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Old 06-23-2018, 12:41 AM   #1
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

So, Chris Rice posted an idea (on another thread) for having to-hit rolls take into account both attacker and defender ability, which is a variation of the many forms that people have come up with for this (needed, I think) sort of thing, but when he wrote it just now, suddenly this one really clicked for me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
... The way I dealt with it was to compare the two Attributes to arrive at a required success score.

Situation 1. Fighter A, DEX10 v Fighter B, DEX10. The opponents are evenly matched so it's reasonable to make the assumption that each is equally likely to win. And that's what the rules allow; each has a 50% chance to hit. That's seems logical and fair.

Situation 2. Fighter A, DEX10 v Fighter C, DEX14. Fighter A still has a 50% chance to hit, but the more skilled Fighter C has a 90% chance to hit. That seems a bit less reasonable but perhaps acceptable.

Situation 3. Fighter C, DEX14 v Fighter D, DEX14. Each has a 90% chance to hit each other. This is where things have become silly. Are we to believe that the more skilled a warrior becomes the more inept his defence becomes?

It's obvious looking at these examples that in a contest Attributes should be compared in some way and not absolute.

What I did was create a table where equal attributes were at 50% success (10 on 3d6). A one point difference was +1 for attacker, a two point difference was -1 for defender, etc. So in Situation 2 above where there is a 4 point difference, Fighter A would be at 8 DEX (-2) and Fighter C would be at 12 DEX (+2).

I suppose there might be problems in larger combats with multiple engagements and I can't claim to have playtested it thoroughly but it seems to make logical sense.
Whether as a suggested change or just a cool option or house rule, this seems like it might be smoother than the many other systems I've considered over the years. So I made a table and did some brief tests, and so far, the more I think about it, the more I like it!

Essentially, instead of rolling your own adjDX to hit, you subtract your target's adjDX from your attacker's adjDX, divide that number in half (round towards the lower value), add 10, and roll against that. This table shows the values:

The first column is the result of subtracting defeding adjDX from attacking adjDX.
The second column is the to-hit number the attacker rolls against.

+10 --> 15
+9 --> 15
+8 --> 14
+7 --> 14
+6 --> 13
+5 --> 13
+4 --> 12
+3 --> 12
+2 --> 11
+1 --> 11
0 --> 10
-1 --> 10
-2 --> 9
-3 --> 9
-4 --> 8
-5 --> 8
-6 --> 7
-7 --> 7
-8 --> 6
-9 --> 6
-10 --> 5

3,4,5 and 16,17,18 would still have their usual automatic results.

I did some tests and liked the results a lot. It solves the problem of more skilled people removing "missing" from the game as a thing that happens.

I tried allowing each fighter to declare they are attacking particularly aggressively or attacking defensively too, with the effect that a defensive attacker gives everyone including himself a -1 to-hit, and an aggressive figther gives everyone (him and his opponents) a +1 to-hit. I noticed that there is an imbalance because such a choice affects multiple opponents more than it affects the person declaring the style. I think for aggressive fighting, this is not a problem and makes sense - you're choosing to concentrate on attacking, but it opens you up to everyone near you, which is cool/fine. When fighting defensively, I think it's not fair to be able to make multiple enemies get a penalty when you're only penalizing your own single attack, so I think it makes sense to penalize a defensive attacker by -1 PER foe that they are engaged by.

I tested this out a bit and I REALLY liked the results!

As you can see from the table I listed, it opens up the range of meaningful DX values to be much larger than in standard TFT. i.e. in standard TFT, adjDX values below 6 or above 15 have no effect on the success of standard unmodified attack rolls, because of the auto-successes (and the difference between say 14 and 15 is not very much). With this system, values up to 10 more or less than your opponent are meaningful, for any opponent's adjDX value. Missing is always a factor, you're only really confident of an outcome if one person very much outclasses the other, etc.

It also has the interesting effect that when both people are below-average adjDX, their to-hit chances are higher than in standard TFT. An adjDX 8 versus adjDX 7 becomes an 11 to-hit vs. 10 to-hit.

Opponents with adjDX on opposite sides of 10 already, end up having the same chance to hit as they did in basic TFT. e.g. DX 9 vs 12 is still 9 vs 12.

It adds the ability to fight cautiously and use skill to avoid getting hurt without forfeiting all attacking with the Defend option.

It adds the ability to fight aggressively, which may make a lot of sense for people in heavy armor who don't mind being hit as much as others, and for other cases where you are more interested in hitting than avoiding being hit.

I think there are logical advanced talents for this system too, starting with ones that allow a greater shift than 1 when fighting aggressively or defensively.


Disadvantages I see are that:

* it's new/different

* it wants much more playtesting and getting used to

* it involves the dreaded subtraction and division, and is more complicated than rolling against the same to-hit number in almost all cases

* declaring and remembering who's fighting aggressively or defensively is a bunch extra to track, particularly for multiple fighters at once - I would use it but I'm a detail/crunch maniac - so that should be optional


Unclear things to sort out would include:

* Do missile & ranged attacks use this (with any adjustments?), or the old system?

* For all the existing to-hit modifiers, should they apply before or after the comparison? For example, Blur - if before, it would make it easier to attack people while Blurred, but offer less protection, and if after, then it would in some cases it'd be even more effective at protecting you than usual.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:25 AM   #2
David L Pulver
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

I think this is a great system for a 3d6-based game ... that isn't TFT. It's fairly close to the way the HERO system did its 3d6 roll-low hex based system.

It is good as a house rule for someone who wants to mod an existing TFT campaign to make balanced defenses possible, and looks fine for that. I think it's too "non-TFT" to actually be a real rules change: it turns the game into something different.

I think a situation where two DX 10-11 fighters with no armor and broadswords miss half the time while a fight between two DX 16 fighters with swords is over in a flash to whoever wins an initiative roll feels wrong if you believe in sword fights like those in most books or movies (The Princess Bride is a classic). However, the current TFT system is deliberately set up to be "all offense" - it seems to mirror a Japanese style where it's about striking first and the huge importance of maneuvering for position.

SJ in a previous post indicated that specifically reflected his SCA combat experience, so that's the core design element of the game! It ensures that combats are very fast and gives TFT a rather unique style.

My two concerns with this specific implementation:

* +1 situational combat modifiers to DX to attack only, like a bonus for waiting for an opening will, about the half the time, vanish. You could get rid of this by saying only permanent adjusted DX modifiers apply (e.g., penalties for armor or skill) but that adds an extra complication...

* If making such a radical change, would be a lot cleaner to just compare DX scores straight and instead make rules changes to limit the maximum starting DX, and slow down its rate of advance. (E.g., rule that characters can't put more than 5 into an attribute to start with (no DX 16, IQ 8, ST 8)).
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:50 AM   #3
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
I think this is a great system for a 3d6-based game ... that isn't TFT. It's fairly close to the way the HERO system did its 3d6 roll-low hex based system.

It is good as a house rule for someone who wants to mod an existing TFT campaign to make balanced defenses possible, and looks fine for that. I think it's too "non-TFT" to actually be a real rules change: it turns the game into something different.
Thanks David. Maybe so. I'm sure many will agree, especially at first glance at my post above, but I'm curious what everyone thinks.

I'm thinking it tends to make combat more like 32-point TFT combat, even at higher skill levels, but also surprising in ways which so far I'm really liking. e.g. Having a highish DX tends to be about like taking a good DX as a 32-point Melee character... unless you meet someone with equally high DX, or higher DX than you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
I think a situation where two DX 10-11 fighters with no armor and broadswords miss half the time while a fight between two DX 16 fighters with swords is over in a flash to whoever wins an initiative roll feels wrong if you believe in sword fights like those in most books or movies (The Princess Bride is a classic). However, the current TFT system is deliberately set up to be "all offense" - it seems to mirror a Japanese style where it's about striking first and the huge importance of maneuvering for position.

SJ in a previous post indicated that specifically reflected his SCA combat experience, so that's the core design element of the game! It ensures that combats are very fast and gives TFT a rather unique style.
Yes, though there are two aspects about TFT which I really don't like:

* When people get to high DX levels, misses stop happening very often at all, which starts to remove a more uncertain element of play that exists at lower levels that I like.

* There's no good way to fight effectively while using skill to avoid getting hurt, other than avoiding an enemy getting a chance to attack you, or taking them out before they get to attack.

And, you can easily get the attack-oriented style you describe, even more so than in standard TFT. If both fighters can use aggressive style at +2, and do, then two people of equal DX will hit each other on a 14 or less. Which to me does the aggressive style even better, since now people at whatever DX level can get that result.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
My two concerns with this specific implementation:

* +1 situational combat modifiers to DX to attack only, like a bonus for waiting for an opening will, about the half the time, vanish. You could get rid of this by saying only permanent adjusted DX modifiers apply (e.g., penalties for armor or skill) but that adds an extra complication...
Yes, as I noted, each modifier may need consideration for whether it should apply before or after the comparison, offering different sorts of effects depending on which way you choose. If waiting for an opening applies before the comparison, then it contributes to both offense and defense (which to me makes sense for a defensive style). If waiting applies after the comparison, then it only contributes to the offense.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
* If making such a radical change, would be a lot cleaner to just compare DX scores straight and instead make rules changes to limit the maximum starting DX, and slow down its rate of advance. (E.g., rule that characters can't put more than 5 into an attribute to start with (no DX 16, IQ 8, ST 8)).
I don't follow. What do you mean by "compare DX scores straight"? You mean just roll to hit on adjDX as usual?
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Old 06-23-2018, 02:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Essentially, instead of rolling your own adjDX to hit, you subtract your target's adjDX from your attacker's adjDX, divide that number in half (round towards the lower value), add 10, and roll against that.
Yes, mechanically, it functions like combining both sides of an opposed roll into one dice roll. it's trades one side's roll for extra math. Personally I like having two players roll and avoiding the subtraction and division but I'm not sure how universal that is.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

Nice house rule, but I prefer to avoid math while Iím gaming, or should I say if I wanted to do math while gaming Iíd probably just play something else. Ymmv, and thatís cool.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:08 AM   #6
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

As I noted some time ago, it’s somewhat reminiscent of the resistance chart in Runequest. A truly scalable game needs a combat mechanic like that. However, as others point out, it’s very different than the standard TFT mechanic. It also doesn’t necessarily model the results in the current TFT combat system very faithfully...which is kinda it’s point. The math is off putting, though I suspect players and GMs get used to it fairly quickly. Also, it may solve a problem that’s no longer so serious with the 8 point limitation on attributes.

There are also other ways to approach the problem:

1. A defense mechanic. Mine was passive (i.e., it subtracted from an attacker’s DX); others use an active parry roll.

2. A defense mechanic in which a figure reduces its DX by a certain amount and a similar reduction is applied to his opponent’s DX.

3. Have a series of advanced weapon talents that require high DX but make you harder to hit. My version was to have Expert and Master weapon talents. Expert required an adjDX of 13 but opponents had to roll 4d to hit you. Master required an adjDX of 17 but opponents had to roll 5d to hit you.

4. Simplify Chris’ approach. If your adjDX is the same as your opponent’s, you hit on a 10 or less. If your adjDX is 1-3 more than your opponent, you hit on an 11-. If your adjDX is 4+ more than your opponent, you hit on a 12-. If your adjDX is 1-3 less than your opponent, you hit on a 9-. If your adjDX is 4+ less than your opponent’s, you hit on an 8-. Or in chart form:

Difference: Hit #
4+..........12 (74%)
1-3........11 (63%)
0...........10 (50%)
-1 to -3....9 (37%)
-4 or less..8 (26%)
(Numbers are representative only.)

5. Turn combat into a test of skills. Each engaged figure makes a 3/adjDX roll. He hits one enemy figure that he equals or beats.* Each enemy figure that equals or beats him hits him.

Example 1: Bob (adjDX 14) is fighting Cyril (adjDX 15). Each rolls to hit. Bob rolls an 8, making his roll by 6. Cyril rolls a 10, making his roll by 5. Bob hits and Cyril misses.

Example 2: For instance, Bob (adjDX 12) is fighting 3 Orcs (adjDX 10). He rolls a 7, so he makes his DX roll by 5. Orc A makes his roll by 3, Orc B makes his roll by 6 and Orc C misses his roll. Bob hits either Orc A or Orc C. Orc B hits Bob.


*For cinematic campaigns, allow a figure engaged with multiple opponents to hit ALL of the enemies whose attack roll he beats. In example 2 above, Bob would hit Orc A and Orc C.

I personally liked option 2 the most.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 06-23-2018 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:44 AM   #7
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

We explored variations on this idea years ago.

For those who care to read my experience and findings, you can find it Here

JK
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Old 06-23-2018, 08:52 AM   #8
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

This particular implementation is fiddly but the concept is strong. The best game system for this issue is Pendragon, where the highest roll that is under the target number wins, but if you make your roll yet 'lose' the contest you gain a mitigating benefit (significant protection from your shield). It is simple, fast, has minimal die rolling, surprisingly dramatic (because combatants roll off simultaneously, and usually something happens). It is really good. It would also fit well with the 'granularity' of TFT. It never occurred to me before that I wished TFT had an attack roll mechanic like Pendragon, but I suspect it would be great!
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:26 PM   #9
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
As I noted some time ago, itís somewhat reminiscent of the resistance chart in Runequest. A truly scalable game needs a combat mechanic like that. However, as others point out, itís very different than the standard TFT mechanic. It also doesnít necessarily model the results in the current TFT combat system very faithfully...which is kinda itís point. The math is off putting, though I suspect players and GMs get used to it fairly quickly. Also, it may solve a problem thatís no longer so serious with the 8 point limitation on attributes.
Yes, good summary. I like how it actually plays exactly like TFT for some cases that I don't think are broken, but fixes the cases I do think are broken (having high DX opponents hit each other almost all the time, as if skilled people don't use their skill to avoid getting hurt), and it also fixes a case I was expecting but I think is also good (making low-DX opponents relatively able to hit each other).

I like to work on finding something that makes sense and plays well before worrying too much about how to make it easy to use and explain... I'm holding out hope that it might be possible to convert it to an easily-learned & used form, but I'm not going to worry about that for now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
There are also other ways to approach the problem:

1. A defense mechanic. Mine was passive (i.e., it subtracted from an attackerís DX); others use an active parry roll.
Yes. As I wrote to zot, I like active defenses as in GURPS and have played many different versions of them, but I'm intrigued by the possibility of a modified TFT mechanic that wouldn't have the elements that make me not want to play TFT, which this so far seems to be handling better than the many systems I've tried before. I'll probably also look into how something like it could be applied to GURPS, because even with a separate active defense rolls and much more crunchy rules, it too has issues scaling to high skill levels, that it looks like something like this could address well, maybe... needs a bunch more testing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
2. A defense mechanic in which a figure reduces its DX by a certain amount and a similar reduction is applied to his opponentís DX.
Yes, I've seen this as a house rule several times over the years, and it's extremely similar to the way this mechanic works. But every version of such rules I've seen before has suffered from the specifics of how they limit who can increase or decrease whose DX by how much in what circumstances. This system seems to work pretty well eliminating that choice, or reducing it to pretty limited levels of choice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
3. Have a series of advanced weapon talents that require high DX but make you harder to hit. My version was to have Expert and Master weapon talents. Expert required an adjDX of 13 but opponents had to roll 4d to hit you. Master required an adjDX of 17 but opponents had to roll 5d to hit you.
Yep. I GM'd with such talents after some were published as a suggested optional rule in Metagaming's Interplay magazine (though they had VERY high requirements and so it was rare anyone had them) and played with them using house Rules Rick was using when he was GM'ing Thail (which had them at relatively low requirements (IQ 10 DX 11 (2) for Expert, IQ 13 DX 13 (4) for Master, and there were higher levels, IIRC). In both cases, I really disliked the effect they have of creating "tiers of mastery" where each tier is about 3.5 points better than everyone below in an ability no one else has. Basically it's unlikely a fighter with a lower level will beat one with the higher level of those talents, which feels more artificially chunky/imprecise and symbolic/simplistic-kung-fu-film-like than I want.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
4. Simplify Chrisí approach. If your adjDX is the same as your opponentís, you hit on a 10 or less. If your adjDX is 1-3 more than your opponent, you hit on an 11-. If your adjDX is 4+ more than your opponent, you hit on a 12-. If your adjDX is 1-3 less than your opponent, you hit on a 9-. If your adjDX is 4+ less than your opponentís, you hit on an 8-. Or in chart form:

Difference: Hit #
4+..........12 (74%)
1-3........11 (63%)
0...........10 (50%)
-1 to -3....9 (37%)
-4 or less..8 (26%)
(Numbers are representative only.)
Hmm. I'll keep it in mind if/when I get to the stage of being happy with the results and looking for a way to make it easy to learn and play. It sacrifices some precision, which might be a problem, but I'll keep it in mind and see how it plays sometime. (I also sometimes have a hard time predicting what people will find easy or hard with mechanics that seem simple to me. Need to poll people.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
5. Turn combat into a test of skills. Each engaged figure makes a 3/adjDX roll. He hits one enemy figure that he equals or beats.* Each enemy figure that equals or beats him hits him.

Example 1: Bob (adjDX 14) is fighting Cyril (adjDX 15). Each rolls to hit. Bob rolls an 8, making his roll by 6. Cyril rolls a 10, making his roll by 5. Bob hits and Cyril misses.

Example 2: For instance, Bob (adjDX 12) is fighting 3 Orcs (adjDX 10). He rolls a 7, so he makes his DX roll by 5. Orc A makes his roll by 3, Orc B makes his roll by 6 and Orc C misses his roll. Bob hits either Orc A or Orc C. Orc B hits Bob.


*For cinematic campaigns, allow a figure engaged with multiple opponents to hit ALL of the enemies whose attack roll he beats. In example 2 above, Bob would hit Orc A and Orc C.
Yeah. And if, like me, you don't like the "usually one person hits and the other misses" effect, there are variants of this that don't have that issue. It reminds me of the system I've used a lot to accelerate massive GURPS combats with many NPCs, but I only use it for generic NPCs fighting each other away from the PCs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I personally liked option 2 the most.
I do too... though it also seems like essentially the same system but without the parts I'm enjoying about this new idea.

I imagine I will soon find some major snag, but I haven't yet, so that's always a fun place to be until "the other shoe drops"... ;-)
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:39 AM   #10
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Chris Rice's suggestion for to-hit rolls

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Originally Posted by pyratejohn View Post
Nice house rule, but I prefer to avoid math while Iím gaming, or should I say if I wanted to do math while gaming Iíd probably just play something else. Ymmv, and thatís cool.

We already do Math in TFT by adding together die results and applying modifiers. The Math here is no more onerous, and the differences will usually be within 6 points. After you've played with the method a few times you won't even thinks about the Math.
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