Adapting The Riddle of Steel (TROS) pen and paper RPG combat mechanics to a roguelike RPG.
This doc is a work-in-progress. It contains both tech coding notes for the roguelike rpg and how TROS rules are to be adapted into the roguelike rpg.
It is assumed one is already familiar with how the existing combat system in Riddle of Steel works, in order to understand this document. Thus, one should view the reference links at the bottom first to familiarise themselves with how TRoS works.
NOTE: The tactics mode (currently sketchy) is put on hold in favor for the Roguelike mode (see column section further below), as the roguelike has a more definite direction in terms of design.
Old tactics mode link:
Roguelikes typically involve a single player with a main character (and few companions at the most..all AI-driven) vs a bunch of AI enemies that aren’t necessarily very strong. Due to the solo/single-player nature of roguelikes, the flow of a roguelike differs a lot from a traditional turn-based tactics game, and can afford to be simpler. It’s also definitely much more faster-paced and action-oriented, since it’s only a single player moving about while everything else is handled automatically by AI moving as well concurrently.
Currently, the roguelike already has a working prototype that runs the basic movement/resolution flow structure in the way this document describes it.
Song of swords is a successor game to TROS that has different rules regarding initaitive which I feel is better overall especially when dealing with multi-combatant situations. Can it be implemented in the roguelike instead?
Official core rules:
Supplementary rules (The Flower of Battle):
Some links (may involve non-official rules..):
Classic old version companion aid/manual html:
Roguelike videogame example:
Inspired from: Rimelands
However, the above roguelike doesn’t account for multiple cross-engagements between NPCs and the player alike.
Also, it doesn’t have different movement speeds for different characters.
This roguelike acts as a reference due to it’s dice pool rolling mechanic when engaging in combat with opponents , which is a bit similar to how TROS also has a dice pool mechanic (albeit for Rimelands, the dice pool expenditure is fixed according to using it all per combat exchange of blows for defense/offense), while TRos allows you to spend your dice pool in anyway you like for specific Defensive/Offensive manuevers across 2 exchanges, and involves footwork, aim zones, and other initiative aspects within each exchange and roll to simulate an actual swordfight.
Overall, the intended layout style and design for Riddle of Steel roguelike should match the above mobile game in most aspects.
However, the underlying system for this game should be far more involved and should be able to handle complex engagemenets involving fights that occur not just between 2 sides of multiple combatants, ie. not just 2-way fights, but 3/4/multi-way fights as well between various individuals of different “interests”. This is something the original pen-and-paper TRos RPG, was known to be lacking, and this roguelike intends to address such multi-combatant situations as well.
In order to support multiple combatants where NPCs and other characters can fight among themselves indepedantly while you engage others or move around unengaged, the roguelike takes place in a
perpetual global Combat round cycle of Exchange #1 and Exchange #2, in which move steps take place to syncronoise globally locally among between different combatants that are adjacient to one another. Unlike the Tactics-gamemode approach, there is no Movement Phase in this roguelike mode, just various localized Combat rounds occuring between groups of combatants that run concurrently. A deliberate “wait-on-the-spot” is also considered a move step.
The initiative system of Riddle of Steel combat ties in with the movement. It determines when an attack initiative manuever can be done without any additional penalities/costs.
Whenenver you make a move step, the enemy and surrounding AI also moves as well in classical roguelike fashion. This can happen either as a I-GO-YOU-GO (giving movement initiative priority bias to the player) appraoch, or a WE-GO appraoch in which the squares that you move into can be interrupted by other enemies moving into those squares as well, thus the movement intiiative need not necessarily fall on you always. The earlier case is simpler and more predicatable to design and for the player to engage in, and Rimelands uses this approach. However, I’d stick with the WE-GO approach that has a movement initiative ladder running in the background (it varies depending on the stat-based rolls), so some enemies can get to move into squares faster (at times) than your character per turn.
The act of “rolling over” in this case is the typical roguelike behaviour of just moving into the enemy’s square, in order to engage/challenge/attack him. In the event you have the ability to deal attack initiative, you will perform/select an Attack Manuever that is scheduled to resolve 1 step ahead. If you can’t deal Attack initiative (ie. have to defend due to losing attack initiative), you can only perform an initial Defensive Manuever against that enemy (often in response to the enemy if he’s on attack initiative), prefably by facing that enemy’s direction as well to avoid being attacked on surprise. In the situation where you lost initiative in typical Riddle of Steel fashion, you have to regain it back by remaining unharmed/unshaken through defending/evading, particularly in the face of any possible attacks being made on you for that given exchange.
The roguelike contextually determines whether you roll Red/White (and sometimes what manuever you intend to use), simply from the movement controls itself.
Note that if you roll a defensive roll on an enemy, you still have an option of buying initiative to fight the given enemy with an offensive manuever if you so wish. You just use the Buy Initiative manuever in the menu to switch your Defensive Manuever to an Offensive one instead, albeit this manuever incurs a significant cost to your combat pool.
“Wait can also be considered bumping” (house?) rule.
Pressing Wait while adjacient to enemies within a given exchange…
Implies a defensive bumping/facing maneuever against an enemy unit in order of priority:
First priority division:
All friendly party members are AI controlled and moves when the main character (ie. the leader unit) moves.
AI units can be managed individually by being given broad/generic movement orders to move along certain paths or perform certain tasks (eg. follow player, move to location, attack certain enemy, etc.).
Additionally, you can micromanage the next exact step of each AI party unit can be micromanaged accordingly, if you so wish. The target movement destination/action of each party member is shown for each step for previewing. However, this becomes a lot like a turn based game of micromanaging each and every member’s single step, which can be tedious.
But this is how it is with roguelikes… Most roguelikes aren’t very “friendly” when it comes to having multiple units in the party…and tends to be geared towards solo adventures. Then again, the expected experience should be similar to micromanaging each step in typical RTWP games like Baldur’s Gate/Dragon Age, albeit in various cases, there can be an option to also micromanage each party member’s Offensive/Defensive manuever as well, pausing the game at each instance with the Manuever menu appearing when your teammates attack someone, or come under attack. Using quick-pathfinding/destination mechanics and the ability to draw your own planned paths per individual can be done as well using a menu interface.
Note that given the nature of detailed combat in TRoS, micromangaging each and every party member’s action can either be a big joy/headache nevertheless, so automation should be an option in various cases.
When facing multiple opponents, below are the links which describe the limiatations and options you can use. This generally uses Blade of the Iron Throne rules (a successor game to TRoS), which clarifies how it’s being done.
Generally, a Partial Evade type of manuever can be done as many times as you like against each attacker. A Full Evasion manuever can be done once and applied to all attackers, but must be the only manuever involved within the exchange. Defending by blocking or attacking by striking can be done with each limb, with the master-hand and off-hand respectively, so normally a maximum of 2 for such manuevers.
If using Song of Swords’ rules, the manuevers described in the manual already prescribes how it’s being done already when it comes to multiple opponents.
Receiving or firing shots at anytime:
Unlike the regular tabletop game that restricts shooting to only be allowed during the General Phase for Song of Swords or during declaration of manuevers (Move 2/1) in Riddle of Steel, shooting can be done at any step for any given player for a Roguelike. So, how are the rolls handled when a shot is received during a step?
At any time a shot is received during a step that is avoidable/defendable, the shot only resolves in the next step. An actively chosen defensive manuever can be preempted against possible ranged attacks that might happen immediately upon being fired in the next step.
Aiming requires an extra time span between 3 to 5 steps of doing nothing (but aiming) after preparing the round to fire before you can fire in the next step. Aiming for 3 steps provides 1/3 of Aim attribute, 4 steps provide 2/3 of aim attribute, and 5 steps provide the entire Aim attribute bonus.
During melee combat:
Defender rolls can from CP to defend. If got multiple characters adjacient to target, shooter needs to set aside dice set aside for multiple surrounding people terrain roll (as an additional condition to determine hit success) including a basic firing into melee penalty. He must also have a tracable line of fire within the map to fire at the target at least. Botching this terrain roll results in hitting a friend or surrounding unit. Botching the shot also results in hitting a friend or surrounding unit. Optionally, without using terrain rolls, 2 or more surrounding people in melee can simply mean a crowd that results in -4MP, or otherwise 3 or more surounding people is a dense crowd with -6MP penalty. Depending on the number of surrounding people in combat, the botch number need not be 1, but may be higher (+1 for each extra surrounding person against the target).
Based on the current melee steps, here are the stipulations.
Move 0/1:: Defends passively with Reflex/Peception pool + any extra CP if you wish with best possible defensive manuever (defaulted to best TN defense). If moved to a square during this step, also applies moving target penalty to shooter.
Move 1/1:: Defends passively with Reflex/Peception pool + any extra CP if you wish with best possible defensive manuever.(defaulted to best TN defense). If moved to a square during this exchange, also add moving target penalty to shooter.
Move 2/1:: Can only defend with CP with best defensive manuever. If moved to a square during this exchange, also adds moving target penalty to shooter. The shooter has initiaitive over his target as per normal exchange, and will resolve his shot first before his target can take action. House rules (or perks/situaional penalties) might allow another intiaitive contest to determine if the shot goes after or before his target’s action instead.
As you can see, firing into melee is an unpredicatable affair than can yield different advantages/disadvantages.
When out of melee combat:
Roll from entire Reflex/Perception pool for passive defense against shooter with best possible defensive manuever (defaulted to best TN defense), including other penalties if applicable.
!!(For more information on a (to be finalised) way to handle manuever initiative, refer to “Song of Swords method of Combat Initiative”. The rules on initiative in this section are still kept for reference since they bear similarity to Song of Swords’ approach (and Riddle of Steel in general), but most likely will be pivoting to Song of Swords’ approach which is far more better thought out and simpler.
Basically, Song of Swords uses a somewhat Target initiative only system. You can only choose 1 target on whom you MIGHT have initiative on, depending on the combat situation, orientation, etc.. You cannot have initiative over anyone else except that 1 target, though cross manuevers can still allow you to attack multiple targets using the target initiative you have. When the word “initiative” is mentioned, it’s always mentioned in the context of initaitive in relation to a single target.
Deterministic target initiative is a key factor that determines the order of blows (allowing the player to predict ahead of time who will get to hit first), unlike luck-based reflex speed rolls as prescribed in some Riddle of Steel implementations.
Results of attack and defense portion is determined, with attacks being able to resolve at different timings, affecting the final result of the engagement. Also note that TFOB(The Flower of Battle) rules also impose the original person with initaitive being the priority hitter in the case of an initiative contest tie, so there’s no simultaneous resolution in a buying/stealing initiative situation if using TFOB’s guidelines.
An attack passes if it manages to land a margin of success, else it fails. A defense passes if it manages to fufill the criteria of gaining back the initiative based on it’s margin of success, or no enemy attack happens in which case the defense manuever can be skipped and refunded.
How do you handle who gets initaitive when both aggressors attack each other and land blows against each other at various timings? Refer to the legend below.
Symbol legend (7 possible cases for attacker vs attacker situation):
\! When one party has clear initiative because he hits first, while the other misses later.
\- When one party hits first, then the other hits later. In this case, the first-hitter gets the initaitive in typical back/forth fashion.
\~ When both parties miss in succession. In this case, the first-resolver gets the initaitive in typical back/forth fashion.
\* When one party misses first, then the other hits later. If initiative is contested due to aggressor vs. aggressor situation (or optionally as well through buying initiative according to house-rules), the latter hitter gets the initiative. Otherwise, the first resolver that missed should still maintain his initiative in a back/forth fashion.
\!! When both sides resolve their manuevers simulatenously, one side hitting while the other failing to hit, the hitter clearly wins the initiative.
\— When both sides land blows simulatenously against each other with both sides hitting. This is a draw causing a battle pause as the hitters gather themselves back together. Re-roll for orientation in the next round to re-determine initiative.
\~~ When both sides miss each other while simulatenously resolving against each other. This is a draw causing a battle pause as the missers gather themselves back together. Re-roll for orientation in the next round to re-determine initiative.
So, the “better” attribute players often have the advantage of declaring their manuever later/last, having the last-declaration advantage.
For some variations:
And perhaps randomising this per exchange or per individual within the exchange without the players knowing about it. The purpose is to obfuscate the players’ means of determinig accruately/easily if someone has a higher particular attribute stat or not.
By default, will be currently sticking to TFOB rules which suggest depleting always from the Attack pool first. (ie. the dice set aside for rolling for attack).
However, in the future, a locational shock damage system can be used, where depending on the hit zone, it’ll affect the relavant pools accordingly/proportionately (attack pool vs unused CP). Bonus shock might also be applied to certain hit locations with regards to the attack pool compared to the unused CP.
This adds more strategy in deciding which aim zone you wish to use in order to maximise the best kind of counter-shock (if you land the blow first), in a attacker vs attacker situation.
Obviously, such granulity is easier to implement in a video game setting where the number crunching can be done behind the scenes.
Blood lost checks are done according to standard TRoS rules.
But when are blood lost checks done?
This basically uses rules quite similar to TRoS.
Blood lost checks are done on the spot at the end of every Exchange 2 after resolving any manuevers (that might exist) during that exchange before going to the next round and refreshing the Combat Pool.
When going through a Battle Pause before going to the next round, Blood Loss check is also done. It is treated as if Exchange 2 has also passed.
This doesn’t seem well-covered in TROS, so I guess I’ll have to use some discretion here. For every accumulated 6 steps of movement being made outside of combat (and without entering it), blood lost is checked. If standing still and Waiting, blood lost is only checked for every 18 steps (3 times longer). A floating point counter can be used, with 1/3 steps being incremented if Waiting instead of moving.
Doing a successful Full Evasion manuever to exit out of combat counts as a movement step being made out of combat. If it accumulates to up to 6 steps of movement, a blood lost check is done on the spot.
As per standard TRos rules, once a blood lost check is made, if HT (health) reaches zero as a result, the character collapses and is considered dead.
As per standard TRos rules, A HT(health) of 1 will have all CP reduced by half, and all attributes reduced by half (Note sure if the lower Reflex as a result of lower attributes, also affects the Combat Pool, i guess so…). In most cases, a character is seriously a goner at HT(health) 1 already.
Any form of blood lost requires medical attention.
For every uninterrupted and unengaged ~6 steps of Waiting while having wounds, First Aid roll can be attempted to stop bleeding. Menu can pop up automatically or a call-to-action prompt button flashes before the 6th step. This is done before any blood lost checks that might be made for that step.
House rules might not allow applying first aid in full view of nearby enemy presence. In such situations, you are considered interrupted.
6 steps of waiting might be too short as well and seems way too arcadish (though it can just be an abstraction for a longer period of time.., or just preparation time before First Aid is actually being administered). The same goes with other more advanced types of medical treatment being used, which can be a longer process of adminsitration. During administration, it could involve programming fast-forwarding of time steps, so such treatment can be interrupted by enemies, though treatment application progress does not reset from zero.
Healing rolls can only be done once the character’s BL (Blood lost) rating is at zero, and thus the condition of the character is stabilised.
The rate of healing rolls allowed varies, according to realism settings or cinematic perks of the character. It can be done immediately once the condition of the character has stabilized (or immediately after a fight), versus having to do it at the end of every day/week, factoring other factors like rest and such.
Healing reduces the pain of wounds (without blood-lost) from which, once it reaches zero, that wound is considered healed.
Again, if your character is some Wolverine-like character, realism restrictions don’t necessarily apply and Healing Rolls to dealed with wounds and stopping blood-lost can be attempted simulatenously together, and at a given healing rate.
Painkiller medications can be applied to wounds to reduce the outputted pain as a modifier when dealing with Combat Pool, but this is not necessarily permanent (ie. if the wound gets hit again, the painkiller reduction modifier is lost) and the painkiller must be re-applied. Repeated re-application might become less effective over time until the wound is properly healed.
A UI interface during Manuever declaration, allows for cycling between valid opponents, and for each opponent, a manuever can be selected in relation to available Action types under the specific opponent. Range, availability of limbs/body, target initiative, etc. are all factored in determining what Action Types are available, and thus what Manuevers are available. If no Action Types are available, then the opponent is considered invalid and is not cyclable/selectable.
Available and selected by default when you have initiative over the selected opponent who is your primary target.
This option is available as a secondary attack against another selected in-range opponent (that isn’t your Primary target) with your other hand (if available), while you already have an Attack manuever selected on your Primary target.
If you Double Attack on a second opponent that has target initiative over you, you must also contest for initiative against the opponent as well during resolution of manuevers, assuming you already have target initiative or won the contest over your primary target. If you fail either the primary or second initaitive contest, than that opponent will get to initiate and resolve his manuever first before you even get to initiate your entire Double Attack manuever. This is the risk of trying to use Double Attack on 2 opponents.
Also, house rules might incur a further penalty of losing initiative to both your primary target and secondary target if you lose either contest.
Which pool? Getting hit first by that second opponent prioritizes subtracting shock from the 2nd dice attack pool (ie. the pool set aside for the dice roll on that second opponent), rather than the pool set aside for the primary target first. Optionally, according to house rules, subtraction can be done from both attack pools randomly if hit by some other opponent other than the secondary or primary target, or this could depend on the solely direction/location of the hit itself. (eg. Being hit on/near a certain limb can affect the assosiated attack pool more compared to being hit somewhere in the chest/stomach, for example, which might not even prioritise affecting the attack pools first, but the unused CP first…Thus, hit location may be a useful decision to make in a attacker vs attacker situation, depending on which pool you intend to prioritise depleting against if you landed the first blow)
(This is an untested house-rule option.)
Selected by default when your target has initiative over you (ie. you lack it), but your target forfeited his current initiative over you by not attacking you during his declaration. You can perform an attack manuever while not having initiative, but since your target isn’t attacking you already, this isn’t so risky. Your attacker can however still mount a Quick Defense, or may have already declared a premeptive defense manuever beforehand that can work in response to your Quick Attack.
By default, the option “Do nothing” is selected against your target in this mode, but you can opt to use a specific attack manuever to deal a quick return attack in response to your assailant not doing anything. If you “Do nothing”, you get to re-roll for Orientation in the next round to re-decide initiative, and if it’s the first exchange, nothing occurs in the 2nd exchange before the next round where you get to re-roll for Orientation to determine initiative.
If you do Quick Attack with a specific attack manuever, your attack manuever will resolve as if you didn’t had Initiative in the resolution queue unless you wish to Attack(buy initiative) instead.
Additional house-rules to discourage Quick Attacks:
Quick attacks may yield additional CP cost (though lesser cost compared to buying initiative).
Succesfully hitting the enemy with a Quick Attack does not allow you to automatically exclusively gain back initiative over him unless you attempt to Attack(buy) initiative instead beforehand. Rather, a successful Quick Attack will still only result in re-rolling for Orientation in the next round as per normal to re-determine initiative, and failing the Quick Attack will also cause you to lose initiative against your target. This is the risk of trying to perform a Quick Attack for the sake of dealing a quick return attack even though there is no inherant initiative reward benefit. In some cases, this is still worth the “effort”, as shock can carry over to the next round and may give you a better chance in the next round at fighting to gain back the initiative.
This is an available option if you lack initiative over your target, but you still decide to perform an attack manuever on your target while while paying additional cost to contest for initiative, in the hope of landing your hit first before your target does (assuming your target decided to attack you, and this is known as “stealing initiative” from your assailant). When contesting for initiative by buying it, you will be counted among those that have “initiative” during resolution of manuevers. When both sides attack each other, the one that lands his hit first gains/maintains the initiative for the next Action. Thus, a successful attempt at stealing initiative (you beating your opponent to the blow and landing a successful hit first) will allow you to get back the initiative for the next Action.
This is an available option if you lack initiative over your target who is attacking you with a specific manuever, but decide to perform an attack manuever anyway on your target. Your manuever will always resolve after your target resolves his manuever over you.
Depending on house rules (TFOB, The Flower Of Battle based, from Riddle of Steel), Simulatenous defend+attack combo manuevers may not be allowed in this mode, and would require you to buy initaitive if you wish to attack like so. However, read the next paragraph and see why this might not be necessary.
Note that if your target attempted to resolve his manuever first but failed to hit you, but you managed to hit your target on your return-attack (without initiative), or defended successfully in a Simulatenous defend+attack combo, you will still not gain initiative in this mode. To do so, you must opt to Attack (buy initiative) instead in an attempt to steal the initiative. Generally, if this rule is used, the disadvantage of performing an attack (or combo defend+attack) without stealing initaitive may be disadvantageous enough to encourage players to buy initiative instead, since a Simulatenous defend+attack combo will still not provide them a means of re-gaining back initiative in anyway.
Available and selected by default when you are already declared under attack by a specific opponent and can now defend specifically against that opponent.
“Quick Defense”: This might be labeled as “Quick Defense” for a Quick Defense case (and will be the only option available in such a situation). But essentially, the effect is the same as “Defend” except there is an additional +2CP cost for mounting a defending manuever while in Quick Defense against a specific target.
This is an available option if you either have initiative over the selected opponent who is your primary Target, or the selected opponent hasn’t declared any potential attack manuever against you yet, but you decide to prepare a defensive manuever first in relation to that prefered opponent. (The details on where the preemptive defensive manuever is prefered to be directed to is kept hidden and is simply mentioned to be directed to “no one in particular”). If the prefered opponent does not attack, the manuever may be redirected against any other attacking opponent that is left unaccounted for.
If the preemptive defensive manuever doesn’t get used during the Action, only the CP set aside for the manuever’s dice roll can be refunded.
If you do not wish to declare anything, Quick Defense manuever can be used, in order to bring up the manuever menu later in response to quickly defending against the target. Quick Defense is the default chosen manuever under this mode. Quick Defense doesn’t cost anything until you decide to optionally declare an actual defense later in response to explicitly declared attacks against you (at an additional +~2CP cost for any specific Defensive manuever being newly bought against it or modified). Quick Defense option can be checked together while declaring a premptive defensive manuever, in order to consider modifying it later in response to any enemy attacking you where that defensive maneuver gets chosen.
“Defend (postemptive)”: If you declare a preemptive defensive manuever on a selected opponent that isn’t your primary Target while already having an Attack Manuever selected on your primary Target whom you have the target initiative on, you do not need to declare the defensive manuever publicily at all until later if you do get attacked. In this context, you are attempting an implied Simualtenous Parry/Block/Void+Strike manuever. Only for this case, the enemy would not know you had actually prepared a defensive portion of your attack until later, because you didn’t declare it yet publicily. (albeit you still might incur the initial CP costs of such manuevers). This is a rule for Song of Swords in particular, which clearly states that you don’t need to explciitly declare that you are doing a Simulatenous parry/block/void+strike until later if you have initiative over your target. Depending on house rules, usually the CP allocation for the defensive portion of the manuever must be set aside beforehand (and modifying it will incur an additional Quick Defense cost), instead of being completely free to allocate any CP amount later if you do come under attack.
More on Quick Defense The manuever menu for Quick Defense might not pop up during the course of declaration of manuevers, if your hands/body are no longer free to perform any more defensive manuevers. If this is already confirmed/deemed so during your selection of manuevers, Quick Defense manuever/checkbox will also not be available or shown (it’ll revert to “Do Nothing”) in order to clearly show the player that no further potential Quick Defense is possible.
Non-explicit manuever declarations If you do declare a preemptive defensive manuever publicily, house rules can involve not explicitly mentioning the exact name of certain manuevers in some cases. For example, pre-empting a “Riptoste” manuever can be declared as pre-empting a “Parry” with a certain amount of intended dice (as usual, the cost of the manuever isn’t mentioned). This is thus more realistic with regards to “hidden intentions/fog of war”.
In Song of Swords, “Change Target” is deemed an offensive manuever, normally used to switch to a new target at the last minute within the Action declaration (at a CP cost..1CP or 2CP usually) prior to declaring an offensive manuever against the new target.
Selecting a specific attack manuever under “Change Target” action types will cancel away any currently selected Attack manuever you might have had over your current target (it switches to a Defensive action type for the current target..), in order to switch over to the new target. By default, no manuever is selected under “Change Target” in order to let you confirm this. If you do “Change Target”, you can still re-select back your original Attack manuever on your current target by re-selecting “Attack” again under your current target, or select back the empty option under Change Target, or select another Action Type instead.
Certain attack maneuvers might not be available under “Change target” modes.
If you confirmed to “Change target” in any form during your declaration turn, while your current target is targeting you, you will conceit whatever initiative you might have had over him, and your (now old) target immediately gains initiative over you.
“Change target (no initiative)”: If your new target had targeted you before the current Action, you won’t have the initiative, and won’t get to contest for initiative over your new target unless you “Change target (buy initiative)” instead.
However, if your new target didn’t target you before the current Action, you get to freely contest for initiative over your new target at no additional cost (so, there is no need to buy initiative in this case and that option isn’t available). If you win the initiative contest during Resolution of manuevers, you get to resolve your attack first, otherwise, it will only resolve after your target resolves any attack of his. The same thing will occur if your target happens to decide to target you back during his declaration turn, assuming he has yet to declare his actions.
This option is available if the opponent you are intending to switch targets to, is already targeting you back before the current Action. When you use this option, you can “Change target” and attempt an offensive manuever on the new target instead, while contesting for initiative. By buying initiative with the additional CP cost, you will be counted among those that have initiative during resolution of manuevers, and will get to contest for initiative against your new target to see who resolves their attacking maneuver first.
Shows a list of available manuevers based on the selected Action type in relation to a selected opponent. Manuevers might have their offhand variants or not as indicated in brackets. The formats for each manuever item can go in the format of:
ManueverName (2): tn5
ManueverName (offhand) (2): tn5
ManueverName (~2): tn5
Where the number in parenthesis indicates any additional costs to the manuever.
If the cost is preceded by a “~”, it indicates a conditional cost that might/might not be eventually spent depending on your latter choice during the Action where such a cost isn’t spent yet until you confirm it. Examples of such manuevers are like Partial Evasion (from Riddle of Steel) or Quick Defense (from Song of Swords).
If you selected any Simulatneous Manuevers, such as Double Attack or a simulatenous attack+defense/void combo manuever explicitly within the list, it’s deemed you are performing both portions of the manuever on the same target, which is your Primary target. You will be given multiple CP sliders to roll and multiple target zones to select in such a situation.
So, how to declare simulatenous manuevers on a different target instead? If you already declared an Attack Manuever (which is directed to your primary Target, obviously) with 1 hand, you will be limited in your manuevers against other opponents. You can only perform 1 more attack manuever on a second target with your other hand to imply a Double Attack manuever, or perform 1 more parrying/blocking defensive manuever on a second opponent with your other hand to imply some simulatenous attack+defense combo manuever. Such a manuever can also possibly allow you to later optionally switch target to the second opponent with initiative if you successfully defended against the second opponent’s attack.
Or optionally, especially when are up against 3 opponents or you don’t have any available hands, you can perform up to 2 void manuevers on up to 2 seperate targets together with your attack manuever on your primary target to imply a Simulatenous attack+void combo manuever.
The additional costs incured as a result of such implied manuevers is factored into the total cost in parenthesis when facing a different opponent that isn’t your Primary Target.
In the case of a Double Attack on the same target, 2 menus/dropdowns are shown under here instead of one.
“Do Nothing” is available under all Action types, even though it’s a Defensive manuever.
Draggable slider bar to control how much CP you want to spend for a specific roll.
For simulatenous manuevers against the same target, 2 sliders bars will be shown under here instead of one.
Available when manuever is attack-based and the target zone is relavant. Shows a list of available target zones for the selected manuever.
In the case of a Double Attack on the same target, 2 menus/dropdowns are shown under here instead of one.
Double circle outline or crosshair with single circle outline (Primary target facing) (inner circle outline faded if not currently selected)
Single circle outline (Secondary selection target)
Attacking with Initiative: Red
Has Initiative…May/may not attack: Yellow
No Initiative…May still attack without initiative: Clear
Forfeited attack initaitive on you: Green
All arcs can be oriented towards the one without initiative in 3rd person.
Aggressive (Red Bear paw)
Cautious (Yellow Tiger paw)
with arced clear markers indiciating who has the initiative
Roguelike game with comprehensive comprehensive combat options ala Riddle of Steel/Song of Swords
Accessible interface. Can operate completely with 1 hand on keyboard to run through menus and cycle through targets. Mouse is optional. Works on console as well. Workable on mobile.
Default context-sensitive options pre-selected, allowing for fast-paced execution of manuevers.
For roguelike arrow controls.
(show pic example)
An inner dot-like circle indicates your currently selected target.
(show pic example)
An inner line from the middle outwards to the directional button indicates an opponent that is targeting you.
(show pic example)
An outer line extending from the outside of an arrow button indicates an opponent that is targeting someone else.
During this step, a person with Orientation that has yet to finalise his target and initiative, will have a colored outline around it’s button indicating his orientation.
Adjacient opponent Orientation indicators:
Selection of adjacient opponent to perform manuever
This is inspired from a blog-post in Band of Bastards RPG http://www.grandheresy.com/blog/2014/10/21/56wg2uxi2hrfcs3lq58psmp7li3t27 , which describe Manuever augmentations so that more advanced manuevers (or simply more precisely labeled manuevers) are derived from a few simple manuevers in a tree stricture. By organising manuevers likewise, it helps players sort out the typical ones to the advanced ones. Game rules can also allow declaring the root basic manuever to the opposition,(for tactical/fog-of-war reasons) without declaring the EXACT manuever. It also defines default manuevers.
When declaring a generic regular defense, either a Parry or Block is used depending on which is lower TN.
When declaring a generic regular attack, either a Swing or Thrust is used, depending on which is lower TN.
When declaring a generic evasive manuever , Partial Evade is always used (if available and it’s of lower TN) else Void is used.
When declaring a generic unarmed attack (due to not having a weapon), use the attack with the lowest TN by default and zero cost.
Default manuever within group is based on common sense priority: lowest cost and lowest TN.
So, each menu consist of the following basic decisions which the player makes, without necessarily going into details of his exact manuever unless he wishes to:
DEFENSE ROOT CHOICES:
ATTACK ROOT CHOICES:
[ regular defense
Parry -> Counter
-> Rota (can only be made against swing)
-> Expulsion (only to be made against thrust)
Block -> Block Open and Strike
[ advanced defense
[ basic evasive manuevers
Partial Evade -> Void
Closing Void -> Duck & Weave
[ Flee (same premise as Full Evade) ]
[ regular attack -> Bind and Strike
Swing -> (Cut) -> Draw Cut
-> Half Sword
-> Beat -> Disarm
Thrust -> (Spike)
[ misc offenses
[ Double Attack ]
[ advanced attacks
[ Simulatenous Attack/Defense ]
[ Grapple ]
[ unarmed attacks
For a simple rogulike coarse/simple grid,
1 square is basically 1 yard which is at around 3 feet.
Each player spends (conceptually around 0.5 seconds worth of time) of footwork to move a single square while engaged.
A combat exchange takes place at conceptually around 1 second worth of time, of the first 0.5 sec worth of footwork/aiming and the remaining 0.5 sec for swinging and striking.
Each combat round between opponents takes place across 2 exchanges, making it around 2 seconds worth of combat.
During the course of 2 exchanges, an unengaged unit can move spaces at 3 times more than a unit that is fully engaged in a fight, because they get to move while a fight is also taking place between opponents. The only time an engaged unit gets to move, is during the first step of each exchange at eNs0.
eNs0 // this is displayed
eNs1 // this is displayed
(red/white initiative roll occurs for engaged units)
eNs2 // this is displayed, declaration of manuevers are being made now…
On the next step back to to the first..
(manuever roll resolution occurs and now cycle back to new exchange within the current Round or new Round )
where N is the exchange number which is either 1 or 2.
Opponents are “busy-rolling-in-exchange” from e1s2 onwards (throughout the entire e2 exchange as well). During this time, they cannot be interrupted so long as they are adjacient to each other and forming their own meta-region of conflict exchanges representing their own Combat round schedule.
Any engaged units that find themselves seperated from opponents within an exchange, are considered out of the fight, resetting back to e1s0 at eNs1 (or eNs2??) immediately.
~They are forced to sit out the fight and cannot interrupt any “busy-in-exchange” opponents that are fighting among themselves.~ ( <- edit: there’s an exception to this rule as explored later on with regards to force-entering initiative. )
Once you are adjacient to any enemies that aren’t in busy-in-exchange, they and you are automatically engaged in a new Combat Round (starting from e1s0).
This is just a draft at the moment, but generally…
For every subsequent movement step made while not within any combat exchange….you accumulate move points which is subtracted off by 6 immediately in order to move. Over time, you might accumulate a bonus of 1 or more extra bonus move-spaces for each step depending on how much you’ve so far accumulate.
eg. If you have 7 movement points instead of the average 6.
7 = 7 - 6 = 1;
1 + 7 = 8 - 6 = 2;
2 + 7 = 9 - 6 = 3;
3 + 7 = 10 - 6 = 4;
4 + 7 = 11 - 6 = 5;
5 + 7 = 12 - 6 = 6; // you’ve got 1 more free bonus move to make at this point
In the example above:
After 6 consecutive steps, you accumulate enough points for 1 bonus move. You must make that bonus move for that given step, or else forfeit it.
This is just for faster than 6 movement cases. I’ve yet to consider slower cases.
When you get hit under any circumstances during an exchange or miss once for a given exchange, you lose global initiative. However, you might have hit your intended target during that exchange as well, or successfully blocked an opponent, and this might give you target initiative over that given target(s) only. If you lack global initiative, you can only freely attack those targets that you have target initiative on and also not against those targets that have target initiative over you. If you have the global initiative, it means you have a flawless run and can attack anyone adjacient to you that is synced to the same round sequence, not just those within your target initiative.
The use of Global initiative allows only characters that remain completely safe within a flawless exchange (ie. neither missed or got hit themselves), to be free to act in the next exchange against any valid targets spatially adjacient to them within the same round. This allows them the flexibility to switch to a different adjacient target in the subsequent exchange rather than simply follow-up against current target(s) they were involved with in the previous exchange.
In global initiative, there are 2 variants to this. By default, if you get hit/hurt, you always lose global initiative to simulate the encumbering nature of getting hit. But if you miss a target and thus the target now gains target initiative on you, it may/may not result in losing global initiative so long as you remain un-hit/unhurt, depending on house rules. If it doesn’t result in losing global initiative, you can freely attack anyone else that didn’t had target initiative over you, but the timing of your attack will still be subjected to the same timing limitations (ie. the target that had initiative over you will always hit you first before you get to hit others).
Target initiative is recorded as a personal hash of whichever enemies you lost target initiative to in the previous exchange. You cannot mutually lose target initiative between you and the enemy (otherwise it cancels away the other, ie. transfers the initiative being lost), so, it’s either he lost it to you, or you lost it to him.
Generally, target initiative is the correct way of determining (relatively) who has initiative between multiple pairs of opponents in a TROS game. Global initiative adds another aspect where getting hit/hurt in a given exchange definitely causes you to lose initiative against ALL other enemies for the next exchange.
In such a system without global initiative, you can freely attack any adjacient enemies that do not have target initiative over you so long as they are synced within the same round sequence. This effectually works similarly to the above, except that if you do get hit by some enemies during the exchange (or you missed some of them), you can still freely attack another enemy adjacient to you without having to buy initiative if that enemy didn’t had target initiative on you, albeit your timing of hit will always be slower than those enemies that have already gained target initiative over you.
If you choose to attack any target while some other enemies may have target-initiative over you, and you do not buy initiative, then you will always have to defer the execution of your manuever until all those manuevers that belong to those enemies that have target initiative over you is executed. This means your blow will always land after all these enemies’ hits, working similar to the above paragraph. Thus, regardless of your Reflex speed timing roll position in the manuever resolution queue, your manuever slot will always defer/delay itself down to the queue to let the other priority manuevers execute first.
In all cases, both are hit so both will lose global initiative.
And conventionally, according to Brian Leyborne, he has always asserted for both parties not gaining any intiiative for Exchange 2 (thus skipping it before refreshing a new Round for both sides), if both attackers attack and deal hits against each other, but this often results in a 1-exchange round, which I feel detracts from Riddle of Steel’s 2-exchange round design. Unusued remaining dice is scrapped away as a result and simply refreshed, resulting in people being encouraged to simply spend all dice rather than think through possible follow-up attacks with remaining dice.
Based on several people’s suggestions:
The winner of such an exchange belongs to….
Whoever had the initiative the first time (but this may be both keeping initiative in some cases, if red/red initiative thrown on both sides. Not as easy to keep track because need to remember previous pair state)
Whoever won the new reflex test (ie. hit first), otherwise, both lose initiative similar Brian’s approach if both hits land at the exact same time. (Favours faster attacker always in most cicumstances, and favours neither if both hits land simulatenously)
Whoever hit last…( Favours slower attacker in most cases unless faster one nullfies other person’s hit completely.)
I prefer option 2 for the above marked as bold. After all, winning the initiative often means beating someone to the blow first, which is the reason why it’s called stealing initaitive to begin with.
KEY HOUSE RULES:
Penalty to dice pools if it reaches zero or negative, can still allow rolling (of a single dice) but with a increased TN for each step below 1 dice. This allows rolls to be made regardless rather than being nullfied, albeit much harder due to the penalty of increased TN with the remaining minimum 1 dice. Other finer means to granularly scoring/aggregating such zero/negative dice rolls against a TN can be used besides this.
When attacking a new target adjacient to you that is not within your target initiative but is defending against your attack or mutually attacking you, it is considered a shorter ranged disadvanntage when attacking against such a new target with a longer reach. So, shorter ranged fighters only have the short-ranged advantage once they gain/maintain target initiative by hitting the enemy or by weaving in, thus moving in close to that target. (So, defending with a block/parry/partial-evade doesn’t count..only a successful counterattack or a duck and weave manuever would work to close in on the relavant enemy targets ). Thus, a character with a shorter reached weapon is better off focusing on his targets that he had gained closed-ranged hit on in the previous exchange, rather than switching to a new target.
Based off TFOB rules, range penalties to timing are applied when doing the Reflex roll speed score in a mutual attacker vs attacker pair situation. To apply this for Riddle of Steel tactics into a speed value, convert the range difference to a bonus in Reflex dice pool when going up against a target that is also attacking you , or perhaps let penalty to Reflex dice pool be applied to the shorter ranged targetter. The earlier approach might artificially jack up the attack speed timings of the longer-ranged attackers (then again, maybe not) while the latter approach seems more fair, but may need a better variant to the reflex speed scoring system to more finely aggregate zero/negative dice rolls.
If shorter ranged guy did land his blow first against his mutual attacker despite his ranged difference penalty disadvantage, the range difference penalty can be transferered over to the longer ranged guy’s attack pool immediately just before the longer ranged guy rolls back (so the longer ranged guy’s attack pool is reduced by both damage and the range transfer penalty cost). This might cause zero or less CP for the longer ranged guy’s attack dice pool, nullfiying his attack or increasing it’s single dice TN, depending on zero/negative dice scoring rules. This favours the first hitter in such a situation better, especially if the first hitter happens to be one with a shorter-ranged weapon but still manage to overcome such risks in closing in for the hit. If a longer ranged character knows he’s generally slower in reflexes than the shorter-ranged weilding charging enemy, he might consider devoting more dice for his attack in case he loses the range advantage midway during the exchange by getting hit first.
Standard case….uses TFOB (THe Flower of Battle) rules for buying initiative….not classic TROs.
Reference which is not exactly purely Flower of Battle. (ie. without the Red/Red situation):
So, depending on your weapon profeciency, you just pay extra 3, 4, or 5 CP to perform an attack manuever instead of defend. It functions pretty much like a specific type of Defensive Manuever that allows you to “attack instead…”, allowing you to choose from a relavant list of Attack Manuevers after paying the cost, and then being able to contest in landing the blow first.
The “old” core rules of using certain atrtibutes to determine costs and success in buying initiative could have been used, but the disadvantages of the old rules is that it allows the player to peek into other opposing characters’ stats (Perception, Wit, Reflex, etc.), when realistically these attribute stats should be kept hidden between players.
Note that buying initiative in the standard case while you are on the defensive, is more accruately called “stealing initiative”, because you are actually stealing the initaitive from someone that took the initiative to move in to attack you. So, you cannot steal initiative in the context of a white/white situation, or a situation where no no one is attacking you. (ie. red (enemy) /white (you), but the red guy isn’t attacking you but someone else.
Stealing intiaitive in TFOB can only be done when you roll white (either due to losing the intiaitive the previous exchange, or forfeiting it by choosing to defend instead), and someone attacks you, from which it gives you an opening/target to steal initiative from.
Thus, in stealing intiaitive, you can only attack targets that are already attacking you.
My other house rules:
Unlike what TFOB says, it’s actually possible to optionally buy initiative as an attacker as well (using standard TFOB buying initiative costs), in the event you rolled to attack some other adjacient target(s) that you didn’t lose target initiative to (and you still have the global initiative, if applicable), but you did lose target initiative to some enemies earlier in the previous exchange that is now threatening you in the current exchange.
When this happens, you may pay the additional Buy Initiative cost alongside with your Attack manuever (checking a checkbox usually with your delcared Attack manuever), if you want to contest with your place in the manuever resolution queue rather than defer/delay it for those enemies you lost target initiative to. If you choose not to buy initaitive, those enemies that you lost target initiative to, will always resolve their attacks first (whether it’s against you or not) before you get to execute yours.
Normally, if someone attacks his attacker rather than defend in a situation where he lacks initiative, one usually has to buy/steal it and pay the CP cost, especially when using composite defense/offense manuevers. (For now, buying/stealing initiative is enforced while attacking without initiative, based off one of the TFOB suggestions..) However, original TROS did allow for NOT buying/stealing intitiative and still attacking nevertheless, but in such a case, the attack blow will always have to resolve after the original attacker’s regardless, so your manuever will always defer/delay itself down the queue until those manuevers that belong to the enemies that you lost initiative to, is executed. However, I feel this may be subjected to exploits/overpoweredness especially if the slower attacker is still ultra-tough enough to deal a returned/late attack nevertheless. This option (ie. Not Buying Initiative) would be available for playtesting, and is simply a choosable Defensive Manuever alongside the standardard “Buy Initaitive” defensive manuever, except “Not Buying Initiative” is free.
If this is made available, then, “Buying initiative” is therefore a mere means of contesting your speed of attack so that your hit may land first in the reflex score blow queue, rather than settling for being the latter hitter in the case of “Not Buying Initiative”.
Note that just like “Buying/Stealing Initiative”, “Not Buying Initiative” is only available as a defensive response to an enemy’s attack manuever, and can only be directed to that enemy.
Stealing vs Buying Initiative.
Stealing initiative is the standard form of buying initiative in TROS (as a defender against an assailant). But not all forms of buying initiative is stealing initiative in this roguelike. Here are the 3 forms of buying initiative that can be used.
Or opting not to buy initiative.
Main difference from TROS:
Often in a multi-combatant scenerio, if being targeted by someone else and you don’t/can’t target him back, that someone else will always have initaitive over you. This means before you get to carry out any potentially offensive manuever, that someone else will get to resolve any available attack manuever(s) targetted on you first. The result is like an “overwatch” system in place, with the overwatcher having initiative over his target.
In such a situation when you deal with multiple opponents , consider your options carefully especially when adopting an orientation (if you need to), as the Cautious orientation will still allow you to perform defensive manuevers against your potential overwatcher(s) first before you deal with your target, and you can also defend against both your target and overwatcher(s). Using Defensive orientation in order to be able to Flee (something not available in both Cautious and Aggressor orientations), though available in “auto” orientation if you didn’t attack during your last exchange, should also be considered.
This works similar to TROS. Declaring manuevers are made in a queue with those having initiative against their targets (in order of Lowest Reflex to Highest Reflex), then, with a queue among those lacking initiative against their targets (in order of Lowest Reflex to Highest Reflex). This happens for all combatants, whether attacking or not. Even “doing nothing” is considered a manuever in itself.
Both queues may involve the declaration of defensive/offensive manuevers. So, persons with initiative can still declare defensive manuevers as well. There are rules in Song ofSswords that handle tricky issues when it comes to being able to modify defensive manuevers, or perform defensive maneuvers later, or refunding defensive manuevers when they are not used during the exchange.
Since everyone in combat will have a target, initiative and attack manuever order is easily determined. If they have initiative over their target, their attack manuever belongs to the Initiative queue. if they do not have initiative over their target, their attack manuever belongs to the Non-initiative queue.
How the algorithm works for resolving manuevers?
Have 2 priority queues that store attack manuevers…
Run through initiative queue first. Then the non-initaitive queue.
Each person’s attack manuever in a queue is considered in order of those with Highest Reflex to Lowest Reflex for the owner of that manuever. However, due to the different target initiative states that occur as a result of Orientation and the general flow of previous combat exchanges between targets, before a person gets to execute his manuever, a person’s target may end up performing his manuever first (because that target wins an aggressor/aggressor initiative contest over that person, or a case of the target buying initiative and winning the contest, or a case of the target already having initiative on the person), and other overwatchers that has targetted that person with offensive manuevers will execute their manuevers first on that person as well. Only after all these counter-manuevers are resolved, will the person get to attempt to execute his attack manuever (if he still can). Sometimes, it may be possible to trigger a chain of overwatchers as a result of 1 person’s action (eg. think of X-Com:Enemy Unknown). (eg. A’s manuever action is considered. B overwatches A while A is targetting/attacking someone else with initiative. C is overwatching B. And D is overwatching C. Thus, upon considering person A in the queue, D gets to attempt his manuever first, then C, then B, then A.) Basically, these manuevers are collected onto a stack to be immediately executed in the correct order.
Once an attack maneuver is executed, it is removed (in coding terms..spliced() ) off the priority queue. After processing/executing all the manuevers that triggered off as a result of the Highest reflex person in the queue attempting to execute his manuever, the next available manuever in the queue is considered (if any) until it’s emptied completely.
Even for the tabletop/boardgame experience (ie. non-video-game), performing this resolution is very easy to do as well. For each queue, just run through the relevant persons with attack manuevers in order of Highest Reflex to Lowest reflex (ie. simply pick the Highest Reflex guy from the list), and consider what manuevers are slated to execute from that given person. Execute those manuevers and strike off the manuevers from those units as resolved, and consider the next unresolved manuever (ie. again, pick the highest Reflex person with unresolved manuever), until you’re done.
Using Song of Swords’ bout system in the existing Roguelike is fairly simple and runs similar to the current roguelike movement flow. Here is how Song of Swords work in a roguelike’s combat exchange flow:
As usual, a bout always begins when adjacient to an enemy square for roguelikes.
All combatants including you can move a single step (optional: as per footwork convention based on what TROS’ rules mentioned regarding movement during exchange) together with a chosen hidden Orientation (for those that require it). Any available stances are also declared during this step and revealed where applicable to the relevant players in the lowest reflex to highest reflex stance declaration queue (note, a stat like perception can be used for this as well). Note that if your chosen Orientation is set to Aggressive orientation while making the step, you must bump into an enemy square always to confirm it (else it’s always revert to Cautious). When aggressive, because you’ve committed to always attack, you will also automatically bump-rush into enemy’s square immediately if the enemy vacates his square, without having the ability to wait for the next step to consider following or not…something which is available when adopting Cautious/auto orientation.
All characters still in combat can choose a valid Target from their current position for those that need/able to by using the arrow keys. Certain chosen targets might be revealed to the player in this step…due to declarations that occur from characters from highest reflex to lowest reflex. Depending on your orientation, such as Cautious orientation, you will be forced to target specific aggressive individuals that have declared to target you already if you are also attempting to target someone else.
Target initiatives should be determined by now. Declaration of manuevers occur. Changing targets can still be done during declaration of your manuevers, but at the possible cost of your initiative and 1 CP cost.
Variation1: Orientation/stance is done during Step 1/1 prior to revealing of the orientations in Step 2/1 for those that are able to. Then, target selection is done for Step 2/1 if facing multiple targets prior to revealing/declaring of manuevers within the same step. This keeps the flow similar to Riddle of Steel roguelike but adds an extra target selection step during Step 2/1 for those that require it.
The difference between Song of Swords and TROS? Determining initaitive is done on both Steps 0/1 and Steps 1/1 via Orientation and Target Selection respectively, unlike TROS which only handles initiative determination from Step 1/1 onwards for rolling red/white. Note that this is backward compatible with TROS as well, just replace the orientation step with rolling for Red/White under Step 0/1, and choosing targets is done from Step 1/1 onwards. The only difference is that there’s no bump rushing when rolling Red in Step 0/1, so a person that rolled Red might end up not having to engage anyone during the exchange and is deemed to have exited combat already.
In a combat round with 2 Actions, each Action can involve footwork (ie. slight footwork movement on a spatial map), targeting (if possible, ie. you lack/no longer have a target), and attacking/defending. This section describes how it’s possible to include mobility manuever rolls (or in legacy TROS context, Terrain Rolls) within the gameflow.
This version is suited for new players that can decide on the spot whether a mobility manuever can be done (with the GM guiding the process by prompting the player(s) if a mobility manuever can be executed). Albeit it’s a slower process of having each player on his turn declaring a mobility manuever or not. It’s also suited for cases where there’s no actual map spatial footwork movement system being used within a bout, and so such footwork movement and positioning within a bout is abstracted away in the form of targetting instead (with GM guiding the process).
(Movement allowance for Action has reached it’s limit)
In regular tabletop Song of Swords gameplay, actual spatial map movement via footwork during a bout poses several issues, with regards to adjaciency issues and the managing of limelight bout instances. (eg. A bout that goes through several clash counts and ends up shifting to be spatially adjacient to another bout, even before that bout is yet to be resolved.), results in inconsistent situations when it comes to explicitly seperating general/movement phase with the bout resolution phase.
Often, realism is sacrificed with footwork movement during a bout abstracted away, or done as another seperate map/arena instance (which is rather redundant i feel…and i’d rather go with blob combat during the bout instead http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/why-do-we-call-it-blob-combat.75648/ ). When using purely abstract footwork without a map (ie. blob combat), the Standard Approach is often used, though not necessary.
Riddle of Steel did had a paragraph describing the possible use of counters and hexes to move 1 step each time per exchange, even though the author Jake did discourage the use of actual minitatures/counters outside of the book. It also poses several issues when handling Song of Swords combat which consist of a 2 seperate phases of bout vs general actions/movement, where each bout is a seperate instance outside of the main-game’s spatial/abstract map.
Flanking manuevers, if successfully, usually imply any bonus movement during Step 2/1, in order to get onto an opponent’s side. Depending on the “map” situation, such manuevers may not be possible or be made harder.
This version requires the player to predict ahead of time what mobility manuever would be needed, and only commit to using one mobility manuever together with his footwork at the beginning of an Action. This can (often/optionally) be based on spatial positioning on a map during a bout.
For example, a player that wants to avoid multiple opponents must predict potentially how many enemies may surround him in the next step. The manuever may/may not execute depending on the final situation. This works like a preempted mobility manuever modifier. The modifier works alongside actual movement you make on the map (if any). It results in a different style of gameplay that skips the tedious nature of taking turns to declare mobility manuevers, though it requires a player (often an experienced one) to know what to commit beforehand.
(Movement allowance for Action has reached it’s limit)
Variations to version 2:
Step 1/1 can be modified to the following variations:
These variations can affect gameplay dynamics significantly. For example, choosing(or having to) to reveal that you are intending to “Thread the Needle” before targeting occurs, can preemptively discourage others from targeting you but make the others go for another person instead. (Or perhaps, they may respond in reverse by getting “more enemies” to contest against you by targeting you..) If you reveal that you are already performing “Outmanuever” on a particular target, which requires a “partner” to perform targetting as well on that target, then both you and your partner can work cooperatively by targeting the same target. Note that revealing a manuever often means that you MUST execute it whenever it’s possible to do so (ie. you commited to perform the manuever already).
For tabletop, a set of Orientation cards and a set of Mobility Manuever Modifier cards can be provided per player, 1 of these cards is picked from each set to be placed faced down on the table, and these faced-down cards are revealed once “the time is right”. One of the Mobility Manuever card simply states “No Mobility Manuever”, and can be used if the player does not want to roll any specific Mobility Manuever. Alternatively, if house rules allow so, the player can just throw down any mobility manueveer modifier card, and later opt out of using the mobility manuever if he so wishes by not revealing it.
For a map situation, footwork movement might cause opponents to mutually seperate on the map, rather than maintaining contact. If they are no longer in engaging range as a result of such movement, both of them can lose their current targets and can then choose any new targets during Step 1/1, provided they are near enough to those targets. Otherwise, they sit out and have to wait for the next Action to see if they can move/re-target anyone. If it’s the end of a Clash count, such people are considered disengaged.
* On “Threading the Needle” versus Change Target
This is the basic mobility manuever in Song of Swords that seems to be the replacement for Multiple Opponents terrain roll in Riddle of Steel. (according to the manual). But how does it deal against enemies that Change Target to aim at someone that “threaded the needle” earlier?
Or perhaps, Thread the Needle only applies to those targeting you on Step 1/1 as described in the manual, but can later apply against non-targeters during Step 2/1 that attempt to Change Target towards you, in which case, a new challenge roll instance is performed against a new roll instance of Thread the Needle, on top of payign the CP cost to Change Target. Normally, in such a case, if “Change Target”, together with any additional dice used to challenge “Thread the Needle” manuever, fails against it, any CP spent on the accompanying attack manuever under Change Target, may not be refunded as well.
Perhaps, the “Thread the Needle” challenge can be attempted first, and if it fails, the person that attempted to Change Target is now targetless (or keeps his current target?) but CP spent on any accompanying attack manuever will be refunded. In short, you only get to confirm an attack manuever if you managed to Change Target successfully first.
Rough roguelike enterFrame process…
0) Perform tweened animation movements.
0a) Perform any per frame calculations
0b) Perform animations
1) If heartbeat has already occured due to player(s) triggering their intended action, func.key occurs for all units, including player to determine their intended direction to move if they wish to and have the movement allowance. (flagged as moving==true)
2) Everyone that is moving now slides by their intended direction to shift to a new tile according to movement intiaitive queue, assuming they can and that zone isn’t blocked at that point of time, otherwise, they animate move to only face that given direction, but do not shift in that direction since it’s already occupied.
3) Update dungeon timestamp, and UI map state and any combat exchanges.
If moving into a direction that is intended to bump (based on the current map state), put under bumping=true instead. This means you might consider pursuing the enemy you targeted, but have to defer your movement intitiative compared to non-bumpers, and wait for the targeted enemy to move first before deciding to pursue him.
Perform moving == true first slide() for everyone for those that aren’t actively bumping into anyone. In the event the empty square they are moving to is already occupied by another person of higher move initiative, they lost their move oppurunity by default.
For all bumpers, check their respective bumping squares to determine if it’s currently occupied or not. If the bumped square is still occupied, they will now attempt to “move” somewhat. but will not shift and such bumpers are considered resolved (ie. their target is still in place), and if within the first exchange window of conflict, synchronise the combat exchange schedule to the latest between the bumped characters according to house rules. For unresolved bumpers where there are now empty-bumped squares that can be now moved into, the players (and perhaps more intelligent AI) can post-decide whether they wish to move into that now-empty square, (or other squares) to pursue the enemy or change their mind. These movement remain unresolved and is defered to the next frame, and may require player interacition in the next frame if players are involved, and step 3 map doesn’t update yet until the next bump frame is resolved). If no such player bumpers are involved, then AI makes their decisions on the spot within the current frame (or re-call/wait for the next frame but enable bump mode only.). Otherwise, wait for next frame for player keyboard response to confirm bump move decision to run in bump mode for all bumpers only, and then resolve the post-bump movement phase for everyone, allowing everyone to have a fair chance of maintaining proper tail chase on their targets, regardless of initiative.
Another option allows for auto-chase, without having to post-decide. BUt this means attackign someone can be dangerous if it means pursuing someone. In this case, everything is handled within the single frame and resolved accordingly.
Potential rolls are only made after the map is updated, at exchange steps undergoing steps 2/1, which is resolve in the next heartbeat at the start of the next exchange.
Anyone that rolled white (Defense) for whatever reason (either due to losing initiative in the previous exchange, or deliberately forfeiting it, or not being perfectly syncronoised with another unit in combat exchange schedule but is already within spatial range to join the fight mid-round and attack someone) can still choose to attack instead, if they themselves are not being attacked. This is a special form of “buying initiative”, somewhat like a (more passive) attack of opportunity, or joining the fight mid-round….This avoids the issue of bystanders being forced to sit outside of a fight idly while the entire round resolves, but can join in as fast as possible.
On top of paying the additional 3,4, or 5 CP to buy initiative in TFOB, there are some key additional penalties and limitatations:
You can only do this if you are not currently being attacked at the moment by someone else. ( If potentially someone later in the defense declaration queue could take an opportunity to attack you similarly as well via the force-entering initiative approach, it may be best to simply tighten your belts and assign a defensive manuever to protect yourself instead, since the move is costly, as you’ll find out later, and will often leave you vulnerable. )
You can only attack 1 target on opportunity, and will sync combat exchange schedule with him if required.
Implications/stipulations to the entire game:
*Version 1: Standard rules
Handle all Mobility manuevers at the very last step before Melee Combat manuevers.
Step 0/1: Orientation or/and Footwork with selected Stance modifier(if available in rules)
(may post-bump follow at later initiative)
Step 1/1: Select Target if required or/and check box “I wish to make a Mobility manuever” or perform a move into a free empty area to imply a Mobility manuever. Output text displays all possible/confirmed-available manuevers (alongside potential/confirmed costs) to help you make a decision.
(Prompt interrupt menu for Mobility manuevers, if Mobility Manuever checkbox was checked earlier in previous step and manuevers are available to use, or prompt if can contest against specific mobilty manuever(s). This menu might appear again later because of the latter situation of contesting against mobility manuevers down the queue.)
(Resolve mobility manuevers)
Select Melee Combat Manuever(s)
This interlaces the process of resolving Mobility manuevers across Step 0/1 to Step 1/1, until last Step 2/1 is reached to only exclusively deal with Melee Combat manuevers.
Orientation or/and perform Footwork with selected Mobility Manuever Modifier and commited dice to it, or/and selected Stance modifier(if available in rules). Some manuver modifiers may not work in certain stances and player would be warned accordingly.
(may post-bump follow at later initiative)
Select Target if required or/and optionally adjust CP budgetings to counter any surrounding revealed manuever modifiers if the manuevers involve you.
(Resolve mobility manuevers when above step finishes to determine updated targeting situation.)
Select Melee Combat Manuever(s)
This system provides simultenaneous resolution of all movements, manuevers and actions done by every character ingame per turn in the TroS roguelike. A turn proceeds forwards once all players have commited a key-press. In the case of a singleplayer roguelike, it’ll only need to have 1 main character (ie. the player himself) commiting his keypress.
A frame consist of:
0) Perform tweened animation movements.
0a) Perform any per frame operations
0b) Perform animations
If (in regular moving phase turn):
0c) Resolve any given combat manuever rolls and actions for those completing their exchange from 2/1 to 0/1 in order of Reflex roll speed timing and refresh their combat pools if necessary. Output this information in log.
1) func.key handler occurs for all units, including player to determine their intended direction to move if they wish to and have the available combat exchange movement allowance. (flagged as moving==true if moving into an empty space or bumping==true if moving into a space that is currently occupied by someone)
2) Everyone that is moving (moving==true) now slides by their intended direction to shift to a new tile according to movement initiative queue. If the space they are moving to is already occupied due to another person earlier in the initiative queue taking up that place, they forfeit their movement attempt by default. (House rules might allow them to be treated as bump-movers..)
3) Everyone that is bump-moving (bumping==true) now moves (if they wish) if they only consist of AI, else defers their movement to the next frame response after the player(s) has decided and confirmed his/their move, skipping all subsequent steps in the frame. The “next frame” is treated as a temporary bumping phase frame that isn’t a regular moving phase frame turn, and will skip directly to this step instead to resolve all bump movers before resolving the current turn for everyone.
4) Resolve turn:
Update and render map positions, etc. Update/Step forward combat exchanges. Render stances/initiatives when they are revealed.
5) Execute the following for all human and AI players alike in combat exchanges based on their respective current step:
0/1 : Decide on martial stance if possible, which will be revealed and take effect in the next step. Any necessary/optional terrain rolls are also decided here (up to the individual unit to choose and decide how many CP to sacrifice for a terrain roll), which is resolved in the next step with regards to standing/moving over terrain.
1/1 : Decide whether to roll red(attack) or white(defend) initiative, which thus determines roll bumping direction, which will be revealed in the next step.
2/1 : Declare manuever rolls. UI Menu comes up for human player if something concerns him in order to determine his response.