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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Minor or Bonus Actions are inferior to Primary important actions in some games. A few are even free actions in some systems.

    I was studying weapons and staring at the halberd, and thought "wow, that snagging beard-ish ax and hook could probably snag someone and trip them or throw them off.. should i comment on that?"

    Then i thought about it in terms of actual play.

    Would a character want to sacrifice their power to do 8 damage or whatever, and possibly kill an opponent, or would they want to poke around and jab for some mechanical penalty like prone, tripped, or off balance, losing something like movement, taking a -4 penalty for one action/attack, etc.

    Then i realized No. The average person would not want to sacrifice a critical opportunity to be victorious for some laughably forgettable chance at a mediocre modifier.

    But what about actual fights? Would you likewise refuse to snag someone with a hook?

    Well, in melee, many opportunities present themselves, and if you've had many hours of practice, some patterns become ingrained. Methinks therefore that many of the "combat options" that normally eat a whole attack or action in some games,

    really should be demoted to a "you can try this for free/cheap, but still keep your attack". Just looking at and holding a halberd with its insane length, you can get the sense that you'd have as many chances to jab or poke a person's shins as snag their armor, shield, or shoulder. It would happen many times through out the melee, possibly spaced mere seconds apart, and i mean 1-3, not 6 seconds.

    Debuffs are ok vs. a boss, but sacrificing your one good attack roll for a mediocre debuff on a guy who could kill you on their next attack, I don't think this is what reality portrays. I don't think a guy using mediocre circumstantial attacks hardly ever resorts to them unless the opportunity presents itself.

    When we did organized hand to hand combat decades ago, in kinder, gentler times, you might try sweeping a guy, but it rarely worked. You were more likely to injure the guy by repeatedly kicking his lower extremities, but fall over? I didn't see that happen much.

    Debuff specials like tripping, tugging, catching, etc., seems to me something better for movies and gifts from the gods of combat in actual war, rather than reliable "attack-sacrifice" worthy tools in your kit.

    What say you?

    Minor or Major Action?
    Last edited by anthon; 2021-01-15 at 11:51 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    WFRP 3rd edition and "Star Wars: Force & Destiny" use a system with custom dice. The dice have different categories of symbol on them.

    Some symbols are "successes" which are used to determine if an attack hits (or other check succeeds) while other symbols are "boons" which are (mostly) orthogonal to success but instead can be used to add special effects and bonuses to the hit (or other check result).
    There might be a few generic special bonus which any character might achieve, there might be a couple unlocked by character talents, and there will always be a couple made available by weapon choices (for example, a hooked polearm that might let you put a target prone).

    So there are multiple grades of result rather than binary success and failure. Rolling extra successes is better than rolling a couple of boons (because they add to damage) but rolling boons is better than nothing.

    I think this system fits the criteria discussed. The fighter is not sacrificing their chances of success for these fleeting bonus, they are not sacrificing anything for them. Rather they care capitalising on an opportunity that comes up unpredicatably, by chance.

    How to apply this to a system like DnD, which doesn't have custom dice with different results?
    • Give weapons special properties that only kick in on a crit? (Give high-crit builds more of a buff than others)
    • ...that only kick in on a natural 20? (Might make nat 20s to swingy - with an auto-hit and improved damage and a special effect)
    • ...that kick in when you roll a certain amount higher than the target AC? E.g. 5 points higher? (Requires a little extra calculation but is it too much?)
    • ...that kick in when you roll a certain lucky number, specific to the weapon? So a halberd might get a free trip when you roll a natural 6 and a mace might add a stun effect when you roll a natural 17. The halberd is likely to be always adding it's special effect to a miss, while the mace will likely only ever trigger on a hit. (Is this what we want?)
    • ...that kick in when you roll a certain lucky number, specific to the character, chosen at character creation? So Bogrot the barbarian trips with his halberd on a 6 and stuns with his mace on a 6, while Torgob the fighter trips with his halberd on a 17 and stuns with his mace on a 17. (Does this make the characters feel meaningfully different or does it seem like pointless cruft?)
    • ...that kick in when an enemy gives you an opening by rolling a natural 1 on their attack? (Nope. Hate it. It means that high-level fighters will mess up more than low-level ones. And those poor dual-weilders... But someone will suggest it if I don't mention it now.)
      [*}...that kick in when you roll a specific number on a second dice that you roll alongside the d20? So when you make your attack roll, you also roll (say) a d10 and if it comes up 10 then you trigger the weapon effect. (Pros: completely de-coupled from whether you hit or miss. Precise probabilty depends on die-size, not limited to 1-in-20. Cons: It's annoying to have to roll an extra dice on every attack roll)
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    What sort of situation are you talking about? A lot of this does come down to action economy in ways that are tricky to generalize.

    You're a 20th level fighter with four attacks plus a bonus action attack plus a melee ally with a couple of attacks all his own after you? Turning one of those chances for damage into the chance for all the rest of those attacks to get a bonus is a good tradeoff. If you're a solo first level fighter with one attack and the enemy will regain his footing before you can take advantage of the opening? Probably not.

    Are you attacking something likely to squish in one or two attacks? Sweeping the bad guy's legs out from under him is just the prelude to sticking your blade thorough his throat, and is just flavor added to his dropping at 0 HP.

    Are you playing in a more narrative system? Being knocked down is just a keyword that someone could use against you, just like having an injured arm. Again, just flavor to spice up the situation.

    In low level D&D you're absolutely right, I just don't know how a fix for that wouldn't have knock on effects that messed with the rest of the game.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Suggestion: If a halberd attack misses by 1-3* points, the target must save vs. being tripped. So, kind of a consolation prize that bridges the binary gap between "hit for full damage" and "no effect whatsoever". If tripping is desired over regular damage, a successful attack may be 'downgraded' to this result. Similar effects can be devised for other weapons, for example a chance to crush an enemies shield with an axe or disarming him with a longsword.

    *The exact range can be static or tied to base attack bonus, character level, modified by a feat, whatever.
    Last edited by Berenger; 2021-01-16 at 10:40 AM.

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    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    D&D is a weird place for this. It has a highly abstract yet precise faux-realism combat system where rolls both do and don't represent a single actual weapon swing, and damage both does and does not represent actual injury. If you embraced the abstraction all these things would do is add damage or a bonus/malus to the next roll. If you embraced actual realism you'd want armor to prevent damage instead of making you get hit less, some sort of stun or endurance mechanisim, hit locations, and damage being actual injury.

    Non-D&D systems have solved this in various ways. Some do actual abstracted combat where all your stuff is folded into the rolls and there's no worry about splitting tripping from damage or action economy concepts. Others tack those things on as stunts or riders. I know a couple that enact actual fighting styles and combat maneuvers which modify the attack & damage when adding effects.

    There's a system that gives characters two half actions or one full action each round, but the half actions can't be the same action. That works really well for adding aiming, feints, disarms, etc., to basic attacks without having action economy hacks or saying only some classes get to try stuff.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Having done a bit of martial arts, a bit of re-creationist fighting and a fair bit of watching fights/analysis of fights/analysis of weapons I have an observation to throw in which underpins some of what others have said...
    In a fight, you take what opportunities your opponent offers.
    If you are tripping them instead of stabbing them in the heart, that's because they didn't leave an opening to stab them in the heart, but did leave the opening of tripping them.
    I think that's best described by Berenger's suggested mechanism. I'd probably have it trigger on a miss by 1 or 2 but allow some sort of save/dodge/resist


    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    Suggestion: If a halberd attack misses by 1-3* points, the target must save vs. being tripped. So, kind of a consolation prize that bridges the binary gap between "hit for full damage" and "no effect whatsoever". If tripping is desired over regular damage, a successful attack may be 'downgraded' to this result. Similar effects can be devised for other weapons, for example a chance to crush an enemies shield with an axe or disarming him with a longsword.

    *The exact range can be static or tied to base attack bonus, character level, modified by a feat, whatever.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Perhaps part of it is an artifact of systems that result in a lot of hits, but require many hits to "neutralize" an opponent.

    A system in which more attacks miss, and more attacks don't get through or past armor, but individual attacks that hit and get through/past armor are more meaningful, would create more appeal for moves that set an opponent up to be easier to hit and damaged.

    But many gamers I've spoken to respond to that idea with the assertion that missing, or hitting and doing no damage, and having to attack a lot to get in one "effective" hit, is boring.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2021-01-18 at 10:07 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    I like this idea, part of the problem in DnD is that most options are less optimal than just doing damage.

    Knocking someone prone for instance, if it takes your action to do just means that they spend half of their movement getting up again.

    I think there need to be worse consequences for being knocked down to make it worth doing, something like standing up in someones range provokes an attack of opportunity

    Off balance should require a dex test to get your balance back or you continue being at an attack penalty giving opponents advantage when attacking you.

    Things like that would make options other than basic attacks worth doing.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Exalted 3e has a two tier attack system. You have withering attacks that allow you to jostle for the upper hand (which gets rolled into your initiative score), and decisive attacks that do wounds and where you spend your initiative to enhance that attack. So other systems do have mechanics where tempo and positioning are at least as valid as making a damaging attack land.

    D&D? I could maybe see some sort of ability that let you use a non-damaging "attack" as a bonus action. Shield Master gives a bonus action shove that does just this. The problem is that as long as you have bonus action attacks to compete for the use of your bonus action, you get right back to the question of action economy and optimal use, combined with the fact that a lot of people find the mental image of attacking more appealing than the mental image of setup.

    And honestly? Given all the D&Disms that people expect from the system, I don't expect D&D or any offshoots to come up with a good system for tempo moves any time soon. I'm okay with that being something best left to other systems.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Morty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    This is going to be one of those threads where people just talk about D&D a lot because other systems either do it in some measure or have such different combat systems that none of it applies. Or both.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-01-18 at 10:22 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    This is going to be one of those threads where people just talk about D&D a lot because other systems either do it in some measure or have such different combat systems that none of it applies. Or both.
    That's how this board usually works. Sometimes I just like to remind people that there are other options if they really want to focus on something being mechanically represented, and that trying to hack D&D into being all things to all people is a fool's errand.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Halberds are weapons designed to be used by massed infantry formations.

    The hook-trip action isn't a big sacrifice when there are 6 other halberds attacking the same target.

    From a game mechanics standpoint - the problem with tripping is that if you make it too useful, then all combats will turn into trip-fests. And if you make it too trivial then it isn't worth doing.

    It's the same problem with most special maneuvers (throw sand in enemy eyes, disarm opponent, etc.). The entire combat will be about these special moves if they are effective.

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    This is going to be one of those threads where people just talk about D&D a lot because other systems either do it in some measure or have such different combat systems that none of it applies. Or both.
    Yeah.

    I never know if it's a matter of not realizing other systems don't work like the 900 pound gorilla, or just not caring.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhosaysfish View Post
    WFRP 3rd edition and "Star Wars: Force & Destiny" use a system with custom dice. The dice have different categories of symbol on them.

    snip
    First, I want to say I LOVE FFG's Star Wars. Blast the badguy out from behind cover, heal a bit, notice something super important in the scene, trip a guy, crit a guy, give bonus to hit to friends, give minus dice to bad guys. It gives the players many choices in addition to i Smack him for damage. Lots of ppl hate the dice pool and how symbols cancel each other.


    Second, what the OP is describing is 13th age. The system has already been built and it is even d20.

    Classes powers/attack stills work differently depending on if you roll high, low, or even/odd. Sorcerer powers can recharge on even/odd rolls. Barbarians get extra damage or a debuff effect when powers roll well.

    But my favorite is the plain fighter. As the fighter you roll the die to hit PRIOR to declaring your action. Then after you see the die result you choose your attack. Some even choose some attacks require an even roll, some are any, some are 16+. Other powers just have a rider effect. IIRC, shield slam will damage and pop an enemy off your ally on the roll of a 16+. If not 16+ it just deals damage. There is another power, that will downgrade a melee crit against you in the next round. Bull rushes, trips, disarms, etc are all built into the flow of standard combat. There is never a choice of just trip. Instead it is damage and trip with certain lucky events happens.


    The drawback. Every single class plays its own way. Powers available, rider effects, how they even engage in combat are WILDLY different. Sorc and Wizard look nothing alike. Rogue is just as complicated to play as wizard. While d20, it is a very different beast to play.


    Third,

    To the OP, yes, players would totally trip that bad guy. As a PC, if I had a reach tripping weapon I would attempt to trip the bad guy. Especially if I had improved trip. That way I would still get my attack for damage. And get a free one when they stand back up. I also would deny the enemy a full attack. The full attack is what would kill me.

    But that requires feat investment. As a PC without any of the improved X feats. No, D&D punishes players for that by making the actions nearly impossible to accomplish.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    13th Age fighters sound Amazing. That would be a very cool way of having the tricks and moves flow into the game
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    I do like the AGE system, where a successful attack gives you 1-6 Stunt Points to spend on doing things like tripping, moving yourself, disarming, or what have you (and equivalent stunts for noncombat actions). In addition certain Talents make you able to perform certain Stunts for less, encouraging characters focused on different styles to take different opportunities. Not the best version available, but it works.

    Also I'd like to mention that Burning Wheel is set up so doing nothing but hacking at your opponent is just asking for your opponent to script the options that outperform Strike actions.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    In a fight, you take what opportunities your opponent offers.
    If you are tripping them instead of stabbing them in the heart, that's because they didn't leave an opening to stab them in the heart, but did leave the opening of tripping them.
    I think that's best described by Berenger's suggested mechanism. I'd probably have it trigger on a miss by 1 or 2 but allow some sort of save/dodge/resist
    i think there's a golden ticket somewhere in this text, i have bolded what feels like a game mechanic wanting to exist which i will use for my homebrew.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    In SCA melees, I will often hook somebody's shield if I can. Yes, it costs me a chance to throw a blow, but it moves the shield aside for the guy next to me.

    Since tripping is not allowed, I have no direct experience with trying it.

    But there are some period manuals that mention it. In his book Fior di Battaglia (Flower of Battle) published 1400-1409 or so), Fiore de Lieri spends a lot of time on tripping moves. He doesn't treat it like a minor mechanical advantage; he seems to believe that knocking your foe down is close to winning the fight.

    He also has several disarming moves.

    Sainct-Didier has a lot of "graspings", in which you grab your opponents' blade, to take it away or even just immobilize it.

    Hooking a mounted opponent has as a primary goal getting him off the horse.

    So yes, people who have actually used these weapons will do hooks, trips, bullrushes, etc.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    ive been toying with discrete initiative units modeled on action interrupts, reactions, weapon speed, and casting time,

    but the hardest part is figuring out what the flow looks like if you have a really fast character trying to interrupt a really slow character.

    actions like trip or snare and more than a few fencing parries would be super small increments/casting time, so you could more easily fit them "in" between or "to interrupt" methinks.

    Like how a Jab is short and swift, both in recovery and in attack,

    but something like a jump kick or even a round house commits a lot of momentum, and is way easier to intercept.

    Speaking of those two, when doing some "interactive calisthenics", I found catching/grappling jabs to be super hard, but easily caught a round house and dropped my "dance partner" to the floor. Reminds me of spells with casting time - old magic missile vs. fireball.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    In SCA melees, I will often hook somebody's shield if I can. Yes, it costs me a chance to throw a blow, but it moves the shield aside for the guy next to me.

    Since tripping is not allowed, I have no direct experience with trying it.

    But there are some period manuals that mention it. In his book Fior di Battaglia (Flower of Battle) published 1400-1409 or so), Fiore de Lieri spends a lot of time on tripping moves. He doesn't treat it like a minor mechanical advantage; he seems to believe that knocking your foe down is close to winning the fight.

    He also has several disarming moves.

    Sainct-Didier has a lot of "graspings", in which you grab your opponents' blade, to take it away or even just immobilize it.

    Hooking a mounted opponent has as a primary goal getting him off the horse.

    So yes, people who have actually used these weapons will do hooks, trips, bullrushes, etc.
    Seems to me like tripping an opponent provides the most advantage with a polearm or other super long weapon, and a diminishing advantage as you get further away in both directions.

    So a handgun rifle etc. with ranges in 10-100+ yards, tripping an opponent somehow, also makes the target harder to hit, for various reasons like less surface area, more cover, etc.
    Up close a shorter melee weapon also allows the victim more chance to retaliate. At close range they can try to take you down with them, and possibly turn your whole body to act as a cushion to soften their blow. But if you could poke at someone from a distance with a Halberd or Guisarme, you'd be at pure advantage unless they could somehow roll into and take your polearm.

    i would guess trip pages were numerous not because they were effective, but because they were hard. I've had people try to trip me many many times both on and off the mats, with zero net effect, but had my arse handed to me by a slightly off level sidewalk seem walking home.

    a person who is good at ground fighting and fighting a smaller group has little fear from trip. But being surrounded, outnumbered by an angry gang trying to kick you in the head, or being in a fantasy fight with an ogre or giant capable of severe stomp damage, trip is nasty business.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    In the system a friend and I are designing (slowly....) for personal use, we are considering having a rider-effect with every attack. That keeps the decision out of the hands of the player -- a secondary effect just happens when dice come up saying that the situation presented itself.

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    I suspect part of the problem with adding things like this to games is that most RPGs have entirely static/passive defense. In reality hitting somebody with a sword or axe or whatever requires recognizing and seizing a specific opportunity to do so. You don't just generically hit a dude, you hit him in the left shoulder with a false edge cut because on the last pass you noticed the way he held his shield left him open to this particular move. This is, I rather suspect, why fight manuals spend so much time on these very detailed, situational plays. The master is telling you that in this scenario you have an opportunity to accomplish something.

    In games, even ones with more detail-heavy combat than D&D this sort of situational observation just isn't there, because for ease of playability defense is basically a couple of static numbers. But unless you make defense active and dynamic, adding special attacks will have really only one of two outcomes

    1) The special attack is more effective than the "standard" attack, and gets cheesed out constantly. Everybody is trip attacking all the time, and it's kinda silly seeming.

    2) The special attack is less effective, and may as well not exist.

    Now of course different enemies can have different vulnerabilities (shield bash goblins, trip orcs or whatever) but for a specific set of passive defenses mathematical optimization pretty conclusively proves one of the two above will be best. This is true of magic as well, we just tend to care less because it's easy to attach resource costs to magic, but doing the same for melee options feels very artificial. Particularly since just trying to hit somebody has no resource cost in most games. Xandikar the Sorcerer getting tired and running out of magic juice makes sense, Sir Celton Helmsplitter running out of trip juice, but still bring able to thwack goblins with a great sword is more puzzling.

    Bottom line is I think if you want to reasonably model combat at the level of specificity where attack methods really matter, you need to do the same for defenses. Which runs into immediate problems with playability.
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Xandikar the Sorcerer getting tired and running out of magic juice makes sense, Sir Celton Helmsplitter running out of trip juice, but still bring able to thwack goblins with a great sword is more puzzling.
    I'm reminded of classic traveller, in a melee you could make a number of full strength attacks equal to your endurance stat (I seem to recall having a slight to hit penalty and 1/2 damage for under strength blows). Combine that with your trip, feint, etc., stuff and it becomes better sometimes to perform a special move to set up your full strength attack.

    Champions has a stamina stat. All (basically, can be exceptions) attacks use stamina. Varying stamina costs/reductions are added to the usual attack/damage modifiers for moves like sweeps, throws, and haymakers. The haymaker has a special bit that it went off at the end of the next segment instead of instantly like normal. It was good teamwork for a high accuracy/low damage martial arts hero to sweep a foe and set up for the brick hero to haymaker them.
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Xandikar the Sorcerer getting tired and running out of magic juice makes sense, Sir Celton Helmsplitter running out of trip juice, but still bring able to thwack goblins with a great sword is more puzzling.
    It's not as puzzling as you think. As an SCA fighter, I have some moves I can do only once per encounter, or once per day. The first two I could theoretically keep doing, but they depend on surprise, so it wouldn't work. [Under SCA rules, if you hit an opponent's leg or foot, he has to finish the fight sitting down or on his knees. So it is quite similar in effect to a trip action.]

    1. With a rapier, I and a few others have a pretty good toe shot. But since aiming at my opponent's toe takes my rapier away from defending my face or body, I can only try it once an encounter. If my opponent thinks I'm considering it, it becomes too dangerous.

    2. When fighting with rapier and cloak, I'll flick the cloak towards his face, while throwing a shot to the belly under it. The opponent will often not notice the thin blade underneath the large fluttering cloak. But once he has been shown that trick, it won't work. So I will only try it once in an encounter.

    These are like a fake punt in American football. It occasionally works, but only if the opposing team isn't expecting it. If you do it regularly, they stop working.

    Similarly, a trip move that my PC uses all the time would become expected, and would stop working.

    The next two are actually physical limitations.

    3. I will sometime make a very low lunge, with my rapier thrusting up to his belly. It's much harder to parry. My knees can't do that very often, though.

    4. Years ago, when I was rushed, I occasionally managed to fall backwards, roll backwards, and come up with a thrust. I could only do that once a day. [I can't do it at all now.]

    Could I try to do these more than once? Yes, but they would be slower and more awkward, and thus very likely to fail.

    ---

    I agree with your conclusion that varying offenses should require varying defenses. That would become an extremely complex game very quickly, and therefore useless as a game. As I learned in Simulations class, a simulation is supposed to be simpler than what you're simulating. The goal is to isolate the specific aspects we are interested in. That's why sports video games are always less complex than the actual sport. If we wanted to observe reality, we would observe reality.
    Last edited by Jay R; 2021-01-22 at 09:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    1. With a rapier, I and a few others have a pretty good toe shot. But since aiming at my opponent's toe takes my rapier away from defending my face or body, I can only try it once an encounter. If my opponent thinks I'm considering it, it becomes too dangerous.
    I've seen that in epee fencing. There were, rarely, a few people it would work against several times. Most fencers you could try it once. Some fencers, those who trained with someone who was good at that move, would just kick back the leading foot while extending the arm and bop then in the mask. I never got far into competitive but I always loved it when someone tried that move a second time. I probably only hit on the first try about... guess 1/3 of the time? But if they tried a second time I almost always hit.

    So the 1/fight stuff never matched my experience because it wasn't based on the opponent & opponent's experience or knowledge, but on an artificial "encounter" timer. Like the fencers who tried the wrist flicks. I was a skinny git who held the foil slightly differently, the wrist flicks didn't work well on me even if I didn't do anything. But there were fencers who would keep trying it even if I got three points off them while they kept doing it. I've always preferred the 'tricks' being an opposed skill test that just gets harder as the opponent becomes more aware of your style & moves.
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    I have a mental model of limited use martial tricks being a combination of something anyone can do at will + "extraordinary" special sauce that burns some kind of inner reserve.

    Anyone can try to trip someone of their own size as an attack (5e style). No resource cost other than actions spent. But only special person can trip a giant, or can trip a normal person as part of a regular attack. And doing so costs "stamina" or has a cool down or imposes a penalty or whatever. You're exceeding your normal limits for a moment, and that has a cost.
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    If you want a combat system that does rely on anticipating the enemy's moves and trying to exploit openings or seize the advantage, try Song of Swords or another of the spiritual successors to Riddle of Steel.
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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    I have a couple of suggestions inspired by the above. These aren't meant to go together -- they are alternatives.

    Consolation prize: one idea above was for the special move to occur when the attack is 1 to 3 points shy of hitting. In the same vein, I suggest the special move occurs alongside damage for confirmation-failing crit threats, or when an attack hits but the weapon damage die rolls a 1.

    The opening of the moment is not planned: the move you make is based on the opening the opponent leaves. Attackers attack as normal. Defenders roll 2d6 (better for the defender to roll these 2d6 to avoid the attacker accidently including the d6's in their damage calculation). When those d6's match, an extra move happens. Moves are assigned to the numbers, so the roll already determines which move occurs: trip, trap weapon (move action to untrap, full attack is spoiled), pushback, disarmed, dazzled/sickened (by gut punch or thrown sand/other), and one more (?). Or, instead of one more, when the match is 1, the move applies to both combatants. Reroll a d6 to see if the trip was more of a tackle, if the two weapons caught on each other, if the spray of sand/other dazzled both, etc.

    The extra move can occur both with attack roll misses with no damage, and attack roll hits with damage.

    If you come up with more extra moves, just use a higher die, but matches will be less common. Or make a robust list and then let each player choose their character's 6. With especially trip-oriented weapons or builds, let the player assign 'trip' to more than one number outcome, or even let 5's pair with 6's.

    The odds of matching can be upped when you roll 3+d6 and any two matching activates the move.

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    In D&D 5e, most martial characters eventually get multiple attacks per turn, and can replace an attack with a grapple, shove, trip, etc. It's often worthwhile because it can make your other attacks better, as well as having rider effects like stopping them from moving or making it harder for them to attack you when you run away from them.

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    Default Re: Game theory: Make Crappy actions Minor Actions?

    Rune and Steel, which is in its kickstarter, is supposed to have combat based on HEMA experience -- but as it's in kickstarter I haven't had a chance to see any of the details.

    Its possible that they handle things like shoves and trips more fluidly than other systems, we'll have to see.
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