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Author Topic: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top  (Read 3720 times)
greyorm
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Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2009, 12:08:10 AM »

Addendum: after mulling it over all night while working on the eXpendable combat rules which function somewhat similarly, and rereading the Sorcerer book's combat section, the above secondary example I provided is complete nonsense. I say that because "diving for cover" is a defensive action. Meaning, first, you don't even roll for it at the same time as Alice's attempted shot.

Page 103: Step 3: "everyone who is doing something proactive (not just defending) rolls at once." This assumes that diving behind boxes for cover is NOT a proactive action (in which case, I think a better word there would be "aggressive" or just "non-defensive", because diving behind cover to avoid being shot is, well, rather proactive to being shot.) Step 4: "...[roll] defense or difficulty dice...some characters will abort their upcoming actions to defend." Bob would roll his defense dice NOW, not when Alice rolled to shoot him. And since he's already defending, he can't say "I abort my attempt to defend myself!" he just rolls and takes his two "Total Defense" bonus dice.

Is that right, Ron?

How it all works becomes much more clear in an Alice, Bob, Carl situation, where Alice is shooting Bob, Bob is diving for cover, and Carl is shooting Alice. Because first ONLY Alice and Carl roll. Bob waits his damn turn.

-If Alice beats Carl, then Bob rolls defense (dive!) with two bonus dice for Total Defense. He can't abort his action because he wasn't taking a non-defensive action, he was defending (you can't "abort to defend" to defend). After that, Carl gets to shoot at Alice.

-If, however, Carl beats Alice, then she can abort her shot and roll a full Stamina defense of her own. Or she could take the shot with 1-die for defense.

-If she aborts to defend, Bob successfully throws himself behind cover because he is unopposed now. No dice are rolled.

-If she continues with her action and succeeds with her 1-die defense, Carl misses AND she has no penalties to her shot against Bob.
-If she continues and fails with the 1-die defense, she has penalties to her shot against Bob (expressed as bonus dice for Bob's roll), assuming Carl didn't drop her to the floor with his successful shot.

-Bob NOW rolls to dive for cover, with possible bonus dice due to Alice's penalties from being shot.

-But if Carl gunned Alice down, then Bob never rolls a single die. He either never has to throw himself behind cover, or he automatically succeeds.

Correct?

After running around chasing this problem, I think the catch here is the idea "Can't I get shot and still end up having dove for cover (against future shots)?" At least it seems to be for me, that's where I keep getting stuck in this resolution.

So, how is the "dive" handled? If you have penalties less than your Stamina after being shot, you have moved--just not in time--and are now behind cover with bullet holes in you (your action wasn't opposed, so it just happens unless you are stopped from being able to act). Or if you have penalties greater than your Stamina, the gunshot put you down before you jumped. End.

Then you pray Alice won't put another bullet in you while you're lying there, crippled, before you get a chance to crawl for cover (depending on the total damage you're either crippled and at her mercy for at least one round, or you can try the Will trick to make an attempt to crawl off before she shoots again).

Correct?

This is kind of weird, then, because "shooting Bob" nor "diving for cover" might not be opposed actions. Opposed would be, "I try to shoot him" and "I try to stop her from shooting me." Somebody wins and somebody loses. But "I shoot him" and "I dive for Cover" might actually be Orthogonal conflicts(?) depending on how they turn out (opposing an attempt to be shot isn't necessarily stopping them from shooting you, and being shot doesn't necessarily stop you from diving for cover, both might still happen, but one might not).

Which hurts my brain because it means Ron has written a game that exists in weird quantum states (the nature of the particle conflict isn't defined until it is perceived resolved!).

I am going to go watch a low-brow comedy movie now that requires little thinking.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
John Adams
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Posts: 90


« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2009, 08:28:00 AM »

Let me take a crack at this Raven, I think I have it.

Because the system shines with some narrative meat behind it, let's say Alice just found out Bob cheated on her and she's had about enough. Her action is to shoot Bob.

Now, for clarity:

* During Free and Clear everyone declares an action. Everyone. Then everyone rolls at the same time.
* If your declared action is "purely defensive" you get +2 dice for your "initiative roll"
* If someone attacks you before your turn comes up, you suck it up or abort your action for a full defense roll
* Anyone who attacks you after you take your action, you get full defense dice

There is absolutely no reason to do nothing during a round of Sorcerer conflict. Players who want to do nothing are missing the point. Maybe they think they will be in a better position to react or something. They won't, and the GM should let them know that and prompt them to take action.

Back to Bob. Let's say in the fiction the obvious choices are:

1) Dive for cover behind the dresser
2) Try to talk Alice down "Baby, don't shoot! I still love you, we can work this out!"
3) Try to grab the gun


Option 1. Alice isn't attacked so her action is set in stone, she *must* shoot at this point. Bob gets +2 dice for his defensive action. If Bob wins, he ducks behind the dresser and Alice misses. Alice might not have a clear line of sight now.

If Bob loses he can suck it up, roll 1 die to defend and if he survives he still gets behind the dresser. Otherwise he aborts, defends *in some other way* and rolls full defense dice (without the +2 dice this time).

----------------------------------

Option 2. If Bob wins he speaks before Alice shoots. Alice could abort shooting and roll full defense (Will) against Bob's action, but let's say she sucks it up for a 1 die defense. On Alice's turn she shoots, Bob rolls full defense and adds victories from his action into the defense roll. (They were penalties against Alice's action.)

If Alice goes first, Bob can suck it up and roll 1 defense die. If he survives he gets to speak and Alice gets to roll full defense (Will) against him. Bob's action dice stay right where they are, any damage Bob took is added to Alice's roll instead. Any victories for Bob will be penalties for Alice's next action if she tries to shoot him again.

If Alice goes first and Bob aborts, he says nothing and rolls full defense dice.

-----------------------------------------

Option 3. Direct conflict. If Bob wins Alice can abort shooting and roll full defense dice or she can roll 1 die and hope to keep the gun long enough to shoot Bob. If she loses the gun, her action is nullified because the situation in the fiction changed to make it impossible.

If Alice wins Bob can suck it up for 1 defense die and if he survives Alice will roll defense (Stamina) against Bob's action dice to try to keep the gun. If Bob wants full defense against the bullet he must abort and Alice keeps the gun.
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John Adams
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Posts: 90


« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2009, 09:19:14 AM »

If a player is adamant that his PC is "doing nothing" you can proceed with the declared action being "do nothing" and roll zero dice. Hence "do nothing" goes dead last and the player will opt to abort and take full defense if necessary. There really is no exception to the "everyone rolls" procedure. If I thought there was any reason that the timing of "do nothing" mattered, I would still make him roll some dice to find out when "nothing" happened.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2009, 07:50:51 PM »

Hrm, that's one of the questions I'm wondering about, though: does everyone roll, given that people who roll defense shouldn't be rolling until they are attacked? I'm basing that question on the statement in Combat Step 3 on page 103...except, hrm, I see that is clarified on the Sorcerer Wiki. So, yes, that looks right, John.

So what it means to Alice's action for her target to have dived behind the dresser is that she really does just miss because Bob successfully defended: she puts a hole in the wall where he was just standing. That is, it was an opposed conflict roll "I shoot -- I dive away" so the one roll determines the whole thing. That seems right.

Here's my stumbling block still: I get that Bob never dives for cover if he aborts his Total Defense-dive action; he only gets to dive for cover if he wins the roll, or if he sucks it up and rolls just the 1-die for defense. In which case he either: a) is shot and has penalties and dives into cover only if the penalties don't cripple him? or b) is not shot and dives into cover.

That's where I kept catching. So let's do this:

Alice has a Stamina of 3 and a small gun, which is giving her a 1-die weapon bonus against the unarmed Bob. Bob has a Stamina of 3.

For her action, Alice screams, "How dare you cheat on me, you sonofabitch!" and tries to put one between Bob's...legs. Bob, unarmed, chooses to frantically dive behind a dresser to avoid being killed or maimed, receiving a bonus two dice for a Total Defense action.

We roll.
Alice rolls 10, 3, 9, 1.
Bob rolls 7, 2, 9, 5, 8.

Alice has the highest showing die, so her action happens first. Can Bob really choose to abort his defensive action to make a new defense roll? That seems like double-dipping defense and exactly the sort of situation "if your action is defensive, you don't roll until you defend yourself" was written to prevent. I'd like that clarified.

Let's say instead that Bob's action was "to grab the gun". In that case, we know he can abort to defend himself, and that he could keep going for the gun hoping she misses instead. Let's say he sucks it up, and rolls 6. This is two successes for Alice, he takes a bullet. But he still has 1 Stamina. Does that mean he was shot but still successfully takes the gun from her (assuming she fails a full defense roll against his action, with a two-die bonus from shooting Bob)?

I'm fairly certain that is correct.

So, OK, here's where it gets screwy for me: whether or not you can double-dip on making defense rolls, if Bob's action was diving for cover, would he still end up behind the dresser, just bleeding profusely? Since his action itself wasn't opposed. He didn't fail at or abort his action nor did something stop him from completing it--he just got shot in the middle of trying to do it. Just like he was shot in the middle of trying to get the gun, then tried to complete the action at a penalty.

Ron?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
John Adams
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Posts: 90


« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2009, 05:30:05 AM »

Raven, the three actions I mentioned for Bob are all handled exactly the same way, using the same simple, consistent  rules: Free and clear, everyone rolls, abort to defend/suck it up or full defense if your action came before your attacker.

So I don't see it as double-dipping, abort to defend is the norm. If anything, the double-dipping is allowing a declared action to count as a defense or oppose someone else's declared action. But in that sense, jumping behind the dresser is no different than grabbing the gun: if Bob goes first and succeeds he creates a situation which we all agree (during Free and Clear) will make Alice's action impossible.


Here's my stumbling block still: I get that Bob never dives for cover if he aborts his Total Defense-dive action; he only gets to dive for cover if he wins the roll, or if he sucks it up and rolls just the 1-die for defense. In which case he either: a) is shot and has penalties and dives into cover only if the penalties don't cripple him? or b) is not shot and dives into cover.


That's exactly right. If Alice's action makes Bob's action impossible, Bob's action goes "poof!" and he does nothing this round. Same thing in reverse: if Bob grabs the gun first, Alice never shoots and she can't do anything else this round.


Quote
Let's say instead that Bob's action was "to grab the gun". In that case, we know he can abort to defend himself, and that he could keep going for the gun hoping she misses instead. Let's say he sucks it up, and rolls 6. This is two successes for Alice, he takes a bullet. But he still has 1 Stamina. Does that mean he was shot but still successfully takes the gun from her (assuming she fails a full defense roll against his action, with a two-die bonus from shooting Bob)?

I'm fairly certain that is correct.

If he had taken 2 penalties then that is correct, Bob has a hole in him AND he has the gun unless Alice's defense (+2 dice for Bob's penalties) beats Bob's action dice which are already on the table.

(However, if X=2 he took 2 lasting and 2 temporary penalties, so he'd actually be on the floor grabbing his groin.)


Quote
So, OK, here's where it gets screwy for me: whether or not you can double-dip on making defense rolls, if Bob's action was diving for cover, would he still end up behind the dresser, just bleeding profusely? Since his action itself wasn't opposed. He didn't fail at or abort his action nor did something stop him from completing it--he just got shot in the middle of trying to do it. Just like he was shot in the middle of trying to get the gun, then tried to complete the action at a penalty.

Ron?

That's also correct, and I don't think that's screwy at all. If Bob goes first, Bob is behind the dresser before Alice shoots and she either puts a hole in the wall behind Bob's previous location or it puts a hole in the dresser. If Alice goes first the bullet flies before Bob can move and either he flinches out of the way or he gets a hole in him, then if he's still mobile he jumps behind the dresser.

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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2009, 11:05:06 PM »

Thanks, John. It's looking more right to me now.

I'm beginning to wonder if part of the issue is trying to move from the D&D/CoC mindset back to Sorcerer, after having not played Sorcerer for...well, years now. Though, honestly, I'm still really, really iffy on the whole double-dipping on defense. Which isn't to say I don't get what you're saying--I do! I just share Jesse's above concerns/observations.

To me, "Oh, I clearly failed to defend myself, so I'll roll a different defense now" is wrong and non-intuitive, because "I failed to defend myself, so I'm going to try to defend myself again"? You don't see that "I failed so I get to try again" anywhere else in the rules. "Aborting my roll to defend, in order to defend" doesn't seem in-line with the system's intentions, no more than changing your action to take a different-but-similar action would be (ie: Bob ducks behind the dresser, so Alice decides to shoot Carl instead). Rather, it would seem to me "I tried to defend myself, and this is how, and I failed" is just it. Just like "I tried to shoot him, and this is how, and failed," is just it.

I also say that because the text on pages 103 and 105 made it very clear that, at least at the time the book was written, everyone does not roll all at once: only those making proactive, non-defense actions roll. Though I realize, in contrast, the wiki states that everyone does indeed roll at the same time, even defenders; and after some more digging around tonight, Ron states in a thread where he and Nev went through some of the same details exactly what you are stating above about "yep, you can abort your Total Defense action for a Full Defense roll" (ah! I see now that is also quoted on a page on the wiki).

I could buy into the idea that "dive behind cover to avoid being shot" is considered a proactive move and thus covered by the abortive defensive or suck it up rules, or that choosing Total Defense entails the benefit of getting to roll Full Defense if you fail at Total Defense because you were so focused on defense. But, man!, it still seems completely illogical to be able to defend against the same action twice.

And thinking back, I have always run it the way I read the book, which (as mentioned) is the same way I judged it for our last game: you try to defend and fail, you fail, and defenders don't roll until they defend. Even wrote eXpendable's combat rules up along those lines. I guess I was looking at not having the option to abort your action if/when attacked as one of the prices of choosing a wholly defensive action (you get two bonus dice, but if you lose, you lose), as a straight-up Oppositional conflict.

Yay(?) for subsequent rule clarifications superseding the text.

But, er, I think I am just rambling/thinking out loud at this point.
Thanks for the help and clarifications, sir!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2009, 11:37:17 AM »

Raven,

You indeed have puzzled out everything I've been puzzling.  And yes, treating "diving for cover" as a proactive action works as Ron's described even in some odd ways but I can still see it.

My next point of confusion is that trying to follow that SAME logic in situations with mixed Will/Stamina conflicts leads to some oddness as in my second example involving the lieutenant and his fleeing men.

Frankly, I think going with the text makes things cleaner.  It removes SOME interesting dynamics but I'm not sure it's that great a cost given the confusion it can lead to in less cut-and-dried situations.

Jesse
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The Dragon Master
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Posts: 154


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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2009, 08:52:09 AM »

I want to thank everyone who posted here. I had just gone through a one-shot with a member of my gaming group and he was having trouble with the combat system (he just couldn't get his head around having "two defenses") I had tried explaining it to him in terms of his stated intent (do you still do x, or do you abandon that intent for the new intent of "don't get shot" as one example). This still didn't quite make sense to him. Last night I spoke with him about it again, but he didn't quite get it till I told him what I'd realized from this thread. The first roll isn't a defense. Even if the action is a defensive action, it isn't a defense against the opponents action. It is a separate conflict (either "can I get the gun out of your hand" or "can I get behind the dresser"). When you abandon that conflict to defend fully against this one you no longer are capable (this round) of achieving that intent (and wouldn't the multiple failed attempts rule kick in here?). Once I explained it like that I saw the lightbulb go off.

So thank you all for posting here, it has really helped clear the cobwebs for me, and helped him see how this works (by extension).
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony
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