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Old 06-13-2021, 02:02 PM   #1
noahscape
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Default Defend and changing options

Rules lawyers and debaters, your opinions please:
Our hero, Halbarad, decides to attack the animal handler controlling a troop of baboons. The animal handler chooses to defend and Halbarad, having low dex from being weakened, changes options to attack an adjacent baboon on the ground instead. Can the animal handler then change options to making an attack? No one has yet attacked her.
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:59 PM   #2
Nils_Lindeberg
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Defend and changing options

The rules states that you can change your action at any time. By this I presume they mean that you don't have to go by the initial options you chose during movement. So in essence you move, and then you choose your action option limited by how much you moved and your engagement status.
Taking the Charge action during movement doesn't mean you have to attack someone for example.

This also means that there is really no use picking an option during movement, just do your move and chose your action when your turn comes around. This is what is meant by changing your option at any time. And if you change your action to an action with a higher adjDX that has already been counted, you will execute the action immediately when you decide to do that action instead of another. One example would be to wait until DX 10 to hit someone, but then decide that you rather hit an enemy that is on the ground, where you get a +4 prone bonus, and then you should have acted on DX 14. Instead you act immediately on DX 10, or the current DX count. And you also have the optional rule with delayed actions.

Defend and Dodge actions would be pretty crappy if you have the lowest adjDX because they would be of no use if they happened on your DX order, since you are the last to act. So here the exception is that Dodge and Defend happens when they are declared, but they can't be taken back once declared.
A good use would be to surround an opponent, have the person in front of the enemy defend, while the flanking person attacks. This works well, especially if you moved first, and you didn't know which way the enemy would turn. But after move you know, and one of you are in his front and in danger, so he defends.
It doesn't mean that you can interrupt someone else's action and declare a defend once they target you specifically with an attack. And it definitely doesn't mean you can interrupt an enemy doing their action, when they say they target you. IF you could interrupt and defend when they target you, then they could "change their action at any time" and decide to attack someone else, and then you decide not to defend after all, and then they decide to attack you now that you are not defending again, and then you defend since they are attacking you, ad nauseam.

The only practical solution will be that you can activate a Defend or Dodge at the beginning of the DX count, or maybe you want to wait a little to see if your higher DX allies kills your potential attacker so you don't have to defend. But as soon as that attacker will get his turn, it is too late for you to defend. So you might as well declare a Defend as soon as you know that you will need it and well before your enemy's turn.

Once you declare to defend you will be defending until the end of the turn and that is your action. Your enemy, that sees that you are defending before he had time to attack you, may chose to attack you or do anything else his MA permits. But no matter what he does, you are still defending, happy to have scared him off from attacking you.

I can't see any other way of doing it that is logical, consistent and practical.

But I am heavily biased and sympathizing with Halbarad. :-D
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:53 PM   #3
Kieddicus
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Default Re: Defend and changing options

I agree with Nils about 'just doing your movement and then choosing your action when your turn comes around' but disagree on the dodging and defending rule. I allow someone who is dodging or defending to switch to an attack on their turn if they haven't gotten the benefits of the defensive action yet.
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Old 06-15-2021, 12:35 AM   #4
noahscape
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Default Re: Defend and changing options

If the person making the attack can change their target after someone declares they will defend from their attack, it becomes a 'free' feint if the defender cannot switch to an attack. Could be a cool stunt/showy move, but with some kind of IQ or DX check and maybe a penalty on the follow-up attack on another target.
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Old 06-15-2021, 01:14 AM   #5
Nils_Lindeberg
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

The same argument works the other way.

If the defender can "Feint" and change their mind, they basically scare off the attacker, and then after the attacker did something else, voila, he never defended after all, and now he can attack instead.

So in my opinion, you either defend or you do not, and the attacker either chose to attack the defender or he do not. Because if one guy can change his action so can the other, back and forth and there is no way to give priority. But if no one can change their action once they have declared it, then it makes sense. And yes, you don't have to declare an action until it is your turn to act, or in the case of the defend/dodge option until just before the opponent will act.

I don't know how to solve issues like one player saying; if he shrewd attacks me I will defend, but not otherwise, and the other player says; I will shrewd attack him but only if he doesn't defend if he defends I do a normal attack.

How would you guys decide on the priority?
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:07 AM   #6
JimmyPlenty
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Defend and changing options

I feel if the attackers changes their mind, then defending/dodging has done it's job. Not only did the attack fail, it didn't even go off in the first place. Therefore, the action is used.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:48 AM   #7
RobW
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
I don't know how to solve issues like one player saying; if he shrewd attacks me I will defend, but not otherwise, and the other player says; I will shrewd attack him but only if he doesn't defend if he defends I do a normal attack.

How would you guys decide on the priority?
This is how we have always played, that is, until the dice were rolled an action hadn't been taken. Back in the day we were a table with many (usually good natured) rules lawyers, so certainly there could be blind spots, but I think we gave this a pretty thorough testing over probably 100s of hours.

The answer to your question is simply that the defender will get the last word.

The attacker has to make the decision about who/how to attack. The decision to defend (or not) is in response to that. So while we say that nothing is committed until the dice are rolled, there is also a sequence there that means it is not an endless recursion.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:16 AM   #8
RobW
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Here's a made-up sample dialogue (nothing committed until the dice are rolled).
  • Bron: Pole weapon charge against Ragnar!
  • Ragnar: OK, well that could kill me, I'd better defend
  • Bron: Ack, in that case I'll attack Groo
  • Groo: Ragnar's right, I'd better defend too
  • Bron: fine then, I'll attack Ragnar, he's more dangerous
  • Ragnar: I defend
  • *attack carried out*
  • Groo: I'm attacking Bron!

I've read that other tables say, when Bron first announces they are attacking Ragnar, that choice is locked in. Which I realise must work absolutely fine, and in this case avoids the dialog in-between with Axe.

Avoiding dialogue about combat isn't an issue for us, as I think in our games we are all in a way very cooperative, and for us part of the fun is in kibitzing about different options and possibilities available to both sides. (Not in every fight of course! And TBH these kinds of situations don't arise that often)
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Old 06-15-2021, 11:34 AM   #9
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
This also means that there is really no use picking an option during movement, just do your move and chose your action when your turn comes around.
This makes the most sense to me, too. First, everyone moves. Then, going in adjDX order, everyone takes an action available to them based on how far they moved and their current engagement status. Once you declare an action, you are committing to it and can't change, regardless of whether or not your attack causes someone to commit to defending or dodging as a reaction.
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Old 06-15-2021, 12:51 PM   #10
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Defend and changing options

Yep, that's the important point. When it's someone's turn to act and they act, if someone reacts to that action, there's no undoing the action someone declared as their action on the adjDX, because it happened enough to cause someone to react to it.

This prevents the theoretical back and forth changing of declared actions.
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