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Old 01-08-2018, 08:21 PM   #1
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default TFT Defense

Several folks have suggested some kind of defense capability as a good addition to TFT. In my longest running campaign, we had a passive defense mechanism. (I don’t like parry rolls as they slow the game down). It was designed to allow swashbuckler type characters to be viable in TFT. It was a tad fussy, but it did work. This is my best recollection of how it worked.

We used the standard 3d6 resolution mechanic. I don’t think it would work as well using the d20 system unless you increased the benefit.

Figures with any hand weapon talent (including unarmed combat and the staff spell) have a Defense rating (DF). All enemies subtract the target’s adjusted DF from all attacks with hand weapons or bare handed.

A figure’s base DF is 1 for each point of DX over 12. Armor seriously degrades DF, however. DX penalties for armor and shields are doubled against DF.

So if you have DX 17, your base DF is 5. If you wear leather armor (DX -2) you’d have an adjDF of 1 and an adjDX of 15.

Note that in original TFT, armor could be enchanted to stop more hits, but you couldn’t magically reduce its DX penalty. So it was all but impossible to have a high DF if you wore heavy armor/shield. This was an intentional design goal.

Figures with Unarmed Combat V add 2 to their adjDF. This replaces the “four dice to hit them in normal combat”. As an aside, this means a figure with UC V and the minimum adjDX will be -6(!) to hit.

A 32 point would-be swashbuckler would have ST8, DX14, IQ 10. Talents could be Sword (2), Fencing (3), and 3 more points (saving 2 to get Two Weapons when he gets IQ8). His adjusted DF is 2, so he’ll be a little hard to hit by beginning characters. But against a ST12 DX12(10) IQ8 swordsman with leather, small shield and broadsword, he’ll probably still lose unless he gets some luck shots in.

At 36 points, he’s much more viable. His IQ is 11, ST is 10 and DX is 15. DF is 3. He uses a Sabre (Cutlass, 2-2 damage) in each hand. He’s hard to hit, but still fragile. Now, he stands a decent chance against a ST13 DX15(11) IQ8 fighter with chain and large shield (-5 hits), though he struggles with heavier armor.

This system allowed swashbuckler type characters to be viable (though perhaps unrealistically so). I’m not advocating it as a TFT system, I’m just sharing it because it worked well in several multi-year campaigns.

EDIT - This defense capability could be a separate talent, I suppose. I’d require a DX of 13 (the minimum to get any benefit from it) or higher and an IQ of 10+.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-09-2018 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Additional comment
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:31 PM   #2
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: TFT Defense

Another, simpler approach would be to have 3 levels of talent for each hand weapon class - example Sword (2), Expert Sword(2) and Master Sword(2).

Expert talent requires AdjDX 13+ And IQ9 and the base weapon talent as a prerequisite. Anyone attacking an Expert with a hand weapon must roll 4 dice to hit if the Expert is using the appropriate weapon.

Master talent requires AdjDX16+ and IQ10 and Expert talent as a prerequisite. Anyone attacking a Master with a hand weapon must roll 5 dice to hit if the Master is using the appropriate weapon.

I’d leave Two Weapons as is. I’d make Fencing a 2 point talent but require Expert Sword as a prerequisite.

Unarmed Combat will need some work, but perhaps make UC3 an Expert talent, UC4 a Master Talent. Reduce UC5 to 2 points and eliminate the extra die to hit defensive ability.
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:12 AM   #3
ak_aramis
 
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Another, simpler approach would be to have 3 levels of talent for each hand weapon class - example Sword (2), Expert Sword(2) and Master Sword(2).

Expert talent requires AdjDX 13+ And IQ9 and the base weapon talent as a prerequisite. Anyone attacking an Expert with a hand weapon must roll 4 dice to hit if the Expert is using the appropriate weapon.

Master talent requires AdjDX16+ and IQ10 and Expert talent as a prerequisite. Anyone attacking a Master with a hand weapon must roll 5 dice to hit if the Master is using the appropriate weapon.
I used similar, but made it raw DX 15 and 20, and +5/+10 to any St or Dex requirements for the base.

AdjDX is a problem -because it's not stable.

I'd suggest a Fencing Parry talent - DX 12, IQ 12 - once per turn, may attempt a parry at 3D vs AdjDX to reduce the damage by your weapon. Would be restricted to lighter swords.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:12 AM   #4
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I used similar, but made it raw DX 15 and 20, and +5/+10 to any St or Dex requirements for the base.

AdjDX is a problem -because it's not stable.

I'd suggest a Fencing Parry talent - DX 12, IQ 12 - once per turn, may attempt a parry at 3D vs AdjDX to reduce the damage by your weapon. Would be restricted to lighter swords.
I chose the adj13 and adj16 levels because I wanted a typical expert to hit another expert about 50-60% of the time. Same with 2 masters fighting. With the 4d6 and 5d6 curves, this was about right.

EDIT - it really should be adjDX14 and 18. I’d calibrated it on a system that replaced additional dice with -3 modifiers.

I personally despise parry rolls (didn’t like ‘em in Runequest either). As an uncommon talent, your suggestion might be OK for me.

There’s another way to approach it as well. Allow figures to reduce their DX by any amount, and apply this same reduction to all figures attacking them in hand to hand combat. We used this system and it worked pretty well in one short campaign. It will tend to make higher “level” characters much harder to kill by the faceless hordes, but I considered that a Good Thing.

I’d want to play test it hard, though. With the 3d6 bell curve, relatively small adjustments to DX can dramatically change the hit probability.

The reason the defense rule I started the thread with worked was that it was designed to do one thing and while a bit crunchy, it did that one thing very well.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-09-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:22 AM   #5
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I used similar, but made it raw DX 15 and 20, and +5/+10 to any St or Dex requirements for the base.

AdjDX is a problem -because it's not stable.

I'd suggest a Fencing Parry talent - DX 12, IQ 12 - once per turn, may attempt a parry at 3D vs AdjDX to reduce the damage by your weapon. Would be restricted to lighter swords.
I just realized that there's already a parry rule in TFT. A figure with a main gauche can stop 1 hit.

With two weapons talent, a figure can parry with one or both swords, stopping 2 or 4 hits respectively. Of course, the figure loses his attack if he parries.

So allow a "parry/riposte" - you stop 2 points of damage, but are at -2 DX on your attack.

Absorbing damage more or less produces the right result - it degrades smaller weapons far more than larger weapons.

You could grant the "parry/ripost" ability as part of Sword or Fencing talents. Or, make it a separate talent.

It's clean and simple. It also affects smaller weapons significantly. And the modifications are handled solely by the player, which keeps the game moving.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:36 AM   #6
pyratejohn
 
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I just realized that there's already a parry rule in TFT. A figure with a main gauche can stop 1 hit.

With two weapons talent, a figure can parry with one or both swords, stopping 2 or 4 hits respectively. Of course, the figure loses his attack if he parries.
Are you referring to the "Left-Handed Weapons" rules on AdvMelee page 13? If so, I just came across this myself. Yes, I've decided it is high time to go back a re-read all of the Advanced Melee and TFT rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
So allow a "parry/riposte" - you stop 2 points of damage, but are at -2 DX on your attack.

Absorbing damage more or less produces the right result - it degrades smaller weapons far more than larger weapons.

You could grant the "parry/ripost" ability as part of Sword or Fencing talents. Or, make it a separate talent.

It's clean and simple. It also affects smaller weapons significantly. And the modifications are handled solely by the player, which keeps the game moving.
Yes, I agree. It seems quick and easy and in keeping with the spirit of the original rules.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:46 AM   #7
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Treating a parry as a sort of shield is also a totally valid approach - there are lots of examples in the game where you play with either the chance of striking a hit or the damage done on a hit. The devil is in the details. The correct recipe is approximately 1 pt DX penalty for 1 point of automatic damage reduction that applies to all attacks aimed at you. If there is a chance the damage reduction doesn't work (i.e., you have to succeed at a roll for it to function) then the damage reduction should go up, so that its 'expected value' remains about the same.

Thus, in the house rule I use, parrying imposes a 1 die penalty (equivalent to a 3.5 pt DX reduction) and requires a roll to gain that benefit. Thus, it should be worth twice the DX penalty, which strictly speaking should be 7, but is close to 3x the standard 'block' protection for a sword (2, according to the Two Weapons talent). So, in my rule you get 3x the block protection, or 3 for dagger or buckler, 6 for a large shield or sword, and 9 for a tower shield (which I also apply to heavy two handed weapons, like greatswords or pole weapons). This has the same value in the DX/damage/protection arms race as the exchange of 2 DX points for an automatic 2 points of protection. So, I would say both rules (or other equivalents) are all within the design space of the rest of the combat system, and which one you prefer is just a matter of taste.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:49 AM   #8
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: TFT Defense

And I would say the parry/riposte option described above should be available to all. If you require a talent to do it, then it should convey an additional bonus reflecting that investment (just as other combat talents reward you by providing an effective DX/damage/protection bonus in exchange for a talent point). The correct math here is that 1 talent point buys you a 1 point DX bonus if a roll is required, and 2 talent points buy you 1 point of automatic damage bonus or protection. That is in keeping with the rest of the rules (within rounding errors, of course; the original is well engineered in these respects, but doesn't follow a totally strict formula).
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:59 AM   #9
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyratejohn View Post
Are you referring to the "Left-Handed Weapons" rules on AdvMelee page 13? If so, I just came across this myself. Yes, I've decided it is high time to go back a re-read all of the Advanced Melee and TFT rules.
I need to do that too. It's been a very long time and a complete read-through might help.

Quote:
Yes, I agree. It seems quick and easy and in keeping with the spirit of the original rules.
AkAramis deserves the credit. He noted that there really are 2 kinds of melee fighting - "heavy" and "light".

Melee is apparently designed to simulate the "heavy" style. I posited that it may not be possible to cover both types of fighting in a single, *simple* game. Then I got to thinking how to do it in the most low-footprint way.

If the typical combatant is a high DX figure using a light weapon (say a cutless or rapier), then the parry/riposte rule becomes a fair representation that plays quickly. Maybe. I'd want to test it thoroughly. Stopping 2 hits and DX -2 may not be the correct settings.

Already, I'm musing that maybe the DX penalty should be -3. If it's -2, then you get the equivalent of leather armor (in melee combat anyhow) with no reduction in movement or for other DX activities. Or is the proper comparison to shields, not armor? A large shield stops 2 points of damage and reduces DX by 1. The parry/riposte ability is (agreeably) inferior to that.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: TFT Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I need to do that too. It's been a very long time and a complete read-through might help.



AkAramis deserves the credit. He noted that there really are 2 kinds of melee fighting - "heavy" and "light".

Melee is apparently designed to simulate the "heavy" style. I posited that it may not be possible to cover both types of fighting in a single, *simple* game. Then I got to thinking how to do it in the most low-footprint way.

If the typical combatant is a high DX figure using a light weapon (say a cutless or rapier), then the parry/riposte rule becomes a fair representation that plays quickly. Maybe. I'd want to test it thoroughly. Stopping 2 hits and DX -2 may not be the correct settings.

Already, I'm musing that maybe the DX penalty should be -3. If it's -2, then you get the equivalent of leather armor (in melee combat anyhow) with no reduction in movement or for other DX activities. Or is the proper comparison to shields, not armor? A large shield stops 2 points of damage and reduces DX by 1. The parry/riposte ability is (agreeably) inferior to that.
I'd say it's not- a deflection of as little as 1" at point of contact turns a solid thrust to a total miss.

The "Light" weapons aren't actually much lighter, and with historic rapiers reaching up to 6' of blade. What differentiates them is the manner of use.

"Heavy" is mostly swung weapons - for which a parry is either a ramp to bring it around, or a direct confrontation of force - for either of which 1 to 2 points is not nearly enough. A shield parry is really a pop of the shield to extend a corner to make a confrontation block.

"Light" is almost purely thrusting. Parrying vs thrust is a low-impact diversion; you simply move it enough so that the parry moves the tip's movement angle.

Cut & thrust (a third style) is in between the two; the ramp and the push-off-line are the two modes of parry used most, with shields using the confrontation block, as well.

Bucklers can be used for all three modes - push it forward into the opponent to cause them to not have a good thrust angle, slam it sideways into a blade for a confrontation block, or angle it to deflect a blade around yourself.

Heavier shields are far harder to use the forward push, but are MUCH better for taking it over the head, or throwing it past the shield-side shoulder.

I thought of a method that works with AM's rules, but allows for better coverage.

The standard 3d vs adjDx applies, noting the cap on AdjDX is effectively 15 due to the 3d6 throw automiss on 16+, and determines the hit; a 4th die, thrown with but in a different color or size, if it takes the total above AdjDX, it becomes a parried blow.

Bucklers or main gauche, with a fencing parry talent, throw two extra to engage a parry; if larger pushes it over, roll damage, if not, use the extand 1/2/4 point rate.

Parry with heavy weapons should require a heavy parry skill; with shields the shield skill.
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