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Old 06-16-2019, 08:00 AM   #1
Exallted
 
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Default Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

Combat at different levels (B402) states that bonuses/penalties to active defenses (AD) apply when melee fighting occurs at different levels.

For instance, at 4 feet of vertical difference, the higher fighter has +2 to AD, and the lower fighter -2.

When accounting for weapon reach (Effects of Reach, B403) are these modifiers to AD based on the lowest reach between fighters or on each weapon individually?

So, at 4 feet of vertical difference, with the lower fighter using a Reach 2 weapon and the higher fighter a Reach 1 weapon:
  • If the former, both fighters get no bonuses or penalties to AD?
  • If the latter, the lower fighter defends with no penalty, but the higher fighter defends at +2?
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers


each yard past the first brings the foe three feet closer to you.
This does not bring you any closer to your foe!
For example, a greatsword (two-yard reach) would let you fight as if your
foe were three feet closer.
If you were standing six feet below him, you would fight as though he were only three feet higher.

He would not enjoy a similar benefit unless he, too, had long reach.
In your example the lower fighter (reach 2 weapon) would have "one yard past the first" so he would subtract 3ft and fight as if merely 1 foot lower instead of 4, putting him into the "ignore it" category for any penalties against him.

Due to the "as above, but" we can look at the first tier of bonuses for example.

It seems like Lowerton McGreatsword would no longer suffer the -2 to hit Higherton McSmallsword's head, but then we need to consider: does this also mean Lowerton losing the +2 to hit feet or legs of Highterton?

I think if using a greatsword at reach 2 that might be the case, but since a greatsword is reach 1,2 (B274) it could switch from freely 2 to 1 (B269) when he wished to target feet/legs to get that +2 bonus, but that would mean at reach 1 he would then suffer the -2 to hit the head.

Makes total sense, you'd switch your reach grip/stance (whatever that represents) to hit either the head or the legs. Both would be equally good at hitting torso/arms.

I imagine that Higherton would still benefit from the usual benefits/penalties (-2 to hit feet/legs, +1 to hit head/neck) since Lowerton doesn't count as closer to him.

Lowerton would probably also still enjoy the defensive benefit "The upper fighter cannot strike at the lower fighter’s feet or legs."

Active defences confuse me too, since it's not as clearcut as a hit penalty as to who is the subject.

"you would fight as though", if you consider defences to be party of fighting, seems like it could mean Lowerton could ignore the active defence penalty...

however, since Higherton is the one doing the fighting when he does an active defence, it sounds like he would still keep the active defence bonus.

Last edited by Plane; 06-16-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Exallted View Post
Combat at different levels (B402) states that bonuses/penalties to active defenses (AD) apply when melee fighting occurs at different levels.

For instance, at 4 feet of vertical difference, the higher fighter has +2 to AD, and the lower fighter -2.

When accounting for weapon reach (Effects of Reach, B403) are these modifiers to AD based on the lowest reach between fighters or on each weapon individually?

So, at 4 feet of vertical difference, with the lower fighter using a Reach 2 weapon and the higher fighter a Reach 1 weapon:
  • If the former, both fighters get no bonuses or penalties to AD?

  • If the latter, the lower fighter defends with no penalty, but the higher fighter defends at +2?
Weapon reach directly affects the vertical distance between fighters. As such, it only has an indirect effect on active defenses, i.e., penalties and bonuses to active defenses only result from the change in effective vertical distance.

For example, the initial vertical difference is nine feet making combat impossible without the fighters adopting some strange positions. However, one fighter gets a Reach 2 weapon and the other fighter gets a Reach 3 weapon.

If the upper fighter has the Reach 3 weapon, he reduces the vertical distance by 6 feet for the extra 2 yards of reach his weapon gives him and fights as if the vertical distance were only three feet, giving him a +1 to his active defenses. The lower fighter reduces the vertical distance by three feet for the extra yard of reach his Reach 2 weapon gives him and fights as if the vertical distance was six feet, giving him a -3 to defend.

If the lower fighter has the Reach 3 weapon, he fights with the vertical distance reduced to three feet and defends at -1 to his active defenses. The upper fighter with the Reach 2 weapon, fights as if the vertical distance was six feet and gets +3 to his active defenses.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
[INDENT]
Active defences confuse me too, since it's not as clearcut as a hit penalty as to who is the subject.

"you would fight as though", if you consider defences to be party of fighting, seems like it could mean Lowerton could ignore the active defence penalty...

however, since Higherton is the one doing the fighting when he does an active defence, it sounds like he would still keep the active defence bonus.
Precisely, active defenses are what's bugging me. Hit locations are fairly straight forward to figure out, since the depend on each combatant weapon individually.


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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
If the upper fighter has the Reach 3 weapon, he reduces the vertical distance by 6 feet for the extra 2 yards of reach his weapon gives him and fights as if the vertical distance were only three feet, giving him a +1 to his active defenses. The lower fighter reduces the vertical distance by three feet for the extra yard of reach his Reach 2 weapon gives him and fights as if the vertical distance was six feet, giving him a -3 to defend.

If the lower fighter has the Reach 3 weapon, he fights with the vertical distance reduced to three feet and defends at -1 to his active defenses. The upper fighter with the Reach 2 weapon, fights as if the vertical distance was six feet and gets +3 to his active defenses.
So, it is your understanding that the modifiers for Active Defenses derive, as do the allowed hit locations, from each weapon individually? The "problem" (if it be called that) with this interpretation is that the upper fighter gets worse defensive bonus the longer his weapon is.

Last edited by Exallted; 06-16-2019 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Exallted View Post
So, it is your understanding that the modifiers for Active Defenses derive, as do the allowed hit locations, from each weapon individually? The "problem" (if it be called that) with this interpretation is that the upper fighter gets worse defensive bonus the longer his weapon is.
As it stands, the upper fighter gets a greater bonus to his defenses the greater the difference in vertical distance while the lower fighter takes a bigger penalty to his defenses as vertical distance increases, so getting a lower (or "worse") defensive bonus as the weapon gets longer is at least consistent.

It seems intuitively correct that the defensive bonus for an effective vertical difference of four feet should be the same regardless of how you got there. I.E., whether the four feet is the result of being four feet above your opponent with a Reach 1 weapon, seven feet above with a Reach 2 weapon or ten feet above with a Reach 3 weapon, you should only get a +1 to your active defenses.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
It seems intuitively correct that the defensive bonus for an effective vertical difference of four feet should be the same regardless of how you got there. I.E., whether the four feet is the result of being four feet above your opponent with a Reach 1 weapon, seven feet above with a Reach 2 weapon or ten feet above with a Reach 3 weapon, you should only get a +1 to your active defenses.
So you do think that the bonus to active defenses Higherton gets should be reduced the longer Lowerton's spear is?

What about the reverse: should having a longer weapon reduce the penalty Lowerton suffers to his active defenses?

I understand maybe doing that for parrying, but it would seem weird that wielding a long weapon might somehow reduce the penalty you get for blocking/dodging.
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
So you do think that the bonus to active defenses Higherton gets should be reduced the longer Lowerton's spear is?
If I understand correctly, he's saying the exact opposite: Higherton defense bonus is entirely dependent on his own weapon reach - being higher, the longer the weapon you have, less bonus you have.

Which I understand, as a concept, though I'm not sure if it feels right.
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
So you do think that the bonus to active defenses Higherton gets should be reduced the longer Lowerton's spear is?

What about the reverse: should having a longer weapon reduce the penalty Lowerton suffers to his active defenses?

I understand maybe doing that for parrying, but it would seem weird that wielding a long weapon might somehow reduce the penalty you get for blocking/dodging.
It's not quite that Higherton's defense bonus is entirely dependent on his own weapon reach, though it's close. It is the case that Higherton's defense bonus is entirely dependent on the effective vertical distance between him and Lowerton. The way Effects of Reach p. B403 is worded, only the reach of Higherton's weapon affects Higherton and only the reach of Lowerton's weapon affects Lowerton, the two reaches don't combine. Thus Higherton and Lowerton aren't necessarily at the same effective vertical difference and it's those differences that govern the penalties/bonuses involved.

Yes, as Lowerton's weapon gets longer the penalty he suffers to his active defenses would be reduced as was indicated in my initial example when Lowerton switched from a Reach 2 weapon to a Reach 3 weapon.

It doesn't make sense for blocking/dodging, but it also doesn't apply to blocking/dodging. Weapon length only serves to reduce the effective distance between you when the weapon is used because the business end is closer to your opponent. Your body isn't any closer, so if you're six feet apart without the effects of weapon reach, you're still six feet apart and that's the distance you should be using for penalties/bonuses to blocking/dodging. I suppose if you could put your shield on a stick, so it was a yard closer to your opponent, you might be able to block at a reduced distance but that would be pushing it.

Last edited by Curmudgeon; 06-16-2019 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

I think I understand what you mean now...

so basically is a higher-up fighter had a long weapon, they shouldn't use it for parrying because they wouldn't get the parry bonus, they should instead use a shorter weapon that doesn't decrease their foes' distance, to maintain the parry bonus

That or dodge, which presumably always gets the bonuses since it doesn't involve using a weapon's reach in any way.

Or block, which since shields are reach 1 weapons (so long as you're under SM+2) would not reduce the active defense bonus either.

However... what if the higher attacker was using a 1,2 weapon? Could they use reach 2 for the benefit on their attack, and reach 1 for the benefit on the defense?
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Combat at different height and Active Defense modifiers

I still don't know what to think of this. It doesn't feel right to "penalize" a higher fighter by making him lose his AD bonuses if using a reach 2 or reach 3 weapon.

Perhaps we might decouple AD and Hit Locations ? In the sense that effects of reach only apply to Hit Locations, but AD modifiers are unaffected by it?
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