I accidentally invented a combat system I like where both attacking and defending are satisfying actions for the player to take
- The players don’t roll, the GM does
- When a player attacks, they score 1 hit if their attack is successful
- A player can try to score an additional hit, but if they do, the GM gets to roll a bigger die
As a base, the GM rolls a d6, and if the roll is higher than your skill you’re using to attack, a complication occurs based on the difference: 1-2: The next time you use that skill, the GM will roll a bigger die 3-4: You don’t score the hit(s) you wanted 5+: They hit you instead
For defending, we do something similar, except that you roll a defensive skill (like Dodge or Breastplate), and complications are: 1-2: The next time you use that skill, the die is bigger 3-4: You get hit 5+: You get hit twice
Complications are cumulative. Meaning that if the difference is 4 on a Breastplate roll, not only do you get hit, but the next time you use your Breastplate, the GM will be rolling a d8 instead of a d6.
And then there’s an optional extra complication for a difference of 10 or more, which is “That’s it, you’re out of the story forever” which is probably because they killed you.
But only you can decide whether that option applies. No one can kill you but you.
Enemies can have special tags that change how these mechanics work.
Like “Tough” means the enemy can withstand an additional hit before they go down.
“Dangerous” means every die roll against them is +1 size.
Some other things this does:
- You could have a weapons table that includes “special effects” that you can buy for +1 die size when you use them
- You could do that for armors too, so that if your armor is covered in spikes it might have “You hit them back no matter what”
We can add in a Cost mechanic here too, so that if you get a complication, you can accept a permanent -1 to that skill to avoid the complications from the roll. So if you get a Severe complication, you can say “Oops my breastplate is broken now” instead of being hit twice.
We can also let you Weave, meaning that you ask a player for a die, they hand you the Fire Die, you roll it, and then you add the total to your skill total and reassess the complications. If your new skill is high enough to avoid complication? Great, you don’t get hit.
But the thing about weaving is, that’s you taking control of a part of the world beyond yourself. And whatever happens as a result of that weaving, you’re responsible for it.
So yeah, you roll the Fire Die and you get a 5, add it to your Breastplate skill of 2, and now you’ve got a 7, which reduces your 5 complication to 0! Full success, no intervention here.
Except that you also just set fire to the house you’re in. Oops.
So anyway yeah, that’s the Moment to Moment skill system that applies just as readily to combat (where you can track things like hits and special effects) as it does to everywhere else (where the impact of the skill is narrative, rather than mechanical). Keep an eye out for it.
(And yes, this is probably going to make an appearance somewhere in @MnemonicRpg - so if you backed that project, you’ll get to see what it looks like in concert with the Weaver’s Dice and the four session frameworks we’ve got planned. Exciting stuff!)
An addendum to this, for folks who only have six-sided dice: You have two options.
Whenever a die would be “sized up”, add 1 to the result instead. The fourth size-up is +5 instead. So: d8: 1d6+1 d10: 1d6+2 d12: 1d6+3 d20: 1d6+8
Just don’t do size-ups, which also means don’t do the things that would result in size-ups.
Either one of those options works fine.