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Benjamin Baugh
consequentii imprudentii prima sunt
consequentii imprudentii prima sunt


I goofed this overlong thing as a reply to a post by +Brendan S on making Basic combat feel more like Dark Souls, and ended up making it stupid long, complete with combat example. 

So, it might have legs.  Thought I'd share here to see if anyone had thoughts on its viability.


(reply was to longer convo on how to get the feel for DS into D&D)

What about invulnerability frames?  The DS defense math is something like "spend Stamina and the chance to attack at the right moment to avoid all damage for a brief window" but there are uncertainties there, because if you've not memorized the enemy's pattern, there might be a rapid follow-up attack you have made yourself more vulnerable to, and you might have missed a vulnerable window in the enemy's animation routine which you could have exploited. 

Dodging also acts as a form of movement - dodging can take you out of range as well as render you briefly invulnerable during dodge animations. 

The element of patience and skill is essential to emulate the DS experience - learning what monsters can do, and then learning when to employ your tricks with the best possible timing. 

I think you need to play with the timing structure a bit. 

What about something a bit like Feng Shui's Shot Clock action ordering or Exalted's tick system? 

Each kind of action has a shot cost - the number of initiative counts between initiation and execution.  Some actions are Resilient - they can not be interrupted.  Some are Fragile - they can be interrupted. 

Everyone starts acting on a shot of d10 minus Dex modifier.

DM counts up from 0, and players sing out when they are on their next declaration phase or their next resolution phase.  A visual guide can help here - with counters or something. 

Run Stamina off HP or off a new point total.  Each action costs you some stamina.  For simplicity, lets say Stamina cost is the same as shot cost, though it would probably need tweaking in the actual game.  And lets say, again keeping things simple, that Stamina is generated the same as HP.    

Basic combat moves are (totally napkinbacking here)...

Light Attack - 1 shot (R)
Heavy Attack - 3 shots (F)
Shoot Light Weapon - 1 shot (F)
Shoot Heavy Weapon - 3 shots (F)
Reload Crossbow - 1 shot (F)
Reload Heavy Crossbow - 3 shots (F)
Parry (with weapon) - 2 shots, interrupts, adds to shot count for next action (R)
Block (with shield) - 1 shot, interrupts, adds to shot count for next action (R)
Dodge (move short distance, invulnerable during dodge count) - 2 Shots (R)
Use Simple Device (drink potion etc 1 shot (F)
Use complex device (wand, etc) 3 shots (F)
Shenanigans 3 shots (F)
Recover (gain back Stamina/HP) - 1 per d6 recovered (F)
Cast Spell - 1 per spell level (F)
Turn Undead - 1 per HD of undead (F)
Run - 1 shot per 10 move (R)
Sprint - 1 shot per 20 move (F)
Disengage & Flee - 3 shots (F)
Hurry - special - reduce shot cost by 1 to a minimum of 1 for double stamina cost

Get hit during a (F) action, and make a save or the action is spoiled, and the shots wasted. 

Count Stamina with beads or tokens to make it less a erasing and rewriting pain in the ass. 

A loose example...

Carnaki the Mage - HP 6, STAM 5, Sleep, Magic Missile, Invisibility.  Dagger d4/d6.   AC 10
Rockneck the Dwarf - HP 16, STAM 20, AC 2, Warhammer d6/d8, Shield (allows Block, improves AC) 
Pamplemousse the Thief - HP 9, STAM 8, AC 6, Sword d6/d8, short bow d6


Loosebowels Slaughterfoot - Goblin Boss - HP 12, STAM 10, AC 4, Twin Swords (d6+2/d8+2)
Screev - Goblin Goon - HP 4, STAM 4, AC 8, Sword d6/d8
Retch - Goblin Goon - HP 4, STAM 4, AC 8, Sword d6/d8
Ache - Goblins Goon - HP 4, STAM 4, AC 8, Sword d6/d8    

The adventurers walk into a embarrassing domestic scene, in which Loosebowels Slaughterfoot's mistress and wife both leave him at the same time.  He's feeling disgruntled, and hopes some violence will stop his goons from tittering at him.  Reaction checks fail.  Fight!

Starting shots fall out thusly. 
Pamp - 2
Screev - 4
Carnaki - 5
Loosebowels - 5
Rockneck - 6
Retch - 7
Ache - 7

Pamplemousse elects to leap into the shadows, trying to hide for later ambush stabbing.  That's a 3 count Fragile action falling under Shenanigans.  So, for count 2, 3, 4 Pamp is maneuvering into hiding, breaking line of sight, and generally doing her thief thing.  On 5, the effect goes off, and she's hidden (or not - depends on how punishing you want the difficulty to be... I'd probably make most checks easier under this scheme).  If tagged during that time, she has to save or the attempt to hide is spoiled, and the count wasted.  This costs her 3 STAM. 

Screev goes for a heavy attack on Rockneck, the most obvious threat - and really, given the chance a goblin is ALWAYS going to try and shank a dwarf.  That's a 3 count action, so for 4, 5, 6, the goblin goon is winding up to strike a mighty blow. 

Carnaki prepares to cast Magic Missile, which costs 1 shot so for count 5  he's invoking the Demon Wasps of Ultrathule.  When cast, he can elect to hold the spell, releasing it as an interrupt at any time (though he can't cast again while holding the spell).  Magic Missile is ideal for breaking the action of others.  So, he might use it to zing Loosebowles if the goblin boss looks to be about to split somebody's head. 

Loosebowels acts at the same time as the mage, going for Heavy on Rockneck too.  He commits both swords for plus 2 damage, so can't use either for parrying.  He is swinging heavy for 5, 6, 7 and the attack goes off on 8. 

Rockneck is a smart one, so he elects for a light attack on Loosebowels, trying to hammer the gobo before the heavy attack falls, so he can break it.  He's striking on count 6, and the attack goes off on 7.     

Retch goes for the thief, with a light attack.  He lunges on count 7, attack resolves on 8. 

Ache holds back, moving to block the door the party came in through.  That's a 1 count action to move 10, so moving for 7, arriving on 8. 

Pamp's hide resolves on 5, and is successful - she's hidden in shadows now, and now Retch's action is invalidated because his target has vanished.  Sucks to be you, gobo. 

Carnaki's conjures his magic, and has the demon wasp circling his upraised hand, ready to be released at will for no additional shot count. 

Screev and Rockneck resolve on the same shot.  Screev would have hit, but Carnaki unleashes the wasp which stings for 4 damage, hitting automatically, and Screev blows his save.  The attack on Rockneck becomes a graceless flailing at the demon wasp. 

Rockneck attacks and hits Loosebowels for 5 damage, and the gobo blows the save spoiling his heavy attack.  The big goblin falls back, cursing and shitting himself in a fury, his name earned once again. 

Ache moves to block the door... though now, maybe he'll be using it to escape through himself, if Morale is checked on first blood. 


And so it goes.

Messing with timing becomes something magic and monster stuff can do.    Low level spells continue to be hella useful, because those are the ones you can cast really quickly.  Committing to heavy or complex actions requires some element of risk/reward strategics.  With proper tracking tools, this wouldn't be that much more complex than conventional turn based combat. 

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Having trouble formulating words that are not just more of the same pointless blather.

So I'll share the words of a word pro who I respect.

So, on a lark I just wrote up and submitted a game to the #200WordRPG challenge.  Minus the title, gdocs gives me exactly 200 words for this one.  What I cut out to make it so short was mostly coherence and any kind of prose or examples of play.  This was surprisingly hard.   I'm shit at brevity. 

* * * *


You are superhuman, invulnerable to physical harm.  But your city, your loved ones, your heart, are not.  

One player is GM, others play heroes.  

If you are a hero, describe yourself, and your powers.  
You have three condition ladders:  

My City - home, the place you protect

My Love - people in your life

My Heart - sanity, hope, ideals

They have rungs:

Foreboding - coming wrongness
Shocked - temporary change   
Changed - altered forever
Damaged - reduced, maybe not forever  
Devastated - reduced, partially forever  
Destroyed - burned earth, lost relationships, broken heart

Players share My City

If you are playing the GM, describe events and initiate some challenges.  

Players flip coins to generate two states.  

Heads - a hero masters the challenge.  

Tails - one ladder increases by one step -  which ladder is implied by fiction, GM, sometimes player.  

Heroes can keep pushing until they win, or until they can not bear the consequences.

In conflict, changing tactics lets you move to a different ladder.

After conflict, you can move one rung to another ladder.  

Between sessions, you can move any rungs to another ladder or remove a rung.

If a ladder reaches the Destroyed stage, only heroic sacrifice will reduce it back to the Devastated level.                   

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I'm voting for the druid


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This is fucking awful

I'm going to limit my comment on this, because I don't think I can say anything cogent that won't devolve into cursing and blasphemy.

The Vampire is in your dreams, and if you sleep it will know where you are and how close you're coming to it's lair, but you need to rest to heal and rest to recover.  Siri Sirlong's vitality potions can keep you upright and fighting without sleep, but they won't close your wounds or allow you to prepare your magic.  The closer your get, the more coherent the dreams, and eventually the Vampire will appear in them and speak with you directly.  He is so very reasonable, generous even.  And you know he always keeps his word. 

At the Grand Ball, the Prince is finally mingling with people beyond the inner court, but the Queen will prevent anyone she doesn't know from approaching the Prince, and even at the Ball, he's surrounded by sycophants and courtiers, all loyal to her, but fawning over him.  Salted among the dancers and revelers are a half dozen paid duelists, expert killers ready to slap the face and lay challenge upon anyone whom the Queen points out, and one among the Prince's retinue is the final guard against any who might try and speak to the Prince without authorization.


At the center of the orchard, in a leafy clearing, there is a circle of old weathered stones that resemble crudely carved dwarves, facing inward towards a glass and gold coffin long overgrown with vines, now in springtime bloom.  The faces of the dwarf-stones are streaked, rain-wet, as if they've been weeping. 

Here, the swarm of songbirds which have stripped the orchard bare form a spiraling gyre into the sky and sing so loudly you can not hear the speech of your companions, and the birds begin to swarm and peck at you.  Then, as one the dwarf-stones move, forming a line between you and the coffin, the epicenter of the bird spiral.  You can not hear their rough angry speech either.

The songbirds individually do almost no harm, but in their angry thousands might eventually prove fatal.  The dwarf-stones' voices grind louder, but still unintelligible in the din.  The Spring sun kisses the golden hints of the coffin beneath the twisted vines.            

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So here's a thing I think about.

The Falcon is big enough to be both home and transport for Han and Chewie.  They live on the ship.  They're proper space bums, right?

Slave 1 isn't really big enough to live on.  Inside, it's actually pretty cramped, when you consider the small hold full of electrified chains and whatnot, and the ridiculous amount of weaponry crammed in there.  You could sleep in it, but it's not home .  Fett never walks into the ship, after years away and drawls in his Aussie accent, "Hey... nobody... we're... I'm home.  Sob.  Alone... always alone

So Boba lives somewhere.  He's got a base.  Some secret asteroid or stealthed space station out there somewhere, he can be safe.

Or, he's got a secret family, on an idyllic backwater world.  He drops Slave 1 into a hidden hanger on the other side of a mountain, and changes from his battle armor into comfortable tunic.  Puts the scarf on his wife badly knitted for him.  And heads home in his speeder, nice, but not fancy. 

When he pulls into the farmstead in the little valley community, his kids come running up, "Daddy's home!  Daddy's home!' 

His wife, hugely pregnant and looking glad to have her husband home to help with all the wild kids, gives him a kiss, and hands him a dishcloth to help with the drying. 

Over a a dinner of boiled space corn and blue milk, he tells them a little lie, about how he went to a different city for his work, and met with a grumpy client, but was able to persuade him to cooperate.  No worries!  "My husband, the great negotiator.  See if you can negotiate bedtime."


Once, an Imperial intelligence officer handed Fett a holocube with a high altitude surveillance run of his little sanctuary, targeting reticules over his playing laughing children. 

When they found the Imperial Intelligence Corvette Overseer it was crashed on a poisoned world, a burned out husk, all hands lost, the computer core wiped, and wreckage from an X-Wing scattered around the crash site.  Must have been Rebel action.

But then there followed a series of suspicious deaths by disintegration in Imperial Intelligence, only ending when Darth Vader himself came forward to order no further action in regards to the bountyhunter. 

"We do not need leverage.  We just need credits.  We will hire him." 

"Daddy, where are you going this time?"

"To a city in the clouds, Little Bit.  to a city in the clouds."
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