Questions about the battle rules? Ask ‘em here.
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I’m a little confused about the “Rallying” Setup option (Combat - page 60). It could just be because my English is not good enough…
Do the dice passed after the Command roll come at the expense of the player who chose the “Rallying” option? I mean, do I pass dice taken from my character’s dice pool (thus reducing my character effectiveness for the current round of combat) or do I just pick up and pass bonus dice, keeping my pool intact?
Congratulations for the game! It’s very elegant, so much that it appears to be not only fun to play (I hope to try it very soon), but also very pleasing and satisfying from an esthetical and intellectual point of view. I feel the same way about Dogs and IaWA and I just wanted you to know.
Thanks, Leonardo! I’m glad you like it.
When you rally your comrades, just pick up and pass bonus dice, keeping your pool intact.
We play with 4 bowls of dice on the table, one for each color. Just reach into the bowl of your choice and pass dice around.
Vincent, how does the system handle large combats? I typically play with 5 to 6 players. If each has an opponent, that looks like a lot of time for the GM to be rolling sets of dice, calculating hits and arranging little piles each round.
Does it play more quickly than I anticipate? Any way to have “default rolls” for each enemy, or maybe a roll for a single enemy that is used for all of the enemies?
It plays quite quickly. I suspect that the card variant is even quicker.
But yes, there’s a very good way to simplify your rolling, already built in. Create groups of enemies as a single monster. Give it multiple attacks for its multiple members. (Or swarm.) That way you’re rolling a single set of white, blue and green, and only have to keep track of individual red pools.
I don’t believe I’ve ever rolled 3 full sets of dice in battle.
I like the way enemies, monsters, traps and dangerous terrain are all created and handled using the same set of rules.
But one thing I don’t quite get. When traversing terrain you can either “battle” it as a group or each character can decide to go it alone. Once every character has filled in all his individual traversal checkboxes, the whole group is through and the terrain is vanquished for good.
But since it’s much easier and quicker to just pool the group’s efforts and fill in the common traversal checkboxes, I can’t see why someone would ever want to go it alone. This would require lots of duplicated and thus wasted effort with no apparent benefit.
What am I missing?
You aren’t missing anything. Under normal circumstances, nobody will ever choose to individually traverse terrain.
The reasons you might go it alone, in abnormal circumstances, are 1) because you can get your own personal character out of the situation faster that way, if you decide to abandon the group, and 2) because sometimes that’s what the situation demands, totally outside of your own preferences in the matter.
I think I’m missing something about the “Something Else” rules (p61-62). Take a character will high Strength/Perception, low Skill and no good tools. As I read it, he’ll have a much better chance of, say, picking a lock *while fighting* than he would while concentrating on the task exclusively.
This seems counterintuitive. I’d be tempted to say that some tasks, like spellcasting, can’t be done while fighting, and would have put lockpicking firmly in that category, but you helpfully listed it as an explicit example at the bottom of p60.
Also, I didn’t understand why you have the Spellcasting section on p61 separate from the Something Else section, since the rules seem to be the same for both.
Yes and no! Let’s dig into it.
Take a character will high Strength/Perception, low Skill and no good tools. As I read it, he’ll have a much better chance of, say, picking a lock *while fighting* than he would while concentrating on the task exclusively.
Quibble first: he has lockpicks, right? Otherwise, picking a lock is like shooting arrows without a bow. Let’s go ahead and presume that he does, but that they’re crappy: they allow him to pick locks without giving him any dice for it.
Okay, possible interpretation number one:
Take a character will high Strength/Perception, low Skill and no good tools. As I read it, he’ll have a much better chance of, say, picking a lock *while fighting* than he would outside of battle.
This isn’t true. Outside of battle, he needs 1 hit to pick the lock. In battle, he needs to beat the best incoming attack. If we give him Strength 6, Perception 6, and Skill 3, and we give the monster attacking him 6 white dice and 2 red dice, here’s what:
Outside of battle: he rolls 3 dice and needs 1 hit. On average he’ll net 1.5 hits, and pick the lock almost every time.
In battle: he rolls 6 dice for perception; on average he’ll get 3 hits, so add 3 to his 6 dice for strength. He rolls 9 dice, averaging 4.5 hits. The monster, however, rolls 8 dice, averaging 4 hits. On average, our hero will net 0.5 hits, fewer than he would outside of battle - he’ll pick the lock about half the time.
Possible interpretation number two:
Take a character will high Strength/Perception, low Skill and no good tools. As I read it, he’ll have a much better chance of, say, picking a lock *while fighting* than he would if he were pretending that there wasn’t a battle going on around him.
I don’t find this result counterintuitive at all. As above, if he attends to the fight while picking the lock, he’ll pick it about half the time. If he ignores the fight, an incoming attack will massively distract him and mess up his whole scene.
And from there…
The effect of icreasing his skill and/or giving him good tools makes sense to me: he’ll get better at picking the lock outside of battle, and when he’s pretending there’s not a battle, but no better at it when he’s attending to the battle first.
The one remaining counterintuitive thing is when he’s fighting while picking the lock, but no monster attacks him. Then he’ll average 4.5 successes, vs the 1.5 he’d average if he weren’t fighting at all. I’m okay with this, because (a) in both cases, most of the time he’ll pick the lock, so there’s no real difference in that regard, and (b) I want to encourage fighting as usually the thing to do. I’m not trying to balance fighting with not-fighting; only rarely will it make sense for someone to choose to not fight.
As GM, you’ll have to judge case by case whether fighting while [whatever] is possible. You can certainly rule that it’s not, in any given case, for any given character. You might always judge picking locks impossible in battle, for instance; that’s yours to call.
When you judge that what the character’s undertaking to do while fighting is possible, the rules consider the character’s ability to keep his head in battle (his perception) to trump his skill. In effect, once you’ve judged the thing to be possible, the rules presume that if the character can focus, he’ll succeed.
This is, I hope you can see, very consistent with the rest of the game’s design. The entire game presumes that the characters are competent; very rarely will they simply fail to do what they undertake.
OK, I think I’m with you. For the record I was talking about your “possible interpretation number two”, and in my head that was *always* equivalent to your “one remaining counterintuitive thing … when he’s fighting while picking the lock, but no monster attacks him”. After all, “no monster attacking him” isn’t a gamble he’s taking; the player knows it for sure because of the “free and clear” declaration protocol.
But I accept that it isn’t going to be a big problem in practice. After all, if the lock is important the monsters *will* be attacking him, and if it isn’t, who cares?
This sentence clarified me very much all the concept! Thanks
You’ve got a section in your battle flow chart called “Sucking It Up”. I’m interpretting this as flavor text, and not actually having any mechanical effect. Am I right about that? It’s weird to see flavor text in such a mechanically oriented place, so I wasn’t sure. On the other hand, I don’t see any other mention of “Sucking It Up” in the main text.
Earlier jsears brought up the question of having the GM rolling lots of different sets of dice, and you said:
“I don’t believe I’ve ever rolled 3 full sets of dice in battle.”
That’s odd, the battle example in the text has the GM rolling 3 full sets. Since that’s the biggest place where you set expectations for what battle will be like, perhaps you should mention some guidelines on that. Before reading your comment, I expected a range of 1 to 5 full sets of dice, with 3 being normal. Or perhaps I misunderstood something along the way.
While I’m commenting: Thanks for clearing up that issue Mike raised. It still seems a little weird that a character could be “better” at something if there’s a battle going on around him, but it’s not a big deal.
I noticed you reposted the manuscript, was it revised at all?
If I want to taunt a monster into attacking my character instead of another character, in the middle of combat. I’d roll a “controlling others” foundational roll to do this, correct? Instead of fighting? And if I won, I could spend successes to get the monster to attack me or get bonus dice if he didn’t attack me, correct?
I like a lot of what I’ve read (the foundational rolls are excellent!), but I have a question regarding dice rolls - since everything appears to be “X + white dice”, why have white dice included at all? I realize that dice pool size affects probabilities, but the effect would be equally distributed, right?
Seems like effort is wasted counting white dice. I’m not advocating doing away with them entirely - they’d be used in rolls during Setup - but why roll them again in Battle?
John: That’s a relic. There used to be monster abilities that took away your setup move; “suck it up” is a reference to them.
I haven’t revised the manuscript at all yet. (Well, I have, on my hard drive, but not publicly yet.)
Kingston: Yes. At least that’s one way to do it - not the way I’d choose, myself, unless the situation REALLY demanded it.
You could also do it - and this is the way I’d choose - with a skill setup roll to create a tactical constraint to make yourself the only target available to the monster. That way you’d get to fight that round too.
Chris: The white dice don’t even out because you’re comparing yours against mine.
What the white dice do in play is create this fun effect where you have good rounds and bad rounds, instead of good and bad attacks and good and bad defends all unrelated. They give battles a more concrete sense of momentum and flow - your white dice give you a sense of the overall position from which your character is acting.
I can use my Empathy skill to give bonus dice to my Iron Intention and Daunting Presence rolls, Right?
If an Endurance Roll damage box is checked, roll every followup to stay in the fight, or just the round you checked the box, not rolling again unless you check another box?
Just once, that round.
Kingston, I didn’t answer you already? I typed out a reply, I wonder what happened to it.
The answer is: yes.
In play, I might not call for you to make the Empathy roll, though. I might just call for you to make your Iron Intention roll, and add half your Perception as bonus dice. The more rolls you’re making in a stack, the more likely I’ll do that.
Also, absolutely no looping setup rolls.
How does getting up from being Knocked Down work?
In particular, what happens if there’s a monster with both Knock Down and Frighten? The latter prevents you from having a setup move, which is where I would expect you would choose to “Fight While Standing Up”.
I also have a turn order question. Being knocked down gives a tactical advantage to the monster. Does the monster get that red die on the following turn automatically, or only if the player fails to get up for some reason (e.g. Frighten, above).
I’ve got some pretty number-crunchy players that asked me last time why they would ever role to straight fight (one extra dice) when i’m giving out Red Dice for use of Tactical Constraints (multiple dice). In reaction to this i promptly stopped handing out so many Red Dice (afraid i was doing something wrong) and immediately frustrated my players.
Is there a reason/guideline i’m missing for how to divvy out the Red/Green/Blue dice in a Tact-Constraint? I felt like i was making it too easy, until i switched to giving them Blue dice, and then they felt short-changed.
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