Jesse's Alternative Combat for Mythus
Or...how I learned to mess with more rules
As far as I'm concerned, combat rules were made to be modified. So that is what I am about to do.
The idea here is to make combat better: Quicker, more deadly, yet no more difficult to use. I don't know
if all this will be successful, but what the heck...
Quite often the first thing that ought to be done is to check and see if anyone is surprised. If so, it would affect the environment of the combat (i.e. someone's just sitting at the bar ignoring everyone else). I think that surprise should be determined by the JM, with a Perception (particularly Physical) roll to attempt to avoid it. For those HP's without Perception (what's their problem!?) have them roll Intuition instead. The JM should determine ahead of time if the enemies will be surprised, due to the circumstances of each case.
Surprise can mean one of two effects, generally. Either the surprising side gets in an entirely free CT
of actions, or they will merely get one free action in at the beginning of the CT. Either way, the other side
will probably be at a severe disadvantage...
Defining the Environment
This is a most useful thing to do which I have continually forgotten about. The idea is to detail for everyone involved (the JM included) the exact circumstances surrounding the combat. Three things are important to consider at first:
Okay, so this is entirely the same as the real Mythus rules, but I always forget to use it, so this is really
just a reminder...
Time during combat is measured in Critical Turns. Each of these is about 3 seconds--only enough
time to swing a couple times with a weapon, speak a couple sentences, move around a bit, etc. It isn't really
all that long! Remember this when you are trying to do things during a CT, and don't be surprised if complex
tasks take more than a single CT to complete...
Initiative and Actions
This is the section where we will differ most from the base Mythus rules. Timing is everything, I guess.
The problem I've run into is, what if two men square off--one has a great sword and the other an epee, and
they have equal 65 STEEP scores. By the rules, they should both get 3 attacks/CT. I think that the epee
should go a lot more often than the great sword... The other questions involve doing something other than
simple attacks in combat. What about Castings? Multiple weapons? Movement? All these things should
Base Initiative will be calculated normally. It is a 1D10 roll, subtracting the appropriate ATTRIBUTE
(see Mythus Combat chapter for details on that), and adding in any armor penalties (plus any other special
modifiers, as in those due to magick). Everything except the 1D10 roll should be recorded on the HP
Record, in the BIM (for Base Initiative Modifier) square. That way, it generally won't have to be figured out
every damn combat! That is the easy part: the lowest number gets to go first.
Actions are a new idea of mine (well, their incorporation into Mythus, that is). Each persona has a limited amount of time to do anything during a short CT. The trouble is, exactly what can you do, and how much can you do? This started as a problem I had with the Weapons, Special Skills (Florentine) K/S. Let's say a warrior has, and is using, a long sword and a mace, and his STEEP in each Sub-Area is 61. There is no way that this persona should be allowed to make 6 attacks (3 with each weapon) in a single Critical Turn! Another interesting question is the idea of how many attacks would he get if each weapon had an attack rate of 1.5?
Every single persona in Mythus (unless stated otherwise) has the ability to perform three actions in any CT. It is of no significance that the persona is incredibly fast or pathetically slow. If circumstances are right, anyone would be able to perform three actions. Everything a persona may do, including (but not limited to) attacking, defending, moving, talking, or using a Casting, costs a number of actions. Table 1 summarizes the number of actions which are required for each chosen act.
This is not as simple as it seems, however, as there is no guarantee that each persona will get three actions. To account for the fact that during some combats certain personae would be able to do much more than others, the following limit is utilized: the CT ends when the slowest persona has been able to perform one action, regardless of the number of actions it takes. Note in Table 1 that each action also has an initiative penalty associated with it. Whenever that action is the first thing done in a CT, the initiative penalty should be added to the persona's Base Initiative. If the action is rendered as the second or subsequent in the CT, the initiative penalty is added to the current Initiative of the persona, such that the exact timing of the action can be determined.
Therefore, each CT starts at the Base Initiative Modifier, plus the action initiative of the quickest
persona, and counts up from there, each combatant proceeding to attack when the count reaches his/her
initiative. The CT ends once the slowest persona is able to perform a single action. The end of the CT is
absolute! If a warrior is using a sword with which he would normally get three attacks, but the CT ends after
only one, he loses his additional attacks. It may be obvious from this example that heavily armored,
greatsword-wielding knights will be at a fair disadvantage in the number of attacks which would be allowed.
This is true, but consider that each attack is capable (most likely) of doing much more PD than say, an epee.
Parrying is often a difficult problem, simply because of the speeds involved. Most people probably choose not to worry about it. I have figured a way to include it in with your total number of attacks. Parrying counts toward the total number of attacks allowed by a weapon, but it does not cost an action to perform. This means that a persona with 3 attacks will only be allowed 2 attacks and a parry, or no attacks and 3 parries, and so on. The difference is, when we are playing with the option where the CT ends once the slowest persona goes once, a persona may lose some actual offensive attacks. Using the example stated above, a man with a great sword may only get one attack and the persona using a foil would get two against him. Adding the rules for parrying, the expert great sword-wielder (with a 61 STEEP) could use two parries (of his three attacks) without worrying about losing his attempt. This allows personas with large, slow weapons to get some advantage from their choice.
This also greatly benefits a persona wielding two weapons with 61+ STEEP in each. According to Mythus rules, he'd get 6 attacks. With my rules, the most he could use is 3. The three which he loses could be used as parries, which makes him very tough to damage.
By the way, just to be complete, the actual roll to Parry is not changed from standard Mythus rules
conventions: Roll BAC, and as long as your result is not worse than the attacker's, consider it parried!
One Other Combat Modifier: Stance
Combat Stance is essentially a choice by the HP, to assume an Offensive, Defensive, or Neutral position. This is a highly variable modifier, and the player can choose to change his HP's Stance each CT if desired. Unless stated during the Declaration part of each CT, all combatants are assumed to be fighting in a Neutral Stance.
In choosing a Stance, the player decides how much more effort he wishes to put into it. In game terms, the player chooses to increase or decrease his FAC by anywhere 1 to 15. Therefore, when a player feels it is time to throw everything into an attack, he states his intent, and adds 15 points to his FAC. There is another side to this, however: anyone in direct melee combat with this persona gains exactly the same modifier. Thus, in the first example, anyone attacking this beserk HP also gets plus 15 FAC. As you can see, the HP's chance to hit is increased greatly, but then again, so is everyone attacking him. The same sort of modifier applies to a Defensive Stance, although it subtracts from the HP's FAC as well as any attackers.