May 17, 2012

More Monster Missives

I've been thinking about Monster Hunter lately and the way it handles combat. Moe Tousignant posted this video of the relative sizes of the beasties in the Wii version yesterday, and it commenced my head to system-spinning.
I wanted to revisit fighting large monsters again, but differently than how I did in the giant insect system that I posted before. What makes battles in Monster Hunter so dynamic are the incredibly mobile monsters and the balance players must maintain between keeping out of range while trying to get hits in.

Battleground abstract
For this system facing is important, but physical location less so. The battleground is abstracted into four arcs surrounding a single 'boss' monster. These arcs corresponding to the four sides of the monster front and rear, left and right.Each arc is divided into range bands which are equal to the movement rate of normal human. The closest band is melee range. The bands are abstractions, so, within reason, any number of characters can be located in a single band. When combat begins place a token for each character in the arc and band in relation to the monster. Normal character movement moves a token across the board one range band at a time. When the monster moves or turns each token is moved to match the monster's new facing. Monster can freely turn as part of a move action.

Movement Examples

 Monster Hunter uses an intricate hit-location system for determining how much damage a monster receives, it's way more complex than a system that does more than tactical combat needs, so I'm boiling down the concept. I don't want to go down the path that Palladium did with RIFTS either, with endless tables for how much damage your third radar dish can sustain, but I like a little granularity. When using this system a monster has a separate AC for each arc. This allows for 'Achilles' heel' type monsters that have a specific weak point..
High level Monster Hunter play is all spreadsheets
Attacks are also broken up by arc, with most attacks only being able to target enemies in a single arc. Bite attacks obviously come from the front, tail swipes from the rear. Limbs can attack to the front or sides. Special cases for long-necked beasts like the hydra might be able to bite several arcs.


  1. Hmm. I have my party planning a resistance against giants. Maybe I could use this to allow such low-level characters to fight giants without being slaughtered. Now, there's a thought. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Levi Kornelson blew my mind earlier by suggesting you should rotate the monster token in the middle instead of moving everything else around it. It's freaking obvious but somehow flew over my head as I was originally writing it. Consider doing if that you use this with your giant.