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-   -   Reordering Parries (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=139930)

VariousRen 11-20-2015 09:16 AM

Reordering Parries
 
A warrior is wielding a two handed sword, pressed by mindless skeletons and a single reanimated knight. The warriors first parry is his best, and he would like to save it to deflect the knight's powerful blow. The skeletons don't risk doing much damage, but they're trying to grab him and pull him down and he would like to stop as many of them as possible.

Depending on initiative this goes two very different ways:

Knight, Skeletons, Warrior

The knight makes his attack, and the warrior uses his best parry to deflect it. The warrior then continues to make parries against the skeletons at increasing penalties keeping most of their hands away and cutting off a few arms. This is what the warrior would most like.

Skeletons, Knight, Warrior

The skeletons grab at the warrior, and he either has to dodge (poorly, and no cutting off arms) or spend his highest parries fending off minor attacks. When the knight attacks the warrior has spent all of his high skill parries, and is very likely hit by the only attack that can punch through is armour.

To solve this, is there any problem with allowing the warrior to begin his parry cascade at -2, leaving the unpenalized parry for the knight? Otherwise initiative matters a whole lot more than I think it should, and it becomes better to be a slow heavy hitter rather than a fast heavy hitter (more likely to land if other people are attacking).

Lord Azagthoth 11-20-2015 09:23 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
Use Tactics. This way you can position yourself near the knight, maybe even with the knight between you and the skeletons.

Kromm 11-20-2015 10:05 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
I don't think starting the Parry penalties somewhere else makes much sense. The order of attacks is the order of attacks, and positioning yourself to deflect one necessarily takes you slightly out of position to deflect the next. That's fairly realistic, and it's gamist and unrealistic to half-heartedly parry people on all sides and then magically snap into the perfect position against the attacker who worries you most. You probably wouldn't even be thinking about this if you were attempting three or four parries in a second; you'd be reacting reflexively to fists and weapons coming at you.

If it's really important that you parry a specific foe's attack, you'd likely keep your weapon on him and not distract yourself using it to ward off other attackers. You would make dodges against those other fighters, or even trust your armor to turn their blows.

VariousRen 11-20-2015 10:51 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1955381)
I don't think starting the Parry penalties somewhere else makes much sense. The order of attacks is the order of attacks, and positioning yourself to deflect one necessarily takes you slightly out of position to deflect the next. That's fairly realistic, and it's gamist and unrealistic to half-heartedly parry people on all sides and then magically snap into the perfect position against the attacker who worries you most. You probably wouldn't even be thinking about this if you were attempting three or four parries in a second; you'd be reacting reflexively to fists and weapons coming at you.

If it's really important that you parry a specific foe's attack, you'd likely keep your weapon on him and not distract yourself using it to ward off other attackers. You would make dodges against those other fighters, or even trust your armor to turn their blows.

What strikes me as strange though is that the order of attacks in this case is purely a result of the initiative being order the way it is and waiting to reach the break point of "It's my turn, all my penalties go away". If the warrior is forced to AOD(Parry) every turn, the strangeness going on here becomes more apparent. The skeletons and knight just alternate attacks, but depending on if the knight or the skeleton starts, the combat is far more survivable for the defender.

Knight goes first and is defended, skeletons go next and most of their attacks are parried away even with lowered parry. Skeletons go first and are dodged instead of parried (dodge is probably ~8), defender is grabbed by the skeletons and eventually dragged down and killed in a grapple. Or the defender parries the skeletons and has to rely on a dodge to avoid the knight's attacks, because his parry is so low that it is useless now. Also note that it is beneficial here to be slower instead of faster, which seems like an unintended effect.

What would be the problem with allowing the defender to state "I am using my first parry to defend against the knight when he attacks, so I'll start my other parries at -2"? If the knight doesn't attack the defender loses his best parry for no benefit, which seems like a reasonable trade.

EDIT: And how would this break down if everyone involved has the exact same speed? Now there is no way to say "This attack went first, so it's unpenalized", and the order that the characters and DM say things take place matters a lot.

Varyon 11-20-2015 10:53 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
Letting someone reserve a good Parry while making minor ones doesn't make a lot of sense, as Kromm points out. Allowing the warrior to delay and take his turn at a different point in the initiative sequence, on the other hand, should be fine. So if the Knight has BS 6, the Warrior BS 5, and the Skeletons BS 4, the normal order would be knight-warrior-skeletons-knight-warrior-skeletons-etc. Having the Warrior delay to BS 3, however, would change the order to knight-skeletons-warrior-etc, meaning he'll always get his best Parry against the knight. This does, however, encourage a sort of Delay-war - the Knight may then Delay to BS 3.5 so he goes after the skeletons, then the Warrior delays to BS 3.75 of the next round so he goes after the skeletons, and so forth.

EDIT: Also, while this wasn't one of the intended use cases, this is a situation my Initiative Overhaul can handle nicely. Well, if the system itself wasn't an unholy pain to try and use, anyway.

Mathulhu 11-20-2015 11:30 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
To reorder your position in the initiative order you use the Wait action.

roguebfl 11-20-2015 11:44 AM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
Enhanced Parry (Accessibility: Against designated foe, destination must be set on your turn - 10%) [9/lvl]

Kromm 11-20-2015 12:24 PM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
FWIW, I'm fine with the suggestion re: using an effective Basic Speed that's less than actual Basic Speed for the purpose of the combat sequence. If you have Basic Speed 6.25 and want to act as 6.00 or 4.75 or 1.00, go ahead! You'll be stuck that way for the whole fight (reordering the combat sequence mid-battle creates far more problems than it solves), but it doesn't seem unfair. For added fun, allow this option only to beings that have IQ 6+ and the ability to make their own decisions (i.e., no Reprogrammable or Slave Mentality disadvantages, Charm spells, or other effects that mean all choices are subject to third-party orders instead of left to reflex). That way, fantasy warriors with brains can slow down, let the hordes of skeletons and rats come to them, and react to what they see, while random mindless things always attack pell-mell.

Mister Negative 11-20-2015 12:37 PM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
There are also other 'game-canonical' ways of representing this as well.

Instead of 'saving your best parry', you could use Extra Effort in combat while defending against the knight, or retreat against his attack.

IMHO, that's more precisely what you would actually be doing. You wouldn't be making 'half-hearted' parries against the skeletons. You might twist away from their claws (and not actually use a parry), or parry them normally. Then, when the knight attacks, you might hurl yourself backwards or take extraordinary means to defend against him.

Thinking of it another way (maybe cinematically?), why wouldn't it be harder to defend yourself against the reanimated knight when he was accompanied by a mindless horde? As an audience, when we see the big bad supported by lesser minions, we don't think: "Oh no, those minions are going to be trouble now!".

We think that the big bad is going to be even more dangerous than when he is unsupported.

Another way of looking at it is that you ARE saving your best defense for the knight. You aren't retreating or using extra effort against the puny skeletons. Heck, you might even be ignoring them and allowing their bony claws to scrape ineffectually against your sturdy armor!

Kromm 11-20-2015 12:40 PM

Re: Reordering Parries
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Negative (Post 1955414)

Instead of 'saving your best parry', you could use Extra Effort in combat while defending against the knight, or retreat against his attack.

That's a very good point. If you save Feverish Defense, your one retreat (and one Acrobatic Dodge), and so on for the scariest foe, you'll get much the same effect with the added bonus of more drama. It would be an interesting campaign decision to allow Feverish Defense against bosses, major henchthings, and worthy adversaries, but not against fodder and mooks.


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