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Old 08-07-2017, 02:34 PM   #1
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Animal Handling - odd side bonus

I was reminded recently that Animal Handling has the following perk attached:
Quote:
Finally, this skill gives an advantage
in combat against animals within your
specialty. If you have Animal Handling
at level 15, an animal’s attack and
defense rolls are at -1 against you,
because you can predict its behavior.
At skill 20, the animal’s rolls are at -2.
This strikes me as a really weird bit of rules. Penalizing the animal's defense rolls isn't all that strange - it can be viewed as a bit of free Deceptive/Predictive Attack. (Though it's quite powerful when it applies!) But a penalty to the animal's attacks, rather than a bonus to the character's defenses, seems quite bizarre.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:00 PM   #2
Maz
 
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

Probably a leftover from 3e. Just change it to +1 to active defense. This also means that even if you are specially trained with tigers, if one catch you off-guard and get a surprise-attack on you it wont get a penalty to its to-hit on a pounce.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

I agree: "attack rolls are -1 against you" is an oddball rule that doesn't fit how GURPS works. I earlier said as much in a blog post, Building the dungeon matador: Creatures and combat familiarity. The relevant text:
The text says the creature suffers AD and TH penalties because "you can predict its behavior." The penalty to the creature's AD nicely games your ability to predict its defenses; there's no problem there. But a penalty on the creature's TH isn't the right way to game your ability to predict its attacks. After all, if you happened to be unaware or immobile, what caused the creature to miss its attack? Your ability to predict attacks should aid you only when you're aware, mobile, and able to do something defensive with your prediction – i.e., when you're actively defending. In GURPS, the way to game this is with mods to Active Defense, not To Hit.
My recommended fix: Turn the effects into -1 to the animal's AD vs your attacks, and +1 to your AD vs its attacks. Both of these perfectly fit the explanation "you can predict its behavior".
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

That seems the right tack, though I would note +1 to active defenses is a larger modifier than -1 to attack rolls.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
That seems the right tack, though I would note +1 to active defenses is a larger modifier than -1 to attack rolls.
Yes, it's worth more. Gotta be done, though; the "-1 to attack rolls" just isn't right.

If a GM is bothered by Animal Handling granting too high a bonus, he could do this:

Rule that the character enjoys +1 AD vs the animal or -1 on the animal's AD (pick one every turn).

Alternately – and I like this idea more: Once the character has Animal Handling high enough to claim these bonuses, charge a perk to claim each +1 AD, or each -1 on animal's AD. Pay for those extras!

Just ideas. At the moment, I personally don't have a problem with freebie +/- AD benefits of Animal Handling...
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

I don't think I've seen a single player take animal handling, so I think I'm ok with the +1 to AD concept. If I was inclined to "balance" it, I'd ask for a skill roll at the start of the fight ( or when the animal enters the fight). Possibly perception based. No penalty if you do it out of combat, possibly at up to -5 in combat depending on conditions.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:49 PM   #7
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I don't think I've seen a single player take animal handling,
I see it a lot as a professional background skill. I don't think I've ever remembered this rule though (if it ever even has come up, it's not often that you are fighting horses or cows or whatever; I guess equines comes up a bit in cavalry combat).
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I don't think I've seen a single player take animal handling, so I think I'm ok with the +1 to AD concept.
I'm surprised you've never seen it. IMX it's pretty popular in games with horses. Especially for high-IQ characters, since it's a way to buy a Riding default with IQ.

I think the AD bonus is better than the hit penalty, but I don't think it would come up often enough to make it worth house ruling.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:45 PM   #9
Žorkell
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I don't think I've seen a single player take animal handling
My current PC has 4-6 different Animal Handling skills. I also tend to take AH(Equines) if the PC works in some fashion with horses.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:55 PM   #10
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Animal Handling - odd side bonus

I'd probably do it based on points in the skill rather than absolute skill level, similar to how the damage bonuses for karate/brawling/etc changed from skill/N to (skill at DX+n).
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