Mechanical discussion

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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Daveth Coldbrook on Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:19 pm

Personally, I think the best solution is, if you have a benefit/drawback that would impact a full intrigue, you simply get a 1 or 2 point bonus/penalty, depending on how big of an impact it would have. It's a simple solution that means they at least have some impact, even if it's not their ordinary one.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:41 pm

Yeah, that's a reasonable work-around. It can just be hard to evaluate the impact of some of them.
I suppose a flat +1 per benefit could work. I'm not usually a fan of open-ended stacking of flat modifiers, but benefits come at a high price, so it's not that bad... and they should have an impact.

Perhaps require a justification per benefit?
So something like Adept Negotiator would provide a benefit only if the player could reasonably justify that they have a negative disposition towards their target? That could help flesh out the narrative of such events, too, rather than just having them be a collection of die rolls.

I'm willing to give that a trial run if there is a general consensus on it.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:16 pm

My favored solution as far as events are concerned is to involve a couple of other abilities to round it out (and count DoS across all tests)

The DoS X influence solution might reinforce the power of charm though (on a sidenote, I'd make charm/seduction do influence based on awareness). In general, simple intrigue is one influence action against intrigue defense, in a generic event scenario, 9 is reasonable, if it's up against specific NPC's, it could be significantly higher.

Applying bonuses for benefits that could reasonably kick in is a good idea, though I'd advocate them giving bonus dices rather than straight up +X. The other way around, they might add to the TN on the defense.

The argument against is that it could get a bit messy as far as what applies where.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:55 pm

Ser Walton Dulver wrote:[ooc: I need to find movement alternative, as I'm generally not fan of knockdowns... There should be more climatic alternative to gain advantage like this]

I agree that constant use of Knockdown is kind of boring. There are lots of other options... the problem is that the other actions are nowhere near as effective for typical westerosi combatants. If we want more diversity, we would need to do one of three things:
1) Weaken knockdown
2) Strengthen other actions
3) Have atypical westerosi combatants

For now, most of the Perilous Pirates enemies fit category 3. Several of them would never think of wasting their time attempting a knockdown. However, that doesn't help you, the players. That leaves 1 and 2... 1 would be less work, but might be tricky to balance. 2 would be more work, but could lead to much more interesting fights over all.

Here's a rundown of non-attack actions or greater action (in book order). I'm skipping the really basic stuff like Charge and Yield.

Spoiler:
Divided Attack (G): Only useful against multiple foes, and even then because you are splitting your fighting dice it is pretty much only good against very, very weak foes - for most it's not even worth it against typical tertiary bandits - you are better off taking the out one by one than weakening two to little effect. That it is a Greater action and thus you lose the option to take a second action only makes it worse.

Two-Weapon Attack (G) For those looking for a middle ground between a two-handed weapon and a weapon and shield, using a one-handed weapon with a buckler, dagger, hand axe, or similar weapon can do that. However, most prefer carrying larger shields or using heavier weapons. Combine that with it being a Greater action and it's not likely to see much use unless unless a character is built around it.

Combining Attacks (G) All the problems of a divided attack combined with the problems of a Two-Weapon attack. I don't think I've ever seen this one used.

Pulling a Rider from a Mount (G) Basically knockdown against a mounted foe. More restrictions and a Greater action, but considering you remove their mounted benefits and get the benefits of a knockdown, it's quite good, even though its a Greater action. Quite situational, though.

Pin (G) for a Brawling specialist with friends, if you can pull it off it's amazing. For everyone else... well, you probably aren't using a Grab weapon, so it's unusable, or you want to do something other than shut down an opponent - you can't defeat a foe with Pin alone. Situational, to be sure. Additionally, because it is an opposed Athletics test to initiate, and broken out of by opposed Fighting(Brawling) tests, you have to be better at both to be able to pull it off effectively... and as a Greater action, it's a high risk high reward option, assuming you have friends to take advantage of it (or you poisoned your foe and just need to let it run its course, etc.)

Assist (L) It counts as your attack, so unless you are unlikely to hurt your opponent and you have allies that can benefit from it, you're better off attacking.

Catch Your Breath (G) You are unlikely to recover more health than you lose in 1-2 hits, so unless you have some breathing room before your next foe gets to you, you're probably better off attacking to defeat your foe sooner.

Dodge (G) You know those shield bonus dice you probably didn't want to take? Remember that free attack houserule? This is probably your best shot to get away without taking much damage - though your AP applies. Remember that you add your shield to the result - the average for someone with Agility 3, 1b Shields, a large shield and   plate is 12 - enough to avoid a 3 DoS passive hit from most foes, so you should take little or no damage.

Interact (varies) kind of a catch all. Throw dirt in someone's eyes, pull a curtain down over your opponent, etc; tests, effect, and action type are up to the narrator, but you have a narrator that likes dramatic combat and creativity...

Pass (G) Like Catch Your Breath, unless you are waiting for an opponent to reach you you you are better off attacking.

Use Ability (Varies) Pretty much the same thing as Interact.

Advanced Actions:
Aim (L) Significantly lower benefit than Knockdown, but no risk of failure. Mostly gets used if the opponent is already down, is difficult to knockdown, or is at range.

Disarm (G) A very powerful option, but very hard to pull off - passive values are higher than average rolls (though bonus dice favor the active roll). A Knight of Quality (F5, 2b) disarming another Knight of Quality has less than a 50% chance of getting a single DoS, and less than a 10% chance of getting the necessary 2nd DoS.

Distract (L) Of similar difficulty to Knockdown, but different attributes (Cunning vs Will rather than Athletics vs Agility) but for a significantly lower benefit - remove their Awareness from their Combat Defense for one attack or their next turn - for most foes that's a reduction of 3, which is less on average than the +1D of Knockdown (especially considering bonus dice on the attack up the average result) and Knockdown is MUCH harder to recover from. Honestly, Aim is almost as good (or better) as Distract for most combatants, with the benefit being almst as good but with no chance of failure.

Knockout (L) You basically win if it succeeds, but it is very hard to pull off because it requires your opponent being unaware.

Maneuver (L) Pre-houserule/clarification (straight Fighting test, not using weapon - no bonus dice, superior, or Expertise) this was my favorite option - basically the defensive form of a knockdown. Still quite good if situational, but the lowered chance of success means that against most opponents you are better off with knockdown. Can be quite good to break combat or to put your opponent in a dangerous place, and can benefit from Aim or Knockdown bonuses.

Reckless Attack (G) There are only two benefits to Reckless Attack over Knockdown - it can't fail, and it stacks with Knockdown. Basically hands a free DoS to your foe, though... so it has a high cost.

Trample (G) Probably better than a divided attack, but that's not saying much. Can be good for a skilled rider that is not a skilled combatant.

EDIT: Spoiler'd for length


Last edited by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:33 pm

Well, I'd suggest to just weaken knockdowns- instead as lesser action granting +1D and making opponent fall prone, split it into 2 options:
Option 1:
lesser action. knocking opponent off balance- get +1D on attack and that's it. Opponent always stays on his feet.
Option 2:
Greater action. Knockdown as we know now, but as greater action.

When character attempts knockdown, declares effect he is going for.

P.S. yes, Walton is unknockdownable knockdown machine, but I still suggest weakening that advantage, for sake of climate and our fun.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:47 pm

I wouldn't call Walton 'unknockdownable', though he is better than most at both delivering and resisting knockdowns. The advantage goes to whomever has the higher attribute, with the defender having a slight advantage when tied (average 3.5 per die rolled, 4 per die passive). Moving plus knockdown shifts that slightly back toward the attacker, though because it's a fixed amount the exact odds vary (4 athletics vs 4 Agility, moving + knockdown is exactly 50/50).

I like the differentiation of the lesser vs greater knockdown you proposed, but both are still the best option for most combatants in most circumstances, so I don't know if it would really make that much of a difference for promoting a diversity of actions.

I think that weakening Knockdown a little while improving some of the other options would promote tactical diversity without breaking game balance. I'll post my ideas once I've typed them up.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:58 pm

By unknockdownable I of course meant that rolling 16 on pure Athletics seems hard for most characters, as You need for that at least Athletics 5 to find it useful.

Maybe unleashing maneuver from current restrictions then? But I'm not experienced enough to know what caused those restrictions. Anyway if that would be sensible, with my knockdown lesser action and greater action options, it would allow player to choose from knocking opponent off balance to gain +1D or using maneuver and improving defense by penalting opponent with -1D. Or just take Aim which guarantees +1B. That would be closer to rulebook, just knockdowns would weakened...
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:05 pm

Thoughts on re-balancing combat actions to promote a diversity of tactics.

Spoiler:

Knockdown Athletcs(Strength), +1 for each Brawling die vs Passive Agility(Acrobatics). For each DoS, the defender loses 1 point of their Agility to Combat Defense until the start of their next turn; if reduced to 0, they fall prone, their Move halved (round down, minimum 1), they cannot Charge or Sprint, and the penalty lasts until they stand.

Divided Attack, Two-Weapon Attack, Combined Attack These have built-in weaknesses compared to a standard attack, comparable to Cautious Attack. These are changed to Lesser actions.

Pin (To my mind this needed a reworking anyway, so this is a bigger change) Uses Fighting(Brawling), vs defenders choice of passive Agility(Contortions), Athletics(Strength), or Fighting(Brawling). Failure leaves the defender Grabbed, but not Pinned. Critical Failure breaks the grab. A pin may be broken using any of the three skills; attacker and defender each choose their preferred.
1 DoS: The pin is broken but they are still Grabbed.
2 DoS: Breaks the grab.
3 DoS: You can make an additional lesser action (as if breaking the pin had been a lesser action).
4 DoS: You can make two lesser actions (as if breaking the Pin had been a free action).

Pin is very powerful in a group fight, so it should be hard to establish and maintain.

Disarm Fighting(weapon skill) vs passive Fighting(weapon skill). On a success (1 DoS), the weapon is dropped at it's wielder's feet, but the attacker cannot catch it. With additional DoS, the weapon flies 1 yard per DoS (1d8 for a random direction), and the attacker can catch it if they have Fighting 4 and a free hand.
Shields and Weapons held in two hands add 3 to their passive Fighting for the purposes of Disarm.

Distract Cunning(Logic) +1 for each Convince die vs passive Awareness(Empathy). For each DoS, the defender loses 1 point of their Awareness to Combat Defense until the start of their next turn; if reduced to 0, they are considered surprised and unaware (+1D to hit, can Knockout) on the next attack against them or the start of their turn, whichever comes first.

Maneuver Weapon skill vs passive weapon skill. Each DoS applies a -1 (multiple maneuvers are not cumulative) to all tests the opponent makes until the end of their next turn. At the start of their turn they may take 1 fatigue to clear the penalties early.

Reckless Attack I'm tempted to say this should be a lesser action because of the steep penalty it imposes. However, that makes it much easier to combine with Knockdown or Distract for a truly nasty strike.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:02 pm

Your suggestions seems pretty nice- small bonuses from skills to rolls and effect based on roll's success. Unfortunately I don't have possibility to read it properly at this moment, but seems to be interesting alternative for current rules, in which we don't really have options and we have to use knockdown action to make sure, that someone will not use it against us. So in best case it's just prevention from being put into disadvantage on own request...

P.S. I always had one question about grab and pin mechanics: does it mean that ANY skilled brawling character can beat Gregor Clegane or Barristan Selmy to death using grab, just because it has brawling skill and they don't?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:47 pm

Ser Walton Dulver wrote:Your suggestions seems pretty nice- small bonuses from skills to rolls and effect based on roll's success. Unfortunately I don't have possibility to read it properly at this moment, but seems to be interesting alternative for current rules, in which we don't really have options and we have to use knockdown action to make sure, that someone will not use it against us. So in best case it's just prevention from being put into disadvantage on own request...
That's what I was going for - right now, knockdown is simply too good to ignore for high Athletics fighters, and the other options are pretty weak.

One clarification - being knocked down doesn't keep you from knocking down your opponent - sometimes it's better to stay down and level the playing field by bringing them down instead of standing - especially for lower Agility characters, or if they already have hefty penalties from injuries and/or fatigue. Of course, high agility characters in lighter armor can do both if they wish...

Ser Walton Dulver wrote:P.S. I always had one question about grab and pin mechanics: does it mean that ANY skilled brawling character can beat Gregor Clegane or Barristan Selmy to death using grab, just because it has brawling skill and they don't?
No, anyone can make a brawling or short blade attack unskilled, so you can always fight back - just not necessarily with your best weapon. Also you can always grab your opponent to give them the same penalties.

Also, unless the brawler is quite skilled (several benefits and/or very high athletics), they are going to have trouble with heavy armor with a brawling attack - even someone with Athletics 5 would need 4 DoS to get through full plate with a gauntlet - 3 Damage per DoS just isn't that much.

Of course, if the brawler has friends with big nasty weapons, that's a different story.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Triston Tollett on Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:55 pm

Seems making it a Greater Action would help fix it. Being able to do a knockdown, then attack, is tough. Whereas, if you have to knockdown, then wait, hoping they don't stand up, limits the usefulness.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:06 am

Review of proposed changes:

Valar Dohaeris wrote:Thoughts on re-balancing combat actions to promote a diversity of tactics.

Spoiler:

Knockdown Athletcs(Strength), +1 for each Brawling die vs Passive Agility(Acrobatics). For each DoS, the defender loses 1 point of their Agility to Combat Defense until the start of their next turn; if reduced to 0, they fall prone, their Move halved (round down, minimum 1), they cannot Charge or Sprint, and the penalty lasts until they stand.

Divided Attack, Two-Weapon Attack, Combined Attack These have built-in weaknesses compared to a standard attack, comparable to Cautious Attack. These are changed to Lesser actions.

Pin (To my mind this needed a reworking anyway, so this is a bigger change) Uses Fighting(Brawling), vs defenders choice of passive Agility(Contortions), Athletics(Strength), or Fighting(Brawling). Failure leaves the defender Grabbed, but not Pinned. Critical Failure breaks the grab. A pin may be broken using any of the three skills; attacker and defender each choose their preferred.
1 DoS: The pin is broken but they are still Grabbed.
2 DoS: Breaks the grab.
3 DoS: You can make an additional lesser action (as if breaking the pin had been a lesser action).
4 DoS: You can make two lesser actions (as if breaking the Pin had been a free action).

Pin is very powerful in a group fight, so it should be hard to establish and maintain.

Disarm Fighting(weapon skill) vs passive Fighting(weapon skill). On a success (1 DoS), the weapon is dropped at it's wielder's feet, but the attacker cannot catch it. With additional DoS, the weapon flies 1 yard per DoS (1d8 for a random direction), and the attacker can catch it if they have Fighting 4 and a free hand.
Shields and Weapons held in two hands add 3 to their passive Fighting for the purposes of Disarm.

Distract Cunning(Logic) +1 for each Convince die vs passive Awareness(Empathy). For each DoS, the defender loses 1 point of their Awareness to Combat Defense until the start of their next turn; if reduced to 0, they are considered surprised and unaware (+1D to hit, can Knockout) on the next attack against them or the start of their turn, whichever comes first.

Maneuver Weapon skill vs passive weapon skill. Each DoS applies a -1 (multiple maneuvers are not cumulative) to all tests the opponent makes until the end of their next turn. At the start of their turn they may take 1 fatigue to clear the penalties early.

Reckless Attack I'm tempted to say this should be a lesser action because of the steep penalty it imposes. However, that makes it much easier to combine with Knockdown or Distract for a truly nasty strike.

Knockdown
Basically every successful Knockdown use should carry some benefit. However, assuming you left out the +1D because you forgot or assumed it went without saying, a fighter not only has less DoS in addition to being prone, but his opponent(s) has +1D to attack him. That makes Knockdown even more appealing. But if you left out +1D because the house rule is to get rid of it, I can get behind it. I would not mind the original benefit replacing the penalty applied in the revision when prone, but that would seem offbeat.

Alternative
Knockdown requires two successes instead of 1. Or, succeeding knockdowns has diminishing returns, and after a while it becomes CD penalties instead. Do something too often and it becomes predictable, your enemy knows what to look for.

Two-Weapon Attack, Divided Attack, Combined attack
I take one look at this and I think "these should require a martial quality," a la Two-Weapon Fighting perk from DnD. I also think we can introduce a martial quality that allows one to roll twice instead of split the attack, but they become Greater actions? Requirements: 5 Agility, 5 Fighting (maybe Cunning 3-4), and neither weapon can be Unwieldy or have Bulk (must always defer to Slow trait like everyone else, Two Handed can be ignored at a penalty as always).

Pin
I see no issues here.

Disarm
Catching the weapon... I dunno, I thing that requires some dexterity on the part of the attacker using Disarm, and anybody who makes a really good Disarm test will be able to get that weapon, or anyone with high Fighting can easily knock that weapon free and take it, provided they have a free hand. Most of us don't, but provided I have Fighting 5, my emergency/brave tactic becomes "drop shield, Disarm, now I have your weapon". I think it should rely on someone's passive Agility (no specialty) instead. I would think knocking someone's weapon out of the air and then catching it is a master stroke, it should be its own martial quality. But if a compromise is necessary, I would say it should be possible if your passive Agility is 16 when you make the test.

Distract
Looks good to me. People will rarely have 5 Awareness unless you are fighting an intrigue build character which if you have a Cunning score that makes your success likely, you just might be an intrigue PC trying to escape justice/capture, or fighting another intrigue character, which is rare.

Maneuver
No reason for any changes here, I don't think. This is actually an alternative to the original Knockdown that Walton can elect to use if he wishes. It's not something I choose to do as often, because it's my 4 Fighting vs another's 5, and so it will remain if the change is added.

Reckless
No additions, no subtractions. This should be as deadly for the user as it is to use.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:06 am

Triston Tollett wrote:Seems making it a Greater Action would help fix it. Being able to do a knockdown, then attack, is tough. Whereas, if you have to knockdown, then wait, hoping they don't stand up, limits the usefulness.

True, but that can be overcome with 1 fatigue and taking -1 to get a +1D is still a quite good deal.
It's not uncommon to see initiative winners open with move, knockdown, take fatigue, and attack.

Further, those who don't want to take the fatigue would probably just use Aim instead because the other options are still either too situational or too ineffective. That's a slight increase in tactical diversity, but not much. I'd love to see actions like Disarm, Distract, and Maneuver become as common as knockdowns - each with their own tactical niche (I will admit being a sucker for tactical combat), or benefiting a certain type of character or fighting style.


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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:13 am

Does any specialty apply to knockdown attempts? Strength for example?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Ser Walton Dulver wrote:Does any specialty apply to knockdown attempts? Strength for example?
Strictly speaking as written, no. However the book is not always clear on some matters and the book describes it as using brute force... so some games include it, but in part because Knockdown is already so powerful, we do not.

If you meant my proposed revision, it would, but knockdown has reduced benefit to keep it in-line with the other actions.

Loreia wrote:Review of proposed changes:
Sorry I missed this, it looks like you posted at the same time I was responding to Triston and so the forum never flagged your post as unread.

Loreia wrote:Knockdown
Basically every successful Knockdown use should carry some benefit. However, assuming you left out the +1D because you forgot or assumed it went without saying, a fighter not only has less DoS in addition to being prone, but his opponent(s) has +1D to attack him. That makes Knockdown even more appealing. But if you left out +1D because the house rule is to get rid of it, I can get behind it. I would not mind the original benefit replacing the penalty applied in the revision when prone, but that would seem offbeat.
What I posted would replace the +1D, not be in addition to it.
I agree that every successful knockdown should have a benefit, and what I posted would reduce the opponent's Combat Defense by 1 on a success, 2 on 2 DoS, etc.
Running some numbers I think it might be too weak now, actually. 4 Athletics vs 3 Agility is fairly standard (two knights of quality, for instance). With no strength, brawling, or acrobatics to come into play, that gives the attacker about a ~76% chance of success - not bad. However, they only have  ~24% chance of getting a second DoS for -2. With those odds, Aim becomes statistically superior, as a single bonus die adds ~2 to your total on average (varies a bit depending on how many you already have).

Instead, perhaps it should be -1 with -1 per DoS (i.e. -2, -3, -4, -5). Then a knockdown is less reliable than aim, but produces a more reliable result (guaranteed 2 vs average, and a chance at better). This change should probably be the case for Distract, too.

Loreia wrote:Alternative
Knockdown requires two successes instead of 1. Or, succeeding knockdowns has diminishing returns, and after a while it becomes CD penalties instead. Do something too often and it becomes predictable, your enemy knows what to look for.
I like the idea of diminishing returns for verisimilitude, but it would add additional bookkeeping.

Loreia wrote:Two-Weapon Attack, Divided Attack, Combined attack
I take one look at this and I think "these should require a martial quality," a la Two-Weapon Fighting perk from DnD. I also think we can introduce a martial quality that allows one to roll twice instead of split the attack, but they become Greater actions? Requirements: 5 Agility, 5 Fighting (maybe Cunning 3-4), and neither weapon can be Unwieldy or have Bulk (must always defer to Slow trait like everyone else, Two Handed can be ignored at a penalty as always).
I think these options always look better than they actually are under the rules - you get more attacks right, and that's powerful!
Except not really. As written they are terrible options, but it's not always obvious.

Re: two-weapon fighting
In D&D 3.x/Pathfinder it was well noted that without extra damage per hit (like a rogue's sneak attack) two-weapon fighting was ineffective - you had to 'pay' to do it and did less damage than a 2h weapon. In this system, using two weapons means you forgo the significant defense bonus of a shield for the lower defense of an off-hand weapon, but still don't get the power of a 2h weapon. Further, when you do make a two-weapon attack, you lose that lesser defense altogether, and get only a small increase in damage (typically +1). It's similar to choosing a shield and bastard sword so you have the tactical option to drop the shield and use the sword two-handed... except then you get the effect of adaptable/powerful, and you can have the heftier defense of a shield. I think of the options being on a spectrum from attack power to defense power:
Code:
2h weapon   | Adaptable (no shield) | 2 weap. (2 weap. atck) | 2 weap. (stand. attack) | 1h/adapt w shield
Greatsword  | Bastard Sword 2h      | Longsword & Dagger     | Longsword & Dagger      | Longsword & shield
Damage +3(P)| Damage +2(P)          | Damage +2              | Damage +1, Def +1       | Damage +1, Def +2(or more)
Lesser      | Lesser                | Greater                | Lesser                  | Lesser
It's a nice progression, each option is balanced against each other option... except that it takes a greater action to do two-weapon attack. It's a bump in the otherwise even spectrum. As it is, there's nothing that prevents a "shieldmaiden shuffle, extended edition": free drop the shield, lesser attack. lesser pick up the shield. So for the equivalent of a Greater action, you get the 2nd best offensive option and the best defensive option. With the two weapons, you invest the same actions and get... less offense and NO defense bonus until your next turn.

Re: Divided/Combined attack
Even if you could attack the same target twice it's rarely better to do a divided attack, because in a divided attack the dice get split, but each one has to overcome the CD and AR separately.
For the sake of example, let's pick easy numbers: the attacker does 5 damage (Longsword, athletics 4) and rolls on average a 20 (that's about 6d6k5 or 8d6k4+1).
For the sake of easy math we'll assume the attacker evenly splits his dice between the two attacks, though many times that is not possible (odd numbers)
The defender is has AR 5 and a CD of 10 (4-3-3 defense attributes and a breastplate + shield).
Standard Attack: 20 vs CD 10, 2 DoS, 10-5AR = 5 damage. Not bad for average rolls, thanks to the lesser armor of the defender.
Divided Attack: 10 vs CD 10, 1 DoS 5-5AR = 0 damage. Two attacks at 0 damage... not so good.
It's even worse against higher AR values.

Loreia wrote:Disarm
Catching the weapon... I dunno, I thing that requires some dexterity on the part of the attacker using Disarm, and anybody who makes a really good Disarm test will be able to get that weapon, or anyone with high Fighting can easily knock that weapon free and take it, provided they have a free hand. Most of us don't, but provided I have Fighting 5, my emergency/brave tactic becomes "drop shield, Disarm, now I have your weapon". I think it should rely on someone's passive Agility (no specialty) instead. I would think knocking someone's weapon out of the air and then catching it is a master stroke, it should be its own martial quality. But if a compromise is necessary, I would say it should be possible if your passive Agility is 16 when you make the test.
The "catching the weapon" bit is straight out of the rulebook. I like to think of it more as "grabbing the weapon before it flies away", because catching it mid-flight seems more like something out of an Errol Flynn movie than a GoT book.

Your "drop shield, take your weapon" tactic might not work as well as you think... keep in mind:
1) Disarm is still a greater action. You can disarm them, but unless you are taking fatigue you can't also attack them.
2) They can just disarm you, and now they have a free hand to take it back (or yours, if better) without having to lower their defense.
3) If they have a backup weapon (and everyone should have a dagger/hand-axe, at least) they can lesser-action draw it, and attack you against your lowered defense
4) Assuming an equal skilled foe, you only have ~50% chance of succeeding, and a much lower chance of multiple DoS - most of the time you will either not succeed or will only make them drop it. They can then just pick it up and attack you.

It's more of a high risk/high reward move - if you are willing to take a fatigue, you try to disarm their shield and, if you succeed, you have lowered their defense by potentially a significant amount. Faster but less reliable than smashing the shield. More effective at lowering defense than (revised) Knockdown or Distract, but (typically) with a lower chance of success. Especially powerful if you have teammates to do the attacking, or who can take their weapon/shield so they can't pick it up again. Also makes for a very effective way to avoid passive attacks - again, if you take fatigue.

Loreia wrote:Distract
Looks good to me. People will rarely have 5 Awareness unless you are fighting an intrigue build character which if you have a Cunning score that makes your success likely, you just might be an intrigue PC trying to escape justice/capture, or fighting another intrigue character, which is rare.
Yeah, most warriors don't raise their cunning enough to make reliable use of this - it's more for atypical combatants. It makes cunning more useful in combat - you can get the highest attack bonus of any action (+1D vs unaware opponents), and can even use knockout. Still, that's not a reliable strategy unless you really invest strongly in Cunning, which means less for other abilities, so it's not a super-combat build. It also makes Awareness a bit more important -right now it is the least important of the Combat Defense trio for a combat specialist, because we do not have all that many surprise attacks.

Loreia wrote:Maneuver
No reason for any changes here, I don't think. This is actually an alternative to the original Knockdown that Walton can elect to use if he wishes. It's not something I choose to do as often, because it's my 4 Fighting vs another's 5, and so it will remain if the change is added.
Like with disarm, the reason for the revision is that it had a pretty good effect but low odds of success against many opponents - Knockdown or even Aim were better in most cases. This revision increases the odds of success, but lowers the effect - putting it in line with (revised) Knockdown.

Loreia wrote:Reckless
No additions, no subtractions. This should be as deadly for the user as it is to use.
Yeah, I go back and forth on it. Sometimes I feel it is too powerful, sometimes I feel like the cost is too high. That probably means it's just about right.
Still, the fact that all the costs come after all the benefits... it's a powerful combat ender, especially against non-primary opponents. Against primaries, it's much riskier, as they can just take a wound to negate the damage... sure, that hurts them a lot, but they still get to respond.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Triston Tollett on Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:43 pm

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Triston Tollett wrote:Seems making it a Greater Action would help fix it.  Being able to do a knockdown, then attack, is tough.  Whereas, if you have to knockdown, then wait, hoping they don't stand up, limits the usefulness.  

True, but that can be overcome with 1 fatigue and taking -1 to get a +1D is still a quite good deal.
It's not uncommon to see initiative winners open with move, knockdown, take fatigue, and attack.

Further, those who don't want to take the fatigue would probably just use Aim instead because the other options are still either too situational or too ineffective. That's a slight increase in tactical diversity, but not much. I'd love to see actions like Disarm, Distract, and Maneuver become as common as knockdowns - each with their own tactical niche (I will admit being a sucker for tactical combat), or benefiting a certain type of character or fighting style.

Maybe don't allow fatigue.

I've never been a big fan of the fatigue system in general. Unless you are in constant pitched fighting, skirmish after skirmish, there's no real downside of using a couple fatigue points. Particularly if you are keep 5-6 dice. -1 is nothing. Unlike an injury, which could stick with you for awhile, potentially. I think if you don't allow fatigue, you'd be better off for it. I've run ASOIAF games for going on 7 years and I've never allowed it.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:51 pm

In my experience it is the opposite - those who rush to take fatigue start having problems once they start taking injuries, too. When you start taking -5 or so on your attacks it can be awfully hard to deal with plate. It can make for a powerful start, but weakens you in the long run.

Further, fatigue does stick around (1 point restored per 4 hours of rest), and particularly canny foes may take advantage of that.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:08 am

I think it's at least attractive once you obtain a +1 weapon. -1 is a slight penalty on its own, and having a +1 weapon allows you to take 2 Fatigue if you want, if you feel like you can handle a -1. I think it's a system that works fine, we should keep it.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Loreia wrote:Knockdown
Basically every successful Knockdown use should carry some benefit. However, assuming you left out the +1D because you forgot or assumed it went without saying, a fighter not only has less DoS in addition to being prone, but his opponent(s) has +1D to attack him. That makes Knockdown even more appealing. But if you left out +1D because the house rule is to get rid of it, I can get behind it. I would not mind the original benefit replacing the penalty applied in the revision when prone, but that would seem offbeat.
What I posted would replace the +1D, not be in addition to it.
I agree that every successful knockdown should have a benefit, and what I posted would reduce the opponent's Combat Defense by 1 on a success, 2 on 2 DoS, etc.
Running some numbers I think it might be too weak now, actually. 4 Athletics vs 3 Agility is fairly standard (two knights of quality, for instance). With no strength, brawling, or acrobatics to come into play, that gives the attacker about a ~76% chance of success - not bad. However, they only have  ~24% chance of getting a second DoS for -2. With those odds, Aim becomes statistically superior, as a single bonus die adds ~2 to your total on average (varies a bit depending on how many you already have).

Instead, perhaps it should be -1 with -1 per DoS (i.e. -2, -3, -4, -5). Then a knockdown is less reliable than aim, but produces a more reliable result (guaranteed 2 vs average, and a chance at better). This change should probably be the case for Distract, too.

Loreia wrote:Alternative
Knockdown requires two successes instead of 1. Or, succeeding knockdowns has diminishing returns, and after a while it becomes CD penalties instead. Do something too often and it becomes predictable, your enemy knows what to look for.
I like the idea of diminishing returns for verisimilitude, but it would add additional bookkeeping.
I see. Thank you for clearing that up. Having gone over that, I believe we can playtest this. Yeah... forget the alternatives.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Loreia wrote:Two-Weapon Attack, Divided Attack, Combined attack
I take one look at this and I think "these should require a martial quality," a la Two-Weapon Fighting perk from DnD. I also think we can introduce a martial quality that allows one to roll twice instead of split the attack, but they become Greater actions? Requirements: 5 Agility, 5 Fighting (maybe Cunning 3-4), and neither weapon can be Unwieldy or have Bulk (must always defer to Slow trait like everyone else, Two Handed can be ignored at a penalty as always).
I think these options always look better than they actually are under the rules - you get more attacks right, and that's powerful!
Except not really. As written they are terrible options, but it's not always obvious.

Re: two-weapon fighting
In D&D 3.x/Pathfinder it was well noted that without extra damage per hit (like a rogue's sneak attack) two-weapon fighting was ineffective - you had to 'pay' to do it and did less damage than a 2h weapon. In this system, using two weapons means you forgo the significant defense bonus of a shield for the lower defense of an off-hand weapon, but still don't get the power of a 2h weapon. Further, when you do make a two-weapon attack, you lose that lesser defense altogether, and get only a small increase in damage (typically +1). It's similar to choosing a shield and bastard sword so you have the tactical option to drop the shield and use the sword two-handed... except then you get the effect of adaptable/powerful, and you can have the heftier defense of a shield. I think of the options being on a spectrum from attack power to defense power:
Code:
2h weapon   | Adaptable (no shield) | 2 weap. (2 weap. atck) | 2 weap. (stand. attack) | 1h/adapt w shield
Greatsword  | Bastard Sword 2h      | Longsword & Dagger     | Longsword & Dagger      | Longsword & shield
Damage +3(P)| Damage +2(P)          | Damage +2              | Damage +1, Def +1       | Damage +1, Def +2(or more)
Lesser      | Lesser                | Greater                | Lesser                  | Lesser
It's a nice progression, each option is balanced against each other option... except that it takes a greater action to do two-weapon attack. It's a bump in the otherwise even spectrum. As it is, there's nothing that prevents a "shieldmaiden shuffle, extended edition": free drop the shield, lesser attack. lesser pick up the shield. So for the equivalent of a Greater action, you get the 2nd best offensive option and the best defensive option. With the two weapons, you invest the same actions and get... less offense and NO defense bonus until your next turn.
Oh, I wouldn't know. I hadn't made much use of a shield before joining this campaign, or tried two-weapon fighting ever. I would like to, maybe in the next game I play.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:Re: Divided/Combined attack
Even if you could attack the same target twice it's rarely better to do a divided attack, because in a divided attack the dice get split, but each one has to overcome the CD and AR separately.
For the sake of example, let's pick easy numbers: the attacker does 5 damage (Longsword, athletics 4) and rolls on average a 20 (that's about 6d6k5 or 8d6k4+1).
For the sake of easy math we'll assume the attacker evenly splits his dice between the two attacks, though many times that is not possible (odd numbers)
The defender is has AR 5 and a CD of 10 (4-3-3 defense attributes and a breastplate + shield).
Standard Attack: 20 vs CD 10, 2 DoS, 10-5AR = 5 damage. Not bad for average rolls, thanks to the lesser armor of the defender.
Divided Attack: 10 vs CD 10, 1 DoS 5-5AR = 0 damage. Two attacks at 0 damage... not so good.
It's even worse against higher AR values.
Okay, fair point.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Loreia wrote:Disarm
Catching the weapon... I dunno, I thing that requires some dexterity on the part of the attacker using Disarm, and anybody who makes a really good Disarm test will be able to get that weapon, or anyone with high Fighting can easily knock that weapon free and take it, provided they have a free hand. Most of us don't, but provided I have Fighting 5, my emergency/brave tactic becomes "drop shield, Disarm, now I have your weapon". I think it should rely on someone's passive Agility (no specialty) instead. I would think knocking someone's weapon out of the air and then catching it is a master stroke, it should be its own martial quality. But if a compromise is necessary, I would say it should be possible if your passive Agility is 16 when you make the test.
The "catching the weapon" bit is straight out of the rulebook. I like to think of it more as "grabbing the weapon before it flies away", because catching it mid-flight seems more like something out of an Errol Flynn movie than a GoT book.

Your "drop shield, take your weapon" tactic might not work as well as you think... keep in mind:
1) Disarm is still a greater action. You can disarm them, but unless you are taking fatigue you can't also attack them.
2) They can just disarm you, and now they have a free hand to take it back (or yours, if better) without having to lower their defense.
3) If they have a backup weapon (and everyone should have a dagger/hand-axe, at least) they can lesser-action draw it, and attack you against your lowered defense
4) Assuming an equal skilled foe, you only have ~50% chance of succeeding, and a much lower chance of multiple DoS - most of the time you will either not succeed or will only make them drop it. They can then just pick it up and attack you.

It's more of a high risk/high reward move - if you are willing to take a fatigue, you try to disarm their shield and, if you succeed, you have lowered their defense by potentially a significant amount. Faster but less reliable than smashing the shield. More effective at lowering defense than (revised) Knockdown or Distract, but (typically) with a lower chance of success. Especially powerful if you have teammates to do the attacking, or who can take their weapon/shield so they can't pick it up again. Also makes for a very effective way to avoid passive attacks - again, if you take fatigue.
Interesting. So unless you're willing to spend Fatigue on the risk, what you want to do if you catch the weapon is just throw it somewhere.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Loreia wrote:Maneuver
No reason for any changes here, I don't think. This is actually an alternative to the original Knockdown that Walton can elect to use if he wishes. It's not something I choose to do as often, because it's my 4 Fighting vs another's 5, and so it will remain if the change is added.
Like with disarm, the reason for the revision is that it had a pretty good effect but low odds of success against many opponents - Knockdown or even Aim were better in most cases. This revision increases the odds of success, but lowers the effect - putting it in line with (revised) Knockdown.
It is reciprocal to the other proposed changes, but it throws the "push your opponent in any direction" reward out the window, which is kind of a highlight. You can choose to promote diversity in playstyles by making this action more successful, but throws out the dynamic quality it can have by making the battlefield "fluid", mobile, when you rewrite it without the ability to push your opponent to another space. That needs to stay in.

Valar Dohaeris wrote:
Loreia wrote:Reckless
No additions, no subtractions. This should be as deadly for the user as it is to use.
Yeah, I go back and forth on it. Sometimes I feel it is too powerful, sometimes I feel like the cost is too high. That probably means it's just about right.
Still, the fact that all the costs come after all the benefits... it's a powerful combat ender, especially against non-primary opponents. Against primaries, it's much riskier, as they can just take a wound to negate the damage... sure, that hurts them a lot, but they still get to respond.
Well I think that's good. Secondary and tertiary characters are built to be less powerful, less likely to remain in play to strike back and take advantage of your lowered CD. That just plays right into how you design your enemies. If you're somehow struggling against trash enemies, or need to finish them quickly because you have another priority, you can "button-mash" and just tear into them. Secondary characters are more interesting, more survivable, but they're just part of a good story - yours. Primary characters, that's when we get into the Duel-of-the-Fates playing field. It's a huge undertaking, or possibly the end to your journey. Either way, your enemy the last guardian standing in the way of your glory (to sum it up, high risk vs high reward). The difficulty of the fight has to reflect this, and I think the way Reckless Attack functions as a combat option complements this very well.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Triston Tollett on Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:47 am

The problem with doing a wholesale re-write of many of the combat actions is that new players are going to find it a barrier to start the game. In my opinion, it isn't advised. Change a few things here and there, but going through all these and changing them might cause more headaches than the good it might do.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:19 am

Triston Tollett wrote:The problem with doing a wholesale re-write of many of the combat actions is that new players are going to find it a barrier to start the game.  In my opinion, it isn't advised.  Change a few things here and there, but going through all these and changing them might cause more headaches than the good it might do.
This is a good point. Of course, there's no reason new players have to make use if the new/revised actions - it's not like disarm or distract get a lot of play as it is. They would be available for those that wish to make their combats more tactical or more varied. As it is, the actions are sometimes confusing or unclear, and there are a lot of traps. A guide to combat actions would be helpful whether or not they are revised, but as written most entries would include "you're better off using knockdown".

Loreia wrote:Interesting. So unless you're willing to spend Fatigue on the risk, what you want to do if you catch the weapon is just throw it somewhere.
Well, to an extent it will depend on your foe - against a Fighting 3 squire for instance, you can be reasonably assured that they will not just be able to take it back. Really, the utility I see of Disarm is mostly in forcing your foe to use up actions they would otherwise have been using to attack, knockdown, or whatever else. Even if you only get a basic 1 DoS success, it costs them an action to pick up their weapon or draw another one. With higher success you may deny them the weapon altogether because they don't want to take a passive attack to move to where it landed. Of course, realistically speaking it's not something you would want to try against a top-notch fighter... but this revision (in my opinion at least) lets it be a viable tool in the toolbox.

Loreia wrote:It is reciprocal to the other proposed changes, but it throws the "push your opponent in any direction" reward out the window, which is kind of a highlight. You can choose to promote diversity in playstyles by making this action more successful, but throws out the dynamic quality it can have by making the battlefield "fluid", mobile, when you rewrite it without the ability to push your opponent to another space. That needs to stay in.
Oops! Yes, the movement stays in. I don't really see a need to adjust that part.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:45 am

Anyone have thoughts on these changes? For/against?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:29 am

My only thought is that we started at idea of weakening knockdowns, and came to point where whole combat mechanics is changing. Doesn't it put the system a little too far into author-system territory?

I mean look at Reader's era- it lasted for veeery long time without so significant changes in system. And now we have like week one and it's 'everything re-writing time'...

So why not just weaken knockdowns as it was intended, leaving everything other as it is? Aim is still sensible option to get +1B, Maneuver as it was house ruled by Reader has it's place, too- and I believe there was wise reason behind that house rule. So let's just weaken knockdowns- give +1D on attack and not make victim prone or just split into lesser action and greater action, which would cause going prone. Or something else, but my suggestion to keep it small- keep little more respect to original rulebook AND Reader.

P.s. post was written on the phone with autocorrection on.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:17 am

I've said that being able to move a combatant in any direction with a successful Maneuver promotes fluid and dynamic combat. Just as I would argue against removing that, I would also argue against removing prone from Knockdowns. I like the suggested changes, but we should leave retooling the whole system for new campaigns.

We should just accept that there aren't many easy options open to Westerosi fighters and leave it at that, or introduce fighters (allies/foes) with higher Agility or Cunning, or invent new advanced actions to add to the ones that exist in the rulebook. ASoIaF Roleplaying is still in its infancy. The way I see it, the advanced actions are in there as an option to give your character something else to do with his remaining action in addition to a standard attack. If you succeed, congratulations, otherwise you attack as normal and there's not much else to do with your remaining Lesser action.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:21 am

I'm having a bit too much on my plate (and enough with finishing up the art event bits for Theo, too) to really look much at it, but if the issue is that knockdown is too strong compared to the others, then it's much cleaner to knock it down a notch rather than tweak everything else up.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:28 pm

I will admit that these are things that I've been thinking about for a while, and Walton's comment about wishing there were other options sparked a creative push... but I have also said that I would not change any mechanics without a broad consensus; clearly these ideas do not meet that standard.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

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