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Old 01-31-2014, 10:03 AM   #21
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
You are right, there is an element of tactical choice there. Unfortunately, it has some perverse incentives, in that it favours high-ST chopping attacks that don't need precise targeting over low-power thrusts that expend minimal energy, but are lethal because they are targeted at unarmoured veins or vitals..
Only the same ST rating is being used to derive damage for both so as a basic strike I'd assume the same effort as in underlying ST is being used. You can do AoA(S) or defensive attacks on both for example. The precisely targeted strike is also needed the expenditure of further effort to be on target. What you describe is I think better demonstrated by the fact that a weak rapier fighter can do the same damage as a strong axe wielder even with a less damaging weapon and less ST but by bypassing armour or targeting particularly damaging locations.

But as I said exactly what the different attack options represent is not fixed so it's a matter of perception and interpretation not hard and fast definitions.

Last edited by Tomsdad; 02-03-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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And don't knock the tactical choice involved in a Margin of Success argument either. Starting at Skill-26, your minimum margin of success is 10, maximum is 23. If you are looking at reducing AP cost by 1 if you succeed by (say) 10 or more on an attack, and 5+ on a defense, you're constraining tactical choices by dint of "how much awesome can I pile on this attack?" If you target the neck (-5) for a -6 deceptive attack, you will be rolling vs 15, crit on 5, but your typical margin will be 5, which depending on your threshold, will likely cost you AP to execute this.

If you just swing for the torso, your typical margin will be 10 even with the -6, and you will almost certainly NOT spend AP on it.
I rather like this idea, and I think it would also be interesting to allow characters to take a penalty to reduce the necessary MoS - say we go with MoS 10, then you could say each -2 to skill is -3 to necessary MoS (making Effortless Strike or whatever be at -6, with MoS 1+ necessary to avoid the AP cost). For more granularity, allow half MoS (5 in this case) to result in half AP - thus a character could strike at -4 to be guaranteed half AP expenditure at most (no AP cost on a success by 4+).
10 is a good MoS for this, as that matches decently well with the idea of Critical Successes costing no AP.

EDIT: As for reducing damage, -1 to damage (rather, -1 per 2d) is canonically "worth" +2 to skill, so each -1 to damage reducing the necessary MoS by 3 would work well. You could also disallow characters from taking a skill penalty, requiring the damage penalty... or even combine the two (each -1 to Damage and Skill is -3 to necessary MoS).

Last edited by Varyon; 01-31-2014 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:13 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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Ok fair enough, I'm not seeing that much difference between reducing AP cost and increasing AP availability. But your right its not the same as negating the system.
Tracking a half-dozen forms of Aspected APs, with every action expending a different kind, is a lot more cumbersome than remembering (or having a player do so), that this particular action costs less AP for his character.

Also, it's an easier way to change the relative AP costs for characters, making effortlessly gliding Martial Artist Rasul feel different in play from Sir Michael, super-tough and in ridiculous shape, but better off using Steps than jumping around.

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Ultimately though you are value adding to the advantages they already have over lesser fighters. That's not a bad thing, but FWIW I think your pushing the envelope of human maximum even further by doing so. But that's not a bad thing either in abstract.
If I make new Advantages, Perks or Techniques available, those things still have to be bought for points. If the character concept calls for it, I might allow re-allocating of points to accomodate the Last Gasp rules, even granting bonus points because I'm effectively introducing a limitation on their awesome and allowing them some points to limit the harm is fair play, but I'm not proposing adding value to the traits they already have.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:30 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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Well while not wanting to get into a discussion on what is realistically human maximum, that's defending against 10 attacks in a second all while not concentrating fully on doing so (i.e not full on defence) and also attacking at the same time! I honestly can't think of a way to picture that that doesn't involve parrying individual rounds from a gun fired on FA!
Sweeping three pike heads away with one motion of your sword, moving your head out of the way of a thrown javelin which transforms into a bolt of lightning, brining the sword back up to batter away two more pikes, avoiding a thrown spear and disembodied magical hamer strike with a quick side step and hammering down two pikes with a last back stroke of your sword.

Pretty standard fare, when defending a chokepoint against a phalanx of enemy shock troops with pikes, a couple of wizards and priests and the occasional champion.

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That's why I suggested allowing extra AP for moves that work with a particular MA and not for moves that don't fit. So having lots of points in a wuxia style jumping/kicking MA you get APs for jumping and kicking, but not for rolling around on the floor in a clinch. Similarly a sumo wrestler gets no MA based APs for a leaping kick.
The fewer flavours of APs there are, the less trouble it is to track them. Also, since bonus APs all refill instantly the moment your normal APs are refilled, there is an odd perverse incentive to have as many bonus APs as possible and as few normal APs as you can get away with.

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I agree, and it makes the point that even uber fighters still don't want to get mobbed. As 10 chaps with 10AP and 2AP per flurry, will still outlast one chap with 15AP and 20Ap per flurry. And as per below makes fighting conservatively more attractive.
It looks like Mickey will have around 11 bonus APs per flurry for general stuff connected to muscle-powered weapons, 4 APs for Two-Handed Sword and 2-3 for most other weapons or skills. He also has 30 APs, increased from his HT 15 with a Special Exercises Perk that allows APs to exceed HT by 100%.

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However what's quite fun is that those chaps also have an incentive to fight defensively in order to increase their chance of individually surviving the fight long enough of the uber fighter to tire himself out.
True. Individually surviving is usually a powerful motivator on its own, too, never mind whether it's good for their side or not.

Unhappily, the PCs have a gift for picking worthy foes with powerful motivations, like the religiously fanatical professional soldiers, priests and temple guards they are fighting a war with now. They'd do much better against mercenaries that weren't quite so ready to meet their divine patron p.d.q.

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But that what they would have to do, they're only falling over after a few seconds because they are burning so many APs per second, pacing themselves is also a matter of choosing less attacks and defending against less attacks per round. The first is as you say a matter of choice, the second is matter of positioning and tactics that effects the combat situation.
In a lot of situations where few face many, making fewer attacks means having to make more defences, because you didn't shock and awe your foes. I want to mechanically encourage making low-damage attacks that still distract foes and accept some risk of being hit (at least if the foe turns out to be more competent than you thought or willing to take the risk of an AoA) in order to conserve energy.

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The idea behind my suggestion was that combat choices that are more likely to get you many MOS are by definition going to be conservative choices, and IMO such conservative choices are good candidates for justifying reduced AP costs. The more experienced/able fighter has more leeway to choose to fight conservatively against a less experienced one and still fight effectively, whereas the less experienced lacking that advantage has such options removed.
One problem with that is that a chop to the body is a 'conservative' option likely to get you a decent MoS, but a stab to the face is not. I'd rather have the attack that minimises AP expenditure have a damage penalty (as well as maybe a slight attack penalty that can be bought off as a Technique), so that there's an incentive for characters who spent their points on precision instead of power to favour that tactic.

If I'm doing this, I might as well have it be easier with thrusts than swings, as well. There's a reason disciplined and efficient Roman legionaries liked to stab with a minimum of wasted effort and not go for wide, slashing attacks.

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Hmm, I'll be honest, if your combats are lasting hundreds of rounds, I'm just not sure a system that tracks AP per round is going fit (or even add much to the overall ebb and flow) again the scale you're operating on seems mismatched to the AP system as it current stands.

Where I think you might have scope is the duels where the frame of reference is going to presumably similar, and thus the fine grained nature of the extra detail the AP system gives will be more noticeable.
In large battles, I'll generally tell players that their PC ought to take an Evaluate or Do Nothing every X* turns and if they persist in not doing so, I'll start tracking APs for them.

It's mostly for duels or small unit clashes that I'll break out the full tracking.

*Depending on their HT and Fitness, as well as the average expenditure they are getting up to per turn.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:29 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Tracking a half-dozen forms of Aspected APs, with every action expending a different kind, is a lot more cumbersome than remembering (or having a player do so), that this particular action costs less AP for his character.

That's certainly true.

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Also, it's an easier way to change the relative AP costs for characters, making effortlessly gliding Martial Artist Rasul feel different in play from Sir Michael, super-tough and in ridiculous shape, but better off using Steps than jumping around.
It would be easier. But I guess it will depend on how many different things a character will be doing.


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If I make new Advantages, Perks or Techniques available, those things still have to be bought for points. If the character concept calls for it, I might allow re-allocating of points to accomodate the Last Gasp rules, even granting bonus points because I'm effectively introducing a limitation on their awesome and allowing them some points to limit the harm is fair play, but I'm not proposing adding value to the traits they already have.
Sorry not quite what I meant. I wasn't thinking in terms of points values, I was thinking in terms of relative ability. What you currently have is characters who can act and fight at extremely quick rates and maintain effectiveness while doing so. Only with the current AP system they run out of APs very quickly when they maintain that rate. Your wanting them to maintain that rate for longer thus increasing there overall effectiveness. Which in points terms is fine because you make than pay points for that, but (IMO) your moving further and further away form human maximum effectiveness, since you effectively removing another limitation from them and they become more super heroic. This isn't bad thing of course, but if your staying to keep within human potential its still a 'thing'.

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Old 02-01-2014, 05:28 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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Sweeping three pike heads away with one motion of your sword, moving your head out of the way of a thrown javelin which transforms into a bolt of lightning, brining the sword back up to batter away two more pikes, avoiding a thrown spear and disembodied magical hamer strike with a quick side step and hammering down two pikes with a last back stroke of your sword.

Pretty standard fare, when defending a chokepoint against a phalanx of enemy shock troops with pikes, a couple of wizards and priests and the occasional champion.
No i can see how you could get to that point, and it sounds cool no doubt, just it also sounds like human maximums has been left behind in the rear view mirror. But remember I play low fantasy I set the dials pretty low so this is just opinion. You running FR, its sound perfectly reasonable for high level characters (I only ever played FR in AD&D2e). But as I said, I'm not sure the current AP system is really going to fit that style of play anyway.


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The fewer flavours of APs there are, the less trouble it is to track them. Also, since bonus APs all refill instantly the moment your normal APs are refilled, there is an odd perverse incentive to have as many bonus APs as possible and as few normal APs as you can get away with.
Only normal APs tend to be derived from traits that are in themselves pretty desirable (as are bonus ones of course), so it won't ever be straight choice.

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*** looks like Mickey will have around 11 bonus APs per flurry for general stuff connected to muscle-powered weapons, 4 APs for Two-Handed Sword and 2-3 for most other weapons or skills. He also has 30 APs, increased from his HT 15 with a Special Exercises Perk that allows APs to exceed HT by 100%.
So he'll have a pretty hefty AP advantage over most, but if he's potentially burning 7-8 a second he still have to make some choice about where he wants to put them. This is after all one of the points of the system.


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True. Individually surviving is usually a powerful motivator on its own, too, never mind whether it's good for their side or not.

Unhappily, the PCs have a gift for picking worthy foes with powerful motivations, like the religiously fanatical professional soldiers, priests and temple guards they are fighting a war with now. They'd do much better against mercenaries that weren't quite so ready to meet their divine patron p.d.q.
Well I was thinking more in terms of teh PC's running out. But one thing about fanatical opposition is that the fanaticism removes a limiting factor on how long they stay in the fight for, which will increases the effect of the remaining ones. I.e APs. These chaps will stay in the fight for as long as they can due to their motivation, therefore their APs will play a more important role in the continuing combat effectiveness than it would so say those mercenaries who'll bolt one the first rank get mowed down by the chaps doing 2-6 attacks a second.

If nothing else running away to fight another day takes APs as well!


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In a lot of situations where few face many, making fewer attacks means having to make more defences, because you didn't shock and awe your foes. I want to mechanically encourage making low-damage attacks that still distract foes and accept some risk of being hit (at least if the foe turns out to be more competent than you thought or willing to take the risk of an AoA) in order to conserve energy.
I'd argue that fighting conservatively includes creating situations where the many can't bring all those attacks to bare. The ting is the AP system is resource management system, you want there to be dilemma of choice involved. IMO giving them options to just reduce their AP by attacking more weakly removes the dilemma and replaces with with a set of optimal choices for different situations.

For example I'd have say fighter in pairs where one takes recovery action the other takes more aggressive stance etc..


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One problem with that is that a chop to the body is a 'conservative' option likely to get you a decent MoS, but a stab to the face is not.
Thing is given the same wielder and the same weapon, I think an attack targeting the hard to hit face rather than just striking the target is a less conservative option, and one that is likely to require more effort (in terms of pulling it off, not in how haw far you thrust your sword into his face, which would be a function of normal, AoA or defensive attacks on top of this)


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I'd rather have the attack that minimises AP expenditure have a damage penalty (as well as maybe a slight attack penalty that can be bought off as a Technique), so that there's an incentive for characters who spent their points on precision instead of power to favour that tactic.
Ok but I'm not seeing how targeting the face instead of the body is precision over power, I think it's precision over ease. A St12 fighter thrusting broadsword does the same basic damage thrusting just at the target and thrusting at his face, it's the qualities of the target that will determine differing wound levels.

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If I'm doing this, I might as well have it be easier with thrusts than swings, as well. There's a reason disciplined and efficient Roman legionaries liked to stab with a minimum of wasted effort and not go for wide, slashing attacks.
True but it was also because there are some mechanical differences between swinging attacks and thrusting attacks, and the requirements of their formations. Some of these are already included in GURPS (min St's, 'C' range combat, edge protection, Imp vs cut, etc) some are not (the extra space a swung attacks takes up in a shield wall).

Don't get me wrong I can imagine wildly swinging is more tiring that more controlled jabs, but again I think that's more a factor of AoA vs. ordinary attacks.

The thing is the current range of attacks AoA, committed, normal, defensive. Is mainly a trade off between damage and protection, rather than damage and effort (although AoA's do cost more AP).

However at the moment the only way Weapon use interacts with exhaustion is using weapon with min ST over your ST costs an FP. How about a giving those who's St is over the min ST of their weapon an extra AP per flurry per point?

(something I thought of when I was messing with making drawing high St bows a 'lifting style test with archery skill to boost pull ST)

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In large battles, I'll generally tell players that their PC ought to take an Evaluate or Do Nothing every X* turns and if they persist in not doing so, I'll start tracking APs for them.

It's mostly for duels or small unit clashes that I'll break out the full tracking.

*Depending on their HT and Fitness, as well as the average expenditure they are getting up to per turn.
To be honest that's (IMO) one of the concepts that pretty much embodies the AP system anyway.
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:44 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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It would be easier. But I guess it will depend on how many different things a character will be doing.
If they buy traits that make certain activities more energy-efficient, they presumably mean to make heavier use of those activities in combat than other characters would.

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Sorry not quite what I meant. I wasn't thinking in terms of points values, I was thinking in terms of relative ability. What you currently have is characters who can act and fight ate extremely quick rates and maintain effectiveness whale doing so. Only with the current AP system that run out of APs very quickly when they maintain that rate. Your wanting them to maintain that rate for longer thus increasing there overall effectiveness. Which in points terms is fine because you make than pay points for that, but (IMO) your moving further and further away form human maximum effectiveness, since you effectively removing another limitation from them and they become more super heroic. This isn't bad thing of course, but if your staying to keep within human potential its still a 'thing'.
Well, yes.

But the purpose of human potential in the campaign setting isn't to limit PCs or even their foes, it is provide a mental benchmark for the players. By explicitly noting when their characters surpass normal human potential and/or maximum human performance in a given trait and paying a surcharge in the form of Special Exercises and Unusual Background, the players realise exactly what superpowers* their characters have.

It's not that I discourage access to such superpowers, just that I want to have a benchmark for what 'ordinary' people can do and making it somewhat more cost-effective to remain within the bounds of that.

Of course, magic and other supernatural power sources are not bound by those considerations, so it doesn't cost anything extra to have explicit supernatural gifts that give you abilities above the human ken.

*I.e. how their characters can exceed human norms.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:46 AM   #28
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Default Paced Attack and Paced [Active Defence]

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Thing is given the same wielder and the same weapon, I think an attack targeting the hard to hit face rather than just striking the target is a less conservative option, and one that is likely to require more effort (in terms of pulling it off, not in how haw far you thrust your sword into his face, which would be a function of normal, AoA or defensive attacks on top of this)
[...]
Ok but I'm not seeing how targeting the face instead of the body is precision over power, I think it's precision over ease. A St12 fighter thrusting broadsword does the same basic damage thrusting just at the target and thrusting at his face, it's the qualities of the target that will determine differing wound levels.
To be sure, the target area is somewhat irrelevant, other than it, of course, being unlikely to work to attack armoured targets with a reduced power attack.

My point was that it shouldn't take less APs to make attacks with less precision, but the trade-off should be power, i.e. damage, instead.

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True but it was also because there are some mechanical differences between swinging attacks and thrusting attacks, and the requirements of their formations. Some of these are already included in GURPS (min St's, 'C' range combat, edge protection, Imp vs cut, etc) some are not (the extra space a swung attacks takes up in a shield wall).
True, that also plays a part. But thrusting a weapon just six inches into unprotected areas does expend much less energy than swinging one hard enough to hack through flesh and bone, let alone possibly through armour.

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Don't get me wrong I can imagine wildly swinging is more tiring that more controlled jabs, but again I think that's more a factor of AoA vs. ordinary attacks.
In the RAW, yes. But with the existence of the Last Gasp system, there is no reason we should not have a wider range of combat options, inc. the option to strike with less damage and less effort.

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The thing is the current range of attacks AoA, committed, normal, defensive. Is mainly a trade off between damage and protection, rather than damage and effort (although AoA's do cost more AP).
Well, I want to allow a trade-off between effort and effectiveness, as well. Hence a Technique for a lower-damage attack that takes only 1/2 AP (which is rounded up, though) and a Technique for a penalised Active Defence that does the same, which cannot be improved up to full Block, Dodge or Parry.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:15 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Last Gasp] Mighty Warriors: Which Advantages and Skills Count?

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If they buy traits that make certain activities more energy-efficient, they presumably mean to make heavier use of those activities in combat than other characters would.


Well, yes.

But the purpose of human potential in the campaign setting isn't to limit PCs or even their foes, it is provide a mental benchmark for the players. By explicitly noting when their characters surpass normal human potential and/or maximum human performance in a given trait and paying a surcharge in the form of Special Exercises and Unusual Background, the players realise exactly what superpowers* their characters have.

It's not that I discourage access to such superpowers, just that I want to have a benchmark for what 'ordinary' people can do and making it somewhat more cost-effective to remain within the bounds of that.

Of course, magic and other supernatural power sources are not bound by those considerations, so it doesn't cost anything extra to have explicit supernatural gifts that give you abilities above the human ken.

*I.e. how their characters can exceed human norms.
That's fair enough, but if your using reasonable human parameters as a way point that they can judge their abilities by how far they have moved beyond it rather than as some kind of limiting factors (even if a flexible one). Then I'd just go back to my first suggestion which is just allow as many extra AP to brought as fits your image of how these chaps should fight without worrying about what's a realistic number.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:56 AM   #30
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To be sure, the target area is somewhat irrelevant, other than it, of course, being unlikely to work to attack armoured targets with a reduced power attack.

My point was that it shouldn't take less APs to make attacks with less precision, but the trade-off should be power, i.e. damage, instead.


True, that also plays a part. But thrusting a weapon just six inches into unprotected areas does expend much less energy than swinging one hard enough to hack through flesh and bone, let alone possibly through armour.
But that's a factor of target as much as attack especially if your point of comparison is final wound value*. And even then if you broaden the definition of effort to include concentration, timing, accuracy etc not just expenditure of muscle energy I'd argue that a carefully and precisely aimed blow in combat will also take effort and expend "combat energy" (especially energy that is bolstered by high skill as well as high fitness).

*there are several way of inflicting a 12 point wound on a target with the same sword and same wielder, hacking through the armour and the torso will probably need a AoA(s) more often than a thrust strike to the vitals or a swing to an unprotected neck all to get to 12pts.

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In the RAW, yes. But with the existence of the Last Gasp system, there is no reason we should not have a wider range of combat options, inc. the option to strike with less damage and less effort.
I think the problem I have with that is it's actually quite difficult to pull your blows and have them remain combat effective (i.e to weaken them without reducing accuracy) certainly to the point that will end up in a net reduction in energy expenditure. Especially as damage is factor of not only your ST but the weapon as well. i.e ultimately you're talking about a fine adjustment to actions in a combat situation. These tend not to come with saving of energy attached.

Personally I'd go with the MoS idea, on the basis that an easy attack is an attack that requires less expenditure of "combat energy".


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Well, I want to allow a trade-off between effort and effectiveness, as well. Hence a Technique for a lower-damage attack that takes only 1/2 AP (which is rounded up, though) and a Technique for a penalised Active Defence that does the same, which cannot be improved up to full Block, Dodge or Parry.
I can see you reasoning its just I think it may have implications of the system beyond the AP system. So I guess my question is are you doing this because you don't like the current range of damage/protection trade off, or because you want your chaps to make more attacks before running out of AP (to be faor it could be both of course)?

I.e I'm not anti your idea in abstract (in general I'm all for the highly skilled/able to be able to out option their opponents by leveraging their advantage), just that I think you might be curing a different problem than the one you started out to treat.

What did you think of my higher than min St given bonus AP? My theory being a big strong chap will be less encumbered by his weapon, than one who is just strong enough to wield it without negative effect? It will also allow big strong chaps who may not have much skill to keep going at it for longer than similarly skilled but weaker ones. It would also reward those ST10-11 legionaries using a ST8 short sword than a ST10 broadsword. (although I admit I thought there were more weapons with split min St's for thrusting and swinging).

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