A while back I introduced a simple skill-based d20 system, with 12 skills and 24 “disciplines” all connected to 6 attributes. If you have training in a discipline connected to an attribute, you use the primary skill based on that attribute; otherwise you use the secondary skill. On a first pass, primary skills increase at 2 ranks per character level and secondary skills at 1. There are some additional points to scatter through the skills to make for a little diversity (beyond that obtained from discipline selection) and some discussion still to be had about how fast skills accrue and what they start at. The four disciplines are offense, defense, use, and state. The last indicates the amount of damage you can sustain on a given attribute; the use discipline indicates proficiency in applying that attribute to all ordinary tasks, and the first two should be obvious. As a PC accrues damage against an attribute, that damage applies a penalty to that attribute and all those below it on an ordered list.
Under this system “hit points” are handled by the Constitution (State) discipline; if you have trained in this discipline you have your primary constitution skill bonus as your wound level; otherwise your secondary skill. There are various types of attack for each physical attribute; Charisma (Offense) indicates intimidation, and the remaining two mental skills’ offense disciplines are for use with magic.
As ever with this reconfigured D&D system (and the earlier versions I have introduced here), the issue comes with handling magic and combat. Having played a little warhammer 3 now, and also some Double Cross 3, I am really enamoured of the concept of actions (effects in Double Cross 3). They seem to fit very well with this revised version of the d20 system, and I think they can amalgamate unusual combat moves and magic into one system. This post is intended as a brief outline of how.
A skill check is a basic game mechanic to determine if something a PC does is successful. Out of combat or any challenge against another NPC/PC, skill checks are resolved according to the basic skill vs. Difficulty Class (DC) rule. However, in combat a PC’s actions are restricted to the range of available Actions he or she has learnt. An Action is an activity challenged against another PC or NPC, or performed in combat, with an outcome positively affecting the PC or their ally, or negatively affecting a foe. It is characterised by an effect and a cost (which may be 0), with the cost typically measured as damage against an attribute. Every discipline has associated with it a basic action that has 0 cost and can be enacted every round. PCs can typically use one offense or use action in a round. Defense actions are typically passive, and determined by the attacking PC/NPC, but there may be active actions the PC can also use.
Spells are simply Actions based on the offense or use discipline associated with the Intelligence or Wisdom (or maybe Charisma) attribute. They are enacted as actions in the combat round, carry a potential cost (if the caster fails their skill check) and have an effect which may include damage, and various status effects. This makes them no different to physical actions. However, because the cost of physical actions also affects mental attributes, non-magical physical effects will have a slightly lower level or cost for the same effect. But some effects will be rarer with physical (non-spell) actions, and combinations of effects almost impossible.
In my next post I’ll give a few examples of spells from my Compromise and Conceit game, converted into actions for this system.
A final note
I think this is largely irrelevant because actually Warhammer 3 seems ideally suited to Compromise and Conceit. So I may try converting a few of the same spells into Warhammer 3 Action Cards to see how they work.