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Old 11-04-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
Ronnke
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Failed attack rolls

The interpretation of what a failed attack roll means, comes up from time to time in my gaming. Kromm made the comment in a similar thread, quoted below, in which he says "you stood there doing nothing but defending". This has some implications, one of which is, does an unbalanced weapon become unready on a failed attack roll? Literal interpretation would suggest...

No opening = No swing of weapon (doing nothing) = Weapon is not unready.

If you are below zero HP, does a failed attack roll mean you "do nothing", hence no need for an unconsciousness roll?

What are your thoughts? Does a failed melee attack roll always mean do nothing and no swing of the weapon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Mostly this. You failed at your roll to capitalize on an opening and/or seize the initiative, so you stood there doing nothing but defending. You can fix this by increasing your aggression (All-Out Attack (Determined) for +4, at the cost of giving your enemy an opening), falling back on textbook attacks when there's no opening (Telegraphic Attack for +4, at the price of attacking directly into your enemy's strongest defense), or learning to fight better (improve your skill, at the cost of many hours spent in the dojo, gym, kwoon, or whatever).

Missed attack rolls aren't blows that hit with insufficient force. Too many things in GURPS (Melee spells, Contact Agents, etc.) rely on a mere touch for that to be a good ruling. Blows that connect weakly are things like successful attack rolls met by unarmed parries that prevent all damage*, and successful attack rolls met by failed defense rolls where the ensuing damage roll fails to penetrate DR.



* It's safe to assume that in an unarmed fight, not all punches and kicks stopped by unarmed parries are warded off or blocked. Most are the blows you see sport fighters landing by the dozen in a match. A skilled fighter rolls with (not Roll with Blow – the realistic version), turns from, or otherwise minimizes the damage of these; his efforts count as a GURPS parry. These cases do result in contact under the rules.
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Last edited by Ronnke; 11-04-2018 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Added extra stuff.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:12 PM   #2
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

I'd flatly reject the Kromm-take there, for the reasons you mention and many more.

The second paragraph is good. The first and third don't play well with the rules.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnke View Post
What are your thoughts? Does a failed melee attack roll always mean do nothing and no swing of the weapon?
You took an Attack Maneuver so you did something, even if it was a failure.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:52 PM   #4
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
You took an Attack Maneuver so you did something, even if it was a failure.
Yup. You moved your weapon around as possible openings became visible, you possibly made a swing or two, you moved your feet, and your shield if you have one. You didn't accomplish anything except defending, but you didn't Do Nothing.

GURPS combat is an abstraction of something much more complex and dynamic, and it is important not to mistake the abstraction for a simulation.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:05 PM   #5
mr beer
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

"Swing and a miss" seems to be the obvious answer to me.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:08 PM   #6
cdru
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Pyramid 3-34 got a tweak for hesitating instead of actually missing
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:38 AM   #7
GWJ
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Yeah, but just if you attacked with success margin of 1. On the other hand, it's a clue about that failed attack not means lack of attack.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:32 AM   #8
Kromm
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

The problem with "swing and miss" is that it's hard to do.* Yes, a person can do it, but most swings don't miss. It's very weird to imagine people are swooshing weapons around every second and missing all the time. It's much more like a real fight if they're only seeing and/or capitalizing on openings every few seconds. Save swooshing for critical failures. It creates no inconsistency with the rules to assume this:
  • Attack, critical miss: Swooshed clumsily, with bad results for you.
  • Attack, miss: Simply didn't act, for want of initiative or an opening.
  • Attack, hit, defended: Blow hit enemy's shield or weapon (block or armed parry), connected lightly but ineffectually (unarmed parry), or was ducked or sidestepped (dodge).
  • Attack, hit, not defended: Blow arrived faster than enemy's reaction, and hit squarely.
  • Attack, critical hit: Blow caught enemy flat-footed – they simply didn't act.


* One of the most common criticisms of GURPS is in the vein of, "Gee, how can an ordinary person swing a baseball bat at someone's head and miss? But that's what happens with -5 for the default penalty and -5 for the head, even with the +4 for Telegraphic Attack!" The obvious answer is, "They didn't swing."
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:37 AM   #9
Ronnke
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
  • Attack, miss: Simply didn't act, for want of initiative or an opening.
In this case would an unbalanced weapon still become unready?
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:36 AM   #10
JazzJedi
 
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Default Re: Failed attack rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The problem with "swing and miss" is that it's hard to do.* Yes, a person can do it, but most swings don't miss. It's very weird to imagine people are swooshing weapons around every second and missing all the time. It's much more like a real fight if they're only seeing and/or capitalizing on openings every few seconds.

This seems problematic for a variety of reasons. The ability to capitalize on openings seems a separate skill than hitting - a skilled Mixed Martial Artist with Boxing-15, Karate-15, Judo-15, Wrestling-15 would be very good at timing openings against an average (say skill 10 or 11) opponent. But you give them a baseball bat, assuming they don't train to fight with a bat (skill at default), and suddenly they lose their ability to judge distance and openings? Assume that character had DX 12 and Broadsword-7. A skill of 7 would mean they would be worse at judging timing and openings than a weakly skilled amateur with DX 10 and 1 point in Broadsword. How does that make any sense?
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