Cloudlords of Tanara

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Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2017, 02:02:15 PM »
Yes, I think some rule for reactions would help to smooth out those bumpy bits. In regards to how to handle the perception, another possibility is to use the DnD concept of 'passive perception', which is the basic perception people have without having to roll. In DnD, characters take a 10 on a d20 (so a 50 on percentile if you did this in RMU), add their perception skill, and this is the number that stealthy attackers need to exceed in order to sneak up on them. The number is of course modified for conditions (pluses for daylight, minuses for darkness, etc.). The benefit of that is that you don't need to roll (and thus don't give your players a chance to metagame); this just represents the character's general level of awareness.

In regards to the flatfooted bonus, I think if you do decide to keep it, you might want to tone it down a bit, and make it equal to say the bonus you get for attacking a stunned opponent. Consider the numbers: my Paladin has a 60 DB right now so long as he is aware of an attack: 30 from shield, and 30 from his quickness. Now imagine he is surprised. The 30 from shield is gone, because my attacker can choose to attack me from behind. The 30 from quickness is also gone (I checked the RMU rules and this is not a houserule, but is actually in the RAW: flatfooted foes do not get quickness DB). My attacker now also gets the flatfooted bonus (which is +25 for surprise and +35 for the 'automatic rear attack regardless of position' that represents the attacker's ability to hit a foe at any part of his body), but then on top of that I also get positional bonuses, such as rear attack (again). That adds another +35, for a total of +95. So my DB has gone from being +60 to -95... a 155 point split.

I would say do away with the automatic +35 bonus for 'automatic rear attack regardless of position'. It is more than enough to just have the +25 for a surprised foe, combined with any positional modifiers, and the negation of DB due to quickness. You don't need the extra 'automatic rear attack regardless of position'.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline jdale

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2017, 09:23:08 AM »
With regard to passive perception...   there are some things that characters definitely won't notice until they take time to look, and some things that are totally obvious and they will immediately see. But there's a lot of gray area in between. When in doubt, as GM I would make a perception roll for them (or depending on the circumstances might have them roll it).

Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2017, 10:57:37 PM »
I would too, so I think we're on the same page there, though the Rules As Written don't seem to support that interpretation. You might want to make the advice you just gave into a formal statement in the rules, because I can see people arguing that there is nothing in the rules that states you can make a 0 AP perception. That is one example of where I think the game needs to give people a bit of a chance to react to others' actions.

The main potential problem though here, IMHO, is that even if my Magician makes her perception, it is too late for her too declare a parry. She has literally no chance to defend herself. The reason she has no chance is that she has to have spent at least 1 AP on a melee attack to be able to parry, and the Orc's attack is going to be delivered before it is her initiative, even though she can see the Orc charging down the hallway.

I understand why you might want this rule that characters have to have spent at least 1 AP on an attack in order to parry, but I don't think it is necessary, and I think the game might be better without it. We've been playing for several years now with allowing the characters the option of declaring parry as essentially a 0 AP free action when they are attacked, and we haven't had any problem with it. It's not actually all that problematic when you think about it. When you say you are parrying, you are not declaring a discrete action; you are holding back some of your offense in order to play defensively, and that defensiveness lasts for the rest of the round, even if you don't spend all 4 of your AP for the round on melee. So parrying is kind of like a defensive stance that you adopt for the round, rather than a discrete act that you do once on action phase 1 and then stop doing. If that's the case, then I'm fine with allowing my players to declare it as a response to being attacked (and then of course locking themselves into melee attacking for the x amount of action phases afterwards); this seems to give them an appropriate chance to react. Both systems require them to attack in order to get the benefit of a parry; we only differ insofar as I would let them declare this as a reaction.

If you don't allow reactions, you also might have a problem with missile attacks. These can be made for only 1 AP (at -50). So imagine if my archer wins initiative: he now has immunity from 'Deflections' spells, because his 1 AP missile attack is going to be resolved on his initiative, before any casters can cast instantaneous spells-- even though the missile attack costs 1 AP and the spell only costs 0. That doesn't seem quite fair to the casters. Archers can just wait till they win initiative, and then don't have to worry about anyone casting Deflections agaisnt them. I think it would be better in these cases to allow instantaneous spells (or at least the first instantaneous spell each turn) to be cast as a reaction, to eliminate this problem.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline RandalThor

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2017, 03:38:21 PM »
In regards to the flatfooted bonus, I think if you do decide to keep it, you might want to tone it down a bit, and make it equal to say the bonus you get for attacking a stunned opponent. Consider the numbers: my Paladin has a 60 DB right now so long as he is aware of an attack: 30 from shield, and 30 from his quickness. Now imagine he is surprised. The 30 from shield is gone, because my attacker can choose to attack me from behind. The 30 from quickness is also gone (I checked the RMU rules and this is not a houserule, but is actually in the RAW: flatfooted foes do not get quickness DB). My attacker now also gets the flatfooted bonus (which is +25 for surprise and +35 for the 'automatic rear attack regardless of position' that represents the attacker's ability to hit a foe at any part of his body), but then on top of that I also get positional bonuses, such as rear attack (again). That adds another +35, for a total of +95. So my DB has gone from being +60 to -95... a 155 point split.
And I am saying you don't need all of this complication. The big difference between flat-footed and normal is the fact that you cannot use your OB for DB - which is also the biggest factor in defense. So, for surprise/flat-footed situations, you just leave everything the same, except they cannot use OB for DB and the attacker gets a flat modifier to attack, say somewhere between +35 to +50.

jdale: The way you use Passive Perception when there are different "levels" of difficulty is very easy: if their PP is high enough, the see it, if not they don't. Also, dedicated searching isn't usually perception but investigation (in D&D 5e). It is the difference between randomly spotting the goblin hiding behind the pillar (perception) and finding the hidden lock in the engraved mural on the wall (investigation). Basically, it is saying that you cannot find some things just by glancing around, you have to take time to search.

This might be getting off the track of anti-magic/spell tactics and maybe should have it's own thread.
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Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2017, 11:11:16 PM »

And I am saying you don't need all of this complication. The big difference between flat-footed and normal is the fact that you cannot use your OB for DB - which is also the biggest factor in defense. So, for surprise/flat-footed situations, you just leave everything the same, except they cannot use OB for DB and the attacker gets a flat modifier to attack, say somewhere between +35 to +50.

I think we're not all that far apart. Everyone agrees that one of the benefits of surprise is that your target can't parry by using OB for DB. The only detail we're arguing about is whether the attacker should also get a flat bonus for surprise on top of that (your preference) or instead just benefit from any positional bonuses like rear or flank while also attacking a target who can't use quickness bonus (my preference). I don't think you're arguing that there should both be a flat bonus and positional bonuses (though correct me if I am wrong)? I think that giving both a flat and positional bonuses -- which is what the current system does -- would be too much.

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This might be getting off the track of anti-magic/spell tactics and maybe should have it's own thread.

Possibly, though the general question of reactions is directly relevant to counter spells.

I think the fact that an archer can make a 1 AP missile attack before a spellcaster can make a 0 AP instantaneous spell is an issue that should be addressed. An action that costs 0 AP to me should always go before an action that costs 1 AP.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline jdale

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2017, 09:05:32 AM »
An archer can make an attack in 1 AP because they've already completed loading and readying the weapon to fire. This represents spending little or no time on aiming which is why the attack is at -50.

Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2017, 10:36:50 AM »
An archer can make an attack in 1 AP because they've already completed loading and readying the weapon to fire. This represents spending little or no time on aiming which is why the attack is at -50.

And doesn't spending 0 AP to cast an 'instantaneous' spell take even less or no time? 0 is less than 1, after all.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline RandalThor

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #47 on: April 18, 2017, 03:11:39 PM »
I think we're not all that far apart. Everyone agrees that one of the benefits of surprise is that your target can't parry by using OB for DB. The only detail we're arguing about is whether the attacker should also get a flat bonus for surprise on top of that (your preference) or instead just benefit from any positional bonuses like rear or flank while also attacking a target who can't use quickness bonus (my preference). I don't think you're arguing that there should both be a flat bonus and positional bonuses (though correct me if I am wrong)? I think that giving both a flat and positional bonuses -- which is what the current system does -- would be too much.
Yeah, sounds pretty close, and doing all that extra stuff is unnecessary (flat and positional bonuses). Perhaps a stacking rule could be put into place; say only the biggest 2 modifiers are used, or something like that.

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I think the fact that an archer can make a 1 AP missile attack before a spellcaster can make a 0 AP instantaneous spell is an issue that should be addressed. An action that costs 0 AP to me should always go before an action that costs 1 AP.
This is one of the problems with AP systems, you need to constantly make exceptions (though, I guess, one could say that about any system). In the old action-based system, wasn't spell casting before missile fire? I forget. It seems to me, that the only way a 1 AP (or more) action can go before a 0 AP action is if the former was a held action, where the higher initiative gets the advantage. Because in every math class I had, 0 was less than 1.
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Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #48 on: April 18, 2017, 05:25:44 PM »
Yeah, sounds pretty close, and doing all that extra stuff is unnecessary (flat and positional bonuses). Perhaps a stacking rule could be put into place; say only the biggest 2 modifiers are used, or something like that.

Yeah, that might work.

The reason I'm not that big a fan of the flat bonuses is that they seem to me to apply to things that they shouldn't apply to. Consider for example if you tried to 'surprise' a Stone Golem from behind. Right now in the Rules As Written for RMU, the game would give you a +95 to hit the Golem (+35 for rear attack, +25 for surprise, and an additional +35 'automatic' bonus that represents you being able to hit him anywhere you want). Why do you get a double bonus, and why do you get a surprise bonus at all (I am asking rhetorically, of course)? The Golem can't really be surprised in the way a person can. I can definitely see you getting positional bonuses to hit him, because if you strike him from behind, he can't see you, and his arms are less likely to get in the way of your attack. So I'm fine with giving the attacker a +35 bonus for attacking the golem from behind. But I don't think the attacker should double dip by getting the +35 rear attack twice, and also get an additional +25 bonus on top of that for attacking that golem 'by surprise'. And I don't think the golem should additionally be forbidden to take actions for the next five seconds (the next round) either. A golem wouldn't freeze for five seconds or fail to act out of fear or panic or anything like that; he doesn't feel fear or panic. The positional bonuses seem to me to be enough to represent what happens when you ambush him.

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This is one of the problems with AP systems, you need to constantly make exceptions (though, I guess, one could say that about any system). In the old action-based system, wasn't spell casting before missile fire? I forget. It seems to me, that the only way a 1 AP (or more) action can go before a 0 AP action is if the former was a held action, where the higher initiative gets the advantage. Because in every math class I had, 0 was less than 1.

I wouldn't say this is an exception; I think it is just a clarification that actually simplifies the rule: the rule is that actions that cost less go first. But I do agree with you on that central rule. And yes, you are right: in the RM2 system, spells always went first in their own separate phase.

So perhaps the simplest way of doing it is just to allow 0 AP actions to go first in the turn, or better yet to be declarable as instant reactions. 0 AP actions would include any free actions like declaring shield use (that always cost 0), as well as each character's first instantaneous action per turn (which costs 0), and any held actions (which can be treated as costing 0).
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline jdale

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2017, 09:43:27 PM »
The reason I'm not that big a fan of the flat bonuses is that they seem to me to apply to things that they shouldn't apply to. Consider for example if you tried to 'surprise' a Stone Golem from behind. Right now in the Rules As Written for RMU, the game would give you a +95 to hit the Golem (+35 for rear attack, +25 for surprise, and an additional +35 'automatic' bonus that represents you being able to hit him anywhere you want). Why do you get a double bonus, and why do you get a surprise bonus at all (I am asking rhetorically, of course)? The Golem can't really be surprised in the way a person can. I can definitely see you getting positional bonuses to hit him, because if you strike him from behind, he can't see you, and his arms are less likely to get in the way of your attack. So I'm fine with giving the attacker a +35 bonus for attacking the golem from behind. But I don't think the attacker should double dip by getting the +35 rear attack twice, and also get an additional +25 bonus on top of that for attacking that golem 'by surprise'. And I don't think the golem should additionally be forbidden to take actions for the next five seconds (the next round) either. A golem wouldn't freeze for five seconds or fail to act out of fear or panic or anything like that; he doesn't feel fear or panic. The positional bonuses seem to me to be enough to represent what happens when you ambush him.

You don't get the +35 rear attack bonus twice. You get the surprise bonus of +25, and the attack is treated as a rear attack for +35. If you happen to be standing to the rear of the target, the attack is treated as a rear attack... but if you're not standing to the rear of the target, the attack is treated as a rear attack, exactly the same. +35 positional modifier in either case, so total of +60. That's why it's described as an automatic rear attack and not simply as a +35 flatfooted attack bonus.

I think as GM you could certainly rule that some entities are always prepared for combat and that therefore they could never be caught flatfooted. But given that stone golems have omnidirectional life sense, you could also think of it as the creature needing to reorient to figure out what is attacking it, since whatever concealed you was not merely being out of its field of view (since there is no "out of view").

Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #50 on: April 20, 2017, 11:15:38 AM »

You don't get the +35 rear attack bonus twice. You get the surprise bonus of +25, and the attack is treated as a rear attack for +35. If you happen to be standing to the rear of the target, the attack is treated as a rear attack... but if you're not standing to the rear of the target, the attack is treated as a rear attack, exactly the same. +35 positional modifier in either case, so total of +60. That's why it's described as an automatic rear attack and not simply as a +35 flatfooted attack bonus.

Ah, I get it now. You are kind of already using the suggestion RandalThor made, namely, that the bonuses don't stack. That sounds better.

You might want to clarify that though in the text, both of the Surprise section and the Ambush section. The description of the Ambush skill on p. 66 says this:

"Ambush is the ability to make a very precise attack and
can only occur when the opponent is completely
unaware of the character’s attack. In such a situation,
the ambushing character makes an attack roll as normal
(with a bonus for surprise and frequently for a rear or
flank attack)."

That seems to suggest that the rear or flank bonus is something different than the surprised bonus, since the rear/flank bonus only happens sometimes ('frequently') rather than being an inherent part of the surprise bonus. I guess you are saying though that the difference is between being completely surprised and unprepared for combat (flatfooted) versus just being surprised and prepared for combat (surprised), as the game explains on p. 86, with the surprise rules?

In any case, I would recommend the text of the Surprised or Flatfooted section on p. 92 be clarified to indicate that the +35 is a positional bonus. Right now, the text reads:

"When executing attacks on surprised foes, the attacker
gets +25 OB, in addition to any positional modifiers (if
melee). Against flatfooted foes, the bonus is the +60:
+25 for surprise and +35 for an automatic rear attack,
regardless of position."

I would suggest adding a couple of words (and cutting out a couple) in this way to make it clear that the +35 is the positional bonus, and so doesn't stack with the other potential positional bonuses:

"When executing attacks on surprised foes, the attacker
gets +25 OB, in addition to any positional modifiers (if
melee). Against flatfooted foes, the total bonus is +60: +25 for surprise and +35 for an automatic rear attack positional bonus,
regardless of position.(This bonus does not stack with any other rear or flank positional bonuses)."

Quote
I think as GM you could certainly rule that some entities are always prepared for combat and that therefore they could never be caught flatfooted. But given that stone golems have omnidirectional life sense, you could also think of it as the creature needing to reorient to figure out what is attacking it, since whatever concealed you was not merely being out of its field of view (since there is no "out of view").

Yes, and Stone Golems are notoriously slow, so I could do that. I guess I'm just being picky in pushing a little to define exactly what the +25 'surprised' bonus represents. The game already prevents a player that is surprised from parrying or using quickness DB, so the surprise bonus isn't representing the fact that surprised characters can't defend themselves as well. The game also gives the +35 rear attack bonus on top of that, so the surprised bonus isn't representing the fact that the attacker can strike anywhere she wants. So what exactly is it representing then? And if we can't give a clear answer, and if the surprise bonus isn't really necessary anyway because an attacker already gets so many benefits from attacking a surprised character, then do we really need the surprised bonus at all? Wouldn't the game be better without it?
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #51 on: April 20, 2017, 12:02:03 PM »
Might it be possible to say simply this: whatever can't be stunned, can't be surprised?
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline jdale

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #52 on: April 20, 2017, 02:08:24 PM »
Surprise results in the loss of your first 1-2 AP. It just represents that you are unready, and the bonus to hit you is just +25. That seems like it could happen to anything. It just wasn't in the right posture to immediately fight.

Flatfooted results in the loss of the entire round. You are completely unprepared, the bonus to hit you is +25 (surprise) and treated as a rear attack (+35) and you can't use your shield or Qu DB. I could see some entities being immune to being caught flat-footed.

Who is immune to stun... hmm... elementals, champions, some demons, some undead, battlepede, some malevolent plants, constructs, golems...  that doesn't seem unreasonable to use that as the dividing line for flatfooted.

Offline RandalThor

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2017, 05:00:46 PM »
As for the golem (and any creature/thing that can't be surprised) it is easy enough to say they don't suffer from flat-footed and similar situational effects. If the attacker is coming from behind, they get the flank/rear attack modifier and whatever else would apply, but not the "surprise" modifier. Pretty simple if you ask me.

I wouldn't say that what can't be stunned can't be surprised, because one is more of a physical situation (stun*) while the other is purely mental (surprise). Elementals and the like that cannot be stunned, I believe can be surprised because they do have a mind that can be confused. The golem with the "omnidirectional awareness" is different because it is more like a robot with radar, and doesn't have nerves or feelings and what-not, so being surprised is very difficult. (Can it be caught "flat-footed?" Yup. With magic that masks ones presence I believe so.)

I do believe a flat modifier instead of tons of changes (no Qu bonus, and stuff like that) done at the moment is better for game play. It is likely easier to just give a couple of different levels of "surprise" with their own modifiers than to have the players do all the calculating of their DB for the different situations. In this case, having it easier will do much more to draw in new players. All of us "old-timers" already know how to do it the more complicated way and that can be put in there as optional rules in a side bar.


*Though, technically, it is a mental situation ("I just can't even right now!") brought on by a physical one ("Ouch! That hurt.").
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Online Hurin

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Re: Counter magic strategies
« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2017, 11:33:56 AM »
Ok, I think I understand the system a lot better; thanks for the explanations. Which way you want to handle surprise does to some extent come down to a matter of preference, with RandalThor preferring the ease of a flat bonus and me preferring the granularity of the already existing bonuses.

I do nevertheless think that the flat +25 surprise bonus is still a little amorphous, and that you probably don't need it. It is a little amorphous because I can already see players arguing that they are never 'not expecting combat'. How exactly do you define that? If my party is travelling for a day through the wilderness and then gets attacked, how do I as a GM determine who was 'expecting combat' and who was not? It is a huge difference between being merely surprised (+25 to be hit and losing 1 or 2 AP worth of actions) versus being flatfooted (+60 to hit, losing an entire round, and having most if not all of your DB negated). In the example with my Paladin, his DB would go from 60 (not surprised) to 35 (surprised) to -60 (flatfooted): that is a difference of 95 DB between surprised and flatfooted. If that is the case, then the difference between the two needs to be very explicit. What do players have to do to indicate they are 'expecting combat'?

I also think that you probably don't need the flat bonus because getting an extra 2 worth of actions is a significant enough bonus to represent simple surprise, and an extra 4 AP worth of actions together with an automatic rear attack bonus (+35) and the complete negation of both shield and Quickness DB seems more than enough to represent total surprise (flatfootedness).
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien