Saturday 23 May 2015

Advanced Combat in Hero Kids...

Following the recent update to the Hero Kids core rules, my nemesis Robert McGovern pointed out that many of the game terms covered in the Glossary weren't well covered in the main text.  Instead of trying to cram those explanations into the main text, I've added a whole new Advanced Combat section to the game.  Below you can find the text of that section, for comment and discussion before I update the rules again.

Once you and your players have conquered a few encounters, you’ll likely be ready to explore the characters’ special actions and the further scope of Hero Kids’ combat system.  The depth of the system is encompassed in the unique actions and abilities of the heroes and monsters that allow them to interact with each other and the world around them, shaping combat and creating advantageous situations.

Additional Attack Effects

Some attacks have additional effects that trigger regardless of the success of the attack, indicated with ‘also’ in the attack description.  In this example, the swashbuckler’s attack moves the target back and the character moves into their square:
Melee attack at an adjacent target using 1 fewer dice; the target is also pushed back and you move into its square.

Alternate Attack Effects

While additional attack effects happen in addition to damage (remember, all attacks deal 1 damage), some attacks effects instead of dealing damage.  For example, the mancer can attack with 1 extra die, but the target is moved without taking damage:
Magic attack at a target up to 4 squares away with 1 extra die; if the attack his it deals no damage but you can push or pull the target up to 4 squares.

Attacking Engaged Targets

To encourage players to coordinate their characters’ actions, many characters gain benefits their targets are engaged. Engaged targets have an enemy adjacent to them, or have been the target of any attack since the attackers last turn.  Some characters have special attacks only usable against engaged targets while others, such as warriors, automatically gain benefits through their Teamwork bonus ability:
When a target is engaged, your attacks against that target gain 1 extra die.

Combining Effects

Combining multiple attack effects is a great way to maximize the effectiveness of characters, especially in the face of difficult enemies.  This involves finding synergies in actions and bonuses.
For example, a warrior with two adjacent enemies could split their melee dice to attack both:
Split your melee dice to make melee attacks at multiple adjacent targets.
However, if both of those targets are engaged, then each of those attacks gains 1 extra die:
When a target is engaged, your attacks against that target gain 1 extra die.
As you can see, combining these actions and abilities effectively doubles the attack strength of the warrior.

Improvising Actions

Players often come up with unexpected ways of dealing with enemies and obstacles, whether it’s swinging through the rigging of a ghostly pirate ship, distracting an enemy with a well thrown chicken drumstick, or fashioning a tripwire with a length of rope.  This creative improvisation by players should be encouraged and rewarded.

Knocked Down, Prone, Get Up

When characters are knocked out (KO’d) or get knocked down, they become prone, which means they are lying down on the ground.  When characters are prone, they cannot perform their normal actions, and melee attacks against them gain 1 extra die.  To stand up, prone characters need to get up, which costs 2 squares of their movement.

Line of Sight and Cover

Ranged attacks require line of sight to the target, which means that there cannot be any solid walls between the attacker and the target.  However, targets can gain cover from objects or obstacles that partially block line of sight.  For example, low crates or walls can provide cover without totally blocking line of sight.  When a target has cover from their attacker, that target gains 1 extra armor die.

Moving Around

Moving around during combat is relatively straightforward, but there are a few areas for clarification.  Characters:
•  can normally move 4 squares
•  can move diagonally
•  may be able to move farther or less far
•  can move through their allies
•  cannot move through enemies
•  must end their movement in an empty square
•  cannot move diagonally around corners
•  require extra movement squares to pass obstacles

Ongoing Effects and Conditions

In addition to simply damaging or moving their targets, many characters (especially those capable of magic) can alter the battlefield, or hamper their enemies.  The warlock’s Freezing Strike bonus ability locks enemies in place:
When you roll a 6 on an attack die, your target cannot move during their next turn.
While the stonemaster’s Wall of Stone action allows him to raise stone walls that block enemies or provide cover to the stonemaster and his allies:
Create an obstacle or impassable wall for each die in your magic pool on empty squares up to 4 squares away.

Pushing and Pulling

Some attacks have alternate or additional effects that allow the attacker to move the target by pushing them further away or pulling them closer.  When pushing or pulling, the target must move in a straight line, cannot move through characters, can move through obstacles if they can pay the extra movement costs, and must end up in an unoccupied space:
Ranged attack at a target up to 6 squares away (but not adjacent); if the attack hits the target takes no damage but is pulled to an empty square closer to you.

Splitting Attacks

Some characters can split their attack dice, which lets them attack multiple targets with one action, such as warriors with their Whirlwind Attack:
Split your melee dice to make melee attacks at multiple adjacent targets.
Warriors normally have 2 dice for their melee attacks, allowing them to attack one target with 2 dice, or to use their Whirlwind Attack to strike two targets with 1 die each.  However, if a warrior gained 1 extra melee die, such as through a piece of equipment or an item, then they could attack up to three adjacent enemies (or even direct 2 dice against one target and 1 die against another).

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