March 27th, 2006

just me

Back and Forth

One thing that RPGs don't replicate very well is the 'clash of blades' or the back and forth of a good cinematic kung-fu fight, or a TV gunfight for that matter.

In all the above you see a back and forth, a flurry of parrying, holds, entanglements or flying bullets smashing into everything before, finally, someone gets the advantage and there's a hit or it's all over.

I've been trying to think of ways to replicate this for a while now. Cloak of Steel has it with the marginal failure/success mechanic in it and other times while tinkering with ideas I've tried to replicate it but it just doesn't quite mesh right for some reason.

One way it might work would be in allowing people to 'carry over' their accumulated successes in a dicepool game.

For example (Xpress)...

Kung Fu Master Hung Lo is facing off against a demonic opponent armed with a giant club. He knows the Dim Mak Poison Hand Touch of Death but it is a difficult maneuvre to pull off, especially against such a gigantic opponent.

Turn 1 - Hung Lo has initiative being smaller and faster and describes his action as a flurry of blows designed to distract and enrage the demon.

Hung Lo has a Dex of 4 and Kung Fu/Internal/Dim Mak 4, he rolls 4 dice with a target of 3-6 getting 3 successes total.
Demon has a Dex of 2 and Melee/Club 3 he rolls 2 dice with a target of 3-6 and gets 1 success total.

Hung Lo decides not to apply the remaining 2 successes to damage, but keeps them back to aid his attack.

The Demon counterattacks and scores 3 successes.
Hung Lo describes his counter as leaping atop the club as it smashes down and running up it, he scores 4 successes and adds that 1 extra to his pool for a total of 3 dice stored up.

Turn 2
Hung Lo launches the Dim Mak Poison Hand Touch of Death with his saved up dice as a bonus.
Because of his specialisations and the extra dice he is now rolling 8 dice and only needing 2-6. He scores a massive 11 successes.
The Demon feebly attempts to counter and gets 1 success, reducing Hung Lo's successes to 10.
Hung Lo elects to use this as his strike and with 10 successes equal to double the demon's consitution doubled the Dim Mak takes effect. The demon will not die instantly, but within the day from a blockage to its chi flow.

Hung Lo backflips back and says something smug.


Of course, fights need not be as straightforward as this, two equally matched kung fu masters may play 'tug of war' over a dicepool with the one with the advantage spending from their pool to reduce attacks from their opposite to nothing.

EG: Hung Lo is fighting his courtesan nemesis Wang Suk, he currently has the advantage and has saved up a pool of three dice he intends to use in a devastating attack on her when the dice betray him. Suddenly she has hit him despite his defences with at attack of 3 successes. He spends his pool to negate her attack with a desperate block and, again, they're back on an even keel...
just me

Ability Performance

Another thought lately...

Mostly, when we do things, we perform only within a fairly narrow band of ability. Slightly under our skill level, equal to our expectations, or slightly better than we expect. Exceptional luck either way is rare.

I've been wondering how to reflect this in a game, d4-d4 does this pretty well and I recommend it as a pick-up system for your odd little ideas but it doesn't quite work for me in some ways in regard to this question.

What about coin tossing?

The scale would need to be compressed, probably a 1-5 scale, to make it work but if the protaganist and the challenge each tossed a coin that either increased their level by one (heads) or decreased it by one (tails) that would give you the right range.

EG:
Dirk is an Average (3) Warrior, fighting an Average (3) opponent.
He flips and scores Heads raising his ability to 4.
The opponents flips and scores tails, taking his ability down to 2.
Dirk defeats his opponent.

Complications would be hung off that to increase the granularity of the system and to describe specific instances and special cases, but that would be about right.

Over The Edge or HeroQuest style trait descriptions would probably suit best.