Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mechanics I Want to Use - Leaping Attack

Jousting is a classic lance attack, but it needn't be the only one. In the Final Fantasy games, dragoons are lance-carrying characters who wear dragon-themed helmets, and who use an attack called "Jump" to leap high into the air, disappearing for 1 combat round, and then land on a target, reappearing and dealing double damage.

Fig 1 - Final Fantasy IV's Kain the Dragoon

In general, and attack that lets a character use 2 rounds worth of actions to deal double damage with a single attack seems "fair." In fact, I'd argue that the risk of losing 2 rounds worth of damage on a single miss, instead of only one round, means that dealing only double damage is a slightly losing proposition. (I'm sure game theory would back me up, although I don't feel like looking up how to write out one of their equations.)

In Final Fantasy, being immune to attacks for a round while your character's "high up in the air" maybe compensates for the extra risk of the Jump. An attack that dealt double damage in the first round at the risk of not dealing any damage in either round might also be worth it, since extra damage in Round 1 might mean that there doesn't need to be a Round 2 at all.

Fig 2 - Final Fantasy IV's Cecil the Dark Knight

There's no question that the Jump attack looks cool, and maybe players are willing to accept a special attack that is actually slightly worse than attacking normally in order to look cool, but I'd argue that there's no reason to make them pay that price, even if they're willing to accept it. This is especially important in DCC, where any combat maneuver carries an increased risk of making a warrior miss their attack by depriving them of their usual to-hit bonus.

Another way to make a Jump-style attack more "fair" would be to make the final damage even more variable. Paying 2 rounds of attacks to get triple damage is an obvious "win" for the attacker, paying 2 rounds of attacks for the possibility of either normal damage, double damage, or triple damage sounds even more "fair" to me.

The Leaping Attack requires that the lancer be on higher ground than her target. In DCC, this normally confers a +1 to-hit bonus. I’m re-using an idea I innovated for my Jousting deed to say that for mounted lancers, this bonus is equal to the HD of their mount (not just +1) and that it can be applied as the lancer sees fit to the attack, the deed, or the crit.

Fig 3 - The "stand" position in the actual sport of Equestrial Vaulting,
and what a mounted lancer looks like just before leaping.

Weapon-Specific Deed - Leaping Attack (Lance)

When executing this deed, the lancer leaps down from a position above her target and strikes them with terrible force before resuming her original position. This deed takes 2 combat rounds to execute. In the first round, the lancer makes her attack and deed rolls, and pounces onto her target. In the second round, she recovers from the maneuver and moves back to her original position.

If the lancer's attack roll succeeds and her deed roll fails, she attacks normally, but she must still spend the second round recovering from her maneuver. If her attack roll fails but her deed roll succeeds, she does not attack at all, and may use the second round normally. If both rolls fail, she executes a failed leaping attack, and must spend the second round recovering.

On a successful Leaping Attack attempt, the lancer scores an automatic critical hit. On a natural 20 attack roll (or any successful attack roll within her critical range,) she rolls on Crit Table V instead of her usual Crit table, and she received double the listed bonus when she rolls on that table.

A lancer who attempts this deed while mounted stands up on her mount's back before leaping, and she receives a bonus of +1 for each of her mount's Hit Dice. She can apply this bonus to her attack roll, her deed roll, or her Crit table roll. (If a lancer is riding a charging mount, her damage dice are doubled on any successful attack, even if her leaping maneuver fails.)

3 The lancer scores a critical hit. She rolls her deed die on her usual Crit table with a +3 bonus.

4 The lancer scores a critical hit. She rolls her deed die on her usual Crit table with a +4 bonus.

5 The lancer scores a critical hit. She rolls her deed die on her usual Crit table with a +5 bonus.

6 The lancer scores a critical hit. She rolls her deed die on her usual Crit table with a +6 bonus.

7+ The lancer scores a critical hit. She rolls her deed die on her usual Crit table with a +7 bonus (or more. The bonus is equal to the Mighty Deed result.)

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