Complex Martials and Tactical Soft Magic

Skip to the attached rules if you don't want to read my musings. The martial/magic doc cuts out what I'm talking about, but I also threw in the full CombatDoc for those that want to chew on it or just see how different things work. Keep in mind this is a development doc.

Its only meant to be playable enough to people who are being taught to play in person or who already know the game. Its more so I can consolidate my notes and things ive forgotten into a more workable document.

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Anyway, the interesting I think about what I've created here is how I ended up making it. The Battle Combo system was the genesis idea for it, coming from long before I ever started working on the game when I theorycrafted how one might actually deliver on the "complex Fighter" but without crossing into the "weaboo fightan magic" memes.

Back then it was mostly just a rough idea of it, but once the time came, my initial idea was to dedicate the whole thing to just being the shtick to my take on the Warrior.

Over time, though, particularly as I honed in what I wanted combat to look like, it eventually became prudent to open the system up to two more class concepts, the Battlemage (a Summoner focused on summoning magically created weapons and armor), and the Paladin.

And that was the running thought for a while, but as more of the system came to life and we started ad hoc testing of these ideas, it became clear that the system should just open up to everybody. Which does limit some of what I had planned to do, but as I note in the docs, I still have some decent ideas for how to make the OG 3 still specialized in this system.

Another peculiar thing is that I ended up combining this with my take on the Mighty Deed, which was something I was deeply unsure of whether I wanted to do or not. But, as I started to acclimate to the idea of deliberately combining improvisation with mechanical depth, it became pretty obvious.

And as a bonus, doing that actually does a lot to deliver on the specific gamefeel I've been working towards. And I think the best way to explain that is by showing what I'm going for:


While that scene isn't the only inspiration (there's actually quite a lot), its probably the best example of the exact rhythm I was looking for, and in picking what Techniques I wanted to put in, the tamoenage Hulga does to that last guy was an easy pick. (And if one is skeptical about how this system does that kind of fighting, one should grab some dice and try engaging the full system. It isn't going to be that apparent until you actually do it)

But what the embrace of improv also lead to was my take on Magic, which I've talked about previously, which it occurred to me is practically a soft magic system, but tactical, which is a fascinating idea.

While Magic has a singular rule to it, in that it can only ever destroy, no matter what it does, through that single rule we elaborate into a system that has a pretty unlimited possibility space, as even the specific, bespoke Runes and Wards aren't rigidly defined, and while Elemental Welds follow specific rules, there's nothing saying you couldn't do entirely new combinations.

Whats also apparent, if somewhat unintentional (I came at Magic from a completely separate vision), I actually ended mechanically embedding the same dynamic the Mighty Deed, or at least my version of it, which is what I think leads to the soft magic feel of it. And then of course, we have my take on Corruption, which embeds quite a few narrative threads, personal and otherwise, which pairs well with the soft magic bent.

And of course, as the system is meant to interact with a tactical combat system, it has the mechanical depth to do so, without sacrificing much of anything about it.

So, long story short, its kinda neat how these came together. As of now, its definitely going to bear further testing and iteration. While I'm pretty married to having individual effects for each Technique, I think they can be quite overtuned, even for the extreme power fantasy meets combat-as-war design I'm going for.

Its entirely plausible we might move to just skipping the base level effects; eg, you just improvise an effect using the Technique as a prompt, and then the 4x is going to be specifically defined. That seems to make the most sense, but as with my initial goes at this kind of Magic, I want to see it in action.

I know testing it out solo that it gives the dynamics I'm looking for either way, but I don't want to assume anything based on that. But that'll have to wait as we aren't doing another session until mid summer. Poo lol.
 

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