Oct 29, 2013

Confusion Fu, a.k.a. Unusual Attack Maneuvers

Babbling at the Counter #14 - Pen and Paper 

Confusion Fu, a.k.a. Unusual Attack Maneuvers

Unusual attacks can be a pain in the ass for a GM. If a punch and a sword swing do different amounts of damage (can you believe that?) then dropping a shelve over an enemy should do its own damage too.
I'll give the specific example that brought this to my attention: a friend and I were working on our own system, so I run a "test drive" for him. At first everything went fine. It was when he was chopping some hay golems when he got an idea. Instead of attacking them individually, he wanted to squash them pushing a ruined column. The system was simple enough to allow a Strength check as an attack, but the damage was problematic. As they were flunkies, I ruled instant death, but it opened the door to a full adventure of unusual attacks.

Dropping statues from some flights of stairs, setting straw golems on fire and dropping a giant bell on the final boss were only some of the multiple maneuvers he did. It was like he didn't even wanted to use his damned sword! On the end, I had to drop the whole "damage" aspect of the game and measure the enemies on "moves". “Weaklings” required a single move to kill and could be destroyed in numbers. “Though ones” required one or two moves, but could be attacked one at a time. The Boss was slowly eroded, taking some "status effects" as results of attacks (he immobilized him first, and then stopped it from attacking him physically, though it could still use its magic) and, finally, dying.
The whole HP concept and the Str equation for damage turned out to be useless... but we did manage. So, how do you deal with unusual combat maneuvers? Is there a good system to check out for ideas? I liked mine, but I fell it won't work on more complex systems. Could try, though.

- The Storeman

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