Now that the explanation of the core ideas and mechanics behind my new look at combat is out there, a few examples of play are in order. Since the ideas themselves can adapt to any system or style of game, I’m going to set each example combat in a different system and style. Additionally, I’ll give examples of both simplified and detailed tactics, along with a variety of combatants so that you can see how their personalities and styles color the fight.
For the first example, I’ll use the simplified tactics in a cinematic game. The system is resolves tests with a roll of a d10 – if the result, including modifiers, is 9 or higher, the character succeeds. High roller determines control of range. The combat starts with Alex, our protagonist, at a bar. He flirts with a woman shooting pool, whose boyfriend takes offense. The verbal exchange afterward doesn’t go well, and the boyfriend pulls a knife on pretty-boy Alex to give him a makeover.
The boyfriend wants to close and cut Alex’s face (Engaged, Direct), and Alex is trying to stay away and grab a pool cue to fend him off (Disengaged, Defensive). They roll and total: the boyfriend gets 7, Alex gets 12. The range is Disengaged because Alex rolled higher. Each checks their attack modifier: the boyfriend gets a -2 because Alex is Defensive, and another -2 from being disengaged, for a total of 3 (failure); Alex gets a -2 because he’s Defensive against Direct, along with the -2 for being disengaged, which takes his 12 to an 8, turning a success into a failure. Alex scrambles away and grabs a pool cue, swinging it defensively, but missing due to the distance.
The boyfriend, unafraid of the pool cue, attempts repeat his tactic (Engaged, Direct). Alex, more confident now, stands his ground, using the length of the cue to keep the boyfriend away (Disengaged, Direct). They roll and total: the boyfriend gets 10, and Alex gets 12 again. The range is Disengaged for Alex, but due to the length of the cue, the boyfriend is Engaged. There are no attack modifiers for both opponents being Direct, but the boyfriend has a -2 for Alex being Disengaged, turning his 10 (success) into an 8 (failure), while Alex succeeds with a 12. The boyfriend takes a hit to the shoulder as he falls just short of cutting Alex.
Alex sees the boyfriend’s face darken with anger, and decides to try to hit his arm to attempt to force him to drop the knife (Disengaged, Counter-Offensive, Disarm). The boyfriend rushes Alex, trying to stab him in the gut (Engaged, Offensive). After rolling, the boyfriend gets 10 again, and poor Alex only gets 5. Alex runs out of room as the boyfriend closes in. Checking their modifiers, the boyfriend gets no bonus for his Offensive tactic, because Alex is Counter-Offensive and Engaged, so he is still at 10. Alex, however, gets a +2 for his choice, bringing him up to 7, which is still not enough. The pool cue is tangled up as he takes a stab to the gut and regrets coming into this bar.