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Author Topic: Use Terrain and Hostages  (Read 8044 times)
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« on: June 11, 2003, 04:30:21 PM »

Had an interesting event crop up tonight.

One of the players chased a villain who was trying to grab his ward (a girl) and run off with her to use as a hostage.
Seeing the pc approaching, the villain decided to declare the girl and the PC as two enemies and make a Use Terrain roll to stop the pc attacking while he grabbed the girl.
As it happened, he fluffed it, but I planned that if the villain succeeded and grabbed the girl, he couldn't continue this tactic: he'd instead try to use the girl as cover.

Does this example seem a legitimate use of the Use Terrain roll? Effectively, it allows a person to suddenly decide that a bystander is in the way, and use him to keep a pc from attacking him. (It will only work so long - the bystanders will run away, or get grabbed as hostages.)
I suppose, since the villain is using a bystander as a distraction, our hero could 'attack' the bystander instead, grabbing him and moving him out of the way.

But I was puzzled about how to deal with what happened if the villain actually grabbed the girl - how to adjudicate cover. As it stands, the hero coud easily aim for a location the girl wasn't covering. What's the best manoeuvre for the villain to 'block' with a captive, or dodge behind it?
A partial evasion doesn't seem powerful enough for the situation. it loloks too easy for a player to bypass the very unpredictable danger of harming the friend.
I know this isn't a problem with the rules - how many systems have rules for defending behind hostages, after all? I am just wondering what the best way to handle this in tROS is?
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Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2003, 05:31:51 PM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
Had an interesting event crop up tonight.

One of the players chased a villain who was trying to grab his ward (a girl) and run off with her to use as a hostage.
Seeing the pc approaching, the villain decided to declare the girl and the PC as two enemies and make a Use Terrain roll to stop the pc attacking while he grabbed the girl.
As it happened, he fluffed it, but I planned that if the villain succeeded and grabbed the girl, he couldn't continue this tactic: he'd instead try to use the girl as cover.


Sounds good to me. In fact I think that is a darn good idea! I'm going to use that sometime...

Quote

Does this example seem a legitimate use of the Use Terrain roll? Effectively, it allows a person to suddenly decide that a bystander is in the way, and use him to keep a pc from attacking him. (It will only work so long - the bystanders will run away, or get grabbed as hostages.)


Pretty much, except one semantic point. The person would choose to put the bystander in the way.

Quote

I suppose, since the villain is using a bystander as a distraction, our hero could 'attack' the bystander instead, grabbing him and moving him out of the way.


But when the hero attacks (grabs & moves) the bystander he will be open to an assault from the villain.

Quote

But I was puzzled about how to deal with what happened if the villain actually grabbed the girl - how to adjudicate cover. As it stands, the hero coud easily aim for a location the girl wasn't covering. What's the best manoeuvre for the villain to 'block' with a captive, or dodge behind it?


This is dangerous ground my friend. In a sword fight everybody is moving, and quickly. If the girl is in the way she is at terrible risk as the two combatants will be circling and advancing and retreating and swinging yard long bits of steel all at the same time. Even if the fight were static the sword will not neccesarily stop upon hitting its intended target. It may continue all the way into the poor girl as well. Whilst in the Army we referred to this phenomenon with firearms as overpenetration. Or he may evade and that leaves the girl to take a full on hit.

Quote

A partial evasion doesn't seem powerful enough for the situation. it loloks too easy for a player to bypass the very unpredictable danger of harming the friend.


I would have to recommend that the parties involved would have to continue using the terrain rules to manoeuver 'round and round until they have settled things.

Quote

I know this isn't a problem with the rules - how many systems have rules for defending behind hostages, after all?


Millennium's End does, but it is a contemporary Techno-Thriller. Darth Tang has adapted parts of it and TRoS to his Fading Suns Campaign.

Quote

I am just wondering what the best way to handle this in tROS is?


I don't know about the best, but your method seems pretty good to me!
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2003, 01:18:37 AM »

Instead of partial evade I'd call it duck and weave, or at least TN 8.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2003, 07:02:33 AM »

I'd use block. :)

As in, the villain pushes the hostage in front of the oncomming swordblow.
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2003, 07:17:01 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
I'd use block. :)

As in, the villain pushes the hostage in front of the oncomming swordblow.


But what's the DTN of a person? It's unforgivable that this item has been left of the weapons & shields tables. Okay, maybe it's not ;)
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Overdrive
Member

Posts: 100


« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2003, 07:29:04 AM »

Related to this:
Should long weapons be harder to use in tight spaces than short? Especially when swung.. but what about thrusting?

Case 1: Arming sword vs long sword
Case 2: Arming sword vs long sword (halfswording)
Case 3: Long sword (swung) vs long sword (thrusting)
Case 4: Arming sword (swung) vs rapier

I guess in every case but #1 the second weapon/tactic has the advantage. Use of terrain is obviously the key.. Perhaps one 'generic' roll not to get stuck, and another for the unwieldy weapon? Takes alot of CP dice, though.

I'd like to see the longsword used to thrust in those tight spaces.. "Have to thrust and take the higher ATN, costs less dice than swinging, doh!"
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2003, 07:31:35 AM »

Hmm.. the DTN of a person.. Are they conscious? If so, I'd have a contest of ST between the the person using and the person used, and use the MoS to increase or decrease the DTN from a base 6, just as a rough method.

If they are unconscious, I would seriously decrease the CP of the user (due to having to hold up the weight of the person) by... oh, say 10-ST, and give them a DTN of 3.

These are entirely off the top of my head, So you might want to play around with them before deciding if they're usable, and the numbers given may need some tweaking too.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2003, 07:42:57 AM »

Heh!

Hey, does TRoS discuss space around you and adequate weapon usage? I mean, using a greatsword in a narrow corridor is ludicrous (unless you half sword or thrust maybe?), but I don't recall there being any specific rules in there.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2003, 07:46:08 AM »

That's a good idea; people are used as hostages for a reason, they create great cover - but a cover that fights back; using a low DTN but a reduction in combat pool could work, and that idea of the St vs ST scenario sounds good, at least at first glance.

I had another idea though. Maybe you could use a grappling kind of check against the hostage (if they are struggling; a knife to the throat might dissuade that), and if you suceed, then it could allow the defender to make terrain roles to interpose the hostage, or force the attackers to make terrain roles to get around the hostage.

Just some thoughts. I can see several ways that this can be handled.
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2003, 07:50:02 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
Instead of partial evade I'd call it duck and weave, or at least TN 8.


The thing that  worry about is that, within the system (rather than in reality), it becomes pretty easy for an attacker to get the hit he wants.
He can attack the location zone he chooses and be confident that the defender won't get as many defence successes, because the DTN is so high.

I know they way it should play out - attacker moves around trying to get a position to attack, villain moves while holding captive, tryng to keep the hostage between him and the attacker. Lots of pauses as they jockey for position, hurl insults, etc., then the villain gets distracted or the attacker tricks him, and the attacker strikes - hopefully hitting the villain, but maybe the villain gets the captive in the way.

It's how to represent that in TROS that I'm having problems with. Of course, the attacker can always choose not to attack, but I'd like to have some sort of system in place for if he did attack.
Maybe something like:

Step 0: Reckless Attack
If the hero attacks, he knows the villain can duck behind the victim and/or use the body as a shield. This attack is not to be recommended, but what happens if he does attack?
It should be harder to hit the villain, since there's a hostage in the ay - both hero, villain, and hostage are all changing position...

Possibly the easiest way would be to allow the villain, when attacked, to make a use terrain roll, and if he succeeds, and then wins a wrestling contest with the hostage, the hostage is in the way.
But this doesn't handle situations where the hostage is effectively immobile (maybe with a dagger at the throat).

Another way would be allow the villain to Full Evade, and if he succeeds, he has actually ducked behind the hostage and the hostage takes an attack based on the Full Evade v. the attacker's attack.
(So, attacker gets 4 successes, defender gets 5: the defender wins, so the hostage takes a hit based on 1 success.)

But I'm not sold on either of these. I think the attackers ATN has to go up, otherwise a highly skilled (and/or SA boosted) attacker can be almost guaranteed of getting the hit he wants - and it's meant to be risky.

So, putting that aside for the moment...

2. Jockeying for position
The hero chooses not to risk his loved one until he can distract the villain. So they spend a few rounds circling (both throwing white), hurling insults and threats and maybe pleadings.
Maybe the hero can attempt a Wit or Social/Sincerity check to get the villain to look away for a moment, but with a cagey villain this ought to be very hard (opposed against Per/TN = hero Reflexes?)

3. Attack while distracted
Maybe the number of successes in the distraction is the number of dice the hero gets to use on his attack - he'd better make them count!

Obviously still needs work. Any suggestion?
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2003, 07:51:37 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
That's a good idea; people are used as hostages for a reason, they create great cover - but a cover that fights back; using a low DTN but a reduction in combat pool could work, and that idea of the St vs ST scenario sounds good, at least at first glance.

I had another idea though. Maybe you could use a grappling kind of check against the hostage (if they are struggling; a knife to the throat might dissuade that), and if you suceed, then it could allow the defender to make terrain roles to interpose the hostage, or force the attackers to make terrain roles to get around the hostage.

Just some thoughts. I can see several ways that this can be handled.


As you'll have seen I had some of the same sorts of thoughts :)
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2003, 07:53:37 AM »

Quote from: Wolfen
These are entirely off the top of my head, So you might want to play around with them before deciding if they're usable, and the numbers given may need some tweaking too.


Thanks. Something else to think about (especially the unconscious figures - and maybe those paralysed with fear act much the same even with a knife at their throat).
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2003, 07:56:28 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
Heh!

Hey, does TRoS discuss space around you and adequate weapon usage? I mean, using a greatsword in a narrow corridor is ludicrous (unless you half sword or thrust maybe?), but I don't recall there being any specific rules in there.


The way I;d handle this is: Choose which reach is optimum for the space you're in, and anything longer than that suffers a penalty just as if the wielder had been hit by a weapon of that reach.
So if you're in a Medium space, the longsword is at -1d for its attacks.
It should probably also suffer the same penalty on defences.
In uitaby cramped spaces you might not even be able to evade, though duck and weaving at a penalty might be possible.
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Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2003, 09:34:54 AM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
Quote from: Morfedel
Heh!

Hey, does TRoS discuss space around you and adequate weapon usage? I mean, using a greatsword in a narrow corridor is ludicrous (unless you half sword or thrust maybe?), but I don't recall there being any specific rules in there.


The way I;d handle this is: Choose which reach is optimum for the space you're in, and anything longer than that suffers a penalty just as if the wielder had been hit by a weapon of that reach.
So if you're in a Medium space, the longsword is at -1d for its attacks.
It should probably also suffer the same penalty on defences.
In uitaby cramped spaces you might not even be able to evade, though duck and weaving at a penalty might be possible.


That's a good solution. It's also handled in the terrain rules as "tight spaces." "Tight" being relative to what you've got.

And I think that hostages are probably best handled through some sort of terrain-based contest, where the hostage-holder has a lower TN than the attacker.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2003, 09:56:50 AM »

I agree with Jake, slacker that he is.

*Grin-Duck-Run*
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