Thoughts on collaborative attacks in Off-White Cube

I typed up some thoughts on Discord for our Barrowmaze campaign, and it turned into something of a brain splurge. Thought it best to paste it here for personal reference – I’m always losing things in the transient Discord channels.

The context for it is that I’ve just floated a draft of Off-White Cube 0.14, a game system which is based around only needing a d6 for gameplay and an attack is a single roll tying together both hitting and damaging.

W M Goodes

Been listening to the latest Electric Bastionland design podcast, and there’s a section discussing the decision to make multiple attacks on the same target a case of using the best roll rather than using every roll against the target.

I’m quite tempted to try that. It would mean I could simplify monsters and NPCs to one attack each, basing most of the damage and defence off a creature’s HD which would make it a lot easier to convert from other systems. The main reason I’d held off doing so was because it would make smaller groups of ‘powerful’ enemies so much more vulnerable.

Limiting to attacks to best roll, though, would scale back the impact of numbers (be it on the side of NPCs or PCs) so that combat wouldn’t be almost completely decided by who wins the roll to go first.

It would also serve, paradoxically, to make combat less game-ist in nature – at the moment it’s clearly best for characters to all focus on one enemy at a time, despite it being a narrative sprawling combat. It doesn’t matter that these three skeletons are stabbing at a character; it’s clearly more efficient for that character to turn round and reach for the zombie over there that two allies have attacked this round. It’s still a valid tactic, but now there’s more of an incentive to spread attacks out so that no rolls are ‘wasted’.

It requires more collaboration between players as to who’s doing what in a turn. All attacks against a target need to be declared in advance so that everyone can roll together. Perhaps players could be allowed to immediately declare that their character is joining in the fray if their allies have rolled poorly, but it would have to be immediately afterwards – no letting more action happen and then sneak in a separate attack against something already wounded this turn.

It also leaves open the door for a class ability, perhaps for Fighters, where the PC can make a separate attack. Brawling experience and all that. Perhaps for 0.15…

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on collaborative attacks in Off-White Cube

  1. It’s definitely an interesting rule. I am concerned that for some groups it might slow down combat a lot, with back-and-forth discussion about who attacks who. But at least that time would be spent on potentially interesting tactical discussion, rather than just doing basic math…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s possible that it might. We did try to run it in yesterday’s session, and then promptly failed to roll any encounters beyond five giant toads (Sleep spell) and a funeral pyre zombie (easily escaped in the last few minutes of the sessions).

      I feel time should hopefully be trimmed down with practice and decisive questioning by the GM (‘Okay, so A is attacking this giant rat – anyone else?’), but it doe require players to be switched on (doesn’t allow for much space for comments like ‘Mmm? Me? Oh, I hit that guy. No? Er, that guy?’). In this time of enforced online play, I feel that’s a particular danger.

      There is the question of does one combine melee and ranged attacks, and do magic missiles count as a combat attack? I’m inclined to say no to both, but can see that sounding clunky set down in a rulebook.

      Like

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