Harald (Frerin) and I have been working for years together to find a system that would work; thus far nothing has really worked because... if a system held relative accuracy it had a tendency to take away from the story-telling nature and hobbled one or more characters in our game and proved to be more complex than necessary, especially with accounting purposes, point-by-point expenditures, and was immersion-breaking. However, if we were to go with a system that was too simple, that too could prove to be immersion-breaking; in this instance think of the childhood games "Cops and Robbers" and "Cowboys and Indians", where one kid can yell, "Bang bang, I got you, you're dead!" and the other kid just yells back, "Nah-uh, I got you first, YOU'RE dead!" Then, a huge argument breaks out and you have a ruined day. All of that explained, I bring the following proposal to make the current combat actions and options system easier to deal with, even including all of the combat options and actions brought by the sources produced for The One Ring by Cubicle 7...
COMBAT ACTIONS & OPTIONS
Here are the four action types in out system and how they work...
- Free Actions. Everyone loves free! Free actions are tight or tiny or VERY short actions, such as yelling a SIMPLE warning, answering in the affirmative or negative, pulling something small from a location on your character, throwing a weapon or item away so you can next use a larger action to draw a new weapon or item, etc. Free actions should be something almost unnoticeable to the character performing the action, let alone noticeable to anyone else. These actions MAY require a die roll of some type to keep them free, but as long as that die roll is successful, it would not count against the Simple or Complex action available to the Player-hero (PH). It is possible to perform a virtually unlimited number of FREE actions in a round, but the actions used have to be reasonable in their length or execution. The good news is you, as the Player, have the ability to propose an action requiring a die roll to keep it Free, though it would normally be an Incidental or Simple action.
- Incidental Actions are those that are too complex to be FREE, but complex enough to be SIMPLE, either. This type of action takes place either as a result of or in order to set up another action; typically an outcome requires or demands some sort of save and/or alternate action to recover or complete the overall action. One example of using an Incidental action would be that your character needs to perform a roll to get beyond a Troll swinging a huge sword so they can collect a Sword to continue the fight; the roll beneath the Troll's swing would be either a Simple or Incidental action (one required to complete the maneuver to get the Sword) and retrieving the Sword could be the other type of action. Some of these Incidental actions may require a die roll in order to keep it from becoming a Simple or Complex action and, as with Free actions, you the Player can describe what you want your PH to do and then propose a die roll to keep it Incidental. The LoreMaster is responsible for determining the series of events necessary to complete the action and for assigning die rolls to accomplish them.
- Simple Actions are those requiring a good deal more effort and/or complexity to complete than an Incidental or Free action. Examples are simple thrusts, slashes, and parry's with a melee weapon designed to do standard damage, but nothing more complex than that, or firing an arrow at a particular target with a simple aim and fire motion, again for standard damage. Movement and changing Stances are also accounted for in this system; it takes one Simple Action to move up to one-half your character's maximum movement for the round, which has been defined, before, and one Simple action to change from one Stance to an adjacent Stance (Forward, Open, Defensive, and Ranged); one cannot change more than two Stance positions in a single round. Note that almost all Simple actions will require a die roll or the use of a Trait, so keeping an action you, the Player, have described as Complex may remain Complex with no chance to improve them to an Incidental action. Of course, die rolls can always increase the power of an Incidental action so it appears to be a Complex action, and you the Player will have the opportunity to use your Tengwar Runes in various ways to improve the way your action pans out, not only for damage or success levels. All Player-heroes begin with TWO Simple actions per game turn, and it is up to each Player to describe the action(s) they want to take during the course of a round, then up to the LoreMaster to determine the Action type. It is possible to raise the number of Simple actions a PH has available to them per round, which will be covered, below.
- Complex Action(s): These actions represent the top rung of acrobatic, aerobatic, aiming, calling shots, battle tactics, optimum use of terrain, etc. The goal of our present system is to keep as many actions as possible in the Simple action realm, though it is possible to perform at least one Complex action each round. Complex and Simple actions can become Complex or Epic actions, which are only chronicled in this paragraph and do not have their own true category, which are actions where die rolls are so high and/or the specialized expenditures of Tengwar Rune(s) are such that the action could not be less than Epic in scale. Note that all Complex actions will require a die roll to accomplish and, typically, will have basic qualifications, such as with Called Shots which require a Tengwar Rune for a basic success, and perhaps the combination of a Trait and a die roll. For Complex and Epic actions the LoreMaster may make some recommendations concerning the expenditure of Tengwar Runes to make an action Complex or Epic. All Player-heroes begin with ONE Complex action, which may be used in place of the two Simple actions per game turn; typically, a Player declaring a Complex action for their Hero knows the action cannot possible be Simple, though again the appropriate expenditure of Tengwar Runes might make a Complex action into a Simple one so a Player-hero may act, again, in a round. A Player-hero may be able, eventually, to possess more than one Complex Action, but may never have more Complex actions than one-half their number of Simple actions (ie - A PH may have 3 Simple actions, but may only possess 1 Complex action, while a PH with 4 Simple actions may possess 2 Complex actions, if they meet the requisites to do so.
- Specific simple actions
- How to calculate more simple actions (LoreMaster requirement, permanent Simple actions)
- Using Tengwar Runes (improved damage, range, conversion to aimed shot, conversion for Piercing Blow, improved action quality, cost (to Incidental to allow for another Simple action), etc.)
Complex & Epic Actions
- Specific complex actions
- How to calculate a second complex action (no more than 2; LoreMaster Requirement, permanent Complex actions?)
- Using Tengwar Runes (mostly as with Simple actions Using Tengwar Runes)
- How does something become Epic?
For those of you who don't feel you're very good at describing what you want your Player-hero to do, or you would prefer to use the following references, the charts that were used for the recent CADAS (Combat and Dramatic Actions System) are listed, below, with the number of Action Points for each being changed to Simple actions for this newer, simpler system. Please keep in mind that all bonuses, penalties, action modifiers, etc., go through the LoreMaster in this system and may not have the same bonuses and/or penalties, advantages and/or disadvantages as those listed within the tables, below. Again, the tables, below, are simply for example sake.