Posted by on May 3, 2017

So, as my group disintegrated in the middle of a campaign I had just come up with an idea. Rather than see it lost I thought I would share it here.

Unisystem uses Success Levels to show how well someone has done. After all damage is determined (weapon adds and armor reductions) the Success Levels show some of how the combat when by having the successful combatant describe an action for each SL. The opponent then describes their attempt to evade it if they tired. The damage will be received, and it will not be added to at all, nor deducted from. But each action is described.

In example we have two combatants in a sword fight: Lilith and Marco. In the first exchange Lilith scores 3 SL over Marco’s successful, but insufficient,  defense. The damage after armor is 22 points. Lilith (a PC) says the first action is a thrust at his guts. The GM says Marco twists to avoid it, but is too slow, taking 8 points from that. Lilith then does a sweeping slash in a full spin, but Marco isn’t there to hit. But, Lilith steps into him and rams the sword home, doing the remaining 16 points.

Armor does not get rolled for each SL, nor does damage. The GM (and potentially the player as well) simply decide how much damage is done. A phrase as simple as “lightly strikes” is good enough, just so long as it is descriptive.

It is even possible to do no damage in the action. For instance, Marco gets 2 SL and does 19 points of damage. “Marco slides the length of his blade across your ribs (first SL) as he steps into you and kisses your cheek, saying (second SL) “Cara mia, I wish you would reconsider.”

The idea being to force boring situations into stories.

I would have loved to have had a chance to experiment with this idea, but that isn’t an option now. Shame, really. Maybe I will reform a new group or something. I don’t know.

And, yes, I realize not every combat situation can handle this idea. Shooting someone hardly uses it at all, nor should it.

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Comments

  1. Seran
    May 4, 2017

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    I agree with you, I think that descriptive battle scenes would make any rp game more interesting, we do something similiar in my group, but its not as broken down has you have it.
    In our group (when the players are feeling it), they describe their scene as if you were watching it on tv (but we also use the cinematic system versus the classic), it adds a little extra to the game.
    all in all it would be interesting to see this in play.

    • God Monkey King
      May 4, 2017

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      I agree. A quick “playtest” of it did seem to have some real advantages. Having to describe a few things made the creativity rise.

      But, the one caution is to be sure everyone knows that the damage is done, it can be in one description or described over several. One indecent that came up was the “But Armor!” issue. I explained it was for color not rules and that helped. Also, describing how the last blow got into a gap in the armor also seemed to satisfy.

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