Combat Mechanics

I made some more steady progress this last week on Solium Infernum. My wife has been out of town attending a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark so my “duties” list expanded significantly. I grudgingly rose to the occasion and kept the house from burning down while she was away. It’s not very clean though. But I’m going to try and explain that life is full of trade offs.

This week’s work was piggy backing on last weeks work which had to do with presenting the results of single combats that resolved Vendettas. At the beginning of each turn your default view is your “Ministerium” tab which is set to show you the turn log. The turn log is a list of messages that chronicles the results of the last processed turn. Most are just text informational. Some have buttons that let you make choices to respond to some type of situation. For example if you requested that your minions bring tribute to you then there will be a button that lets you select so many items of tribute from some set of offerings. The tribute is usually resource cards.

One of the buttons can be a “view results” icon… shaped like an eye. This lets you get more detail on an event like a single combat. This week I worked on presenting the results of legion combats… either legion vs. legion or legion vs. the garrison of a Place of Power. So what is the combat system like? Here is a brief overview:

When a legion enters the hex of a valid enemy target, either another enemy Legion or Place of Power, then a combat ensues. It’s important to note that in order to even move into an enemy hex you either have to have a Vendetta or Blood Feud diplomatic status with the owner of the hex (which are called Infernal Cantons in the game). Each Legion or Place of Power has 5 key stats for combat: Level, Ranged strength, Melee strength, Infernal Power strength and finally Hit Points. These stats are all public knowledge and can easily be ascertained by rolling your mouse over the icon on the map.

Here is the flow of combat:

First the Battle Field Advantage (BFA) is determined. Each side rolls a die six (d6) and adds the level of its combatant. The winner gets advantage and a small random bonus is applied to one of the combatant’s non-zero combat stats. For example, your legion which has Ranged: 0, Melee: 6, Infernal: 0 wins the BFA and gets + 2 to it’s melee stat which is now 8.

Next all attached combat cards are resolved. These are cards that you can create and attach to your Legions and Places of Power before the battle as one of your turn actions. How effective these are is determined by your “Wrath” power. These cards can increase your stats, decrease your opponent’s stats, or even change the flow of the battle (as you will see below). These cards are not public knowledge unless you have some special ritual or game condition active that lets you see them so generally you will not know what is attached to your opponent’s legion but you can see how many cards are attached (they can be dummy cards as well with no effect).

So let’s say you have a card that gives you +3 to melee. Now your melee is +11.

Support is now determined. If you have friendly Legions (but not Places of Power) in an adjacent hex then they can lend support to the battle. The Ranged, Melee and Infernal stats of all adjacent units that can lend support is added up (without any combat cards that are attached being counted) and then divided by two. These bonuses are then added to the combatant’s stats. So let’s say your stats are now Ranged 2, Melee 13, Infernal 2 because of the contributions of a supporting legion.

Next the number of rounds of battle is determined. This depends on the special abilities of the combatants to some extant but the base calculation is a random number between 2 and 4 (1 + random(3)).

A round of battle is conducted by comparing the combatant’s battle stats in the following order Ranged, Melee and finally Infernal. Some legion special abilities can switch these around. If two special abilities conflict then each legion rolls a d6 and adds its level. The highest roll has its special ability take precedence. The combatant with the higher stat applies the difference between the two stats as damage against his opponent’s Hit Points. So let’s say your opponent has the following legion stats Ranged: 4, Melee: 6, Infernal: 6. The first round of combat is conducted:

Battle Table

So you have brought your enemy to 0 Hit Points and destroyed his legion. It was a close fought battle. One thing that wasn’t in play but might be is the special abilities the combatants can have. If your enemy had had a special ability that resisted “Melee Damage” then the outcome might have been different. Some special abilities can modify combat attributes (positively or negatively) as the combat proceeds. Others can regenerate hit points, amplify damage, or even reflect damage. Special abilities can really interact in fun ways to radically alter the outcomes.

After the battle your combat cards are discarded. You will need to use your turn action slots to create and attach more if you so desire. If you win the combat you gain prestige. How much is determined by a bunch of different factors among which are your “Wrath” power level, the level of your opponent’s combatant, Avatar perks chosen and special abilities of the combatant. Your victorious legion (but not Place of Power) might also have the opportunity to “Level Up” in which case it gets to choose from a menu offering enhanced stat bonuses or new special abilities.

That’s a down and dirty overview of the combat procedure. My design goal was to incorporate both known and hidden information into a system that let you try and get a feel for how combats might resolve but had enough uncertainty to make them interesting and dramatic. There is also an extra strategy element involved in equipping your legions with power up items and combat cards so that the combats resolve in your favor… you can augment strengths or ameliorate weaknesses.

Here is a sneak peek at one of the many legions that you can hire in the game:

The Fallen

The Fallen
The men of the Fallen walked between the pillars outside the marble temple. They were tall, they were 5,000 in number, and they bore the faces of human men. To an outsider, this band would look like a patchwork of righteous warriors that spun the length of a millennia, for in their hands were the byproducts of metal refined to its different functions: gladii, claymores, a few harquebuses, and pikes. But within Hell, the normalcy of their faces created a falseness with which no observer could feel at ease. It was as if they had something to hide.

–From “Accounts from the Invasion” by Anonymous

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