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Djack

An idea I came up with for some engaging close quarter combat that needs feedback.

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Drawn Combat (name subject to change) is brawl / melee combat that is more engaged, and less of trading slashes until someone is dead. Throwing in more than just melee attack to melee attack or brawl, but actual melee combat in which two or more combatants are engaged in the combat. Going into Drawn Combat is incidental, usually a one on one fight that is required to do more than just kill the other person. A close quarters combatant fighting against the group who wishes to garner more information from the group attacking an Imperial Prison for example may conduct this combat on you and or other members of the party and vice versa, a group who may want to find out more information may wish to get into Drawn Combat to minimize the chance of killing an opponent or incapacitating an opponent in a time crunch or something of that nature.

Drawn Combat engages everyone involved into a fight that is changed in mechanics to be more skill against skill than skill against range band. A failure to land a hit is a miss, where an advantage tagged with no net success can be spent to rather have the strike be blocked or parried and grant a strain towards the weapon (which is of course would be predetermined on the weapon's encumberance plus the characters brawn or another system that you believe is fair). An idea of an advantage as to why that may be good is you are hitting the opposing weapon, a long drawn out evenly matched fight could be decided by potentially breaking or wearing down the opponents weapon in, for example, vibrosword to vibrosword combat. 2 advantages could, like in a regular combat situation, let you decide something narrative or grant you a boost with the proper wording, like your hit is blocked but the opponent is pushed back, giving you an opening or an advantage over them. Using two advantage is enough to add two strain points onto the weapon, with a missed attack, or to relieve two strain from yourself, not your weapon like in regular combat.

A weapon cannot relieve strain unless someone well versed in weapon repair fixes it with parts (or however you deem fit, I try to add in KOTOR type repair parts in my games). Also, a ranged weapon could be used as a melee weapon (see: pistol whip) where the damage is the weapon's encumberance + brawn rating, and is similar to how you'd figure out a weapon's strain threshold. I have written a paragraph below to branch out on this idea more.

If a melee weapon has knockdown, you can spend the two advantages to activate your ability just like any other ability in regular combat. However, if you spend 3 advantages on a brawl check, you can knock them down despite not fighting with your hands and fighting sword to sword for example. Think of it as striking an opponent and sweeping them off of their feet with your foot wether you damage them or not with your brawl skill. This would be an incidental roll if you spend your 3 advantages on it, where success means you've knocked them down even if you don't land a hit. Your brawl attack would go against an opposing Athletics or Coordination. Athletics would still have you fall if they failed against your athletics check but you roll out of the way and get back onto your feet, extra threat can add narrative things that would enable them to maybe kick you off your feet or grant them an opening on their next attack or even going as far as causing you to lose your weapon from your grip, whereas Coordination would result in them not falling over and extra threat being a number of things from you taking extra strain for hurting your own foot in the sweep to them potentially stepping on your feet or retaliating with their own blow to your feet potentially causing you to be immobilized for a turn.

Aiming for a specific body part is an extra difficulty and will damage only that limb, a limb's health will be determined by x3 Brawn Rating, but regular damage is added, so a strike doing 7 damage is doing 7 damage after soak to that limb, granting you the ability to harm them without killing. Using a sword in this instance would probably cause the opponent to bleed or whatever the GM decides. Aiming for the head is an extra 2 difficulties and will add 5 damage to your success.

A triumph could be spent to knock the characters weapon out of their hand or even do all damage to the weapon in strain to it.

Spending 3 advantages also could, at your disgression, cause your weapons to lock, giving you a chance to speak to the other person or try to knock them off balance. You spend 3 advantages, blades are locked, the opponent on their turn then must either take an action to commit a melee check which upon success breaks the lock, or if they try to attack while locked, their roll adds 2 difficulty for being locked and success grants them a break of the lock and damage to you. Whereas failure causes them to not only stay locked, but does damage to the failed person's weapon based on net failure and threat, every 2 threat is one point and every failure is one point, also it grants the one who initiated the lock in this instance to gain a boost on their attack. Weapon lock stays for one round, but also has the prepare 1 characteristic, so you cannot continuously back to back retain weapon lock.

Also once in Drawn Combat, anyone attacking someone in Drawn Combat adds 2 difficulty to their attack check (instead of the extra 1 difficulty from attacking someone engaged in regular combat) due to heated close quarters combat. Potentially having them hit their own ally with enough threats or a despair, always GM disgression. To disengage from Drawn Combat, you must either come to a truce with your opponent, defeat your opponent (doesn't mean kill), or declare your withdrawal from the Drawn Combat and move away from the opponent. An opponent is allowed to re-establish Drawn Combat if they can catch up to you and drag you back into it.

Versatile for combat and scenario's sale, you could even bring a gun to a knife fight and make out better if you can beat out the opponent, using your weapon as a club and or a close quarters blaster if available. (Stuck on rither keeping it a melee check adding this next part for ranged combatants fighting in a sort of brawl) You would substitute melee for ranged light and add one difficulty to each place you would do a melee check. Shooting at such short range is dependent on the weapon. Ranged Heavy and gunnery weapons are impossible for Drawn Combat. You can shoot at such in Drawn Combat by adding 1 difficulty to shoot an engaged range blaster in Drawn Combat, 2 difficulty for short range blaster in Drawn Combat, 3 difficulty for medium range weapon opposed by the opponents Athletics or Coordination. The idea for this stems from the idea of getting snuck up on and not having anywhere to run either making you call for help or trying to pummel your opponent before they can get to you. This could also be used for an example of an unarmed combatant trying to grab your weapon and it resulting in two people fighting to grab the weapon like you see in many movies and what not.

I don't know. It's just an idea. I hope what I'm saying translates well. Please let me know what could be better, why it could be better, if you have a better idea for something. Just any feedback. Feel free to use or tweak any ideas if you like it. I've ran it by a couple people and they liked it, so I thought I'd bring it to the community and see how the idea gets ripped to shreds or favored.

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Most of the stuff you describe can be done with the existing combat rules, just by choosing how you narrate the dice results. On first glance, this seems like a lot of complexity and crunch for no real benefit.

What, specifically, are you trying to bring to the game by proposing this house rule?

What do you think is broken that needs this level of complexity and crunch to fix it?

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I tend to feel like a lot of melee to melee combat is very hack and slash with no real ability to have a dramatic fight in the midst of combat or be able to try and battle for more than killing an opponent which of course can be done with regular combat, but, I feel like regular melee combat is a little lackluster in story ideas. It's always to bring the other person down and in a lot of cases, from my experience, kill them off or leave them for dead. I feel like this gives more options on cinematic fights using more checks than just melee in a standing battle between two combatants. That's just how I feel about it and see a lot of combat succumb to more of a video game goal of dispatching your enemy instead of allowing some good storytelling to take place. Especially for those who aren't used to playing tabletop games, it gives some rules or ideas for a more memorable and cinematic fighting sequence. Something similar to the stand off mechanic in Fly Casual.

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Use the narrative dice system. Don't just narrate it as hack and slash. Have creative descriptions for what threats and advantage etc mean. Instead of saying I spend 2 of my advantage to give the stormtrooper a setback. Say I hit him so hard with the butt of my rifle his helmet is knocked a little to the side giving him a setback.  

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A lot of what you're trying to do is covered within the larger scope of the standard combat rules.  Each attack roll isn't a single swing, it's a whole series of strikes, grapples, etc. and the final result is just the net effect.  Things like damaging or seizing carried items is an official use for Advantage and Threat, as is changing combat modifiers for future attacks.  If you want more exciting results from combat rolls, consider allowing both Advantages and Threat to resolve, instead of canceling each other (you might want to spend a Destiny Point to do this and allow players to do the same for their rolls).

 

Opposed skills aren't used for combat because it would be fairly easy to make characters with near-impossible defenses (look at Dark Heresy for example, with it's Dodge/Parry skills) and in any given fight a character even moderately less capable than their opponent would be all but helpless.

 

Include the environment in your fights, and give characters goals other than just capturing or killing each other, that will help push encounters away from "fight 'til one side drops".  I posted this a couple of days ago about space combat, but it's true about melee combat without environmental interaction too; "A dogfight in open space is pretty similar to a firefight in an empty parking lot; the only useful thing to do is shoot and that makes everyone bored and dead".

Edited by Joker Two

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