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TOPIC: Sneak attack /​assas­si­na­tion

Sneak attack /​assas­si­na­tion 2 years 6 months ago #3792

  • Anarak
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So, one of my rogu­ish play­ers has a cut­purse that is highly skilled in stealth, so she asks me how she can back­stab peo­ple in (what I assume is she wants) the most mechan­i­cally advan­ta­gious way, tak­ing the most out of her stealth skill.

This is how I said she could do it:

– Roll stealth opposed to sagac­ity, as exem­pli­fied in p. 21 (or per­cep­tion as I renamed Aim (Aware­ness was a bet­ter choice, but there’s not a good trans­la­tion for that world in my lan­guage, but i digress…) )

– If she passes it, tar­get is unaware and she can move to her opti­mal range. Ques­tion: Lets say she merely wants to evade a guard that is a good dis­tance away and just be gone with, ver­sus she want­ing to go very close to him and use her dag­ger to assas­si­nate the guard (thus mov­ing to her dag­ger opti­mal range). Is the opposed test the same, even if mov­ing to close quar­ters has a higher risk?

– Hav­ing bested her target’s aware­ness, she pro­ceeds to plunge a dag­ger in his neck while hold­ing his mouth so he wont scream. He rolls a sur­prise check TN7 need­ing to achieve a num­ber of suc­cesses as per table 4.0, right. Ques­tion: Does stealth mod­ify this as in a bet­ter stealth roll makes tar­get requires more suc­cesses? A tar­get on high alert because an alarm has sounded (but does not know it the rogue is in the exact premises) only needs a sin­gle suc­cess or by hav­ing been bested in a furtive roll, and prob­a­bly attacked from behind, is thus qual­i­fied for the “Tar­get com­pletely off-​guard plus attacked from rear or side, sleep­ing.” ?

My knee reac­tion was to make it so your QoS in the stealth check resulted in the nec­es­sary num­ber of suc­cesses the guard has to achieve, but i’m not sure if its either 1 + QoS or only QoS or none of this at all.

– Hav­ing failed both in per­cep­tion and reac­tion, the guard is struck. Ques­tion: The rogue attacks with her full pool (if she wants) and at opti­mal range? The guard can­not use a sin­gle dice to defend, mean­ing instant death (which is the inten­tion, i guess)?

Not sure if it could use some­thing like half its worst pool or some­thing. I mean, what if a char­ac­ter is attacked and sur­prised, it would make for a very frus­trat­ing death, and short of sim­ply never mak­ing them suf­fer a sur­prise attack I cant think of another solu­tion. There must be a sweet spot there.

For exam­ple, fail­ing a sur­prise attack in a bar brawl with two drunk­ards star­ing at each other before one of the other sucker punch, even while fac­ing him. While the check is really easy, he receives no dice to defend, just like some­one who would be caught off-​guard from behind?

Sim­i­larly, how would this work for a ranged attack? The rogue just roped his way into the watch­tower and back­stabbed the guard, now he sees a guard in the court­yard, pee­ing behind a hay sack a good meters away (far range?) Lets say I ask another stealth roll to see if he might have heard the upper guard dying gasps OR not, if i want to speed things up.

Either way, now I pro­ceed to a sur­prise check and guard fails with a (34) dif­fi­culty. Rogue just shoots her whole(ofc) — lets say 13 — archery pool at TN 9 and guard defends with noth­ing, is that cor­rect? Even if the tar­get is mov­ing, such as a guard patrolling from point to point or a horse­man going by his bussi­ness?

Shouldn’t things like a mov­ing (side­ways, towards, back­ways, fast or slow, wind, rain) fac­tor into acti­va­tion costs or as bonus dice either for unaware or aware tar­gets?



I know that most of this can be waved into the nar­ra­tive. I’m not plan­ning to make my heroes roll for every assas­si­na­tion, there’s no point for hav­ing them roll for every take­down in ran­domsville, but I do plan on mak­ing them hav­ing to face the gods of dice while invad­ing cas­tle doom and their doom guards (or what­ever).

Thanks!
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Anarak.
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Sneak attack /​assas­si­na­tion 2 years 6 months ago #3793

  • Michael
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Anarak wrote:
Roll stealth opposed to sagac­ity, as exem­pli­fied in p. 21

Well, we’ve recently dis­cussed that SY is the proper Attribute for some­body not on high alert or threat­ened per­son­ally, like the guard and dowa­ger from the exam­ple on p21, but CG is bet­ter for oth­er­wise. So CG would be bet­ter to detect hav­ing an assas­sin sneak up on you.

Anarak wrote:
Is the opposed test the same, even if mov­ing to close quar­ters has a higher risk?

Resort to the rule about being suc­cess­ful with only a tie on an Opposed Check if merely want­ing tomain­tainn the sta­tus quo (as in remain­ing unde­tected while unde­tected with­out clos­ing with the guard) and­need­ing to actu­ally win the Opposed Check if want­ing to change the sta­tus quo (as in remain­ing unde­tected but mov­ing into an opti­mum killing posi­tion).

Anarak wrote:
Does stealth mod­ify this as in a bet­ter stealth roll makes tar­get requires more successes?

No. Stealth isn’t hyp­no­sis or any­thing, it does not lull some­body into deeper com­pla­cency, it merely pre­vents some­body from get­ting more sus­pi­cious than he already maybe by pre­vent­ing any­thing that might arouse atten­tion and sus­pi­cion.

Anarak wrote:
A tar­get on high alert because an alarm has sounded (but does not know it the rogue is in the exact premises) only needs a sin­gle suc­cess or by hav­ing been bested in a furtive roll, and prob­a­bly attacked from behind, is thus qual­i­fied for the “Tar­get com­pletely off-​guard plus attacked from rear or side, sleeping.”

If you com­pare the def­i­n­i­tion for 1 and 2 Suc­cesses needed on the sur­prise Check you will find that it sug­gests that an attack from an unex­pected source always requires (at least) 2 Suc­cesses; being espe­cially wary does not change that. In fact, being on high alert is meant to be on high alert vis-​a-​vis some­body, not gen­er­ally. The sit­u­a­tion where you are eying some­body sus­pi­ciously and not leav­ing your eyes off him for even an instant.

So a guard on gen­eral high alert would at least need 2 Suc­cesses – usu­ally. In anal­ogy to the the dif­fer­ence between 3 and 4 Suc­cesses being that, while the state of alert is the same, the attack with 4 needs to come from out­side the attacked party’s field of vision, I would rule that some­body on gen­eral high alert attacked from behind would need 3 Suc­cesses – or 4 Suc­cesses if not on high alert.

Anarak wrote:
The rogue attacks with her full pool (if she wants) and at opti­mal range? The guard can­not use a sin­gle dice to defend, mean­ing instant death (which is the inten­tion, i guess)?

If the guard failed the Sur­prise Check, he’s sur­prised, as per the def­i­n­i­tion. That is not a sin­gle die to defend. As the rogue has moved at opti­mum range and will likely attack with all dice, instant death is vir­tu­ally assured, yes.

But don’t for­get that a pro­fes­sional sol­dier Ref 4 or 5. If on high alert, 3 Suc­cesses aren’t that dif­fi­cult to achieve with that. And if they are achieved, the guard spins around just in time and has full MP at his dis­posal.

Anarak wrote:
Not sure if it could use some­thing like half its worst pool or something.

Nope, not by my book, not by a far call, absolutely not. Just con­sider for a sec­ond: Either you are sur­prised or you aren’t. There is no half sur­prised. If you notice the attack at all in time to react – a mat­ter of your reflexes – you can, for exam­ple throw, your­self aside, out of harm’s way. There is no rea­son for half-​pools or any­thing.

And if you’re wor­ried about your PCs remem­ber that the Sur­prise Check is not Opposed, but very straight. With typ­i­cal high Attrib­utes and PAs it should be rare that a PC is sur­prised, and even rarer that some assas­sin man­ages to sneak up on him the way your rogue sneaks up on run-​of-​the-​mil guards.

Anarak wrote:
Either way, now I pro­ceed to a sur­prise check and guard fails with a (34) dif­fi­culty. Rogue just shoots her whole(ofc) — lets say 13 — archery pool at TN 9 and guard defends with noth­ing, is that cor­rect? Even if the tar­get is mov­ing, such as a guard patrolling from point to point or a horse­man going by his bussiness?

Com­pletely cor­rect. Any­body pro­fi­cient with mis­siles knows to “lead” a mov­ing tar­get, that is to aim not at where the tar­get is, but where it is going to be. A patrolling guard is as easy to lead as a guard run­ning across the court­yard. There only is a dif­fi­culty if the tar­get is delib­er­ately mov­ing errat­i­cally, so that it can­not be reli­ably led. This type of delib­er­ately errat­i­cal move­ment and its con­se­quences is described on p149, left col­umn.

Now, nobody who doesn’t know that he is under fire will move in that way, so a sur­prised party can­not nor­mally resort to it. I would make an excep­tion in the case where some­body is expect­ing to be shot at, like some­body quickly dash­ing across a court­yard where he has every rea­son to believe that he will come under fire. In such a case I can see this type of erratic move­ment being uti­lized even with­out aware­ness of the firer, and an Eva­sion Check thus allowed.
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: 2 years 6 months ago by Michael.
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Sneak attack /​assas­si­na­tion 2 years 6 months ago #3795

  • Anarak
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Thanks for the thor­oughly answer, as always.
Nope, not by my book, not by a far call, absolutely not

Yeah, I know i know, it was an extreme ranged shot :P
Any­body pro­fi­cient with mis­siles knows to “lead” a mov­ing tar­get, that is to aim not at where the tar­get is, but where it is going to be

Since my aim is pretty ter­ri­ble in real life I had a lit­tle trou­ble grasp­ing this as truth, I can barely throw a paper­ball at a trash can with­out hav­ing to move to point blank, much less if it was mov­ing or windy. But yeah, I have no trou­ble with that, it makes sense and works the­mat­i­cally.
No. Stealth isn’t hyp­no­sis or any­thing, it does not lull some­body into deeper com­pla­cency, it merely pre­vents some­body from get­ting more sus­pi­cious than he already maybe by pre­vent­ing any­thing that might arouse atten­tion and suspicion.
But don’t for­get that a pro­fes­sional sol­dier Ref 4 or 5. If on high alert, 3 Suc­cesses aren’t that dif­fi­cult to achieve with that. And if they are achieved, the guard spins around just in time and has full MP at his disposal.

This is the only thing that trou­bles me a bit, or at least will trou­ble my rogu­ish friend. See, while she is very good at being stealth, her fight­ing proef­i­cency isn’t at par, thus her request for at least be able to caught her prey in ambushes.

Now, while I get that being furtive doesn’t make you under­stand your blade bet­ter and strike truer, i’m a bit wor­ried by the fact that most expe­ri­enced guards would have a decent reflex so they won’t be caught by sur­prised (con­sis­tently) no mat­ter how ninja you are. No mat­ter how many pro­fi­cien­cies, attrib­utes, assets and skills you have devoted towards being a sneaky bas­tard, in the end it wont help because it’s up to the foe

Unless, ofc, being able to strike at opti­mal range is advan­tage enough (might be, might not)
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Sneak attack /​assas­si­na­tion 2 years 6 months ago #3803

  • Michael
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Anarak wrote:
Now, while I get that being furtive doesn’t make you under­stand your blade bet­ter and strike truer, i’m a bit wor­ried by the fact that most expe­ri­enced guards would have a decent reflex so they won’t be caught by sur­prised (con­sis­tently) no mat­ter how ninja you are. No mat­ter how many pro­fi­cien­cies, attrib­utes, assets and skills you have devoted towards being a sneaky bas­tard, in the end it wont help because it’s up to the foe

Unless, ofc, being able to strike at opti­mal range is advan­tage enough (might be, might not)

A nor­mal man has 24 Attribute points and no Attribute out­side the 3 to 5 range. An expe­ri­enced guard is a nor­mal man who hap­pens to be a pro­fes­sional guards­man, just like an expe­ri­enced wood­cut­ter is a nor­mal man who hap­pens to be a pro­fes­sional wood­cut­ter. Nei­ther is in any way unusual or spe­cial, so a there is no way that any pro­fes­sional guards­man, unless maybe (maybe!) the sin­gle (!) best guards­man of the entire cas­tle, has Reflexes higher than 5.

Being super-​stealthy, PC-​style, ninja-​style, already makes a huge dif­fer­ence. The nor­mal non-​ninja try­ing to sneak up on the guard doesn’t know Stealth, thus uses it by default, and thus needs to achieve more than twice as many Suc­cesses as the guard on his CG Check not to be sneaked up on. So your rogue PC’s Stealth already con­fers a huge advan­tage, and the extra points he has over the guard’s CG will give him a safety mar­gin that exactly this doesn’t hap­pen:

He tries to sneak up on the guard, the guard becomes sus­pi­cious, tunrs around, spots him at six meters, raises the alarm, read­ies his weapon and attacks. Now that’s a real bum­mer if you aren’t that good at com­bat! So being very ninja already offers a huge advan­tage in itself, even if the guard is able to defend.

And if he is: The guard, unless at really high alert, isn’t going to be stand­ing around sword in hand. Spear (the most likely weapon in any case) yes, but hardly sword or mace or axe or what­ever. A sneaky assas­sin is likely to wield a rather short weapon, so start­ing the engage­ment at that weapon’s Reach is going to be a nice advan­tage. The spear is going to be way too long, and the other weapons not ready, but requir­ing Quick-​Draw. So even if the guard notices the attack at the last moment and man­ages to defend, he is still going to be at an awk­ward range for his spear, or with his weapon firmly in its scab­bard…

By the way: It is my per­sonal opin­ion that it would be unre­al­is­tic that some­body being attacked from sur­prise but able to defend would call out (for help, to raise an alarm) imme­di­ately. I am rather cer­tain that the shock would pre­clude any such rea­son­able reac­tion for at least the first split sec­ond. After the assassin’s first blow is resolved, yes, but only then — if he is still able to do so by that time.
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
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