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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: jburneko on March 10, 2009, 11:38:06 AM



Title: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: jburneko on March 10, 2009, 11:38:06 AM
So, I'm doing what is now basically man annual cover to cover read through of Sorcerer (one of the pages is loose, damn it).  And I'm STILL seeing stuff I've missed on previous reads.  Anyway, a line jumped out at me that made me want to go through this whole Total Defense thing just one more time.

So this is how I've been doing it:

Alice wants to shoot Bob.  Bob wants to dive for Cover.  Alice and Both roll Stamina simultaneously and Bob gets a two die bonus.

If Alice goes first then Bob does the 1-die or abort choice.  If he aborts he is either shoot not.  If he does the 1 die thing he is also shot or not but then Alice rolls against his standing original roll (possibly with bonuses if Bob was shot).  Fictionally this represents Alice jockying for position over Bob's dive for cover.  One of them will likely roll those victories over into their next action.

If Bob goes first then Alice does the 1-die or abort choice.  If she aborts then basically they go directly the jocky for position situation.  If she goes for the single die and loses then those victories carry over onto Bob's new roll against Alice's incoming shot.

This seems like the more sophisticated way to handle it and is line with the dice diagram material in Sex & Sorcery.  The "jockying for position" interpretation of the strange "defend against defense" situation makes sense especially when you have more concrete actions to work with (i.e. "I dive behind that rock!" as opposed to "I defend myself.").

However, while reading last night I saw the line that said:

"Everyone doing something proactive (not just defending) rolls..."

So it seems that once upon a time Total Defense was treated more like an oppositional conflict rather than orthogonal.  That is if Alice shoots Bob and Bob dives for cover then they both roll Stamina (Bob with a two die bonus) and then it's just a straight up compare.  Either Bob gets shot or he doesn't.

In a more complex situation of Alice shooting Bob and Bob diving for cover and Carl shooting Alice then Bob's defense is treated as oppositional embedded in orthogonal.  That is only Alice and Carl roll simultaneously.  If Carl goes first then Alice has the 1-die or abort choice.  Assuming we make it to Alice's action in any permutation *then* Bob rolls with his two die bonus in defense.

Handling it that way doesn't seem like too bad of an option, especially for beginners.  Otherwise, I'm confused as to how to interpret the "not just defending" clause in the sentence from the text.

Jesse


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: John Adams on March 10, 2009, 12:45:22 PM
Too complicated, I think it's much simpler than that.

1. You never need to roll unless there's a conflict of interest. If your action is passive, you don't roll until you defend against someone attacking you. You would always use Stamina + modifiers, never the "Suck it up" 1 die.

2. If your action was totally defensive (not merely passive) you get +2 dice when you make defense rolls this round.

EX:

"Shoot him" = roll for your action
"Pull the lever" = active = roll for your action, because the timing clearly matters
"I'll wait and see what happens" = passive = no roll for your action
"Dive for cover!" = Total defense = no roll for your action, +2 on defense rolls this round


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: jburneko on March 10, 2009, 12:58:21 PM
Hey John,

This topic has a bit of history to it going way back.  Here's an example:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=11127.0

From that thread this is the relevant bit:

"Rolling Full Defense gains you +2 dice, which are mainly Initiative dice, in the sense that if your Defense "goes off" first, you get the full Roll+2, BUT if the attack you are defending against goes off first, you still have to suck it up, or abort and re-roll your NORMAL defense with no bonuses."

Ron confirms that this statement is correct and my first example conforms to this statement.

However, I'm curious about the "not just defending" clause in the text.  Is that a historical artifact?  Is that a more "basic" way to play perhaps suitable to beginners?  I'm curious as the intention behind the clause since the above quote has been repeatedly confirmed as the "correct" way.

Jesse





Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Alan on March 10, 2009, 03:36:00 PM
"Rolling Full Defense gains you +2 dice, which are mainly Initiative dice, in the sense that if your Defense "goes off" first, you get the full Roll+2, BUT if the attack you are defending against goes off first, you still have to suck it up, or abort and re-roll your NORMAL defense with no bonuses."

I'm confused about why the option to "suck it up" even exists here. "Suck it up" allows you to roll one die and keep your original roll for your original declared action. Since the original declared action is defense and it failed, why would you not abort and roll?

Oh! I finally got it. In the rare case where you are being attacked by more than one person your existing roll may have failed against one but succeed against the other. In this case, would you have the option of sucking up the one to guarantee success on the other?


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: jburneko on March 10, 2009, 03:51:29 PM
Alan,

Even in the case of one attacker I've used it in that "jockeying for position" sense.  It can be clearer with a melee example.

Alice: "I stab Bob"
Bob: "I step to the side."

Roll dice.

Alice goes first.  Bob goes with the one die (does or does not get stabbed).  Assuming Bob isn't stunned by the blow Bob now "side steps" Alice rolls to "defend" against Bob's tactical positioning.  She fails and Bob scores two victories.

Bob: "Now that I'm beside her I bring my hand down on her neck and force her to the ground."
Alice: "I punch him."

Alice rolls Stamina.  Bob rolls Stamina plus his two victories because he's in the superior position of "to her side" to pull off his maneuver.

I've done this many times.  It works well and adds a lot of physical detailing about side steps, and rolling around, ducking for cover and all kinds of "maneuvering".  Which is why my question is really about the clause in the text.

Jesse


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Alan on March 10, 2009, 08:50:52 PM
Interesting. I guess I've assumed (based on the "proactive action text" you mentioned above) that a defensive response can't generate carryover dice, only a defense. Hm.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: angelfromanotherpin on March 10, 2009, 09:58:27 PM
Oh! I finally got it. In the rare case where you are being attacked by more than one person your existing roll may have failed against one but succeed against the other. In this case, would you have the option of sucking up the one to guarantee success on the other?

Not quite.  As I understand it, any penalties you incurred as the result of the first attack would become bonus dice added on the second attack (rolled and added to the dice on the table), so the defense would not be guaranteed.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Alan on March 11, 2009, 06:40:59 AM
This may be splitting hairs, but I thought penalties and bonuses only apply to the next roll. Since the defense dice are already rolled, penalty dice can't be applied to them.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 11, 2009, 09:50:36 AM
Hey folks,

It's going to take me at least one uninterrupted hour to sort out all the points and issues in this thread as it stands so far. Can you hold off from adding more to it until I find that hour?

Many thanks, Ron


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 28, 2009, 10:49:32 AM
Hi everyone,

All right, this part applies strictly to Jesse's first post.

1. Staying only with your descriptions of the rolls for the first couple of paragraphs, and not even getting near your question about that line in the text, you've already created a big hassle. There is no attack on Alice. She does not get the 1-die-or-abort choice because that applies to defense. Since no attack is coming in at her, none of that is relevant. The only rolling is that described by Bob.

Fictionally, if Bob's roll (with his +2 dice) is higher than hers, then she shot and missed. Case closed, move onto the next round. You're making that side of things about ninety times harder than it is.

You are correct that if Bob's original roll was less than Alice's, then he has the 1-die-or-abort choice to fall back on. This is the especially nice thing about the full defense option.

2. Now for the phrase in the text. At least for some of the time during the PDF-to-book transition, I didn't understand all the implications of the basic system and didn't trust certain things, or didn't know that such things could be trusted via system use. I was still getting accustomed to the idea that "hold action" was obsolete, for instance. Anyway, I could go into exactly what I thought when I included it, but enough is enough, and the best thing to do with that phrase is to ignore it.

3. I'm pretty sure that nullifies your Alice-Carl-Bob idea, and thank God for that. Never mind beginners' versions either.

OK, now for Alan - Alan, Jesse's posts to you are correct, but I think I should reinforce it by looking at the fiction. A stated full defense means that the character is really going for full evasion or blocking or whatever as his or her primary action, and it must be an action, something they do. An abort-to-defense, on the other hand, is desperate and by definition means that the character is dropping whatever was initially launched; the defense in question is best understood as utterly simple (whether a freeze, a sprawl, a wild flurry, whatever).

This means that when Alice stabs Bob, and Bob steps to the side ... OK, Alice's roll wins and her knife-strike is fast as a cobra. Bob's sneeringly-casual step has failed and must be narrated as such. But he still has the option to defend in a far less scientific or cool way. So he aborts the step - i.e., never completes it - and then he can go down in a heap, leap back going "Whoaaa!", or freeze in place, or any other damn thing which gets translated in game terms to his none-bonus, Stamina-only defense roll.

4. Alan, penalizing an already-rolled set of dice is easy - just give the relevant number of bonuses to the defense roll, which by definition is not yet rolled.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm on March 28, 2009, 03:58:55 PM
A stated full defense means that the character is really going for full evasion or blocking or whatever as his or her primary action, and it must be an action, something they do. An abort-to-defense, on the other hand, is desperate and by definition means that the character is dropping whatever was initially launched; the defense in question is best understood as utterly simple (whether a freeze, a sprawl, a wild flurry, whatever)...none-bonus, Stamina-only defense roll.

Ah! I knew I screwed that up during Tuesday's game. I kept handing out the Total Defense bonus on abortive defense, and then when I caught myself on that, I was still allowing Stamina + relevant Cover for abortive defense; I had completely forgotten the Stamina-only rule. That would have made that fight much more vicious.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 29, 2009, 07:49:11 AM
Two things.

1. Note that Alice, in the shooting-Bob example, has no "abort my shot" option. This should be clear from the pre-roll phase, in which once it's established that Bob is only defending, her shot is happening and that's that.

I bring this up because sometimes "abort to defend" is used as a subtle means actually to cancel one's stated attack for any number of non-tactical reasons. However, bear in mind that this is only available to those who face incoming attacks with their action still on the table. So that doesn't apply to Alice in this case, because in this particular case (with one other person, who's only defending), her shot is set in stone.

2. Raven, I think we've run into this before - this "add Cover and Stamina" business. I may be misremembering a line of text from somewhere, and if so remind me, but my memory is telling me that, by the rules, the scores are not added. One may roll Cover as a modifying device (against a fixed number of dice, usually 1, 3, or 5 in my games) to generate possible bonuses for the primary Stamina roll.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm on March 29, 2009, 12:07:23 PM
1. Note that Alice, in the shooting-Bob example, has no "abort my shot" option. This should be clear from the pre-roll phase, in which once it's established that Bob is only defending, her shot is happening and that's that.

Yep.

Quote
Raven, I think we've run into this before - this "add Cover and Stamina" business. I may be misremembering a line of text from somewhere, and if so remind me, but my memory is telling me that, by the rules, the scores are not added. One may roll Cover as a modifying device (against a fixed number of dice, usually 1, 3, or 5 in my games) to generate possible bonuses for the primary Stamina roll.

We may have, I don't recall. But I do recall the exact page on and example with which that rule is mentioned (ie: the Swashbuckler example) and I still did +Cover all night--hrm, I see page 32 also clarifies the "roll one, then add victories over into the other". So, yeah, you're recalling correctly, I'm not. I think, maybe, I was recalling the Sorcery chart with its Power+Will and the example with Yzor resisting a Binding at 26 dice and applying the same principle.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: jburneko on March 30, 2009, 11:59:35 AM
Ron,

I see where you're coming from.  There's something that still doesn't sit well with me about the whole thing.  Christopher Kubasik and I had a face-to-face meeting about this.  He said he was going to to email you about that meeting.

Here's what bugs me about your response.  Let's stick to the simple Alice is shooting Bob and Bob is diving for cover.

By your answer if Bob goes first then the roll becomes a straight up comparison and Alice misses.  However, if Bob goes second then Bob gets the abort choice.  What bugs me about this is that it's non-uniform.  That is, why isn't it a straight up comparison period?  Either Bob gets hit or he doesn't depending on if Alice's roll is better.

Doing it as a straight comparison also avoids a lot of weirdness that is ALWAYS a headache in my games.  For example, let's say Bob goes second and he rolls one die to keep his action and he beats Alice so he doesn't get hit.  Now he still has his original roll sitting in front of him representing his in-fiction dive for cover.  But what do those dice MEAN?

I get that he kept his action and so in the shared imagined space he goes flying for cover which might inform latter decisions but what I like about Sorcerer is that there's almost always a way to give your actions mechanical weight.  But to get that mechanical weight you need victories which means those dice representing Bob's dive for cover have to be measured AGAINST something.

Going with what you've said in that past that would likely be just one die (or some other GM chosen number of dice).  But that seems odd since we have, in the fiction, a very convenient opponent to roll against: Alice.  After all that's who Bob is maneuvering against.  But if that's how we're playing things then there's no reason not to give Alice the abort choice if Bob goes first since we've just ruled that Bob's action is opposed by Alice.

Following the rules as written including that little clause I quoted seems to make the whole thing much, much simpler.  Consider now that Alice is shooting Bob, Bob is diving for cover and Carl is whacking Alice with a pipe.  Going with the text only Alice and Carl roll because Bob's action is wholly defensive.  And then if and only if Alice's shot happens does Bob roll and he either gets hit or doesn't based on a straight up comparison.

Things get even crazier when we enter into the realm of non-physical actions.  This example really happened in my play.  A PC military officer with some of his men had an enemy NPC military officer corner.  The PC ordered his inconspicuous demon to appear.  Upon doing so I said that the PC's men freak out and start to run away.  The PC said he was ordering them to stay.  I said the NPC enemy officer was taking advantage of the situation to take a swing at the PC.  Awesome, we roll.

To keep things simple I treated the fleeing subordinate men as a unit (never mind that aspect since what I'm about to say would be the same if it was just one guy).  So they rolled Stamina because they were fleeing.

The PC rolled Will because he was ordering the men to come back.

The NPC officer rolled Stamina because he was taking a swing at the PC.

The order that came up was: PC, Fleeing Men, NPC.

So here we go.  Fleeing Men have a choice abort or roll one die.  I decided they were really scared out of their minds and were really committed to running away.  So I rolled just one die, and LOST.

What the hell does that mean?  They just LOST the Will conflict with their superior officer but they KEPT their flee action and so they run away anyway.  The way I played it was that later in the fiction I role-played those subordinates totally afraid of their commanding officer because they just disobeyed a direct order.  But that just felt wonky.

I suppose I could have taken the victories from the failed Will contest and rolled them against the dice representing the fleeing action.  That also feels wonky.  It feels like double-dipping the Will contest.

When I ran this example by Christopher Kubasik he pointed out that the Fleeing Men shouldn't have rolled their Stamina in the first place because nothing is opposing their physical act of fleeing.  In other words there is no Stamina-based CONFLICT in the fiction regarding those men.  Instead their action is totally defensive against the PC's act of Will.

Which would then, going by the text, make the whole thing so much simpler.  Only the PC giving the order and the NPC swinging the punch roll dice.  If the PC's order action happens THEN the Fleeing Men simply roll Will to resist and they either run away or they don't.

Do you see where I'm coming from?  I realize that the system can handle some pretty robust situations as you say but there are enough weird edge conditions that going by the LITERAL text in the core book just seems to clear them all up (if at the cost of some cool little sub-scenarios).

Jesse




Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm on March 30, 2009, 06:47:52 PM
By my understanding, Jesse, you can't "abort to defend" when you're already defending (ie: diving for cover). I had a situation exactly like the "being shot at" versus "diving for cover" in my last Sorc session, and I ruled there was no abort-to-defend option. But maybe I've got it wrong, so I'm really interested in the answer here, too.

Only way I can think of parsing this out otherwise is (and this is free-wheeling speculation. Feel free to tell me "No, bad Raven", Ron):

-Bob is diving for cover. Alice is shooting him. This roll firstly determines whose action occurs first.
-If Bob wins, Bob dives away just before Alice can shoot. Bob's dice give him roll-over bonuses for his next-if-related action.

-If Alice wins, Alice shoots just before Bob can dive away.
-Bob can abort his dive and roll full Stamina to avoid being shot, not ending up behind cover (per his action) in any case. Or he can roll 1-die for defense to avoid being shot and still continue his dive for cover.

-If he rolls 1-die defense and loses, he gets shot and doesn't dive behind cover. Take penalties equal to Alice's successes against the 1-die roll. His original "dive" roll also still fails, describe as necessary in the fiction.

-If he rolls 1-die defense and wins, he isn't shot and dives behind cover. (And, um, what? I admit, I don't know what the dice now mean or what to compare them to for successes or anything [1].) Though he would be "behind cover" and likely have a two-dice bonus against being shot at per the usual narrative-terrain rules.

[1] maybe: even though Bob is behind cover and Alice's shot missed, Alice still won the roll and so gets her rollover bonuses for her next action (it ended up being a kind of flailing, last minute dive and so Bob's leg is sticking out), even though she didn't successfully shoot him. But that's kind of head-spin wonky.

I admit, all of that is really funky. And doesn't seem very elegant, though it kind of is in a weird way. And likely isn't it at all, as I mentioned, I seem to recall the statement being that you only get the choice to abort or defend on a non-defensive action.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm 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.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: John Adams 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.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: John Adams 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.


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm 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?


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: John Adams 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.


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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.)


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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.



Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: greyorm 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!


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: jburneko 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


Title: Re: Total Defense: One More Time From The Top
Post by: The Dragon Master 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).