Since I finished the first draft of the Archetype System, I figured it was a good time to return to the combat system I’ve been working on so I have that running in the background while I make tweaks. It’s this whole leapfrog development process. I work until I reach a stopping point, then hop over that with the next system.

Part of the combat system will rely on cards for conveying a certain amount of variation. Rather than fussing with variables that confuse players and game masters alike, the majority of opponents will use static numbers for offense, defense, and so forth. Numerical differences between opponents are kind of pointless.

The variable parts of combat will only be interesting, important stuff, like who is attacking whom, whether the attack hits or misses, and whether the defender is still standing afterward. Currently, ability scores feed directly into attacks, so if you have a six in Strength, you have a six for attack (plus relevant modifiers of course).

Non-player characters have a standard defense of eight. Generally what that means is your character has to be one of three things: A) unconcerned with landing a direct hit, B) focused on landing every attack (like a 4e striker), or C) have an advantage. To have an advantage, your character must be using tactics that “beat” the defender.

(I’ve talked about these tactics before — you have the harrier, charger, keeper, trapper, and seeker tactics. Each one has an advantage over two others.)

Generally speaking, your character will have abilities in a range of two to eight. If we assume for a “standard array” of sorts, you’re looking at a two, two fours, two sixes, and an eight. That’s comparable to an array of twelve-fourteen-fourteen-sixteen-sixteen-eighteen in DnD. We’re just using smaller, more manageable numbers.

If you hit with an attack, and I mean a basic attack like anyone might have, your standard damage will be six plus scale (starts at one, goes up to thirty), or seven at scale-one. Let’s say your attack is intercepted, beaten, and the damage cut in half. Your attack deals three damage instead. You’ll nickel -and-dime ’em to death.

While the standard defense is eight, the standard offense is seven. That means if your character is offense-flavored, they’re more likely to be hit by the average attack, and if they’re defense-flavored, they’re more likely to be missed by the average attack. NPC tactics are important when they’re defending, not so much when they’re attacking.

Your standard opponent will have health equal to twenty plus eight per scale. At scale-one, that works out to be twenty-eight health. At scale-thirty, that works out to be two hundred sixty. The basic attack that kills in about four hits at scale-one, will kill in a little over seven hits at scale-thirty. That’s before weapons or special powers.