Let Mortal Combat Begin

By | April 12, 2014

Hello and welcome back!

This week we release our Combat Chapter.  Our goal with our combat rules was to maintain a tactical feeling so that the decisions you make in combat can change your chances for success and survival, while at the same time speeding up play so that no one has the chance to get bored or frustrated during a Fight Scene.  This meant avoiding such perennials as iterative attacks, attacks of opportunity and on-the-fly math modifications, reducing the overall “crunch” of the system.  We started with combat that was substantially similar to D&D 3.5, reduced complexity, and streamlined the numbers to reduce bonus-chasing.  The result is this combat ruleset, which is an evolution of traditional tabletop roleplay combat intended to encourage more dynamic fighting and more interaction with the environment during battle.

Everything in Forthright Open Roleplay combat is based around the Action economy.  Individual characters get a single Major Action which they can divide into multiple Minor or Swift actions.  This limits the number of possible variations a character can perform on his turn, reducing the time spent making a decision and resolving that decision.  This allows turns to move more quickly, preventing players from getting bored while waiting for their next turn to come up.  The average round takes about 3 – 5 minutes to play, depending on how descriptive everyone is being and how numerous the enemies are.

Social Interaction is also seamlessly woven into combat, allowing characters to talk in the midst of battle and try to convince each other to back down.  This can be done either by generating Influence as in a normal conversation, or through the use of the Break Check.  The Break Check is Forthright‘s morale system, allowing characters to target enemy leaders and break the morale of their troops, allowing them to make tactical decisions about how and when to fight instead of having to always kill every enemy on the battlefield.

Performing offensive moves other than direct attack-and-damage are supported by the Maneuvers system, which greatly simplifies charging, grappling and wrestling, and other non-damaging martial actions.  And interacting with the environment provides additional rewards through the Stunt system, which integrates with non-combat, non-social skills to provide characters an opportunity to change conditions on the battlefield in order to gain maximum advantage.

And of course, because danger isn’t dangerous without the threat of death, the complete rules for character death are included.  We’re particularly pleased with our Wounds and Injuries system, which allows characters to desperately cling to life in exchange for suffering longer-term damage or even sometimes-brutal disfigurement.

Doing battle is a dangerous affair, but it should also have easy-to-grasp mechanics.  Have a look and please let us know what you think!