Combat Change (Defense Checks)

#1
I ran a homebrew game using the RISE system last weekend and thought I'd share a change I made to combat.

Out of the box, RISE has Heroes making Defense checks using Dodge and Willpower to determine if a Foe's attack lands, depending on the type of attack. I made two changes to this mechanic:

1. I use Toughness as an additional Defense Value (DV)
2. I gave each enemy attack three number values or a flat out HIT for Toughness, Dodge, and Willpower respectively

I did this because I liked the idea of asking my players how they wanted to respond to an attack as a way to simulate real combat where split second decisions have to be made in order to survive. The player then chooses between dodging (Dodge), blocking (Toughness), or focusing their minds (Willpower) to defend themselves. I then take the action they choose, they roll a d20, then I add the corresponding value from the enemy's attack to the roll and check it against their chosen DV. Example:

"The Blood Hound lunges at you, going for a vicious bite. What do you do?"
"I block it with my shield!"
*Player has a Toughness of 8. The hound's Bite attack has a +5 Toughness penalty because this thing is massive and strong. Player rolls a 4 which becomes a 9 once penalty is added*
"The hound knocks your shield aside and sinks its teeth into your arm"
"Curses!"
*Player decides to dodge the next round. Bite has -2 Dodge penalty because the beast isn't very light on its feet.*

It added an extra layer of strategy to combat. My players' first reaction was to use whatever their best Defense Value was but that changed when they felt the consequences. It was tedious figuring out the numbers for each attack and I will likely spend more time balancing them but I just thought through it a bit and it wasn't too hard. For example, using Willpower to defend against a physical attack results in an automatic hit, skipping the Defense Check and going straight to damage, whereas something like a psychic bolt is better dodged but can also be resisted mentally.
 

[NOM] Derek

Administrator
Staff member
#2
I ran a homebrew game using the RISE system last weekend and thought I'd share a change I made to combat.

Out of the box, RISE has Heroes making Defense checks using Dodge and Willpower to determine if a Foe's attack lands, depending on the type of attack. I made two changes to this mechanic:

1. I use Toughness as an additional Defense Value (DV)
2. I gave each enemy attack three number values or a flat out HIT for Toughness, Dodge, and Willpower respectively

I did this because I liked the idea of asking my players how they wanted to respond to an attack as a way to simulate real combat where split second decisions have to be made in order to survive. The player then chooses between dodging (Dodge), blocking (Toughness), or focusing their minds (Willpower) to defend themselves. I then take the action they choose, they roll a d20, then I add the corresponding value from the enemy's attack to the roll and check it against their chosen DV. Example:

"The Blood Hound lunges at you, going for a vicious bite. What do you do?"
"I block it with my shield!"
*Player has a Toughness of 8. The hound's Bite attack has a +5 Toughness penalty because this thing is massive and strong. Player rolls a 4 which becomes a 9 once penalty is added*
"The hound knocks your shield aside and sinks its teeth into your arm"
"Curses!"
*Player decides to dodge the next round. Bite has -2 Dodge penalty because the beast isn't very light on its feet.*

It added an extra layer of strategy to combat. My players' first reaction was to use whatever their best Defense Value was but that changed when they felt the consequences. It was tedious figuring out the numbers for each attack and I will likely spend more time balancing them but I just thought through it a bit and it wasn't too hard. For example, using Willpower to defend against a physical attack results in an automatic hit, skipping the Defense Check and going straight to damage, whereas something like a psychic bolt is better dodged but can also be resisted mentally.
On first blush, I have to admit that this is a really cool system you have brewed up here! I'd like to compliment you and your idea, since it does some really cool stuff without much in the way of added complexity.

One of the advantages of your system, I think, is that it blends role-playing elements into combat better than the base RISE system does. However, I can definitely see how numbers might become a relative pain because of that design choice.

The base RISE system is tuned to prioritize tactical combat over having as tight a blending of roleplay elements into it--and consequently, balancing numbers as a lot easier due to the two-by-two tier system it uses compared to your one-by-three one here.

Still, I think you're on to something and I'd be more than happy to help you out with your numbers sometime, if you'd like to talk shop with me!
 
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