Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Further Thoughts On Combat

Recently I looked into an alternative way of handling combat in Tunnels and
Trolls, which involved using saving rolls as the combat mechanic and, not just as a mechanic within combat.

Since then Dan over at The Lone Delver has really taken the idea (which was inspired by an earlier post of his) and, run with it. It's looking great too. So setting my original idea to one side (as too many cooks spoil the broth) I have been thinking about what else I can do with combat system to take it to new and interesting places, and I have a couple of ideas.

The first has sprung from the Talents conversation that I sparked over at the Tunnels and Trolls Google+ group, and seeks to address what I consider the dual-wield issue, where it is almost mandatory for a starting character to take two daggers as their initial weaponry.

It kind of bugs me if I'm honest but I can't deny the logic of it. On average two daggers are cheaper to buy and, more effective in combat than nearly any other weapon that a new character can realistically afford. Tunnels and Trolls doesn't penalise you for fighting with an off-hand weapon either, so why wouldn't you invest in a pair of daggers?

Maybe if there was an incentive not to. Notice I say incentive and not penalty, as the easy option would be simply cut down the dice and adds granted by your off-hand weapon.

My solution is to open up the option of weapon Talents, something that was also discussed in during the Talents conversation over at the Google+ group. Instead of rolling a dice for the bonus though, I would simply set the value of the bonus granted by the Talent to the number of character levels that the weapon has been continually wielded for plus one.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian takes a Weapon Talent in "Clubs" as he loves to bash things over the head and take their stuff. As Bobby is new to adventuring his bonus is +1, meaning that he'll roll an extra dice when wielding any sort of club in combat. The bonus only applies to one weapon, so even if he were wielding two clubs, he'd still only roll one extra dice.

For every level of his career that Bobby from the previous example uses a club predominantly as a weapon, he can boost his Clubs Talent by one as he increases in level (going from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 etc), in addition he still gets to pick a new Talent.

Whilst this may not seem to do a lot to offset the benefits of duel-wielding daggers from the word go, it does open up an interesting alternative. Now if a character instead chooses to invest in say your average Short Sword and a Short Sword Talent to go with it, they could be wielding the four dice normally granted by duel-daggers whilst leaving a hand free to take a shield into combat with them. Given that Warriors get to double the hits absorbed by armor that they are wearing, and a shield counts as armor, this is a good deal!

My second idea does away with Combat Adds completely (but not Missile Adds as of yet), replacing them with a more tangible alternative.

Whilst I like the simplicity of the Tunnels and Trolls combat system as it stands, I feel that Personal Adds could be so much more if you break them down, or as I have replace them completely with the following:

Strength Adds: Each point of STR beyond 12 adds +1 to your combat total.
Dexterity Adds: Roll 1 extra dice in combat for every point of DEX you have beyond 12, and then drop that many.
Speed Adds: Each point of SPD beyond 12 grants you one hit of "natural armor".
Luck Adds: Re-roll up to 1 dice for every point of LK you have beyond 12, once per combat round. You must accept the second result.

Personally I feel that this better represents the effects of the various attributes than the catch all, Personal Adds. Strength inflicts greater wounds, Dexterity allows you aim your blows with greater accuracy, Speed lets you dodge out of the way and, if you're going to rely on Luck, you'd better be lucky!

Both are just works in progress at the moment but I do think they show promise, if I do say so myself.

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