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Old 10-08-2021, 07:48 PM   #1
GameBuddah
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: The Wylds of Central North Carolina
Default Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

In preparation for tomorrow's game, my wife and I ran through the first encounter of "I Smell a Rat." She was playing the Swashbuckler, and I was playing a Giant Spider.

She wiped the floor with the Spider - the Spider didn't land a single hit.

Has anyone used a quick contest of Attacker's attack vs defenders defense in DFRPG?

I feel like it might have given the poor giant spider a chance to score at least one hit.

I think I'm going to increase the number of spiders tomorrow from 1xplayer, to 1xplayer HUGE + 2xplayer Large and see how that works out.

If anyone has any additional insights into tuning this combat tonight or tomorrow morning, I would be most appreciative.
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Old 10-09-2021, 12:31 AM   #2
tbone
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Most lamentable for the spider! But fate is against the creature. The scenario is written with the assumption that the PCs will win. The text suggests at least one huge spider per delver, as many as three. And that's just for the opening fight, a mere warm-up.

In a more "fair" fight, the spider should ambush from above, likely inflicting -2 to the prey's defense. It should try to push the PC into the webs (which could be a real fight-ender). The spider can also grapple (at +2 if the GM allows it to use 4 "arms"); that'll mess up the PC's attacks and defenses. Grapple the arm, and the PC's fancy sword is fully neutralized.

I'd avoid the "quick contest of Attacker's attack vs defenders defense"; that mucks with combat overall, essentially giving every attack a free built-in Feint. There's already a proper mechanism to handle the effect: Deceptive Attack. If the spider has TH of 16, it can drop TH to 12 or 10, and give the PC a -2 or -3 on every defense. The spider can also use AoA (Determined), and convert its +4 TH bonus to another -2 on the PC's defense. (A risky move, but it's a do-or-die situation for the spider.)

Lots the spider can do - but in the end, it's meant to be a challenge that DFRPG PCs can beat. It's destined to (probably) lose. The best answer is as you suggest: moar spiders.

It'd be fun to hear how the spiders fare in your re-match!
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Old 10-09-2021, 03:39 AM   #3
Balor Patch
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Also remember that the spiders can attack at reach C, while the swashbuckler probably doesn't. A party that has to keep stepping back to preserve the range can run out of room pretty quick.
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Old 10-09-2021, 05:35 PM   #4
GameBuddah
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Ok, more spiders helped, and the actual game consisted of a Wizard, a Thief, and a Scout.

The Scout was most effective against the spiders, but the wizard helped with a command spell, and a few well placed fireballs. The Thief held her own, but didn't do that much damage.

I started with 6 Huge Spiders, and one Humongous Spider, but removed on of the spiders from the conflict early on when I discovered it would be too much.

I got some good feedback from my wife after the session, and I'm going to do the next game as a "flashback" to where the PCs meet their patron, and do some of the more "social" game mechanics for the new player to introduce her to it, before continuing on with the "I Smell a Rat" dungeon.

As an aside, I got some pretty good feedback from the other players, and I think they're going to want a game larger in scope that just delving, so it looks like the game might be more inspired by Tolkien and less by Leiber.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:54 PM   #5
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by GameBuddah View Post
As an aside, I got some pretty good feedback from the other players, and I think they're going to want a game larger in scope that just delving, so it looks like the game might be more inspired by Tolkien and less by Leiber.
This has usually been the case for me, too. In my own limited experience, people who want pure "dungeon fantasy" are rare. That's not how most of my groups played D&D back in the day and it's never how I've played GURPS. With that said, though, I still prefer DFRPG for most fantasy play. I have more going on in town and whatnot, but I love the streamlined rules and sharp presentation.
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Old 10-11-2021, 11:48 AM   #6
martinl
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
Also remember that the spiders can attack at reach C, while the swashbuckler probably doesn't. A party that has to keep stepping back to preserve the range can run out of room pretty quick.
Most attackers that use natural weapons (including monks!) should be aiming for reach C when possible. Quite a few traditional delver weapons perform poorly or not at all in close combat, and natural weapons almost always work.

Many of the default delvers in the boxed set are surprisingly bad at this out of the box. (2018 thread)
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Old 12-23-2021, 12:58 PM   #7
corwyn
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinl View Post
Most attackers that use natural weapons (including monks!) should be aiming for reach C when possible. Quite a few traditional delver weapons perform poorly or not at all in close combat, and natural weapons almost always work.

Many of the default delvers in the boxed set are surprisingly bad at this out of the box. (2018 thread)
Unfortunately, animals (even impossibly large ones) perform rather poorly in gurps vs. melee fighters. The defender gets free attacks against attacking limbs. Unless the delver starts with his back against a wall, or is attacked from ambush and gets no defense, the attacker is going to run out of limbs pretty quick. Though admittedly, the swashbuckler is not so great at crippling wounds, his turn will usually end with a poked out eye. Against a knight, barbarian or holy warrior, the spider is kinda screwed.
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Old 12-25-2021, 04:27 AM   #8
Dinadon
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by GameBuddah View Post
The Scout was most effective against the spiders, but the wizard helped with a command spell, and a few well placed fireballs. The Thief held her own, but didn't do that much damage.
How was the Command spell used? It sounds like you're using it against the spiders. As part of the Mind Control college, the Command spell cannot affect animals, and the Animal college belongs to druids.
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Old 12-27-2021, 09:14 PM   #9
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

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Originally Posted by corwyn View Post
Unfortunately, animals (even impossibly large ones) perform rather poorly in gurps vs. melee fighters. The defender gets free attacks against attacking limbs.
I recommend simply not using that rule in DF, or really any game where unarmed attacks are expected to be relevant.
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Old 12-28-2021, 12:12 AM   #10
tbone
 
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Default Re: Combat - Quick Contest of Attack vs Active Defense

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I recommend simply not using that rule in DF, or really any game where unarmed attacks are expected to be relevant.
Or, to follow one common (?) house rule, halve damage for these parry-based free "attacks". (That is, let parries deliver some painful "Back off!" warnings to grabby monsters; require actual attacks to really lop off parts.)
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