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Old January 4, 2011, 08:06   #1
Estie
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A take on melee combat (long)

Premise: The strong clumsy troll prefers a big maul (4d4), the weak nimble hobbit a light dagger(1d4).

"Prefers" here means: does more damage/round with the respective weapon.

First off, the concept of weak and clumsy only applies to the early game. After statgain, everyone is both as strong and dextrous as possible; getting to the game cap for damage is just a matter of juggling equipment, even with maximize mode on. I dont think this is ideal, but for now Ill deal with the early and mid game.

The current formula gets the number of blows/round (from now on called bpr) by dividing by the weapon weight. Thus light weapons will always produce more blows, and in combination with various damage boni more damage per round.

Heres a bpr system that fulfills the premise:

1. Number of blows is decided by dexterity. The higher, the more blows.
2. This number always applies to the lightest weapons (daggers, or the < 3 lb class). If a heavier weapon is wielded, the weight is checked against the strength. Higher strength opens up heavier weapons to be eligible for the maximum number of blows allowed by dex; if strength is not enough for the weapon wielded, a penalty to bpr occurs.

So our dextrous hobbit gets many blows, but only with the dagger; he might use a maul of westernesse but would prefer it to be a dagger base (this also is status quo). The troll, having low dex, wont get as many blows as the hobbit, however he is able to use a heavy weapon, thus doing more damage. He might use a dagger of westernesse, but would prefer it to be a maul base.
Unlike in the current system, switching to a lighter weapon will not yield more blows for the strong character.



Now for some numbers to calibrate all this:

I am creating a basic bpr "table" that applies to the casters (mage and priest), ranging from 1 to 4 blows. The other classes use the same table, but multiply number of blows by 6/4 (warrior) or 5/4 (halfcasters). All bpr
numbers are rounded up to the next fraction allowed by the game. A consequence of this is that warriors will get at least 1,5 attacks, regardless of weapon weight; halfcasters get 1,3. I think this is not a balance issue.

Starting warrior stats are, assuming +8 points to both str and dex, 18/80 str 15 dex for the halftroll and 18/20 str 18/40 dex for the hobbit. Ending stats are 18/200 for both.

Now allow our starting hobbit to have almost 4 blows with his dagger, 4 * 4/6 ~ 2,5 so the entry in the dex table for 18/40 would read 2,5. Our troll with 15 dex should have fewer blows of course; assuming Fizzix´s absorbtion
goes live, a good number should be a bit over 2. (Without absorbtion, I would settle for 3.)
So 2 blows, 2 * 4/6 ~ 1,3 lets make it 1,4 which is the table entry for 15 dex.
At max dex the entry is obviously 4.

If we extrapolate these entries linearly, we reach 4 blows (the maximum) at about 18/140 dex which seems ok.
On the lower end, we reach numbers <1 at some point which get floored to 1 (even casters get at least 1 blow).

The linear formula that produces such values is:

#blows = dex * 11/70 - 1

This is the basic blows table, with floor 1 and ceiling 4. Dex is the integer derived from d&d type stats as usual by changing 18/x to 18 + x/10.



The str part is twofold. First, we need to assign a weight allowance to str, that is a weight value up to which weapons can be used without penalty. The second part is to establish what the actual penalty for wielding a weapon heavier than that is.

Weapons range from very light (3 lb, dagger main gauche whip) to light (6 lb rapier, 8lb shortsword) to medium (15 lb; most weapons are around this weight) to heavy (maul at 20 lb) to very heavy (lance 30 lbs, MoD 40 lbs). I had considered allowing the 18/80 str troll to use a 30 lb lance, the heaviest weapon that is normally available early game, however 30 lb is extremly high; it is so close to the ultimate MoD while 18/80 str is still a long way from 18/200. So the troll must settle for a maul at 20 lbs (sorry!). If anyone really wants to give starting trolls access to lances, reduce their weight.

Starting from there, changing the weight allowed by 2 lbs per point of str (or per /10 past 18) produces reasonable numbers. Upwards, we get access to lance at 18/130, MoD at 18/180. More importantly, the 18/20 str hobbit warrior ends up with 8 lbs which lets him use shortswords and lighter. 18 str has 4 lbs (I dont thing any weapons are of that weight), and 17 and below get 3 lbs. Everyone has the strength, if not the skill, to effectively use a dagger.

To summarize: str 17 and below: 3 lbs; str 18 and above: 4 + 2 x (str-18) lbs


So what happens if someone picks up and uses a weapon heavier than their allowance ? Well, they get fewer blows with it. Since weapons are rather close at the lower end of the list, but 10s of pounds apart at the top, it wouldn't make sense to penalize the overweight directly; rather, apply the penalty to the relative overweight, that is (weapon weight - allowed weight) / allowed weight (numbers in pounds). So the starting hobbit gets the same penalty for using a 12 lb longsword as the troll gets for using a lance:
(12 - 8) / 8 = 1/2 and (30 - 20) / 20 = 1/2.

How much of a penalty ? Id say, substract 1 blow if the weapon is twice as heavy as allowed on the basic blows table. So in the case above, both being warriors, they would each lose 0,5 * 6/4 = 0,75 blows. Naturally this has to be rounded to fractions and the basic blows table guarantees at least one blow.


This is maybe a starting point, if anyone wants to code it.

Edit: wrong term replaced

Last edited by Estie; January 4, 2011 at 08:18.
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Old January 4, 2011, 10:26   #2
PowerDiver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estie View Post
Heres a bpr system that fulfills the premise:

1. Number of blows is decided by dexterity. The higher, the more blows.
2. This number always applies to the lightest weapons (daggers, or the < 3 lb class). If a heavier weapon is wielded, the weight is checked against the strength. Higher strength opens up heavier weapons to be eligible for the maximum number of blows allowed by dex; if strength is not enough for the weapon wielded, a penalty to bpr occurs.
I proposed a function designed with these two properties in mind some time back, and I reposted it to the fractional blows thread. You might want to take a look. I believe ewert was most loudly opposed.

I set it up to mimic the status quo as much as possible, but the point of doing it as a simple formula is that it would be easy to tweak the constants to further emphasize or deemphasize the effect of str, dex, or weight if you wanted shift towards another direction.
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Old January 4, 2011, 11:33   #3
Estie
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I dont know how but I completely missed that whole thread. I have to say my initial thought had also been to use square and square root for emphasizing beyond linear (them being, as you pointed out, the first suspects), but I feared the formulas might get too complex.
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Old January 4, 2011, 15:23   #4
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I tried complex formulae with square roots, cubes, etc. trying to get a nice non-linear way to factor in str, dex and weight, without breaking up going into 20+lbs territory, nor <5lbs.

Then I just noticed that what the heck, having a value per str point that is modified by weapon weight (str times x minus y per weight unit) and a value per dex point that is also modified by weapon weight (dex times z minus c per weight unit, z>x and c>y so that with light weapons dex value > str value, and with heavy str value > dex value, crossing point somewhere like 8lbs where identical), and just add them both together, you get pretty much all of the niceties of tuning the formula without all the bothersome non-linear parts. =P Seems it is on my other computer but it worked really nice as I made a spreadsheet out of it. I used it to do a 100-20 energy per blow spread, then would just give warriors -20% to epb and mages/priests +25% to epb, that would end up with 16(6blows and change) for warriors, 5 blows per 100 energy for semicasters, and 4 blows per 100 energy for full casters.

The biggest peeve I had with the PD's version were the "minimum" parts of the formulae he proposed, IIRC. Yours is a bit similar in idea as mine, but I think you go off to too complex with relative reductions for too much weight. Just use both stats as "zero to max +blows" (I used a cutoff, so that either stat could produce only a max of +2500, 4000 total gave max blows, so you needed +1500 from the other stat in addition ... just so str18/220 dex3 or vice versa wouldn't get to very high blows with a dagger etc. =P)

Damn wish I had the other comp home so could show the spreadsheet. It was very simple formulas, and the result was that each and every stat point matter until you had max blows, no jumps at all, and depending on the stat spread nearly all energy-per-blow values could happen, not just in jumps like current fractional blow system (which is, IMHO, good enough in itself pretty much ...)
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Old January 4, 2011, 16:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewert View Post
I tried complex formulae with square roots, cubes, etc. trying to get a nice non-linear way to factor in str, dex and weight, without breaking up going into 20+lbs territory, nor <5lbs.

Then I just noticed that what the heck, having a value per str point that is modified by weapon weight (str times x minus y per weight unit) and a value per dex point that is also modified by weapon weight (dex times z minus c per weight unit, z>x and c>y so that with light weapons dex value > str value, and with heavy str value > dex value, crossing point somewhere like 8lbs where identical), and just add them both together, you get pretty much all of the niceties of tuning the formula without all the bothersome non-linear parts. =P Seems it is on my other computer but it worked really nice as I made a spreadsheet out of it. I used it to do a 100-20 energy per blow spread, then would just give warriors -20% to epb and mages/priests +25% to epb, that would end up with 16(6blows and change) for warriors, 5 blows per 100 energy for semicasters, and 4 blows per 100 energy for full casters.

The biggest peeve I had with the PD's version were the "minimum" parts of the formulae he proposed, IIRC. Yours is a bit similar in idea as mine, but I think you go off to too complex with relative reductions for too much weight. Just use both stats as "zero to max +blows" (I used a cutoff, so that either stat could produce only a max of +2500, 4000 total gave max blows, so you needed +1500 from the other stat in addition ... just so str18/220 dex3 or vice versa wouldn't get to very high blows with a dagger etc. =P)

Damn wish I had the other comp home so could show the spreadsheet. It was very simple formulas, and the result was that each and every stat point matter until you had max blows, no jumps at all, and depending on the stat spread nearly all energy-per-blow values could happen, not just in jumps like current fractional blow system (which is, IMHO, good enough in itself pretty much ...)
I'd be interested in seeing that spreadsheet, if you could find it and post it here.
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Old January 4, 2011, 17:56   #6
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The question is whether a high str low dex char should get lots of blows with a light weapon. If you add separate str and dex formulae then it does. If you take the min then it doesn't.
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Old January 4, 2011, 19:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
The question is whether a high str low dex char should get lots of blows with a light weapon. If you add separate str and dex formulae then it does. If you take the min then it doesn't.
Not necessarily. My preference is to say that each weapon "favours" STR or DEX, ranging from 100-0 (MoD) to 0-100 (dagger). Then the blows formula uses the weighted sum of the two stats - so you get no extra blows with a dagger if you have low dex, no matter how high your STR is.
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Old January 4, 2011, 19:57   #8
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Define "lots", but yeah my view is that the min-approach is worse than the "superhighstr-troll can whip a dagger around 3.5 times in 100 energy". Because with the 2500 out of 4000 max (each 1000 is "1 hit" in effect per 100 energy more), 3.5 is the max you can get with max str bonus ...

However due to the dex formula being weighted down more by weapon weight, you won't be able to get 3.5 blows with pure dex with the heavy weapons. Not even with max dex with heavy enough weapons. Overall, I would be really happy with that system. Considering 10 dex is avg human, I'm sure the formulae could even be modified so that if str or dex < 10, you get some minus points, so that a 18/220str 3dex might only get 2 blows.

That however starts to go into excessive tuning ... but could be done easily enough too.
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Old January 4, 2011, 20:55   #9
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3.5 blows with a dagger because you are strong and clumsy and slow is lots. Too many IMO. Even 1.5 is questionable for a DEX 3 char IMO.

The first time you did your spreadsheet you screwed it up. Are you sure you aren't hung up on those wrong values? I'm confused as to why you are so vehement.

All the min approach says is that when you have the skill to manage a certain number of blows, there is a particular weight depending on strength up to which you can use your skill fully, and beyond that the number of blows reduces gradually. What is so horrible about that?

[edit] I guess that's not exactly right, as the minimum str required goes up with the number of blows, but that is the context of any discussion at all similar to the status quo.

Last edited by PowerDiver; January 4, 2011 at 21:07.
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Old January 5, 2011, 06:28   #10
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Eddie, can you post a link to your formula?

I guess for any of these formulas, there are four character's we're interested in:

Ultima: High STR, High DEX
Bruiser: High STR, Low DEX
Sneaky: Low STR, Low DEX
Chump: Low STR, Low DEX

I'm not sure whether it's best to use High=MAX and Low=10, or what. Maybe High should be the max a half troll (STR) or hobbit (DEX) could start with? I don't know.

Anyway, we're interested in how many blows these characters get with three weapons:

Dagger: 3 lbs (small weapon)
Long Sword: 13 lbs (medium weapon)
Great Axe: 23 lbs (large weapon)

As a bonus we could calculate expected damage to figure out which weapon each class would prefer. Obviously enchantments and things like =dmg would play a role also which is why I'm leaving that aside for now.

You could choose three different data points, but I think seeing how any given plan works under these 12 scenarios (character + weapon) will help to see the similarities and differences in each plan. Spreadsheets are ok but I would prefer to see different systems compared with the same data points.

As of now, I'm not wedded or opposed to any particular plan (including the status quo).
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