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Combat Tricks and Stunts: Microlite74 vs Microlite81

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CombatCombat Tricks and Stunts can make an otherwise boring combat more interesting, not to mention giving an advantage to those who come up with (and successfully pull off) a good one. Unfortunately, they were a bit complex to use in Microlite74, requiring an attack roll at a large minus from the attacker and a defense roll by the target. There was a slight advantage for fighting classes, but not much of one. Here's the rules from Microlite74:

Combat Tricks/Stunts: Declare what the trick/stunt attack is going to do. It could be anything from knocking a weapon from your opponent's hand to blowing his hat off or extinguishing a lantern. Other possibilities could be stapling the target to the wall through his clothing with a thrown weapon, tying him up with a bola, tripping him and so on.

The attack roll is made at -8 (-6 for fighting classes). If the roll is successful and the target is alive and aware of the attack, the target makes a defense roll (a normal attack roll) against a DC equal to the adjusted attack roll (with the to hit penalty). If the defense roll fails, the target suffers the exact effect described. If the defense roll succeeds, then the attack is treated as a normal attack against the target’s AC (with the penalty), which may result in normal damage. Option: The defense roll is automatically failed if the target has a combat stance of Active Attack or Full Attack.

Against an inanimate object, if the attack roll (with the penalty) is successful, the stunt works. No defense roll is needed.

I've never really liked those rules. They work fine in play, but I really have never been happy with those rules. They make combat stunts harder than I would like for fighting classes and, perhaps, easier than they should be for non-fighting classes. In Microlite81, I'd really like to see the fighting classes (those with a non-zero Fighter Bonus) have a pretty good chance of success with combat stunts while making them hard (but not impossible) for other classes to pull off. I'd also like to simply the procedure a bit. Having both the attacker and the defender making rolls is a bit too much, especially when the defender, more often than not, is going to be a monster or NPC so the defense rolls becomes just something else for the GM to figure and roll.

As the highest Fighter Bonus is +5 in Microlite81 and the B/X system is fond of using a d6 roll to decide things, I came up with a way to use the Fighter Bonus and a d6 roll to for fighting classes. A fighting class character just describes their stunt and (assuming the GM doesn't say it's impossible) rolls their normal attack roll. If it hits, it will (at least) do normal damage and the player tries to roll the character's Fighter Bonus or less on a d6. If he succeeds, the combat trick works.

Characters with a Fighter Bonus of zero, can still attempt a combat stunt. They roll a normal attack roll but have roll over 20 (after modifier, of course) and the roll has to hit the target. If they do, the combat trick works (but no normal damage is done). If they fail the roll both the trick and the attack fail with no damage done.

Here's the draft rule for Microlite81:

Combat Tricks/Stunts: Declare what the trick/stunt attack is going to do. It could be anything from knocking a weapon from your opponent's hand to blowing his hat off or extinguishing a lantern. Other possibilities could be stapling the target to the wall through his clothing with a thrown weapon, tying him up with a bola, tripping him and so on.

The attack roll is made as normal, if the attack roll is a hit, the player rolls 1d6. If he rolls his Fighter Bonus or less on the D6, the combat trick works. If the d6 combat trick roll fails, the character still hits for normal damage.

Characters with a Fighter Bonus of zero, however, will only succeed with a combat trick if they roll at least a 20 on their attack roll (and the roll would hit the target). If they fail to at least roll a 20 and hit the target, both the combat trick and the attack fail.

Comments are welcome!


Cover - Booty and the BeastsThe third Sponsor Microlite81 (and Lords & Wizards) Mini-Drive for RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund is running now. The goal is $500 with the following giveaway items: First Fantasy Campaign (1st Printing), Judge Guild Character Chronicle Cards, Basic Boxed Set (complete including original dice), Expert Boxed Set (complete including original dice), Journey to the Center of the Circle (from Wilmark Dynasty), and The Vampyre's Mirror (also from Wilmark Dynasty). Each $10 donated gives you one chance at one of these items. The top three donors will have a separate drawing for a set of 1st printings of the original three TSR adventure modules (The Giants series as three separate modules: G1, G2, and G3) This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund and sponsorship listings in the upcoming Microlite81 and Lords & Wizards games. To get help us pay our cancer treatment related bills (and to get access to some special downloads and a chance at the above-mentioned items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of 30 July 2013, $115 has been donated in this mini-drive, an additional $385 in donations is needed to trigger the drawings for the items mentioned above.

3 comments:
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Rachel Ghoul said...
July 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM  

I like it. That's a lot more elegant than the Mighty Deeds knockoff I offered up last year.

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Psychman said...
July 30, 2013 at 6:44 PM  

I'm not familiar with Microlite but RuneQuest 6th Edition includes a whole range of "Special Effects" thast can be used when one combatant gets a full level of success over an opponent, either as attacker or defender (you roll for parrying). By level of success I mean Fumble-Fail-Succeesd-Critical. Special effects can include Bleed damage, trip, change range, disarm, stun location, choose location etc. If your game has passive defences ie a to hit target number then maybe if you roll better than the target number by a set amount, say 5 for d20 systems, you could then pick a special effect, in addition to the basic hit. This rewards the higher skill without reducing the chance to successfully hit in the first place. Multiple effects could be applied the higher above the target number, eg 10+ above gets 2 effects, 15+ 3 effects, and keep the more powerful effects such as choose location or "bypass damage reduction" for the higher tiers.

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Randall said...
July 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM  

@Rachel Ghoul: One of my Sunday players just suggested using the same method for FB 0 classes as for FB positive classes, but if they don't roll a 1 on the d6 both stunt and attack fail. This does not make the odds quite as bad on average for FB zero classes, but it avoids having two separate methods. We'll have to playtest it to see how it works in practice.

@Psychoman: The combat systems for Microlite20 games (and for B/X which M81 is based on) aren't nearly that detailed. You hit and miss (and an optional critical on a natural 20) and there is no defender roll to compare things to. It would be possible to use amount rolled over but this would push the game somewhat far from its source. Perhaps as an optional rule, however. Microlite74 is known for its reams of optional rules. I suspect Microlite81 will be as well.

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