Monday, 27 August 2012

Giving fighters a once-over

Following last week's post on adapting Vancian magic, here's a general response to the recent discussion on fighters in early D&D, especially customisation. It's an even simpler suggestion.

In the course of character creation anyone playing a fighter can give a summary of a few words on the character's philosophy, specific school, fighting style, preferred techniques etc.

Before each attack, and consistent with this summary, the player can very briefly state how exactly the fighter makes the attack, what one additional effect the fighter aims to achieve etc.

For example, a fighter whose master emphasises positioning may declare a strike is also intended to turn the foe, or pressure an individual back, or draw one opponent off.

If the attack succeeds by a margin of a quarter the range of the die or more (e.g. 2 if a D6, 5 if a D20, or 25 if a D100), the usual result and the stated effect are applied. If the attack fails by this margin instead, the DM / GM may apply a relevant adverse effect.

You can tinker with effect power, and make it higher if you already use a similar system without a margin. It might be decided a given effect needs a further check of some kind.

This gives a player explicit scope for customisation and creative input in general combat, and there's automatic improvement as character skill rises. It could be used as a more overt mechanical basis for related interactions like shaming, angering or persuasion.

It could work in wargaming too, even without a referee if the players agree effects first.


Chris C. said...

I like this idea -- simple but opening up a lot of possibilities.

Porky said...

Thanks, I'm glad you do. It seems a good compromise. There's expression of character and clear options, but it's still wide open. In more divisive terms, it's a nod to the new school in an old school style, and hopefully shows they're closely related and compatible. To risk a bit of current old school terminology, it encourages player agency and favours rulings over rules.