Combat maneuvers too common?

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Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby jux » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:33 am

Finally got to play Legend and I was a bit surprised how it played compared to what I read and imagined how it would play.

Firstly, when reading about combat maneuvers, I thought they are something special. Like when you attack/defend exceptionally well, you are granted a CM, but instead, they are the most common thing. Success attack and failed defense, thinking it is just regular success, but that already causes CM.

Moving forward to next weird thing is, that with CM, every successful attack can be "choose location" - head shot for archer for example. I much more like the chaos of combat, when you roll d20 to see what part of body one could damage, but it was actually very rare in this fight. Well, granted, the fiend was outnumbered and not that skilled, but that was brutal :)

And the choose location CM brakes the generic HP system for NPC-s? All the players were attacking into one location, but then it had like 4 times more HP as what would normally be in one location.

So this was just my first reaction to the first combat, but I think I have understood the rules right and in fair fight, it plays more how I would imagine it to be.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby strega » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:12 am

Players choose Head as the location forget that their enemies can also choose head as the location. After a few combats where most characters start wandering around in the best helmet the GM allows for his world everyone looks like a secutor (Roman gladiator).

Anyone facing a missile weapon armed adversary and not in close combat should keep their shield up covering the torso and head while closing with the archer/slinger.

Facing missile forces without your own missile weapons serves only to demonstrate the nature of ancient warfare. In my own culture everyone 'knows' that the Saxons had no bows and couldn't respond to William the Bastards Norman archers at Hastings and the king got one in the eye which lost the battle at Battle.

Players should quickly learn to either procure missile weapons of their own or use CM's differently to capture enemies. Many cultures (except those that want to only 'kill things and take their stuff') will choose to surrender and ransom themselves. This was very common in earlier iterations of Glorantha/Runequest from which Legend is derived.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:51 am

This is the reason for the optional rule on p.135 that opponents giving a cumulative +10% to defend against a character who repeatedly uses the same combat maneuver. Basically, the character's fighting style becomes very predictable as they are always looking for opportunities to attack the same hit location. Veteran opponents quickly wise up that the character is a one-trick pony and protect themselves against the character's preferred tactic more effectively.

Also, note that to the bonus is applied next roll in the combat against the repetitive combatant – be that an opposed roll to
resist the manoeuvre, or their next attack or parry roll. This means that character's who keep repeating the same manoeuver over and over leaves themselves open to a counter-attack once opponents have had a chance to analyse their fighting style - think of the example of a boxer who always leads with the same punch or who telegraphs their moves with the same footwork every time.

Imagine a situation where an adventurer is fighting a group of minor opponents and manages to quickly behead three of them in rapid succession. All of the survivors who witnessed this attack realize that they need to protect their head when they go up against the character. Also, they notice that the character has a slight tendency to overextend himself each time that he swings for an enemy's head, leaving his left flank momentarily unprotected. The next time that the character attempts to attack an opponent using the Hit Location (Head) combat manoeuver, all of the opponents receive a +40% bonus to their next action against the character. For example, a smart opponent might feign an opening for the character to a head attack - encouraging him to expose his left flank to a riposte.....

(As an aside, I've been wondering...could a combatant use the Insight skill to analyse a character's fighting style more effectively by picking up subtle clues from their stance, footwork, etc?)
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Greg Smith » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:04 am

I do find that a lot of my fights end with the enemy prone or weaponless rather than dead. Disarm is probably the most common manuever my players chose, but they do face a large number of n0-location mooks.

To counter the chose location problem we have instituted a house rule that you can use it to change the result of the location die roll by up to 5. If the attack is a critical, then you can chose a location freely.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Mixster » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:55 am

strega wrote:Players choose Head as the location forget that their enemies can also choose head as the location. After a few combats where most characters start wandering around in the best helmet the GM allows for his world everyone looks like a secutor (Roman gladiator).
Players who choose head as the location forget that the difference in HP is minimal and can be achieved with one point of AP difference. While disarming your opponent and rendering them weaponless effectively makes them into non-combatants.

Personally I like the way the CM system works, it gives the players a change to describe what happens to their adversaries as well as the DM, and this makes the world and story-telling part of combat a bit more dynamic. As well as it keeps combats from just being a series of dice rolls.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby jux » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:13 pm

I love the CM system as well. I am not whining - it just surprised me. It's all good and logical :)
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Da Boss » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:11 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:This is the reason for the optional rule on p.135 that opponents giving a cumulative +10% to defend against a character who repeatedly uses the same combat maneuver. Basically, the character's fighting style becomes very predictable as they are always looking for opportunities to attack the same hit location. Veteran opponents quickly wise up that the character is a one-trick pony and protect themselves against the character's preferred tactic more effectively.
Except that against no location mooks half the Cm don't technically work - it is a recurring flaw in the system that luckily our GM works around. Also in Clockwork and Chivalry few people wear armour or helmits - my character certanly does not - he wears a flamboyant hat with a striking feather.

He does impose the -10 when we abuse the system but it can be extremely dificult not to repeat when fighting numerous opponents as we often do. We are also inventive with how we describe the manuevres.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Dan True » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:21 pm

jux wrote: Well, granted, the fiend was outnumbered and not that skilled, but that was brutal :)
One thing you quickly learn when playing legend is that "big bad stuff" simply rarely survives. Just like ancient Romans could take down Carthages elephants, so can adventurers take down big baddies. The CA system is really nice but it does break down when there is too much difference in CAs on the two sides - either by players having 4*3 = 12 CAs and the Monster only 3 - or by a player casting Enhance(INT) combined with Enhance(Dex) to gain 6 CAs.

It is very hard to make an opponent which single-handedly can take on the whole party. The approaches I have found of doing this are:
1) Give it so much armour that most CAs will be spent not hurting it. However, this is rarely a good approach as low-damage PCs become useless (which isn't fun) and also because many adversaries can still be brought down by a trip or disarm anyway -- unless of course it's a giant or something like that. An example made by my gf in the first adventure we had in Legend: She was foreseeing and when they in an old Officer's bunk found a blanket, she tied the ends together and put it in her pack - then when they encountered a massive stone-and-flesh wolf (merge by a magical accident) she shot her crossbow at it with the blanket ... effectively entangling it's head. So, even though it had 3 CA, 6 AP and awesome stats, it was quickly brought to the floor and hacked to pieces.
2) Give it special-rules that allow it do make tricky stuff - negating CAs in a more interesting and engaging manner than the "no, your attack doesn't penetrate"-approach above. Examples could include an over-grown displacer beast wreaking havoc in a low-lighted tunnel, a beholder shooting 8 spells a turn or a troll spawning small troll-spawns from hacked-off flesh every time it is damaged.
3) Make the encounter more of a environmental encounter - for instance the adventurers are attacked by the cave itself when they enter it, perhaps the monster they're fighting is truly extremely large and heavy enough to throw people to their feet when it moves... or simply one awesome swashbuckler holding a crooked stair by himself. In these cases the encounter becomes more of a practical-riddle than a true combat encounter, albeit with a lot of combat style checks anyway.

So, don't expect adversaries to last long without backup ;) Legend is a very deadly system.. just as real-life.

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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:14 am

Dan True wrote: One thing you quickly learn when playing legend is that "big bad stuff" simply rarely survives. Just like ancient Romans could take down Carthage's elephants, so can adventurers take down big baddies....It is very hard to make an opponent which single-handedly can take on the whole party....Don't expect adversaries to last long without backup ;) Legend is a very deadly system.. just as real-life.
Remember that this holds true in reverse too - being outnumbered is extremely dangerous in Legend, even if your opponents are much weaker than yourself. You will quickly burn through CA's defending yourself unless you have some positional advantage - a stairway, a narrow entrance, etc. Even fighting with your back against a wall helps to prevents enemies from encircling you.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Da Boss » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:31 pm

This is also why specific CM become commonplace as you need to whittle down the opponents quickly

so Disarm immediately reduces the attacks coming your way as does trip - sadly most of the other CMs are pretty useless - especially against Mooks with no hit location
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Mixster » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:09 pm

Da Boss wrote:This is also why specific CM become commonplace as you need to whittle down the opponents quickly

so Disarm immediately reduces the attacks coming your way as does trip - sadly most of the other CMs are pretty useless - especially against Mooks with no hit location
Impale is pretty darn nifty with ranged weapons or when your opponents are tough to beat, the fact that a Long Bow is huge and gives -40% on all tests after you've made one hit with it speaks for itself.
Bleed is ridiculously good when you've got time on your side.
Bash is crazy good if your weapon has a longer range than your opponent, since that will often put him far enough away that he'll have to re-engage, and have the added chance of tripping him.
Stun Location can often take an opponent out of the fight on one failed resilience test. Which is pretty nice as well.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Da Boss » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:17 pm

In the one or two against many

Impale loses you your melee weapon and likely your life/ the fight

Bleed is ok but again its not great against numbers

bash - we are usually using the same weapons - swords

as noted you can't use stun lcoation against mooks
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Lemnoc » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:13 pm

Da Boss wrote:sadly most of the other CMs are pretty useless - especially against Mooks with no hit location...

...as noted you can't use stun lcoation against mooks
I’m made curious by these remarks. I don't let on to players that they’re up against mooks (how would their characters know?), and they usually only find out after the mooks have incompetently died, folded or fled. For all any player knows, she may be up against the real deal.

If someone gained a CM against a mook and chose a nonapplicable special effect, I’d just roll with it and hasten the end of the combat accordingly. You know, "head comes off in a gout of blood," etc. If someone wanted to stun a mook by knocking him in the head, I would readily allow that. I would NOT tell a player they couldn’t employ the CM of their dearest choice because they happened to be up against a mook. That doesn’t make sense to me.

Not cataloging hit locations just eases bookkeeping while running inconsequential opponents. It's not a penalty against player options.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby DamonJynx » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:46 am

Mixster wrote: Impale is pretty darn nifty with ranged weapons or when your opponents are tough to beat, the fact that a Long Bow is huge and gives -40% on all tests after you've made one hit with it speaks for itself.
How so good man? The long Bows size rating is only used to determine the effect of a successful parry is it not? It doesn't, as far as I'm aware, alter the penalty for the arrow being impaled.
Legend Core Rulebook pg 133 wrote:Impale (Thrusting Weapons Only) – Leaving the weapon in the wound inflicts a skill penalty; –10% per size category of the weapon (for example, –10% for small weapons such as arrows or daggers, –20% for medium weapons and so on).
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Mixster » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:58 pm

DamonJynx wrote:
Mixster wrote: Impale is pretty darn nifty with ranged weapons or when your opponents are tough to beat, the fact that a Long Bow is huge and gives -40% on all tests after you've made one hit with it speaks for itself.
How so good man? The long Bows size rating is only used to determine the effect of a successful parry is it not? It doesn't, as far as I'm aware, alter the penalty for the arrow being impaled.
Legend Core Rulebook pg 133 wrote:Impale (Thrusting Weapons Only) – Leaving the weapon in the wound inflicts a skill penalty; –10% per size category of the weapon (for example, –10% for small weapons such as arrows or daggers, –20% for medium weapons and so on).
Hmm that seems to be right.

However, the example is in a parenthesis, and thus doesn't really add much, it could refer to arrows that you stick into your opponents in close combat.

At least, logically it would be worse to have an arrow stuck through your arm from a longbow compared to one just out of your armor from a short bow.

The rules aren't clear, but I'd agree evidence supports your claim more.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby DamonJynx » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:42 pm

Well, the way I see it is:

The weapon firing the missile determines a) how hard it is to parry and b) the damage the ammunition does initially. Eg: A longbow is Huge and does 1d8 damage whereas a shortbow is Large and does 1D6 damage.

The "size" of the ammunition determines the penalty for being impaled. After all, an arrow is an arrow regardless of how it got stuck into you and so the penalty for it hampering your skills should remain constant.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:06 pm

DamonJynx wrote:The weapon firing the missile determines a) how hard it is to parry and b) the damage the ammunition does initially. Eg: A longbow is Huge and does 1d8 damage whereas a shortbow is Large and does 1D6 damage.

The "size" of the ammunition determines the penalty for being impaled. After all, an arrow is an arrow regardless of how it got stuck into you and so the penalty for it hampering your skills should remain constant.
This is how I read it, too. The size of the weapon measures the penetrative power of that weapon or its ammunition to determine whether the blow overcomes a shield parry.

I suppose if you really wanted to get chunky you could assign lengths to the bolt or shaft to better measure the quality of an Impale. I think that's a bit overkill, if you'll pardon the expression.
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Bifford » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:09 pm

Fire an ogre bow, with a bolt the size of a small tree trunk and THEN you could be -40%....! otherwise I agree, an arrow is an arrow and at best 5mm wide.

However the HEAD of the arrow makes a difference. There were arrowheads specifically designed to stay inside the flesh and rip open a nasty gash when pushed or pulled out. If the arrow went clean through though then you would pull it out following the same direction it went in and not worrying about the flights as they wouldn't do anything (or snap them off first).
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby DamonJynx » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:21 am

Bifford wrote:Fire an ogre bow, with a bolt the size of a small tree trunk and THEN you could be -40%....! otherwise I agree, an arrow is an arrow and at best 5mm wide.
Ah, yeah. Arbalest bolts and stuff would certainly be larger than an arrow and raise the penalty somewhat.
Bifford wrote:However the HEAD of the arrow makes a difference. There were arrowheads specifically designed to stay inside the flesh and rip open a nasty gash when pushed or pulled out. If the arrow went clean through though then you would pull it out following the same direction it went in and not worrying about the flights as they wouldn't do anything (or snap them off first).
RQ6 specifically mentions barbed items I believe...
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Re: Combat maneuvers too common?

Postby Halfbat » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:00 am

Even modern longbow arrows are wider than 5mm, typically 8-11mm. Those fired from the more powerful bows are even heavier. Having a 5mm arrow in you is one thing (I know! :oops: ); I'd really _not_ have a heavier one.

See http://www.quicksarchery.co.uk/superbas ... den+Shafts for samples of modern shafts for target archery (as opposed to combat archery).

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