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Author Topic: Disarming and You: What Happens Next?  (Read 1174 times)
Morgenstern
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« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2013, 12:11:21 AM »

Just to clear things up, what I am about to post is NOT OFFICIAL

I'd be reasonably tempted to make it something like this:

"If you fail <at task X>, you lose all remaining actions for your turn and become flat-footed".

The (rather major) downside to that though is that most clever players will simply either do the dangerous action last on their turn, or (as Valentina pointed out somewhere) just not attempt the action at all, as the perceived risk of failure would be too high

That really shouldn't be neccessary. As you observe, any "failure has the additonal consequence of costing you time (the most valuable resource in the universe)" mechanic is really tantamount to saying "you cannot take this action as your first half action- or you're an idiot". As Big Jim noted, the unavoidable form of risk is~

With a miss, the character becomes flatfooted at the end of his current Initiative Count.

In that case there is no difference between doing it first or second.

The current set up makes taking some actions as your first half action better if you can engineeer the circumstances where that is possible, but the down sides to risking it as your second half doing it are not so severe as to preclude doing it if the need is great. In this specific case moving to an opponent and then disarming them in the same action may be totally worth the risk of becoming flat-footed if you fail. And if it's not, wait 'til next turn.
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2013, 12:21:49 AM »

I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned Quick Draw as both an offensive and defensive force multiplier when Disarms come out. Even Surge of Speed is in a position to lurk harmlessly in the background and suddenly become quite potent when people are fumbling after loose weapons. Both feats are GREAT for making a melee villian that would like to get back to busting your PC's skulls after being interupted by a Disarm.

Time (in the form of actions): always a tremendously important resource.
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MikeS
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« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2013, 12:28:28 AM »

I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

It would be nice if the other actions had some secondary effect that makes them a bit more valuable, eg stress damage if you are tripped or disarmed (hey, that other guy just showed off some superior skills), so that the follow up with the Threaten mentioned above actually has an effect on characters other than mooks.

Or maybe special actions could be made more important somehow, perhaps by enabling other new actions or tricks, eg:

At my Mercy
Threaten trick: use on an opponent you have just disarmed. The Intimidate check is made at +2, and the save DC increases by 2.
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Nuaurpy
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« Reply #48 on: February 15, 2013, 12:58:34 AM »

I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned Quick Draw as both an offensive and defensive force multiplier when Disarms come out. Even Surge of Speed is in a position to lurk harmlessly in the background and suddenly become quite potent when people are fumbling after loose weapons. Both feats are GREAT for making a melee villian that would like to get back to busting your PC's skulls after being interupted by a Disarm.

Time (in the form of actions): always a tremendously important resource.

How is it that every time I post something solid, perhaps even insightful it's passed over like it was never written?

"I disarm villain number 1, even if I'm alone that's only a half action, I could pick up his weapon with a second action or a free handle item if I have quick draw"

And my surge of speed reference which was, admittedly in a different context

"The problem with that is that I can walk up to you, disarm you and you have to spend your entire turn getting the weapon, then on my turn I walk up and disarm you. You now never get a turn and if I have, say, surge of speed I can do all of this while also hitting you once a turn using a half action to deny them their entire turn is pretty freaking crazy in terms of power."

I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

If this has been your experience I feel that your party is not very good at using advanced actions. Even if using disarm makes the fight last 1 turn longer, the fight goes from 5 turns to six turns and the over all damage your party receives goes from 105 to 42. (that's the average of 1D12+4x10 or two attacks per turn for 5 turns vs the average of 1D4+1x12 or two attacks a turn for 6 turns without a weapon) and in reality it's less than that even as the sword stance that was factored in above also gives a +1 to hit that the opponent would lose so he'd hit less frequently. Feint or trip attacks can allow your knife wielding burglar or your scout to deal a large amount of sneak damage, a bull rush can move someone into a bad position or separate characters for a divide and conquer tactic. Distract could mean that the guy who has 1 hit point left doesn't take a hit at the next initiative count and thus doesn't die.

I really feel like people undersell the advanced actions.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 01:06:27 AM by Awesome_C » Logged
Krensky
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« Reply #49 on: February 15, 2013, 01:09:00 AM »

Can, like... the last three pages be calved off into it's own thread? Kerensky gave the RAW answer, and the rest of this is pointless arguing about stuff that isn't really  2nd printing Q&A stuff, it's a lot of "How useful is disarm?" and "How can I make Fantasy Craft be less cool and dynamic?"

I did ask for that in the beginning.

I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

Except for when they're not. Like when Threaten or Tire is a better option. Or you need to take something alive or in one piece so disarm followed by a grapple is a better choice. Or you need to push something away from it's goal. Or when protecting something is a higher priority then destroying the thing attacking it.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

Except when they're not.

I get it, this is a hard concept to grasp.

Let's go back to baseball. Swinging away is the best choice when you're at bat. Until it's not. Like when you're tied in the bottom of the ninth and you have a fast runner on third and you have a contact hitter coming to bat. So the manager calls for the batter to bunt or hit a sacrifice fly, giving up the batter's chance to get on base in order to score a run.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

It would be, if either of those were true.

It would be nice if the other actions had some secondary effect that makes them a bit more valuable, eg stress damage if you are tripped or disarmed (hey, that other guy just showed off some superior skills), so that the follow up with the Threaten mentioned above actually has an effect on characters other than mooks.

Or maybe special actions could be made more important somehow, perhaps by enabling other new actions or tricks, eg:

At my Mercy
Threaten trick: use on an opponent you have just disarmed. The Intimidate check is made at +2, and the save DC increases by 2.

Sigh.

The secondary threaten is effective on any character. The specific case of it ending a fight applies to those opponents who would be rendered hors de combat by failing the save. Standard characters and specials you've worn down.
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Krensky
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« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2013, 01:13:13 AM »

How is it that every time I post something solid, perhaps even insightful it's passed over like it was never written?

Does anybody hear something? Like someone talking? Weird.

Wink

I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

If this has been your experience I feel that your party is not very good at using advanced actions. Even if using disarm makes the fight last 1 turn longer, the fight goes from 5 turns to six turns and the over all damage your party receives goes from 105 to 42. (that's the average of 1D12+4x10 or two attacks per turn for 5 turns vs the average of 1D4+1x12 or two attacks a turn for 6 turns without a weapon) and in reality it's less than that even as the sword stance that was factored in above also gives a +1 to hit that the opponent would lose so he'd hit less frequently. Feint or trip attacks can allow your knife wielding burglar or your scout to deal a large amount of sneak damage, a bull rush can move someone into a bad position or separate characters for a divide and conquer tactic. Distract could mean that the guy who has 1 hit point left doesn't take a hit at the next initiative count and thus doesn't die.

I really feel like people undersell the advanced actions.

* Claps.

Bravo.
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MikeS
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« Reply #51 on: February 15, 2013, 01:28:49 AM »

I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

If this has been your experience I feel that your party is not very good at using advanced actions. Even if using disarm makes the fight last 1 turn longer, the fight goes from 5 turns to six turns and the over all damage your party receives goes from 105 to 42. (that's the average of 1D12+4x10 or two attacks per turn for 5 turns vs the average of 1D4+1x12 or two attacks a turn for 6 turns without a weapon) and in reality it's less than that even as the sword stance that was factored in above also gives a +1 to hit that the opponent would lose so he'd hit less frequently. Feint or trip attacks can allow your knife wielding burglar or your scout to deal a large amount of sneak damage, a bull rush can move someone into a bad position or separate characters for a divide and conquer tactic. Distract could mean that the guy who has 1 hit point left doesn't take a hit at the next initiative count and thus doesn't die.

I really feel like people undersell the advanced actions.

And the bad guy would fight unarmed why for 6 turns, rather than picking up his weapon? Or drawing a new one?


 
Except for when they're not. Like when Threaten or Tire is a better option. Or you need to take something alive or in one piece so disarm followed by a grapple is a better choice. Or you need to push something away from it's goal. Or when protecting something is a higher priority then destroying the thing attacking it.

No, I get that. But the 'except when they're not' happens too rarely for my taste. Just look through the various online games and see how often people use standard attacks vs everything else.

I guess what I would like to see is a combat where people are encouraged to really do different things every turn, lots of maneuvers etc, rather than the advanced actions being the exception.
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2013, 01:55:58 AM »

How is it that every time I post something solid, perhaps even insightful it's passed over like it was never written?

Probably because I didn't start reading that far back. It would appear you've grasped the tools well. Here's some recognition too Smiley.
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Nuaurpy
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« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2013, 02:01:57 AM »

And the bad guy would fight unarmed why for 6 turns, rather than picking up his weapon? Or drawing a new one?

Because it was a random example, but since you're picking nits. because after disarming him the party picked up his weapon. He may not have a second weapon but even if he does and draws his secondary weapon most people don't carry 2 long swords around with them so he draws his D6 back up knife that still doesn't get sword basics so yes, for the sake of completeness the math would actually be 105 to 49.5 (average of a D6+1x11, as he had to spend an action to draw his secondary weapon.) Also while you pointed out a small issue with my one example the rest of my post about why advanced combat actions are actually quite useful stands.

Probably because I didn't start reading that far back. It would appear you've grasped the tools well. Here's some recognition too Smiley.

Aw, thank you
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 02:05:45 AM by Awesome_C » Logged
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« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2013, 02:15:23 PM »

Just to clear things up, what I am about to post is NOT OFFICIAL

I'd be reasonably tempted to make it something like this:

"If you fail <at task X>, you lose all remaining actions for your turn and become flat-footed".

The (rather major) downside to that though is that most clever players will simply either do the dangerous action last on their turn, or (as Valentina pointed out somewhere) just not attempt the action at all, as the perceived risk of failure would be too high
That really shouldn't be neccessary. As you observe, any "failure has the additonal consequence of costing you time (the most valuable resource in the universe)" mechanic is really tantamount to saying "you cannot take this action as your first half action- or you're an idiot". As Big Jim noted, the unavoidable form of risk is~

With a miss, the character becomes flatfooted at the end of his current Initiative Count.

In that case there is no difference between doing it first or second.

The current set up makes taking some actions as your first half action better if you can engineeer the circumstances where that is possible, but the down sides to risking it as your second half doing it are not so severe as to preclude doing it if the need is great. In this specific case moving to an opponent and then disarming them in the same action may be totally worth the risk of becoming flat-footed if you fail. And if it's not, wait 'til next turn.
I totally agree with all of that, although I hadn't realised that you can unflat-foot yourself if you can get into a position to Disarm (or whatever) as your first half-action. I think that's kind of neat Smiley
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2013, 06:38:24 PM »

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

I would argue that while there is a fault... it's in the encounter design. An encounter that you can mow through with nothing but standard attacks is an encounter with no element of risk to begin with, and is so obviously so that the players are gravitating to the "oh God, just get it over with" option. Its generally not until you realize "oh shit, this guy will KILL US ALL" that expending time for control starts to be more attractive than spending time for damage. When you have an opponent that can literally laugh off the damage you're inflicting via weapons, shoving them over a cliff goes way up the priority stack. When an opponent has revealed himself as a fencing virtuoso that just put one of the PCs eyes out beause it's funnier that way, getting that ribbon of death-dealing steel out of his hand right this instant sounds way better than doing some damage. I'd also point to a lack of goals in the encounter other than defeating the opposition - without a switch that needs flipping in the next 3 rounds or the castle gates will be jammed open and the siege lost before it begins... without an NPC that must be reached before being swung over the firey pit of the Lava God... without anything to motivate them to have a plan deeper than "wipe them out, all of them" of course players will fall back on hit it, then hit it some more. You say standard attacks "push the fight towards the end"... That's only true if the highest level of success at 'the end' is a heap of corpses.

This is one reason I wrote out the Big Damn Heroes rules - not just for players, but so the GM can catagorically stomp players into the floorboards in the process of learning as an adventure designer what your table can and can't handle when your players actually pull out all the stops against an opponent that will DESTROY THEM without a little lateral thinking.
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« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2013, 11:27:17 PM »

I agree that good encounter design (and, just as importantly, players who are willing to go along with that encounter kind) go a long way to reduce the boredom of combat, and it's a tool I've been using for a while. Varying primary goals (eg. hostages, timers, races, deathtraps) are the most suitable, because the primary goal in this case does not necessarily force combat.

I disagree on the "an encounter that you can mow through with nothing but standard attacks is an encounter with no element of risk to begin with". D&D encounters have been built around the dice game principle forever, and while there may be risk of dying, depending on the opposition, it's still a dull encounter (unless you find it exciting to see if you can roll a 20 when you need one, in which case straight up gambling might actually suit you better). The virtuoso fencer: getting the steel out of his hands sounds like a good idea, but should be almost as hard or harder than beating him down, if he really is a virtuoso fencer - lateral thinking would involve something altogether different in this case.

So agreed on the encounter design. However, what I wish for (and realize I'm not likely to get) is a system that encourages different actions, even in the "regular" beating down the bad guys. Or in other words, to me there are two ways of solving the combat issue in RPGs: make it short (ie finish a combat in sub 20 mins), which hardly any game does, or make the combat subgame an actual game that's worth playing (which also hardly any game does). D&D 4th tried the latter, but the result was, at least to me, not engaging enough to sink time into, and it took way too much time to finish combats.

FC is way better than most games in that you have advanced actions (which, for the record, I use extensively, even when they are less efficient, because it keeps me from getting bored in fights), but as pointed out, there still is a heavy slant towards the standard attack that makes it a favored option. Any optimal option (towards which I count the Feint/Attack with sneak attack dice combo) makes things less interesting.

Attack options that set up combos or open up actions that are otherwise not available make things more interesting. The mix-up trick is good. Actions that allow you to improve your chance to hit (like Feint) are good, but usually only if they can be followed up with actions that do more damage (which is how feint is used most commonly in practice). As long as you can compare action-to-action, optimal choices are easy. Once initial choices branch into additional choices whose efficiency increases as they are chained, optimization gets a bit harder, and things get more interesting.

Just think of board games: a game with a single obvious strategy will be won by the person with the most luck, which is unsatisfying, so you won't play the game often. If the game has many different paths to victory that vary significantly from the outset and may have to be rebalanced during the game, and the strategies are difficult to weigh against each other, then you get something that people come back to. While I think FC is taking steps in the right direction, it hasn't reached the latter, but I think it has the potential to do so with a few small tweaks, and those are what I'm looking for.

OK, done with off-topic.


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paddyfool
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« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2013, 06:13:11 AM »

I was going to mention the mix-up trick.  Also, it's encouraged that GMs hand out rewards for creative solutions, along the lines of action dice etc., but it's obviously not a hard-and-fast rule.

I wonder if it might be worth making a feat that made mixing things up even better.  Something like...

Tricky customer
They never see it coming...
Prereqs: At least two mix-up tricks (NB: Bag of Tricks qualifies)
Bonus: Your threat level when you use a mix-up trick increases by one if you have previously used a mix-up trick in this combat.  Also, you gain an initiative action:
Unpredictable counter: Once per combat, when an opponent against whom you have used a mix-up trick attacks you and misses, you may immediately as a free action make any advanced action which you have not yet used against this opponent and for which you have a mix-up trick.

The wording's a little clunky, but it could be fun.

Incidentally, my current character hasn't used a standard attack once in the first few combats he's been in... although he is a first-level Mage with a Strength mod of 0 and a Dex mod of 1, so that's partly driven by such actions not being an optimal choice.

EDIT: I tried to make a speciality using this feat, but it seems a little cheesy to include the pre-reqs... also, it's a tad narrow in its focus.  Could be fun to use, though, especially if you also took Bag of Tricks and had lots of skill points (e.g. if you were an Unpredictable Trickster Scout).  Any opinions?

Trickster (speciality)
Bonus feat: Tricky Customer (1)
2 bonus mix-up tricks (2)
Bonus origin skill (1)
Agile Defense (1)
Decisive (2)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 08:54:29 AM by paddyfool » Logged
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