Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

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Lemnoc
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:09 am

"Realism" is less important than some commitment to a physical world in which X works like so, and you can depend on it working like so tomorrow.
As a nod to D&D, I love the way doors were originally described as functioning underground. They were very difficult to open and closed with exceeding ease. Their default state was closed. Monsters had no problems at all opening closed doors and doors always worked to the monsters' advantage.

There was no logic or "realism" to why this should be so. But you could certainly game around it. And it conferred a lot of predictability to outcomes.
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Dan True
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Dan True » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:51 am

Lemnoc wrote: But I can certainly see this poor sentry on a curtain wall, 90% concealed with three CAs, taking two shots to the head from five characters who all delay to the same SR and fire at once. Two get through and both get to call the CM on his poor li'l noggin.

I **think** the solution here would be to declare a single Evade score would oppose against all incoming missiles fired at once: He ducked, now has two CAs. But you have to think this through.
And that is really our point:
A sentry that gets 6 shots coming his way, and is unaware => pin cushion. Get some glasses.
A sentry that gets 6 shots coming his way, and at some point notices them, evades and chooses to duck behind the wall as part os his evade => clever guy, you can survive..
A sentry that gets 6 shots coming his way, sees them before they arrive and decides that his best defense would be to matrix-style dodge each incoming arrow individually, rather than ducking behind the wall => idiot.. he dies AND gets a darwin award.

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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby HalfOrc HalfBiscuit » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:16 am

Mixster wrote:A scarecrow with half it's body covered is a significantly harder target to hit than a scarecrow without it.
But is it? I sort of agree that it seems like it should be. But should a man-sized scarecrow with its legs covered be harder to shoot than, say, a goblin in the open?

Under the RAW, SIZ penalties only kick in if the target is smaller than SIZ 5 - and bonuses only come into play if its above SIZ 20. Even given the notorious vagueness of what a SIZ represents, Is that fine-grained enough? If you accept that it is (and I don't have the missile weapons experience to challenge it convincingly), then a scarecrow with its legs covered is probably still in the unmodified chance to hit zone.

That said, I do quite like the idea of making the Choose Location CM, when used with ranged attacks, subject to taking a CA to aim.

Also ... there's a reason why otherwise unarmoured troops commonly wore helmets.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby sdavies2720 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:54 pm

HalfOrc HalfBiscuit wrote:Also ... there's a reason why otherwise unarmoured troops commonly wore helmets.
:D Good point.
For me, there are enough reasonable ways to handle this that I'm not going to houserule it (although the idea of aim allowing choose location is a good one).

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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby RangerDan » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:49 pm

Another somewhat related topic...

How do you guys typically handle a phalangite or legionnaire with a large shield?
A Roman legionnaire with a scutum advancing against enemy missile fire is not really parrying missiles at all. He just raises his shield in front of him and minimises the exposure of his squishy bits.

You could say that in this situation he could count as being in cover from his shield on certain hit locations, like chest, abdomen, left and possibly right arms. Missile attacks originating from his front that hit that location would hit the shield instead. (This brings up the Choose Location CM issue all over again, but I'm ignoring that here for the moment).

But this opens up other complications. How about smaller shields? Raised heater shields could certainly cover the shield arm and chest (or head against volley fire). Even a raised buckler offers some protection from missiles (and some Medieval pikemen used them in exactly this way).

And how about melee? A warrior in a shield wall is also not really parrying enemy attacks either. The shields are locked into place and are forming a kind of mobile wall that the warriors are using for protection. One of the reasons the shield wall was such a widely used tactic in pre-gunpowder times is that it allowed even untrained peasants to be reasonably effective on the battlefield. This does not really gel with having to succeed at a Weapon and Shield parry to defend oneself in such a situation.

Any thoughts on this topic?
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:02 pm

HalfOrc HalfBiscuit wrote:I do quite like the idea of making the Choose Location CM, when used with ranged attacks, subject to taking a CA to aim.
There's certainly plenty of precedent in the RAW for ruling a CM is available only to criticals. Bypass, Maximize and Pin spring to mind. So you're not creating anything new or remarkable by house ruling a limit on the availability of Choose Location for ranged weapons.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Mixster » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:36 pm

And how about melee? A warrior in a shield wall is also not really parrying enemy attacks either. The shields are locked into place and are forming a kind of mobile wall that the warriors are using for protection. One of the reasons the shield wall was such a widely used tactic in pre-gunpowder times is that it allowed even untrained peasants to be reasonably effective on the battlefield. This does not really gel with having to succeed at a Weapon and Shield parry to defend oneself in such a situation.
That could also just be because they've stacked a lot of CAs really close, and thus anyone engaging would get clubbered by being out of CAs against them.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DrBargle » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:08 pm

Lemnoc wrote:There's certainly plenty of precedent in the RAW for ruling a CM is available only to criticals. Bypass, Maximize and Pin spring to mind. So you're not creating anything new or remarkable by house ruling a limit on the availability of Choose Location for ranged weapons.
I think that, if I were not to grant some kind of modifier to the attack roll (whether based on the SIZ exposed, or a couple of categories of cover - 20% and 40%, mimicking the 'Target Visibility' modifiers) or a 'passive' opposed roll for cover, then making choose location a critical only CM would be the way I'd prefer to GM it. To tell you the truth, when I read the rules for cover - a successful attack rolls for location, and if that location is behind cover, then the arrow strikes the cover not the target - I thought, 'what an elegant cover mechanic'. But then I realised that the mechanics CMs and Choose Location meant that anyone with their head above a parapet (and out of CA) was being hit in the head as easily as if they were in an open field, and I thought, 'no, that's not right'.

I've got no problem with 'out of CA = chopped to bits' when facing multiple opponents hand-to-hand. But the ability to hunker down behind a wall, or even a shield, to protect yourself against arrow attacks, suggests that something else should happen when dealing with missile fire.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DamonJynx » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:47 pm

A scarecrow with his legs behind a wall should be more difficult to hit with ranged attacks that are NOT specifically aimed at the target. Legs count as 2 out of 7 hit locations which = 28.57% of his locations covered, therefore a missile attack not aimed at the target should be penalised in this instance.

However, I think the suggestion of making Choose Location a critical only CM for ranged attacks is a valid one and allows the RAW regarding cover and its effects to function as intended.
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Dan True
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Dan True » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:27 pm

DamonJynx wrote:A scarecrow with his legs behind a wall should be more difficult to hit with ranged attacks that are NOT specifically aimed at the target.
What do you mean by not specifically aimed? Like, in mass-fire situations only?
DamonJynx wrote: Legs count as 2 out of 7 hit locations which = 28.57% of his locations covered, therefore a missile attack not aimed at the target should be penalised in this instance.
But, if I recieve a penalty against a scarecrow (SIZ 13, for instance) with 2/7 covered - then why don't I receive a penalty against a goblin of SIZ 9 out in the open? His SIZ total is about the same size as the partially covered scarecrow.
Even in mass-fire situations..

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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:23 pm

DrBargle wrote:'what an elegant cover mechanic'.
Yes, it really is.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DamonJynx » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:38 am

Dan True wrote:
DamonJynx wrote:A scarecrow with his legs behind a wall should be more difficult to hit with ranged attacks that are NOT specifically aimed at the target.
What do you mean by not specifically aimed? Like, in mass-fire situations only?100% correct. When a group of archers are firing in a general direction, rather than aiming at specific targets.
DamonJynx wrote: Legs count as 2 out of 7 hit locations which = 28.57% of his locations covered, therefore a missile attack not aimed at the target should be penalised in this instance.
But, if I recieve a penalty against a scarecrow (SIZ 13, for instance) with 2/7 covered - then why don't I receive a penalty against a goblin of SIZ 9 out in the open? His SIZ total is about the same size as the partially covered scarecrow.
Even in mass-fire situations..Because there isn't a solid barrier protecting said goblin regardless of SIZ. All the arrows have an opportunity to hit all locations of the goblin unimpeded. When standing behind some form of cover, that cover would, as previously highlighted, provide some protection regardless of the 'targets' actions or lack thereof. Don't forget I'm only suggesting this penalty in mass fire situations. For when an individual is targeted the normal RAW with the exception of the houserule for "Choose Location" should be used.

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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby AnaliseLameth » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:23 pm

Just to add a new point into the mix, if we decide that Choose Location is only allowed on a critical, or whenever someone aims, it occurs to me that nowhere is there a limit to the number of turns that can be spent aiming.

This is unrealistic, as a real bow user will get tired and their aim will falter. I'd like to suggest that anyone choosing an aim action can only do so for a maximum of three turns.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DrBargle » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:40 pm

I wouldn't go for allowing Choose Location after one (or two, or however many) CA of aiming - it isn't difficult to burn a CA or two when the enemy is distant. The 'fix' to 'instant headshot / bypass cover' would be unfixed. Aiming already grants a boost to the chance of rolling a critical, anyway.

[edited after misreading AnaliseLameth's post - I agree that is the time spent aiming should be limited, it should be by time, not CAs, which is how I first read the post]
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DamonJynx » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:16 pm

DrBargle wrote:I wouldn't go for allowing Choose Location after one (or two, or however many) CA of aiming - it isn't difficult to burn a CA or two when the enemy is distant. The 'fix' to 'instant headshot / bypass cover' would be unfixed. Aiming already grants a boost to the chance of rolling a critical, anyway.

[edited after misreading AnaliseLameth's post - I agree that is the time spent aiming should be limited, it should be by time, not CAs, which is how I first read the post]
If you're going to do that, which is a sensible idea, have the archer make a Persistence test after aiming for 3 CA (I think that's a reasonable amount of time, otherwise it gets ridiculous) a crit means they get 1 additional CA bonus (so instead of 3, they get 4), success means they get the full benefit of aiming, failure means they lose the benefits due to fatigue, a fumble means they actually suffer a level of fatigue and are penalised accordingly.

I'm beginning to be swayed that Choose Location should be a crit only CM for ranged weapons. It does make a lot of sense given the discussion thus far.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby sdavies2720 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:28 pm

RangerDan wrote:Another somewhat related topic...

How do you guys typically handle a phalangite or legionnaire with a large shield?
A Roman legionnaire with a scutum advancing against enemy missile fire is not really parrying missiles at all. He just raises his shield in front of him and minimises the exposure of his squishy bits.

You could say that in this situation he could count as being in cover from his shield on certain hit locations, like chest, abdomen, left and possibly right arms. Missile attacks originating from his front that hit that location would hit the shield instead. (This brings up the Choose Location CM issue all over again, but I'm ignoring that here for the moment).

But this opens up other complications. How about smaller shields? Raised heater shields could certainly cover the shield arm and chest (or head against volley fire). Even a raised buckler offers some protection from missiles (and some Medieval pikemen used them in exactly this way).

And how about melee? A warrior in a shield wall is also not really parrying enemy attacks either. The shields are locked into place and are forming a kind of mobile wall that the warriors are using for protection. One of the reasons the shield wall was such a widely used tactic in pre-gunpowder times is that it allowed even untrained peasants to be reasonably effective on the battlefield. This does not really gel with having to succeed at a Weapon and Shield parry to defend oneself in such a situation.

Any thoughts on this topic?
I'm blessedly free of facts on the topic (I'd probably treat phalangite with increased brushing, for instance), but not smart enough to stay silent, so I'll stick with basic rules: treat the raised shield as cover for some hit locations (the number determined by the size of the shield), let the advancing soldiers use a single CA as 'set shield' against all the missile attacks (so they don't automatically get a CM).

For shield walls, I'd probably do something similar: One CA to 'set shield wall' which gives everyone a defense and covers some hit locations (but probably also precludes hitting the opponent in some locations as well).

As I think about it, since forming a shield wall required training, I'd probably make that a style, and combatants have to roll against that for their one CA -- failure means that combatant isn't protected, and maybe those on either side aren't either.

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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Deleriad » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:30 pm

I also know only just enough to guarantee making myself a fool of myself. I would be tempted, if using more free form combat styles to call "shield wall" part of a formation fighting combat style. So the style might include "gladius, pilum, big shield, shield wall."

Your combat style then includes, in shield wall, the ability to form up close enough to an ally to block all the gaps. When an enemy attacks, rather than having to spend a CA on parrying actively with a shield you could use your Shield Wall skill to parry without using a CA. This means that anyone foolish enough to attack a properly functioning Shield Wall would be swinging at a wall of shields then facing a whole bunch of stabbity from CAs he can't defend against.

If someone in a shield wall goes down, then those close by have to form up closer, which I would say takes a CA and successful use of the Shield Wall skill from everyone trying to form up. Of course as a formation fighting style it would only be of use while in formation. Out of formation then you would have to use regular shield parries and risk never having a CA to get back into formation. I would call getting back into formation a maneuver like "Change Range" so any barbarians nearby could try to prevent it with an opposed Evade or take a swing at you. Once it falls apart then it might be quite hard to form up again if skilled determined enemies are nearby.

That's how I would do it.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby DrBargle » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:36 pm

I like that... I could easily see it being used as part of a battle vignette as the heroes and their carls try to hold formation, knowing that if their formation is disrupted the balance of the battle will shift dramatically.

Anything beyond a focus on a 4 or 5 man stretch of the line though is surely beyond the capabilities of the average GM though? Of course, the Shield Wall skill could easily be applied at a higher level of abstraction.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby Fonso » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:02 am

Mixster wrote:
---
Also I noted that if we wanted RQ modern to work, we need defensive CMs that can be used against ranged attacks, counter-shot (like riposte) and dive for cover are ideas, but we probably need more.

And couldn't you technically try to blind your opponent with your blade?

Some ideas on how use defensive CA versus ranged attacks, not modern, but could work too:

Blind opponent: You parry the shot with your shield AND reflex sun's light back to the shooter (parry) or you dodge the arrow and something metallic you wear do the same trick (evade).

Change Range: If the shooter is too near you, maybe you can close to it and impide shoot again without disengage.

Damage weapon: Your excellent parrying/evading skills cause the shooter makes a mistake, and damage his own weapon. Of course it's not your weapon damage, but other damage decided by the DM.

Disarm opponent & Trip opponent: You force the shooter with your excellent parry/dodge to strain his shoot and loose the grip of his weapon/fall to the ground.

Enhance parry: You block so well the attack that it causes less damage (parry) or transform a hit in a glancing blow (evade).

Overextend opponent: You amaze the opponent with your excellent parrying/evading skills, until he recovers his composture.

Pin Weapon: You can't do this at range, but your actions can make him do it for you. Maybe the bowstring sets free or the spear gets struck into the ground.

Redirect Blow: You expose the location hitted, blocking your other critical áreas, for example, covering your head with the left arm.

Regain footing: You use the inertia from the blow parried o dodged to roll with it and get up.

Riposte (Only if you are unarmed or wields a ranged weapon): The attacker keeps his guard open and this allow you to counterattack with your own weapon, or, a la "Big Trouble In Little China" film, catch their knife and throwing back to him.

Slip free: You interpose whatever is grappling/entangling you in the attack's way, damaging or distracting it and gaining a chance to escape.

Stand Fast: You root yourself agains the floor (parry) or grab a nearby object and reduce the knockback of the blow.

Take weapon: As riposte. You take the weapon on the fly if it causes you some damage.
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Re: Ranged Attacks vs. Cover

Postby AnaliseLameth » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:09 pm

DamonJynx wrote:I'm beginning to be swayed that Choose Location should be a crit only CM for ranged weapons. It does make a lot of sense given the discussion thus far.
Certainly does seem to fix a lot of things if you make it available only after a critical.

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