Friday, 1 April 2022

A is for Attack

In tabletop gaming, particularly the RPG variety, the Attack is ubiquitous.

It is an abstraction, typically, of actions that results in a miss or hit. The abstraction of the attack is debated endlessly in gaming circles, never mind that the results are equally debated, on this blog even. 

D&D and WFRP generally agree an Attack and outcome is the result of feints, parries, and injuries. An attack that results in a miss may have been parried or landed on a buckler. A hit might be the result of a lunge following a particular good feint. 

Abstracted into a die roll mechanic.

In my first A-to-Z, eleven! years ago, I discussed Wounds and even now I find bringing life to the abstraction relevant:

The player is encouraged to express what the character experiences or the GM should offer something about how the "goblin's rusty halberd bites into the chain mail of your left leg. The blow dampened by the leather padding beneath, but cutting into flesh. Split chain mail links bite into the skin around the cut. Blood begins soaking your leather."
I have found that most players will not bother with the narrative. Hit or Miss. Though I love it when players do embrace the agency of the narrative. I strive to add flavor to the abstraction of an attack with my NPCs and will inject a narrative to the player's own actions.

How do you tease out the abstraction at the table in your games?

Posted by caffeinated at 11:00 PM in d10


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