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Old 02-26-2016, 08:21 PM   #1
Kalminos
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Default Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

Let's say there are 5 guys sitting in the living room of someone's house playing poker on the dinner table. They are all veterans of The Great War- whatever that is- and thus have combat reflexes, except for one of them whom for a variety of reasons ended up not actually fighting at all during his deployment.

A mysterious assailant comes in, kicks down the front door as they sit there playing poker, and just starts spraying at the lot of them with his assault rifle. None of them saw this coming, they are totally surprised.

The one without combat reflexes freezes, and gets no defenses and no actions for 1d6 seconds before he may attempt to make IQ rolls- by this time, he is well and dead.

The rest, whom have combat reflexes roll initiative against their attacker, their side happens to lose for the purposes of this example.

They are all mentally stunned and similarly cannot defend (by jumping out of the line of fire) until they each individually make a increasingly easier IQ roll.




Or, can even the one who lacked combat reflexes defend at -4 par stunning (since that is how they are described)? and by similar token, can the ones with combat reflexes defend at -4 (and not being able to retreat) until they each pass their IQ rolls?

Or does the 'frozen' one without combat reflexes not get defense rolls at all, (based on the wording "before the defenders can react at all." and those with it are allowed them at -4 par mental stunning?
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:51 PM   #2
Leynok
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

Pretty sure they all get a chance to defend, though at -4 because they're stunned. I usually only rob an Active Defence from someone when they either can't defend due to some incapacitating condition or if they were unaware of the attack in time. In your example, they have plenty of time to witness the attack, from the guy kicking the door in, then they see the guy pointing the gun at them, that's plenty to justify an Active Defence. When in doubt, I imagine how a player would feel when put in that situation, would they feel cheated out of their defence? Or would they understand "yeah, there was no way I could have dodged that?".

Though this does bring up something else I never noticed. You roll for initiative!? I assumed it was a static number based on your Basic Speed? I went to check the Base Books but I can't see anything going into any detail of Initiative.

[Edit] Ah nevermind, I understand Initiative now. I'm used to Initiative being Turn Order from many other systems.

Last edited by Leynok; 02-26-2016 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:55 PM   #3
Kalminos
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Originally Posted by Leynok View Post
Though this does bring up something else I never noticed. You roll for initiative!? I assumed it was a static number based on your Basic Speed? I went to check the Base Books but I can't see anything going into any detail of Initiative.
'Initiative' (in D&D terminology) is normally a static number that is based on your basic speed, however in GURPS initiative pops up only in the context of partial surprise- See basic set page 393.
EDIT: I don't know how much I can get away with putting stuff in from the book here without SJ getting mad- but I think it's best not to copy/paste a few paragraphs from the book, Heh.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:55 PM   #4
Nereidalbel
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Originally Posted by Leynok View Post
Though this does bring up something else I never noticed. You roll for initiative!? I assumed it was a static number based on your Basic Speed? I went to check the Base Books but I can't see anything going into any detail of Initiative.
Some people use a house rule where you roll with your Basic Speed as a bonus. Basically, it's roll Xd6 + Basic speed, as opposed to just Basic Speed and you're on your own to break ties.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:06 PM   #5
Kalminos
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Originally Posted by Nereidalbel View Post
Some people use a house rule where you roll with your Basic Speed as a bonus. Basically, it's roll Xd6 + Basic speed, as opposed to just Basic Speed and you're on your own to break ties.
The initiative I'm referencing is in the context of partial Surprise- not to be confused with turn order.
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:08 PM   #6
Kalminos
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

So, conclusion is defenses for everyone, but at -4?
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:38 PM   #7
Mr_Sandman
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Originally Posted by Kalminos View Post
So, conclusion is defenses for everyone, but at -4?
Yes. See "Effects of Stun" on p. 420 of the Basic Set.

I wouldn't use an initiative roll in the case described in the OP. If there would have been total surprise, but a character has combat reflexes, p. 393 of Characters says they "never freeze, and treat total surprise as partial surprise". I read that not as requiring an initiative roll, so that the defenders could potentially surprise the attacker, but that they get to skip the 1d6 'freeze' and go straight to rolling to become unstunned on their first turn.
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:42 PM   #8
Kalminos
 
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Yes. See "Effects of Stun" on p. 420 of the Basic Set.

I wouldn't use an initiative roll in the case described in the OP. If there would have been total surprise, but a character has combat reflexes, p. 393 of Characters says they "never freeze, and treat total surprise as partial surprise". I read that not as requiring an initiative roll, so that the defenders could potentially surprise the attacker, but that they get to skip the 1d6 'freeze' and go straight to rolling to become unstunned on their first turn.
Partial surprise does involve initiative rolls, though, doesn't it?
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Clarification on Surprise Attacks and Initiative

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Partial surprise does involve initiative rolls, though, doesn't it?
The way I interpret that section is that a situation that calls for an initiative roll can result in partial surprise for one side. After all, if there is a tie on the roll, the book says 'nobody was taken by surprise." The way it is written, partial surprise happens to an entire side of the conflict, not individuals. If one side loses, then there is partial surprise which results in mental stun for everyone on that side, without the 1d6 second freeze, and with the bonus of +1 to the roll for each additional second. So that's what happens to characters with combat reflexes if their side is totally surprised. Combat reflexes also gives a character +6 to the roll to recover from the mental stun.
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