Mechanical discussion

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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:07 pm

Another issue. This one is more pressing: tower shields.

We have discussed tower shields twice already, but neither time was an official decision made in either direction. At the time, they were being discussed more or less academically, as there were no tower shield users in the game at the time of the first discussion, and only one - a new player - at the time of the second discussion. Now, however, there are two players (off the top of my head) that have used tower shields in combat, and at least two more that have expressed interest in using them. This means that they need another look, and a final decision.

I feel they are both mechanically and setting-wise out of place.

Mechanics: At +6 Defense, tower shields far surpass any other defensive option, better even than any Benefit (Acrobatic Defense can be a higher bonus, but with twice the specialty investment, requireing a lesser action to use, and severely limiting armor choice). Bulk 2 and requiring 2b in Shields is simply too low of a cost for +6 combat defense. It is the largest defense bonus and by far the lowest XP cost per point of CD (20 XP for 6 CD, Acrobatic Dodge requires 80xp to do the same).

Setting: Per A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the largest shields used are "heavy triangular shields, almost four feet tall". That's a large shield. Tower shields are, I believe, an invention of fantasy authors, a misunderstanding of pavises or mantlets. That's fine for a more fantastical setting, but a bit out of place for Game of Thrones. It is worth noting too that not a single NC uses a tower shield.



If it were just a mechanical issue, I would say that an adjustment would be sufficient. With the setting issue however, I think they should just be removed from the game. If a character needs to be adjusted in light of this, that can be arranged. Tower shields have only just started making an appearance, so there shouldn't be too much adjustment needed.

The alternative is that NC opponents will start carrying them as well - what's good for the goose is good for the gander. That will significantly change the balance and feel of combats though... not really something I'd like to see.

Thoughts?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:05 am

Yes, Walton is one of tower shields owner. It wasn't changed earlier and I think it should not change now. If that means more opponents with them- sounds fair enough.  Reader from very beginning was aware of my vision of Walton and I see no reason to undermine that. Why Walton should become easier opponent to balance something, while he can't compete with others on their territory? He fights on foot, he is Highlander- that makes him at most average knight and diplomat, and I never saw any tweaks suggested to balance that. So why take away something from... 2 players to make everybody around or game genre feel better? Especially that we mostly fight against  NPCs... Invest in tower shield and get one instead complaining. I can live with someone's extra 2CD

Edit: Walton spent his 10xp for Shields and got 2CD fighting on foot. Someone else spent his 10xp for Ride to be harder to unmount in tourney. Guy got 1000gd or something from tourney, plus renown as great and chivalrous knight they sing about. Walton is still almost nameless butcher in line. Just example, but still sounds fair.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:26 pm

Mostly we fight npcs, sure. That doesn't discount the times when we do fight each other.

According to wikipedia article on shields (go ahead, roll your eyes, I know), Mycenaean Greece infantry used "figure-of-eight" or tall rectangular shields. Figure eight shields were more commonly used. Later, they began adapting use of round shields.

The pavise is a large full-body shield. The term derives from the city Pavia, Italy. It was used by bowmen in the Middle Ages as mobile cover, but was also available in a smaller version for soldiers to use in combat and to carry on their backs (in campaign terms we would probably classify the smaller ones as large shields). The concept for it dates back to Homer's Iliad. This is where we get the rpg term "tower shield".

The blurb about shields in chapter 7 in the rulebook states that tower shields are heavy. Chould that be reflected in mechanics, particularly for straight-up fights? Often Bulk means little, as there are hindrances to moving away once you're adjacent to your enemy: free attacks and generally having to move back into melee to attack. Could Bulk affect other things such as initiative?

We could rule that carrying an item of 2 Bulk or higher in your hands (not worn) penalizes Athletics or Agility.

What's also strange is that the Shield 1-2B training requirement for large/tower only penalizes attacks made with the shield, which most of us never make anyway. Should it penalize defense? Say someone picks up a large shield right now and they don't meet the training requirement. Could that reduce the Defensive +4 to a +3? We could have a shield's training requirement added as a penalty to passive Athletics or Agility if not met by the user. And if they're wearing armor of 3 Bulk, adding 1 Bulk reduces movement speed by another yard, that's according to design by default.

Perhaps we should start typically placing people further away from each other in combat from here on out to make Bulk mean something, barring special circumstances. If you win Initiative and want to reach your opponent in R1, better use Charge and bite that -1D.

In addition, we might make it inappropriate at certain junctures to be carrying around such a shield. When you're not on the battlefield and carrying around a shield on duty, that's normal, you're prepared. However, a tower shield may look silly. Especially because you can't carry it on your back (unless you're Massive). Tournaments can also have rules, such as no tower shields ("hey Bob, where's the war?"), just like we don't allow Vicious weapons.

I see the reasoning for a need. Having Fighting 4 and typically bringing a shield to combat, I will be struggling to hurt a clone of myself who uses a tower shield. Anything lower than 3 degrees is not going to do anything.

But excluding them, I don't agree with that. Git gud and beat 'em, or join 'em. Personally I would advise improving stats vs getting a larger shield. Nobody likes a war of attrition.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Alfred Haigh on Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:36 pm

The things sort of disturb my immersion and Im not a big fan of 'em, but I can live with the things. Just dont make me try pick one up and use it. Razz

Massive people have few issues with the things (assuming bulk etc arent much of a deal). IF something is to be done, carrying one could need an additional Strength / Endurance requirement. Not that thats an issue for the big guys, but the normal ones might tend to stay in their weight class. Yeah, that was a pretty cheap pun, admittedly.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:39 pm

Okay, so here we come to moment, where people's words are in Walton's favor (I use him as example in discussion, as I obviously know vision behind him AND his abilities). Big guy ("6 feet and 9 inches tall, strong and wide in shoulders, what gives him weight of nearly 19 stones") with Athletics 5, Strength 2, Endurance 4 with +2 bonus to rolls. Whole life focused to fight on foot. I don't see any restriction, which could influence his ability to use tower shield...

And according to NPCs and battle scenarios tweaks- in my opinion they should stay as they are now. I'm generally not fan of scaling up OR down anything. Ereth's combat against pirate is great example, he stood his ground firm and I'm sure he has great satisfaction now. And starting fights further from each other? Why complicate things, while fight starts at moment, when both fighters engage into combat. We don't even use maps for duels... And when it's group combat, situation changes.

Yes, I will defend tower shields and martial stuff as much as I can. I have resigned from many things to enjoy martial parts of game with Walton. When all others enjoyed their time in dimplomacy, feasts, investigations, even tournaments- Walton was waiting for his moment on real battlefield. And that's why I ask to let him murder NPCs in way he wants. Even if tower shield is just one of his options.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Reader on Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:38 pm

For what it's worth, I share ValarD's opinion on this matter. Indeed, the my house rule on using a shield was designed to address one of the issues Loreia raises: if we're retaining my rules, the training penalty from a shield applies to all attacks, not just those with the shield. Even this may not have been enough to balance large shields/tower shields. For example, Blood of the Rhoyne also gives +2CD as its main benefit and costs a whole destiny point.

I'm ok with large shields and characters can always reallocate XP. The combat specialists are all still elite and special enough to shine.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:01 pm

I'd argue that is a house-rule addressing a non-issue, it actually aggravates the problem of combat defense being too expensive to raise compared to offensive power.

Yes, it costs a benefit to increase CD by +2 otherwise, or 60XP, compared with like for like, an identical character putting those same resources into offense is going to be more likely to win a single combat. Put that benefit into expertise and you get more than +2, put that XP into fighting/specialties and you get more than +2, put it into strength with a powerful weapon and you do a lot more average damage than +2 to your average attack would bring.

As far as the rules go, tower shield is just something giving more defense and bulk (and can't be bashed with, but I've never seen a situation in this system where anyone would actually want to attack with their shield, so...), that fluff text is just fluff text. If anything, I'd allow characters with fighting 4 to use tower shields freely, while fighting 5+ doesn't get that luxury. But that only makes sense from a game balance perspective.

A twist on it could be to make them two-handed, which means that you'd need the massive benefit to wield it properly. Or allow it to be like a Pavise, but then only apply if you don't make any attacks.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:14 pm

The idea here is not to penalize a certain type of character. Even without a tower shield, Walton is one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros, and I would be more than happy to have him reassign a no longer needed 2nd bonus die from shields to something else (even something else foot warrior related). Walton was the most dangerous foot warrior among the PCs before he ever picked up a tower shield, and he'll be the most dangerous foot warrior among the PCs even if he has to give it up. I don't really see it being all that big of a change to the character concept. If anything, he's even more impressive if he doesn't hide behind such a massive shield.


Theo, I'm not sure your intuitions bear out in the math. Sure, comparing benefit-to-benefit the CD benefits lose out. However, that's an apples to oranges comparison when the issue at hand is tower shields.

Let's compare two Knights of Quality: base 7d6k5 Attack for 4 damage per DoS, 11 CD with 10AR; longsword, large shield, plate.
They each get 10xp to spend on a bonus die.
Sword Knight gets an extra bonus die in long blades. Shield Knight gets an extra die in shields and a tower shield.
Sword knight rolls 8d6k5, needing 3 DoS to get past his opponent's AR. That's about a 51.5% chance of getting a 23+ to do any damage.
Shield Knight rolls 7d6k5, needing the same 3 DoS. However, he only needs to get 21 or higher, which is about a 58.7% chance.
That's not a huge difference, but Shield Knight is also more than twice as likely to get a 4th DoS: ~11.6% vs. ~5.5% for Sword Knight.
The odds of victory are clearly in Shield Knight's favor. It's even more extreme if Sword Knight moves his 1b in shields to Long Blades too, and uses a regular Shield.
Give them both Expertise(Long Blades), and the odds are still in Shield Knight's favor.

Basically, if you have 20xp to spend on specializations and you have a hand free for a shield, it's your best choice for maximizing your odds of winning a fight.


If it was just the mechanical issue, several of those proposals would be well worth considering (I particularly like them being two-handed). With the lack of such shields in the setting though, the important question is "What do tower shields bring to the game that makes them worth keeping?"
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:39 pm

10XP for +2 CD is hard to beat, sure. But as I'd say should be heavily implied in my argument, it is assumed such characters already has the best shield allowed, the point being that defense is generally much more expensive than offense, thus making restrictions like this problematic.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:16 am

That depends on where you think the ideal balance point between offense and defense is.

An 11 CD in Plate when a typical attack is 7d6k5 and 5 damage per DoS means taking damage less than 60% of the time. I think that's reasonable.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Triston Tollett on Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:59 am

I personally don't think tower shields are in theme for Westeros.  They should absolutely not be used on horseback, but the problem here is no battle maps are used, so bulk is a non-issue.  Tower shields have no drawback as intended.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:22 am

So, after Reader said his part. Why not just remove them from game? It will save everybody's time...

Walton has shield mastery benefit, so he is not going to rearrange his 2nd specialty dice from shields. Maybe putting more in that case would be more adequate, but we'll see in free while.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Loreia on Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:21 pm

Don't worry, battle maps will certainly see use. If Jon and Triston were teaming up in their thread instead of just being in the same place, you can bet there would be a battle map. They haven't seen use in the phase 2 personal combats so far because those have been pretty straightforward: 2 people aware of each other and rolling initiative without surprise round. Just a matter of deciding whether you're in range to move and attack or if you'd need to charge. Actually, I might start factoring in Bulk when it comes to deciding that...

I guess since none of us are from Essos, we can dispense with the tower shields. Dorne may make use of them, I'm not sure.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:41 pm

Reader wrote:For what it's worth, I share ValarD's opinion on this matter. Indeed, the my house rule on using a shield was designed to address one of the issues Loreia raises: if we're retaining my rules, the training penalty from a shield applies to all attacks, not just those with the shield. Even this may not have been enough to balance large shields/tower shields. For example, Blood of the Rhoyne also gives +2CD as its main benefit and costs a whole destiny point.

I'm ok with large shields and characters can always reallocate XP. The combat specialists are all still elite and special enough to shine.
Your rules are absolutely still in effect; as a point of clarification, all off-hand training penalties apply, not just for shields (such as The Demon Raho in Story 2 having a specialty die in fencing for his left-hand dagger, even though his main weapon was a longsword).

Ser Walton Dulver wrote:So, after Reader said his part. Why not just remove them from game? It will save everybody's time...
Fair enough. I had committed to not institute houserules without broad consensus, and thus was seeking to build that consensus, but Reader is not bound by that.  king
I'll put a post in the houserule thread; anyone who wishes to adjust their character in light of it may send me a PM, or better yet post in your personal forum.

Loreia wrote:Don't worry, battle maps will certainly see use. If Jon and Triston were teaming up in their thread instead of just being in the same place, you can bet there would be a battle map. They haven't seen use in the phase 2 personal combats so far because those have been pretty straightforward: 2 people aware of each other and rolling initiative without surprise round. Just a matter of deciding whether you're in range to move and attack or if you'd need to charge. Actually, I might start factoring in Bulk when it comes to deciding that...
This is correct... though in a 1v1 fight unless one combatant is using a reach weapon and the other is not, additional distance would just make it take more time for the fight to start. Whoever wins initiative prepares for counterattack and just waits for the other to close the distance. Even with a reach weapon as long as the non-reach combatant has less than 6 bulk they can close from out of range to in range with a charge or fatigue to run and attack. Plate and tower shield is only 5, and only a few weapons have bulk (and all are two handed). Point being, in a 1v1 fight bulk just doesn't matter. In a group fight it only matters if you care what happens to others, so even in a melee it's not all that bad. Now, if you're being shot at by arrows, it can matter a lot...

Loreia wrote:I guess since none of us are from Essos, we can dispense with the tower shields. Dorne may make use of them, I'm not sure.
Even they don't use them. For a while I thought that the Unsullied might (for phalanx maneuvers and such), but that was incorrect.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:14 am

What are rules here for house's resource exchange? How often can it be done and how much can house exchange at one time?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:12 pm

If you mean exchanging between houses, there are no hard rules on that as of yet. So far there has been no need for regulating it, though of course that may change if deemed necessary. If exchanging a resource other than Wealth, a narrative explanation is encouraged.

If you mean exchanging one of your house's resources for another resource, the standard rules apply - it is the Manage Resources house action, so once per month (and means other actions cannot be taken that month). You may make a single exchange of any amount per month at the standard rates, or make two exchanges at the rushed rates (see pg 122 for details).

As an example: A house with too many mouths to feed can exchange, say, 4 Population for 4 Power.
If they are desperate for Law though, they could rush it, converting 4 population into 2 Power, and then 6 Power into 3 Law.

Keep in mind though that if you convert resources invested in holdings, those holdings are destroyed.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:40 pm

does head for numbers work also for rolls determining Wealth gains during monthly rolls?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:58 pm

If you are gaining Wealth as a result of a House Fortunes roll, Head For Numbers increases the total amount of Wealth gained by 1.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:56 pm

What's the process, if House invests into Banner House here? Just rolling and creating house as written in rulebook or is it more complicated?
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:12 pm

It hasn't been done before, reader said something about it requiring a bit more on the IC sphere than simply investing the required resources when I asked (though that was in response to us throwing around ideas as to what we might do in the medium-ish run).
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:17 pm

oh, okay. That complicates things, as I thought that some houses already have banner houses... Well, possible that I will have to change house actions for last two months...
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Theomore Tullison on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:22 pm

There's other bannerhouses, yes. But to my knowledge these were pre-existing or acquired through house objectives, Market Town event and similar cases that did not involve a direct investment of power.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:28 pm

I see. That sucks from Dulver perspective. I'm looking for other ideas then. How do we count which months are winter months? Let's say that I would like to invest in Food Agriculture in 127/2... I never saw mentioned what season we have now in-game.
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:55 pm

One more question about Marketplace.
New Rule: The Resource Gain Bonus granted by this
Holding is increased by +1 for each Estate Wealth Holding
and Artisan Personage Holding in the Domain with
the marketplace.

House Dulver has Marketplace in Trading Inn, as it's the only Small Town community in our lands... So as 'domain' counts Trading inn or WHOLE domain Trading Inn is in? That's very interesting question, as we have in that region Trading Inn and Library. Maybe Mine also, but I'm not sure is there anything about placement in original starting book, but anyway I have no specific information about where it is exactly (but yeah, mountain region makes more sense...)

and one more... to get land, House can just say what does it want? I mean, having in mind realism due to it's location on map...
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Re: Mechanical discussion

Post by Valar Dohaeris on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:42 pm

Re: Banner Houses
A number of houses have banner houses that they did not start with. At least most have reasons for existing beyond "we spent the Power for it", but without additional research I cannot say that is the case for all of the banner houses. At least one involved the investment of Power, but there were other factors involved too).

One aspect of significance is that there has to be a place for that house to exist (i.e. it must have a Lands domain), and land does not simply appear out of nowhere (the Lands resource is a more abstract thing than just actual lands owned). A house with multiple domains could cede control of a domain to a new banner house (transferring the appropriate Lands resource with it), but that would mean losing the effects of any holdings in that domain (and thus transferring the invested wealth, too). Mechanically it would be akin to losing a domain in war (per the Warfare chapter). Banner houses created through house objectives assume the house has control over domain(s) to be granted to the new banner house. Other banner houses created have had domains gifted from other houses (this has relevance to the third question, so will continue there)

Re: Marketplace
The Trading Inn acts as a small town for the purposes of meeting prereqs for holdings. The holdings operate as normal otherwise, so the marketplace would count the entire domain, not just other holdings "anchored" to the Trading Inn. All holdings are 'built' in a particular domain, and ideally should be labeled or categorized by domain. The descriptions of the houses have useful clues, and all prereqs for holdings have to be met in that holding's domain, so we should be able to figure out what belongs where.

Re: Lands
Acquiring Lands resource does not automatically entail getting additional lands - they can also be used to improve existing lands by adding features to existing domains: roads, settlements, etc. Gaining new domains is possible, but requires justification.

Claiming undeveloped wildlands is relatively uncontroversial, but technically requires approval all the way up to the crown (technically all the land belongs to the King). In practice though if no house is currently claiming that land it is unlikely to be contested (unless you've made enemies...). Other options (particularly if you want  developed/settled lands) are making deals with other houses or claiming territory through warfare (though beware retaliation or legal sanctions).

To get back to the original question, land features must accord with the map, though some regional variation can exist (within reason).
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Re: Mechanical discussion

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