I vaguely recall that somewhere between 2000 and maybe 2010, I've seen attempts in some system* to implement a mechanic in combat where one physical manoeuvre or style would be stronger against some manoeuvre/styles and weaker against others (but it was a 'soft' effect, not a complete infallible superiority of one over the other). Now I'm trying to find this system because I intend to research the idea for inspiration in a homebrew project I'm contemplating (i.e. I'm considering designing a system from scratch and am currently trying to research various worked examples of system designs which may teach me something I'll need later).
Does anyone happen to know what system that might be?
Features of the system that I vaguely remember:
- Either learned styles (bought during character creation and/or development), or dynamically chosen manoeuvres (once per turn or the like), are grouped into five categories, with each category being stronger against one pair of other categories and weaker against another two. It probably predates the rise of actual Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock in the public memory, but the point is that unlike usual tactical rock-paper-scissors, it had five categories. I do not remember whether the asymmetry was applied to things that could be bought, chosen dynamically, or both.
- The categorisation is primarily aimed at mêlée combat, as the game was fighting-themed, in some ways reminiscent of White Wolf's Street Fighter game.
- The categorisation is sufficiently generic that it is region- and weapon-agnostic, as the system allowed PCs to have whatever styles they came up with (since it was meant to be used in a cinematic, weirder version of our modern world IIRC). Despite this, the game seemed to focus more on the unarmed subset of mêlée combat.
- The justification of the mechanic at least superficially focused on the materialistic properties of various approaches to combat, not elemental or other mysticism. (After reading about the similar categorisation of approaches to combat in real-life boxing and fencing sports, I'd say there is a similarity between the two.) This isn't to say that there weren't mystical aspects in the system, but they weren't required for everyone.
- It existed over a decade age, maybe even longer than that. I think it was one of the earlier 'indie' or small-company games.
* == There's a small chance that I may be conflating more than one system in my memory. If so, I apologise.