Saturday, December 11, 2010
On combat systems
My surfing of the blogosphere led me to discuss critical hits. This got me to discussions of combat systems in general and brought back some thoughts about contrasts in style that I had during the early days of role-playing. When Runequest first came out I though it was cool due to it's hit locations, damage reducing armor and blocked shots. It seemed way more realistic than the d20 to hit d8 damage of AD&D. However, as I actually played the Runequest combat system, I realized most fights consisted of large quantities of misses, followed by a combat ending critical where some vital component of the unluckiest combatant went flying. I also noticed that even the smallest trollkin has the potential of slicing off your Runelords head. I quickly realised it is a combat system completely incompatible with the Conanequese hero versus the 30 pirate scum style combats I like to run. Even if you discount the critical problem, no one enjoys waiting for me to roll the five rolls per attack needed to find out that all 30 pirate scum have missed. Don't even get me started on the hours required by Runequest to roll individual stats for each of the pirate scum. I reverted back to good ol' AD&D and have stuck with it's various incarnations ever since (although 4e is pretty close to failing the Conanequese test as well). Every time I feel the itch to tamper with the combat system (being mathematically inclined I am capable of devising five new combat systems before breakfast) I remind myself of my Runequest experience and conclude the AD&D system is pretty solid and not really in need of replacement. Besides, it gives me time to daydream up new magic systems instead.