Been playing around with the combat of Fae Edge lately, and came up with a similar observation: combat is too long and overdrawn.
The original was: if one person rolls successfully, the loser has to make a Stamina roll or die (for players, they can take a Fettle instead of dying). But if both are successful, the result is a draw and no one gets to hurt each other. It’s the drawing part that drags combat down round after round.
I’m going to suggest using Infinity’s tabletop face off roll mechanic here:
In a combat round, both players roll to see if they hit (by rolling equal to or lower than their chosen Attribute). If both players hit, the higher result gets the hit instead. If it’s a draw, then no one hits.
i.e: Alfan the Sidhe warrior and Nomero the fallen axeman are fighting each other. Alfan is using his twin sidheborn daggers (Speed -1, Lethal 0) while Nomero is using a bloodtick battleaxe (Strength +1, Lethal +2).
Alfan has a Speed of 7, and rolls an 8. Because his daggers gave him a -1 modifier, his roll is 7 instead and hits. Nomero has a Strength of 7 and rolls a 5. Even though his roll is modified to be a 6, he still hits.
Now Alfan’s result was a 7, while Nomero scores a 6. Since Alfan’s roll is higher, he wins the combat round and Nomero has to make a Lethal check against Alfan’s daggers to avoid dying.
Yes, while there’s still a chance to draw here, the probability of that happening is lessened. Hopefully this change will speed up combat and have a more dramatic tension when it happens.