First, my assumptions and principles:
- Brawling should work like other combat and not have a complicated separate system like the 1e grappling rules.
- Bonuses and penalties should be kept low. Death to fiddly numbers!
- Nope, I'm not going to give up 1d6 damage for all melée weapons.
- ... But clearly, most fist fights don't end in death.
- ... But on the other hand, there's a slim chance of death in real life fist fights.
- Situation rolls are a good mechanic for additional effects.
- Fighters should have an edge.
For real damage, rather than using a fractional multiplier (for example: 1/4th of damage is real, 3/4ths is non-lethal,) I'd rather use an Avoid Danger roll for the victim. To keep the number of dice rolls to a minimum, I'd make the attacker's damage roll into the victim's Avoid Danger roll. In the past, I've talked about treating this as a Change Situation roll, but it seems more reasonable to treat the damage roll as an effectiveness roll, with higher damage being worse for the target; otherwise, you get fighters only doing real damage on their worst punches.
I'd also like to modify some of the ideas I've had about using armor class.
So, here's the summary of the rules for punching or kicking:
- Roll a standard attack roll;
- If successful, roll 1d6 for damage, but this is tallied separately as "non-lethal damage";
- Damage roll is also the victim's Avoid Danger roll; on a 6, an unarmored victim takes 1 point of real damage;
- Fighters are better at brawling than other classes; on a 6, any victim takes 1 point of real damage, but the Fighter takes the same damage unless wearing equal or better hand protection (boxing glove vs. leather armor, steel gauntlet vs. metal armor;)
- If real damage + non-lethal damage => hit points, victim is unconscious;
- Victim only dies if real damage => hit points, just like normal;
- Instant KO if damage + victim's AC => Constitution;
- All non-lethal damage disappears after 1 turn of rest.
Edit: Per the discussion with zornhau, here are the change to rules 3 and 4:
3: on a 6, victim takes 1 point of real damage, regardless of character class or armor worn;
4a: on a 6, attacker takes a point of damage unless wearing proper hand protection;
4b: Fighters have the option to do 1d6 real damage *OR* 1d6 non-lethal damage, but still take 1 point of damage on a roll of 6.