Saturday, November 16, 2019

Let There Be Blood - An AFF/Troika Inspired One-Roll Combat System

Let There Be Blood

Melee Weapons
Each melee weapon has a small 2-row 1d6 table: one row Attack, the other Defense - similar to this post by Daniel Sell. For example, the reliable (albeit boring) Shortsword's table is like this:

1. 2/0
2. 2/1
3. 3/1
4. 3/2
5. 3/2
6. 4/2

When you declare an attack, roll 2d6 and assign one to each column. For example, you could roll a 3 and a 6. Knowing your enemies have poor damage, you put the 3 into Defense (giving you a Defense of 1) and the 6 into Attack, dealing 4 damage.

Attacks hit automatically, with Defense acting as damage reduction. Your Defense value stays active until your next round, where it reverts to zero.

Dual-wielding lets you roll on both weapon's tables, and take the Defense of one weapon and the Attack of the other. For example, an action with two swords would look like this: one sword rolls 4 and 5, the other rolls 2 and 6. So, you put the first sword's 5 into Defense (giving you a Defense of 2) and put the other sword's 6 into Attack (giving you an Attack of 4).

Ranged Weapons
Ranged weapons have no defense. Instead, they have an Aiming Time column. This value alters the initiative value. For example, the slow, high-damage Longbow's table is like this:

attack/aiming time
1. 3/-3
2. 4/-3
3. 4/-2
4. 5/-2
5. 5/-2
6. 6/-1

So, if you rolled a 3 and a 4, putting the 3 into Aiming Time and the 4 into damage, your Initiative would go down by 2, and you would do 5 damage. The Aiming Time penalty is removed after your turn, and you go back to your normal point in the initiative order.

Armor does not exist.

System Thoughts

This hasn't been playtested yet, but I think it'll have some advantages over the standard to-hit/damage system - it gives melee combat some inherent strategy, gives a similar effect to Oddomatic damage, and helps balance ranged weapons.

While it's harder to make weapons for this system (compared to just "uh... this does 1d10"), it's also easier to make weapons interesting - having axes as high-risk, high reward weapons with swingy damage and low defense, having spears give huge defense (because you're far away) but low damage, etc.

I plan to test this system, clean it up, and put it into my currently unnamed urban fantasy GLOG hack.

Sample Weapons


Axe - Swingy Attack, Low Defense
1. 1/0
2. 1/0
3. 1/1
4. 6/1
5. 6/1
6. 7/2

Spear - Swingy Attack, High Defense
1. 1/1
2. 1/1
3. 2/2
4. 2/3
5. 5/3
6. 5/4

Shield - Low Attack, High Defense
1. 1/2
2. 1/2
3. 1/2
4. 2/3
5. 2/4
6. 2/4

Dagger - Low Attack, Swingy Defense
1. 2/0
2. 2/0
3. 2/1
4. 3/3
5. 3/3
6. 4/4


Shortbow - Low Attack, Fast
attack/aiming time
1. 2/-2
2. 2/-2
3. 3/-1
4. 3/-1
5. 4/-0
6. 4/-0

Crossbow - Swingy Attack, Swingy Speed
attack/aiming time
1. 1/-3
2. 2/-3
3. 2/-2
4. 2/-1
5. 6/-0
6. 6/-0


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting. I always like forcing players into making choices. Would this not make running multiple monsters quite tricky, though? It makes an excellent resource for a single character's player to keep track of, but I can imagine it being taxing recording each monster's chosen defence. Unless, of course, monsters had a static defence?

    1. Monsters will probably end up with static defense and simplified attack, similar to a standard OSR system.

  3. I'm not totally sure I understand this yet, but definitely intrigued. Is it the case that ranged attacks always hit but the timing affects when in the initiative they hit, or is it the case that if their target moves / is moved before the timer, the attack misses?

    The former is more straightforward and probably "safer", but the latter idea is intriguing, and kind of reminds me of the JRPG-style videogame Child of Light. It could be a cool tactical element of the game, or it could just be cumbersome.

    1. I think some way to make a lower initiative more of a penalty would be good - either *the target moved, you miss* or *you took damage, you miss*

  4. Oh man this is really cool! This is the second great system I've read just today, I should find some more and do a review

  5. This is really freaking interesting. It makes differentiating weapons so much more fun and easy than adding a bunch of labels to them.

    I like the idea of armor customization though, so I would probably want to add an armor system in this somehow (maybe giving you a 'base' defence or something). But damn, this is really cool.

    The only thing preventing me from using this right now is that it adds a new kind of roll. I prefer everything to work with a single core mechanic (roll under in my case). But damn is it tempting to make this work somehow.

    1. Way back in my to-do list is a full GLOG hack using this system, with a 2d6 roll-over base system - it's not exactly all the same, but it uses the same dice, and wants high numbers.

      I've gotten a lot of good ideas for armor since I posted this, that I'd use if I ran this.

    2. Reworking it into a 2d6 model would probably work as well. I would feel kinda bad doing that to my group though, after everyone bought the weird dice to play 5e :P

      Would love to see your armor ideas if they ever take more concrete form!

    3. Question: Is the two weapon fighting intentionally supposed to be like permanent advantage? You sacrifice a free hand to do it, and my math might be off here, but it seems really strong.

      I was thinking that maybe it should be more reliable at doing either defence or attack, so you roll 3d6 and take out the middle one, allowing you to use the remaining 2 for 1 weapon each.
      Example: I have a sword and shield and roll a 1, 4 and a 5. I drop the 4 and apply choose to apply the 1 to my shield defence and the 5 to my sword attack.

      But again, maybe this is intended to be a lot better because you cannot carry torches, grapple, etc. without a free hand.


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