Monday, August 10, 2015

A new attack option for Swords & Wizardry

For a number of years when playing Swords and Wizardry, I been giving Fighting-Men a bonus to their initiative equal to their to-hit bonus. I felt that added a more pizazz, as well as making sense, to melee combat if Fighting Men were the ones mostly going first in a combat round.

Swords and Wizardry Core Rules doesn't have multiple melee attacks as one of the main options. And that how I been handling it since I started using it in 2008. I am not keen on adding multiple melee attacks based on levels but I was thinking. What if I make it a function of initiative?

To add this to Swords and Wizardry requires these rules.

Use Ascending AC and the to-hit bonus chart.

Fighting Men get to add their to-hit bonus to their initiative plus any other bonus they may get from dexterity.

Multiple Attacks
If a character attacks in melee and his initiative (whether individual or group) is triple, or more compared to his opponent, the attacker gets two melee attack rolls. This does not apply to spell casting or missile attacks.

So if the Party rolls a 5 for initative and Able the fighter has a +1 to hit bonus. If their orc opponents roll a 2. Then Able is able to make two attack rolls if he does a melee attack against the Orc. Now this applies to any character to if the Orcs roll a 1 and the party rolls a 6 then everybody gets two melee attacks.

In conjunction with the Initiative rule for Fighting Men this means that Fighting Men will be the class that benefits the most from this. And it will spice up combat a bit by having the player looking not just to beat the monster's initiative but beat by high enough margin to get multiple melee attacks.


Richard Rush said...

I could swear that, at some point, I played a game where multiple actions were handled by (something like) Initiative -10. So, if you rolled a 15, you acted on 15, then again on 5. If you rolled less than 10, you only got your one action. If you rolled a 25 (somehow), you acted on 25, then 15, then 5, etc.

In this scenario, multiple actions happen considerably more often (more than half the time), which is probably more often than you'd like, but it seems to me that with need to triple your opponent's Initiative it would come up very, very infrequenly.

Stu Rat said...

That sounds very familiar.

Wonder if it was an article in The Dragon?

HunterFrank said...

I think Shadowrun 2nd edition had this initiative system.

Douglas Cole said...

Moving it to a 1d6+bonus for S&W would (to me) suggest a second action on a turn-by-turn initiative roll if you have either 6 or more (so even Joe Average might act twice with +0 on the roll if you roll a 6) or "more than 6," which means even if you have +3 to initiative - a large bonus for S&W - you need to roll 4-6 to get an extra attack.

I'd not let magical swords and whatnot count. Only your STR or DEX bonus, so it's intrinsic to the warrior, not the weapon.

rjschwarz said...

The system described bt Richard Rush sounds like RuneQuest strike ranks. Ive never like strike ranks because it felt mechanical wiyh the same order round after round. First round maybe but after that roll and add chance.

I also house rule that you can divide your attack by cutting your to hit chance in half. In RuneQuest this is 60% to hit could be 30% twice, or even 40% and 20%. Shouldnt be difficult to pull thst off in osr systems.

Douglas Cole said...

rjschwarz: Would that be roll 1d10+bonus instead of 1d20+bonus, or roll 1d20+bonus, divide by 2?

I kinda like the "you can split attacks by rolling 1d10" angle, but that's going to be hard with limited hit bonuses. It would be an interesting Fifth Edition house rule, because a bonus at very, very high level could be +11 (STR 20, +6 proficiency) without magic items, and 1d10+11 is a bit like 1d20+1 . . . yes you can hit high-AC foes, but you're not likely to do so.

It's like the Rapid Strike option in GURPS: -6 to hit (a high penalty) in exchange for two attacks. If you're super-skilled, you can (with GM permision) take -12 to hit for three attacks. that's suitable for chop-socky high-cinematic games.

Thiles Targon said...

There was a dragon article about this. Your initiative bonus was based on your speed and the length of your weapon and what we would call attack bonus now. If your initiative was high enough you could get multiple attacks, although I though it was if you subtracted 12 and it was above 0 you got a second set of attacks. It actually made things like lions very deadly since they routinely got double attacks, which in there case was like 6, same thing for trolls. It seems like in the same system there were 2 melee ranges, if the range was close you used the weapon speed for initiative, if it was far, you used the weapon length bonus. This mean once a dagger armed guy got in close he would get multiple attacks, but may not get any when at far range facing someone with a long weapon. I thought it looked like a great system, but I think it was in the dragon right around when I stopped playing.

Richard Rush said...

HunterFrank, I'm pretty sure that's exactly where that was from. I can see it getting unfortunately predictable as rjschwarz notes, but that could be solved by rerolling initiative each round (which I think we did in conjunction with this initiative/attach thing?)

That's not much of a solution, though. I'm on an "individual initiative is too much rolling" kick, so "individual initiative rolled each round" is definitely too much rolling.

Maybe this is vaguely DCC-ish, but what about a separate die roll, with a 1 (or a max number) indicating the ability to make a second attack? To make up numbers, a 10th level fighter might roll a d4 and a 1st level wizard might roll a d20. Still probably too complicated.