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Old 04-06-2021, 11:18 AM   #1
adam1234
 
Join Date: May 2020
Default Techniques - half penalty vs full?

My understanding for techniques is (to paraphrase a chapter) "when there's a way to use a skill with a penalty, you can build a technique to buy off that penalty".

Traps has setting traps at -2, so you can buy a Set Traps technique to remove that penalty. Lockpicking by touch is -5, so you can buy that technique to remove the -5. Same for off-hand attacks, dual weapon attacks, etc. (All from Basic section on Techniques.)

But then there is Targeted Attacks (MA68) which has a limit of buying off half of the penalty for strikes.

Is Hit Location the only special limit there? I have not seen other limits of that sort ("limited to buying off half the penalty").

I am not asking whether it would be balanced with one design method or another. I would like to know if there is a general rule for "in THESE cases, buying off a penalty is limited to half the penalty"?
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Old 04-06-2021, 12:38 PM   #2
Polkageist
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Techniques do have a maximum value, such as 'cannot exceed base skill by 2' which is pretty common throughout the collection of them. That max can be a negative number, i.e. 'cannot exceed base skill -2' which can be half the untrained technique penalty if the math lines up right.

For the targeted attack technique because there are so many options for which target that comes along with a different malus to-hit the technique instead opts for a formula instead of listing out each option. Arm is max -1, vitals is max -2, eye is max -5 and so on. So "max is 1/2 the penalty" is a nice shorthand for the max level of the technique that'll handle all potential targets for targeted attack.
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Old 04-06-2021, 12:57 PM   #3
adam1234
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Yeah, but why is that? The general rules for techniques mention either "max = skill" or "no max".

So you can buy off Strike Vitals from Skill-3 to Skill-2, which is unusual because most Techniques stop at Skill-0.

The relevant lines are:
Code:
By improving Targeted Attack, the fighter can buy off up 
to half of his default penalty (round up) for a strike, grab, or throw, 
or the whole penalty for a grapple
But there is no reason given nor rule I have found elsewhere to explain why a strike/grab/throw is limited to removing half the penalty but a grapple can remove the full penalty. So that is my question - is there a general rule for that or is this just a one-off exception?
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Old 04-06-2021, 01:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

It's a one-off exception to prevent rapier-wielding adventurers from paying 10 points for an insta-kill sword thrust.
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Old 04-06-2021, 01:14 PM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1234 View Post
Yeah, but why is that? The general rules for techniques mention either "max = skill" or "no max".
In the case of Targeted Attacks, I believe it's because it seems ridiculous that a character could target the Eye and have the same chance of hitting as when targeting the Torso - the former is an extremely small target compared to the latter. There's also the gamist reason Anders mentions, although I feel it's more "the Torso should always be a legitimate target," which really isn't the case when you can stab someone through the eye just as easily.

From a simulationist perspective, a Technique should have a max somewhere below skill (and half the penalty makes sense as a value here) if it makes no sense that someone could train to use the skill in that manner just as well as the normal use of the skill. From a gamist perspective, a Technique should have a max somewhere below skill if you want there to be a legitimate choice between using the Technique and not, and buying it up to full would remove this choice.
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Old 04-06-2021, 01:20 PM   #6
ravenfish
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

The rules for techniques on Characters p.229 say "techniques often specify an upper limit relative to parent skill" and that "maximum level is usually equal to prerequisite skill level" [my emphasis] for important skill uses (and might sometimes exceed it for peripheral ones), so a maximum of something less than full skill on an important technique isn't ruled out by Basic Set rules even if they don't highlight it as an option.
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Old 04-06-2021, 02:05 PM   #7
adam1234
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
The rules for techniques on Characters p.229 say "techniques often specify an upper limit relative to parent skill" and that "maximum level is usually equal to prerequisite skill level" [my emphasis] for important skill uses (and might sometimes exceed it for peripheral ones), so a maximum of something less than full skill on an important technique isn't ruled out by Basic Set rules even if they don't highlight it as an option.
Fair, the "usual" bit is where I'm looking for clarification for building my own techniques.

But it seems like there's general agreement that the exception is for "stabbing through the eye as easily as the torso would just be too good", and I definitely agree there. So I will assume that the general rule of "max = skill" is the case for any custom techniques, aside from eye-stabbing.
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Old 04-06-2021, 02:26 PM   #8
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

For me, the question isn't whether you can buy off hit location penalties with techniques; it's whether you can train to buy off hit location penalties with techniques.

Techniques are about training to buy off penalties. You can train at setting traps; you can train to pick locks by touch. But is it realistic to train yourself to stab people in the eyes better than or as well as you can stab them in the torso?

I don't feel like this is a realistic thing you can actively train in. I don't think there are special... erm... techniques for hitting the eyes that really apply. You need precision to hit the eyes, and that's an overall matter. There's no trick involved, nothing you do differently for the eyes than you do for any other spot. At least, not that I know of.

I would allow this sort of technique in a highly cinematic or comedic game but not a realistic one.

No doubt someone is going to arrive and claim that they've studied in the School of Eye-Stabbing...
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:38 PM   #9
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Techniques are about training to buy off penalties. You can train at setting traps; you can train to pick locks by touch. But is it realistic to train yourself to stab people in the eyes better than or as well as you can stab them in the torso?
It gets somewhat weird when you think about the idea that there's a technique to improve your chance to hit a human eyeball inside a skull (Hit Location modifier -9), but not one to improve your chances of hitting one sitting on a table (Size Modifier -9).
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:56 PM   #10
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Techniques - half penalty vs full?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
It gets somewhat weird when you think about the idea that there's a technique to improve your chance to hit a human eyeball inside a skull (Hit Location modifier -9), but not one to improve your chances of hitting one sitting on a table (Size Modifier -9).
There isn't?

Seriously if a player really wanted to learn Targeted Attack (small stationary objects) I'd certainly consider allowing it.
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