Thursday, April 23, 2015

my Universal Conflict System: foundation of my open narrative combat system

System Summary

A combat system that has 3 scales: Individuals, groups, and whole organizations and works follows 3 particular elements that is universal. This rule of 3 helps in limit the mental overhead of using the system, and allows the user to scale upward or downward, or from vaguer or more specific. 

Future works will expound and add more and more detail and variables that will create immersions and better simulate conflict and challenges, meanwhile the system will priority its basic structure which depends on three Elements:
  • Element 1: Pacing and Metre
  • Element 2: Course of Action
  • Element 3: Reactions and Consequences

Pacing and Metre

This is the first element of the Combat System and everything flows from it. There are three (3), stages or steps:
  • Stage 1: Set-up and Buy-in
  • Stage 2: Initial Conflict and Managing Tension/Suspense.
  • Stage 3: Conflict Climax and closure or wrap up.

Pacing and Metre follows almost everything. The GM has to be conscious of it as well as have it become second nature. 

Course of Action

There are three elements in a course of action. These are: Strategy, Action, and Objective. These follow from the broadest and vaguest direction, towards greater specificity.

Course of Action: Strategy > Action > Objective


Strategies - These are about economies of attention and resources. This is also where the player allocates his resources or predisposes his intentions and motivations. In individual combat this is Stance, in group combat this is formation, and in organization its Disposition. There are a variety of Stances, Formations, and Dispositions that make the individuals, groups or organizations better at a course of action compared to others.
Strategy and Anticipations - Strategy allows the Actor (regardless of the scale: individual, group, or organization) to react because it has Anticipated a range of possible courses of actions. Its easier to Defend when in a Defensive Strategy, as compared to an Aggressive strategy.

The GM may and will often Withhold this information depending on the circumstance. Sometimes the apparent strategy is not easily observed. This is true for NPCs with PCs, being unable to know their strategies. The GM may mislead regarding this, as some Strategies are designed to be such. 

Actions - From the generalities of Intent and attention, we go to something more specific: Action, Techniques (for an individual), Tactics (for individuals or small groups), Maneuvers (for Groups), or Projects (for Organizations). These are the actions and methods employed.

Some actions are complimented by the Strategies initially declared or altered. One can be in a Defensive strategy while Attack, but the attack is not as effective as an Attack from an Aggressive strategy.

Actions are the only thing the Characters can be fairly certain in what they are perceiving. Then again without Strategy and Objective, many subtle nuances may be lost. 

Objectives – this is what the action seeks to result or accomplish. An attack becomes more specific and nuanced in meaning when used to off-balance, injure, disable, or kill. 

Specificity – When a Course of Action becomes more specific or detailed it takes advantage of such details afforded by the situation. When a warrior masters a particular technique, when he uses that particular technique he has better odds. It is true in both defense and anticipation, when a reactor plans to react to something more specific then they are better in dealing with that specific threat.

Note that the GM may withhold this piece of information when describing the Course of Actions of NPCs and other Groups. Information Asymmetry applies here. 

Use Course of Action as a tool to complete the Idea. 

Reactions and Consequences

Reactions depend on the declared Strategy or Stance or Disposition. Strategy determines how resources and attention are allocated and it is a finite resource. 

Confusion. As such, when an blind area is struck or attacked there is little one can do. When ever this happens confusion is the result – depending on the scale (Individual, group, or organization) the time confusion takes hold changes. When confusion happens, the Actor (individual, group or organization) can make another course of action against the confused opponent but cannot deviate from their initial strategy. This is the default rule when there is an opportunity presented by successfully confusing an opponent. 

Reactions depend on specifics declared (to the GM or secretly in a card or note), when such specifics are allowed. When these specifics are wrong, the degree of failure matters.

Consequences can be the Objectives met out by the course of action, it can be causalities, or conditions suffered.

The GM resolves a Course of Action with the Pacing Metre. As the GM gets better, he can make the narrative more gripping and satisfying (hypothetically).


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