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Old 02-03-2023, 05:57 PM   #11
Mr_Sandman's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: L.I., NY
Default Re: Eliminating attack rolls in melee combat - Is it a crazy idea?

Thanks for engaging in my weird little thought experiment, everyone. It's not really something I think would necessarily work, just a stray idea that I wanted to noodle with.

Seeing a tweet about removing the to hit roll started me thinking about some game designs that assume success if a character has the appropriate skill and can apply it. That led to me considering turning the idea of getting rid of active defense on its head. Like Farmer, years of playing GURPS has made me dislike playing games without regular defense options.

I think the main issue that I'm trying to consider is not really either the pace of combat or the whiff factor, exactly. Even if those are often the reasons given for wanting to eliminate active defense, or somehow make attack and defense rolls into a quick contest.

The primary thing I'm trying to think about is if it might increase fun for players, by reducing some of the frustration they seem to experience when they roll a successful attack roll, only to have it immediately negated by the opponent's successful defense. I think if the hit is automatic, it could feel less like they are being robbed of an 'earned' success.

I picked an effective skill of 12 to think about this because it's generally seen as the break-point to optimize deceptive attacks, and 74% odds seems like a reasonable cut off for assuming success, while still capturing the majority of attacks in a game.

On the All Out Attack issue, it certainly would make it a definitively dangerous move if there is an opponent who can potentially attack while a character is defenseless. But it's supposed to be either risky, or used when you are feeling safe. However, if you need an effective skill of 12 for an auto-hit, an unskilled character still won't be doing any eye-stabbing. At -9 for targeting the eye and +4 for a telegraphic attack, the attacker would need a 17 base skill. That's a well trained, deadly opponent taking advantage of being given a huge opening. It is a good argument for not allowing auto-hits for effective skill levels under 12, even with a defensive bonus.

Another possibility would be to take eye-stabbing, hit locations over a certain penalty level, or even all hit locations off the table for the auto-success option. It could be allowed only for attacks to the torso, or 'whatever target presents itself' with a random hit location roll. If you want to get fancy with targeting, make the roll.

One thing that occurs to me is that it would make telegraphic attacks more appealing for lower-skill characters fighting each other. But when fighting someone with good defenses, making an uncertain attack roll that could possibly find an opening, rather than going for the certain attack that will almost certainly be defended against would probably be a better strategy.
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