Choose Location as a CM

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taxboy
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Choose Location as a CM

Postby taxboy » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:28 am

I have just finished a good Queens Birthday game with my Runequest 2 group - playing Pavis Rises.

We had a couple of fights, a duel and a late night street knife fight.

We are finding today and in previous fights, anyone who gets a CM is mostly choosing Choose Location.

We find it means, wearing armour is pointless unless you wear armour everywhere, else choose location simply chooses the un-armoured point. You get everyone wears helmets!

It also makes two unarmoured foes fights extremely dangerous, if you miss a parry, tend to die from choosing head shot.

To encourage use of other CMs, unintended behaviours around armour, and take the claws out of Choose Location we are testing it being a critical CM only.

Thoughts, comments?


also, I allow players to evade melee attacks but it is a large ditch effort that leaves them on the ground, anyone else?
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Deleriad
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Re: Choose Location as a CM

Postby Deleriad » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:56 am

taxboy wrote:I have just finished a good Queens Birthday game with my Runequest 2 group - playing Pavis Rises.

We had a couple of fights, a duel and a late night street knife fight.

We are finding today and in previous fights, anyone who gets a CM is mostly choosing Choose Location.

We find it means, wearing armour is pointless unless you wear armour everywhere, else choose location simply chooses the un-armoured point. You get everyone wears helmets!

It also makes two unarmoured foes fights extremely dangerous, if you miss a parry, tend to die from choosing head shot.

To encourage use of other CMs, unintended behaviours around armour, and take the claws out of Choose Location we are testing it being a critical CM only.
This does turn up from time to time. Usually it's a phase that groups go through as they find that choose location is often not the most effective choice.

On the other hand, there's a reason why people wear armour. If you don't wear armour then a hit from a decent sized weapon is going to be a serious wound more often than not.

I wouldn't advise trying to alter the mechanics. I would advise using the world. If the PCs are blood-thirsty thugs who would rather kill than disable then NPCs will act accordingly. Remember as well that unless they're using 2-handed weapons, most injuries which KO characters are actually serious wounds. It's unlikely that a serious wound will kill the opponent and they will usually regain consciousness later. Remind the players of this and tell them that you will factor this in. Odds are the PCs will start slitting throats so agree before hand that in most cases slitting a throat will reduce hero points gained. Finally, if they start slitting throats, next time a PC is KO'd, have a NPC come along and slit the helpless character's throat.

Of course you and the players may not be interested in this. If it's a game of looting and killing then being able to choose location makes it all the more dangerous. However at that point you as a GM should start using other CMs against PCs to show when choose location isn't a good idea.

As a rule of thumb, if you roll high but succeed then any CM which has to be rolled against (trip, disarm) is a lot more effective. If a character has been tripped or lost a weapon, don't allow them to simply pick it up as a CA. Use the change distance rules to allow an opponent to either oppose the action or to counter-attack.

All in all my advice is to go with the action. If everyone is always choosing location start assuming that NPCs are aware of this and plan for it. Rather than removing a CM, at which point the players will likely just choose a new "best CM", use the choices to drive the action.
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Postby Deleriad » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:10 am

Speaking of Pavis Rises and CMs. This is a bit from my PR campaign where the hero is lured into an alleyway by a fake mugging to protect a damsel in distress. As you'll see, many different CMs were used.

Meanwhile Job goes running down the alley to save the victim. He barrels into the attacker, grabbing him around the stomach and pinning him to the floor. 1 The victim of the mugging scuttles sideways. Job however is surprised to discover a third person grabbing him from behind, trying to lift him off the ground and break his hold on thug #1.2 Job squirms and breaks free3 but is surprised again when the victim turns out to be SheThug. She picks up a piece of wood and tells him to surrender. Job however is having none of it. She attempts to smash him over the head with the lump of wood but slips and the wood breaks against a wall as Job ducks.4 Thug the first comes back but Job knocks him down again, ducking underneath another wild swing.5 Then Thug #2 lunges at Job who must have grabbed him by the arm and swung him around, giving him a dead arm in the process.6 Seeing that this is not going well, the SheThug draws a knife. There's a brief pause and Job calculates that this is his one chance. Suddenly he becomes the goddam Batman. He kicks the knife out of her hand then spins and elbows her in the stomach, winding her.7 As the guy with the dead arm complains bitterly he continues his spin and breaks his knee with another kick.8 He goes down again. Thug #1 loses interest in the fight and scarpers. She thug also decides to leg it. For a second Job considers trying to stop her but decides against it and moves over to the grounded thug menacingly.

1. Unarmed charge choosing to grip rather than do damage. Trip CM chosen.
2. NPC unarmed attack. Did damage and chose grip
3 he broke free of the grip but had to let go of the other thug to do it.
4. She fumbled and got damage weapon.
5. Attack fails and successful parry choosing trip
6 Free attack that fumbled. Damaged his own arm
7 She had retreated and drawn weapon using up her CAs but Job had one left. Last action of the round and so he does damage and disarms her.
8 This was the start of a new round and Job had the highest SR so he was able to attack first. The thug had taken some incidental damage to the leg earlier I think so he went for the knee and did a serious wound.
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Postby RosenMcStern » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:33 am

This problem arose during playtest, and after a brief thinking session, we found out that.... it is not a problem!

In most real world fights, you will actually go that way: once you get an advantage, you strike the point you wish, not a random one. And that will obviously be the unarmoured location. You hit the unintended target only on a partial parry.

Also, choose location head is a bad tactical choice: the weapon arm is the best location to strike. I would rather go for a blow that will surely make my opponent drop his sword, rather than one that might knock him down. Remember, an arm has an average of 2 HP less than the head.
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Postby Mixster » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:56 am

I really rarely use Choose location, but that is mostly because I reckon that Disarm Opponent will set my opponent out of the combat for 3+ CAs, which is easily enough to kick his companions behinds and then return to him.

An alternative I use is trip, trip makes opponents easier to hit for your compadres. Which is nice since in our current group, two of us are primarily fighters, and the other two are leaning more towards investigation and conversation. Meaning that even though they don't have much more than 50% in their relevant combat style, they can easily do a lot of damage and hit a prone opponent.

Not to forget that I much prefer many of the "special" combat maneuvers. Bleed puts most opponents down and out in a matter of Rounds, which is granted most useful on a ranged attack, but can also be pretty deadly if you hit your foes with it and then disengage.
Impale deals more damage, disables your foes, and deals even more damage when trying to yank out your spear. Impale is really good against big, tough foes that are the last threat remaining, since it both deals damage and debuffs them, and then it deals damage again that ignore AP.
Stun Location is also pretty good, although situational, a good roll with a stun location can end the fight prematurely, which is neat if you just hit your opponent with a sling, stunning his leg makes him pretty unable to get closer to you, while stunning his arms makes him pretty inert in combat, (at best he loses his 2-hander, at worst he loses the extra CA from using 2 weapons).
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Postby Sir Gawain » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:03 am

And, I if remember well, if you use the same CM more than once during the same fight, your opponents get a cumulative +10% bonus when they try to resist.
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Postby sdavies2720 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:25 pm

Hit Head is still the #1 favorite maneuvre in my game, but most intelligent opponents typically have more armor there (adapting to the combat realities), and players have found trip and others to be helpful as well.

For defensive CMs they often choose overextend.

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Postby Khamulcalle » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:28 am

Sir Gawain wrote:And, I if remember well, if you use the same CM more than once during the same fight, your opponents get a cumulative +10% bonus when they try to resist.
that is optional.

Stun location and Impalew are two nasty CM.

Our fights have not yet last for more than 1.5 rounds.

This game is highly deadly hehe!

/K
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Postby Morgan d'Barganfore » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:07 am

For disarm, how wold you determine distance of the dropped weapon?
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Postby Morgan d'Barganfore » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:08 am

And can you disarm a shield?
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Postby Mongoose Pete » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:03 am

Morgan d'Barganfore wrote:For disarm, how wold you determine distance of the dropped weapon?
I can't remember adding a specific rule, but how about this... use the Damage Modifier roll for the distance in metres. For creatures without a positive Damage Modifier the weapon simply drops at the disarmed victim's feet instead.
Nice to get a reminder that these rules were written assuming a quite different sort of campaign from the munchkin "It's in the rules so you have to let me do it, look at me buffing my character I'm going to go kill now arrgrgrgrh" approach. -dbhoward
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Postby Mongoose Pete » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:04 am

Morgan d'Barganfore wrote:And can you disarm a shield?
Yes if it is a centre grip shield. Strapped shields might need to be broken instead.
Nice to get a reminder that these rules were written assuming a quite different sort of campaign from the munchkin "It's in the rules so you have to let me do it, look at me buffing my character I'm going to go kill now arrgrgrgrh" approach. -dbhoward
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Postby Mixster » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:59 am

Mongoose Pete wrote:
Morgan d'Barganfore wrote:And can you disarm a shield?
Yes if it is a centre grip shield. Strapped shields might need to be broken instead.
Or apply a bonus as the valiant attacker slices open the strap holding the shield in place before whacking it out of the shieldmans hand.

I think that would warrant about a +40 to 60% bonus on the opposed roll.
I can't remember adding a specific rule, but how about this... use the Damage Modifier roll for the distance in metres. For creatures without a positive Damage Modifier the weapon simply drops at the disarmed victim's feet instead.
Nice! Gonna use this.
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Postby Vagni » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:29 pm

In practice my players only tend to use choose location as a way of hitting an already wounded location as a way of putting a wounded foe down much quicker, or as an option in ranged combat to hit foes behind partial cover.

Once you get your head around the fact you apply it retrospectively because of the way the system works, it's a useful manoeuvre at times.
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Postby taxboy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:18 pm

Still think it is too powerful...anyhow, another game tonight - will use it as a critical CM only...might take a while to play test, we sometimes go three sessions without a fight..

...damn roleplaying getting in the road of the fighting!
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Postby Morgan d'Barganfore » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:36 pm

Thanks folks!
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Postby danskmacabre » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:29 pm

I do notice people taking "Choose location" more often than other Manoeuvres at first, but as they explroe the other options and how they can give other dvantags it sort of evens out.

Even so I think I'll be using the +10% bonus more to parry/Evade if the same Manoeuvre is being spammed.
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Postby DamonJynx » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:49 am

Well... I'm going to play RAW and let the PC's do as they will, however they had best pray their enemies don't get an offensive CM against them! See how they like a Greatsword in the head! And if they manage 2 CM's, Maximise damage as well!
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Postby Deleriad » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:05 am

Here's a possible alternative that makes choose location less of a sure thing.

Choose Location (offensive). The attacker chooses the location but the defender opposes their Evade skill to the original attack roll. If the defender wins, the attack only causes half damage (after Armour is deducted).

The implication is that the defender may be able to spot the attacker's intent and partially counter it. Makes Choose Location good against enemies with low Evade skill. (Big, slow, clumsy or relying on armour etc)
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Postby Mixster » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:11 am

DamonJynx wrote:Well... I'm going to play RAW and let the PC's do as they will, however they had best pray their enemies don't get an offensive CM against them! See how they like a Greatsword in the head! And if they manage 2 CM's, Maximise damage as well!
Does hitting them in the head matter when you deal 16 + damage modifier? I think most PCs would go down from that. Especially if you used bypass armour instead of Choose Location.

I still don't get why people think Choose Location is a good CM, I would much rather Trip, Impale or Disarm someone. The difference in HP is not enough to warrant choosing the head every time IMO.
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