Hi guys,

yes, I've been pondering combat more. I really want the system to function exactly the way we intend; many systems start with high hopes but end up doing, in practice, something other than what the RPG designers really wanted.

I'm going to present a slightly modified combat system and see what y'all think. It's more complicated than we've talked about so far, but I'm hoping you'll agree it is more juicy tactically.

Bryan, would love comments from yourself.. I know Simon and I both value your input, given that your experience in these games is so much deeper than ours.

I have a few goals for this system:

Modified Health System

In summary, the Light and Surface bars act like a shield against worse, crippling damage. They also come back the fastest, allowing a character some hope for getting to safety even after a bad battle. Note that death doesn't happen when the "Critical" bar hits zero.

Modified Weapon Effects: weapons still do the same *amount* of damage, but I'd like to remove their damage category. Thus, a dagger now does 1 damage, not 1 light damage (necessarily). Similarly, a two-handed greatsword does not automatically do 2C + 1S + 1L, instead it does 4 generic damage. See below for details.

New System - Combat Advantage

DESCRIPTION: This system represents how well a character is taking advantage of opportunities to hit while minimizing his own vulnerabilities during combat.

EFFECT: By gaining advantage, a character can upgrade the damage caused by his weapon (but not the amount of damage). For example, a dagger wielded by a skilled fighter can regularly deal 1 Critical damage against his lesser-skilled enemy (or 1 point of the deepest available bar). This means that the fighter will much more quickly bring his enemy to 50% functionality, and seriously
increase his chances of winning.

On the other side of the coin, a character who is seriously outmatched will be unable to maintain any combat advantage. Most of his attacks will cause damage that is downgraded to the "Surface" bar, and will therefore disappear by next round.

ADVANTAGE LEVELS: The levels of advantage available to a character is equal to 3+Damage, where Damage is the amount of damage caused by the weapon being wielded by the character. A dagger has 4 advantage levels, while a two-handed greatsword has 7 advantage levels. The levels are simply a tug-of-war between the highest and lowest health bar levels. For example, the two-handed greatsword's 7 levels are:
  1. 4 Critical (best advantage for greatsword wielder)
  2. 3 Critical / 1 Serious
  3. 2 Critical / 1 Serious / 1 Light
  4. 1 Critical / 1 Serious / 1 Light / 1 Surface
  5. 1 Serious / 1 Light / 2 Surface
  6. 1 Light / 3 Surface
  7. 4 Surface (best advantage for defender)

CHANGING YOUR ADVANTAGE LEVEL: The advantage levels are considered to be at the "Light" level if both fighters are aware and engaged. Two perfectly matched fighters spend most of their time dealing damage beginning at the "Light" level. Methods to increase your advantage include -
(described below), your opponent's advantage drops to its lowest possible level.

The last method can be countered if the enemy follows, but the enemy can only follow if no one gets in his way and he has ticks left in the round.

TRACKING YOUR ADVANTAGE LEVEL: This is done simply enough with beads or dice, like in Magic.

Note that these rules are not written in stone. The DM can grant or take away advantage whenever the situation calls for it. (e.g. Unexpectedly kissing an opponent during a close scene would definitely throw most fighters off their game, briefly!) The limits on a character's advantage levels ARE set in stone. A two-handed greatsword can't do better than 4 Critical, or worse than 4 Surface (unless the attacker misses entirely).

This combat advantage method works in combats with more than two opponents. If a PC is facing off against 3 goblins, he has to work much harder at maintaining combat advantage. He'll most likely want to divide his efforts between all three goblins, because if he concentrates only on one, the other two will rapidly gain highest advantage and start dealing him Critical damage.

FLATFOOTED: Attacking someone who is flatfooted automatically puts you at the maximum combat advantage you can achieve. This lasts as long as you can maintain the advantage.

Yup, finally done,