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any systems that reward/encourage unpredictability in combat?

Antendren

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Would you count fortune-in-the-middle systems, where the options available to you in each round of combat are randomly determined? (I've never found my ideal implementation of this idea, but I keep looking.)
 

CarpeGuitarrem

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Burning Wheel has you write down your 3 Combat manoeuvres for each round, and then everyone reveals, and results are matched up, with a Rock/Paper/Scissors-style effect.
If you consistently use the same moves in the same order, your foe will likely notice, and easily counter your moves.

"Aha! My foe always uses Attack, Parry, Attack! I shall prepare Parry, Feint, Counter-Attack!"
And the combat system is loaded to the gills with potential actions, too. I've barely even explored it, but there's a huge pile of options that you have at your disposal to shift the odds and pull out unexpected moves. Grapples, shoving, I think there's even a disarm action you can attempt.
 

videopete

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Torg Eternity has the drama deck made up of 3 sub decks Drama, Destiny and Cosm Cards. They make each encounter interesting. The Drama deck has approved actions, initiative and field efffectd and if a dramatic skill resolution what steps are available. The Destiny Cards are played by the players and most of the time have possitive effects of boosts and a few plot effects. Cosm Cards do genre and themed things.
 

Fishmonger

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Not a bonus, but I think the previous version of Over the Edge penalized you for making the same attack over and over. Largely because Robin Laws had heard "I hit it with my sword" too many times over the years.
 

Aegypto

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Not a bonus, but I think the previous version of Over the Edge penalized you for making the same attack over and over. Largely because Robin Laws had heard "I hit it with my sword" too many times over the years.
Though if I recall correctly, it penalized you for repeating the same description - like the aforementioned "I hit it with my sword". In terms of mechanical effect, it doesn't really matter if you are punching your foe in the nose, feinting and kicking him in the groin or slamming his head on a drawer since you would be still rolling whatever trait you use for combat.
 

darnest

PureImaginationNoLimits..
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Genesys would let you add blue dice to the blue for doing this or remove black dice depending on the move. So you could tell the GM I am gonna throw over a table to hurt the attackers chance. You could also award dice to other players as you do stuff like that.
Granted you might have to tweak how often in combat you can do it, as the dice awards are usually related to your last roll.
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
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I remember reading a game back in the day, possibly a parody game, that had this great idea of having a dice pool, but also a d20 that you can add if you one-up what the last person did, or something like that. I imagine you could do something similar with "do something no one has done yet".
 

Maxen M

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I also like the idea of giving out randomised stunt bonuses on people's actions; miss a roll, check the last digit of that roll on a table, if you can react in a way appropriate to set up the action on that card, you get a bonus to that action next turn.
 

chromeharlequin

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Thanks everybody, there's some interesting suggestions in there. I've had next-to-no exposure to TORG, so I'm trying to get my head around what you're describing, but its sounds very interesting. Approved actions are actions you can take that would get some kind of bonus because of the way the scene is set up? I'm assuming they're not the only actions you can take.

I shouldn't really be surprised that the sort of thing I was thinking about could be found in in martial arts focused games such as Legends of Wulin.

Would you count fortune-in-the-middle systems, where the options available to you in each round of combat are randomly determined? (I've never found my ideal implementation of this idea, but I keep looking.)
I'm not sure I've come across something like this - could you give an example?
I'm wondering if there's a difference between "I'm changing what I'm doing because what is optimal has changed, due to circumstance" and "I'm an incredibly unpredictable fighter, and that is hard for you."
 

Antendren

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I'm not sure I've come across something like this - could you give an example?
To use a couple of d20 examples, there's the D&D3.5's Crusader class and the 13th Age Chaos Mage.

The Crusader has special combat maneuvers. You start combat with 2 to chose from, and every round you draw another from your stock. Once you use one, you discard it. Then when your stock is empty, you shuffle the discards back into the stock.

The Chaos Mage has its spells divided into 3 categories: offensive, defensive and iconic. When you roll initiative, and again at the end of every turn, you randomly determine which of those three categories you'll have access to next turn; you can only cast a spell from that category.

Or a hypothetical kung fu game might have three different colors of chi, say red, blue and yellow. Maybe you have a list of techniques that each cost certain amounts of chi, or maybe you just have general ways of spending chi to support your actions, but each color would have inclinations towards certain kinds of actions. For example, directly attacking abilities might tend to cost mostly red chi. Then every round you would regenerate 4 points of chi, but they would be of random color. So you would be forced to vary your tactics as your available resources randomly shifted each round.

I shouldn't really be surprised that the sort of thing I was thinking about could be found in in martial arts focused games such as Legends of Wulin.
Legends of the Wulin also does a form of fortune-in-the-middle. You have a single pool representing general puissance, which you roll at the start of your turn. Matched sets give you your actions and determine how effective they are, and then you decide what those actions will be.

If you wanted to enforce varying behavior, you might implement something like restricting what sort of actions different sized sets can be. Something like "sets of size 2 must be indirect attacks, employing the environment; sets of size 3 must be direct attacks; sets of size 4 must be moves to hamper your opponent or outmaneuver them". Or if you wanted to take a gentler hand, you might just give bonuses when using certain kinds of sets with certain kinds of actions.
 
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