Monday, April 14, 2014

Fisticuffs Then

This is how I will do street fighting from now on amen.

Idea courtesy of Poison'd; inspiration to post courtesy of False Machine.

Example at bottom.
  1. Lay out how real this thing can get:
    1. bleeding
    2. screaming
    3. breaking
    4. maiming, vegetative stating, killing (this is one level of consequence: victor chooses)
  2. Tell them "It starts at bleeding."
  3. Each fighter rolls HD + level. 
    1. Example: a third level wizard rolls d4 + 3; a first level fighter rolls d8 + 1. 
    2. Exception: muscle wizards roll with d10s, obv. 
    3. Exception: monks too. Maybe d12 for those guys. 
    5. Reroll a tie (first time only)
  4. Point to the player with the higher roll and ask them how they show how real it is right now. It just happens.
    1. Example: 
      1. Vorjan the Mellifluous (wiz 3) rolls d4 + 3 and gets a 6
      2. Seneca rolls d8 + 1 and gets a 5
      3. GM: "Vorjan, how do you make him bleed?"
    2. If what they say they do is lame and not brutal or hardcore enough, tell the opponent to make him bleed instead. THE ROLLS STAND
  5. Now then someone is bleeding
  6. Ask the guy who's bleeding, "What do you do? Give up, or make him scream?"
    1. If he gives up, tell him to give up. He does. Fight over. 
    2. If he doesn't give up, tell him to reroll. 
      1. Max results explode at the last level only. So if a wizard rolls 4 on his d4, it's just a 4 until it's gotten so real that the stakes are death and maiming. 
      2. If he meets or exceeds the opponent's STANDING roll, then he makes him scream just as he said.
      3. Otherwise, ask the player with the standing roll, "How do you make him scream?" It happens.
  7. Repeat until someone gives up or someone is maimed, in a vegetative state, or dead. 

Example: Vorjan the Mellifluous (wiz 3) vs. Seneca (fighter 1)

These two have jumped into a cage match because that's the kind of thing that happens. GM sets the scene of course, laying out what the features are, how many panels are filled with spikes, what sort of tentacled beasts are bopping about, and who's tossing what over the cage from the stands. Fighters are circling. Trash talk may commence.

GM: It goes from bleeding to screaming to breaking to maiming, vegetative states, and killing. It starts at bleeding. Roll HD + level.

Vorjan: 6.

Seneca: 5.

GM: Vorjan, how do you make him bleed?

Vorjan: I dunno, I hit him in the face with magic missle.

GM: *sigh* Seneca, how do you deal with that weaksauce and make Vorjan bleed instead?

Seneca: I duck under the missile and spear him into the cage and bash his head on it until his scalp is ripped up.

GM: better. Vorjan, do you give up or make him scream? You can give up by fainting, being beaten unconscious, trying to run, or whatever, I dunno, just shouting I give up! really loud.

Vorjan: of course I'm going to make him scream. I'm going to elbow him in the teeth and keep headbutting him until he looks funny.

GM: marked improvement. Reroll.

[Vorjan rerolls 1d4 + 3 and gets a 5. Since that meets or exceeds his opponent's roll of 5, what Vorjan said happens.]

GM: okay so you do that. Seneca, do you give up or break him?

Seneca: I'm going to go all Bane on this wizard and pick him up and break his back on my knee.

GM: very well. Reroll.

[Seneca rerolls 1d8 + 1 and gets an 8. So what he says happens.]

GM: yeesh so you do. Vorjan. Your back is broken. You slide onto the floor beside him. All you can see is unicorns. What do you do? Do you maim, PVS, slash kill Seneca, or do you give up?

Vorjan: well, since I can't roll an 8 unless my die explodes, I guess I'm gonna call it there.

Seneca: I kick his head and collect the prize money.



  1. I can't put my finger on why but I totally love this. I'd gladly made an entire combat system out of it.

  2. This is good.

    3 LBB OD&D style HD hack: just roll all the HD (including any bonus term). A fifth level fighter would roll 5d6+1, a fifth level magic-user would roll 3d6 (just for some examples).