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TOPIC: A Newbie’s Stab at a Sam­ple Combat

A Newbie’s Stab at a Sam­ple Com­bat 5 years 5 months ago #3701

  • Land­walker
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Allan wrote:
I mucked up my writ­ing so went back and edited it to make sense.

The only thing I could see, and it was not a prob­lem as such, was the use of Stop Short, from mem­ory, that is more a maneu­ver used when you have few or no dice in the pool.
That’s actu­ally one of the things I had a ques­tion about. I’ve seen this point made before, I think here on the forums when another poster had a ques­tion involv­ing that par­tic­u­lar maneu­ver, and it’s also implied in the book that it’s a “maneu­ver for peo­ple with­out a lot of dice.“

My ques­tion about that is: Why? Or rather, why would it not be just as use­ful a maneu­ver, or any less-​advisable of one, to use it the way that Aaron did, dur­ing a first exchange?

Stop Short has no MP cost, and for cer­tain pro­fi­cien­cies (includ­ing Aaron’s Cut & Thrust, it has no acti­va­tion cost, so you can use it in the first exchange with­out cost­ing your­self any­thing at all. If you’re a char­ac­ter with above-​average Dar­ing, or at least sus­pect that your DG is bet­ter than your opponent’s SY (which, let’s be hon­est, it prob­a­bly is), this is basi­cally a “free­bie” attempt at suck­ing up some of your adversary’s MP with­out cost­ing your­self any­thing in the bar­gain. Best case sce­nario, you get a result like Aaron got and are now free to blow all of your MP on one big attack in the Sec­ond Exchange against a dis­ad­van­taged foe. Worst case sce­nario, you lose the con­test and the ini­tia­tive and have to defend in the Sec­ond Exchange… but you’re defend­ing with a full com­ple­ment of MP. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a win /​win, but it’s def­i­nitely a win /​significantly-​less-​horrible-​of-​a-​loss-​than-​you-​could-​have-​wound-​up-​with-​if-​you-​had-​attacked-​and-​your-​opponent-​won-​a-​Rota-​or-​Counter-​or-​Disarm-​or-​something.

Now, all of that said, in the course of writ­ing that up I did real­ize why Stop Short is a potent Sec­ond Exchange maneu­ver, though. I’m going to leave the pre­vi­ous para­graph any­way because I think it’s still a use­ful per­spec­tive, but for any­one who (like I did until a few sec­onds ago) need to get slapped in the face with Stop Short as a Sec­ond Exchange maneu­ver, here it is:

In a Stop Short, only the attacker gets to spend MP, which he can do in order to lower his TN for the attribute con­test. The defender doesn’t get to do this. So if you’re going into the sec­ond exchange with only a small amount of MP, you may not want to attack and risk a good chance of los­ing ini­tia­tive. Instead, you exe­cute a Stop Short, and since you don’t need the MP for any­thing else at this point, you spend all of it on reduc­ing the TN. Have just a cou­ple of MP left? You’ll be rolling CG against your opponent’s SY and your TN will be 5, 4, or even lower, depend­ing on your Heart score. You can use this to set up a big advan­tage in the ensu­ing Com­bat Round. It also is a handy option if your oppo­nent had ini­tia­tive in the First Exchange — you can spend extra MP on your First Exchange defense in order to reclaim ini­tia­tive by win­ning the con­test, and then wrap up the Com­bat Round with a “free” Stop Short.

Allan wrote:
One thing that I find my self hav­ing to remem­ber, and its sort of a big one;
Blade is firmly cemented in the S&S genre, as we know, but it has this amaz­ing com­bat sys­tem.
On the one hand we are talk­ing Cin­e­matic play style and the other, Stim­u­la­tion com­bat res­o­lu­tion.
The trick is to make sure the Cin­e­matic style over rules the Sim­u­la­tion. You can’t escape this con­cept with the basic use of Lime­lights. But play­ers need to reminded what they are actu­ally play­ing. The com­bat sys­tem, should play sec­ond fid­dle to the Daring-​Do.
As I men­tioned in another thread, about learn­ing the com­bat sys­tem in easy stages, it may not be real­is­tic but so long as play­ers are hav­ing fun, it does not matter.

I think these are all impor­tant points, and they’re ele­ments that I’m still adapt­ing to with Blade. As I’ve said before, I’m com­ing from GURPS, and my Sim­u­la­tion­ist gland is strong. Was there any­thing in par­tic­u­lar about the sam­ple com­bat above that jumped out at you as “Genre-​inappropriate”?
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A Newbie’s Stab at a Sam­ple Com­bat 5 years 5 months ago #3703

  • Allan
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Yes the Stop Short can be used as in your exam­ple, and I have done the same.

Your exam­ple was great, with the under­stand­ing that you only had aver­age trained com­bat­ants. Now if it was a Hero in the mix, then they should have been bring­ing the pain with crunchy maneu­vers.

The only add-​on, to keep the fight inter­est­ing, would be to look for Ter­rain Checks. Maybe the ground is slip­pery in one area, or bro­ken, or rub­bish to trip over. Think­ing to add these ele­ments will add to the com­bat and the player should be look­ing to exploit these advan­tages. If they don’t then the Ref needs to show them the error of their ways.

Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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A Newbie’s Stab at a Sam­ple Com­bat 5 years 5 months ago #3704

  • Michael
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Land­walker wrote:
One very gen­eral ques­tion might be “Is there any­thing the com­bat­ants could have done that would have been an obvi­ously bet­ter deci­sion than what they actu­ally did, or is there any­thing they did that was bla­tantly bone-​headed?”

No, all the deci­sions were absolutely fine, and I par­tic­u­larly enjoyed the Stop Short — because it is very appro­pri­ate for a pirate to leap at his oppo­nent with an intim­i­dat­ing yell, very much in char­ac­ter.

Still, a slightly bet­ter over­all strat­egy for Barry would have been to retain his ini­tial con­ser­v­a­tive one. It seems he got car­ried away by his own early suc­cess of a hit on Aaron. He over­com­mit­ted on his attack, and while he could still stave off Aaron’s Rota this was nev­er­the­less the begin­ning of the end for Barry.

See­ing that Aaron was bleed­ing quite a bit and that help for Barry was closeby, Barry would have bet­ter stuck to his defen­sive strat­egy, not com­mit so heav­ily on Exchange 1 of Round 2, and keep a reserve of dice while wait­ing for the bleed­ing to do its work and help to arrive. But that’s hind­sight, and what Barry did on Exchange 1 of Round 2 can’t be termed a mis­take.

All in all cor­rectly exe­cuted and also very enjoy­able! Thank you, Land­walker. :)
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Michael.
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A Newbie’s Stab at a Sam­ple Com­bat 3 years 9 months ago #4041

  • DaceM
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Thanks for the sam­ple com­bat! This helped me alot to under­stand the com­bat in gen­eral and some of the details.
More sam­ples like this would be great e.g. duels with weapons of dif­fer­ent reach or a fighter who both uses a mis­sile and melee weapon.
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