One of my design goals in AARPG is to abstract out movement in combat. I’ve flirted with using a system of abstract distance and groupings similar to what Warhammer FRP 3e uses, but even that is more… tactical than I want. I want to completely get rid of the notion of distance.
This leads to a problem of how to make ranged combat distinct from melee combat. It’s not a big problem in the case of magic, where enemies who are vulnerable to magic will likely not be as vulnerable to physical damage and vice versa, but in the case of ranged combat the differences in defense are going to be relatively minor.
My current thought is some kind of system of counterattacking. Whenever you make a melee attack, your opponent gets to make a melee attack back at you. This leads to some interesting consequences.
First, it means melee is very effective against casters and ranged attackers, since they will tend to have a weak melee attack if they have one at all.
Second, it implies that people who fight in melee must have formidable melee defenses. In the case of fighter-types, this would be heavier armor which mitigates damage. In the case of rogue-types, they would have some kind of mobility bonus, reducing their opponent’s chance to hit with a counterattack.
The third consideration is a matter of time and complexity; if every melee attack provokes a counterattack, that’s going to slow things down a bit.