Friday, September 9, 2011

Rules found by re-reading

As some of you know, Initiative is something many D&D refs have house rules for. Ordering the chaos of real life combat, or just the monomanical urge to add structure to all facets of life is something that all kinds of roleplaying games are pretty wont to do. Today I found some new little nugget of Initiative related rule.

Since I have not had a regular game for a while, the inspirations for posts on the blog have shrunk, and the posting frequency almost crawled to a stop. But, hope lives eternal and I have started to re-read the Call of Cthulhu rulesbook in the hopes of starting a CoC game.

Today I read the skills chapter. Usually lists of skills and their use is something I find as yawn inducing as spell descriptions. I prefer lists of skills and spell just to be the names, and those to be descriptive enough. But, I had promised myself to give the rule book a full read through so I kept slogging at it. So, now I found a nugget I had missed before!

When you are in a fight, you can either attack, dodge or parry. The latter you can do once a combat turn, dodging you can do more than once. Since Parry is a bit special, you actually have to declare in the beginning of the round that you will parry, and which antagonist you expect an attack from! Should that NPC not attack, you have "wasted" your round.


I wonder how well that would work transplanted to another game, or for that matter, how well would it work in CoC? I have played with BRP derived games for many years, but never have I encountered Parry like that.



  1. I've played/GMd Runequest and Call of Cthuhlu, and although certain side rules (movement rates, skills, etc) tranlated over to D&D, the combat just never did. Too big a change or addition such as dodge and parry or whatever just made it seem like another game entirely.

  2. Might be true. But, to my surprise, I once found a rule about Parries in AD&D!

  3. Scattered throughout D&Ds there are examples of this cute rule style: declare secretly what you will do that round, then everyone goes at once. The different action types affects each other like rock-paper-scissors.

    There are three types of actions, attack, parry, withdraw.

    Attack is strong against Withdraw. Parry is strong against Attack. Withdraw is strong against Parry.

    But you make up specific results. For example, if I Parry and you Withdraw, I would have the choice to chase you down and you lose ground but we didn't hurt each other. If we both Attack, we both suffer serious wounds. If we both Parry, we just clash swords a few times. If we both Withdraw, we both lose ground.

    Rules Cyclopedia uses it for War Machine rules for mass combat. You use different Tactics for each engagement. These are Attack, Attack+, Envelop, Trap, etc.

    You can fold into this system special attacks like Trip, Grapple, Throw, Charge, etc.

    The best part I think is that it's a great way to have complex combat choices without using a grid. You just describe what people do and who they do it to. That might scratch someone's particular system-itch.

  4. Hey, that was really a cool idea! I have only skimmed the War Machine, and apparently I had missed a gem.

    That was worth chewing on.


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