Splintered Core Melee Combat, StrikingPosted by admin
Continuing from the previous post about ranged combat, I’ll be splitting melee combat into two distinct sections: Unarmed (Hand-to-hand) and Melee Weapons (Primitive Weapons).
To recap from the STEN Character System, there are two distinct schools in melee: striking and grappling, both of which attempts to accomplish vastly different goals. But before we begin, I should take some time to explain the reason of expanded melee combat in a modern setting with firearms.
Conventional wisdom would question the effectiveness of melee combat in a setting where firearms are lethal. How do you play a martial artist when a bullet or two could seriously cripple your character? The answer lies in the general economics of the setting.
Good quality firearms are rare, and match ammunitions are even rarer. I’ve made it a point to have make decent military grade firearms extremely rare (the current estimate is about 100 of them of various make scattered in the game world, all owned by important NPCs). This way, players have to rely on sub-par firearms in ranged combat, if they choose to specialize in it. They are equally deadly, but leaves much to be desired in terms of accuracy and reliability. Weapon jams will not be an uncommon thing in combat.
This is not done to open avenues for martial artists to shine. Rather, this design decision was made during the world creation process, where we decided to go for a low-economy post-apocalyptic world where high-tech stuff are extremely precious just because they are rare.
To add to the woes of a ranged character, every gun has a minimum range. If an opponent gets too close, you suffer massive penalties to your accuracy. This is where a melee character can shine: melee characters need to focus on stealth and speed, while ranged characters need to focus on reaction and perception.
Now having said that, let’s rip apart the mechanics of Hand-to-hand Combat.
For those not familiar with martial art jargons, the term striking arts refer to techniques that have you on your feet, at a comfortable distance, using your elbow, forehead, fists, knees, legs, etc to land hits on your opponent. The goal is to cause enough damage through striking impact.
Taking a cue from our unified combat model discussed earlier, we have 5 major categories of actions: Maneuver Modes, Stances, Weapon Positions, Attack Modes, and Attack Stances. The same applies to striking too.
There’s some difference between maneuver modes between ranged and melee mode. In melee, walk always triggers sneak mode. In addition, the engagement option can be turned on for charge. The same key binding of “W” and “Q” applies here too.
Stances are completely different from ranged combat. Here, offensive stance prepares a character to launch attacks (increase in accuracy and speed at the cost of defense and evasion), defensive stance prepares a character to parry or block attacks (increase in defense and evasion at the cost of accuracy and speed), while counter stance prepares a character to launch a counter attack following a successful parry (increase in evasion and speed at the cost of accuracy and defense).
Like ranged combat, the key SHIFT works the same here too, shifting from offensive to defensive to counter.
It should be called preparation vector rather than weapon position, because the effect depends on the stance. If a high position is set on an offensive stance, the character will launch a high attack (kick to the head, uppercut, etc) which has high damage but slow in execution. High position on a defensive stance however, allows the character to focus his guard on his head, increasing his chances of stopping attacks launched towards him in that direction/vector. Finally, high position on a counter stance works the same as a high defense, except that a high attack is thrown right after parrying.
Like ranged combat, CTRL + mouse move cycles through the three stances.
- Clinching Range
- Short Range
- Long Range
Like weapon position, it should be called attack range instead, because this determines what kind of attack (or defense against) the character will throw. Attacks in the clinching range involve headbutts, knees, elbows, etc; attacks in the short range involve punches, low kicks, etc; while attacks in the long range involve roundhouse kicks, side kicks, flying punches, and so on. The shorter the range the faster the execution, higher the accuracy, but lesser damage and knock out capability.
Like ranged combat, the button “A” cycles through the three modes.
Unlike ranged combat, attack mode determines the exact body part used in the striking, defending or counter technique. Body attacks include headbutts, shoulder bashes, and so on. Arms include elbows, fists, palms and backhands, while legs include knees, heel strikes, kicks and front kicks.
Like ranged combat too, the button “S” cycles through the three modes.
So as you can see, the UI remains the same for striking. It’s just the definitions that have changed. In my next post I will talk about Grappling.