Lasting Tales Design Diary #3: Combat



Welcome to the third Lasting Tales designer diary! I’m Mark Latham, lead designer on Lasting Tales.


Cut and Thrust

In today’s Design Diary, we’re going to take a look at combat! As in most fantasy skirmish games, combat plays a big part in Lasting Tales, although often the resolution of a fight is less important to the overall effort than resolving objectives. But whether you’re focusing on objectives or not, those adversaries are going to attack you!

Attacks

In Lasting Tales, your models can perform one Move, one Attack, and one Action each time they activate. Attacks must either be Melee (targeting models right next to you) or Ranged (targeting models further away). Any model can perform a Melee Attack, because even if they don’t have a weapon equipped they scan still fight unarmed (albeit at a slight disadvantage). Ranged Attacks, on the other hand, require a ranged weapon, such as a bow or crossbow.

The process of attacking is the same as any other activity in the game – roll two six-sided dice, and add your model’s characteristic (MEL for Melee, or RNG for Ranged). If the number equals or beats 10, you’ve hit!

However, in combat you must also roll an extra die of a different color alongside the Test – this is the Critical Die.


If you successfully hit, and the Critical die scores a 6, you’ve scored a Mighty Blow – now you get to inflict even more damage on the enemy! Conversely, if you fail to hit and the Critical die scores a 1, you’ve Fumbled – the model’s activation ends immediately, even if they had more to do. However, they’re so determined to make up for their failure that they become Focused, gaining a bonus on their next Test in the game!

Once you’ve hit, you then work out how much damage has been inflicted. This is almost always a random number rolled on one or more D3 or D6, depending on the weapon being used. In Melee, you also get to add the attacker’s Strength Bonus to this score. The target then reduces the damage inflicted with a combination of their natural Resistance and Armor. Whatever’s left over is deducted from the target’s Health reserve – when that’s reduced to 0, the target becomes a casualty.



Improving Attacks

Heroes are unlike other models, in that they get to improve their Attacks, representing their skill and experience in battle. To do this, when performing an Attack, a Hero can choose to simultaneously spend their Action for the round (if they haven’t already used it). In Melee, this lets you perform a precision strike, while at Range this lets you aim before shooting. A model with two Melee weapons can use this same method to attack with each weapon in the same round, gaining an extra Dual Wield strike!

Tools for the Job

The most important thing to grasp in Lasting Tales is that your chances in combat, especially in the early stages of a Tale when your Heroes are pretty green around the gills, depend largely on your Hero’s specialisms.

As you’d expect, Fighters and Barbarians are Melee Attack specialists, and their class skills are all about improving their Melee Attacks. Paladins also begin the game with excellent Melee equipment and characteristics, but their skill is more geared towards buffing the party than improving their own combat abilities. Monks, too, are superb fighters, but always fight unarmed. They get to improve their survivability and offensive capabilities by burning through Fate points.

On the other hand, Rangers and Rogues are much better suited to ranged combat, with Rogues being particularly geared towards sneak attacks from hidden positions.

Those classes that might not seem particularly geared for combat – Wizards, Bards, Clerics and Druids – even the odds through their special Actions. Because Actions and Attacks are separate, there’s nothing to stop a Wizard fighting in Melee (with their admittedly quite weak attack), and then immediately blasting the same target with an offensive Spell.



Adversaries

As part of making the AI-controlled Adversaries as simple as possible, their Attacks, damage and various bonuses are all listed out for players. You don’t have Actions to spend for them, or Fate to keep track of – their rules will specify if they have any special attacks, and all the damage they inflict, including bonuses for Strength, are all presented neatly in the Adversary profile.

Adversaries that favor Melee combat will always run headlong towards their target and attack them, while Ranged adversaries usually move only to get into position for a better shot. Early on, individual Adversaries tend not to be too powerful, but if they swamp a lone hero they can gain the Surrounded bonus, making them much more effective. Of course, in the later stages of a Tale, you’ll be facing monsters such as Giants and Demon Lords, which are not to be sniffed at, even by powerful Heroes.

There’s only room here to scratch the surface of Adversaries – luckily we’ll be dealing with them in more detail in a future Design Diary.



Combined Arms Tactics

Thankfully, if one of your models gets surrounded, other Heroes can try to manage the threat by using Actions such as Taunt – by shouting a challenge, insult or battle cry, a Hero can goad nearby enemies to break off from combat and come after them instead. In this way, a heavily armored Paladin can take the heat from a lowly Bard, allowing the Bard to play a rousing song to improve the Paladin’s chances in Melee.


I think players are going to have a lot of fun not only working out which classes complement each other the best, but also how to use their various actions tactically in the heat of battle.

And speaking of tactics, remember I said that combat isn’t always the best way to win a game? Well next time we’ll be looking at non-combat gameplay, including Unexpected Events, Traps, and Special Objectives.


Until then, remember you can sign up to be notified when Lasting Tales launches on Kickstarter on March 30! Also, make sure to sign up for more Lasting Tales updates and previews!


Oh, and check out our ongoing GIVEAWAY on the Blacklist Games Facebook page!