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Old 10-20-2019, 05:27 AM   #31
Major Ross
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

Thanks for citing the: Changing Options rule. I found it in my old copy of Wizard, as well, and it makes sense. However, back to my initial example of our Swordsman and Spearman. If the Spearman is one hex away, and disengaged, from our Swordsman, and, the Spearman has a higher DX, then if he wins initiative, he can either back up 2 hexes and then charge 3 hexes in a straight line to get the bonus die of damage against our Swordsman (who could defend against it, or, take the pole weapon charge attack, and then attempt an attack of his own), or, the Spearman could also tell the Swordsman to move first, and then if the Swordsman elects to conduct a charge attack of his own against the Spearman, he allows the Spearman to gain both a +2 adjustment to his DX and a bonus die of damage if the Spearman hits!

But, what if the Swordsman just decides to move the 1 hex and, using the CHANGING OPTIONS rule above, DEFEND, against any attack from the now engaged Spearman? Im cool with that, but, does the Spearman still get his +2 DX bonus and the bonus die of damage (if he hits)? Or, is all that waived, since our Swordsman is NOT attacking, but now simply defending in anticipation of a nasty pole weapon, set in the ground for added defense and damage?? This is where the confusion lies right now, in my opinion....

Thanks,

Ross
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:22 PM   #32
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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Originally Posted by Major Ross View Post
Thanks for citing the: Changing Options rule. I found it in my old copy of Wizard, as well, and it makes sense. However, back to my initial example of our Swordsman and Spearman. If the Spearman is one hex away, and disengaged, from our Swordsman, and, the Spearman has a higher DX, then if he wins initiative, he can either back up 2 hexes and then charge 3 hexes in a straight line to get the bonus die of damage against our Swordsman (who could defend against it, or, take the pole weapon charge attack, and then attempt an attack of his own), or, the Spearman could also tell the Swordsman to move first, and then if the Swordsman elects to conduct a charge attack of his own against the Spearman, he allows the Spearman to gain both a +2 adjustment to his DX and a bonus die of damage if the Spearman hits!

But, what if the Swordsman just decides to move the 1 hex and, using the CHANGING OPTIONS rule above, DEFEND, against any attack from the now engaged Spearman? I’m cool with that, but, does the Spearman still get his +2 DX bonus and the bonus die of damage (if he hits)? Or, is all that waived, since our Swordsman is NOT attacking, but now simply defending in anticipation of a nasty pole weapon, set in the ground for added defense and damage?? This is where the confusion lies right now, in my opinion...
Yes, the spearman would get both the +2DX and the +1 die defending against the 1-hex charge & Defend.

The rules define a charge attack for pole weapon purposes as moving from not-adjacent to adjacent.


Pole weapons originally did double damage in a charge, and there was no concept of a 3-hex straight line requirement, and we dealt with it. It was greatly discussed and analyzed with concern to balance and counter-tactics, as seen in Q&A and articles in Metagming's Interplay magazine, where it was clear there was no requirement for a defending pole weapon's enemy to actually be going to choose the Attack option or else the pole weapon bonuses wouldn't apply!

IMO, the interpretation that only people Attacking a pole-weapon user give the pole weapon user their bonuses is not only wrong but broken for cart-before-horse reasons. i.e. If the defense bonuses only apply to someone who will Attack the polearm user, well that has not happened yet, and there is no mention anywhere of being able to force someone to either pre-commit to an attack on their adjDX, or to not attack you when their adjDX comes up, which is what you'd need to do to have that actually work. e.g.:

Sword guy moves up to pole guy.

Pole-guy: I'm defending against charge so I get my bonuses (attack first, +2 DX, +1 die damge)

Sword guy: Not so fast! I'm not taking the Attack option - I'm planning to Defend, or Disbelieve, or something, and I insist you only get a bonus if I Attack you.

Confused Pole-guy: Er, ok, so I guess I don't get to attack you first, but, er, you promise not to attack me?


i.e. It doesn't make any sense, and if that were the intention, it would have been explained somewhere. The idea that the requirement for a charge attack defense is about the target's option or how many hexes they moved is just a confusion some people have had in looking at the Legacy edition. Trying to have there be a requirement of the target to Attack makes no sense because pole weapon charge attacks and defenses against them come before the normal sequence, so the target's option is often not even known, and doesn't have to be declared, can be changed, etc.

Last edited by Skarg; 10-20-2019 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:04 PM   #33
xane
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

The issue here is the interpretation of choosing/switching an option "when it is their turn to act". This does not necessarily mean during the adjDX sequence, in some cases your "turn to act" comes because of an enemy action, and your choice is made in advance.

For example, the Dodge or Defend option, in the case of a higher adjDX enemy, you choose your option when the enemy chooses to attack you, i.e. during the enemy "turn to act", later in the adjDX sequence your choice has already been made, you get to do nothing else.

Similarly, in pole weapon charge attacks, you choose to act when the pole weapon user declares a defensive pole weapon attack, at that point you choose to charge attack or not (the fact that the actual charge attack is carried out later is beside the point), you have been forced to choose by an enemy action.
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:54 PM   #34
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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...
Similarly, in pole weapon charge attacks, you choose to act when the pole weapon user declares a defensive pole weapon attack, at that point you choose to charge attack or not (the fact that the actual charge attack is carried out later is beside the point), you have been forced to choose by an enemy action.
Yes, if you choose to Defend at that point, you can do that. But it doesn't negate the other advantages of pole weapon charge defense just because you're not literally pre-declaring the Charge Attack option. Nonetheless, it's often a good idea because it means your foe has to roll 4/DX to hit you with the bonus pole-weapon damage.

Notice that the event that caused such a figure to choose to change to Defend was an out-of-sequence pole weapon attack, which was allowed because the figure moved from non-adjacent to adjacent, which is what a charge attack means for purposes of pole-weapon attacks.

That movement (and the defender not moving except to change facing) grants all of the pole weapon defensive bonuses (attacking before shorter weapons, +2 DX, and +1 die damage), starting with the ability to attack before the normal adjDX sequence. Defending pole weapon bonuses never mention any other requirement for their target other than the target moved from non-adjacent to adjacent. And there is no mention of some bonuses applying to some situations and not to others.

Since pole weapon attacks come before non-pole-weapon attacks, there is no way that a non-pole-weapon user is yet attacking. So the thing triggering the defensive pole-weapon attack before the main adjDX sequence must be the movement, because there is no actual attack yet that could possibly fulfill a requirement for the defensive pole weapon attack to occur.

Not to mention that if you could deny pole weapon bonuses by declaring Defend, it would have been all over the original game's discussion of pole weapon tactics (instead of never being mentioned in old analysis articles). It would be a potent counter-tactic, the sort of smart tactic Steve calls out in the rules. Every discussion about pole weapon power would have someone pointing out you just Defend or run up to them but take some other Option to make pole weapon advantages not apply. Instead, I see no mention of this idea in the old Interplays (it seems to me, because it doesn't work that way).

Also, if the rule were really meant to be "only people declaring the option called Charge Attack can be attacked with pole weapon defensive bonuses", then I could move up to a pole weapon and declare any other option that doesn't require a commitment (Dodge, Disbelieve, Cast Spell, Ready Weapon, Drop or Change Position to doin' the splits), and be immune to those effects through the pole weapon phase, and then switch to whatever I want when it's my adjDX. If not, where's the mention of how I can't do that? That if I don't Attack to grant the permission for someone to skewer me, I am promising not to attack on my action?
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:23 PM   #35
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

I wonder if part of the problem is that players interpret the 'Charge Attack' as two separate actions... charge, then attack (or don't). I seem to recall that we always played it as a committed action from the moment of the character's initiative. If you planned to move half your MA and attack, you decided that during the movement phase and you were locked in. No backsies.

If you decided to 'Charge Attack' a guy with a pole-arm, that was considered extremely reckless (or just stupid).
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:48 PM   #36
Tom H.
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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Originally Posted by xane View Post
Similarly, in pole weapon charge attacks, you choose to act when the pole weapon user declares a defensive pole weapon attack, at that point you choose to charge attack or not (the fact that the actual charge attack is carried out later is beside the point), you have been forced to choose by an enemy action.
I think Xane is on to a clever little loophole here. I really had to review the concept before readily dismissing it.

There are two general issues complicating the scenario:
  1. We all want to honor the ability for a figure to change its action to the latest point it must commit.
  2. The rule language for pole weapon abilities in charge attacks seems to couple charging tightly with attacking.
Later, I'm going to offer one solution that requires you to interpret the rules so that pole weapon abilities respond solely to the charge regardless of any follow up attack.

The resurgent loophole.


Assume figures Flavius and Wulf. And assume that at least Flavius has a ready pole arm.

Skarg skirts the loophole.

Wulf moves adjacent to Flavius. Flavius does not move, keeping his defense options open.

Is Wulf making a charge attack? Skarg says it doen't matter. Wulf can decide if it is a charge attack later. I would agree; although, this means that we are starting to decouple the language for charge attack.

If Flavius (the defender) has the higher adjDX and acts first, can he assume a charge attack to get the special pole arm defense? Yeah sure, we'll allow it. After all, gamers are not psychic (like light waves in the double-slit experiment.) We still can't know what Wulf will do on his action.

Touche, Xane re-asserts the loophole.

So Flavius (the defender) attacks Wulf first getting the benefits of using his pole arm against a charge attack. So now on Wulf's turn, he can change his action to whatever he wants. Wait, not so fast! The only way Flavius got the benefits was to assume that Wulf charged and attacked. Xane says that Flavius' attack with benefits forces Wulf to commit to attack when his action comes. But now we're violating the principle that you can change your action.

There seems to be only two solutions:
  1. At some point, moving next to an enemy will commit you to declaring your action before you get to take it, or
  2. The benefits of pole arms in charges should be available solely upon threatening movement without regard to attacking.
I tend to favor option 2, and my hunch is that so will Skarg.

Last edited by Tom H.; 10-20-2019 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Clarity and links
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:42 AM   #37
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post
There seems to be only two solutions:
  1. At some point, moving next to an enemy will commit you to declaring your action before you get to take it, or
  2. The benefits of pole arms in charges should be available solely upon threatening movement without regard to attacking.
I tend to favor option 2, and my hunch is that so will Skarg.
Yes, that's what I've been saying all along, again and again.

Charge Attack has always meant MOVING from non-adjacent to adjacent. That MOVEMENT is used for the condition of allowing pole-weapon defense bonuses because a figure outside the reach of the pole weapon is trying to move past the pointy end of a pole. It doesn't matter, and there is no good reason it should matter what option the incoming figure is taking - the point is the incoming figure is trying to move through a polearm from outside it's reach, giving the opportunity for a stop-thrust.

Moreover, I don't remember ANY of the combat examples (in Melee, Wizard, or ITL) where any figure EVER pre-declares their action. It's a meaningless formality (except maybe in the case of wanting to be Dodging when an invisible person makes an undetectable attack on you), because figures can declare actions when they need to, always after Movement. It may be helpful to do so when learning the game or coordinating plans with other players, but requiring declaring options would slow down expert play, and is mostly pointless as there is almost no circumstance where it has any effect on anything. What matters is the action you actually take.

Defend is already a good option against a pole weapon in a charge situation. If it (or any other option) were meant to grant the ability to negate pole-weapon bonuses, don't you think it would say so somewhere other than certain opinions on forum question threads?
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:24 AM   #38
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post
There seems to be only two solutions:
  1. At some point, moving next to an enemy will commit you to declaring your action before you get to take it, or
  2. The benefits of pole arms in charges should be available solely upon threatening movement without regard to attacking.
I tend to favor option 2, and my hunch is that so will Skarg.
That entire post was extremely clear and well reasoned!

Heartily agreeing with option 2, and adding a "sugar-coating" for anyone who doesn't:

Any time an armed, weapon-at-the-ready figure moves in on an opponent, that's virtually an attack regardless of the final option exercised. Move and Attack or move and Defend, either way the figure moves in with weapon raised and swinging. That's obvious of course for the Attack option, but equally true for the Defend option because of how it is defined: using the ready weapon against the opponent's weapon (a parry).

You can charge in swinging to hit your enemy's person, or charge in swinging to hit your enemy's weapon. You are attacking the body (Attack option) or attacking the weapon (Defend option) but either way you look at it, that's an attack.

The subtle difference between the two options is that you are making a choice between (1) possibly putting hits on your opponent, or (2) possibly avoiding hits on yourself. You can't have it both ways, so choose wisely. But none of this has any effect on what your opponent does or how they do it if they are going first.
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Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 10-21-2019 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:55 AM   #39
xane
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
The subtle difference between the two options is that you are making a choice between (1) possibly putting hits on your opponent, or (2) possibly avoiding hits on yourself. You can't have it both ways, so choose wisely. But none of this has any effect on what your opponent does or how they do it if they are going first.
I'm a dissenter on this, because if you are actively avoiding being skewered by a pole weapon then you should not suffer the extra damage, only if you are attacking would you need to close the distance beyond the pole weapon and then you risk getting stuck like a pig, but anything else and the pole weapon user just gets a regular attack.

Note that there is still some minor advantage as the pole weapon user gets in an attack whilst the non-attacking opponent does nothing, and if he does enough damage he can push him back.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:20 AM   #40
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Pole Weapons: Attack / Defense Question

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...only if you are attacking would you need to close the distance beyond the pole weapon...
One hex away is as close as you can get without falling into HTH combat. They're 4-foot hexes. It's close enough to be attacked even by bare hands. A polearm can attack two hexes away. I don't know how it could be any clearer that moving adjacent to a polearm user is moving inside the polearm's length. It seems to me that the way to stay outside that length is to not move adjacent.

Even if hexes were 8 feet across, presumably, the reason the figure moved there and Defended was to be able to attack with a shorter weapon the next turn - at some point that would involve need'd to move past the point of the enemy's weapon.

It seems to me that trying to get around that by declaring some other option is trying to find a way around the spear point inside the metaphysical plane of rule interpretation.
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