Topic: Interpreting (multiple) attacks and damage: abstract or not?

Hi guys,

in LotFP (similarly to several other retroclones) a text on interpreting hit points and damage is to be found. My attention was grabbed by the following: "The to-hit roll is merely a summary of your attacks that round, determining whether you have successfully inflicted damage. That's all. It does not represent one attempted blow per roll made." (p. 8, Tutorial, Grindhouse ed.)

Yet at the table we tend to ignore this, right? Also the example of play does this: "taking a swing with a sword", "slicing wide with a dagger", "stabbed", "cut somebody in half"... (p. 67-68).

In addition, there is an interpretation of initiative that cuts the 6-second round into 1-second segments, which strengthens the notion that one roll = one swing.

Why the disconnect? Why do we need that text? (And there tends to be a similar disconnect regarding what hit points represent in the rules and what they represent at the table.) Maybe we cannot imagine combat in the abstract?

But this also made me think what would taking those definitional texts seriously in game design and in play mean. Initiative should be revisited perhaps, as should multiple attacks. If only one roll is needed for an abstract representation of the result of a combat round, then all attacks should be resolved with one roll - you just increase the possibility of causing damage. For example, if attacking with one claw causes 1d4, attacking with two claws is at +1 to hit and causes 1d6 damage. Two claws and a bite? +2 to hit and 1d8 damage. And you can distribute the damage across several opponents in reach which you would hit with that to-hit roll. (Perhaps with the added limitation that at least 50% have to be caused to your primary target, and if you would miss him, you cause no damage that round.)

The baseline for determining damage should then also perhaps be not only reliant on the weapon you are wielding. I liked the rule for class-based weapon damage (I think from one of the early Fight On! issues), so Magic-User causes 1d4 with 1H weapons, and the Fighter 1d8. Smaller weapons move the die size one step down, 2H one step up. High Strength could increase the die size, as could Fighter's experience (say, 6th and 12th levels).

Still not sure about the initiative... (and hit points).

What do you guys think? Is that a productive direction?


P.S.: Sorry if a similar topic has already been discussed...

Last edited by Bifi (2017-02-09 12:17:19)