Alright, started testing out a new conflict system for Cavaliers of Mars last night.
I want conflict in Cavaliers to be a swashbuckling game of rapid back and forth exchanges, as well as a process of making choices about how much to commit to attack or defense.
To that end, the system I’m testing is based on a bidding mechanic.
At the start of a round, everybody rolls their combat dice. (In my mock-duels, I’ve been giving everyone 4 d6s.) These “hands” of dice are concealed.
On your turn, you can bid a die and narrate your attack. The target can bid a die of equal or greater value and narrate a parry or a dodge or the like. In turn, you can narrate an attempt to get past that defense, again bidding a die of equal or greater value. And so on.
If you, as attacker, bid the last die, you deal your damage.
You can also bid your dice for other actions. An attempt to disengage and retreat, for example, might use a dice bid, as might an attempt to force your opponent to move. Extra dice to your initial roll can be gained by picking up “terrain dice” from around the map; manipulating a standing brazier might be worth 1 die, where knocking around the throne of the Princess Invincible might be worth 2 or 3.
In the final system, someone who loses the bidding process might have options other than taking “damage”… for example, it might be possible to give ground, or accept a condition which hampers you.