Friday, January 17, 2014

Melee and hand to hand combat in Weapons Free

So the time has come to address melee and hand to hand combat in Weapons Free. It is something I had delegated until last because a) I was too busy with everything else and b) I honestly had no clue how to begin to create something different and fitting for the game's mechanics.

Unlike the previous fantasy games I've worked on, Weapons Free poses a greater challenge due to the mixed nature of firearms and melee weapons available. A rifle is both a firearm and a melee weapon. Turn it around and bat someone with it. Attach a bayonet and stab your enemy's gut out. Dodge it and come counterattack with a knife. Block the knife with your hands then pin his arm and subdue them or break his neck.

There are so many options it is hard to write a rule for each one. On the other hand I don't want to be so abstract that there is no distinction between one character and another when skill and weapon choice are factored in. I want it to feel real. Not in the sense of playing every single move in a realistic manner, but rather that your character's skill and your choice of actions really matter. So here is a quick overview of the mechanics:

  • There's a base target number for success
  • The base number is modified by the difference between the attacker and defender skill
  • There is a modifier for weapon range that favors the longer weapon. This may be nullified if the opponents get too close. For example a halberd being very effective in the beginning, yet becoming useless if the attacker with the knife gets too close.
  • Stance by style. Combat styles will add a certain modifier depending on the action being taken and its nature : defensive or offensive stance.
  • Attributes will add modifiers. The two that are considered now are strength and dexterity. The attacker's attributes add and the defender's subtract. If both are equal then no attribute bonus is applied as they cancel out.
  • This gives a final target value to beat. Rolling above it means success or failure otherwise.
  • Catastrophic failure is given by a number below the target value. Rolling less than or equal to this means the attack goes wrong and the defender gains an advantage or scores a hit.This allows for a turn around of events in hand to hand encounters.
  • I'm also considering outstanding success given by a number above the target value. Such a roll would not only grant a hit to the attacker, it would also nullify the defenders possibility to respond granting the attacker another attack.
Overall hand to hand combat would be a succession of successes that lead to victory. Skill and attributes will count a great deal in these encounters and should give you the feeling that your character is special. To add to this I'm researching unarmed combat styles to see how these can be leveraged as combat style bonuses for different situations. Keep you posted.

Saints and Sinners is a game based on the Weapons Free game and it's available as pay what you want. Download it here!

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