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Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG?

Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 1, 2009 3:03 PM (edited 9/1/09 11:04 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Tozzi and I were talking on the chat, and I realized that Dissidia's damage system could actually be cool for any dramatic and ridiculous battle-focused RPG system, such as Exalted. (I mean, it's supposed to be anime, right?) It's not a huge departure from how the game actually works, but I still think it could be a cool system.

Dissidia Damage System Recap
Dissidia Damage System Recap
Each character has four main combat stats: HP, bravery, attack, and defense. Bravery is sort of like an alternate HP pool, in that normal attacks attack it instead of HP. Whenever you make any normal attack, the damage is determined by your attack and defense stats, and is dealt to bravery. An important aspect of the system is that you gain the bravery damage dealt to your own pool. In other words, if you hit for 100 damage, they lose 100 bravery and you gain 100 bravery.

There are a few ways to get more bravery than the sum of the starting values, the most important of which is a bravery break. When you reduce your opponent's bravery below 0, you immediately gain the "stage bravery," which is normally equal to 20% of the sum of both characters' HP. In practice, this means that after one break, you probably don't have enough bravery to one-shot your opponent without some extra effect, but two breaks generally is enough. When your own bravery is broken, it is restored to its initial value after a short time. During this time you can't actually deal bravery damage or gain bravery, though you can deal small amounts of HP damage if you're so inclined. Successfully doing so does little damage, but immediately removes the break status and restores your initial bravery.

The point of all of this is that your finishing moves deal HP damage equal to your current bravery. If you have 2000 bravery, an HP attack deals 2000 HP damage (this is not absorbed like bravery is). Further, after a successful HP attack, your own bravery is reset to 0 (as if it had been broken, though without the break status) and is restored to its initial value after a short time.

There is one flaw to this system, which is addressed in the game mainly with summons: once someone breaks your bravery, if they don't do an HP attack, they generally have such a huge amount of bravery that it's almost impossible to break them. The battle will eventually end, but often on the side of whoever gets the first break.

The idea for Exalted would probably be that you have health levels as normal, but instead of attacking health, your attacks would directly attack essence pools. Not only that, but any essence damage you dealt would be added to your own essence pool. Maybe essence pools wouldn't be the best way to describe this, since this system would basically necessitate not spending essence on anything anymore. Either you'd have a separate pool for this, or you could completely rework the system to remove essence costs (possibly making everything free, with powerful abilities balanced in other ways, such as with willpower).

The advantage to this is that you could have a system where people actually get hit, instead of any hit being an instant kill. You can have long, brutal battles which result in one person being in imminent danger of death without actually losing a single health level. (Although this can happen anyway, AFAIK.) The result would be a buildup to some massive finishing type attack. In short, it would make the system that much more like anime. Toss in a few abilities and rules to allow for a quick turnaround, and you have a new combat system that would be quite dramatic and, perhaps, pretty fun. What do you guys think?

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 1, 2009 3:40 PM (edited 9/1/09 11:40 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
It could be cool, but I think it would be a beast paperwork wise to keep track of all the numbers since they would change so frequently.

Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 1, 2009 3:50 PM (edited 9/1/09 11:50 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
That's true, although a shared pool of tokens could go a long way toward making it work.

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 8, 2009 8:54 PM (edited 9/8/09 4:54 PM)
Cyris (240 posts) Tapped Out
Rating: Not Rated
I love tug-of-war style systems. The one described above confuses the heck out of me though. On a high level though, it sounds very fun.

Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 9, 2009 2:41 PM (edited 9/9/09 10:41 AM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I haven't read Exalted 2 (though I own it) but one of the bigger problems in most low to mid level combat is that defense is eschewed or compromised by most builds. This results in skewed stuff like a massive Essence pool compared to a teeny, weeny health pool that isn't protected, and as long as you can pierce whatever regular defenses your character is able to put up, the health pool is one shottable.

One of the main stays of the old Exalted combat gladiator mock combats I used to read fanatically was the almost constant jockeying for position as a result of almost constant defenses in place. Though some people reached this state via a series of build-ups (which were very vulnerable to early game disruption, something the game evolved to allow for as it went on) many builds incorporated it directly, depending on the Exalt (as I recall Sidereals were quite good at this, while Solars for example were the "build-up to MEGAZORD status, over 5 turns" type).

In short, I think Exalted combat actually takes a lot of this into account. It's just that if you don't devote the vast majority of your points to the ability to attack as well as defend, you're very vulnerable (and also very one dimensional). I think, if anything, the failure of Exalted is that combat (and the Combat charms) takes away from the game as a whole as you have to devote so many of your points to building a fully fleshed out character. Many "combat-centric" characters instead eschew defense for one or two one-hit wonder combos, which against non-perfect defense capable Exalts are hella fun, but pretty boring to watch in action. (And really, if the GM knows you have it, they're going to be useless against the bosses anyway)

Ultimately I don't think the solution is to rework the system to incorporate the myriad defenses already included in it, but rather to either allow characters to progress combatively parallel to their other paths, or to simply include a defensive tree/path automatically into all characters and have it cost half-Essence or something.

In short, the Exalted combat system that I know (1ed) does allow you the option (without twinking or even custom charms) to have this exact type of back and forth, regen small amounts, defend incrimintally while still being able to one-shot someone (even on "mis-matched" Exalt fights, I've seen many Immaculates absolutely demolish Celestial Exalts through creative use of certain abilities and flat out stronger tactics) battles. It's just not something you'll see until you're fighting stuff that has enough XP that if they devoted it all to attack could cleave mountain ranges in a single attack round.

Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 9, 2009 3:33 PM (edited 9/9/09 11:33 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm glad Clair posted here because I had kind of forgotten about it - I wanted to take some time to respond to this because I really wanted to give it some thought, but it slipped my mind in the business at work.

Anyway, I think that what you're describing is a passive version of what is already actively occurring in Exalted.

Exalt vs. Exalt combat is always a war of attrition and health is (as you point out) never the resource you're fighting over, it's just the final thing that marks the loser. Realistically the combat is about balancing your essence pools. The attacker spends essence (or not) to attack. More essence generally equates to a more powerful attack. The defender spends essence (or not) to defend. More essence generally equates to a stronger defense. You win the fight either by wearing the defender out of essence, OR by finding a way to slip around their defenses and in both cases unleashing a combo. You also have the option of slow attrition (ping damage) that wears them down over time.

Having attacks steal essence would be pretty similar to what's happening already, except that the essence pools would not wear down over time.

The only weakness about the Exalted system that this is addressing is the: defense = not getting hit, which has always been a problem, and more so since they increased the ping value. However, we have also not seen too many people make a soak based build, and I think that seeing such a build (Te-Fen, the Lunar I played in Steve's game had this build) makes that seem less like an inherent problem and more like an option most people don't take. I do think this option is still too weak, but I think a better solution would be to make it be a separate defense equivalent to blocking or dodging, rather than a second stage of defense. And curtail weapon damage accordingly.

Unless I'm misreading the Dissidia system in some way. But it sounds to me like you're trading blows without doing any real damage until one of you is able to get off a super attack, which I think is a lot like how the Exalt vs. Exalt combat works already.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 13, 2009 8:35 PM (edited 9/13/09 4:35 PM)
Cyris (240 posts) Tapped Out
Rating: Not Rated
I'd say my least favorite part of Exalted combat is that while in theory, you take turns whittling down essence pools to a win, the practice seems a lot different. The main cuases for this seem to me to be: Characters seem to just take turns missing, till someone hits a single, brutal killing attack. It feels fairly anti-climactic. Second, instead of being an interesting back and forth of using charms to counter other charms and watch Essence slowly drain, players tend to stack scene-longs and various permanent adders instead of spending Essence on individual attacks. It's like taking turns pulling out trump cards till someone can't 1-up again, then it's gg. at a base level, trading trump cards is very anime-esque and is kindda the point. The problem, to me, is that it doesn't feel like a back and forth. It feels like this: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html I think less scene-longs and less ways of reducing (or increasing) essence costs would help a lot. Make it herder to blow all your essence at once, but make more, micro payments viable. ::shrugs::

As for Dissidia...

The explanation of it sounds like it has a lot of potential for replication. I LOVE systems that go back and forth. RTS games do this well, Magic also. Having an RPG that can emulate that sounds sweet.

I'm not fully understanding the Dissidia system though. When attacks go from dealing damage to bravery, to HP. Does HP go down when you are out of bravery, or with every attack?

(more later, I gotta run)

Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 13, 2009 11:42 PM (edited 9/13/09 7:42 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
It's easiest to understand if you think of bravery and HP attacks as completely separate (because they are). If you make a bravery attack on someone who's already had their bravery broken, you still gain bravery, but they don't lose any. And if you make an HP attack when you have no bravery, you deal no damage (though you do recover from bravery break faster, if that's why you have no bravery). In other words, you can beat someone down with bravery attacks literally forever, and not only will they not die, they won't even lose any health. (You probably shouldn't do that. Wink)

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 14, 2009 2:54 AM (edited 9/13/09 10:54 PM)
Cyris (240 posts) Tapped Out
Rating: Not Rated
So, is there any benefit to gaining bravery besides the "break" thing? Which, incidentally, I also didn't quite understand Wink

In either case, I kindda want to find someone who has this game and try it... I'll ask the guy who has a PSP at work...

Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 14, 2009 3:00 AM (edited 9/13/09 11:00 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, if you don't gain bravery, your HP attacks suck. The core mechanic is that the damage of your HP attacks is equal to your bravery. (The attacks differ in style, range, how they can be blocked, and whether they combo in a few bravery hits before the final blow, but HP damage is always = current bravery when they do it.)

And yeah, I'd definitely suggest playing it, just because it's a cool little system they came up with. And there's a lot of interesting but non-obvious strategies that arise as a result of it. For example, if you're low on bravery, it's not a bad idea to execute a (weak) HP attack, since doing so resets your bravery to your initial level. The computer is really good at doing this to avoid having their own bravery broken. What this basically means is that, when you're on the ropes, a desperate counterattack is a good defense even though it won't do much actual damage.

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 14, 2009 12:46 PM (edited 9/14/09 8:46 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Part of that impression comes from having been playing solars. Solars are the most powerful exalts specifically because they get scene longs. Sidereals for example have one scene long die adder (Blade of the Battle Maiden for martial arts) and in 1st ed at least it was probably their best charm. Solars get a better scene long die adder for every ability. Likewise, none of the other exalt types really get scene long defenses, or if they do it's much higher level and much more expensive.

That being said the "taking turns missing" is the back and forth. Usually (unless you're rolling like crap, which is possible in any system) you're missing because your opponent is using a defense charm of some kind. Mechanically, you could make that more "You hit, but then he flares some essence and blocks your attack" (and 1st ed was a little more like this in that there was a defense roll phase - it just sucked because there was too much die rolling in combat). At that point, you're just arguing over how you want to describe the action. Personally, I like my exalted fights to feel like the rain fight at the teahouse in Hero - the two exalts staring at each other, maybe trying a feint or two to feel each other out, and then an instantaneous burst of fury which leaves one of them dead. There's no reason however you couldn't do the same thing Gladiator style with lots of glancing blows and close parries leading up to a killing blow. It's all in how you narrate it.

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Why in the world is your title "Ambassador of Good Will"? Is it some attempt at the Guiness Record for Irony?
--Balerion
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 14, 2009 2:31 PM (edited 9/14/09 10:31 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm with Tozzi on this - it's mostly an interpretive issue. I tend to see the "misses" in Exalted as cunning parries or skin-of-your-teeth dodges. And I honestly prefer that over D&D's "I got hit with a greatsword four times but am still acting as if I'm completely healthy" method.

He's also got a point about the "we were playing Solars" thing - most Exalts don't get scene-longs, which is one of the mains Solar advantages. That being said, there are points where a Solar's scene longs won't be enough, and they're forced into the same kind of back and forth that everyone else has to do. The only fight we had that I can think of link this was the fight against Octavian, but I'm pretty sure we were all fighting for our lives on an active basis there.

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Dissidia Damage System in Tabletop RPG? – September 14, 2009 2:35 PM (edited 9/14/09 10:35 AM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Also anyone who knows how Solars work would know that the 'charge-up' into God mode thing is a big part of their effectiveness, and that can be disrupted, if not pre-empted by a surprise attack.

Scene longs are awesome, but they were (as far as I remember) your one charm for the turn, and if you're under the gun, that's a bad plan.

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