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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Combat Table in Two Columns

I really wanted the dice-neutral combat table in the previous post to be even simpler, just two columns. Because, you see, shifting right one column is equivalent to shifting up one row. It seems like a waste to have so many columns. But I couldn’t quite get a format that was easy to read and use that way. What I was thinking was something more like this:

Combat Level Treats This Armor As If No Armor
Normal Man No Armor
Hero Light Armor (Leather)
Champion Medium Armor (Chain/Metal)
Lord Heavy Armor (Plate)
Grand Champion Very Heavy Armor

The way you’d use this would be to look up the attacker’s combat level first, then move across to the armor column, then move up or down to the actual armor type, counting the number of rows shifted up or down. That’s the modifier to the base target number. Again, the base number and modifier size depends on the dice rolled:

Dice Mechanic Target # Modifier per Shift Up/Down
1d6 roll high 3 or more +/- 1 point
2d6 roll high 6 or more +/- 1 point
1d20 roll high 10+ +/- 2 points

For roll under, the target numbers are different and modifiers need to be added to the target number rather than the roll:

Dice Mechanic Target # Modifier per Shift Up/Down
1d6 roll low up to 4 +/- 1 point to target
2d6 roll low up to 8 +/- 1 point to target
1d20 roll low up to 11 +/- 2 points to target

Does this seem less confusing, or more confusing? Can it be fixed just with better wording, or is it not worth it?
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  1. If im reading it right (big if haha), i think a solution when it comes to pure readability would be to have the modifiers themselves be purely additive (+1s). Instead of following the THAC0 model, have it be that armor ranks up from +0 to +4 and have your combat levels use either a to-hit (+0 to +4) to match or a -0 to -4 to counteract. Though it adds numbers i think this system is a bit more grokkable in the general sense

    1. The problem with that is that it goes back to being mechanic-specific. That's the reason why I avoid numbers in the main table: so that it's not specific to one combat system.

  2. I find it easiest to think of it as:

    attack modifier = attacker's combat level - defender's armor level

    Multiply by 2 for d20 systems or have the levels increment by 2.

    1. If I were going with a combat formula, though, I'd just use Target 20. It's the easiest of the math-centric systems.

      What I'm investigating are ways to keep players from thinking about math. That's why I describe using the table in terms of moving up or down the table.

      This does inadvertently give me an idea for getting rid of the Modifier column entirely, though.

    2. Ah. I see. To answer your direct question "Does this seem less confusing, or more confusing?" I think the table in this post is less confusing than the one in the previous post, but the supporting tables still make it a bit elusive to grasp (for new players).

      For what it's worth, I also think both tables are more confusing than the simple (mathematical) difference which they represent. And I think that simple difference is less confusing than Target 20.

      I think the ideas behind the tables are cool. But I'm reminded of the 4th point in the GLOG's design philosophy: "Consolidate ruthlessly. Turn two rolls into one, turn one roll into none. Turn tables into formulas, turn formulas into static numbers."

      I look forward to seeing where the idea for getting rid of the modifier column takes you.

  3. "Turn two rolls into one" = Frequently good.

    "Turn one roll into none" = Rarely good.

    "Turn tables into formulas" = Almost never good.

    "Turn formulas into static numbers" = WHAT?!? Are you serious?