An option for more battle between bloody combat and Fight! Using Mouse guard mechanics
What do you think about an intermediate system between Simple Combat (and bloody combat) and Fight! mechanics? Fight! mechanics is wonderful for duels but handling a lot of PC and NPCS is a nightmare! As a GM having to think as fast than players but for various NPCS is very demanding. I'm aware that Fight! is intended for very special Fights, but I think that simple combat is too simple for my taste for "intermediate" fights. I really love mouse guard and torchbearer conflict mechanics because it has a balance between complexity and simplicity, and promote team work in fights. So I'm thinking about how to marry mouse guard conflict resolution system and Burning Wheel Gold.
This is my idea. First, the players make teams for 1 to 3 members. A team stand a fight till all its member are out for hesitation or death at the end of the exchange. If you have two teams, players vs. NPCS, the fight is over when one team lose all its members. With more teams per side, the fight is over when one side lose all its active teams.
After teaming players, every one define his opponent and make an engagement roll to take advantage (considering Stride and length weapon rating). Disvantages apply as burning wheel gold fight! mechanics.
After that, every team has 3 actions to split between their members and everyone can make actions against their opponent or to build advantages using the four actions available (Attack, Defense, Maneuver and Feint). Every team must build and strategy and assign the action for their members. Members can make an actions or help their team mates.
Actions work very similar as in Mouse guard, but with some changes. Attack inflicts wounds, defense protects against attack and produce advantages to recover advantage during positioning, Maneuver must include some special move to recover advantage in addition to classic benefit. Feint remains without changes. When you receive an attack and hesitate, you lose advantage and you must recover it using an maneuver or during position at the beginning of the next exchange.
If the exchange ends and there are two or more teams alive, the conflicts proceed to next exchange. All players must test for positioning considering advantages in function of their weapon's length as in burning wheel gold (adding stride bonus and weapon bonus to their speed test) and everything go as above in repetition.
Reflexes: In fight! Reflexes defines how many actions you can try during an exchange, but in this case we have only 3 actions available, so I have thought two possible solutions, one simple and one more complex.
Simple solution: At the beginning of combat (only one time for combat) every one rolls for reflexes. Reflexes rolls doesn't count for advancement. Every success generate a "reflex point", gray and white reflexes will generate potentially more points. You can spend reflexes point for benefits: 1 reflex point for +1D in positioning and 2 reflex point for 1 success in actions during combat. This keep things simple but give a valuable resources to character with better reflexes.
Complex solution (and more powerful for higher and lighter reflexes): If everyone in combat has a Black reflex, reflex count as an advantage during positioning (who has higher reflex add +1D to positioning). If there someone with a lighter reflex, he gains automatically advantage over someone with darker reflexes (but can lose it temporally if hesitate) and has an additional action that can perform after 3 actions have been revealed. If two players with grey reflexes fight each other, counts has black reflexes in positioning but both gain an additional action. White reflexes is the same as grey reflexes but with two additional action and always win advantage (over grey and black reflexes). If everyone is grey or white in reflexes, proceed as black reflexes but with no additional actions.
GM's and players must decide what action to use in their game.
Magic: Magic use actions to pace actions for sorcerers. To adapt this for this simplification I consider two things: An equivalence to simplified actions and a special action call it preparation. A consider that 4 action in fight is equivalent to 1 action in this simplification, so spell with 4 or less action requirement can be casted in one single action. A cast action can be an attack, a defense, a maneuver (substituting the maneuver benefits for the spell benefits) or a feint, depending of the spell description (GM must be the arbiter in this before combat, for example, during character creation).
However, if and spell has a action requirement greater than 4 the sorcerer player will need to use 2 or more actions. In this case, the sorcerer need to add "preparation actions" before the cast action, totaling the action requirement for the spell (8 actions spell = 1 preparation action and 1 casting action, 12 actions spell = 2 preparation actions and one casting action and so on).
A preparation action is an special action with no effect and no roll involved and whatever action against a player in a preparation action counts as independent test. The actions for a spell can be completed in a row or in steps during combat, but meanwhile a sorcerer cannot do anything else because he is conjuring his spell. Other character can act between sorcerer action but the action limit of a team is always 3.
For example if a sorcerer need to cast a 3 action spell, can spend two actions during a exchange letting one action for one of their companion and finish the job during the next exchange casting the spell at the beginning of the exchange. If a sorcerer hesitate, he loses the spell and every action dedicated to the spell during the exchange is wasted. For other porpoise, sorcerer character acts as normal character, vying for advantage and considering weapon length.
Holding actions: A player could require to hold an actions to wait that something happen to act. This is especially important in a team with a sorcerer where the sorcerer need protection. Some player can declare that their character will wait until something happens and after that will act with an action. The player need to declare the he is holding and write up the condition and action in a paper, so everyone know that the character is holding but the conditions is revealed only when is met during the combat. This let the team with a holding character effectively with one less action during the hold (so in a team with two or more member, with one member holding, the team will have two actions, no 3). Team with one member cannot act during a hold is maintained. A character cannot act when holding. Ending a holding is free and reflexive, but the action is wasted.
When the condition in a holding is met, the action is executed. The action doesn't count for the 3 action limit for a team and is executed in addition for the planned action when the condition is met.
Optional Rule: Goals
As in Mouse Guard, a fight resolved with this mechanics can have a goals an compromises depending of how bad the winner ends the fight. If the goal of a fight is different of "just kill them all" interesting outcomes can arise. At the beginning of the combat, every team need to define a goal. When the fight ends, depending how many members stand in the winner team will determinate how good is the result for this team.
All members stand: The winner side gets its goal with no compromise
more than 50% member stand: The winner side gets its goal but with a minor compromise
50% or less member stand: The winner side gets its goal but with a major compromise
Draw (both side ends with no member standing): Nobody gets what they want or everyone gets their goals (GM decide, the most fun option must prevail!).
Various team per side: If there are various team per side, the winner team always get the goal. IF various team of the same side prevail, every team get their goal. If both teams have the same goal, consider the best positioned team to estimate compromise.
Ant that is, what do you think? Some changes? Is terrible? Good implementation? Remember that I want more complexity and fun that bloody combat for intermediate battle without footing in a Fight! Terrain. I will appreciate very deeply your comments. Sorry for my English but I'm not native. +Jaime Riquelme +Francisco Cataldo +Francisco Bustos