Oh ho ho see what I did in the title? I’m so witty it hurts.
Righto, so I copied over and fleshed out the mumbo jumbo in the brainstorm notes to the rulebook for the combat section, and now I’ll paste it all here. The example Ranged and Melee combats are rather uninspiring, but once I get a few more rules done I hope to do a mini “battle report” (similar to something you’d see in White Dwarf) complete with diagrams and all that good stuff. Probably a little more detailed, since I think showing dice rolls and mechanics would help give a super clear understanding of combat.
Although I don’t think the pictures will be very inspiring since I don’t have any dino riding cowboy figures made yet.
But yeah, I am really happy with this system so far. It’s quick to play without just being a ripoff of the D20 system. I managed to avoid the tedious adding and subtracting of a slew of modifiers that games like Battletech run into. Sure I love the idea of representing crouching, running, size differences, ranges, fog, prevailing winds, humidity, and everything else (okay, maybe not quite that ridiculous) but the whole “Okay, +1 for X, +1 for Y, +2 for Z, -1 for A…” can get boring.
Instead I have a few modifiers, and make the most of them. Short Range = +1 Attack, Long Range = -1 Attack. In cover? +1 AR. Melee Charge Bonus? +1 Attack +1 Damage. Done.
As for the combat system itself, it vaguely reminds me of Advanced Heroquest with it’s Damage Dice (but maybe that’s because I’m using some D12s from the original box set, haha). And of course Silent Death for the Damage Track, but I thought that was the best way to have mounts degrade in combat ability as they take damage. Plus it means I can have “durable” DT (like those that only lose their Movement near the end hits), or “frail” DT that start to fall apart after 5 damage.
The other aspect I really like is being able to use the same system for ranged AND melee combat. Splitting that was REALLY painful in the last ruleset I did, and just meant you were basically having to balance two systems.
And I made firing into combat and running from combat no big deal, but I think that was influenced by spite against Warhammer 40k (5th edition) and their whole “Oh they touched your base, you’re locked in combat until THE END OF THE UNIVERSE”. Plus it means your fellow Cowboys can pour fire into a gigantic Cave Bear while you bravely hold it back with an Electrolance (cinematic sounding right, right?!)
As for ranged combat, I initially had considered having your “To-Hit” target value be based on your personal skill, and then your enemy’s Armor come in as damage reduction (this seems fairly common in modern games, ie: D20 Modern [I think?]). But that’s more modifications and more rolls and more stats, and I’m trying to keep this as a “light” RPG and “medium” skirmish game, so that approach had to go. Plus who doesn’t love “Roll X Attacks, are they >= target AR? Good, total them and add your damage, hooray”. The Critical Hit mechanism is simple and elegant too.
Anyways, first draft of the Combat rules:
Since the dawn of mankind there has been violence. The re-emergence of dinosaurs has done little to slow the carnage. In fact, if anything, it has accelerated the technology involved in weapons. Battles can be fought at a distance or in hand to hand. This section will outline the rules for simulating fights between characters and wild dinosaurs or cunning bandits. Determining Turn Order: Each combatant (or group of related combatants, such as a pack of "Rippers") rolls a D12. The highest result moves their character first, then the second highest, and so on. Whoever moved first is said to have won Surprise. Step 1 – Roll Attacks The number of Attacks a weapon has determines how likely it is to hit, and also adds to the damage done. Melee weapons for close combat can be augmented by the Melee Attacks of a Dinomount, as discussed in the Dinomount section below. Roll a D12 for each Attack on the weapon you wish to fire. Range Modifiers: If a ranged weapon is at Short range, add +1 Attack. If a ranged weapon is at Long range, subtract -1 Attack. Step 2 – Determine Hits Compare the result of every Attack roll to your target's Armor Rating. Every roll greater than or equal to the Armor Rating (including any modifiers listed below) is counted as a successful hit. Terrain Cover: Using a ranged weapon at a target in or behind cover (such as trees, hills, etc.) grants them a +1 Armor Rating bonus against that attack. Critical Hits: Every Attack roll of 12 is considered a Critical Hit, and counts for 2 hits. Impossible Armor Ratings: If the target has an Armor Rating higher than 12 it is impossible to achieve a Critical Hit, and only a roll of 12 will count as a hit. Step 3 – Apply Total Damage The total damage done to a target is a count of all hits plus the base Damage of the weapon (from it's statistics). If the target does not have a Damage Track, subtract this damage directly from their Hitpoints, otherwise apply it to their Damage Track. Ranged Combat Differences Who Can Fire: If your character can see the enemy target and they are within Range of your weapons, you may fire at them in your Action Phase. Reload Value: Each ranged weapon has a Reload value as part of their statistics, such as 2x1 or 3x1. This number represents how likely and often the weapon will need to be reloaded, but it can also represent jamming or overheating. When rolling attacks in Step 1 above, if the number of dice that come up as 1s are equal to or greater than the Reload value, the weapon needs to be reloaded. How to Reload: A character must spend an entire Action Phase doing nothing but Reloading a gun before it is usable again. Note that only a single ranged weapon can be reloaded each Action Phase. Also note that if a character has multiple weapons, they can just fire another gun instead of Reloading an empty one. If they choose to do this, it is recommended that an 'R' be marked beside the weapon on the Character Sheet. Example Ranged Combat Scenario: Firing a 200MW Laser Revolver (3 Attacks, 2 Damage) at Short range (+1 Attack) at a target (6 Armor Rating) in the cover of a tree (+1 Armor Rating). Step 1: Roll 4D12 (3 base Attacks, plus 1 for range bonus), get 8, 6, 12, 3. Step 2: Need a 7+ (6 AR of target + 1 for cover). So the rolls of 8 and 12 hit. As 12 is a Critical Hit it counts as double hits, for a total of 3. Step 3: Add base Damage of the weapon (2) to the total hits (3) for 5 total damage. The target is unmounted, so reduce their Hitpoints by 5. Melee Combat Differences Who is in Melee: Two or more combatants are considered in close combat, or hand to hand, or melee combat if they are within base contact of each other. At this point use the 3 Steps above, but with a Melee Weapon as desired. Charge Bonus: If an attacker completes a Charge movement (as described above in the Movement Phase section) they gain +1 Attack and +1 total damage on their first Action Phase. Snap Attack: If an opponent leaves base to base contact (such as to flee), any attackers in melee range automatically get a free set of close combat attacks. Firing in (or into) Melee Combat: There is no penalty for firing in close combat, or firing into an existing close combat. Example Melee Combat Scenario: Charging a "King" (+4 Melee Attacks) dinosaur at a target (8 Armor Rating). The rider has a melee Scorchlance (1 Attack, 3 Damage). Step 1: Roll 6D12 (1 base Attack, plus 4 for Dinomount, plus 1 for Charge), get 2, 4, 9, 4, 8, 10. Step 2: Need a 8+ (8 AR of target). So the rolls of 9, 8, and 10 hit for a total of 3 hits. Step 3: Add base Damage of the weapon (3) to the total hits (3) for 6 total damage. The target has a Damage Track, so mark off 6 slots.
Oooh oooh and I forgot to mention that I am happy with how the Reload rules turned out. They take a hint from Necromunda…sort of, but mainly avoid the boring “Okay, you fired a shot, mark off your ammo zomg!”. That’s great for tracking resources if you barely have any ammo (ala Mad Max and his shotgun), but you’re supposed to be a wicked dinosaur riding Cowboy, not a peasant scavenging for each shot.
Basically you have a Reload value like 3×1, which means if you roll 3 or more 1s on your Attack dice your weapon needs to be Reloaded (or unjammed, or cool down, or whatever). So then you have to take an Action Phase doing that, or just switch to another gun (which is fun since then you might end up with a brace of six-shooters to keep firing as each one comes up empty, or you might switch to a melee weapon and charge in to finish off your enemy).