Simple System to play a "Beat em up" style game

Inspired by games like Double Dragon and Golden Axe except it’s all Barbarians. Tried for a fun flavorful writing style with a simple 3d6 system where one is a “stunt” die that triggers class specific effects.
Intended to hack through minions, break open crates and find food to restore HP, all those video game tropes but in a simple tabletop form.
Went wacky with this one, open for any comments/critiques :slight_smile:

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Ooh. I will give this a read but kudos for the references to those classic videogames, particularly Golden Axe! :grin:

Can’t wait to see how this develops!

Just some random thoughts from a first glance (as always and usual, feel free to ignore!):

I’m wondering if a more simple spatial system than ye olde 5-foot squares would work well for this. Something I’ve seen used in some video games (Plants vs Zombies comes to mind) that also has a connection to side-scrollers is the concept of lanes:

Lanes basically breaking up the battlefield into a number of discrete lanes which creatures occupy. For a simple example, let’s think about left, right, and center (assuming we’re looking down at it from above). So a creature can either be in the left, right, or center of the battlefield.

For distance, do we need anything more than close (melee), distant (ranged), and far (out of range)?

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That makes total sense - especially like the ability to use your movement to “switch lanes” essentially like you can in some of those older games jumping into the background or foreground basically.
I initially imagined this would take place at a physical table with a battlemat, but some more abstract and open “zone” type setup would probably be best for each “scene”.
I think those basic distances cover everything, determining when an enemy is out of range might need some more definition (let’s be honest a lot of the finer points would need more definition haha).
When I wrote this up I wrote out 10 “scenes” similar to the source inspirations - a scene in the streets, a scene in the sewer, ultimately ending in a big fight on the top of a castle during a dark ritual (of course).
I would imagine playing this at a table you might lay out all the zones in a particular scene and have them move through it from one end to the other (definitely sacrificing the free exploration of a ttrpg for the feel of a side scrolling feel).

Oh and the rules for determining your movement rate is pretty heavily tied to being in person at somebody’s gaming table with a mat haha, would have to flip that from “squares” to movement points or something.

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So, regarding distance, my thought would be that near/far/distant would be relative to the pieces within the somewhat fixed area of the battlefield. Two creatures within one square are close to each other. If they are in neighboring squares, they’re distant. If there is an empty square between them, they’re out of range of each other.

This is all, of course, riffing off the top of my head so it may make no sense at all.

Picking back up in here for the sweet sweet feedback haha. I designed a logo for myself and am making a concerted effort at seeing what ideas and halfbaked games I can bring to completion and post somewhere.
This one was too fun to write up that I can’t NOT do art for it and clean it up.

The Lanes make total sense. Some of the more “sophisticated” beat em ups have a foreground and background element too where you can jump back and forth. I think that would make a lot of sense thematically and allow the Lane mechanic to work as well.
There’s always the trope of a stampede or dudes on motorcycles flying through in one of the Lanes forcing you to shift Lanes as well which could be fun.
Maybe it could just borrow from some other systems and rather than squares and feet, just allow you to move anywhere in your lane or shift lanes on your turn for your “Movement”

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Yeah, every square or lane shift could be a move or you could get more granular by giving different sorts of moves different costs: 1 move to shift lanes, 2 moves to shift squares (or the reverse). If you had a three action system ala Pathfinder 2E, that might set up some interesting turn decisions depending on how abilities and effects work in terms of the squares and lanes.

It’s been a while since I looked at this doc, but apparently there is something about having 2 Actions on your turn. Seems complicated enough for a barbarian.
So you could use both your Actions to 1 - change lanes and then 2 - move anywhere within that lane.
Seems simple enough, eh?

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