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Old 04-20-2020, 10:54 AM   #11
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

I consider the OP's original situation to not be a problem. Just as it is possible to force a draw in Chess if you are in just the right situation to begin with, this potential in Melee simply reflects the fact that it is a well engineered game where the combination of tactical situations and player decision making can open up opportunities. If you want a tank who can get at a 'speedy', then plan ahead by entering combat with some weapon other than a mace. A spear would work (you can jab or throw). Or, if you had a missile weapon you could ready it and take pot shots until speedy either got hit by a lucky shot or decided to engage in melee or HTH combat, as that at least provides an avenue to victory (the preferred outcome once you have been denied a draw!).

Another important point is that some of these sorts of situations are only relevant to one-on-one duels on open ground, which is not really where the system is at its best. Just like chess, you can play with one figure vs. another, but it is a lot more interesting to play several vs. several, and/or with a more complex physical environment. Stalemates are much harder to force in those cases.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:12 AM   #12
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

The way to abuse Disengage is to have Dagger Mastery and a Dagger-Staff of Mastery. The foe is down 2 DX to strike your Molly so she acts first to Disengage and Occult zap. She'll only kill a dozen helpless muggles before she runs out of Mana and needs a week to recharge.
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Old 04-20-2020, 12:07 PM   #13
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aman View Post
See what I'm saying? That's a self-defeating design flaw, and it isn't necessary. If you have to roll your DX10 to Disengage from a DX9 Giant, and half your team succeeds, and the other half doesn't, you'll end up with half the team getting beat up. Now you are better off fighting. A design that pushes players to ACT positively is a good design.
I do see what you are saying, but I mostly disagree.

I agree that in theory there are potentially frustrating or wrong-seeming situations where figures could avoid being attacked by a single figure with even 1 point of lower adjDX, if that single figure has no pole weapon and no ranged attack, and the terrain is open enough (and if not using the Waiting For An Opening optional rule).

I disagree however that it is a design flaw, or that the design should artificially push players "to ACT positively". I think it's a feature if it is possible for some level of speed advantage to allow a figure to avoid a single sword/ax/mace opponent in clear open ground. I think that should be possible. q.v. fiction like Zorro, Robin Hood, or any hero using agility and maneuver to not be overwhelmed by large numbers of guards. In an arena combat scenario, you can just specify that if one side refuses combat, they forfeit the round as if they ran out an exit, which is also a valid move to survive if you don't think you can win the fight.


I also disagree in almost all of your details of how severe the situation actually is.
* Disengaging doesn't tend to get the disengager much except getting out of a bad position. It doesn't accomplish anything else.
* In situations with terrain and more than a pair of hostile figures, it's not always possible to disengage to a safe hex, and having one of your figures not attack tends to put you at a disadvantage.
* Pole weapons, ranged weapons and spells can be used against you while you're using your action to disengage.
* Pole weapons charges strike before disengagement can happen.
* If there's more than one foe, they can maneuver around you to prevent your escape.
* Disengaging only works if you have an adjDX advantage.
* Waiting for an Opening is a natural response to Disengage, giving your foe up to +2 adjDX, so you really need 3 higher adjDX to be sure to be able to get away from them by continuing to disengage.
* Waiting for an Opening also means that Disengaging a foe means giving them a +1 adjDX advantage next turn.


Having played TFT combat for many years, I also find that Disengage has never occurred as a problem during the play I've seen. If someone wants to disengage repeatedly, it generally means they're running away, or conceding a fight, or trying to fall back to a better fighting position. But that just has natural consequences, none of which I've seen to be a problem in practice. The only issues I've seen have been with new players or people with some other conception of how they want/expect combat to work, or who are just surprised and frustrated when a faster figure keeps avoiding melee with them.


And to address your giant example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aman View Post
I still submit that it is broken to have a mechanic that allows one side to practice continual denial of action. As a matter of fact, if I have a giant, and you have 1/3 it's size in figs, you can move half, Engage, then disengage and deny it indefinitely, locking it into position with the Engage then denying it a chance to fight, while you shoot it to death.
First, 1/3 of a 3-hex giant is one, and (in the full rules, anyway) one or two figures can be Pushed into by a giant during movement, making them roll 3/DX or fall, though that's not really a great tactic in many cases. If you mean a 6-hex giant versus 2 figures, or a 9-hex giant versus 3 figures, well, you'd need to invent their stats, and I would tend to follow GURPS' example of giving such huge giants a reach advantage (reach at least 3 for the 9-hex giant), meaning they don't need to have a spear to hit you 2 hexes away. If giants were often being confounded by people teasing them by coming up and disengaging, they might take to carrying large rocks, spears, or longer clubs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aman View Post
The classic error with, say airplane or spaceship battles is to design a scenario where one side just wants to escape. Oops, boring scenario.
The scenario design is up to the players and/or GM in an RPG game. And scenarios where you want to escape can be really exciting, if you make it other than just an arena situation where one side can just leave. In an arena situation, you can just specify that if one side refuses to fight, they forfeit. If a player says they want to play an arena duel, and then just run away the whole time, that's mainly on them, or a misunderstanding about what the goals would be. It doesn't mean that a set of combat rules should make running away impossible. Now THAT I would see as a design flaw!


I do think that this and other (e.g. Expert/Master Defend) uses of engagement to pin melee fighters without really fighting them while others use ranged attacks to attack them, can be a bit of a problem, which I prefer to address with house rules that address all those issues at once (e.g. allowing moving through engagement but with the ignored figure able to act at that point to attack them).

Last edited by Skarg; 04-20-2020 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:01 AM   #14
Aman
 
Join Date: May 2008
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Yeah, we are at the Melee stage of things, and Wizard is next.

Haven't even really gotten into TFT yet. I am not really concerned with a GM dungeon crawl / adventure situation. That is easy to intervene in and wing it on the spot, e.g. "the giant bellows in rage and picks up a rock".

My concerns have to do with what is actually happening using just the core rules, or basic rules, or whatever people call the Melee / Wizard combo.

I regard it as inevitable that an RPG in its pursuit of variety will come up with "broken" combinations. It is then up to the GM to push back on them to keep the adventure interesting without killing all the character by having them run into Sauron or something.
:)

Thanks for the input, picked up a lot of useful rule bits including some insight into TFT and the "advanced" rules!
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:02 PM   #15
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Hi Skarg,
Waiting for an Opening will not help against a foe that is disengaging because Waiting for an Opening only works if you do not move. If your foe is avoiding combat but refusing the leave the field, then how are you going to get engaged again without moving?


Hi Aman,
Skarg is right about a lot of it but I want to double down on agreeing with him about Giants. Multihex monsters will move onto one hex figures and often knock them over, doing so right through the engagement so before there is any attempt to disengage.

Also I want to affirm your take that someone disengaging a lot can be annoying. If you were doing arena battles, you can just make a rule that more than 3 disengages in a row is a loss the same a leaving the field.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:14 PM   #16
Aman
 
Join Date: May 2008
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Hi Skarg,
Waiting for an Opening will not help against a foe that is disengaging because Waiting for an Opening only works if you do not move. If your foe is avoiding combat but refusing the leave the field, then how are you going to get engaged again without moving?


Hi Aman,
Skarg is right about a lot of it but I want to double down on agreeing with him about Giants. Multihex monsters will move onto one hex figures and often knock them over, doing so right through the engagement so before there is any attempt to disengage.

Also I want to affirm your take that someone disengaging a lot can be annoying. If you were doing arena battles, you can just make a rule that more than 3 disengages in a row is a loss the same a leaving the field.
Hey Axley,
Haven't played with a giant yet, but looking forward to more arena fights in the gladiator tradition. Just using Melee for now, so it it's in there, we'll be dealing with it! My son is keen to try a giant - I'm uncertain which side he wants to be.

Yes, we're making our rules about Arena fights and draws. And betting on them! But I think there's a point about not fighting - no action, no prize money. In a labyrinth, the GM can decide; in the arena, the bloodthirsty crowd decides.
:)
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:57 AM   #17
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Hi Skarg,
Waiting for an Opening will not help against a foe that is disengaging because Waiting for an Opening only works if you do not move. If your foe is avoiding combat but refusing the leave the field, then how are you going to get engaged again without moving?
Ah, that's a good technical point, unless it's the first turn he disengages and you didn't move that turn - then you could switch to Waiting For An Opening in response. (This is often the situation when someone was fighting you for one or more turns, but then they later decide to try to get away.)

What can often happen in practice when someone's trying to escape several foes, is a pursuer will move and get around behind the figure trying to get away, or to some position such that the figure trying to get away moves (on their NEXT turn) into engagement range of a pursuer with the intent to Disengage out. In this case too, the pursuer could end up engaged without having moved on the turn the evader disengages. Then the next turn they can move up to 1/2 MA and attack at +1 DX.


Or if you're willing to go slightly off RAW, you could house rule that either:

1) if you're Waiting For An Opening with a hand weapon rather than a ranged weapon, you can move 1 hex and do it (I think this makes a lot of sense because real melee fighters often circle or vary their distance while evaluating each other before striking). This would tend to cover the repeat Disengager. They Disengage one hex, then you move first one hex to re-engage.

or

2) if a foe Disengages from you and you still have your action not yet used, you could be allowed to switch to Waiting For An Opening with a hand weapon regardless of how far you moved.

Last edited by Skarg; 04-22-2020 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:50 AM   #18
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

It's a matter of taste but I'm tempted to go back to the alternative rule that a disengaging figure can be hit at a DX penalty.

As for Giants; shouldn't a long armed monster with a long club have the reach of a spear? That would make Giants a tougher proposition: so you disengage from the Giant before he gets to act. Big deal, he hits you anyway with his 10 foot reach.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:04 AM   #19
hcobb
 
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Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

Disengage is only useful if it helps you kill people.

Take a typical experienced character:

ST 6, DX 14, IQ 20, MA 12, Mana 40
Very Fine Silver Dagger(1d+3) with Staff V enchantment(1d+2)
Dagger Mastery, Running, Human tongue, Staff V, etc.

She selects the Disengage option against a puny human swordsman with ST 14, DX 17(15), IQ 9, Two Handed Sword, Leather Armor, etc.

She acts first because he is at a -2 on his DX due to her Dagger Mastery. She disengages then applies her occult zap against the helpless swordsman until he dies.

Q.E.D.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:34 AM   #20
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Tactical Question: Disengage

You keep ignoring the fundamental flaw in your argument of "I disengage, and because I am no longer engaged I change my option to attack."

On page 106 of The Fantasy Trip LE rule book, where it explains how Disengage works. It clearly details that when your turn to "move" comes you stand still or shift one hex and then says:

"When its turn to ATTACK comes, instead of attacking, it moves one hex in any direction. You may move onto another figure to attempt HTH combat that same turn."

You keep suggesting that the disengage can occur, AND THEN a swap to a different option allows an attack that same turn. It cannot work that way. Disengaging TAKES THE PLACE of the attack portion of the option.

You can only change options if you have not "ACTED" (disengaging is the ACTION).
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