On Fighters & Fighting: Addendum

Another one? ABSOLUTELY!

…though a short one. My previous post in the On Fighters & Fighting series grew a bit too large to accommodate some of the ideas I had, and a number of people requested an Unarmed Fighting Style Generator as a companion to the one focused on fighters.

Here, then, are my final thoughts… for the moment.

Abstracting Hit Points In Melee Combat

Everyone understands, on some level, that Hit Points are meant to be an abstraction. Why? Because going up in levels does not give a character gallons more blood, extra internal organs, or bullet-proof eyes. While it is surely in-genre for many games to treat warriors who have reached a heroic status to actually be unrealistically tough in the fibre and recover from wounds that would maim others for life, that can only carry the idea of HP so far.

So what if we took a page from real life combat for some inspiration?

Here are some brief suggestions:

  • Winded – When two people are facing off in combat, one of the things on everyone’s mind is how long they can last in the fight before their performance starts to wane due to fatigue. The stronger and more enduring opponent certainly has an advantage, but the master of a fighting style can often wear down even a more powerful if inexperienced foe through the use of proper breathing techniques and far more efficient use of their energy.
    This can be reflected by describing someone who is steadily losing HP as wavering, looking desperate, and otherwise showing signs that they will not be able to stay in the fight if this goes on.
  • Collateral Damage – An exchange of blows or clash of swords is not usually a one-touch situation, where the injured side walks away with a single new wound that adds to the pile but doesn’t otherwise impact their ability to fight. Attempting to block a powerful punch might wrench a shoulder, and a battle of strength as two hardened warriors lock their blades together can lead to sliced or broken fingers, which adds up in ways that even adrenaline can’t cover.
    Reflecting this sort of HP loss is as simple as describing minor but important damage that someone can only attempt to ignore for so long before it will catch up to them.
  • Head Games – Intimidation and smack-talk has its place, but finding yourself on the wrong side of an axe and bleeding has a tendency to leave a much deeper impression. Part of fighting is having the will to press on and the confidence to seize advantages as they arise, and even if someone is very much still a threat to their opponent they might become less of one if they’re distracted by their own mortality or pride. Relating the loss of Hit Points to mental state is not common, but if HP represents the ability to stay in the fight and not get down to that last deadly wound, then increasingly leaving themselves open for such an attack – only to recover at the last moment to take a less serious wound – is entirely appropriate.
    This can be reflected by describing a character’s behavior when they lose HP as increasingly wild-eyed, uncertain, or desperate.

Random Unarmed Fighting Style Generator

Unlike the previous post I will not attempt to recreate the tables involved here on the blog, but instead will link to the random generator itself, along with the Google Document that holds the tables I used to make the generator work.

I found myself making some interesting, or odd, choices in trying to put this together and I hope you enjoy them. If not, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Unarmed Fighting Style Generator

UFS Random Generator Tables


A Mad Book of Truth, the Lonely Song of Savages, and Whoopin’ Fisk

You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items  over on the right. Read ‘em, like ‘em, share ‘em, and comment.

Darkle Fas

Wendell let them walk right into the path of the swinging log. Served them right, afterall—always on about him. Always judging. them with their noses high and their ways. If he’d had rich parents and all them trappings, he’d have done better than alright—it’s true. He’d be more lordly than their erstwhile bard, son of some count something or other.

And that paladin wouldn’t be so high and mighty. If Wendell’d been taught proper as a young thing, he could have set his mind on the gods and being fancy with that sword and whatnot. He could have owned the world, but here he was, sneaking and thieving for this group of right and full bastards.

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Skinning a Godling, a Guide to Living Forever, the General Takes the Field, I’ve Been Reading a Lot of “Fables”, and Dirty Old Men…

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The Cray of the Dead God

Teller started the careful process of wrapping the long strap of boaxhide around her midsection. Around, then over, then around, then over–the motions were familiar to her, as common as brushing her hair out of her eyes. The rest of her comrades were tired, they’d spent the night in fitful watches, waiting for hell to climb the hill.

The lower encampment was, if anything, larger than the last one—and that had nearly killed them all. Soldiers, pink-faced and ready, were lined up to storm the earthy mound and give them all a death long in the coming. But, without worry and almost without care, Teller continued the ritual, taking her time and doing it right, wrapping herself in the protection of her clan and family and preparing herself for the blood to come.

If the emperor wanted this hill, she’d make his very best bleed for it.

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Showstopper, Still Watching Too Much Daredevil, and Power Is Neither Created Nor Destroyed…

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Lament of Naamah

As Raxaia took her first step toward the throngs of buzzing, salivating, angry things she could feel the tension in the air behind her. They were out-numbered ten or twelve to one, if not more. The twisted creatures of the deep chattered angrily at the group, their dead and pale eyes focused on nothing, but their keen hearing more than able to locate the intruders.

Broadways closed his eyes, holding his shield before him, waiting for the tide to break and the things of the dark to swarm. He mouthed a prayer, the very act of piety made Raxaia uncomfortable. He barely tolerated her on the best days, and for her to bring her Partner’s influence to bear here was almost too much for him. It was a fortunate thing he knew enough of the world to tolerate a good tool, even if it had a dark origin.

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Perfect Form, The Onslaught, and a Red Right Hand…

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Tides of Wile

Lyra’s form was perfect, each movement written in space and punctuated with certainty. Khyraxsis, dreaded golden wyrm and the Harrower of Brightkeep, was cold and silent with each blow. The beast rocked back on her haunches and her gaze narrowed in concentration and barely disguised fury.

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Watching Too Much Netflix Recently, There Are Not Enough Cleric and Paladin Wands, and a Ranger/Warlock Combo…

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Docker’s Shield

“Come on, now, Master Vacheck, surely you didn’t think I was going to simply let you and your band of petty thieves and murderers just walk into my Daima and sack it like common burglars in a jewelry shop?

“I’ve waited for this moment for weeks—you didn’t know that, did you? I was watching you when you crossed the Faetan Peaks, I sat in the grass and watched you sleep under that great oak. My creatures will take your friends, those still alive, down into the dark and play with them like dolphins might play with a baby floating in the sea.

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Furious Nature, Humble Shoes, and Yes I’m Re-Reading That Book Right Now…

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Manikanta’s Storm

Kudu did not like this place. Its ceilings looked like the broad arched cathedrals of the capitol, the glass panes in the grand windows were pristine and showed hints of light and shadow on the other side of their multi-colored mosaics. The air inside smelled like summer breezes and fresh rain. but, here, hundreds of feet underground, deep in the underdark, it was all false. Its perfection was all the more menacing for how strange it should be in this place.

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