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Author Topic: Special Attack Questions  (Read 2688 times)
twztdwndpipe
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Posts: 36


« on: December 20, 2010, 08:10:38 PM »

I'm looking for tips on developing a system, based almost entirely on fighting, (preferably 1v1)

After getting through alot of my ideas, and 86ing the ones that didn't work well I've came to a major problem. What is the real idea behind a special attack of some sort? I have multiple character types, Dealing with all sorts of weapons. I just can't seem to come up with ideas for how a special attack would be worth anything. Each character would have 4 or 5 special attacks. So I can't just UP the DMG of each. That would be pointless. 5 Different degrees of damage. I feel like I'm missing something. Also, I have a combo system, so multiple attacks wouldn't hold any value. Any help?
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johnthedm7000
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Posts: 58


« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 09:07:07 PM »

Just off the top of my head, without knowing much about your system:

If your game allows for tactical movement, special attacks that allow "free" movement in addition to doing damage, could hold some value for positioning and "getting the drop on" adversaries.

If your game has two separate means of measuring hitting and damaging, then have high accuracy low-damage attacks and vice versa. You need to run a lot of math on these to make sure that they're balanced (ie. they do similar levels of damage overall) especially as your game is all about combat, but these attacks can be implemented well and give a character different levels of effectiveness over different types of foes.

If your game has non-damage conditions like "immobilized" or "distracted", have some special attacks that inflict those conditions on another.

Having attacks which end up boosting a character's stats for a short time, like a "defensive" attack that's lower damage but that grants a bonus to avoid or resist damage, or a "set up" attack that provides a bonus to a future attack.

Having attacks which allow you to "bend the rules" of the system. Perhaps the game has a cover system, but only lets you use allies and terrain as cover, this attack could allow you to use enemies as cover. Or perhaps you gain some sort of immunity or resistance to a terrain feature or damage type after using an attack.

Just some ideas really quickly-without knowing more about the system, I can't give you much more than that.

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twztdwndpipe
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Posts: 36


« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 11:36:45 PM »

Lol, sorry for the brief description.

The idea I have is to keep the game focused on mainly action. Less of this "REAL" stuff I keep seeing everywhere. Wall Running, Devil May Cry style multi-aim. Things like that are possible.

I have came up with a few different "Status ailments" lol

Thank you for the High Accuracy / Low Damage idea. You said it would require alot of math to balance. I have the worst time with math. If you could link me to an example, or give an idea. That would be great.

Basically in my Idea. The max stat is a 10.
HP max would be 10,000 thought to keep things interesting.
Atk */10
Combo */10
Def */10
Break */10
Balance */10

Those are the basic attributes for battle. More may come, some may go.
A friend and I put together an rpg on the most basic stats and basic concept just for jokes. My players also aren't the best at math. So I try to keep the players from calculating anything. Stats are determined by a D10.

I have a feeling someone is gonna throw a fit about the simplicity being a waste of time....
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twztdwndpipe
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 11:37:33 PM »

Forgot to say thank you for the help! Sorry!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 05:31:35 AM »

Hi there,

I think your question about a special attack's purpose is very important. I suggest that you examine whether you're falling victim to a legacy rule.

Most RPGs have critical hit rules. It may interest you to know that "natural 20!" with special damage effects was not actually a rule in early forms of D&D and related games; it was found in the (roughly) 5% fumble and 5% critical rules of RuneQuest and a few other games. It was ported into D&D play as a house-rule and may have first appeared textually in the Arduin Grimoire. (I do not know the precise history of the rule; if someone has researched it, I'd love to know about the results.) Since then, it's been included rather slavishly in many systems.

However, what about a combat and damage system which already accounts for high, possibly lethal or maiming damage? When I played Champions, we often rolled upwards of 12d6, even 15d6 for damage. With that many dice, the strong bell curve produced consistent results - but sometimes, just enough to notice, you'd get a balls-out damage roll that produced, say 60+ STUN on 12d6. To hit in Champions, you roll 3d6 seeking to equal or be under a target number. I noticed in discussions with many players across many groups that few, if any, treated 3 as a mechanical critical or an 18 as a mechanical fumble, i.e., directly affecting the damage roll. We almost all house-ruled special Color into such rolls, but since the damage roll already operated as its own "critical" or "just a graze" via the magnitude and curvature of the roll results, there wasn't much need to shoehorn in a connection to the to-hit roll.

It may be that you already have a desirable, dramatic, and consequential damage system in place. In that case, the best way to look at "special hits" is to say, if you end up with a highly-effective damage effect through the existing system, then you got a special hit, with no need for further designated mechanics.

Best, Ron
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twztdwndpipe
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 10:39:06 AM »

I might be terrible at math, but I had a teacher explain the bell curve back in high school. Thank you for the info.

My damage, unfortunately, is a set number. There is no rolling for damage. Again, my friends are not the best at math and eliminating as much counting for them will improve the experience for them.

Also, The NAT20 rule isn't the case of a special attack being unleashed. Special attacks would use Spirit (mana of a sort) just like a magic spell of some sort. Special attack/Technique whatever you would call it.

So far I have things like Flash Step and wall running for movement techniques. I just feel like I'm really missing a reason for players to bother getting special attacks all together. What is their drive, what makes the attack worth the exp to buy it? I was hoping for some kind of idea. I honestly think I'm asking for something that doesn't exist. I can't quite grab the words from the air to better explain myself either.

Thank you for the bell curve info though. I will find more and learn to use it to improve my system. Thank you so much!
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Jason J. Patterson
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2010, 12:39:11 PM »

This sounds like you're taking inspiration from anime and maybe some video games, so I'd say look to these sources and see what these attacks are used for in these cases. What DO these special attacks accomplish, and do the conditions exist in your game, or are the outcomes possible in your game, mechanically or narratively?

What are some examples of these attacks, from before the attack, to during, and then after, to post here, and then maybe look at your system and typical situations players will find their characters in, and decide how far away from the source situations the RPG situations are and if the two ever shall meet.

You may be looking for a narrative-based concept and not know it - have you checked out Dan Bayn's Wushu Open RPG? You might be wanting to implement something similar in your overall game but feeling restricted by game mechanics rather than "coolness" factor of player creativity, and I admit, it is hard to stay "up" all the time to keep up the action on games like those.
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twztdwndpipe
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Posts: 36


« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2010, 03:33:31 PM »

Wushu! JEEEZ! I couldn't remember what it was called. I was going to try to see what it was like and get some ideas. Thank you!

Also, Anime Video games, Yeah. That hits the nail on the head. lol. I've been watching alot to see what ideas I could get. So far, things have been a semi-challenge, but it's starting to pan out after I came up with a system to make the attacks balanced, along with give a few different ideas on how to fight.


I've introduced Balance/Juggling/Crumpling

A method of knocking your opponent off his feet and either beating him up, or beating him down.

A Grip idea, for knocking the players weapon out of their hand.

Only things I need to figure out now are some more mechanics of fighting, I'm going to look up different fighting styles and see what their methods are. I.E. Disarming an opponent, ground fighting, other styles

I'm also going add in, Offensive and Defensive fighting.

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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2010, 03:40:14 PM »

I'll feel stupid for asking this - is this game shooting for a gamist direction? Or atleast were talking about player skill playing a significant part?

Are the players actually choosing from amongst these special attacks?

Quote
Each character would have 4 or 5 special attacks. So I can't just UP the DMG of each. That would be pointless.
The cardgame 'lunch money' does that, with fixed damage on each card, with various values of damage on them. Randomness comes from what cards your dealt. It isn't pointless there.

As an example of what I'm talking about, if your players rolled to see which two of the five attacks they may use (they then pick amonst those two), then simple increments of damage make a good point. Or just roll to see which single special attack. Or some other variation.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2984


« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2010, 05:19:00 AM »

Legend of the Five Rings and Seventh Sea both have very well developed special attack systems.  Seventh Sea is probably the better example, in which many of them work by manipulating things other than damage or hit probability.  So they influence when you can act, within the framework of initiative, or they allow the benefits of holding on to an action for later, or piule two attacks in together, that sort of thing.  Other effects mnight be achieveing a wrestling type hold, or trapping a weapon, or being able to strike multiple targets, etc.

As a general observation, I would suggest that the simpler your overall combat system, the less space there is for special attacks.  The more moving parts in the basic system there are, the more angles there are for special effects to be introduced.
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 08:54:09 AM »

While Damage seems to be a key component I would say look t other game variables. When I think of a fighting game I generally think tactics. Thinks like Trips, Knock Back, Reduced mobility, immobilization, stunning the foe etc. Another thing to consider is Risk versus Reward. This is where damage can be reintroduced as a factor, bigger damaging hits suffering a penalty to hit. Also there is a style component, while you might have a character with a devastating single attack that is slow but hard to land, you might also have an attack that does little damage but lets the character keep attacking until he misses (each hit resolved separately and with a increasing difficulty to land, yes I summoned up my inner Chung-Li for that statement). However, these kind of difficulty factors should not just apply to how a damage is applied, an attack with multiple status effects should be more difficult to deliver than an attack with a single effect. 

What you may consider is listing out all the possible conditions that may affect a fight. Then create a list of special moves based on them. Possibly followed by a second list with multiple effects. Take that and bump it up against normal attack damage and use that to create your damage focused special moves. Hope this helps you.
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twztdwndpipe
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Posts: 36


« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 02:08:21 PM »

Certified!

That is what I've started doing. After I sat down two nights ago. I really started thinking, and researching. So far so Good. It's coming out quite strong! Ideas are getting there. And I'm coming up with more and more ways to tweak it. I'm adding good mechanics that are easy to glance at for ideas without over complicating it. Plus theres always play testing!
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 02:49:00 PM »

Very nice. As I read your post I saw you mentioned:

Quote
I'm adding good mechanics that are easy to glance at for ideas without over complicating it.

This is something to keep a careful eye towards. Hopefully the system you are designing can handle these varied attacks without too many exceptions to the rules. One thing that I find becomes cumbersome is when a game stops to look up specific mechanics for specialized attacks. Becasue the game you are designing is focused on combat thew special techniques and moves should blend into the rules not create exceptions to them. This way as combats go on and people start throwing out stranger and stranger attacks game play does not slow down to reference how things work.
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twztdwndpipe
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Posts: 36


« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2010, 03:56:16 PM »

I call my Systems "Gauges"

They basically work as if you have a gauge on how well your holding your sword.
How well your balanced.

When they run out, Like a life bar, your penalized. I.E. dropping your weapon, falling over,
I was going to work on a guard break gauge or some other ideas, but the steam is slowly rolling out.
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dindenver
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2010, 10:25:46 PM »

Twztd,
  If you are not feeling up to doing the maths, there is another approach.

  Have Special defenses and Special attacks. Then you just have to balance the Defenses and the Attacks.

  A cheesy example of this might be something like this:
Special Defense: Low Guard
Benefit: Character is immune to Low attacks.

Special Attack: Low Onslaught
Damage: Normal
Special: Double Damage vs Low Guard

Both of these moves provide a benefit, and a risk. they balance each other and have almost no effect against most other attacks.

Does that make sense? does that help any?
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Dave M
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