Adapting The Riddle of Steel (TROS) pen and paper RPG combat mechanics to both a traditional turn-based tactics format type of game, and a roguelike format as well.
This doc is a work-in-progress and may currently involves a lot of theory-crafting on how certain things can/may not work.
It highlights the various problems prevalent in translating TRoS’s pen-and-paper combat mechanics to an actual tactical miniature/unit game with actual unit positioning involved, and what can be done to solve these problems.
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 in various settings.
TROS-like Adaptations :
ROGUELIKE RPG GENRE:
BLOBBER RPG GENRE:
TACTICS SRPG GENRE:
Song of Swords flow
So, many of the rules outlined in the other sections are deprecated
NOTE: The tactics mode (currently sketchy) is currently put on hold in favor for the Roguelike mode (see column section further below).
Adapting Riddle of Steel pen-and-paper RPG combat to a tabletop-miniature turn-based tactics style PC/video game that can be solely player-driven, without needing any AI, except for the “gamemaster” itself, which is “the game” in this context, to determine the rules/results of player actions.
This section only focuses on the basic turn-based tactical flow of the game to synchronise between actual human players, and some of the differences in rules from the pen&paper game in order to fit the tactics style game, which often focuses more on actual spatial placement/movement of units, something that is missing in pen-and-paper RPGs.
It also consist of several rules on general character movement/manuevers where some of them can apply to action/roguelike rpgs formats as well.
Tactics videogame examples:
Variations to Riddle of steel tactics
Tile-based movement is good as it allows starting combat formation to be standardised per tile being occupied by a party, and fits a blobber situation better compared to gridless movement. Movement from tile to tile is very fast and streamlined if it spans large enough distances.
Gridless movement requires formations to be determined naturally from current leader position at a certain area, which may need some environmental tracing/pathfinding to be plausible, which means more coding that would fit non-blobber situation better where often pathfinding and flocking of party members will exist already and function as approximate starting combat positions.
Limelight approach is unique, allowing combat to individually break off into fast-forward engagements per player, which can be resolved in sequence or concurrently if up against NPCs only. It is more abstract compared to counting off exact tile/world distances to determine movement allowance per turn.
Song of Swords approach is something that is more typical in style among all SRPG players, and works primarily in a turn-based manner going through each player character accordingly to determine their actions.
Step-wise movement over Hex/square grid overlay is more streamlined and straightforward.
Gridless movement is more free, natural and realistic, though not as streamlined as movement keys must be used to handle movement, and collision clearances might be uncertain.
Having grid overlay cost region during gridless movement (over the grid) requires some extra coding and collision detection against grid region edges, but allows movement allowance to be predicted easily.
There may be other alternative approaches like Mordheim’s use of back-tracking circles.
Multi-combatant Riddle of Steel:
Deciding on which one is best…
This seems to run as 1 mega bout for all combatants involved, glossing over several details (eg. the intricacies of who wins initiative over who in grey circumstances, and other stuffz, which is left up to the discretion of the GM).
Terrain rolls made at the start to determine who engages who in order to form individual rounds of combat that run through individually. These rounds are thus assumed to occur at seperate locations between the relavant groups of people.
In the end, ended up with….
A seperate phase where general movement and actions can be taken among unengaged combatants is also provided in order to move and form bouts. Within bouts, everyone rolls Aggressive/Cautious/Defensive, which determines one’ imperative to attack/defend/choose between both and the starting initiative to engage other units and lock target them in. Different bouts are assumed to occur at seperate locations between the relavant groups of people.
This explores house rules on how to handle large-scaled tactical battles with multiple parties/squads.
Each side is given a pool of strategy points known as Strategy Pool during the General phase where actions are being taken. The amount of points is most likely around 6 per turn.
Activating a formation of 4 individuals or more: 3 strategy points.
Activating a triplet formation (3 like-minded individuals): 2 strategy point
Activating a pair formation (2 like-minded individuals): 1 strategy point
Activating an individual: 1 strategy point.
Activating of individuals, pairs, and triplets can be done, often to seperate them out from existing formations or let them perform individual actions within the formation.
Each activation allows up to 1 action for a formation, and 2 actions for an individual.
When a formation is activated, it can only perform a single action for the entire group and must remain in formation during movement which counts as 1 movement (though they can engage enemies together with their movement as a single action).
Shooting is only resolved when the next side (or opposing side) begins to makes his turn and starts to perform their first action. Shooting is done at a specific target, or as a general overwatch manuever that can attempt to interrupt the movement of other units while they move. in order to apply “Shooting at moving target penalties”.
Shooting as a formation often involves a Volley action, which may have it’s own set of rules/mechanics, and is often more deadly.
Each side takes a turn performing a Primary Activation (ie. the first activation), which can cost up to 3 strategy points for that single activation. If the cost of strategy points used in that Primary Activation is beyond 1 strategy point, the other side is given a strategy packet of either 1 or 2 points based on how much more was spent beyond that single strategy point. Up to a single packet can be used (ie. opened up) per turn to gain some extra strategy points to either move individuals, pairs, or triplet formations (after spending on a Primary activation, if your strategy pool allows it). Any unusued strategy points in an opened strategy packet at the end of side’s turn is forfeited. Eg. Activating a triplet format gives the enemy a strategy packet of 1 point. Activating a formation of 4 indivuals or more gives a strategy packet to the enemy consiting of 2 points. Also, you end up giving strategy packet to the enemy (of 1 point) when spending a packet of 2 strategy points on a triplet formation as well.
Refreshing the Strategy Pool:
The General phase ends and Bout phase begin when both sides cannot or choose not to perform any actions. Normally, all strategy points and packets are foregoed per General phase, and it is refreshed completely, though there might be rules to save and store up to a maximum amount of strategy points/packets for the pool..and strategy points could accumulate rather than refresh back to full completely all the time.
This mode can support any number of players/AI, or basically no AI requirements at all. It’s good if you basically want players to just about micromanage everything in a traditional tabletop tactics experience.
In order to adapt the above Riddle of Steel experience to multi-combatant exchanges, especially without any AI-intervention and only players involved, a more involved process is required. This is because the regular individual Challenge Roll being made on a single target, only works for 1-on-1 exchanges. In the event there are multiple combatants involved during an exchange (eg. engaging a unit while being engaged with another, or engaging a unit with other friends surrounding that unit…or a mix of all these varied cross-engagements), a different approach is required to resolve actions of many combatants.
To begin with, having 2 seperate phases is required, one for Movement/Deployment only, and the other for Combat, focused solely on the Combat Round where every unit involved in an armed conflict gets to act during the turn.
Note that in actual gameplay, when a battle starts (this happens on first mutual contact made during exploration), the Combat Phase is actually done first, not the Movement/Deployment phase. This allows intiial combat encounters encounters to be resolved for the entire combat round of 2 seconds within the phase (eg. often in the case of ambushes), as some battles might have already men waiting in overwatch and ambush at the very start. Performing a Combat Phase at the beginning also allows up 2 seconds worth of initial movement to also take place.
Let’s start with basic movement first….
From Lowest Reflex to Highest Reflex (…or use a different intiaitive system to determine this?…see inner section), non-engaged (ie. disengaging/disengaged) can make broad movements around the map across a certain distance (4 seconds worth of movement), restricted within a traversible region shape that takes into account obstacles and movement costs. Disengaged units cannot enter into any melee engaging radii of enemies or body radii of friends, but can skirt at the edges of the those radiuses to prepare for actual engagements (technically, they can be in range to deal their attacks when skirting at the edges, but since it’s a movement phase, no attack manuevers can happen yet. ). This is also known as deployment.
The metric distances allowed for travelling in both phases matches official Riddle of Steel rules.
Marked clipping obstacles can be used to plan out your movement safely, either to avoid getting hit, pinned or to prepare for a Charge during the Combat phase later.
You can switch between 3 obstacle modes during movement as long as the spatial conditions allow so.
The movement deployment region is clipped away by any blockign radii accordingly. Thus, the blocking radii act as obstacles for disengaged deployment.
Note that if you happen to move close enough to the enemy during the Movement Phase to get in range to hit him, the enemy is still
deemed freely disengagable if his turn hasn’t taken place yet, giving him time to react and move out of your given chase when his turn arrives (NOTE: there are exceptions to this rule…see inner section) . This only happens if the enemy’s turn is yet to happen, and it normally occurs for higher reflex units (<- this rule is depreciated.. see inner section). For such a case, no opportunity attacks will be triggered on the enemy. Only melee opportunity attacks will occur if a unit himself deliberately enters AND exits the threatened melee reach zones, or loiter around within it for >=1 second.
This is basically the Combat Round. It consist of 2 exchanges.
Check for blood loss
Refresh combat pool
From Lowest Reflex to Highest Reflex (or use a different initiative system to determine this?…see inner section), all units regardless of being engaged or not, can:
1) perform up to 1 second’s worth of further footwork movement. Before that, they need to decide their movement style for this 1 second. Movement styles like duck-walking, crawling, sprinting, jogging, etc. are available besides the regular cautious/walking speeds, and are subjected to their own various limitations/advantages/disadvantages.
2) turn to face any given necessary direction, if possible or if they wish to, after movement.
3) choose a martial stance, if possible
4) end turn secretly as either an Aggressor(red) or Defender(white), where this role is only revealed once all units are done.
If anyone is not in-range and in-view to attack any enemies, they can only roll white as Defender.
During pre-manuevering, terrain rolls are handled accordingly if movement is done, but no opportunity attacks/fire can be triggered. Units will generally try to spend that precious 1 second to try and fine-tune their position, get out of sticky multi-opponent situations, or get into proper range to deal an attack.
With cautious/walking movement style, they can also adopt a martial stance so long as they were unengaged previously, or had a pause during the last combat round, before ending their turn.
During pre-manuevering movement, if a unit finds himself inside an enemy weapon reach radius and the enemy has view on him, they will be considered already engaged and can no longer exit out of the radius. This is determined at the end of the turn (after a max of 1 sec movement) for both sides, and also while movement is being made by the moving unit against any enemies that might “catch” them in their tracks. To remain safely unattackable and unengaged, they must stay outside of any enemy weapons’ reaches during movement, and remain so once everyone else has finished their movement. Once engaged by enemies, they have to successfully perform a Full Evade manuever in order to free themselves . Otherwise, they will miss a turn during the Movement/Deployment phase and won’t be able to move during that time, since they are still locked in combat.
However, if the above unit is inside multiple enemies’ weapon reach radii, they can stll try and manuever their way (restricted within the weapon reach radii region) so that only 1 unit threatens them during Pre-manuevering. A terrain roll is used accordingly to determine if they are successful in performing such an escape upon exiting out of 1 of the radiuses in the radii set, and they must decide beforehand how much CP they wish to sacrifice if they were to commit to this manuever, else a default value is used. If they fail, they continue remaining locked in. If they succeed, they can freely move on and try and find the best spot during the second’s worth of movement, but must still face against at least 1 opponent within the radii region.
You cannot move too close to an enemy (eg. at point blank range), until you successfully performed a Grappling manuever on him. This can be done once you get close enough to the edge of the minimum range between you and the enemy.
Certain tight formations, tightly-spaced environments, or crowded positions with friends/enemies can restrict certain manuevers with your weapons, especially longer-reached/larger weapons. (eg. Tight shield wall formations will only allow for thrusting manuevers). So, carefully decide on where you wish to station yourself within that precious second.
\2. Declare manuevers:
All units that are able to attack/defend against neighboring units from their current position and facing, get to declare their manuevers, the respective target within their view and body zone to aim at if required. Do this in order of Lowest reflex to Highest reflex first for attackers, and then, for any defenders respectively in the order of lowest reflex to highest reflex as well.
In the event a defender is attacked by multiple assailants, then the defender, if he isn’t buying initiative, must divide his CP among all assailants to defend against each one seperately. (Depending on house rules, different defense manuevers can be used for each assailant…)
\3. Resolve manuevers:
Finally, all attackers roll their own Reflex against their ATN to form a score-based queue of attackers to resolve their actions. Initiative buyers also contest for all higher attacking positions in the queue from the bottom up order, starting with the highest position to contest against. Once the queue is finalised, resolve attack manuevers accordingly in order from top to bottom (against any defense manuevers, if available). Some blows might resolve simulatenously if they have the same score.
Repeat exchange one more time….with new altitude.
Exit exchanges. Exit Combat phase. Proceed back to Movement/Deployment phase.
Only let those units that need to resolve exchange #2 (those that maintained/lost or gained initiative over another unit), take part in that exchange to resolve them. All other units are skipped (they have to wait & watch) and do not even move about during exchange #2 (they just sit on the spot, sacrificing their movement). Optionally, they can be given 1 second of movement during the Movement Phase as their owed pre-manuevering in lieu only, that they missed during exchange #2, and those out of combat are given 5 seconds worth of movement rather than 4 seconds, to accomodate the movement they missed during Exchange #2. This keeps exchange #2 solely as a followup exchange involving the possibility of followup attack manuevers between the relavant combatants only.
See next (inner) section on the alternative flow.
Full Evasion manuever (used to escape combat engagements) can only be done if you are near the edge of the enemy’s exit weapon reach while declaring the manuever among standard TROS exchange rules for Full Evasion manuever. This means you can be “hinting” to the enemy that you may actually be attempting to fully evade, if you are located close to the edge of escape.
Once a successful Full Evade is performed, you are considered disengaging from those units (that you successfully perform a Full Evade on) and you must make your exit out of that enemy’s weapon reach area (within a maximum time limit of 1 second) under “Disengaging” status during the Movement phase or during the 2nd exchange in the Combat Phase (depending on the timing of when you successfully executed the Full Evasion manuever). Failure to do so would mean you’ll be re-engaged to the original opponents you faced during the previous Combat Phase. If you are disengaging during the Combat Phase on the 2nd exchange, you always get move initiative first before the enemy/enemies you were engaged with in the 1st exchange. Once fully disengaged in the Combat Phase, the enemy cannot re-enter within range to re-engage you, and this is a temporarily limitation imposed on the enemies that failed to hit you while you were disengaging.
When running through multiple radii of other enemies’ weapon reaches, terrain rolls are done to determine if you manage to escape or draw a disengagement opportunity attack from 1 or all of them (if you botch). If you get hit by a disengagement opportunity attack, you remain pinned in most circumstances, though there can be saving throws (up to the discretion of the game’s rules/hero perks), to allow continuing movement after getting hit. When running through a single radius of an enemy’s weapon reach, a disengagement opportunity attack will be triggered upon exit, or, loitering within enemy weapons’ reaches for >=1 second will also deal opportunity attacks from 1 or more of the melee enemies.
Determining whether to ignore enemy melee weapon reach obstacles or avoid them is part of the game. The player has to determine the risks/rewards involved in both disengaged obstacle modes, since careful winding disengagements may be too slow in being able to reach a certain target location. Sometimes, a particular unit, once disengaged from a fight, might want to “risk it all” running past some enemies in order to save a nearby friend, for example.
If you end the turn fully disengaged from all melee engaging radii, then you are considered “Disengaged”. If you end turn inside any enemy’s weapon reach radii, you are Engaged. If you end turn in neither radii (ie. you are within engaging range to still attack other opponents) your status remains as Disengaging, until you get conditionally engaged with some other enemies during the Combat phase.
This section focuses on some specific Riddle of Steel numbers to use for the PC game.
Location: Outside Doorway into Groondor Building
(wander around location?)
(explore within location?)
Flavor Text: (description of the location and it’s state)
Last location: Some Road on Open Plain
Last travel key location: (optional. may be unique from above)
Last immediate location: (optional. may be unique from above)
Visible Key Locations from Here:
Visible People/Things: ??
Known nearby key locations: ?? (within vincity, yards, km, feet, etc., also within zone?)
Known key locations:?? (the full directory index list of key locations..)
Destinations: This section allows you to determine the in-between locations to your destination locations
-(Red vs. white preference). Do you want to move TOWARDS or AWAY to/from a chosen location?
Region Visiblity: Foggy
Zone: City outdoors
Zone Visibility: Region
Location: South Fuxing Men
Location Visibility: Zone
(explore around location?)
Known Nearby locations:
From spatial abstraction to spatial non-abstraction.
Environment: No limit on environment conceptually.
Conceptual distances are based off a bunch of approximations between nodes in a scene graph. Uses Tactifician RPGMaker to develop environment.
Environment: Mainly limited to jetty and flats and pre-setup tiles.
Tile-based movement, or free-formed movement over tiles.
(Hardcoded formation choices over tile-types based off rotation.)
Uses Grid movement, or free-formed movement over grid.
Free-form movement with 2D Obstacles over Navmesh generation.
(need to determine exposed arcs.)
(need navmesh pathfinding)
Combat gameplay implications:
Limelight positions indiciate crowdedness. They prefably should NOT intersect, and should resolve collisions at end of turn, even though this isn’t entirely needed, it helps in believability of scene. While playing out a single limelight, the other limelights are turned off. Only formation-based characters exist in limelights as obstacle blockers (use monochrome skin).
Environment: No limit on environment. Free-form 3D environment with navmesh.
Exploration and Combat:
Freeform with 2D obstacles, etc.
(need to determine exposed arcs.)
(need to determine formation positions.)
(need navmesh pathfinding)
Terrain. 2D obstacles around high region contours to mark out impassable borders.
Normals slope texturing
For a CRPG, there are 3 Levels of Spatial considerations:
Spatial 1D - possible for abstract or tile-based exploration environments only where spatial situations can be hardcoded/pre-determined per “tile”. This is the typical pen-and-paper RPG style of gameplay.
Spatial 2D - usually for both free-form or tile-based exploration+combat. Will analyse 2D geometry, 2D nav-mesh, perform raycasts, etc. from current position dynamically, or may have to rely on grid and some hardcoding of formations.
Spatial 3D - same as 2D above, but considers 3rd dimension, usually not computationally necessary
For this case….
..there is an actual 3D environment for the blobber. Movement can be freely scrolling and gridless, even though it’s party-based movement. Think of it as Blade of the iron throne played with a map including miniatures/counters, even though the pen and paper RPG wasn’t exactly designed with this in mind, it was something some GMs could optionally use. In this case, the computer GM uses the map to determine calculations dynamically, often requiring Spatial 2D/3D considerations.
So, a party-based blobber RPG that can seamlessly transition into a tactical situation, when in formation, there are precise positioning of each individual character in relation to chosen battle formation, it’s position, direction, and the surrounding terrain environment. This precise spatial positioning is used to determine a target’s vulnerability and whether he can be engaged or not by which attackers. Starting formation positions are taken into account when combat starts, while this is ignored during explorations (ie. no real-time pathfinding movement made while exploring) but the mapped formation over the map during exploration is something you have to take note off while moving the blob around. You can lock a certain formation to face a certain direction in a fixed position, to act as a “security-formation” while someone else in the party scouts around. Think of it as a gridless tabletop RPG with miniatures being used.
However, it’s still generally a blobber at heart because you don’t get to deal with actual real-time moving miniatures during explorations (like in Baldur’s Gate, with all the real-time pathfinding aspects). You also don’t necessarily need to to even see your own live 3D models, (unless budget allows to). Rather, you just include static miniature placement to acts as reference positions within the game where abstract counters would suffice.
Also, if formation positions are dissolved, positions of characters are simply “rough” and “sketchy” and marked as counters seperated all over the 3D environment. This is to emulate the tabletop Blade of the Iron throne experience, when playing over a spatial map. Ultimately, exact spatial precision can be foregoed in certain situations, or collisions of counters can be resolved by having to “push” certain counters out of the area of collision, either manually by the player, or by the AI.
Whether the game is tactically precise turn-based initiative over an overhead map versus fast-forward terrain movement rolls to handle individual limelight fights and engagements, it’s possible to support both modes.
When programming a “GM” (gamemaster), the spatial aspect with the miniatures is used to calculate “distance” and “difficulty” in these terrain rolls. When target destination distance is great and requires hurried/running movement rather than slow cautious movement, this affects the terrain roll’s difficulty in some circumstances. All these factors are calculated behind the scenes and presented to the player immediately when making decicions for each characters, and these factors are made considering the 3D environment being presented visually to the player, but also analysed by the computer-based GM. A roll is made to simply “fast-forward” the engagement in an abstract manner, but the actual calculations being made are very spatial (by analysing the 2d/3d environment) in order to account for some plausibility and consistency with the spatial environment (eg. having to cross through slippery ice patch, for example). This tries to combine the best aspects of abstract tabletop role-playing with actual tactical 2D/3D spatial visual reference of the environment. Just like in the pen-and-paper/tabletop experience, the 2D/3D spatial visual reference should mainly act as an aid in making abstract decisions, and NOT be used as an absolute realism to-scale measure in every circumstance.
CRPG Blobber design:
What makes it different?
( Not just an ordinary tile-based first-person blobber RPG. )
Overlaid hex grid is used as a reference during the actual bout or tactical warfare metagame. Such tactical engagements may be abstract or detailed, depending on the scheme being used.
Pre-engagement target selection/general actions to determine engagements/limelights.
After all engagements are determined for the current Round of Limelights, proceed to resolve limelights.
What is a limelight?
First person perspective primarily maintained. Focus on each limelight player character’s experience. Limelight cycles to next character after current limelight ends, or all limelights can start running concurrently among different players in a multiplayer setting if all the limelight characters are up against NPCs.
BOUT Scheme 1a: Fully Abstract. Rough position is chosen on hex grid to determine static fight for the current limelight character. Camera doesn’t move, or shuffles slightly from the current fixed position. NPCs move back and forth to represent targeting/untargeting/engaging/disengaging as a result of terrain rolls being made. In this mode, determining your end position after a bout is usuaully not possible, so fight positioning is not taken into account here.
BOUT Scheme 1b: Half abstract. Uses hex grid to mark out positions and transition from one hex-grid spatial position to the next with the first-person camera while engaging in fights/actions among the limelight enemies. Spatial positioning and movement runs in conjunction with terrain rolls being made per round. Camera might shift up (or overhead map view), to give playesr a better bearing on surroundings when making terrain rolls to move from one hex grid space to the next. The other characters outside the current limelight are hidden away and “belong to another dimension”, so there’s usually more space to move about conceptually within the current limelight (only considering the environment and immediate limelight enemies) compared to if it was a real life situation where other characters outside your current limelight can block you completely if they are occupying some hex. When the limelight ends, your current hex position represents your final (approximate) position. It’s possible for characters among different limelights to occupy the same hex at the end of the entire round of limelights, as this is only a rough abstract measurement. Advanced rules might involve certain hexes that are deemed more “crowded” then others, but this is purely an abstract number floating above the hex, and doesn’t necessarily block the player, but can penalise the player’s terrain rolls being made in trying to travel into/near that hex.
Traditional/typical turn based movement/actions with individual initiatives on overhead Hex Grid during General phase with unit miniatures/models. Characters cannot occupy the same hex except for special cases like grappling (or squeezing to get through something..). Hexes are highlighted to represent moveable regions, or counted off to determine how much you can move according to typical movement allowance rules.
Melee engagements are formed due to to movement to contact, which resolves to Bout Phase, again taking place primary on the overhead hex grid as a reference. Rounds of combat occur here according to how Riddle of Steel/Song of Swords does it.
Movement during bout rounds are usually not allowed except for Fleeing manuevers to escape from bouts (or closing-in/backing-off/encircling/flanking manuevers, etc.), since every there’s an issue of unfairness that results in having some bouts resolve first with free hex grid movement every round while the other bounds aren’t resolved concurrently. One way is to abstractify the movement by not considernig collisions against those other characters outside a given bout. However, once all bouts are end (or single bouts ends), collisions between combatants occupying the same hex grid spots need to be resolved due to non-abstract spatial rules with the hex grid. But managaing this may be hard and may leave the game open to exploits. After all, Song of Swords did not mention any rules regarding actual footwork movement made during each bout round.
In a gridless situation (ie. abstract blob combat with no tactical grid), I highly recommend sticking bouts to 1 vs 1 or 1 vs many opponents, else you’ll get a headache later on.
In order to ensure all bouts are formed to only ( 1 vs 1) or (1 vs Many) cases, and done so with a realistic and fairly-balanced distribution, the following rules can be used when someone (who is unengaged) decides to engage an enemy during their turn, after the Movement Initiative ladder is determined (using Song of Swords rules for the General Movement/Action phase in rolling Mobility over TN5). This is determined for every un-engaged character at the beginning of every Round of Limelights.
Normally, it’s best that players should not be aware of the exact Movement Initiative ladder order (else they might dwelve into a meta-game of counting initiative slots..though this can be an intended part of the game). The GM could simply read out the list of available engagable opponents for each player character in a random order (or in an order that “roughly” reflects the slowness of each character, but not the exact initiative order). An Iphone App would come in handy for this.
The general condition may involve only being able to engage an enemy that hasn’t made his turn to engage anyone else yet, or the enemy exists in a position lower down the Movement Initiative ladder. However, enforcing this general condition at all times results in a rather restrictive flow, and can cause exploits/mishaps with almost everyone ganging up on the slowest person in the initiative queue. Also, the slowest person (or even simply slower ones..) may not be able to engage anyone on his turn. Thus, we loosen this condition to only apply in certain cases (only if it’s mentioned).
Assuming things like spatial distances are not taken into consideration (ie. enemies are deemed within reach and aren’t running away. All players are assumed to be within reach of one other), there are 4 key ways of engaging an enemy….
Engage someone new:
\1. Engage an unengaged enemy character, to form a new bout.
Join a bout:
\2. Join an existing bout that consists of only 2 combatants by engaging an enemy character within it to outnumber him.
Result: The engaged enemy becomes the “host” of the bout and the bout will end up consisting of 3 characters.
\3. Join an existing bout that consists of 3 or more characters by engaging the enemy hosting the bout.
Condition: The host enemy’s initiative position within the Movement Initiative Ladder must lie lower than your current position on that ladder. If this isn’t so, then you can’t join the bout.
Optional additional conditions (that needs further testing, but a good way for preventing exploits):
Join bout movement costs…
(Note: Joining a bout will incur “movement ladder cost”, which causes your your character’s position within the Movement Initaitive ladder to drop down by that amount. The cost of joining a bout increases significantly the larger a bout becomes. Note that dropping down the ladder obviously does not allow you to re-take your turn (ie. your turn is still marked as “finished” since you are engaged after all.).
This is to simulate the difficulty in reaching a target that lies within the bout, the more crowded it becomes.
The cost is determined as a triangular number formula, where n is the additional number of men joining the bout.
(n*n+n)/2 (n squared + n, divided by 2)
This can be counted as 1+2+3+…n…
eg. 1+2+3= 6 cost for joining a bout that already has 3 combatants within it.
Incremental costs are like: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15
Note that even though there is no limit in the number of people wishing to engage someone within a bout, only a usual maximum of 3 opponents are allowed to target a single character within a bout limelight’s Action, and usually only up to a maximum of 4-5 characters are allowed to be within vicinity of a limelight target to attempt target selection for a given Action. Rest of the guys usually end up (behind and inactive) in reserve within the bout’s limelights. (Details on handling this should be elaborated upon..)
Due to the “climbing down ladder” costs, attempting to join a larger bout will increase the chances of other enemies intercepting you after you’ve joined a bout. This is described in the following section….
Intercept engaged enemy:
\4. Intercept an engaged enemy character that had recently last joined a bout that now consist of 3 combatants or more, and happens to be placed lower than you within the Movement Initiative Ladder. By doing so, you extract him out of the existing bout to form a new bout between you and him. This simulates you intercepting an enemy that is jostling around uncertainly within a bout in an attempt to reach his target, but in failing to reach the target adequately, the enemy is re-assigned to you.
0 : Front row
-1 : Back rows
Distance to enemy is determined in a 1-dimensional row format, depending on the fomration row assignments. Normally, you put the weaker characters behind to avoid them from getting engaged in melee. Each row has a spread, which by default is close, signifying how far apart each character is in relation to each other in the row. By default, spread is 1 (non-zero value is used). Characters in front row protect characters in the back row. There is no mechanic to adjust the spread for now, as tactically this is hard to measure without resorting to a 2D system which results in less abstraction.
Move distances according to movement allowances towards enemy to engage. These may end up forming seperate bouts among different combatants.
Traveling between bouts is seperated by a distance of the average size of 2 bouts, multiplied by a certain base distance value.
The distance to join a bout increases by 1 for every +1 extra combatant within the bout starting from 2 combatants.
You cannot bypass a row that consist of a currently unengaged enemy, as it is assumed he is guarding that entire row and would usually intercept you along the way. This can be modeled as an action done by the guarder, or prevented totally. Also, the row cannot be bypassed in certain narrow environments.
Within a bout, there are limelights, where up to a small group of enemies (usually NPCs) fight 1 PC, or simply 1 PC has his own limelight while alone, and can perform actions during his limelight.
All limelights happen concurrently, though they may be played through (resolved) sequentially if there’s only 1 GM that is capable enough to handle each limelight. After all limelights are done, the next Round of Limelights occur. When someone finishes his limelight or is waiting to play his limelight, he can spectate other limelights that are yet to finish in the given Round of Limelights. NPCs can be re-assigned to different limelights only after the current round of Limelights is finished, when a new Round of Limelights begin.
The distance between limelights is usually determined by the (spread value + row difference) between the limelight characters, unless you want to take the square root method to get the actual real diagonal distance. Note that no 2 limelights can be shared, so you can only use this to engage NPCs out of an existing limelight.
Move all unengaged combatants in order of ~ reflex(intiative)-> ~ reflex(initiative) across distances.
Delaying turns might be a possible option in the event you are being blocked by friends and such…or need others to move first. However, you must conceit at least 1 second/unit worth of movement penalty when delaying, similar to Mordheim’s system (the PC game, the tabletop unsure..).
Revised flow per exchange:
Change: 4 parts (instead of 3 parts ..now the roll for red/white intiiative is done seperately from the movement to avoid complications with other unit movements invalidating existing attack rolls.)
A: Stance, Movement and Facing.
In order of reflex ~(intiative)-> ~reflex(initiative)
All combatants make additional 1 second worth of movement, declare stance (if possible) and facing from current positions.
B: Roll for White/Red (Defender vs Attacker) Initiative.
C: Declare Manuevers (red/white might be revealed at this point of time)
In order of lowest reflex -> highest reflex, for Attackers first and then for Defenders, declare valid manuever from current positions and facing
D: Resolve manuevers
During pre-manuevering during an Exchange in the Combat Phase/round, you get to choose your movement speed style for engaging within that single second of exchange.
Engaging the enemy at a fixed Hurried (>=jogging) speed or higher during an exchange enforces a faux effective offensive stance (+2 CP bonus for attack manuevers and +2 CP additional cost for defensive manuevers) regardless for the entire round. (ie. i think across both exchanges, according to Tros rules). This may tend to give away your “intention”, or could be used as a bluff (even though this puts you at a technical disadvantage if you do bluff). This is known as “Charging”.
Whenever you adopt hurried movement, you can no longer adopt any personal stance on your own (eg. such as defense or neutral, because you are forced to use the faux offensive one).
This can be situationally good…and is only available at the start of a bout or after a round pause in the fight by being able to manuever at that given speed. Otherwise, only the Normal/Cautious movement speed is allowed, where given that particular slower movement speed, you can adopt the necessary martial stance.
Note, however, that if your body has to turn a siginificant number of degrees in order to face the enemy after performing such Hurried movement, the offensive stance CP advantage you get for an attack manuever roll will be nullified. This means you only end up with the disadvantage of a higher defense manuever cost for the entire round given that faux offensive stance in effect. Whenever this happens, you get a “Charge failed” notifiication.
You also need to move (without stopping) across a distance of at least higher than half a second at that particular hurried speed to constitute your manuever as a valid charge, or move from outside the range of your weapon reach towards the enemy in order to validly charge. Anything else is also considered a failed charge. Any drastic change of body rotation direction after stopping also constitutes a failed charge. Normally, given the right charging distance and angle, you need to hold down decisively the movement key only once for a charge, and without any sudden releases, halt and turns, etc. to get a successful one.
or Approach #2: For advanced players that still wish to have the inherant speed advantage of hurried movement, despite the risks. (ie. they still want to circle around the enemy a bit faster, or flank another person)
Engaging the enemy at a fixed Hurried (jogging) speed or higher during an exchange can be done at anytime as the player sees fit. If you do this at the start of a bout or after a round pause in the fight, you are deemed Charging and a faux effective attack stance remains in effect for the entire round like in Tros rules. giving you a +2CP bonus advantage in attack manuevers for the entire round. In other situations, you are considered NOT Charging regardless, and there is no added advantage except for the inherantly faster movement speed, and house rules might dictate that you still have to conceit a +2 additional CP cost for performing defense manuvevers after hurried movement, which means in either case, this option only gives you a certain speed advantage in contrast to a certain disadvantage in defense. Only in rare cases would performing such a move may be useful, eg. if flanking is required and you need to rush there in time to get in range.
Same penalties apply as for the first case, as well as you will always conceit a +2 additional CP cost for defense.
House Rules :: Additonaly penalty for Post-rotation penalty
The available defensive manuevers that might occur automatically while movement is being made and and enemies attack you while you are moving during Movement Phase. These rules apply to both melee enemies and ranged enemies. They are made with the entire CP currently available in each character. Note that some of the stipulations/bonuses found in these Defensive Manuevers may not apply since it’s only a Movement Phase, but the target numbers are used accordingly to determine hit/miss results.
Duck and Weave
If left unstated, most melee opportunity attacks are based off a standard forward Thrust/Spike/Punch manuever accordingly, depending on what weapon you are holding.
Movement Initiative approach:
Moving Initiative for…
1) Movement Phase:
2) Combat Exchange:
In Riddle of Steel, Last Move advantage is often prevalent, despite the fact that you get to move last, you get to see what others are doing first, or may wish/require to wait for others to move first, in order to move in last and take up the best position for a surprise last minute attack. First Move advantage may not be as commomplace compared to other games, since the person that makes the first move doesn’t necessarily deal damage first due to “simulatenous” resolution of action manuevers. Traditionally, in Riddle of Steel, the person with higher Reflexes always gets to declare their manuevers and stance last, but when it comes to having movement being made….shouldn’t a higher Reflex unit have the option of being able to move first, or shouldn’t it be a situational choice?
By consigning a High Reflex unit to be severely disadvantaged when it comes to moving first (but being advantaged when it comes landing blows faster or strategically responding last in the turn initiative ladder), this limits the flexibility of a High Reflex unit in being able to respond first in situations where the need (often) arises. After all, why should having higher Wits and Agility (the stats that make up Reflex), become a liability, even if it’s only a liability at times? So, how to solve this problem?
You can quickly toggle between aiming for starting Last Move advantage vs First Move advantage (either extreme), depending on which “advantage” you deem best, or set a custom balance between the two by adjusting how many dice you wish to use to roll for or against movement initiative to alter the way initiative occurs.
1 reflex: (ie. 0 to 1 to 2 initative score)
2 reflex: (ie. 0 to 2 to 4 initative score)
3 reflex: (ie. 0 to 3 to 6 initative score)
4 reflex: (ie. 0 to 4 to 8 initative score)
5 reflex: (ie. 0 to 5 to 10 initative score)
6 reflex: (ie. 0 to 6 to 12 intiaitive score)
7 reflex: (ie. 0 to 7 to 14 initiative score)
8 reflex: (ie. 0 to 8 to 16 intiative score)
9 reflex: (ie. 0 to 9 to 18 initiative score)
10 reflex: (ie. 0 to 10 to 20 intiative score.)
Roughly based on situation where Wit == Agility and Perception == Reflex.
When contesting for movement initiative…
Base initiative score = Reflex score..
(first mover…attempt to get highest intitiative)
…Roll a max of Wit over inverse TN of Agility. Above ie. ratings are based on the assumption that wit and agility is the same. A person of higher wits can have more dice to roll for initiative. Add number of successes to Base initiative score.
When not contesting for initiative (last mover..attempt to get lowest intiative)
Base initiative score = min(Reflex score,Inverse Perception)
…Roll a max of Wit over inverse TN of Perception. Minus number of successes to base initiative score.
Higher wits means higher flexibility and range in determining your initiative score from your current Base initiative score, depending on what you want. Your attribute for Agility vs Perception respectively determines how easy it is for you to get the results you want for movement initiative (first-mover) versus perception (last-mover) initiative.
Alternative round flow:
Skip exchange #2 for uninvolved, carryover to Movement Phase.
During movement phase:
Engaged units cannot deal overwatch, but only re-engage with those that they are currently engaged with within 1 second. Arc markers indiciate existing engagements.
Unengaged units can deal overwatch threaten attacks after movement of 4 or 5 seconds and ending turn.
Everyone uninvolved in second exchange of combat phase or disengaged from combat, gets to moves after Combat Phase within Movement phase, in order to prepare for Combat phase’s First Exchange. This clear divides 2 different types of phases to players…Movement Only vs. Movement with Possible Action.
Each hand distance is 8 game units.
Between humanoids (32 diameter footbase, 16 radius footbase, from units’ center origin to origin, the minimum origin distance allowed between friendly units runs along an added half of that footbase, which in this case, is an additional padded hand distance to determine the raw collision body, which makes for 32+8=40 collision diameter, ie. 16+4=20 collision radius). On special circumstnaces, this padded distance might be temporarily reduced to raw footbase 32 for friendly units at the cost of some abstraction/unrealism, “giving way” to friends…if the need requires. However, by default, without carrying anything, 20 units radius (ie. a minimum origin distance of 40 units between humanoids) is the minimum base collision radius, and it’s pretty squeezed and uncomfortable at that position.
When dealing with non-humanoids that have larger footbases, adjust the offset distances relatively to determine their own base collision radius.
When a weapon is held, the natural reach of the weapon when raised (without extending out body and limbs to strike) prevents/discourages enemies from getting any closer and naturally provides a larger collision radius against opponents compared to against friendly units who could always lower their weapons. When you enter this natural reach radius of an enemy during Movement phase, house rules might have you recieve a hastened scheduled opportunity attack at around 0.25s-0.5sec (probably double,3x,4x cost) worth of further movement within it compared to the original 1 second (or be stopped in your tracks during Combat Phase much faster due to higher movement cost…but this can be circumvented with a successful Duck and Weave manuever). If house rules are in effect and you are moving cautiously, and your weapon range is equal to or higher than the enemy’s, you have the option to automatically not proceed further (clipping at radius) because you won’t need to in order to deal an effective strike on him.
The effective arm swing range of the weapon for a humanoid simply adds 16 units from just outside their given base collision radius units to the existing reach. Some non-humanoids with longer limbs might have different values for this, thus diffrent effective ranges. Between humanoids, in order to be in effective range to attack, add an additional 32 units (sum of footbase radii) between them.
The Grappling range is at 1 hand reach, and you absolutely cannot enter into the grappling range radius of an enemy opponent until you successfully performed a grappling manuever on him. You must get within some kind of Short reach (<=2-3 hands) to perform a grappling manuever in order to be able to break further in on the next exchange. At grappling range, only Hand weapons or manuevers (weapons/moves of 1-hand reach or less) can be used.
Weapon Reach = 8 * hand distance;
Minimum required origin distance to hit target =
4 + weapon reach + (character’s effective arm swing range) + (sum of footbase radii between units);
For characters of different body sizes, adjust the character’s effective arm swing range if needed be.
Below are the minimum origin distance values that are required between similar sized humanoids, for natural reach (without arm swing) and effective attack range (that includes the arm swing).
A tool specially geared towards helping to quickly create detailed, spatially-aware and dynamic tactical RPG environments that can run purely as a text-based(or GM-directed) RPG/wargame at it’s very core, or be extended to be presented under a 2D/3D visualised environment as well. In short, you can use this to create a tactical RPG/wargame environment from scratch (without needing the precision of an actual map or grid), or use an existing map and add the necessary tactical/game/scenerio information for each location in the map with this tool.
This allows tactical decisions to be made in text-based format among both players and non-player character AI, without necessarily needing a fully drawn-out precise map all the time (or supplement an existing drawn-out map). Think of it as a RPG location directory, but bundled with dynamic tactical summary information within each location, necessary to conduct detailed combat/adventure sequences. Every detail can be fleshed out like entrances, paths, chokepoints, areas, presence/nature of cover, boundaries, visibility graphing, etc. for each location and the connections between such locations. Thus, this allows a game to run very tactically (even if it’s presented purely in text-based format), factoring in distances/proximity/boundaries, etc.
Think of it as a tactical “calculator” as well. It allows one to determine whether an enemy can be visible from your current location (distance/line of sight/visibility graph tests), even if the enemy is miles away. There is no need for random encounters. Combat can be conducted within the same exact environment used for exploration. You will spot potential encounters from afar because the graphing nature of this tool is spatially aware as well.
Ideal for helping GMs conduct pen and paper RPGs, or for cRPG developers mapping out key locations to help both player/non-player characters conduct their own fast-travel routes or make strategic movement decisions on a broader scale, or just someone looking to play a casual RPG adventure on his own or with others. This is the only tool that helps create a generalised tactical overview of the environment, without sacrificing too much detail necessary for conducting detailed tactical battles and role-playing adventures.
My Roster (current engagements and potential enemies that you can engage within movement proximity):
awraw ( can engage: )
awraw ( can engage: )
awraw ( can engage: )
awraw ( can engage: )
My Roster is arranged in order of initiative ladder order placing. Depending on Party initaitive and closeness of party members, execution of orders for an individual may be able to be done in any order. Icons should be shown beside chharacter to show if he is within formation or not, his state, etc.
Total Enemies: (may be divided by rows if they are in formation)
Loose vs Loose (1 to 1 matching facing)
Loose vs Tight (2 to 1 matching facing)
Tight vs Tight (1 to 1 matching facing)
+2 yard bonus: get around front row available in order to get behind while facing someone in enemy formation. If single column formation, this is merely a +1 yard bonus.
per +1 yard bonus = move up 1 row from facing row, or 1 row after get around front row and into/sideways after getting round.
+2 yard bonus: to move entirely along empty column (if available) while penetrating. (longer flank) in order to avoid interception. Additional +2 if attacking someone directly behind and not at the sides.
+0.5 yard (rounded down) if moving along friendly row.
If environment is too narrow, formation will be forced to tight.
Individual orientations: Hide, stay behind, be at the front, try to flank.
Only those in front can engage and be engaged themselves.
Those that wish to attack “stay behind” troops will have a mobility check in order to determine if can reach or not, and which persons in front or hiding can make counter-engagements. Generally, those in front can make counter-engagements much easier compared to those hiding.
Those that hide will require perception check to detect them or not per individual.
Your formation positions implies your prefered orientation for front (front row or exposed to front), Hide or Stay Behind ( stay behind more for those further behind in formation number of rows…but it’s dependant on roll and environment), Try to Flank (wingers that aren’t exposed to front, or wingers that are far behind enough, again another roll).
Individual orientations: Hide, stay behind, be at the front, try to flank vs a formation.
Only those in front can engage can engage those in formation and vice versa.
Depending on terrain (or tactical situation), some orientations like Hide/Try to flank and even Stay Behind may not be available and this forces everyone to the front.
Need rank leader marker reference position and formation direction.
The objective is to fill ranks from leader onwards, if not enough space, might detour round obstacles or drop rank down lower.
Each rank can enforce left/right flank assignments of it’s members, or allow it to switch flank directions in the event obstacles come in the way (thus allowing an entire rank to sidestep off fully by allowing any members to shift conveniently to the left and right if their prefered flank doesn’t have a suitable spot for them.), rather than forced to line-break rank due to “obstacle wrapping”. The persisting of enfocing left/right flank can only be done for the 1st level only, or be enforced over subsequent levels.
If using tile-based movement rather than free-form movement, varied available formation setups can be hard-coded per tile, and the “Algorithm” isn’t required.
Test 1: Regular back rank column trace spots from leader.
If straight link back ray trace hits a wall, find path to exit of wall to automatically get a column of points.
Fill up ranks of only those behind the leader’s facing direction. (Use dot product test over leader’s facing vector) of those points that lie behind the leader only. If 2 or more points are found consecutively and significantly in front of leader’s position, stop filling up ranks and exit.
No space behind for everyone? It is assumed there is not enough spots behind to fill up. Based off the back ray exit path trace, if path traced points did go up in front of the leader’s position, causing an exit, proceed to Test 2, otherwise, continue Test 1 by performing another back ray exit trace from last rank reference position behind the leader.
Exit path traces might be done with “open” requirements, requiring movable-visibility towards leader position requirement so absolute wall hugging at the expense of losing sight of leader is minimised. If done with open requirements, the traced path “ends” the moment a path point is too far out from leader and leader can’t be seen beyond a blocking obstacle.
Progressively and iteratively move leader reference formation point of 1st rank up by 1 path rank space each time above current leader reference formation point of 1st rank. Run tests repeatedly till reach highest traced point in front of leader (or based off number of men to represent column). Early exit out if manage to fill up all traced spots.
Still not enough spots found in Test 2? Based off missing number of men found in last move, increase the number of ranks up by that amount along the path. Then, based on all gathered spots, fill them up in order of rank orbat priority, in order of points furthest up from leader towards points towards nearest to/behind leader (use saved dot product test value of given rank from leader’s facing direction to determine distances furthest out).
For both Tests 1 and 2, Pre-store/save all possible traced formation spots along trace for iterative coherancy to minimize unnecessary raycasts that have been done before for a given rank position.
When a spot from a given rank reference point is covered by an obstacle, include standard possible points around obstacle as candidates to pick….These typicallly are, in order of priority:
These points must have “visibilty” to current rank reference position, which is either a clean straight raycast to it, or a possibly detoured (due to obstacles..) path that isn’t too far off from the straight line path towards it.
Handling enemy collision exceptions:
In the event combat starts where a formation’s spots has no choice but to intersect an enemy position, those spots that intersect the enemy will be considered engaged to the relavant targets automatically, and considered “out of formation” and within an abstract limelight already.
Based off surroundings of character, exposure arcs are determine around him, which determines the rim of possible melee engagements that can occur on him.
If using a grid, the exposed grid edges can determine this already, and this algorithm isn’t required.
Amount of arc exposure, divided by 30 degrees increments, rounded down (the “at-least” angle), determines, approximate max number of enemies that can engage around him. This also assumes the arc can be reached on foot based off movement distance to exposed arc. An alternative way is to divide by 60 degrees and round off the result (to get 60 degree base increments) with rounded up cases indicating a -30 degree reduction from the base result.
Max number of targetters per round of combat over a single target: 3
Determining arc exposure of a target in relation to obstacles or where he is in relation to a battle formation, will determine the maximum number of enemies that can engage him. Note that at all times, only 3 can target him within a single bout round, irregardless of the number of enemies around him.
Sample situations of where target is, and exposure arc:
Back against 90 degree corner of wall: 90 degrees
Back against wall: 180 degrees
Within tight formation left and right flank covered: 60 degrees from the front
Within wide formation left and right flank covered: 120 degrees from the front
At corner of tight formation: 120 degrees
At corner of wide formation: 180 degrees
Also, the maximum number of enemies must still be subjected to terrain environments regardless of the arc of exposure. For example, a narrow corridoor that can only fit 1 enemy in front due to walls and obstacles at the sides, can only have one person attack a target on 1 side within the coridoor, since there’s no room to move towards the side, so it’s physically impossible to squeeze 1 more person even though the computed angle of exposure might be 60 degrees to the front. Also, the nature of the environment in tight spaces might restrict certain swing angles and such.
For the single target, if he has room to move about significantly on the map (or friends beside him in the formation can act as “natural” obstacles in blocking against enemies), he can perform a terrain roll to avoid facing multiple targeters (and even use the formation as part of the terrain roll to avoid having to move out of the formation, but still have a terrain roll available for use). If successful, the relavant targeters will lose their target due to “friends” beside him forcing some enemies to back off rather than comfortably surround him.
Note that in some cases, multiple opponents terrain roll isn’t possible if you are in the corner of a square room with no space to move about. Thus, if you wish to “corner” yourself, be prepared to fight up to 2 enemies at the very worse case…(though best case is only having to face 1), and this is mainly a tactic that only skiled fighters that can easily afford to fight 2 packed opponents at once easily. However, if at a corner, it’s quite common to simply only face 1 in most cases, particularly if 1 of them is swinging his weapon and preventing the other teammate from attacking due to lack of space.
For exploration, this game style allows pre-combat formation positions to be hardcoded per tile, or simply overlaid and validated against the accompanying combat hex grid overlay to validate/adjust positions accordingly.
This game style keeps the formation benefit of tile-based blobber exploration (using a navmesh instead to validate formation positions), and allows free movement and pathfinding of AI enemies during combat.
Movement allowance is determined either by:
In this mode, pathfinding navigation and flocking is used for non-player characters, and optionally for player characters if exploring the environment as a non-blobber.
Combat is non-blobber based, either focused on each individual limelight character and their enemies they are engaged with in a fast-forwarded manner ( using Blade of the Iron Throne approach), or focused on all characters (overhead view) in a tactical turn-based unit sequence across multiple bouts (using Song of Swords approach).
Party Formation and Orientation is always set before combat starts. THis determines the initial starting positions when combat begins, and the initaitive ladder positioning of each party character’s intent before limelights.
Aggressive vs Defensive: Your entire team has initiative over the other. Combat can start from as far away as possibly as combat allows
Cautious vs. Cautious: Can actively engage others. Combat can start from as far away as possibly as combat allows. Roll dice over stats or flip count to determine which team has initaitive over the other.
Cautious vs Defensive - Your entire team has initiative. Combat can start from as far away as possibly as combat allows
Defensive: This orientation doesn’t allow you to actively engage anyone (the opposing forces does the engaging). Your team doesn’t have initiative in any circumstance. If blob gets close enough to enforce combat, roll willpower check to determine which team is forced to go to Cautious orientation.
NOTE: Cautious/Defensive orientation doesn’t allow you to use charging speed movements for the party (Cautious is jogging or cautious speed only, and Defensive is cautious speed). When using Aggressive orientation, your movement speed is always hurried or sprinting.
Algorithm for computer to determine formation positions in relation to 3D environment and blob camera movement….
Algorithm for computer to determine limelights/engagements/vulnerability of individual positions within formation…
Calibrate engagement circles to average melee weapon reach, around longsword/dopplehander range on hidden map behind the scenes.
Based of angle of arc, maximum number of characters that can engage a character within a limelight is Math.round(angleInDegrees)/60 per arc opening. This indiciates a formation position’s “vulnerability”.
Hard collision radii are at arm reach padding from an enemy’s collision radius. This is the minimum distance allowed between fighting characters in a formation. They also produce obstacles within the formation. This radii might be reduced to a single feet padding distance for non-fighting combatants that would be considered to act as plain obstacles within the formation. Plain obstacles within formation uses a collision radius of feet padding only when comparing against a fighting character, allowing a fighter’s body to run up against a wall/corner, for example, though this might limit his attack movements to only thrusts and such.
Potential engagement circles are at the minimum of engagement circles or may be longer (due to having a longer-ranged weapon like a spear). If you have to pass through a potential engagement circle in order to get to your destination, you may be freely re-engaged by those characters that have yet to make their turn within the initaitive ladder according to initaitive ladder rules.
Destination is closest distance to arc. This is heuristic if the path isn’t straight.
Chess Pseudo-Opening for Friendly units: The one that actively engages a target to either form a new bout or join an existing bout or intercept someone within an existing bout, and in the process has to exit out of his own engagement circle, loses his collision position in the formation for his friends, assuming he he is engaging someone else outside of his engagement circle. basically, thsi makes a conceptual “opening” for his friendlies in further formation ranks behind to make their move), but not for the enemies, who will still engage him as if he is still remaining within the formation. In short, such a unit is deemed passable already for his friends by the nature of that opening made. Normally, it’s best to reserve initiative for those units in front ranks first, so that those in front will create the necessary openings for those behind to make their moves as well. Note that this no longer applies to those that are out of formation.
Once engagemetns are determined, the order of limelights are determined.
After Round of Limelights, for a New Round of limelights:
At the end of every round of limelights, a myriad of ending limelight positions would result, for those that moved out of formation previously, they continue to remain in their own limelights with the same number of enemies in their current limelights. Ending limelight positions can intersect one another, as they are merely abstract positions that represent the distances to travel to engage chracters on other limelights.
Those characters that broke out of formation, cannot join back formation until the end of combat or may opt to (if unengaged), re-form back into current positional formation (or into a new formation) during their limelight, which will take effect in the next Round of Limelights.
Limelight positions can simulate crowdedness by having increasing radius the more combatants exist in it. If someone has to (given movement limitations) cross over a limelight radius obstacle in order to approach and intercept-engage another limelight while unengaged, it can involve a crowded terrain roll challenge in order to get to another desintation. Failiure to do so might get you caught in the limelights in between, or simply fail to join any limelight. This is an optioanl rule.
NPCs, based on their intents at the start of every round, are assigned to different limelights at the start of every Round of Limelights based off their individual inititative, using a new initiative ladder roll and the vulnerability of individual positions. Player characters are not part of this initiative ladder roll anymore, since they use the initial limelight order that was set up at the beginning of combat. Optional house rule may allow Player CHaracters to be part of intiaitive ladder as well to perform this, though this causes the “Stealing limelight” mechanic to no longer be useful since they can interact against other existing limelights at the start of each round accordingly in order to re-assign NPCs out.
“Stealing the limelight” must be done before commencement of limelights, so the player can pause his current limelight action and wait for his friend to “assist” him first in extracting NPCs out of an existing limelight..
Convention: Single blob party. No seperate bouts.
Party members don’t seperate but remain in formation within a blob that occupies 1 tile.
During combat, you get a Single blob bout of limelights >>
Formations are conceptual.
Depending on formation…..
Front tiled enemies tend to favor front characters
Flanking tiled Enemies tend to favor side characters, etc.
Rear tiled Enemies tend to favor back characters, etc.
Players that are unengaged can make attempts to custom-engage specific characters they wish, or position themselves within the formation (if the formation is still intact and combat hasn’t started yet) such that they favor meeting them. Anytime you make a custom engagement that isn’t in favorable zone due to your formation, a Terrain Roll must be attempted in order to determine success to get to target engagement. This is further amplified with having multiple enemies involved.
Once one person in the party formation is engaged, formation doesn’t change but remain as it. You cannot move/rotate the view or change formation until all members fully disengage on the next Round of Limelights. Otherwise, if you move out, this is equalavent to abandoning a character.
Clear engagement circle obstacles for every exchange, and allow 1 sec free movement to then optionally lock an enemy in radius via engagement (ie. turn back on melee engagement circle) between units in a 1-1 relationship only. This gives higher movement initiative units the chance to escape without having to use a Full Disengage manuever by running away for that 1 sec, albeit those with lower initiative can still give chase and re-engage the fleeing unit for that 1 sec as well. Thus, in most situations, fleeing won’t work unless someone comes in between the fleeing unit and the chasing one.
How are such terrain rolls implemented?
To emulate pen-and-paper rules, terrain roll for multiple opponents and the ground you are fighting are to be done for the end turn of each unit after they move can be done where applicable, to arbitarily isolate between engaged opponents. Dice is sacrificed during this time in order to attempt to succeed in the terrain roll. Sometimes, a terrain roll is resolved when running over terrain or clearing certain obstacles during pre-manuevering as well, and no. of dice used for such obstacles, (ie. before Step B occurs).
Before declaration of manuevers, go through every unit (from lowest reflex to highest reflex) that is able to challenge terrain rolls (particularly for multiple opponents), to do so. After the results of the terrain roll challenges are determined, then only everyone gets to roll for aggressor(Red) vs defender(White) initiative for Step B.
When someone attempts to challenge a terrain roll, it can be a “hint” to others that he wants to be an aggressor already, (revealing his intention). This is part of the game.
By default, when it comes to multiple opponent rolls, no, since isolation of units occurs on Exchange #1 already. So, if you succeeded in a specific terrain roll for Exchange #1, the success carries over to exchange 2 unless a uniquely new terrain roll situation arises in Exchanges 2 for the player involved.
By default, all units will attempt to roll for first move initiative advantage per phase or exchange, with their given Reflex setting combining their Wit and Agility. In most cases, the game should favor first movers (high Reflex units contesting for first move), as it’s easier to understand conceptually and “realistically”, so when it comes to several disadvantages with first movers, I try to circumvent them so that there is an overall advantage in moving first by convention.
However, units still have an option of going for last move initiative “advantage” using their Perception and Wit instead when the need arises. Since Wit partially influences Reflex, high Reflex units often may have the versatility in being able to contest pretty well for lower movement initiative as well, assuming they have reasonably good Perception. Ultimately, Wit is the common stat that benefits both aspects of contesting for either first-mover or last-mover initiative.
Below is the list of advantages/disadvantages associated with different initiatives and what can be done to circumvent the drawbacks which are deemed “unfair”.
First-turn advantages when:
Engaging to lock/strike an opponent within the same turn to prevent him from disengaging or he must (or risk) being penalized in doing so, assuming it’s possible within the game rules.
Engaging to surround/corner an opponent in order to block his path so he cannot escape or move to his destination.
First-turn disadvantages when:
Per row (optional) designation:
By default, everyone will align themselvers to center of row according to width of formation unless you define him as a right-winger or left winger. Width of formation per row is defined by default with the maximum number of men found in a row (or just the front row), though this can be altered to X amount of men accordingly.
In the event formations are made partial due to obstacles, there can be some BLOCKING SPACES in the formation between members. The formation edge’s left/right buddy will be missing in such a case. In some cases, there can be breaks in the formation due to 2 consecutive BLOCKING SPACES, or no more room left in the row.. The center alignment of each row may be offseted, causing breaks.
Width of formation is equal to number of men in row including BLOCKING SPACES .
Formation can be presented as ASCII characters with fixed-width text.
A character outside formation may optionally take position against wall/corner if available.
A character can only break formation if there’s only an opening within the formation. For a loose formation, a diagonal is also considered an opening.
Blob gameplay allows for targeting to be made solely in…
Does the calculating path to target location matter? Only in determining reachability and ending/interrupt position at the start of Round of Limelights, so it doesn’t affect much during the Initial Combat Decision phase.
Those within formation will have vulnerability arcs that limit the maximum number of people that can engage him. Those that have already broken their formations can have up to a maximum number of 6 people that can engage him on the limelight. But note that only up to maximum 3 can only engage during a Round within a limelight at once, so any extra combatants beyond this number usually sit out and mill about during the Round and don’t do anything except watch the combat in reserved.
Re-Roll for moving initiative at beginning of Movement Phase for unengaged units
Re-Roll for moving initiative at start of any Combat exchange for all units
Depending on the level of awareness of enemies against the currently active moving unit, blocking/engaging obstacles are formed out of the given arcs.
Field of View arc: Will always get spotted if you walk into the field of view. Also used for attacking/defending adequately. normally a total of 124 degrees FOV, or 62 degrees in either direction.
Flanking arcs: For Imperfect flanking arcs, they runs the risk of being spotted on the current turn while moving in for around per 0.3 seconds units of time within this arc portion. Normally to the sides. Performing an attack within this angle during the Combat Phase contitutes a flanking attack.
Backstab arc: No risk of being spotted. Completely to the rear. Performing an attack within this angle during the Combat Phase contitutes a backstab, or rear attack.
Full Circle obstacle = Field of View arcs + Flanking arcs + Backstab Arc
Defending Arc obstacle = Field of View arc + Flanking Arcs
Imperfect Defending Arc obstacle = Field of view + Imperfect flanking arcs
(note: only field of view arc will block movement….imperfect flanking arcs can be visibly shown but do not block movement…)
During unengaged movement turns during Movement Phase, the obstacles that are formed out of given enemy melee engagement ranges can be visibly turned on by the player, in order to block the player’s own movement, if the player does not wish to get within range to unintentionally draw melee opportunity attacks from enemies. Otherwise, they also serve as rough visual indicators to avoid being spotted by enemies. In some cases, he might want to turn these off while moving, if he needs to rush through hastily…though this is very risky as he can draw opportunity attacks from the enemies in such a mode. In other cases, turning it off is done because he wants to threaten/pre-engage an enemy in order to be able to attack him on opportunity as well.
During movement during Combat Phase, all obstacles are hidden from view by default , unless you find yourself being engaged within any of these obstacle arcs/circles and within range of the enemies, then it visibly turns on. For Combat phase, these visible obstacles function in reversed, locking you from inside rather than from outside.
To free yourself completely from all locking engagement circles so you can freely move again during the Movement Phase, you must successfully perform a Full Disengage manuever as per standard rules during the Combat Phase.
House rules might allow for all obstacles to be shown visibly during Combat Phase as an option, to act as visual indicators to be able to easily predict backstab/flanking angles, but this is non-standard. Normally, the colored arcs will already tell you the level of awareness the enemy targets have on you.
If you wish to avoid getting locked engagement in during the Combat phase, play safe and do not attempt to move closer to enemies for that extra 1 sec since you can’t exactly predict the ranges as the obstacles aren’t visibly shown. It’s also part of the game that backstab/flanking angles cannot be previewed during movement turn until you get in range to strike, so you have to judge on estimation and veer more towards the safe rear-end side if you’re attempting a surprise attack.
Save/update state at:
First group is “last-aware of”.. Second group is “currently aware of…”.
Recreate new aggro awareness state:
On every end turn position+facing, add to a valid threat targets for engaging/defending against, within Field of View arc.
For these targets, the watcher will always turn to face them while movement is made during the targets’ turn to keep them in sight. This can be done as a turn from current offset pivot basis, or only turn if they went pass the edge of field of view…
Units that move first (and commit their end-turn position+facing) may a disadvantage of having their current facing be offseted by threat enemies that attempt to circle around them. Deciding to move last (ie. attempt high Perception..low initiative setting), has it’s advantages in determining your end-turn facing to minimise the chances of any surprise attacks or cheap-shots being made on you. If you already commited your facing on your turn before the targets move (ie. you moved first), you will rotate to face moving opponents relatively from your current rotation offset to ensure you keep them in sight. A good end-turn facing will attempt to keep all threat targets balanced within view.
After all movement is made, on rolling for red/white initiative and declaration of manuevers these threat targets (and all other nearby threat targets) are being considered for Defending/Attacking against, taking into account surprise against any of these targets depending on the situation.
This is mostly based off standard TRoS rules, but adapted to the current game movement flow system involving movement and multiple combatants within a combat exchange to make more sense.
3 main levels of surprise:
1) Aware of opponent, but victim of cheap shot (saving throw TN7)
2) Caught completely unaware/inattentive (saving throw TN10)
2b) Caught by surprise (saving TN9)
3) Blindsighted (saving throw TN13)
TROS standard rules for a Check For Surprise saving throw involves rolling Reflex against the TN. House testing rules may use Perception, or the average of Wits+Perception, or the average of Reflex+Perception, etc.,
Let’s say you are trying to be stealthy while moving in order to deal a surprise attack:
Implications of sight on obstacle, awareness:
He had sight of you at the end of his turn, or, spotted you make you were making your move during your turn.
=> Full Circle obstacle, always aware of you.
He had sight on you before the start of his turn, but no longer at the end of his turn (if any) and never at all subsequently while you were making your move during your turn.
=> Imperfect Defending Arc obstacle, previously aware of you
He had no sight on you at all during the entire time since the start of the phase.
=> Imperfect Defending Arc obstacle, unaware of you
Result of implications:
Full Circle obstacle, always aware of you.
Imperfect defending arc obstacle, previously aware of you:
Imperfect defending arc obstacle, unaware of you
For example, if you end your movement turn against an enemy at his rear or flank and is deemed a threat to him….a Check for Surprise saving throw against you will be required.
If the saving throw fails against you, he cannot Defend or Attack against you at all during declaration of moves. This means you successfully flanked/backstabbed him.
For Level-1 surprise or different variations of flank vs rear attacks, (or perhaps only flank/back-threatening him before his movement turn rather than after his movement turn) house rules penalties might involve maybe half effectiveness of manuever or something else against the you, depends on balancing…since he could always turn around during his movement turn and face towards you on his moving turn, but is he allowed to defend/attack against you now? As per standard Tros rules, any kind of failed surprise saving throw means he cannot do anything against you.
Unlike TROs standard rules, Check for Surprise is always done on a between-combatant basis, rather than arbitarily at the start of the Combat round/phase. Also, it’s done either after each individual’s pre-manuevering movement turn (favouring first-movers), or just before rolling for red/white initiative (favouring last-movers).
Such rules for Check For Surprise can also apply to realtime action-rpg situations.
Implications of enemy awareness on sight and obstacle during Movement Phase
For unengaged enemies that ended their turn while moving cautiously (ie. enemy is in full guard mode and walking slowly throughout the entire turn, or unengaged enemies that haven’t moved on their turn yet)
For enemies that already finished their movement turn with jogging/hasty movement, or are in engaged state and cannot move.
NOTE: Any modifiers for Surprise attacks do not apply in opportunity attack situations during Movement Phase, regardless of apparent facing. In short, you can’t backstab/flank-attack during Movement Phase, where such an attack merely counts as an opportunity/overwatch attack in such a situation. Simply put, Check for Surprise only occurs in Combat phase.