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Old 09-13-2020, 01:50 PM   #11
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Note that wizards have several ways of dealing with nuisance creatures, such as the Blast spell. If the wizard is wearing Leather armor then the Fire spell will also work.
And if you are dealing with lots of nuisance creatures: Shock Shield spell.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:26 PM   #12
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

Finally got to play the minor dragonet fight that I had been planning and an issue came up.

The party leader knew Tactics, so the dragonets kept losing initiative. Finally, I sent all three dragonets (it was a minor skirmish) in against the wizard. I figure the stacking limit is one, but I put one on top of her and two on empty adjacent spaces, engaging her. This meant that should could not shift out from under the dragonet who engaged her from her hex.

But this raises a question. A dragonet cannot attack from an adjacent hex. Can it nonetheless engage?

I think so. I think that a foot long mini dragonish thing can put up enough of a fuss that it impedes movement, locking the wizard in place, but I also think it's not obvious that a creature who cannot attack can engage. (Unlike the usual examples, the dragonets really do have attacks, but they can't attack the hex the character is actually in.)

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-16-2020, 05:18 AM   #13
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

Nuisance creatures stack two to the hex and do not engage and are not engaged.

The best rule of thumb here is if it can't attack into adjacent hexes it does not threaten adjacent hexes and disregards threats from adjacent hexes. c.f. Goo, slimes, wasps, dragonets, Bloodtrees etc.

Also Am Bushes don't have any melee attacks and so don't engage anybody.

Once a swarm creature is in your hex it follows you around as you move.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:29 AM   #14
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Nuisance creatures stack two to the hex and do not engage and are not engaged.

The best rule of thumb here is if it can't attack into adjacent hexes it does not threaten adjacent hexes and disregards threats from adjacent hexes. c.f. Goo, slimes, wasps, dragonets, Bloodtrees etc.

Also Am Bushes don't have any melee attacks and so don't engage anybody.

Once a swarm creature is in your hex it follows you around as you move.
That makes sense for rats, bats, spiders and wasps, all of whom actually land on a figure when they attack. A dragonet (which is no listed as a nuisance critter) attacks while hovering in the same hex. I don't apply the same rule.

I guess it should also be said that what you write isn't in ITL or any other official product, is it? Pretty reasonable interpretations, but not canon.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

I would love to see fully worked out official examples of nuisance encounters.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:41 AM   #16
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

Yes, me too.

Every GM has to think about it. After a little thought, it becomes unlikely that a bunch of rats who can't attack from an adjacent hex can nonetheless restrict movement. It also seems ridiculous to think that one can disengage from such critters, though they can certainly shift, taking the critters with them. The rules you outlined seem about right for the typical nuisances.

Dragonets are different, though. I'm not at all set on my ruling that they can engage from an adjacent hex, but I don't see why one couldn't shift out from under a dragonet. This possibility makes dragonet attacks fairly inconsequential if dragonets can't engage from adjacent hexes. Unless the dragonets move second, they can't really attack a party with sufficient movement options. (Since the encounter was outdoors, movement was largely unrestricted.)

To be sure, dragonets probably won't attack a stronger party in most situations, so if their attacks are particularly easy to evade, this should be taken into account. But it shouldn't take a seven to one advantage against a single adventurer (or lucky initiative rolls) for them to even have a chance of scoring a hit. If they can engage from adjacent hexes, a three to one advantage would suffice to score a hit even while moving first. Move one on top of the figure and two adjacent. The figure cannot shift while remaining adjacent to all three unless he shifts under a dragonet.

In my situation, the dragonets were trained watchdogs, so attacked although weaker. Even so, I would have retreated them as soon as one was killed. I gave the player a significant break, choosing to claw only on the first attack, not breathe fire as well. I think I shouldn't be so charitable in the future. I attacked the least armored figure, which I think a dragonet can probably recognize, and could easily have knocked the mage out, though within a Physicker's ability to keep alive, had I chosen to breathe fire as well.
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:11 AM   #17
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

I would say dragonets, like anything that can't attack in melee, don't engage.

If they are unable to attack due to movement, have them Dodge/Defend, making physical attacks on them 4 dice versus DX -4 (-8 for ranged), and have them end MA several hexes from a wizard if they figure out wizards can get them with Thrown spells. When moving first, there may be other things they can do as well to keep out of range of melee attacks and/or behind walls from other attacks, or just fly high enough over their foes that they can't be swung at, and ranged attacks also have a height penalty, but they can swoop in as soon as they do win initiative.

That way, yeah they could be frustrated by not being able to end movement on a victim, for a few turns, but they can probably make their foes look even more fooling trying and failing to attack them, breaking arrows on walls and using up wizard ST.

If the initiative situation is nevertheless really galling you, it seems to me that since they are DX 14, flying MA 14 and this is their specialized tactic, that one might want to house rule that:

Dragonets effectively have Tactics talent (limited to their own way of fighting - no Henry, you can't make your dragonet familiar be your party leader).

and/or

A Dragonet can fly straight into your hex, which both engages you, and means than if you shift away as your movement, the dragonet moves with you unless you have higher DX or higher MA than it does.
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:04 PM   #18
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

I take your point, Skarg, that we usually say engagement applies only for figures who could attack. My interpretation of Dragonets does make an exception, which should usually be avoided. A thwarted dragonet could defend, though the person shifting is likely to be able to attack from side or rear, for a four die DX-2 or DX roll. To prevent these somewhat easy rolls requires all three non-front hexes to be filled with dragonets.

A DX 12 hero has a bit better than 1/8 to hit a dragonet from the side and about 1/3 from rear. The former requires some luck, but the latter is not too lucky.

Not too keen on giving IQ 6 tactics or having dragonets move with you. It's a matter of taste, but I can more easily see a ferocious flying housecat engaging one hex away than that the same housecat is a tactician or that he retains engagement with a shifting character.

That said, I'm still not settled on my ruling and carving exceptions to rules is generally to be shunned. But a critter who literally has no chance to attack unless the enemy is surrounded* or the critter moves second seems broke to me.

* By surrounded, I mean that there's no available hex adjacent to the dragonet's target which would be a legal move for the target. In an open area, this usually requires seven dragonets to pull off.
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:50 PM   #19
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

This are how I would handle it:

- Dragonets can fly into your hex. No need to do HTH combat rules as it is not HTH. Movement rules allow for flying creatures to enter your hex. This is all nothing new.

- Since they are flying creatures, you cannot engage them. And this is already by the rules.

- Since they have no range 1 attack, they cannot engage you. I believe this is also by the rules since it is not an armed enemy at 1 hex range: ITL pg 106 "A one-hex figure is engaged if it is in one of the front hexes of an armed enemy."

Now for the new twist:

- Once it is in your hex hovering, I would say this is the equivalent of being in range from the "hex" directly above. That is, you are now engaged and should behave as such. This means if the Dragonets win initiative, they do get to attack as you already noted. On the other hand, if the Dragonets do not get initiative and move first, their foe will need a higher DX in order to disengage (and exit the hex leaving the dragonet behind) before the Dragonet attacks.

This is exactly the same as when dealing with foes on foot. You can avoid combat if you DX is higher. Thus the above fits how TFT works.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:23 PM   #20
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Two quick questions about dragonets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
This are how I would handle it:

- Dragonets can fly into your hex. No need to do HTH combat rules as it is not HTH. Movement rules allow for flying creatures to enter your hex. This is all nothing new.

- Since they are flying creatures, you cannot engage them. And this is already by the rules.

- Since they have no range 1 attack, they cannot engage you. I believe this is also by the rules since it is not an armed enemy at 1 hex range: ITL pg 106 "A one-hex figure is engaged if it is in one of the front hexes of an armed enemy."

Now for the new twist:

- Once it is in your hex hovering, I would say this is the equivalent of being in range from the "hex" directly above. That is, you are now engaged and should behave as such. This means if the Dragonets win initiative, they do get to attack as you already noted. On the other hand, if the Dragonets do not get initiative and move first, their foe will need a higher DX in order to disengage (and exit the hex leaving the dragonet behind) before the Dragonet attacks.

This is exactly the same as when dealing with foes on foot. You can avoid combat if you DX is higher. Thus the above fits how TFT works.
Oh, I see.

Engaged figures can shift during movement but must remain adjacent to every figure engaging them. The dragonet engages from above. The adjacent hexes are not considered adjacent to the dragonet, due to his altitude, so no shift is possible.

This is a whole different interpretation than I've considered. It fits with the rules as written, but adds a specification that a dragonet hovering over a figure is not adjacent to the hexes next to the figure.

The main oddity with this interpretation is that figures in the adjacent hexes are definitely able to attack the dragonet. That is discussed in the entry for dragonets (ITL 92). So the rules do strongly suggest the hovering dragonet is adjacent to the hexes around his hex (when he's engaged) and hence that one in the dragonet's hex would remain adjacent if he were to shift there.

The practical difference between your interpretation and mine is that the dragonet is more difficult under your interpretation. Once he chooses to engage from above, a figure can disengage but not shift to safety. In my interpretation, a figure could shift to safety, depending on whether he was "engaged" by adjacent dragonets.

Under both of our suggestions, a higher DX character could of course disengage to avoid a hit (but that requires DX of 14 at least).

It's an interesting solution. I can't say I'm sold yet, but I'm happy to hear about it. Far as I can tell, no one is sold on my suggestion either.
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