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