One of the ideas I am trying to uphold in Whack Pack Adventures is that every character should have a chance to be awesome. The problem with this is that it means that both the a spell slinger who can throw fireballs and a guy with a sword need to be able to be bad ass in their own way.
Here is what I am doing to address that and give fighters something more than just hitting their opponent again and again and again while at the same time not giving them so many tricks that every moment of combat bogs down. I am giving fighters the ability to land chains of hits in melee combat, make precise and devastating shots with a bow and turn the tables on an attacker with a defensive combo starter.
However they do not to get to do these things every turn only when they get a critical hit. Most people in a fight can land the perfect blow and do a bit more damage for a fighter it becomes so much more. With their training and expertise they can use that one hit as the opening for their combos or place an arrow so precisely in an opponent’s leg that it leaves them bleeding out slowed and does a bit of extra damage.
As the fighter types level they will be able to build longer combos allowing them to place more conditions on their opponents and do more damage.
Melee combos are broken down by fighting style. Whether it is bashing opponents with clubs or a flurry of unarmed blows you are mostly stuck doing the same sort of hits that you started with. Each fighting style has its own feel, bash is all about knocking your opponent around while unarmed is about joint locks and takedowns.
Now it is possible to change fighting style mid combo but that takes a bit more skill, and another die roll, and having the proper equipment These maneuvers are called links and can be as simple as switching from the hammer end of your warhammer to the spike side or as complicated as disarming an opponent and grabbing his weapon out of the air to use against him.
Devastating hits work similarly but rather than building up a series of blows you’re a creating one hard hit that produces multiple effects. The building blocks for these devastating hits are based on where you put your missile rather than how it got there. Head shots will have a tendency to blind opponents and stun while hitting a limb can disarm and render that limb useless for the rest of the fight.
The defensive combos give players the chance to counter attack on a critical defensive roll. Rather than using an attack for a combo trigger they will be able to use that block or dodge to set themselves up to do wonders amounts of pain to their opponent.
At this stage there are a few other things I am playing with such as on the fly combo trade outs. If I can get this working it means environmental elements can be worked into combos. So that bash guy might be able to toss an opponent off a cliff if one is handy. Another idea that is still in the toying with stage magic weapons that offer combo options to fighters specific to their enchantment.
So the TL;DR version. Fighters will be able to do amazing things when they critical, they get to be awesome and hopefully don’t slow down combat too much (unless you get that one player who breaks probability on a regular basis and rolls a crit every other dice throw).
On a side note I have started playing with title design for WPA over the next several weeks I will be showing off these rough experiments. Let me know which directions you like and as always stay Whacky!