Stunned and Downed: Do they need a rework?

So from what i can tell from my research, all stunned does is randomize movement for a set time.

And downed doesnt have a penalty for attacking or grab attempts from what I have seen. The recovery time is also FAR to fast for what it is meant to simulate. 100 turns to stand up? That is literally faster than you can swing most weapons in the game.

I have lost several characters to an enemy, who on the same turn of being stunned, and knocked down, stood up, swung back at me, and probably cooked himself a nice meal with the time he had to spare.

So i want to hear from other folks out here, rouge liking and save scumming, what do you think? and how would you change it?

I have some ideas, I am brand new to programming minus some god awful home brew mods i made for Fallout New Vegas, but im down to try.

100 turns = 1 second, a reasonable time frame to get up. And effectively attacking an enemy involves more than just flailing your weapon back and forth as fast as possible, so attack times for weapons aren’t just about how fast you can swing them.

So, two issues with that.

Are you considering the fact that most zombies in the game are not particularly coordinated? One second to stand up, for a person, who is simply laying on the ground, uncontested, yes. One second for a creature who’s ability to walk is hampered, who was knocked down, and has someone trying to keep them on the ground, no. A Bio Operator, or a zombie wrestler? Sure, it’s implied they were skilled in such things, and retained it. Fat zombie or any form of Hulk? No.

And I’m confused by the flailing comment in reference to attack speed. Axes, swords, spears, and especially knives are roughly as quick as punches irl. If they weren’t, it would be too easy to evade or counter their attacks in formation or in duels. If you think a person who was knocked down by the force of a blow can reliable stand up before their opponent strikes them again, with good form, I recommend you watch the UFC

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Going from knocked onto your back to on your feet in one second would be impressive enough for an athletically inclined person in shorts and a t-shirt. I’d struggle to see that as a reasonable norm for an average survivor with their normal level of armor encumbrance and weight. Some rework is probably reasonable, to bring those factors into play. Could also bring some martial arts addons into it, a lot of martial arts have some focus on learning how to take a fall well (Judo comes to mind) and could definitely have some influence. But the lack of penalty on grabs and attacks doesn’t actually sound the worse to me. If an entity gets close enough to hit you, you can do the same, and grappling a leg is still effective.

So my dream state would be to see getting up being slowed down by equipment weight and encumbrance, and sped up by dexterity, with the baseline value coming from “average person going from laying on back to standing up”, which is probably 3-4 seconds? Would be really harsh in melee combat to lose that many rounds, but getting knocked down in a fight really is that bad. A lightly encumbered person with high dex should be able to half that, easily.

Anything that adds detail and consequences to Melee is good in my books. Can’t speak much to stunned, I can’t think of the last time I was stunned in the game, so don’t remember how it behaves.

Speaking of Judo, I was thinking of adding a couple of attacks for downed opponents. Like an arm bar, or neck crank, and some ground strikes, like stomps or punches from Mount.

Also, pinning would be cool, I could probably just take the crushed effect and tweak it, maybe do a cool visual where your sprite gets turned 90 degrees, and the model that’s on top gets super imposed over the one on the ground

Groundfighting techniques too. In judo, just because you’re on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t fight defensively or offensively, even if your opponent is standing. In fact, that was when I had the strongest advantage.

100 moves = 1 turns = 1 second (iff your speed is 100).

I would suggest that Stunned should be a chance to have your movement deflected up to 90 degrees off the intended direction, and the higher your perception the higher chance of staying roughly on course. The entirely random movement is over the top, but at maximum mitigation it should be a pretty equal split between the direction you chose and the two adjacent diagonal directions (like if you chose SE, S and E have equal chances)

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Thats definitely a better idea, maybe add a chance to fall and be downed as well.

It should also definitely decrease strength and perception. Of any creature affected.
I’m getting real tired of getting hit by hulks and juggernauts I have stunned, and knocked down

naw as a general rule in most fight in real life, they’re usually over the minute somebody hits the ground. you do not want to get downed in a fight.

Yea, that’s what I’m complaining about.

I getting tired of taking too much damage from a downed opponent, so I want to make the downed penalty more meaningful

Amusingly enough, this is what zombies do all the time.

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I think status should be emphasized in melee combat more in general. Guns being primarily HP damage-based makes sense because the disabling nature of a firearm (pain, shock, fatal internal injuries generally concentrated on center of mass) mostly don’t apply to an unfeeling zombie, but melee combat is a very different matter. A vast amount of formal melee combat technique is about physically incapacitating your opponent before killing them, or killing them instantly. There are many reasons for this. Trying to just fatally stab someone in a sword fight right off the bat is liable to cause a double-fatality, and thus the highest priority targets are actually often the arms or legs. The arms are so important because they are the closest target and also the opponent’s means to harm you, especially with swordplay involving less reach. The legs are actually equally important, just less commonly targeted with shorter weapons because they tend to be the most well-protected and distant (the opponent’s arms are keeping you away) unless you have a weapon with reach, in which case they also become highly viable targets (spearplay/quarterstaff typically involves alternating between attacking the body or the legs, even a missed low attack can easily be turned into a trip attempt). This even shows in grappling techniques, where trips, armbars, and leglocks are vital.

This is so important for melee combat in particular because it’s dangerous, it’s tiring, it’s actively strenuous, and you’re liable to be surrounded if in asymmetrical situations you can’t stop threats in the quickest time possible. This is a quality of melee combat that I suspect would be emphasized even more strictly in a zombie apocalypse situation, where every extra moment you’re wasting precious nutrition, hydration, time, energy, and potentially being encroached on by an impossible wave of foes. A person with no combat training at all and a baseball bat would, if they manage to survive long enough, realize before long at all that it’s not worth their time to painstakingly trade blows with every zombie until it dies, but break one of it’s knees and walk away to continue actually productive business. Or at least break one of its knees and then swing down on its head (assuming that’s still a lethal point on them) after it and any other possible threats have been addressed. This becomes yet more exaggerated when unarmed, where striking becomes -vastly- less efficient. A karate master is not going to karate chop a zombie to death, they like almost any lethal art have tripping and crippling techniques and will probably seek to deploy them with specificity to either render the zombie nonthreatening or create the time to escape it (and/or its comrades). Techniques are used to deal with or create a particular situation, and thus a specific type of foe would generally call for a particular technique (which one depends on the school of thought), and zombie-fighting would theoretically, automatically trend in the direction of crippling or killing methods with as little investment as possible.

For this reason I think melee status effects should be buffed across the board. One of the primary utilities of a given melee weapon or style should be to put a permanent or semi-permanent movement debuff on zombies so they can’t chase you anymore, or to substantially push back/delay them long enough so that you can reliably disengage, or to as a sufficiently skilled user against a sufficiently weak zombie just kill them immediately, or to put a specific enemy in a vulnerable state and then finish them, etc. The enemies aren’t combat practitioners, they’re slow, stupid, unarmed patsies that will fall for the same gimmick over and over again while trying to win on attrition, persistence, and opportunity, and thus should be treated as such. If you set a novice with a bat against one they’d be able to knock it over and wail on it until it dies without resistance, the difference between them and a competent user is how much time, energy, and weapon durability they waste doing so and if they bother killing the zombie at all. Melee techniques should be all about efficiently serving a specific tactical or strategic function with self-preservation as the goal.

A lot of the arts do this kind of concept to a certain level, but it should be less random and pushed much harder. The current implementation is too lukewarm, 1 turn status effects on crits are simply not something you can factor into your strategy any more than “will this let me trade DPS better than the alternative”, a very videogamey mindset. For a single-target status to matter intuitively in a 1vmany game, it needs to be a reliable and long-lasting status that actually matters. Progressing melee in a “fast to incapacitate, slow to finish off” direction will be a good thing from several design angles. It’d please the realism crowd because your character wouldn’t simply call upon the power of movie tropes to get a stat boost in unrealistic combat and instead have specific gameplans to choose from when engaging with a zombie. It’d please the roguelike crowd because it’d add more tactical selection and thus depth to melee combat. It’d add a utility distinction to melee that ranged doesn’t have so they aren’t just fighting over the “killing zombies but better” spot. It’d also add a playstyle distinction between the different melee styles, meaning your strategies could be influenced depending on which you choose to start with or find in the world. Moving away from raw stats and more into tactical functions would also make melee have scaling that isn’t just “it now takes this many/strong zombies for me to take damage in combat”.

As for when I also emphasize immediate kills, I’m not saying “it’s a style that should do lots of damage”. Rather, I’m talking about harder, vital strikes. For a general idea of what I mean, you can watch some of those sword vs ballistic dummy videos on youtube, and compare the efficiency of torso strikes vs head or neck strikes. A dedicated cutting weapon will lop right through the skull or neck, but it’ll struggle severely to cut past the shoulder or ribcage. Against fragile humans this isn’t necessarily a bad attack, but against mindless zombies that don’t care about pain or bleeding center mass attacks are BAAAAAD unless you’re directly hitting the spine from the back or something. Therefore when I say immediate kills I mean the equivalent to the style prioritizing a more difficult decapitation/skull splitter/throat pierce over general laceration/stab attacks, IE strongly penalized accuracy/high skill requirement for highroll damage (would be a strong use case for Deft) or a finishing attack against something that’s been temporarily disabled (Silat but more reliable and gameplay-defining) or something that takes a lot of setup (IE 2 turn pause to line up the strike). These are all things that can simulated through existing systems and effects, it’s just a matter of scaling up the effects/bonuses etc relative to basic melee damage so that they influence gameplay more, as well as having a coherent set of techniques toward a particular end.


Here are some practical examples of what I’m describing (numbers are placeholders):
-Leg Hunting- Learned automatically at bashing 1, usable with any weapon >10 blunt damage and a little bit of reach.
(bashing 1 non-crit attack) Leg strike: -80% damage, knockdown 3
(bashing 1 non-crit attack, downed enemy) Head strike: stun 1
(bashing 4 crit attack) Leg break: -80% damage, knockdown forever (or as close to it as reasonable to game performance)
(bashing 4 crit attack, enemy down) Skull break: +50% damage, stun 3

The “style” represents a very systematic, intuitive way of killing zombies that a person would naturally understand after some experience doing it. There’s almost no randomness outside misses because a longer reach and a mindless enemy mean you hold initiative and the same method can be repeated reliably. Crits represent the ability and opportunity to make a well-timed targeted strike, IE directly striking the knee or shin as the enemy is fully standing on it in order to break it. Non-crits represent sloppier/poorly timed hits resulting in just a forceful trip, minor fractures, etc or not hitting the skull in the most damaging way. Each of the largest weapon classes could have a basic archetype style with a very simple process behind them, while martial arts would introduce more complex systems (IE basic reach kiting vs sojutsu, with reach kiting being considered the basic system). The overall theme for blunt trauma would be copious amounts of status disable, very safe choice for low skill 1v1 and situational defense, but relatively slower/more tiring and weapon-taxing at actually finishing things off.

Unarmed or short weapons (daggers) would have more randomness, this is because you don’t have a reach advantage you are forced to directly engage the enemy in their attack range meaning a systematic process can’t be reliably performed, and CQC defense is not something a person will learn quickly or intuitively. Short weapons and unarmed is thus where formal arts would really shine over rudimentary brawling, and short weapons themselves would basically just be an accessory to brawling.

-Brawling- Autolearn at melee 1, usable in unarmed or with almost anything that isn’t too long (although is primarily useful for short weapons like knives, rocks, short sticks, etc in the absence of a real art)
(Melee 1, non-crit) Push: -90% unarmed damage, knockback 1 knockdown 1
(Melee 1, non-crit) Strike: Basic attack
(Unarmed 2, non-crit) Push Kick: -20% unarmed damage, knockback 1 knockdown 1
(Melee 2) Miss recovery
(Unarmed 3, non-crit) Trip: -90% unarmed damage, knockdown 2
(Unarmed 3, non-crit downed opponent) Ground Kick: +50% unarmed damage, knockback 1
(Melee 3, non-crit downed opponent) Hard Strike: +50% weapon damage
(Unarmed 4, crit on downed opponent) Head Kick: +100% unarmed damage, stun 2
(Unarmed 4, crit on downed opponent) Leg stomp: -90% unarmed damage, knockdown forever
(Unarmed 4) Arm blocks
(Melee 5, crit) Knockdown: +25% weapon damage, knockdown 2, stun 1
(Melee 5, non-crit stunned opponent) Fatal Strike: +100% weapon damage
(Piercing 6, crit stunned opponent) Finisher: lodsa damage
(other finishers with different qualities for their respective weapon types can go here)
(Unarmed 6) Grab Break
(Melee 8, armed opponent) -90% damage disarm, weighted 3

As you can see, a LOT of moves, especially in the non-crit section. This represents the chaotic conditions of a CQC fight, especially for someone without formal training. Legs become the main disabling tool because they are the best available means to outrange grabs/bites/scratching etc, and also have the best access to the target’s legs as well as them when they’re grounded. There are few passive defensive features because blocking/evasion/maneuvering etc are very difficult skills that formal systems go to great efforts to accomplish, and simply not something you’ll casually pick up with experience. Self-preservation is still a high priority, but it’s achieved through control rather than defense, and as a result the effectiveness of the style at protection declines rapidly when outnumbered. All the street-styles should pursue “defense through offense” as a general theme, because attacking is easy and intuitive while defending is hard and requires in-depth study. Due to the emphasis on CQC leg offense and ground game you will however learn to use your arms defensively, and eventually how to maneuver out of grabs, this makes the style a little more protective than IE Leg Hunting due to the necessity inherent to CQC. Unarmed skill is unavoidable in a realistic portrayal of short-weapon usage. It will kill stuff more safely than no-style but at low skill will take a long time to do it, meaning higher resource cost in exchange for safety, and only if you are skilled enough to achieve frequent crits will the most damaging and aggressive features start to come out to speed up kill time significantly (but still be relatively slow compared to a real weapon).

As for fast killing, high-risk high reward, low defense streetfighting that’s probably the role I’d give to cutting or medium-length piercing weapons. Essentially low-control, low-defense, just some dude trying to be as good as he can at swinging at zombie heads. Very high damage multipliers on successful hits, very high demand on accuracy to get successful hits, great at cleanly dispatching trash if you meet the accuracy requirements but absolutely atrocious against armor/high dodge and sometimes prone to lowrolling, that kind of concept.

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Feel free to make a mod and see how popular it gets. It sounds kind of complicated and skewed to try to make melee the only thing anyone is allowed to do, but someone else might be into that.

Myself, I’m working on a mod that calculates steradians, inelastic, and elastic collision physics in a turn-based way to determine both melee and ranged combat results. It seems pretty balanced in a lot of surprising ways, such as reach attacks turning out to have an increased chance to miss over melee against immediately adjacent opponents (which makes sense, the enemy is further away and thus effectively a smaller target to hit accurately, though not so much worse that reach attacks aren’t still severely overpowered).

I’m not sure how that seemed to be the intention, maybe you misunderstood my explanation? Guns should be by far the fastest and safest way to kill zombies, especially grouped ones, they just cost ammo. My goal was only to point out that there’s no reason for melee to be two runescape characters rolling damage against eachother. If put into pure gameplay terms there are pretty straightforward principles I’m suggesting here:
-commonly effective, easily-understood weapons should be associated with some kind of (but not necessarily the same) rudimentary fighting style with relevant combat techniques so they’re not just statsticks
-most fighting styles should -actively- try to prevent damage from the target in some way, if necessary reduce damage and make melee kills take longer as a whole to ensure this is the case
-a single bottom-tier zombie should be of practically zero threat to an adult that some combat skill or a reasonable melee weapon, you could have easily killed it by walking away throwing rocks, taking damage because you hit it with a bat instead is ridiculous, stronger zombies and bigger groups are of course another matter entirely

And depending on how simple it is to copy and edit existing fighting style code I really might make such a mod. The basic implementation is literally just 3 or 4 fighting styles after all.

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