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Old 03-27-2021, 11:03 AM   #1
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

The rules governing initiating HTH contain some ambiguities that call for table rulings, and I'm curious how others handle them.

Most importantly, initiating HTH is described both as an 'attack' (implying it occurs during the action phase of the turn) and, more clearly and in multiple places, as part of the movement phase that is resolved during movement.

An additional wrinkle is that you can enter HTH as a regular move if you are disengaged OR using a shift if you are engaged. So, two different types of moves for two different situations.

The question is, how do you handle the frequent situation where a combatant begins the turn disengaged and moves up to a foe who is large enough to engage them and tries to initiate HTH, all as part of the same move?

One interpretation would be that you are free to do so, regardless of facing and the attempt to initiate HTH happens right away, during movement on that first turn.

A second interpretation would be that you must stop as soon as you become engaged by your foe, ending your move, but you may use your action on that same turn to initiate HTH.

A third interpretation would be that you must stop as soon as you become engaged to your foe, ending your move, and you must wait till movement phase of the next turn to initiate HTH by way of a 'shift'.

This is such a universal situation that everyone has to have an interpretation; so what do you do, and why?
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I share your concerns, Lars. One of the situations that made me want to revamp the HTH rules was having a player insist that he could initiate HTH in movement and then make an attack on the same turn as his action. My house HTH rules on my occasional blog, Musings from Myriangia. These state that attempting to initiate HTH is always and action, regardless of your engagement status at the beginning of the turn the attempt is made. I've also added some new options and conditions that I hope add to the realism. I'll admit that I've had a player chafe at the idea that making HTH initiation an action sort of looks like someone running up to tackle a foe, stopping when adjacent, waiting for their turn to act, and then tackling. But I maintain that this is all just due to the game conveniently modeling combat with everything more or less happening at once.
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Old 03-27-2021, 02:14 PM   #3
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I use the second interpretation, to wit "you must stop as soon as you become engaged by your foe, ending your move, but you may use your action on that same turn to initiate HTH."

I previously read the rules as saying that even if you initiate HTH in the action phase, you may immediately make an HTH attack. The rules are ambiguous there, but I've come to see that this interpretation makes initiating HTH too darned good. Without this interpretation, if you initiate HTH in the action phase (so you were already engaged), the other guy will get an attack before you do. Makes you think a little bit harder about your options.

One of those times where I had a minority reading on a rule only to later see the wisdom of the more experienced TFT guys. That doesn't mean I'll stop being stubborn, of course. I'm right up until the point I decide I'm wrong.
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Old 03-27-2021, 03:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

My reading is if you can circle around behind the foe then you can enter HTH during movement, but once you are engaged you have to use your action to enter HTH.

The reference to "shift" at ITL 116 indicates the movement done by option (o).
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Old 03-27-2021, 07:15 PM   #5
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I use option 2, above, as well, so you can enter someone's hex freely as part of a move (during the movement phase) if:
- you enter through their side or rear hex side
- they are prone
- you are big enough that they can't engage you (a huge advantage for giants n' such)
- they are unable to pose a threat to you (though not really a factor because I let anyone who can perform any form of attack force engagement)
- you enter someones hex as part of a shift (in some cases this might amount to using option 3, above, though only in the event that you don't use your action on the first turn, as per option 2). I allow this because it is explicitly stated you can do it in the book, and has enough constraints cooked in that it would be hard to abuse.

Based on these rulings, one tactic that makes a certain amount of sense is to run up and engage someone, defend for one turn (assuming you have a dagger or something in your hand or know a high level of UC), and then initiate HTH on the movement phase of the next turn. If you have the right talents or a dagger in hand, this is a pretty good approach to fighting people you know you can take in HTH, yet is also pretty fair because your foe gets a shot at you, and your attack develops slowly enough that they can receive help from an adjacent friend if that's appropriate.

Last edited by larsdangly; 03-27-2021 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 03-27-2021, 07:32 PM   #6
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I hadn't really thought about your final option: if you start engaged, you can still enter HTH in the movement phase via a shift. I can't see any explicit reason this would be forbidden.

The primary reason that it seems to be unintended is that option (o) (ITL 103) becomes largely superfluous. Why would anyone already engaged not immediately initiate in HTH in the movement phase rather than in the action phase? It would be an odd situation where this is the thing to do.

I'll have to think about whether you can shift to initiate HTH during the movement phase (when you start your movement already engaged). At present, I can't see a strong argument against it.
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Old 03-27-2021, 07:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

What option do rats and tiny spiders use to enter the same hexes as characters?
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Old 03-27-2021, 08:04 PM   #8
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I've always allowed them to move into the hex without becoming engaged, but I don't see any good reason for what I do. A human can't enter a giant's hex from the front without being engaged, so I don't see why a spider should ignore engagement to enter a human's hex.
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:25 AM   #9
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I hadn't really thought about your final option: if you start engaged, you can still enter HTH in the movement phase via a shift. I can't see any explicit reason this would be forbidden.
Actually on a closer reading of the rule, I think you'll see that is not true.

Yes, under option (o) an engaged figure may explicitly shift 1 hex (or stand still) "during the movement phase", and subsequently during the combat phase, on its turn to act, "it moves onto the hex of any adjacent enemy" to (attempt to) initiate HTH combat. This is explicitly a two-step process. The "shift" referred to during the movement phase is clearly the same "shift" as mentioned everywhere else in the rules, the movement to an empty hex still adjacent to the enemy with which you are already engaged. It's clearly stating you cannot enter the enemy's hex yet, on movement, but you can do so later during the combat phase when it's your "turn to attack". Of course for all you know, that enemy could get clobbered or shot dead by a friend with a higher adjDX than you, acting after the movement phase (because that's when she can) but before you get the chance to attempt to initiate HTH.

But assuming you do get to attempt and succeed at initiating HTH as your action in this situation, interpretations of SJ's wording differs among us. Some would say you still get to make your HTH attack (option (t)) or attempt to draw a dagger (option (u)) right now, in this same combat phase. I interpret it otherwise. You used option (o) this turn to get this far, so I say using another option, (t) or (u) in this same turn has to be off limits. I would make the player wait until the combat phase of the next turn before using one of the options (t, u, or v) available to folk in HTH.

Despite not getting to actually "attack" until next turn, there's still an advantage to waiting until you're engaged to get into HTH. You don't have the restrictions the rules impose when a disengaged figure comes running in to initiate HTH as a Charge Attack under option (b). Under option (b) you're limited to attempting HTH on figures with a lower MA, or from behind, or who are already on the ground. Those limitations don't exist under option (o) for engaged figures, and that's a critical difference under the right circumstances.

But if you are disengaged and faster, or disengaged and coming in from the rear, you do get to attempt to initiate HTH on the movement phase -- you end movement in the enemy's hex (a stated and explicit exception to the normal rule to stop the moment you enter an enemy's front hex), and if the attempt to initiate HTH succeeded, then roll to hit in a HTH attack during the combat phase of the very same turn. (The latter is also somewhat debated, but in my opinion I think the intent of the rule is clear.)

The root of any confusion with HTH is that in these early Melee rules, SJ went back and forth using the words "movement" and "attack" both as technical terms for phases and combat options on the one hand, and as colloquialisms on the other. Where he's not using those words conversationally, I wish he'd capitalized or italicized or something every time he used them as formal terms for game elements.
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Old 03-28-2021, 05:55 AM   #10
RobW
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

We run combat according to the Advanced Melee rules, which are clear on this question.
  1. Initiating HTH is an action available for any figure moving 1/2 MA or less**. This includes engaged figures who can only shift.
  2. The move onto the defender's hex happens during the movement phase.
  3. As the attacker moves onto the defender hex, it drops any non-HTH weapons and shield in the hex it entered from.
  4. The defender then rolls to see if they repel the attack, get their dagger ready, etc.
  5. If the attack is repelled, the attacker return to the entry hex but without its weapon/shield, now laying there on the ground.
  6. If the attack is not repelled, the attacker and defender go down in the defender's hex.
  7. In any case, the attacker has used their action for the turn.

So to answer the OP's question, the attempt to initiate HTH is resolved during the movement phase (alternative 1).

** given the restrictions, ie attacker has higher MA OR defender backed against a wall, prone, or kneeling OR attacker enters from rear OR defender agrees
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