Project Update: Combat and the ABACUS Large-Scale Dice Tester.

This week I’ve mostly been working on some combat stuff, both for social and physical combat, in Ostravia. I also learned the basics of PHP, which is related to some of my more recent work in Ostravia. Long story short, it’s time to get really into crunch mode on the combat mechanics so I’ll have something to showcase in the Kickstarter.

Combat in Ostravia is somewhat difficult to design because of the ABACUS simplicity. Sure we could do the same thing as ABACUS Light does and just have a direct attack-damage combat, and since Ostravia uses narrative combat time it’s pretty easy to explain around that. However, the main downside of that is that it’s boring. There’s no element of tactics other than choosing who to attack each turn. So, for now I’ve started working on an initiative-based system. Essentially, the way it works is that you can take an action, then wait until the end of your turn and take another action at a penalty, but only certain actions have the appropriate synergism to be used this way. The way it works right now is that there’s a deflection/attack mechanic that complements the tactical stance system I’m putting into combat. A successful deflection leaves your opponent with only the penalties of their stance (balanced stance negates the effects of a deflection), but requires the attacker to wait until the end of their turn to make an attack, at which point they could well have been struck down already or been deflected themselves. It also is generally only useful if you are assisting an ally or moving before the enemy you deflect. It’s also a reason to bring a melee weapon into combat; ranged and melee weapons won’t have much distinction given the narrative combat style, but some actions will be possible with only a few. Reloading a crossbow would fall into this category. So would nocking and drawing a bow, though perhaps less so. Ironically, this means that archers would actually be at a disadvantage unless they work in a surprise/initiation turn (barring a crossbowman walking around with a loaded weapon), which is probably how ranged weapons would realistically work most of the time.

Also, I made a community system that will attach to peoples’ Personae to give them a value. Personae will be able to have multiple communities. More details later.

I’ve made a dice testing application in PHP for Ostravia and the ABACUS system. It’s wholly modifiable and open source, so that’s fun. You can access it in your web-browser here. I made it because math’s not really my field of expertise; it’s not that I don’t understand how to do it, it’s just that every once in a while something goes horribly wrong and I just don’t do it right. This is really just a substitute for AnyDice and a slide ruler, but it could also serve as a GM aid or whatever if people start playing Ostravia/ABACUS based games. It’s written in PHP, so it’ll run off of my web-server. If you want, you can download the (commented-up) .php file in a zip here. If you don’t know PHP but want to make something similar, I recommend Codecademy, which taught me to make about 80% of this in less than three days, both on the HTML and PHP side of things (technically, I only used stuff I learned in my first night studying, but I poked around at other PHP lessons for the couple of days following it until I had a plan of attack). I’ve tweaked a couple of things since I posted the source up here, but it’s still fundamentally the same; I updated the link to go directly to this post and made it work with a thousand, rather than a hundred, tries.

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