Momentum based combat v1

This is very much a work in progress, but it's something that I am actively working on. It's motivated by the desire to do at least some of the following:

Basic concept

You and your opponent each have a momentum counter. It starts at zero, and cannot go below zero. Each round, you pick an item or strategy to use, which has a corresponding table, with entries from 1 to 10. NPCs have one table to choose from. Then, you and your opponent roll a six sided die, add your respective momentum value, and look it up on the table. The table gives you a short and open-ended prompt for what has happened, and a mechanial effect, usually to increase or decrease momentum counters.

You need to roll 10+ to defeat your opponent, but since you roll a six sided die, you have to first increase your momentum counter to do so. Depending on the context, each roll could represent just a split section of action of probing each other's weaknesses and finding an opportunity to go for the kill.

I don't currently know of any games which take this approach, but I'd be very interested in hearing about any which do.

Right now I'm considering battles with two enemies, although I plan to try and figure out how to handle more.

Simple Version

First I tested out just one option for the player: attack with a sword; and one enemy, a wolf. My experience playtesting this is it feels a lot more like a solo journaling game: typically in those games you draw and interpret random events, but may not have many decisions to make other than creating a story around the prompts.

1 Misjudge+1 to enemy
3Find advantage+1 to self
4Risky advantage+2 to self, +1 to enemy
6Glancing hit+2 to self
7Create opening+1 to self
8Draw blood+3 to self
9Mistake+2 to enemy

1 Off-guard+1 to enemy
2Lunge+1 to self
3Manoever-1 to enemy
4Threaten+1 to self
5Retreat-1 to self, -1 to enemy
6Overwhelm+2 to self
8Grapple or impede-2 to enemy
9Mistake+2 to enemy

A little more complicated

Next I added two more tables. The first is for retreating. Some thoughts about this:

Retreat. Unless you roll a 1 or 2, if you are killed or incapacitated this round, that takes precedence.
1 Get away clean no matter what+1 to enemy
2Get away clean no matter what+1 to self
3Get away-1 to enemy
4Get away, but take a condition or lose something+1 to self
5Get away, but take a condition or lose something-1 to self, -1 to enemy
6Fail-1 to self, -2 to enemy
7Fail -1 to self, -1 to enemy
8Fail-2 to self
9+Fail-3 to self

An entry for using a shield - or maye just fighting defensively - is a lot more straightforward. Unlike attacking with a sword, you are generally decreasing the enemy's momentum rather than increasing yours: making it harder for the enemy to kill you rather than easier for you to kill your enemy. Also, because you are are applying it to the enemy's momentum, if you had an ally, you could in the fiction be shielding your ally with no special rules needed.

1 Off-guard+1 to enemy
2Fall back-1 to enemy
3Dodge-1 to enemy
4Block-1 to enemy
5Bash1 to you, -1 to enemy
6Fall back-2 to self, -1 to enemy
7Deflect -1 to enemy
8Knock off balance-2 to enemy
9Break shieldCannot use this table again
10+Disarm, knock prone, etcEnemy momentum set to 0

Things I might explore next

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Written July 10 2022