Alternate Defense Values

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psychoadept
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Alternate Defense Values

Postby psychoadept » Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:30 pm

At first glance, the idea of using your Reflex save as a defense bonus made sense to me, but when you think about the fact that the Agent is the only class with a good Reflex save it seems kind of unbalanced. It's really hard to hit an agent, and really easy to hit anyone else. I would expect soldiers and maybe officers and lurkers to have decent defense values as well.

Is anyone using a different system for defense value, like the class-based defense bonus in D20 Modern? That's what I'm thinking of going with, but I wanted to see what other people were doing first.

Thanks,
Campbell
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Postby El Cid » Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:57 pm

I do agree with your observation.

The other thing that compounds the problem is that "the range to hit" is based on Dexterity which adds to the DV.

I've found that the Reflex save really doesn't make that much difference. At very high levels there is a difference of 6 but at low levels the difference is around 2 or 3.

As I recall, the soldier class gets an extra +1 to hit at each level where as the Agent progresses slower.

What is the biggest difference, is COVER!

The simplest solution IMHO is to drop Reflex and add Basic Attack Bonus to the DV.

Sidney
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Postby frobisher » Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:59 pm

Of course this is all right and proper.

It makes combat a nasty affair best avoid as it should be. To do anything else would encourage a kind of play that to my mind isn't Babylon 5.

If you look at the fights in the series, the winners are generally those who use cover best or those who get their strikes in first.
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Dag'Nabbit
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Sat Jul 17, 2004 7:32 am

Hmm...this sounds familiar. Oh yea, now I remember my Drill Sergeant's instructions. Put as much fire on target from multiple directions as you can while moving to secure good cover. Life resembles a role-playing game....how strange. :wink:
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Postby Azreal » Sun Jul 18, 2004 2:19 pm

he he he... two words... "Use Cover"
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Postby lastbesthope » Mon Jul 19, 2004 6:33 pm

Azreal wrote:he he he... two words... "Use Cover"
I know what you mean,

I've been drafted to write a Farscape RPG for the group that brought me into D&D. When I GM it, I shall point out everytime a fight happens in one of the corridors on a Leviathan that there is a shedload of cover on each side. (Think Death Star Detention block but better). If they don't get the hint then I'm sure they'll notice all the Enemy hiding in there and get the idea when they keep hitting the wall.

LBH
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Postby psyclonejack » Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:43 am

Agreed,

Cover is key, Hard Cover, Soft Cover, Cover Fire, any cover can save your life. As a person who has played Paintball, I can attest, bunkers are your friend. AS LONG AS, you have allies that can flank from your position and give you cover fire. If you are in a bunker solo, cover kills. It is just a matter of time before attackers move to proper position and nullify the cover your bunker provides. Crossfire is deadly.

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Postby Sundog » Tue Jul 20, 2004 4:48 am

Also, don't forget about what you're using. A group of my players made good use an antique japanese-style screen in a firefight; they were using projectile pistols while their opponents had PPGs. The bullets passed straight through the thin paper while the PPG fire hit and stopped (though it made a mess of the screen - 15 000 credits worth!).

I've done the same trick in D&D sessions, using hanging blankets to stop enemy arrows, while firing a crossbow underneath.
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:06 am

Sundog wrote:Also, don't forget about what you're using. A group of my players made good use an antique japanese-style screen in a firefight; they were using projectile pistols while their opponents had PPGs. The bullets passed straight through the thin paper while the PPG fire hit and stopped (though it made a mess of the screen - 15 000 credits worth!).

I've done the same trick in D&D sessions, using hanging blankets to stop enemy arrows, while firing a crossbow underneath.
Works just great until your cover is on fire and you start to inhale smoke, but then it's still better then bein' dead.

Couple of rules I like to apply to fire fights:

1. All fire has the right of way.

2. Never share a foxhole with someone braver then you; it draws fire.

3. And remember, if brute force isn't working, you're not using enough.
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Postby bryankia » Tue Jul 20, 2004 1:27 pm

While I have not played the game (I do own several books that I am reading) what about this?

What if someone has a character concept that is not to hid behind cover. They are fast or so combat hardened that they just instinctively know where not to be. Now I know that b5 is a realistic and I like that but some characters are so cool because they break the rules. Anyone remember Batman 1 when the joker comes buy and shoots up the place and everyone hits the ground and Bruce just stands there watching (very cool)? I could see the same thing done by a high level ranger.

If the answer is “well that is not the way things are done in b5” then I can accept that but it is sad that cool character like that is not a valid option.

Thanks for reading
Bryan
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Postby redlaco » Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:04 pm

Well it is a valid option, just be prepared to see him die sooner than the rest of the team... :wink:
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Postby PottsBr » Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:23 pm

The thing to realize is that this is not a comic book. If you stand there, ignoring the fire, you'll be shot and killed. No mystical field is going to deflect the PPG blast away from you (unless you're a Techno-Mage). Now some higher level characters, particularly those with High bonuses, might not need to worry about cover when dealing with low level thugs. Lets face it, Batman isn't just cool, he's a very high level character with a rediculously high Reflex Save. If you are a low level character pretending to be tough, you're going to just get shot like the punk you are.
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Tue Jul 20, 2004 5:29 pm

bryankia wrote:While I have not played the game (I do own several books that I am reading) what about this?

What if someone has a character concept that is not to hid behind cover. They are fast or so combat hardened that they just instinctively know where not to be. Now I know that b5 is a realistic and I like that but some characters are so cool because they break the rules. Anyone remember Batman 1 when the joker comes buy and shoots up the place and everyone hits the ground and Bruce just stands there watching (very cool)? I could see the same thing done by a high level ranger.

If the answer is “well that is not the way things are done in b5” then I can accept that but it is sad that cool character like that is not a valid option.

Thanks for reading
Bryan
It sounds like you have a wonderful character concept for worm food. The first step to realize with B5 and it's combat environment is that the place to be is behind cover where you can keep from getting shot. The best example of this from the show is when Clarke's forces are boarding B5. The security forces begin to set up a kill sack while finding places of cover to fire from. Unfortunately, the Narn go charging by to confront the boarding parties and get cut down. This also happens to block the line of fire from the security parties as well. Not a good idea.

Yes, the scene in Batman is cool, however, the Joker wasn't aiming at him. If he had been it would have been "Holy bleeding Bruce, Batman!" Whenever Batman is confronted with gunfire he is almost never there. Misdirection, intimidation, and dexterity are all part of his tool chest. But as was said all ready, he's in the epic level stages.
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Postby bryankia » Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:30 pm

Thanks guys for being so accepting of my alternate reality of characters that don't run hid :shock:

Like I said the stand up and not worry cinematic character may not be a valid concept in the b5 world. I do not expect to play a Jedi or Superman in b5. I use to get so grumpy in our old DnD games because I wanted a character that did not put on a bunch of armor or have magical artifacts all over his body. I just wanted that guy that could go kick behind and not worry. That never happened in AD&D or 2nd edition and I got over it. I just wanted to ask all the nice folks here who have much more experience then me in the b5 world if it is possible.

Bryan

And as for worm food I gave up Paranoia and Twilight 2000 before I played the first game :)
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Postby psyclonejack » Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:02 am

Bryankia,

Its a cool concept, but, I agree with the worm food bit, and I have a real world example to prove it. However, it isn't skill that causes the person to escape a firefight without a scratch. Its luck. The enemies weapon jams, he runs out of bullets, stray fire takes him out, etc. Let me explain,

I was at a Paintball outing with a friend. After two rough games we found ourselves needing a breather, BUT the games continued. So starting the third game we calmly and slowly walked into the firefight currently underway with about 25-30 people involved. We walked all the way to the front line, paintballs zinging by us the whole time. We had a nice little talk about strategy, where would be the best place to flank, etc. Needless to say. We didn't use cover, and didn't dodge or run the entire game. IT ROCKED. Next game, we tried to do it again, we got killed, right away. So was it skill? No, LUCK. Pure simple dumb luck.

Therefore, make a character that has a luck bonus to not being hit. Instead of dodge bonus. Make a guy that has feats which allow once per session the ability to force an opponent re-roll a hit, etc. That way he can stand there and not get hit in a firefight.

Just be prepared for his luck to run out, because everyones does.

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Postby shalazar_bation » Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:27 am

At first glance, the idea of using your Reflex save as a defense bonus made sense to me, but when you think about the fact that the Agent is the only class with a good Reflex save it seems kind of unbalanced. It's really hard to hit an agent, and really easy to hit anyone else. I would expect soldiers and maybe officers and lurkers to have decent defense values as well.

Thanks,
Campbell
Well, seeing how the agents' class is one of the worst classes to play(only second to the officer) I think that bonus almost makes up for it.

Shalazar
who loves playing rogues, but man the agent sucks!
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Postby psychoadept » Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:45 pm

shalazar_bation wrote:
Well, seeing how the agents' class is one of the worst classes to play(only second to the officer) I think that bonus almost makes up for it.
That's why I'm in the process of rewriting the classes. None of the base classes except the telepath appealed to me at all, and the telepath was so out-of-balance with the other classes that I expected just about everyone to want to be a telepath (which is what happened--in the game I'm running now, three out of the five players are telepaths, and the other two aren't terribly effective). So I was left with the choice of telling my players they couldn't play what they wanted to play, or bringing the other classes up to snuff so that the players might *want* to play something else. I distinctly dislike limiting my players' options, because I know how much I would hate it if I had a great character concept and my GM vetoed it for a reason that had nothing to do with whether it was a good concept. So I'm revising.

As far as the Defense Value argument goes, I firmly believe that cover should be the players' best friend, and I want them to avoid battle if at all possible. I think general lack of hit points combined with good GMing will guarantee that. However, I also want to be able to have a good fight once in a while without worrying that my players are going to be dead in two rounds. I want to be able to throw something fairly nasty at them and have them come out in at least recognizable, repairable pieces.

Campbell
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Postby frobisher » Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:40 am

psychoadept wrote:That's why I'm in the process of rewriting the classes. None of the base classes except the telepath appealed to me at all, and the telepath was so out-of-balance with the other classes that I expected just about everyone to want to be a telepath (which is what happened--in the game I'm running now, three out of the five players are telepaths, and the other two aren't terribly effective).
They aren't that effective because you've allowed telepaths to dominate the campaign. Unwittingly it's become Psi oriented because that's what appealed to you. You have to remember the rules (of society) that the telepaths have to operate under, not what the rules (of the game) will allow them to do. Unauthorised scans will bring consequences, human telepaths operating incognito are either undercover Psi Corps operatives (in which case what the hell are the mundanes doing in the party?) or rogues (in which case the Psi Cops are going to make their lives hell) and nobody trusts teeps, probably not even other teeps.
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:04 am

bryankia wrote:Thanks guys for being so accepting of my alternate reality of characters that don't run hid :shock:
Sorry, I wasn't trying to sound abusive of your ideas; especially since I agree that you have a cool character concept. It's just hard to replicate what your looking for in the B5 environment. Psychlonejack got it half right; luck does indeed play a huge part in surviving on the battlefield. However, there is something that he missed regarding his paintball experience. One of the main reasons he and his friends weren't shot, was because they were not threatening, and thus were a very low priority. The other team may have thought they were judges walking around that way, or had all ready been shot, or maybe were just not part of the scenario. The trick is making your enemy think that you are not a threat, that you are not an enemy, that you aren't even involved in their fight. Take notes from the Centauri, they're good at this.
bryankia wrote:And as for worm food I gave up Paranoia and Twilight 2000 before I played the first game :)
Ahh...but the whole point of those games is to see how much trouble you can get into before you are worm food. :wink:
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