So, I adore the Fight! rules. For a long time, they seemed complicated and unwieldy, so my brother and I decided to make a couple random characters, and just run a few contextless Fights, just to get a feel for the system—we ended up playing just this little minigame for hours every night for a couple weeks, trying different strategies and builds, having a blast.
Now, we started with just the basic moves, adding more as we felt comfortable, and Lock was one of the last moves we experimented with; and I admit that it immediately changed the tenor of the Fights. I know Lock gets a lot of love from BW players because of its ability to bypass the wound-grind, but we were finding that Lock was maybe a little too good at this. Yes, you have to get in close, and you’re exposed for a turn when locking, but once a lock starts, it just feels like the Fight is -over-. The dice penalties are harsh, the locker has a tremendous advantage in maintaining it, and the combat becomes very one-note for a long while. And, maybe even more than this, Lock as written really strains the credibility of the Fight. I think Fight! is a profoundly realistic-feeling system, while still being a fun mind-game, but Lock doesn’t fit. I just cannot begin to visualize how a combatant could completely immobilize an armed and armored full-grown man with one hand, while standing up. Anyone who has play-wrestled for even a moment should know how crazy this sounds, yet it’s fully possible with the Lock rules.
I admit I’m extremely loathe to mess with BW’s rules, but my experience was that Fight! worked perfectly well without Lock, so nerfing it a smidge doesn’t seem like it will break the game. I submit two sub-rules to append to Lock; please tell me if you think they make Lock worthless, or will adversely affect the game:
If you are holding anything OR either combatant is standing, your lock maxes out at 2D. If either condition fails while in a lock, the lock immediately reverts to 2D.
Taking any action other than Lock while locking decreases the lock by 1D, on the following action.
My hope is that these rules would make lock a little more niche, but still usable, and encourage combinations with throw and tackle, which feels realistic and fun. You can still get a little temporary benefit by grabbing someone, but you lose your grip a little every time you take advantage of it to act.
Love to hear y’all’s thoughts.