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Solution to “chop” in rpg systems

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Mar 6, 2022.

  1. Not_Sure


    Dec 13, 2011
    I have been buying a house and having a massive crunch at work leaving me unable to work on my current FPS game in a while.

    But in that time I think I have come up with a solution to the chop problem in most rpg systems and wanted to share it for input.

    So for physical damage in most RPGs they do slash, bash, and piece but this leaves open the problem of what about chop damage for enemies like trees.

    Well, I think the solution is to split them into 6 categories that make more sense.

    slash - cutting damage that is amplified by agility.

    chop - cutting damage that is amplified by strength.

    Strike - impact damage amplified by agility.

    Bash - impact damage damage that is amplified by strength.

    Pierce - puncture damage that is amplified by agility.

    Punch - puncture damage that is amplified by strength.

    Now obviously there will be benefits to agility and strength based attacks.

    Agility based attacks would be faster, better critical hits, and be better for unarmored enemies or single enemies.

    Strength based attacks will do more damage, stagger enemies, and be better for armored enemies and large groups.

    Have criticals ignore armor and it gives the player a well rounded set of strategies.

    You can sort of see how this all works out with different weapons.

    Blade - almost entirely slashing damage would be great for sneaking up on enemies and going to town on enemies who are staggered.

    Axe - almost entirely chop damage and would be great for dealing bleeding damage while being able to jump into a crowd and help stagger to swap to a blade.

    Staff - almost entirely striking and would be great at interrupting enemies, and keeping yourself defended, like a mage would want in a party.

    Hammer - Almost entirely bash and would be great for jumping into a crowd and controlling the fight, creating openings for allies.

    Spear - almost entirely pierce and would be great for attrition getting in attacks all the time, but contributing almost nothing to crowd control.

    Pick - great for using strength to use attrition on heavily armored enemies.

    So, basically, agility based weapons are great for sneak attacks on one end of the spectrum then moving towards attrition. Strength weapons are great at crowd control and moving towards attrition.

    Attrition is good for solo, and specializing for team fights.

    All the while things like tree enemies could be super vulnerable to chopping. Rock enemies are vulnerable to punching. Armored enemies are vulnerable to criticals and punch. And so on.

    So basically it would allow for common sense solutions and give variety to the players.

    Now three perceivable issues to work out are 1) how do you not bog players down with numbers, 2) how do you account for different attacks (swinging a sword versus thrusting, and 3) how do you blend damage types.


    edit: it should be mentioned that naturally there is a difference between chance to critical and critical bonus. A dagger is more likely to land a critical, but a blade will do more critical damage. Ideally, to me at least, criticals would be “diceless” and would depend on passing a threshold of attacking based on the enemies awareness, their stagger, their attack class, and the angle of attack.

    So a hit on an enemy who doesn’t know you are there directly behind them is going to be high.

    But maybe an enemy that was struck by a hammer and staggering may be easy to critical from the side with the right weapon.

    I would say a prompt would help, but I also see the fun in figuring it out and making the right choice for when to engage.

    edit 2: also it should be noted that there should be natural armor and equipment armor. When you attack an enemy the reduction should not be stacked, but rather done one after the other. So you first do a crit check on their equipment, then deal damage accordingly. Then take that damage and do it again for their natural armor.

    So a rock troll may wear a breast plate.

    The bruiser will attack and get deducted twice and do virtually no damage. But knock it down some and an assassin can bypass their armor.

    knock them down further and that assassin might put a dagger in its eye and bypass its skin too.

    And of course this means that an attack class of an enemy would go up with more gear that covers more of their body.

    I know, this is getting way deep, but if done right the player should stop thinking about the math and start getting into a flow.

    edit 3: last one, I swear. You can really see how this system could encourage specialization in players.

    They could be a tank that draws attention. A brawler that knocks enemies around. A slayer that does large dramatic chunky damage for big enemies and dodges to stay alive. An assassin who takes down targets. An archer who gives constant attrition. A mage that does large area attrition. A ranger who can swap roles as needed.

    Really, just leaning hard into orthogonal game play.

    edit 4: okay, I lied, like I always do on these rants. It should be obvious the advantages of all these core attack types:

    puncture - does regular damage. Is always a safe attack. Good for finishing off weakened enemies.

    impact - interrupts and staggers. Does the most crowd control. Good for setting up enemies.

    cutting - bleed damage. Does the most damage. Good for finishing enemies off and doing dramatic damage.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022