Agonia Combat

June 23, 2008

Here’s the slightly hacked combat rules I’m floating for Agonia. Hopefully John Harper and Eric can help me figure out if they’re completely broken.

The Battle abilities in Agonia are: Melee, Ranged, Mounted, and Evade. Melee includes one-handed weapons you hit or stab people with (maces, powerfists, spears, chainaxes, flaming swords), shields, and one-handed guns (flintlock pistols, hand flamers). Ranged includes two-handed weapons that you use to hit people from far away: bolt rifles, bows, crossbows, rocket launchers, etc. Mounted is used when riding war horses, driving attack bikes, piloting land speeders, steering skelter bats, etc. Evade is used to avoid attacks, whether melee, ranged, or mounted.

In combat your dice go into one of three pools: Right Hand, Left Hand, or Defense. The dice from either or both of the Right and Left Hands can move over into Defense at any time, as long as they haven’t already been rolled to attack.

To start out, all pools are empty. Say I’m a farmer with no Battle abilities except a d4 in Evade, wielding a d4 pitchfork in both hands. The pitchfork’s a Melee weapon, but I have no Melee ability (less than d4= 0) , so I’ll have to substitute something else and impair it, just like brining in another ability in Agon. “Toil” is the most likely, since I’m using a farming tool as a weapon. Let’s pretend I’m God’s gift to farming and have a d8 Toil, plus +2 for wielding the pitchfork in both hands. So that gives me 1d8 + 1d4 + 2 total offense, not all that bad. As for Defense, I haven’t used my one Battle ability for this round, since I had to bring in Toil and impair it, so I can use my pitiful d4 Evade.

Okay, well, say I’m getting attacked by a mercenary minion dual-wielding swords in both hands. All I have to do is hit him once and he’s dead (being a minion), but my Toil gets impaired every time I use it to fight with, so I’m not long for this world if I can’t hurt him early. Unfortunately, he gets to attack first, since he got a better positioning roll. However, he’s chosen to roll his Sword skill, which means he can’t bring in Evade or another ability without impairing it and currently has no dice assigned to Defense. A risky tactic? We shall see.

He attacks, rolling a 5. I can’t beat that with my d4 evade, but I roll anyway, getting a 2. So… that’s a level 3 Wound I have to take (since I have no armor). But not just yet! I could choose to use my pitchfork to try to block the blow, dropping the dice from both my Right and Left Hands into my Defense pool. That might not be a bad idea since, with another sword in his other hand, he’s probably going to make another, off-hand attack. However, that would mean I would lose the chance to attack myself and that’s not the best choice for me here. So I take the 3 Wound, which gives me a -2 to my next roll. Being smart, he decides to not attack with his off-hand. My turn.

Now I’m rolling 1d8 + 1d4 to attack, with the Wound penalty cancelling out the bonus for using both my hands on one weapon. I get a 6! The mercenary, having no dice in Defense, blocks with his sword by dropping his Left Hand dice into that pool. Does he succeed? Do I get him? I’ll leave you in suspense.

Here’s some complications to this scheme.

1. Ranged weapons and all guns (including handguns which count as Melee), cannot be blocked by Melee weapons; they can be Evaded or, if you have a Shield, you can roll that hand’s dice along with anything else you have in Defense (Evade, most likely).

2. Guns (of the one or two-handed variety) do lots of damage, but, at least if they’re the blackpowder variety, it takes a while to reload them. Reloading consumes both of your hands for the entirety of the next round or whichever later round you dedicate to reloading. You can still Evade or roll any other Defense dice, however. Setting up firing lines should actually work pretty well, here. You could fight in a Civil War or Napoleonic fashion, the line in back firing while the line in front spends the round reloading.

3. Also, handguns cannot be used to block, period. Two-handed guns can only be used to block if you have a bayonet or other such implement on them and, as with other weapons, have no attacked with it this round. Even then, any melee actions with a bayonet (attacking, blocking) have a -2 penalty, since that’s not what rifles are really meant for. Remember that before you order a bayonet charge.

Thoughts? Potential problems?

One Response to “Agonia Combat”

  1. I don’t know how I’d work on competitive games without Eric. Badly, I guess.

    So his points were:

    1. Making Defense better or more interesting isn’t necessarily a good thing, because it leads to lots more whiffing and lack of things happening.

    2. It’d be cool if you could do defensive maneuvers like “Suppressing Fire” instead of just negating someone else attack. It might make your opponent’s attack worse without actually hurting them and maybe allow your comrades to better position themselves.

    3. Ultimately, he’s saying that “defense should DO SOMETHING” instead of maintaining the status quo.


    So now I’m thinking about how, in 40K, there is no defense roll against guns. You just roll armor if they hit you. Might be a lesson there. Perhaps the only defense is to shoot at them first, to prevent them from shooting well.

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