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut