So, I started playing God Wars 2, and it reminded me of a design idea I had discarded: auto-regeneration. I.e., healing is done over time automagically. This has a number of advantages. People don't need constant "preps" to heal, the upper-hand can be regained in combat without having to run away crying like a little girl, and you don't have to sleep constantly for hitpoints.
Sadly, this form of regeneration wouldn't make much sense in my setting, so I had to discard it a long time ago. I started thinking about it earlier today, and I managed to coalesce a few contradictory ideas into a weird combat system that I would like to put out for you fine people to poke holes into.
I've been toying with the idea of pain being separate from damage for quite a while, and wanting people to be able to recover from pain at a faster rate than the damage itself. For example, one evening several years back, I was sprinting down a hallway barefooted, when my pinky toe and the one beside it caught on a door frame, sending me face-first into the floor. I spent a good 30 seconds on the floor clutching my foot and gurgling out a mixture of growls and profanity. Then it was mostly fine. I got back up, went about my business, limping a bit. I don't recall how long it took my foot to finally "repair", probably several days, but the agonizing pain I had at the first instant lapsed pretty quickly. I've also had a number of injuries that hurt surprisingly little to begin with, then lingered on for years.
So thinking that way about pain verses damage lead me to this system. I'm not fond of hitpoints as a game mechanic, and it would be more confusing to talk about this system in that context, so I'm going to put out a new idea for hitpoints called PAIN points. You get pain points when you get hit, kicked in the shin, or whatever. You auto-recover from pain points at a set rate, probably related to constitution or some similar stat. As your pain points get higher, you get pain penalties, and if these penalties are high enough, you're disabled. So say you get punched in the face for 5 pain points, and you recover pain points at a rate of 1 a round. This may or may not result in you getting pain penalties for something, depending on what other pain you might have. On the other hand, if you get punched in the nose, you'd get 10 pain points, and would be more likely to acquire a penalty, you'd also be a bit more likely to get stunned.
That's the basics of pain points. Notice that actual injury is a non-feature of this system. No real injuries have been described, aside from minor, negligible ones. You could still overpower another person by simply increasing their pain above acceptable thresholds, however, even if you never actually injure them in the process. This would be the equivalent of stun damage in some systems.
Now let's say that in addition to pain points you can acquire injuries. Injuries are like "affects", you gain injuries from certain special skills or from "critical hits", a critical hit to your nose might give you a broken nose. So you'd take, say, double damage (2x pain), and then acquire "broken nose". Your broken nose would then, in addition to modifying your pain up a small, set amount that won't recover until it lapses, also give your face a "weak point". So if it gets hit again, you'll take double damage from it (2x pain), and if you're unfortunate enough to take another critical hit to the nose, you'd get 4x damage (2x2xdamage). You'll recover from the pain itself at regeneration rates, although the actual "broken nose" injury will linger for some time. Let's say it gives you one point of pain that you can't recover from regen. That's not of terrible concern and can mostly be ignored. However, if it gets hit *again*, it will be exceptionally painful and extend the duration/severity of the injury.
Weapons would have higher crit ranges and therefore be more likely to inflict injuries, although simple scratches and bruises can occur as well.
So, ultimately, a person with a lot of injuries may not be walking around with a high amount of pain, particularly if magic potions and/or alcohol is used in sufficient quantities, but they run an increased risk of having the amount of pain they acquire from a particular blow being disproportionately high, and the injury's duration being extended, perhaps severely.
This system makes it possible to get out of situations by playing defensively, even, with some luck, if severely injured, while still requiring that some downtime or medical attention be given for the lingering injuries.
It does have a bit of a "downside", where people in a fight where damage is insufficient to increase the other's pain threshold enough to disable them might begin to induce injuries via critical hits that will eventually incapacitate one of them. I'm not sure this is a downside; it's probably a feature.
It also has an actual downside, where people might amass excessive amounts of injuries and then get taken out by gerbils and other such things, but I think that's probably an issue of specific implementations that can be handled with playtesting, and not a conceptual flaw.
That's all off the top of my head, so pointing design flaws I may have overlooked would be appreciated
For example, one evening several years back, I was sprinting down a hallway barefooted, when my pinky toe and the one beside it caught on a door frame, sending me face-first into the floor. I spent a good 30 seconds on the floor clutching my foot and gurgling out a mixture of growls and profanity.
*roflroflrofl* This exact thing happened to me, too, except it was just the pinky toe and it was a wooden column on a balustrade. XD
I'll read the rest of it in the morning, sorry. :wink:
Damage from injuries was common in 2nd edition AD&D, it was considered temporary damage, in that if you didn't die from it, it would automatically heal at the end of combat. I always thought it was a good idea, and in fact one could give certain classes the ability to ignore some or all temporary damage (IE: a berserker doesn't feel pain, and thus only takes the real physical damage). It was also possible (and easy for rogues) to intentionally do all-temporary damage as a means of subdual. Hit them with the flat of the blade until they pass out, then tie 'em up and be about your business.
Just because you're pondering different combat systems, here's an old idea I had about 14 years ago that was for a "from the ground up" MUD that we never finished. Not perfect, but I was attempting to get around the high-level character wading into a swarm of minions and ignoring them while he swung his sword around, lopping heads off.
This was part of a much longer document, so some of it rambles about adjacent topics. The fun part is the sample combt, so skip down to "Zak", our hero.
The fun part is the sample combat, so skip down to "Zak", our hero."
I like the way the buffer divides up among opponents, it makes much more sense than giving them bonuses to hit or something similar.
I'm also rather fond of Zak being killed by 6 peasants, but I'd probably be inclined to introduce group-fighting techniques so that you can hurl opponents into other opponents and such, if just to avoid pk gangbangs.
Asides aside, I have a question regarding your system that may be a misunderstanding on my part or an oversight in your writeup.
Zak has 20 buffer verses 6 opponents, so I'm going to assume he should have 120 verses 1. (Whether this is correct or not is irrelevent, watch:)
At the end of round 4, Zak's buffer has been reduced to 0, and he still faces 6 opponents. He's lost 20 points of buffer and has taken some hp damage.
Now at round 6, one of the villagers runs away. Zak has lost even more hitpoints, and is still down 20 buffer points, putting his buffer at 0. However, he's now against FIVE opponents. And 120/5 = 24.
If we subtract the buffer points he's lost, he now has 4 buffer points instead of zero.
I didn't see a mention of this in your link, but I think it would be necessary to work like this for a few reasons. For one, it makes sense that he'd have an easier time reacting to the remaining opponents once he's dispatched some of them. For another thing, he'd get a small reward in the form of "regained" buffer points for each opponent he dispatched, and for another thing, if the division happens up front, 10 kobolds could begin a fight with him, then die instantly, resetting his buffer to 10%. If the division was done on the fly, his buffer would drop to 10% for the instant they try to attack you, then reset to 100% when they all die, which, I think, is preferable.
Fleeing opponents is no real problem if you track current buffer percentage instead of simply the raw value. If he's got 0% of any number, no matter how many enemies he kills, he's still got 0. He may go up from 2 to 2.4 at 10% bp when someone flees/dies, and you get to avoid complicated "oh crap what do I do now?" mechanics.