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Combat System: simple alternative

Graham Hart

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As I've said before, I like the combat system in Holdfast; in fact, as a reward for those readers who have wrestled it into submission I think you should actually throw in some additional details for Volume 2. For example, I think the boon system should go up to d30. Holdfast would almost certainly then be the first gamebook to invite the use of d30 dice.


But that's not the point of this post, which is to look in the opposite direction and suggest a very simple alternative for those who find the combat system altogether too fiddly. I don't much like the idea of operating with two parallel combat systems, although I think it has been done before in gamebooks (I vaguely recall that the Tolkien/Middle-earth Quest gamebooks offered both the full rpg system and a simplified system for the books themselves), so what I was wondering was whether, on each occasion when combat is an option, the reader might be offered two or three other options, e.g. Run Away, or Sneak, or Evasion... with a range of outcomes that would not be fixed but determined by dice rolls (e.g. roll 1d6: if you roll 1-5 turn to xxx, if you roll 6 turn to yyy). A successful Evasion would not offer as great a prize as winning in battle, but you might be able to grab some small treasure on your way through.


The idea of a dwarf who never fights but always either runs away or tries to sneak past admittedly goes against the spirit of the book; it would also multiply the section-count (no problem, just use a smaller font), but I see two advantages. You would effectively be creating a book within a book: the full epic might not be available in the simplified approach, but there would be some storylines that a reader could pick up and follow without bothering about combat. The alternative options would also be additional options for anyone using the full system, thus offering even more choice. You could then advertise Volume 2 as providing both a more sophisticated system and a simplified system, and thus keep everyone happy.

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"Holdfast would almost certainly then be the first gamebook to invite the use of d30 dice."




In regards to evasion- it's interesting you would say that, because that option was removed for precisely the reasons you mentioned! It's a good point, though, in terms of how to expand. I will mention it to the Team, thank you!

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