May 272013

Quite oddly, my most popular post of the last few months has been my idea for changing how one describes damage effects while playing a Cyberpunk role playing game. I think the reason for this seems to be split between people with a genuine interest in spicing up combat so that they get to talk about more than damage dice and which weapon is being used, and the fact that people are searching for cyberpunk a bit more at the moment because of the upcoming console game. While I can’t do anything to speed up the release of this quite stunning looking game, I can carry on with my idea of making the surroundings a part of the combat when describing the effects of a successful attack.

Click for source

Click for source

Like my Cyberpunk take on this, always bear in mind that weapons and maybe even ammo types will have damage modifiers that will need to be taken into account when calculating damage. After trying this out in my game a few weeks back I did find myself having to reassure people that even though I was describing the damage for a certain attack as being caused by brick fragments tearing through a combatant’s face, I had worked out the damage for the weapon and taken the ammo into account.

The following ideas are much more suited to a fantasy bar fight scene, but everyone should feel free to adapt them to fit the setting and genre they’re playing in.

  • As you see the blow coming towards you, you try and move back but a beer spillage on the floor causes you to lose your footing. You go down hard, head cracking onto a table on the way down.
  • The weapon slashes towards your head, causing you to duck. You hear the blade hit metal above you and feel a burning pain as hot wax from a wall mounted candle sconce is shattered, and burning tallow splashes all over you.
  • As the blade pushes into our leg, you stumble backwards into another patron who swiftly turns on you and swings his drinking horn into your face.
  • The brawl moves you through the room until your back is pushed with some force against a wall, on which is hung a mirror that shatters allowing the pointed shards to find the gaps in your armour and pierce flesh.
  • Holding your ground, ready for attack from any quarter, weapons up and prepared as your opponent circles you, a glass drinking vessel flies across the tavern and shatters against your back, causing you to turn unexpectedly, and leave yourself open to attack.
  • A whistle causes our attention to turn and a very attractive member of staff who obviously has your best interests at heart is throwing a long bladed weapon towards to you. Sadly, you are unable to grab it safely and the edge manages to open a wound on your arm.

So there you go, just a few ideas that could easily be expanded upon and elaborated during your games. If you need any more ideas though, just find yourself an Errol Flynn movie and wait for the inevitable fight scene in a tavern. There will be all manner of things happening around the main sword fight that will interfere with the action and cause potential harm to those involved in the violence. If you have any other ideas though, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.


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