"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Combat Modifiers

I have mentioned a number of times how much I enjoy the abstract combat system in B/X. To me each individual piece fits together like a puzzle to give a near perfect abstract/narrative combat system that also gives players important tactical options.

Part of this combat system is a distinct lack of modifiers for "to hit" rolls. Taking a quick look through the Character Classes and The Encounter sections of the Basic rulebook gives the following modifiers that can be applied to "to hit" rolls:

- Thieves Abilities (B10): The thieves' "backstab" ability which grants a +4 bonus
- Resting (B19) and Running (B24): if not rested a character will have a -1 or -2 penalty, respectively
- Retreat (B25): opponent can add a +2 bonus
- Range (B26): +1 to hit with missile weapons at short range and -1 to hit at long range
- Cover (B26): -1 to -4 based on how much cover

- And of course Ability score bonuses (Strength for melee and Dexterity for missile attacks) and magical bonuses.

The lack of a multitude of situational modifiers goes hand in hand with the abstract system where one "to hit" roll does not equal one swing of a sword.

It doesn't surprise me that most of the modifiers listed above are related to missile attacks. Missile fire just doesn't fit as nicely into the abstract combat system.

3 comments:

  1. THanks for posting those observations.

    I have been giving a great deal of thought to combat systems lately (beginning with some musings on the need for a player-skill based combat system).

    I think I will post a little more about the Magic Realm combat system, since that seems to be the closest to a player-skill based system that I know of.

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  2. I am glad if you found it even a bit helpful.

    Did you swing past the meet-up last weekend?

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  3. We had a forum discussion about the abstract combat system that included missile fire over at New York Red Box the other day:
    http://redbox.wikidot.com/forum/t-232226/what-s-in-a-to-hit-roll

    I thought the fumble/ammo ideas were pretty interesting.

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