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Old 06-20-2021, 04:01 PM   #21
Peter von Kleinsmid
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

I see those points as relevant to your idea that Defend shouldn't be allowed as a response to an attack, and also relevant to your assertion that one figure will be doomed if outnumbered unless Defend works the way you suggest, but would be much more likely to survive if everyone were attacking.


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Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
... But if he is fighting for his life and there won't be any reinforcements for 3 turns, he is doomed if he just defends.
It seems to me that rather depends on the specifics. His odds of survival without defending may or may not be better if everyone chooses to attack.


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Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
... We are discussing that case when the others can choose to defend or not, based on his action. Not if he decides to use a spell or disengages in order to run away. It is what happens when he decides to strike back against multiple opponents that matter in this argument.
The situation you keep mentioning is just one possible situation, and one that very often does not occur or doesn't last, because the outnumbering figures can often move to opposite sides. I see that as relevant because of how infrequent (or if it happens, usually short-lived) the situation you are concerned about is, compared to the situations where I can see people wanting it to work the other way.


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Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
... Just because an action doesn't happen often doesn't mean it shouldn't be ruled upon. And when your choice to defend is 5 or even 6 dice vs. DX, then it really matters. Or when you gang up on a giant that might smash either one of you into pulp, but he also has a low basic DX, then it matters. ...
I didn't say it shouldn't be considered. I think all of the cases deserve consideration.

The effects of expert or master defenders is another case to look at.

The case with outnumbered but dangerous foes is also interesting, as is considering that adjDX sequence will make a big difference if you aren't using the Delayed Actions optional rule.

Other cases that I think are relevant include with people who end up wasting entire turns defending against nothing and losing an entire turn, and figures who may end up pointlessly defending and getting shot, or pointlessly dodging and getting jabbed, if defenders must commit but attackers can freely choose whom/whether to attack.


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Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
... And of course, the defend action is boring, so many players go with the attack because it is more fun.
Is it boring? It seems to me like if someone finds a reason to Defend, it's often because something tense is happening. I also tend to think there are usually quite a few practical reasons for fighters to prefer to attack.


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Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
And again, what is correct for the whole team, might not be correct from the point of view of the attacked person. Normal historical battles could last for hours. Units could be locked in melee for many minutes before one side broke. If we used TFT rules the whole battle would basically be over in less than a minute after the first melee strike. So, one has to assume that a lot of defending is the norm, from both sides. With one guy now and then taking a chance hoping the enemy is defending the tenth turn in a row. And then he opens up for a potential counterblow and tries to hit his enemy at 4 vs. DX, and then immediately goes back to defending for ten turns praying for his own survival. I can see how well-trained gladiators, duelists, and daredevil PC heroes go for the jugular nine times out of ten. But realistically, I think there should be a whole lot more defending. Especially if you think your side is stronger. You wait for your side to win, while you survive. ...
Many figures in a large-scale battle would also be unable to act because they are not yet in reach of a foe, either because allies are in front of them, or because they are not choosing to move to the front that turn. While players are often quite eager to get an action immediately, as you say, actual soldiers may prefer to delay to wait for the most survivable-looking situation. So in addition to Defending a lot, they may be Waiting For an Opening, or just plain choosing to hold back rather than charging full-speed into melee.
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:05 PM   #22
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Defending can actually be a good offense. Use Waiting for an Opening (ITL 127) to gain up to +2DX on a later attack. Defending doesn't have to be boring or a death sentence; it can be quite suspenseful, waiting to see if the extra die in your attacker's roll was a good gamble, and that sounds like great fun to me!
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:24 PM   #23
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

This question can't be answered unless you specify when each of the two relevant characters (PC and animal tamer) 'acted'. The way the OP was written made it sound like the PC attacked and animal tamer defended in response. In that case, the PC is already committed and can't take back the decision to attack. If instead the animal tamer went first and chose 'defend', then he or she is committed to that. The point is, you are not committed to act until you actually act, and it is foolish to declare what you intend to do, or listen to what someone else says they intend to do, before they actually do it. There are constraints on the range of possible actions, depending on your position, engagement, movement during the movement phase, etc. But until you actually act you are not committed to anything. Once you act, you are fully committed and cannot take it back.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:05 PM   #24
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
The point is, you are not committed to act until you actually act, and it is foolish to declare what you intend to do, or listen to what someone else says they intend to do, before they actually do it.
But it isn't necessarily foolish to declare that you are defending and thus committing to that action. By doing so, you can intentionally advertise that you are a more difficult target. If this doesn't make your opponent attack someone else instead, it will at least increase your chances of not getting hurt. If you can do this while increasing your odds of hitting that opponent on the next turn, that's smart tactics.

But I agree that when you say that you are taking an action, you have committed to it.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:07 PM   #25
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Yes, that's fine but it has no rules implications - it is just a way to psychologically manipulate an opponent who doesn't understand the game.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:10 AM   #26
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

It's pretty effective against players who know the game well, too!
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Old 06-24-2021, 07:20 PM   #27
Nils_Lindeberg
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

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Originally Posted by Peter von Kleinsmid View Post
Many figures in a large-scale battle would also be unable to act because they are not yet in reach of a foe, either because allies are in front of them, or because they are not choosing to move to the front that turn. While players are often quite eager to get an action immediately, as you say, actual soldiers may prefer to delay to wait for the most survivable-looking situation. So in addition to Defending a lot, they may be Waiting For an Opening, or just plain choosing to hold back rather than charging full-speed into melee.
I was thinking of mass battles where you have formations and a line. No escape then, no waiting to engage when it looks good. You are at the front, you are in the battle line.

The Romans had practice in how to exchange the first line of men for fresh soldiers from the second line, so their legionnaires could fall back and rest, and then get back into it when it was their turn to have a go again. And even if you have ranks eight or ten men deep, and even if everyone is just attacking every third turn because they are waiting for an opening, the fight would last less than a couple of minutes once you have contact between two formations. Since most units broke after taking 10 to 20% casualties. And most of those casualties would come from being ridden down from behind by cavalry after they broke.

In short Melee fights are extremely lethal compared to reality. The same goes for two fencers that will most likely kill each other in less than 15 seconds. No "I am not left-handed either"- kind of fights. The last example not being realistic either of course, but still one type of fantasy.

I am not sure if it would make Melee fights more fun, if they lasted longer. But the option should be there.

My personal house rule is that you can counter attack when Defending, but you do it at -6DX. And Expertise and other ways of getting more dice while defending, lower that negative modifier instead. This means, that you never have more than 4 vs. DX to hit someone. But they will counterattack better and better if they are skilled. So two master Fencers attacking each other while they both defend do so at 4 vs. DX-2. The fight will come to an end fairly quickly, but not be over in 1 or 2 turns or last "forever" if one of them wants to prolong the fight.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:15 AM   #28
Peter von Kleinsmid
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

This could be a whole huge interesting topic, or several topics, about modelling large-scale battles, or about how to think about time spent in TFT combats, or how to resolve people attempting to delay combat with conversation, or about defensive fighting styles (such as the recent Hexagram article about that).

I'm not sure how or if you connect it to the topic of this thread?
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Old 06-26-2021, 05:44 AM   #29
Nils_Lindeberg
 
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter von Kleinsmid View Post
This could be a whole huge interesting topic, or several topics, about modelling large-scale battles, or about how to think about time spent in TFT combats, or how to resolve people attempting to delay combat with conversation, or about defensive fighting styles (such as the recent Hexagram article about that).

I'm not sure how or if you connect it to the topic of this thread?
I like an interpretation of the Defend declaration rule to be reasonable, both for a melee with a couple of lethal gladiators dead set on killing their opponents before they get killed themselves, and in a larger situation where people mostly fight to stay alive and live to see another day.

If you have to declare the Defend beforehand, risking that it goes to waste or just having the indirect effect of your attacker attacking someone else. You also get the bonus of Defending being declared by both sides, and in large-scale battles that would model why they take so long. Individuals, especially non-heroic ones might value survival over efficiency. An option that doesn't really come into it if you only defend when you are attacked. With the latter interpretation you will never have two persons defending at each other.
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Old 06-26-2021, 09:00 AM   #30
Peter von Kleinsmid
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Default Re: Defend and changing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
I like an interpretation of the Defend declaration rule to be reasonable, both for a melee with a couple of lethal gladiators dead set on killing their opponents before they get killed themselves, and in a larger situation where people mostly fight to stay alive and live to see another day.
Thanks. I think I see what you're thinking now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
If you have to declare the Defend beforehand, risking that it goes to waste or just having the indirect effect of your attacker attacking someone else. You also get the bonus of Defending being declared by both sides, and in large-scale battles that would model why they take so long. Individuals, especially non-heroic ones might value survival over efficiency. An option that doesn't really come into it if you only defend when you are attacked. With the latter interpretation you will never have two persons defending at each other.
You could still have adjacent people defending at each other, particularly if using Waiting For An Opening, and in group situations where attacking would mean that someone else might be able to attack you while you're not defending (groups facing each other in a line often have multiple adjacent foes per fighter, and there may be 2-hex jabs and thrown weapon attacks). And that's just from a game efficiency standpoint; not including the people you mentioned (who might be in the majority) who often just Defend simply because they want most to survive.

I'd say that in actual combat, groups as well as individuals may also pause, so time may pass where some or all groups aren't actually even engaged. There may be things going on with group morale and leadership that uses more time than actual fighting, even after the opposing forces have squared off and some fighting has occurred. As Napoleon said, “In war, the moral is to the physical as ten to one.”

Also, if both sides tend to have armor and/or shields and a typical weapon is a one-handed spear, many of the fighters are 30-32 points, and if typically when one person does attack, the target defends, that may not result in very fast casualties. (Lowish adjDX, 4/DX to hit, armor takes most/all of a hit.) If the ground starts having bodies on it, that too can reduce the rate of people attacking and hitting each other, as it can limit the places people are willing to fight from, or reduce their adjDX if they do stand on a body.


The thing I have seen when playing that Defend and Dodge have to be pre-declared and commit a figure through the turn, is that the side who moves first (which already is often a serious tactical disadvantage by itself) also declares Defend and Dodge first, and those figures in many cases just get ignored by the other side wherever possible (or, if the GM insists they can't even switch Dodge with Defend or vice versa, the dodgers get charged and the defenders get shot). Which in turn means that people who realize that tend to just never Defend or Dodge unless they see nothing else worth doing.

And even with Dodge/Defend as an option in response to attacks, I rarely see fighters use it unless they feel great danger from an attack, because they prefer to attack, and defending is a bit like losing a turn.

Last edited by Peter von Kleinsmid; 06-26-2021 at 09:09 AM.
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