Tuesday 7 June 2022


Relax everyone, I've solved Soulslike Combat in RPGs™

Like all the great rules of our time this was written for my games but works with anything. 

SLOW ACTIONS: Some actions or items are noted as Slow. To use them the character must have declared the action at the end of their previous turn, declaring targets if needed. Declaring a Slow action is not an action in itself. 

Not complicated. Inspired by Into the Breach more than the actual souls games. Works on the idea that you can give some truly horrible abilities to your monsters as long as the players get a chance to respond. 

Put to use below. 

Callous, cruel, awful, and long Feasting far beyond its hunger, only happy in bloated rest 

The unending devourer STR 18, DEX 8, CHA 5, 10hp

Crush (d8 blast) or gorge (2d12, slow, swallow whole on 7+ for d8 ongoing damage until the victim is freed)
Craggy hide (A2)

  • A force of gluttony, greed, and sloth. It exists to ruin the balance of nature
  • Speaks to all living things but loses patience with anything that isn’t worshipping or bringing gifts
  • Cannot rest until its colossal hunger is sated, then sleeps for a year

In the wake of the feasting

  • Towns are left crushed and bare
  • Forests are torn from their roots, all creatures swallowed or scattered 
  • It rests in places dark, wet, and repellent to intruders


Spout hatred
Spread fear
Aggrandise self
Insult enemies
Seek submission
Entice fealty

Cut off escape
Trap them and leave
Target the weak
Break their arms
Flee to advantageous ground
Blunt assault



GM: The dragon rakes its claws at you for d10 damage (Rolls a 2) that's 2 damage.

Player: Phew, I still have HP, so I manage to dodge the worst of it. 

GM: At the end of its turn the dragon rears back and prepares to blast you with its acid breath. (Looks down at notes) Just to warn you, this one is nasty! It's a Slow action so it has to perform it next turn, targeting you. 

Player: Hmm.. how badly injured is the dragon?

GM: You've tired it out a little but it's in pretty good shape.

Let's look at 3 ways it could go from here


Player: Okay I'll run up and stab the thing with the spike of my billhook (rolls a 7).

GM: (subtracts the Dragon's armour of 2 for 5 damage, enough to lose some HP but not wound the creature) The Dragon is forced back, but your spike fails to pierce its glistening scales. Its jaws flash open and you're drenched in a spew of acidic spray (Rolls 2d10 damage, rolling 3 and 9) for 9 damage, and you're covered in corrosive bile that'll keep hurting you till it's washed off. Not looking good. 


Player: Is there anything I can hide behind?

GM: The ruined chapel is probably too far away, the rest is pretty open terrain. I'll give you a DEX Save if you want to try to dive into the ruins in time, otherwise you'll get hit with the acid. 

Player: I'll take it (Rolls a DEX Save, passing).

GM: You sprint and leap behind a fallen column just before the dragon unleashes its acidic breath in your direction. You hear the sizzling of corroding rock around you as you hide. Right, now it's your turn again, what do you do?


Player: How intelligent is this Dragon? It spoke before, right?

GM: Yeah it speaks a little, but it's definitely got an animalistic nature. 

Player: I throw myself down in front of the dragon. "Oh mighty creature, spare me and I'll show you where you might feast until you are truly sated"

GM: What's the idea here?

Player: The locals said this thing was just like raiding for food, right? Seems mostly driven by hunger.

GM: Yeah, good idea, but this thing isn't certain to be open to negotiation at this point. You'll need a CHA Save or it'll just ignore your pleas. 

Player: Okay, I go for it (Rolls a CHA Save, failing)

GM: The dragon doesn't seem impressed. It eyes you hungrily before blasting you with a shower of acid (rolls 2d10 for 4 and 6) 6 damage for now, how does that leave you?


  1. I might be slow (ha!), but I assume once declared the PC is committed to the "slow" action? What if the target is removed before the resolution of the slow action? Is it just wasted ("too slow")?

    Wurm choses gorge on end of turn 1; targets wizard near
    Turn 2, PCs win initiative, Wizard seeing the Wurm looking at him, blinks to a high balconey out of Wurm's reach

    What happens with Wurm's gorge action?

    1. Yeah the intent is the attack fails, they can't switch to another action. I'll edit in an example of play tomorrow.

    2. I also assume there's a D&D-alike assumption that use your whole turn to move would be sufficient to get away from it if targeted?

    3. As always it depends on the situation. In an open field you might need to use your whole turn to move far enough away, or maybe that just isn't an option if the monster is sufficiently huge in reach. Probably a bad idea to fight that fire-breathing dragon out in a field with no cover, right?

      More likely you'll be moving to a place the attacker can't easily get to you, like putting something solid between the two of you.

  2. I'll echo Warren's comment. I'd love to read an example of play using this rule.

  3. I assume that the slow action is wasted, and that's the intent? Making combat a pattern of slow attacks and actual dodges, where PCs are given the time to move out of the way of incoming attacks.

  4. This is essentially a telegraphed maneuver, and it's perfect. I'm literally going to use this for a giant scary monster fight in an upcoming session.


  5. Cool stuff!

    I'm all for telegraphed attacks, they force the players to think in ways other than "I hit it with my stick." What I sometimes do is show that the enemy is about to do something obviously big/dangerous ("Astra's eyes glow eerily, a circle of cackling lightning starts to coalesce around you.") and only reveal the mechanical effects once a PC has suffered the consequences of the attack or they have witnessed someone else paying the price of not paying attention to visual cues.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. This kind of reminds me of City of Mist or other PBtA games wherein the narrator sets up a scene with an action as a soft move. If players choose not to, can't, or don't do something about the described action then it will come to pass. In COM, there is a GM move called 'Hit them after a fair warning'. This could be a soft move or a hard move. Your slow moves are different in that it seems the slower moves are way more powerful than a quicker move that hits more consistently for lesser damage. I could see this same slower/quicker moves happening in a social setting as well though. If a Bastiard was at a cocktail party ran into a rival. That rival could either (quick) throw a snarky comment and deal (D6 Cha damage) or the Conductor could describe that they are starting in on a long diatribe and it's clear that the rival is getting everyone's attention to drop an embarrassment bomb about you (slow) to ruin your reputation with the paper guild (2D12 Cha damage).

  7. That's a really cool take! The system I tinkered together uses telegraphed attacks within the same turn, but does modify the base ItO framework a bit to achieve this: