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Old 04-24-2019, 10:57 PM   #1
Varyon
 
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Default Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

Something thatís been bouncing around in the back of my head for a bit, and that a recent thread made me think more on, are some options for higher resolution combat. Now, this isnít nearly as intense as things like my Initiative and Combat Posture Overhauls - Iím thinking of doing things a bit more simplistically.

First off, Dual/Multi-Weapon Attacks - or, more specifically, not taking full advantage of them. Iím thinking it might be appropriate to designate one or more limbs as ďdefensiveĒ when you declare your maneuver. Said limb cannot be used to attack, work a lever, etc during that round, and if used for such next round is at -1 to skill. During a round in which itís designated as defensive, however, it is at +1 to defend (maybe even +1.5, to give characters with odd skill levels a boost). If you designate one leg as defensive, they both must be, and you lose the option to Step or Move outside of a Retreat (an exception for characters with Extra Legs - you can still Step or Move so long as you designate no more legs than you could lose without falling, and while so designated your movement rate is reduced as though theyíd been crippled). Designating both of your legs (or all of them, if you have Extra Legs) as defensive also gives a +1 to Dodge. Note it might be more realistic for limbs used to attack to suffer a defense penalty, but Iím more inclined to offer carrots than sticks.

Next up, opportunistic attacks. Something that can happen in real fight or fictional fights - but doesnít in GURPS - is that youíll find yourself in a position where an otherwise-suboptimal attack (pommel strike, stabbing with the dagger in your offhand, etc) has a better chance of connecting than your preferred attack. Rather than wasting time rolling each round to see what is the best attack for the round, I think it would be best to allow the player to actually declare an opening has presented itself, but only every so often. Basically, the player declares there has been an opening for a specific attack and rolls 1d - the result is the bonus such an attack enjoys, but attempting any other attack instead is at an equal penalty. There are a few caveats. First off, the declared attack must be specific - not just ďhit him with my knife,Ē but ďstab him in the Vitals with my knife.Ē Secondly, if used in conjunction with Rapid Strike or similar, you designate which attack in the sequence is taking advantage of this, and only that attack is affected (so for a 3-attack maneuver, if you designate the second attack and stabbing in the Vitals with the knife, the first and third attacks are unconstrained and suffer neither an additional penalty nor bonus). Finally, if the GM disagrees the attack is suboptimal (such as if itís actually being done with the weapon that deals the most damage, or that you have the highest skill in), he can ask the player to reconsider. If the player opts to declare anyway, the bonus (but not penalty) is reduced by 3, to a minimum of +0. The GM may make an exception here if itís actually the character using their best weapon in a suboptimal way. For example, in a high-altitude aerial battle against a foe with Flight (Winged), aiming at the wings is often by far your best bet (since wings tend to be unarmored, and what would be a Major Wound on the torso will basically instakill your target by crippling his wing and leaving him to plummet to his death), so he might allow for a swing to the neck or stab to the torso to take full advantage of this, even if itís with your best weapon. Opportunistic Attack has a ďcool downĒ of 2 seconds, and the GM may decide you either canít use the same striking surface more than once in a battle, or it has a longer cool down of 9 seconds (so you could declare for an opportunistic knife thrust to Vitals, act normally the next 2 rounds, then declare for an opportunistic pommel bash to the skull, but trying to use an opportunistic attack with the knife isnít an option until 9 rounds since the first have passed).

Finally, and related to the above, are unexpected attacks. When making an Opportunistic Attack that imposes at least a -1 for Deceptive, you may also claim it to be an unexpected attack. This is dependent upon the GMís agreement, and must truly count as unexpected. Examples include dropping your sword and then punching your foe in the face, striking with a hidden weapon, missing with a thrusting attack and following up with a draw cut, etc. If making an Unexpected Attack, the player can either have that attack benefit from a free Feint attempt, or can make the Deceptive Attack give a -2 to defense for every -3 to attack. Typically only usable once in a given battle, although the GM may allow for the same trick to work on multiple foes, or different tricks to work on the same foe.

So, in summary:
Defensive Limb: Declare a limb as only usable for defense that round, get a +1 to defense with it but suffer -1 to attack if you use it for an attack next round.
Opportunistic Attack: Declare a suboptimal attack as opportunistic to enjoy a +1d bonus to hit with it (but changing your mind means an equal penalty with the attack you do use). Usable generally once every 3 seconds, or once every 10 seconds for a given striker.
Unexpected Attack: A Deceptive Opportunistic Attack involving trickery. Grants either a free Feint or a better exchange rate for Deceptive Attack (-3/-2 instead of -2/-1). Usable once per combat.


What does the hivemind think?
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:54 AM   #2
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

It occurs to me it may be worthwhile for me to explain the purpose of these rules. Defensive Limb (which really needs a better name) is primarily to give characters with Dual/Multi-Weapon Attack a reason not to use all of the attacks this entitles them to. Opportunistic Attack is to incentivize players to use different attacks than usual, like striking with the pommel of the sword (or targeting anywhere other than the wings in an aerial battle). Unexpected Attack is for allowing interesting maneuvers often seen in fiction that otherwise don't have much place in GURPS. It replaces the "Hidden Weapons" rule from DF (and its predecessor in MA). These rules should probably be considered cinematic (while they're meant to give a nod to realism - it's easier to defend with a shield if you're not also using it to bash someone in the face, opportunities to use specific attacks do come up in combat, and unexpected attacks are certainly possible - the implementation and true reasons behind them I feel push them over the edge to cinematic).
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Opportunistic Attack: Declare a suboptimal attack as opportunistic to enjoy a +1d bonus to hit with it (but changing your mind means an equal penalty with the attack you do use). Usable generally once every 3 seconds, or once every 10 seconds for a given striker.
How about Deceptive Attack (Opportunistic), which works as usual (-1 to target AD per -2) , but instead of penalty to target AD you get on your next turn bonus to attack equal to 1+ worst [Enemy AD MOF or Deceptive Attack penalty]. You can't achieve that bonus for weapon which initiated DA (Opportunistic) (say, if you initiated DA (opportunistic) by stabbing enemy with broadsword so you don't get bonus for stabbing or cutting with same broadsword, but get it for hilt punches and armed grappling with that sword), and this bonus can be used only to overcome penalties. And of course no bonus if enemy makes his active defense rolls.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

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Originally Posted by Paydalanw View Post
How about Deceptive Attack (Opportunistic), which works as usual (-1 to target AD per -2) , but instead of penalty to target AD you get on your next turn bonus to attack equal to 1+ worst [Enemy AD MOF or Deceptive Attack penalty]. You can't achieve that bonus for weapon which initiated DA (Opportunistic) (say, if you initiated DA (opportunistic) by stabbing enemy with broadsword so you don't get bonus for stabbing or cutting with same broadsword, but get it for hilt punches and armed grappling with that sword), and this bonus can be used only to overcome penalties. And of course no bonus if enemy makes his active defense rolls.
That's a Setup Attack (Pyramid #3/52) with reduced effect and additional constraints. The benefit of using Setup Attack over Deceptive Attack - since any Setup Attack that imposes a defense penalty to the next attack would have hit if it were a Deceptive Attack instead - is that you can attack a low-priority, high-DR target (like the Torso) with the Setup, then go after a high-priority, low-DR target (like the Neck) without needing to sacrifice as much skill on Deceptive Attack. I feel your suggestion for Deceptive Attack (Opportunistic), which by necessity would need to replace Setup Attack, would be ultimately unusable - you'd be far better off just using Deceptive Attack with your best attack.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Next up, opportunistic attacks. Something that can happen in real fight or fictional fights - but doesnít in GURPS - is that youíll find yourself in a position where an otherwise-suboptimal attack (pommel strike, stabbing with the dagger in your offhand, etc) has a better chance of connecting than your preferred attack. Rather than wasting time rolling each round to see what is the best attack for the round, I think it would be best to allow the player to actually declare an opening has presented itself, but only every so often. Basically, the player declares there has been an opening for a specific attack and rolls 1d - the result is the bonus such an attack enjoys, but attempting any other attack instead is at an equal penalty.
First: have you seen this? http://serendipity-engine.appspot.com/

Second: that sounds really abusable if an attacker can declare an opening. That seems like what deceptive attacks and setup attacks could represent.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

I've played around with a variation of the opportunistic attack idea before. I made it a random location rather than a declared location.

Which weapon to use isn't something I ever really decided on. One version was to give any melee attack going for a random hit location +1. I've played around with only weapons that do crushing thrust damage getting a bonus, or anything that is not the "Main" weapon, but I don't think I ever really arrived at a solution that felt "Final". I've also thought about giving an attack bonus for non-main attacks (if I can ever properly define that)
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

What I came up with for "unexpected" attacks:
Quote:
Deceptive Attacks and Feints are more effective when originating from a "non-standard" attack type (FREX, kicking or pummeling when using a broadsword), and the defender is unfamiliar or inexperienced; if either succeeds, add an extra -1 to the target's defense penalty. Treat as "Familiarity," B169. An appropriate Style Familiarity Perk grants familiarity with all such ruses normally associated with that style, in addition to providing its listed bonus, as described.
Precedent: "Reverse Grip," MA112. I also allow the same for left-handed fighters against right-handed, or vice versa.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:59 AM   #8
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
First: have you seen this? http://serendipity-engine.appspot.com/
Interesting. That was sort of my first thought, but I felt letting the player decide would be faster and more fun (although that webapp would speed things up markedly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
Second: that sounds really abusable if an attacker can declare an opening. That seems like what deceptive attacks and setup attacks could represent.
"Opening" is more fluff text than anything - mechanically, it's just a +1d to attack. In fact, now that I think of it, it might be possible to build as an Advantage, based on Blessed (Heroic Feats, DX). It replaces Limited Use (1/day) with Requires Recharge (3 seconds) - the former implies the ability would be worth [25] normally, and I'd call the latter -5% (5 second recharge is -10%). Going from 3d seconds to a single action I'd call 1/20th duration (1/10th would allow it to benefit all rolls involving DX - attack, defense, acrobatics, etc - for one second; a further 1/2 for "single action" rather than "all actions that round" seems fair), for -25%. Aspected, Attack Rolls would be -20%. Only being able to use it at full power for "suboptimal" attacks (and the increased delay between using the same weapon twice) would probably be a -5% Nuisance Effect (although I could be convinced to increase that to -10%). I think that covers all the caveats, so based on a theoretical [25] Advantage, we're looking at -50% (or -55%), for [13] (or [12]) after rounding up. I'd honestly be tempted to just call it a new version of Blessed and mark it at [10] or [15]. Granting that for free to everyone as a campaign Advantage shouldn't be terribly unbalancing (and many enemies - at least Bosses, possibly Worthies, to use DF terminology - would also have access to it).

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I've played around with a variation of the opportunistic attack idea before. I made it a random location rather than a declared location.

Which weapon to use isn't something I ever really decided on. One version was to give any melee attack going for a random hit location +1. I've played around with only weapons that do crushing thrust damage getting a bonus, or anything that is not the "Main" weapon, but I don't think I ever really arrived at a solution that felt "Final". I've also thought about giving an attack bonus for non-main attacks (if I can ever properly define that)
I think it would actually work fairly well to, rather than legally define a "main" attack, just let the GM and player figure that out. Basically, they player says "Hey, I know X is my best bet here, but I want to use Opportunistic Attack with Y instead," and the GM either agrees and lets him apply the full 1d to Y, or disagrees and has him apply 1d-3 (min 0) to Y instead. An important note, of course, is that the player isn't required to use that Opportunistic Attack if the GM disagrees - he could switch to another one, or just use X (which he thought was better anyway, even if the GM felt the two were equivalent) or Y without the Opportunistic Attack bonus.

I also considered the random location option, but felt it would be unsatisfying in play.

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What I came up with for "unexpected" attacks:
Precedent: "Reverse Grip," MA112. I also allow the same for left-handed fighters against right-handed, or vice versa.
I considered just that as well, using the same precedent, but wanted to expand it out. Note my suggestion gives the same result if you're going for a -6/-3 attack (both versions turn that into a -6/-4 one). I'm somewhat tempted to make them equal at the -4/-2 level (where they'd both be -4/-3), but feared that, combined with the +1d of Opportunistic Attack, that might be a bit much. As it stands, turning the full Opportunistic Attack into an Unexpected Attack gives an average of -2.33 to defense, and each further -1 from normal skill is -0.67 to defense. If I went with -4/-3, those become -2.625 and -0.75, respectively.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:08 AM   #9
Andreas
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

Opportunities for opportunistic attacks can happens for a few different reasons. One important one is that an opponent focuses on defending against a particular kind of attack at the expense of defense against other attacks. For example, someone with armor covering everything except the head focusing on defending the head at the expense of other parts.

A simple rule could be that during your maneuver you are allowed to declare that you are focusing on defending against a particular set of attacks. This gives -2 to all other defenses.

If the set of attacks you are focusing on is much smaller than the rest of them (GM judgement), you get +2 to defense against those attacks. Otherwise you get + 1 to defense (unless the set of attacks focused upon are much larger than the rest, then you get nothing).
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:27 AM   #10
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Higher-Resolution Combat - Feedback Requested

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Opportunities for opportunistic attacks can happens for a few different reasons. One important one is that an opponent focuses on defending against a particular kind of attack at the expense of defense against other attacks. For example, someone with armor covering everything except the head focusing on defending the head at the expense of other parts.

A simple rule could be that during your maneuver you are allowed to declare that you are focusing on defending against a particular set of attacks. This gives -2 to all other defenses.

If the set of attacks you are focusing on is much smaller than the rest of them (GM judgement), you get +2 to defense against those attacks. Otherwise you get + 1 to defense (unless the set of attacks focused upon are much larger than the rest, then you get nothing).
I've considered that before (although the linked system's a bit finicky). One of the purposes of Opportunistic Attacks is to encourage players to change up their attacks (punching/kicking someone during a swordfight, using a shield bash, etc), which would be difficult just from a focusing of defenses. Note my Opportunistic Attack suggestion could be used in combination with any sort of focusing of defenses, either to offset the bonus ("I found an opening to strike the Lich's phylactery with my dagger!") or to make further use of the penalty ("His weapon arm is open to attack, and I'm in just the right position to break his wrist with a kick!").
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