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Author Topic: Hook, Toss, Stop Short, etc. (Long and maybe rambling)  (Read 5907 times)
Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« on: June 10, 2003, 08:29:31 AM »

During my first session, one of the players used the Stop Short move, and its mechanics puzzled me a bit. It is a little strange, in that the dice committed by the attacker aren't rolled - only the defender rolls, with a TN modified by the attacker's committed dice (T = 7+dice).
There seems to be no point to the defender defending against this move: it will always cost more to do so than to just ignore it.
The other non-damaging moves also suffer this problem to a degree.

(I'm very curious about how often these moves get used in other peoples games, and are they more effective tan I realise? Or do players give up on them?)

Hook has a balancing factor in that if the attacker commits as many dice as the defender has in his Knockdown rating, and succeeds with every die, the defender is knocked down automatically - but this probably won't happen often.

Toss is the example which provides easiest probability analysis, since attacker and defender TN are both usually 7.
If the attacker commits 10 dice, he will get on average 4 successes.
If the defender commits, say, 5 dice, he cancels 2 of those successes, so effectively loses 7 dice from his pool.
If he commits 10 dice, he cancels them all, but is now 10 dice worse off.
If he commits no dice, he is only 4 dice worse off.

So, as is not unusual for me!, I'm wondering if there's some aspect to the system that I'm missing.  My thoughts:

Defence = attack!
If I was faced with someone using these moves, I would ignore defence, and throw everything I had into an attack.
According to the second paragraph on page 77, when attacked you can declare an attack if you are willing to let your opponent strike first. It correctly describes this as foolhardy, but if all you've got to lose is a few dice, you may as well go for it.

Maybe though the attacker isn't supposed to use these unless he suspects the defender is low in remaining CP. I do notice that these moves are pretty useful in the second exchange, when you want to reduce the CP refresh of the next round. But then again, if your opponent is low in CP, and you have enough dice left to be successful with this move, you are probably better off making a damaging attack. So I'm not convinced.

Initiative?
Maybe though (and this is what I'm hoping), I'm misreading that second paragraph, and you can't simply attack if you're on the defensive - maybe you need to win initiative (or buy initiative) to actually be in a good position to attack.

If this isn't the case, I'm considering a house rule based on Evasive attack: if your opponent has initiative, and you decide to let him hit and attack back, your ATN is increased by the number of successes he gets in his attack. Is this a silly idea?

The Feint Option
Another possibility would be to relax the rules on feints - so that any time an opponent chooses not to defend, you can turn the attack into a feint.
This way the defender must defend if he can - because that tossed sand in the face might be covering a thrust to the face.
But this is only a partial solution, since the defender might just commit 1 dice. Maybe feint is always in option, even if the defender defends...

Increased Effect
Another method could be to increase the effect. For each success the attacker gets, the defender loses 2 or 3 CP.
This make most sense to me: if the attacker is committing, say, 4 dice, he wants to be sure his opponent will lose that many dice as well.

3CP per success looks a bit high, but 2 CP/success might be too low - when using the Toss as described above, you need 2.5 CP per success for it to be worthwhile to for the defender to actively defend - less than that and he is better of ignoring it.


Sorry for the length - hopefully someone's still with me and has opinons to share! :)
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2003, 11:21:11 AM »

Hey Darren-

I'm with you. The first thing I want to bring up (and this is going to cause a stink), is that not every move is really all that useful. Gasp! Some moves really aren't that good, and that's okay. Do they have their place? Yeah, they do--mostly against weaker opponents in the second exchange, as you outlined. Why are they there then?

Because they used to be there, and it's part of the system. Even the old masters had differring opinions on what worked. Moves like the Stop short and Toss are both foolhardy and only used if you have contempt for your opponent's ability--IOW, you could kill him anyway, but you're having fun or you need to really get a sudden advantage for something like a disarm or to break range.

The other thing is that many players (and characters, if the GM is roleplaying the less experienced NPCs properly) will fall for these moves. I use Stop short very frequently against less experienced players, and I let my players use it successfully against less experienced NPCs, against whom it works well.

The idea of "let him attack with one of these maneuvers and then I'll get my "free attack" is actually an excellent strategy, and is usually the correct one in real-life fighting. It takes guts, but it can be done. Remember, however, that the attacker usually still has the option to feint, which increases the risk considerably.

IOW, this is a really tangled and complicated mess, and you'll find that nothing is rock-solid, nor useless, though many maneuvers are nearly useless in many situations.

Quote
Defence = attack!
If I was faced with someone using these moves, I would ignore defence, and throw everything I had into an attack.
According to the second paragraph on page 77, when attacked you can declare an attack if you are willing to let your opponent strike first. It correctly describes this as foolhardy, but if all you've got to lose is a few dice, you may as well go for it.

Maybe though the attacker isn't supposed to use these unless he suspects the defender is low in remaining CP. I do notice that these moves are pretty useful in the second exchange, when you want to reduce the CP refresh of the next round. But then again, if your opponent is low in CP, and you have enough dice left to be successful with this move, you are probably better off making a damaging attack. So I'm not convinced.


I agree with you on both accounts. You're seeing the uncertainty in what at first appears to be solid theory.

Quote
Initiative? Maybe though (and this is what I'm hoping), I'm misreading that second paragraph, and you can't simply attack if you're on the defensive - maybe you need to win initiative (or buy initiative) to actually be in a good position to attack.

If this isn't the case, I'm considering a house rule based on Evasive attack: if your opponent has initiative, and you decide to let him hit and attack back, your ATN is increased by the number of successes he gets in his attack. Is this a silly idea?


You can simply attack, so long as you don't mind attacking second. That means that you lose any CP from your pool inflicted by his attack, and you're at his range. With some attacks that's no big deal. With others it is. I would reccomend against amending this rule for now. See how it plays out, and remember that stuff isn't always very "balanced," and that's okay.

Quote
The Feint Option
Another possibility would be to relax the rules on feints - so that any time an opponent chooses not to defend, you can turn the attack into a feint.
This way the defender must defend if he can - because that tossed sand in the face might be covering a thrust to the face.
But this is only a partial solution, since the defender might just commit 1 dice. Maybe feint is always in option, even if the defender defends...


I actually feel that this is the best way to handle the whole issue, even if the rules don't make that immediately apparent or even feasable. Of course I don't see how the defender's choice makes a difference on whether or not you feint. If he doesn't defend, it's the same as if he had simply declared no dice, meaning that you can switch up to a feint any time...nasty, huh. I like it, and that's how I run it.

Quote
Increased Effect
Another method could be to increase the effect. For each success the attacker gets, the defender loses 2 or 3 CP.
This make most sense to me: if the attacker is committing, say, 4 dice, he wants to be sure his opponent will lose that many dice as well.

3CP per success looks a bit high, but 2 CP/success might be too low - when using the Toss as described above, you need 2.5 CP per success for it to be worthwhile to for the defender to actively defend - less than that and he is better of ignoring it.


This is another option, but unneccessary with the feint rules above. I'd play it out for a while before tweaking here.

Jake[/b]
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Spartan
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2003, 11:49:05 AM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
Toss is the example which provides easiest probability analysis, since attacker and defender TN are both usually 7.
If the attacker commits 10 dice, he will get on average 4 successes.
If the defender commits, say, 5 dice, he cancels 2 of those successes, so effectively loses 7 dice from his pool.
If he commits 10 dice, he cancels them all, but is now 10 dice worse off.
If he commits no dice, he is only 4 dice worse off.


Yup.  sometimes "Beat" works like that too.  It's not always useful.

Quote
Defence = attack!
If I was faced with someone using these moves, I would ignore defence, and throw everything I had into an attack.
According to the second paragraph on page 77, when attacked you can declare an attack if you are willing to let your opponent strike first. It correctly describes this as foolhardy, but if all you've got to lose is a few dice, you may as well go for it.


Yeah, and it's a good strategy, too.  However, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Firstly, maneuvers can be combined as long as all the activation costs are paid... so you could use Cut and Toss simultaneously...  the target has to repsond in a similar fashion to the Double Strike maneuver.  If he's low on dice, then it's a good combo.  If he's got tons... well... ;)  Another thing to consider is what is meant by "The Next Round" in the text.  Say I use a "Bind and Strike" on my opponent, and he picks the "Attack" defence, without buying initiative.  OK... I do my bind and get 4 successes... according to the Sim, these don't come off until the next exchange after the "Attack" defence, which means that I'm toast.  However, if the GM rules that the "next exchange" is the immediately next one for my opponent, then he may lose dice off his incoming attack.  Jake has been relatively silent on this, BTW.  I think he enjoys the discussion.  Personally, I do the latter, making Bind and Toss the equivalent of the Beat maneuver.  Once again, there's that whole combined maneuver strategy... put a whack of dice into you Bind, and also launch a thrust that's strong enough to pose a threat... you force your opponent to either full evade (and he can't, if he attacked in the previous exchange) or split his pool, or say screw it and attack anyway, hoping for the best.

Quote
Maybe though the attacker isn't supposed to use these unless he suspects the defender is low in remaining CP.


Always a good plan.  Especially if you're armoured to the teeth.


Quote
Maybe though (and this is what I'm hoping), I'm misreading that second paragraph, and you can't simply attack if you're on the defensive - maybe you need to win initiative (or buy initiative) to actually be in a good position to attack.


Nope, you can just go for it, if you want to wait your turn. :)

Hope that helps,

-Mark
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Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2003, 11:49:51 AM »

Thanks for another illuminating response. Makes a lot of sense.

Quote from: Jake Norwood

Of course I don't see how the defender's choice makes a difference on whether or not you feint.


What I was getting it, which you do allude to, was that you could declare a 5d Toss, your opponent laughs and doesn't bother defending, so you then say, "I now feint for the head, and throw in an extra 4 dice."
But if he does decide to defend, you then choose not to feint - having caused him to commit dice on a useless defence: you're no worse off and perhaps better off.

I think I'll follow your advice and leave things as they are for the moment (with the feint option - though that does appear to be a house rule as the rules are currently written!!!).
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2003, 11:54:54 AM »

Quote from: That guy who asks a lot of questions when I'm in a good mood and I don't want to do any real work
What I was getting it, which you do allude to, was that you could declare a 5d Toss, your opponent laughs and doesn't bother defending, so you then say, "I now feint for the head, and throw in an extra 4 dice."
But if he does decide to defend, you then choose not to feint - having caused him to commit dice on a useless defence: you're no worse off and perhaps better off.


Ah, yes, I see. You're right. The feint is a really nasty maneuver in that it's declared "after the fact," and so you can decide to do it at the most opportune moment. Real viscious.

Quote
I think I'll follow your advice and leave things as they are for the moment (with the feint option - though that does appear to be a house rule as the rules are currently written!!!).


We'll throw that in TFOB (one of these days...). There's a lot of house rules, and I like some and not others. I support most rules that loosen things up, and the feint needed some relaxation, I think.

Jake
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2003, 11:56:16 AM »

Quote from: Spartan
Firstly, maneuvers can be combined as long as all the activation costs are paid... so you could use Cut and Toss simultaneously...  


I wasn't aware of this. Useful.

Quote
Say I use a "Bind and Strike" on my opponent ...However, if the GM rules that the "next exchange" is the immediately next one for my opponent, then he may lose dice off his incoming attack.  


I'll go with you on that and apply it to the incoming attack.
Thanks.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2003, 07:27:35 PM »

I'll go with you on that and apply it to the incoming attack.
Thanks.

I also do it this way. The way I figure it, no one is at their best when caught off guard, or when a hat or sand is being thrown into their faces, and the effect is generally immediate.
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~Lance Allen
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2003, 07:14:10 AM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
Quote from: Spartan
Firstly, maneuvers can be combined as long as all the activation costs are paid... so you could use Cut and Toss simultaneously...  


I wasn't aware of this. Useful.



Wait... so let me get this right... you can combine manuevers, in any combo?

So, for instance, could I cut and thrust in a single action, combining the maneuvers? I'm a  bit confused now....
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2003, 07:36:00 AM »

If the limits of the weapon/proficiency allow it, sure. Such as a cut with a short sword, and a punch (thrust) with a fist. A single weapon cannot perform two entirely different actions at the same time, of course. If you are using a polearm, you cannot effectively attack and toss sand in an opponents face at the same time (though it could be argued that this could be done with a foot) because both hands are required to effectively use the weapon.

This is a common sense call in most cases, I would say.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2003, 07:49:31 AM »

I see; so what is the mechanic of doing that, then, dividing your dice between the two manuevers? I'm remembering actions in the book that already combined two actions in one, which is why this confused me.
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Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2003, 08:08:10 AM »

Having thought about this a bit, I'm very leery of allowing multiple attacks in a single exchange (except where the style already permits it). I prefer the "punch and strike" manoeuvre to be a "punch" in one exchange and a "strike" in the next, or vice-versa.
Multipe attacks in a phase look like they'll change the dynamics of combat a bit, especially when players (or villains) rack up large CP due to multiple SAs.

I could see allowing some moves to be done this way, but I think my default will be not to allow it.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2003, 09:36:53 AM »

The kind of maneuver combos that I envision are things like Feint + Beat, or double-strike + beat + thrust. Other than that I'm a member of the "divide it into two exchanges" school, much the way that "bind and strike" is handled.

Jake
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