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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 5:34 pm 
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Revisiting the unarmed vs. armed thread...

Cobwebbed Dragon suggested a 'house rule' where an unarmed combatant has their Defence halved against an armed opponent (fractions rounded up, I presume?), which has the advantage of simplicity.

I was training the other day (it happens!) and I noted that, while it is theoretically possible to block an armed person if your unarmed skill is good enough, in practice there's an awful lot of footwork and mobility required.

Looking at average Rank 1 characters, half Defence is:
Knight: 4 (Evasion 4)
Barbarian: 3 (Evasion 5)
Sorcerer / Elementalist / Warlock / Mystic: 3 (Evasion 3)
Assassin: 3 (Evasion 5)

I’ve added the Evasion score as a comparison... What if unarmed combatants had to rely on their Evasion (rather than Defence) if they have nothing to parry with? Instead of halving Defence, a character would have to rely on Evasion.
(I quite like the idea that this advantages Barbarians and again highlights the Assassin’s mobility.)

At higher levels, the Barbarian and Assasin's Evasions allows them to retain his edge as can be seen from these Rank 5 Defence scores (halved):
Knight: 6 (Evasion 5)
Barbarian: 5 (Evasion 6)
Sorcerer / Elementalist: 3 (Evasion 4)
Mystic: 4 (Evasion 4)
Assassin: 5 (Evasion 6)
Warlock: 5 (Evasion 4)

Sorcerers and Elementalists become a little better at dodging: perhaps they’ve got used to getting out of the way of incoming spells? Knights and Warlocks, with their more static, disciplined fighting style mean they become a little less good at getting out of the way – they feel uncomfortable fighting unarmed against an armed foe?

Looking at those scores, there's not a lot in it and it might be down to individual GM's what they prefer…

Incidentally, this kind of situation might apply whenever a character holds a weapon they cannot use (e.g. a two-handed weapon in one hand).* In this case, however, because it is still possible to block (however badly) the defending character might be given the choice whether to dodge the incoming attack (using Evasion) or try to parry (using half Defence).
* Ever tried holding a greatsword in one hand and using it to parry effectively? It just doesn't happen - unless you're supernaturally strong.

In summary:
Defending unarmed vs. armed opponent = use Evasion to avoid opponent's attack.
Defending with clumsy weapon vs. armed opponent = choice of Evasion to dodge, or half Defence to parry.

Thoughts?

*EDIT*
From the FAQ (posted by Dave Morris):
"EVASION is a passive defence; it requires no action to be taken. EVASION represents both your ability to get out of the way, and your situational awareness. You do not need to be aware of any individual attack in order to evade it. You can use EVASION whilst Surprised. Unless the rules specify otherwise (e.g. the Assassin’s Shock Attack), or the GM rules that the circumstances are similarly exceptional, Evasion always works."

This suggests that Evasion is the "default" ability to get out of the way - whether from a falling block of stone or a swinging blade. A sort of "baseline Defence" if you will - which would indicate that Evasion should be the minimum Defence for a character?*
* Unless impeded by something (like brambles) - but you can't legislate for everything.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 8:03 pm 
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Hmm. I'm not sure how that works when there are multiple opponents. Can EVASION be split?*

* It isn't when dodging javelins or other slow missiles.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:24 am 
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I like to think that EVASION when taken as a move can be applied to all things. However I consider it a 'move' where you can't really take any other action. However I wonder whether there should be an improvement when a character is 'running'.

I think it should be applied when disengaging from combat. Although not ideal I can see mobile barbarians and assassins running away as part of their skillset to get the enemy to follow them.

Its a bit like indiana jones in the beginning of raiders of the lost ark where multiple things are aimed at him. I'd say its a fixed thing figure so even if multiple people throw javelins at him he should get full EVASION on all attacks.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:58 am 
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Quote:
...so even if multiple people throw javelins at him he should get full EVASION on all attacks.

Yes, and I think that already applies. For missile fire a small, moving target will be hard to hit for all the archers so EVASION will apply equally to all.

Thinking about it, if you use EVASION in mélée, then it has to be split - otherwise no-one would use their DEFENCE against multiple opponents. Consider: a Rank 1 Knight is attacked by three opponents, he can split his 7 DEFENCE three ways (say 3, 3, 1) or he could pit his entire EVASION against each opponent (4 against each), giving him an effective "defence" of 12.

If there's a rule (somewhere) that EVASION can't be divided, then EVASION can't be used...


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 12:17 pm 
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Well, way I see it, if 3 people strike with swords and the assassin disengages/runs I figure it should be fine to apply it to all attacks. Can't think of other systems that would see it that way, but another situation may be a player avoiding a trapdoor and a falling statue. Assuming his movement allows him to avoid both traps, he'd pit his full EVASION vs all the threats. So if he has to run 20m, I figure it should work regardless of multiple threats during that 20m stretch.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:07 pm 
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Kharille wrote:
Well, way I see it, if 3 people strike with swords and the assassin disengages/runs I figure it should be fine to apply it to all attacks. Can't think of other systems that would see it that way, but another situation may be a player avoiding a trapdoor and a falling statue. Assuming his movement allows him to avoid both traps, he'd pit his full EVASION vs all the threats. So if he has to run 20m, I figure it should work regardless of multiple threats during that 20m stretch.


Maybe Evasion should be a full round action. If a character has already acted and then evades, they don't get another action in the next round. If they haven't acted, Evading means they don't get to do anything else that round.

Cheers,

-Kyle


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:33 pm 
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DW's rules are very simple and cover only the most common situations. They are not designed to accommodate edge cases like defending without a weapon (or a poor weapon), or defending against weaponless attacks.

'Defence' covers several aspects - dodging, parrying, reducing opponent opportunity, etc. There are plenty of creatures in the Bestiary that have no weapons aside from their claws or fangs - yet they have defence scores typically in excess of evasion.

To be honest, if you are looking to revise the rules at this level, the entire combat system needs updating.

The only 'house rule' with utility in the discussion is allowing fleeing combatants to assign their evasion to the free attacks of their opponents. That seems fair enough, as evasion is typically quite low and the attack is a 'freebie' without risk on the part of the opponent.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 2:31 pm 
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Quote:
They are not designed to accommodate edge cases like defending without a weapon (or a poor weapon), or defending against weaponless attacks.

No, and I wouldn't expect them to be (or the rulebook would be massive and difficult to absorb). But it's these awkward situations that make me think...

I also think that unarmed vs. armed would be limited to one or two rounds. After that, the unarmed person would have fled, or have initiated a grapple - a whole different ball game. But that one strike by the armed combatant might be quite telling.

Quote:
'Defence' covers several aspects - dodging, parrying, reducing opponent opportunity, etc.

Which means leaving the whole EVASION thing? Which is almost a pity... I liked the idea of quick, nimble barbarians having some kind of edge.*
* Sadly, it also gives yet another edge to Assassins (which have plenty already).

Quote:
There are plenty of creatures in the Bestiary that have no weapons aside from their claws or fangs - yet they have defence scores typically in excess of evasion.

Teeth and claws are not unarmed. Those are the natural weapons of the creature and are factored into its scores.
(Just like a character wielding a chair leg or a shield is not unarmed - they have something with which to block an opponent's weapon.)

And yet... If you look at "natural" animals, you'll see that they almost all (with the exception of the bear, DEF 7; tiger, DEF 5; and bull, DEF 4) have a DEF score of 3 or less.

Quote:
To be honest, if you are looking to revise the rules at this level, the entire combat system needs updating.

To a certain extent, that's what I've done with my game - although the basic framework remains. Changes have been fairly low key except where the rules simply aren't there (e.g. grapple, lance charges).

Quote:
The only 'house rule' with utility in the discussion is allowing fleeing combatants to assign their evasion to the free attacks of their opponents. That seems fair enough, as evasion is typically quite low and the attack is a 'freebie' without risk on the part of the opponent.

As stated in the rules of combat, if a combatant is makes a 'fighting withdrawal' (i.e. retreating) they can use their DEFENCE. If they choose to "rout", which is described as turning your back on your opponent and simply running away, then there's no EVASION. This does contradict a little what is stated in the FAQ (about the passive defence that requires no action). The thing is, unlike traps and falling masonry, mélée attacks are directed and can adapt to the opponent's move (which the fleeing character won't know about)... A hit against an opponent who turns their back on you is very easy indeed to land (even when they try to duck). A "rout" is a desperate move, trusting to armour to take the blow - I'm not sure I'd apply EVASION for this.

Of course, there might be circumstances where the GM can be generous and allow EVASION. Perhaps where the player describes leaping off a ledge (or into a doorway, hedge, etc.) to avoid a blow - but that's leaping when initially facing the blow. I'd leave that kind of thing to a GM call.

Lastly, EVASION isn't that low - the average EVASION for a Rank 1 Barbarian or Assassin is the same as the DEFENCE of a Sorcerer, Elementalist or Warlock (as revised).


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Barbarians fighting style is fast and mobile. I'm totally for disengaging with less risk (dodging). If they have an EVASION compariable to a sorceror or elementalist thats good since those types really don't get out much.

However I consider dodging a full move and therefor you wouldn't be able to attack. Guess that is a bit like retreating but it is lower that a typical DEFENCE score.

Agree with Kyle, EVASION is a move so you can't really do much else in that combat round.

Can't recall right now, but you can accelerate to a run in one move, you just need to slow down to a move or full stop in the next round. Suits me.

Thing is, DEFENCE means that you are defending yourself, ideally with a weapon to keep your enemy some distance off. However you have to concentrate so if you're taking on multiple opponents, sure, split your DEFENCE. As for a full 'dodge' move, I'd say as long as you can move out of the area of effect, so if you can't because a 50m diameter boulder rolled onto your position, or a 50m boulder rolled 25m down a corridor and you can't somehow outrun it... roll a new character....

Same goes for FIRESTORM. If you do anything else except dive you might as well eat it. I'd suppose if you're in combat with a fire elemental it wouldn't need to fly and can keep fighting whilst you have to decide what to do.

Suppose a shield negates any penalties, being equivalent to a cudgel for bashing and parrying.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:46 am 
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Random thought.

In discussions like this I'm sometimes reminded of the phrase "defensive wounds" which you hear in documentaries about forensic investigation of murders and in CSI-type shows. This phrase reminds me that the most basic and instinctive form of defence, apart (possibly) from running away, is to simply to flinch and put your hands up, even if it means you're hands are going to be wounded in the process. To me this is what the base-level Defence boils down to; flinching and putting your hands up. A shield, a stout pair of mail mittens, or even a chair or saucepan would make this a practical Defence even against an armed opponent.

Cheers,

-Kyle


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