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Thread: Stunting

  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Stunts to me feels like summon animations in final fantasy games, cool to watch the first couple of times, and furiously mashing skip afterward.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I tried to implement this in my Heart of Darkness system fairly simply; you narrate the stunt, you make an agility test, and if you pass, you get +2 on your attack, if you fail you get -2.

    However, one of my players, Bob the munchkin, soon realized that if he was playing a character with a high agility, it was mathematically optimal to do this every turn. However, being the min-maxxer he is, he refused to actually narrate the stunts, and just said he was doing a stunt and that it was unfair to ask anything else.
    Possibly the issue is that it's too mechanical and too optimizable. In Toon there's rule that's roughly equivalent to stunting rules wherein an action automatically succeeds if it would be funny. Equivalently you could base the success of the stunts in you game entirely on if they're sufficiently unexpected and cool rather than tying them to agility*

    Having it non-crunchy like this likely has its own issues, but it's a possibility to consider


    *(plus there's a lot of potential stunts that might not be agility based; anything involving dramatically kicking down the door or busting through something is probably strength based, goading someone into attacking you in a specific way that leaves them open to being dodged and counterattacked in the manner of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies where he plans the fight out beforehand would be mental abilities, a person who's been run through with a long spear adva cing down the length of the spear to get to their attacker would tie to your system's toughness score, etc)
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Several months ago, in a thread about your pseudo-abstract wealth system, I wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    You have invented a new sub-game in your system. Since it's new and unusual, it needs to be tested. And the measure of the sub-game is players' enjoyment.

    Are your players invested in this new sub-game such that it is increasing their enjoyment of the game?

    If so, keep using it, and accept that sometimes people don't like what happens.

    If not, the problem isn't the players' attitude. It's a sub-game that they don't want to play and won't invest any resources into trying to win.

    There's no point running a system for your players that your players don't want to play.
    This is still true, and applies equally to your stunting rules. Narrating the stunt is a subgame that the players don't want to play.

    Lots of us like writing new rules -- you, me, and many others. We need to test these rules by whether they improve the game for the players. This rule does not seem to improve the game for your current players.

    I also wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    You don't have to deal with how you think hypothetical "normal" people should react; you have to deal with how your actual players react, even if it's weird.
    It doesn't matter how other people might react to it. This rule is not adding to the enjoyment of Bob and the new rogue. I suggest you drop it.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    I feel the basic idea is good but could do with refinement.

    The description part can cause problems as seen, the player flipping of a wall every turn will require spiderman levels of dexterity to use in combat even if the walls are close enough togrther to make it work.

    Narration of players' action especially in combat should always be just something to add flavour and excitement not actual bonuses as it can't be applied equally to every player as Bob shows he doesn't have the skill or the will to do it.

    Have the player declare that they want to stunt but there would be two levels

    Basic stunt that only gives a +1 bonus which can be declared and carried in a single round and can't be repeated the following round unless you roll a maximum, natural 20 etc.

    Advanced student which give a +2 bonus, in which you declare the round which basically involves you maneuvering into position to carry out the stunt and performing the next round. There could be an extra bonus if you forego attacks in the maneuvering round. Again the stunt can't be repeated unless a second agility is taken.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    If your system wants stunts, superhuman feats of agility/athleticism are part of what you're going for.

    If Tal did want to make a stunting system work, I'd be tempted to lean into that. Give people the ability to do whatever his system's equivalent of taking 15 in D&D would be, give them a certain level of damage resistance while making the move, and promise not to cause the stunt to set them back any more than a more cautious action would. (E.G: If they jump across tall buildings they might catch the far edge by their fingertips or land on a fire escape instead of plummeting to the street below, if they leave a calling card while performing sabotage they won't be spotted or have it lead right back to them, etc.) You won't get Bob to narrate his attacks, but at least players can feel more comfortable with narrative athleticism and might be more inclined to lean into it.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    The "real world charisma' Question is an old one. The general opinion I subscribe to is that you don't necessarily need to be eloquent (Your character's charisma can handle that), but you do need to explain what argument you are making, you can't just go up and say "I Charisma to make them do what I want". But that's more about clarity for setting DC's and resolving that test than about testing the player's real-world diplomatic ability.


    With Stunting, it seems the explicit goal IS to encourage players to be fun and creative with their descriptions.
    You don't need to wax eloquent with your actual speech to get even a 2-die stunt in diplomacy. (Borrowing Exalted terms, here, but please understand this can apply to any system with a similar "rewards for grounding your actions in the game world" mechanic.) The way, for example, D&D 5e spells out its social interaction rules all but requires 2-die stunts to work properly, because to manipulate, cajole, or convince an NPC, you need to be playing off of his Ideal, Bond, or Flaw, or otherwise something that is important to him. The NPC and, in particular, his motivations and drives are part of "the scenery."

    "So, the urchin, he's looking for medicine to help his sick big sister, right?" the player might say, confirming some background info. "Okay, I tell him about the garden that the witch has, full of medicinal herbs, and that I just need him to help me steal her key the next time she's out and about and I can pull off this heist I have planned, and I can add 'get herbs to cure big sis' to my to-do list while I'm in there." That would be a two-die stunt in Exalted, and would play off of the urchin's bond in 5e, and would be grounds to roll some sort of social check (in 5e, Charisma(Persuasion) or (Deception), probably). It earns a 2-die stunt in Exalted because it's acknowledging the urchin's Intimacies and the fluff about what drives him, and is using that to leverage it rather than just being "I'm so persuasive that the urchin can't help but want to do me a favor." Again, 2-die stunts in Exalted are not meant to be hard to get, just require some investment in the ongoing narrative sufficient to figure out how to play your actions into that narrative rather than just "roll some dice at the problem."

    Alternatively, "The urchin obviously cares about his sister more than himself, given the risks he's taking. I threaten to put his sister out of her misery, myself, if he doesn't stop wheedling and steal that key for me." That'd be a 2-die stunt for Intimidate, vs. the one-die stunt of, "I threaten the urchin with violence if he doesn't do what I want," or the 0-die stunt of "I use Intimidate to make him pick the witch's pocket."

    Note how none of these actually requires any speechifying from the player. Each of the example "2-die stunts" describes an approach that uses a lever that is part of the setting - in this case, the urchin's bond to his sister and/or the fact that his sister is sick and he wants to help her. But the dice roll actually handles the question of whether the speech is eloquent, persuasive, or what-have-you. The actual words are not what's being asked for.

    Of course, a well-chosen line or few can ALSO be a stunt! But it it isn't required.

    Heck, even "backflipping off the wall to attack him!" is missing the point, and probably only a 1-die stunt if repeated too much. Why is that a useful tactic the thirteenth time it come up? D&D 5e - and, from what I understand of it, 4e - had a number of mechanics that involved maneuvering enemies across the battlefield, and often did things like extra damage if they were slammed into walls rather than being able to complete movement. The efforts to manipulate the enemy into position so that the terrain does damage to them would actually qualify as 2-die stunts in Exalted (which uses Theater of the Mind by default and has no suggestions for supporting map-based nor minis-based combat). So, for Bob, if he's describing tactical plays that take advantage of the environment as part of his min/maxing, use the stunt system to reward him for it in lieu of making up extra mechanics, perhaps. Or tell him it qualifies as a stunt and he can give up the normal stunt reward for something appropriate that you adjudicate on the spot. But emphasize that his choice to use the environment as part of his tactical attack is qualifying as a stunt.

    Ideally, in my opinion, you want players engaging with combat as if the environment were actually a factor in it. They don't need to describe something flashy to do that; they just need to have the environment as part of their idea of what constitutes good tactics and be actively using it. Pulling tapestries down to provide a visual distraction so they can hide, darting in and out of the foliage to strike from unexpected angles and not be where the enemy thought they were, backing up the stairs as they fight in order to maintain the high ground, specifically lunging at the legs of the opponent ON the high ground to try to get him to trip and fall down or force him to dance a bit while you maneuver into a better position, even kicking dust into someone's face to fluff your Disengage action (in 5e)... all of those are 2-die stunts. None of them require flowery or "epic" descriptions. The point is simply to reward/encourage use of the environment as part of the fight. To ground your actions in the setting.

    Heck, if they're fighting a pirate with an eye patch and a peg leg, trying to come at him from his blind side would be a 2-die stunt, at least once! And any new effort to get to his blind side would probably be at least one-die, while using any aspect of the environment (including his peg leg or somesuch) to enable getting to his blind side would be another 2-die stunt. (And note, "at least" once. It might work several times, as long as it's not becoming rote and it's clear he's still taking the environment into account.)

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The former was my intent, the latter is how my players interpreted what I was saying.
    Obviously, this calls for clarifying text added to the rule to remove the confusion/misinterpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
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    If I were running a game with this rule, I would have no problem with somebody using the same stunt each time -- but that stunt would need to be justified each round, just like a Rogue using Sneak Attack needs a flanker each round.

    I can see somebody swinging from side to side of the room on a chandelier, stabbing somebody on each side. [In fact, I think I've seen this movie.] But swinging on a chandelier implies movement. You cannot swing while staying engaged, and you can't "swing" for 0 feet of movement, to your current location.

    Every example in the rule implies movement --
    • Swinging on chandeliers,
    • darting across tabletops,
    • running along walls,
    • backflipping over opponents, and
    • leaping from enemy to enemy using their heads like stepping stones.


    I would not allow you to stay engaged with an enemy and use it with that enemy. This is a "leaping attack" after all.

    Furthermore, you cannot use the chandelier, tabletop, wall, or heads without identifying the chandelier, tabletop, wall, or heads.

    Sure -- keep running across the tabletop. In my game last weekend, during a melee in a conference room, a healer stayed under the table, reaching out for the leg of the person she was healing. The table was just as much cover the last time as the first. But she had to identify the table, and state how she was using it, just as much as the Rogue had to identify the weapon he was using, the enemy he was attacking, and why that enemy was vulnerable to a sneak attack. He couldn't even use his Weapon Finesse feat without telling me the weapon was a rapier.

    You need to make clear that identifying the maneuver, and why it is effective in this situation this round is a necessary requirement for using the Leaping Attack maneuver, just as identifying that the opponent is flanked or flat-footed is a requirement to use Sneak Attack. Special situation abilities require the player to show that this moment is the special situation.

    The new player flips off the wall each time? Fine. But leaving engagement to do that will allow an attack of opportunity on him each time if he moves far enough, and if he doesn't, he gets no advantage for a "leaping attack" that does not include movement.

    If the rogue is engaged with an unflanked enemy, he can no longer Sneak Attack. For the same reason, if he stays engaged with an enemy focused on him, he cannot leap into the attack.


    Actually, I would seriously consider renaming the maneuver "Leaping Engagement", and specify that it cannot be used against an enemy that you are already engaged with.
    That last line is key, here. The rule is not working as intended, and so must be re-written to clarify intent and use. The bit about opportunity attacks if you run away from your opponent to bounce off the wall should also apply.

    If someone just said "I do a backflip and attack at +2" round after round, the third flip would be interrupted with a well-timed strike, sending the character prone to the ground in an awkward heap. Possibly preceded by an "Are you sure you want to repeat the very same trick move on your opponent that he's seen you use twice already? Just so you know, he is unlikely to fall for it this time." (Note that reasons for asking are given here, not just the uninformative "Are you sure?"). Look what happened when someone tried it on Roy.

    Also, see Segev's reply above. Lots of great stuff.

    I especially like the bit about specifying exactly how they are interacting with the environment and how it is effective to get the bonus.
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2023-08-21 at 12:26 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Obviously, this calls for clarifying text added to the rule to remove the confusion/misinterpretation.
    I once took a communications class in college (I take a lot of just random stuff for fun). One of the key take aways from it (one of the few things I remember, in fact) is that when there is a miscommunication between source and reciever, regardless of where the fault lies, it's always the responsiblity of the sender to fix the problem. The assumption is that the sender wants to send the message to the reciever, so the burden falls there.

    Which is really important when considering rules clarification. No matter how clearly you think you wrote something, if the people reading it are misunderstanding your intent, no matter how much they may be complete idiots, it's still on you to write it in a way that it will be correctly understood. Again, the assumption is that you are writing the rules so that the people reading it will all understand and follow those rules. If that's not happening, the rules need to be rewritten (or you just abandon the attempt to comunicate).

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by gbaji View Post
    I once took a communications class in college (I take a lot of just random stuff for fun). One of the key take aways from it (one of the few things I remember, in fact) is that when there is a miscommunication between source and reciever, regardless of where the fault lies, it's always the responsiblity of the sender to fix the problem. The assumption is that the sender wants to send the message to the reciever, so the burden falls there.

    Which is really important when considering rules clarification. No matter how clearly you think you wrote something, if the people reading it are misunderstanding your intent, no matter how much they may be complete idiots, it's still on you to write it in a way that it will be correctly understood. Again, the assumption is that you are writing the rules so that the people reading it will all understand and follow those rules. If that's not happening, the rules need to be rewritten (or you just abandon the attempt to comunicate).
    Which runs directly contrary to the first thing they teach you in law school which is that it is impossible to write something which cannot be misinterpreted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Which runs directly contrary to the first thing they teach you in law school which is that it is impossible to write something which cannot be misinterpreted.
    That doesn't mean one shouldn't try, particularly when an actual misinterpretation has occurred and can be fixed.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
    That doesn't mean one shouldn't try, particularly when an actual misinterpretation has occurred and can be fixed.
    Of course not.

    But in this case, I really don't think repeating the same stunt over and over again and then claiming that it isn't technically against the rules is a particularly good faith argument.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2023-08-22 at 06:28 PM.
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    I agree. However a rules update that makes it so seems more likely to succeed than any attempt to make your group reconsider their arguments.

    It could also be argued that any action you don't want to occur that isn't technically against the rules is a loophole. Playtesting will expose loopholes and I assume you want to close them.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Of course not.

    But in this case, I really don't think repeating the same stunt over and over again and then claiming that it isn't technically against the rules is a particularly good faith argument.
    Normally? Perhaps not. For a tester? Give Bob a raise.

    Bob is (arguably) doing his job as a tester, showing you areas where your system can be improved. Granted, he is, if we take your reports at face value, doing so in a somewhat suboptimal way. Still, you should remember that Bob isn't just a player, he's a play tester. And that makes a big difference in how you should interpret his feedback in that regard.

    Still, I suspect Bob is as unsuited (if differently unsuited) to a Stunting system as I am.

    Personally? I think the value of "Stunting" should be "Spotlight time", not "mechanics" - and that each player should have a finite (and roughly equal) budget of "spotlight time" to spend / gain.

    However

    The big benefit of stunting done right is in my patented Session Recap (where spotlight budget doesn't apply - you get as much recap spotlight as you've earned), where other players point out what they found cool during the session. Bob's constant "I flip off the walls"? Not cool, nobody will ever mention it. Me as GM finally saying, "The wall flips you off right back, and reveals itself to be an Earth Elemental"? Priceless. I haven't had a group yet that wouldn't have mentioned that (and/or comments about its ire at the dusty footprint on its forehead) in the session recap.

    The easiest and most effective way to teach players to give the game character isn't IMO a stunting system, it's to give your game character, and to set aside a time to have the players talk about what they enjoyed.

    Although Bizarro World may be too many decades into the negative of remembering and dredging up all the bad times to really benefit from that.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2023-08-22 at 08:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
    I agree. However a rules update that makes it so seems more likely to succeed than any attempt to make your group reconsider their arguments.

    It could also be argued that any action you don't want to occur that isn't technically against the rules is a loophole. Playtesting will expose loopholes and I assume you want to close them.
    As I think I said upthread, you got to draw the line somewhere. I don't think I need to put down that you can't use loaded dice or read the DM's notes while he is in the bathroom.
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Of course not.

    But in this case, I really don't think repeating the same stunt over and over again and then claiming that it isn't technically against the rules is a particularly good faith argument.
    Well ... IDK. Once you clarified it, that's true, but from just reading the rule alone? The "you need to do something novel" aspect didn't really jump out at me.

    And I think that's maybe because of the skill roll? The presence of that roll makes it look like a straightforward mechanical trade-off - get a bonus if you make this secondary roll, but a penalty if you fail it. Doesn't seem like it inherently requires description any more than, say, Power Attack does.


    I also think that if your intent is that it only happens once or twice during a battle, that should be an explicit written limit, rather than a "gentlemen's agreement" (which never seem to work out well for your group). My impression is that your players (Bob at least) have negative interest in "self regulating" - they want to push as hard for total victory as they can, and have the system provide the appropriate amount of resistance.

    And I get that, because sometimes I'm in that mood too. I want to make choices purely from an IC perspective, and my character (usually) doesn't want a thrilling struggle leading to victory by a narrow margin, maybe after some narratively-appropriate setbacks ... he wants to win as easily and quickly as possible, with as little cost as possible. As a player I don't necessarily want a cakewalk, but I don't want to be making it harder myself, I want the GM/system providing the resistance.

    Which is more work for the GM, so I don't demand it. But when that's how they run anyway, all the better. It's how I try to run myself.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2023-08-23 at 02:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    I also think that if your intent is that it only happens once or twice during a battle, that should be an explicit written limit, rather than a "gentlemen's agreement" (which never seem to work out well for your group). My impression is that your players (Bob at least) have negative interest in "self regulating" - they want to push as hard for total victory as they can, and have the system provide the appropriate amount of resistance.
    The intent behind stunting systems is for players to give cool descriptions every turn instead of utilitarian attack/damage rolls. That seems to be what Tal is going for. His group apparently wants different things. And frankly, there comes a point when you have to realize that players can only be incentivized so far and you'll either have to work with the group you have or look for new ones who you hope are more to your liking.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    The intent behind stunting systems is for players to give cool descriptions every turn instead of utilitarian attack/damage rolls. That seems to be what Tal is going for. His group apparently wants different things. And frankly, there comes a point when you have to realize that players can only be incentivized so far and you'll either have to work with the group you have or look for new ones who you hope are more to your liking.
    It really isn't.

    And I think that is the disconnect, people who like stunting systems want cool descriptions every turn, and think their purpose is to entertain the rest of the group with vivid prose.

    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    And I think that is the disconnect, people who like stunting systems want cool descriptions every turn, and think their purpose is to entertain the rest of the group with vivid prose.

    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
    Stunting is primarily about cool descriptions and panache. Rewarding cool ideas is best done through generous benefits from improvised action rules. Improvised actions should take the place of an attack/action, but should generally have enough upsides (positional, status, and/or raw damage) to make them worth doing. Just be aware that finding a good balance point for improvised actions will take lots of playtesting and regular revision throughout the process.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    It really isn't.

    And I think that is the disconnect, people who like stunting systems want cool descriptions every turn, and think their purpose is to entertain the rest of the group with vivid prose.

    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
    Then, again, you need to rewrite it so it says that, because one thing your current description doesn't come anywhere close to saying is "you should only expect this to happen occasionally."

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    It really isn't.

    And I think that is the disconnect, people who like stunting systems want cool descriptions every turn, and think their purpose is to entertain the rest of the group with vivid prose.

    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
    You need to communicate your intent to the players. Simply and clearly. Not just the rules. "I want to reward creative thinking and awareness of the environment I'm describing. If you come up with a plan that expands that scene in a meaningful and original way then, if I deem it appropriate, may give a small circumstance bonus to the roll. You won't always get it, but I want to encourage thinking outside the box".

    But I will say.... do you not do that anyway? Like, if my players have a really good idea and it seems reasonable I just give them a bonus to the roll. I've never written it in my house rules or anything. It's just rewarding desired behaviour.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
    Is there a particular reason you're against rewriting this rule to clarify it?

    You've come here to us in the Playground asking for our help. I think everyone here has recommended a re-write of Stunting to clarify how you want it to work. "Bob" has told you his actions aren't technically against this rule, and you agree. But the rule is not being used as you want it to be used.

    So what is keeping you from fixing the rule?

    Did you want us to agree with you that Bob's misusing the rule? I think we all do. Which is great. You're now living in the village of "I Was Right All Along!" How's that working out for you? Has it improved your gaming sessions? If you want to get to the village of "My Stunting Rule Is Working As Intended," though you're going to need to amend the rule so that it prohibits the behavior you don't want and clarifies the kind of behavior you do want.

    None of us here can do that for you. Only you can do that. And until you do, you will never make it to "My Stunting Rule Is Working As Intended."

    If you are going to change the rule, you should probably mention it at the end of your next session. "Before you all leave, I have an announcement. As I'm sure you know, the Stunting rule is not being used the way I intended it to be used. To attempt to fix this, I am changing it thusly:"
    <insert description of amended rule>
    "If this change makes you no longer want to play a Swashbuckler, that's fine. You can bring a different character to the next session."
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2023-08-23 at 08:24 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    The intent behind stunting systems is for players to give cool descriptions every turn instead of utilitarian attack/damage rolls.
    I have to disagree with this. In my view the purpose behind stunting systems is to incentivise the pcs doing more than just sitting in one spot and trading punches. Many fantasy games don't inherently do anything to make combats anything more than just standing around trading attacks until one side falls down (notable exceptions like ad&d with morale and as always the gm can fix with enough experience + creativity). A game giving a mechanical bonus for exceeding the absolute minimum of "move & roll generic attacks" is trying to reward creativity, roleplay, and treating the game world as more than a static background painting.

    The 'cool descriptions' thing is a bonus and may be part of how a stunt system is presented, but its not the goal or reason to have a stunt system.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    It really isn't.

    And I think that is the disconnect, people who like stunting systems want cool descriptions every turn, and think their purpose is to entertain the rest of the group with vivid prose.

    I am using it as a way to occasionally give a small bonus for coming up with a cool idea.
    Whenever a character makes an attack, they may decide to utilize one
    or more of the following combat maneuvers.
    As most maneuvers modify the accuracy of the attack, they must be
    declared before rolling to hit, although players may wish to establish a
    default routine with the Gamekeeper in case they forget to call it out.
    A character may apply any number of maneuvers to a given attack
    with cumulative accuracy modifiers. The same maneuver cannot be
    applied to the same attack multiple times unless otherwise specified.
    Most maneuvers can be performed alongside any form of attack,
    although some require the right conditions or certain weapon types.
    Unarmed strikes and talons are considered to be weapons for the
    purposes of maneuvers.
    The martial technique merit can be used to enhance the effects of
    various maneuvers, as described below.
    I think part of the problem you are encountering here is that you don't actually have a 'Stunt' system or rule - you have a Combat Maneuver. Combat Maneuvers are apparently just supposed to be Things You Can Do, and if you're good enough to pay off the accuracy penalties for most of them and still hit you can do them repeatedly and reliably. Leaping Assault, as you have explained it, is something you don't actually intend to work like every other Combat Maneuver - you want it to have usage requirements that you have not actually put in your rules text (you would likely be having a similar thread about Cheap Shot if you had not already marked that one with 'this will only work once per combat', for the same reason - it's an easy Accuracy bonus that you can just declare you are using.) ... basically your game system is in fact telling Bob that Leaping Assault should work the way he wants to use it. It's a Combat Maneuver, he built a character that can reliably meet the mechanical requirements to use it, he should get to use it.

    So 'fixing' your issue either requires adding text to Leaping Assault to actually make it have the restrictions and use-case that you want, or possibly removing it as a Combat Maneuver and making it part of a larger and more formalized Stunting or improvised action rule, where the current Leaping Assault would just be an example of 'things you can do that will earn you a one-off bonus on the action.'
    Last edited by tyckspoon; 2023-08-23 at 11:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Stunting

    And I guess the other question to ask here: Is the game system itself somewhat "balanced" around the assumption that PCs are going to be using these combat manuevers as part of their normal combat actions?

    This comes back to something I pointed out earlier. If these moves are part of the normal game system (written in the rules, with listed plusses and minuses, difficulty to do, etc), then they aren't really "stunts". They're just part of the normal rules. You have to somewhat expect that the players are going to use them exactly as often as the game conditions allow. If my game rules allow for the same odds of attack if I use weaponA, which does X damage and weaponB, which does X+Y damage (for asssumed positive values of Y), and I don't actually provide any real, in game, mechanical reason not to use weaponB instead of weaponA, I can't then be confused or bothered if my players always use weaponB instead of weaponA. "I'm going to use <less effective weapon/skill/whatever> because I feel like I've used the <more effective version> enough so far this battle", is not a statement I've ever heard a player utter. Not without some tangible reason/benefit for the decision (I play in a skill based game, so it's totally possible for folks to choose to use a less effective weapon in a battle they are winning, just to get a skill check with it, for example).

    But yeah. If there's no reason for Bob not to use this ability every round, he's going to use it every round. Why think otherwise? Worse, if the encounters Bob and the party face are even somewhat balanced with the idea that these abilities exist and can be used, then he's going to feel that if he doesn't do so, he's letting his team down or something (or is personally gimped maybe).

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Is there a particular reason you're against rewriting this rule to clarify it?

    You've come here to us in the Playground asking for our help. I think everyone here has recommended a re-write of Stunting to clarify how you want it to work. "Bob" has told you his actions aren't technically against this rule, and you agree. But the rule is not being used as you want it to be used.

    So what is keeping you from fixing the rule?

    Did you want us to agree with you that Bob's misusing the rule? I think we all do. Which is great. You're now living in the village of "I Was Right All Along!" How's that working out for you? Has it improved your gaming sessions? If you want to get to the village of "My Stunting Rule Is Working As Intended," though you're going to need to amend the rule so that it prohibits the behavior you don't want and clarifies the kind of behavior you do want.

    None of us here can do that for you. Only you can do that. And until you do, you will never make it to "My Stunting Rule Is Working As Intended."

    If you are going to change the rule, you should probably mention it at the end of your next session. "Before you all leave, I have an announcement. As I'm sure you know, the Stunting rule is not being used the way I intended it to be used. To attempt to fix this, I am changing it thusly:"
    <insert description of amended rule>
    "If this change makes you no longer want to play a Swashbuckler, that's fine. You can bring a different character to the next session."
    I already rewrote the rule and removed any reference to narration.

    However, now I think the maneuver is OP if you can just spam it every round, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense for what it represents in the fiction, so I am probably going to have to think of a way to nerf it in the future.

    I guess the only think that rankles me is Bob acting like the victim and saying I cheated him because I told him that repeating the same description because it is against the spirit of the rules even if it doesn't violate the letter of the rules; and I find an idea that the rule book needs tons of extra text attempting the (imo impossible) task of codifying every possible case where an activity could violate the spirit of the rules without technically violating the letter.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    I think part of the problem you are encountering here is that you don't actually have a 'Stunt' system or rule - you have a Combat Maneuver. Combat Maneuvers are apparently just supposed to be Things You Can Do, and if you're good enough to pay off the accuracy penalties for most of them and still hit you can do them repeatedly and reliably. Leaping Assault, as you have explained it, is something you don't actually intend to work like every other Combat Maneuver - you want it to have usage requirements that you have not actually put in your rules text (you would likely be having a similar thread about Cheap Shot if you had not already marked that one with 'this will only work once per combat', for the same reason - it's an easy Accuracy bonus that you can just declare you are using.) ... basically your game system is in fact telling Bob that Leaping Assault should work the way he wants to use it. It's a Combat Maneuver, he built a character that can reliably meet the mechanical requirements to use it, he should get to use it.

    So 'fixing' your issue either requires adding text to Leaping Assault to actually make it have the restrictions and use-case that you want, or possibly removing it as a Combat Maneuver and making it part of a larger and more formalized Stunting or improvised action rule, where the current Leaping Assault would just be an example of 'things you can do that will earn you a one-off bonus on the action.'
    Most of the maneuvers that give a bonus to accuracy are conditional; aim can't be used if you moved, ambush can't be used if you are observed, cheap-shot can only be used once per fight, etc.

    The idea was that this move was conditional in that you could only use it when there was some acrobatic stunt that you could pull off using the environment. But I guess this is to "fluffy" to work when put up against a min-maxxer.

    Quote Originally Posted by gbaji View Post
    And I guess the other question to ask here: Is the game system itself somewhat "balanced" around the assumption that PCs are going to be using these combat manuevers as part of their normal combat actions?

    This comes back to something I pointed out earlier. If these moves are part of the normal game system (written in the rules, with listed plusses and minuses, difficulty to do, etc), then they aren't really "stunts". They're just part of the normal rules. You have to somewhat expect that the players are going to use them exactly as often as the game conditions allow. If my game rules allow for the same odds of attack if I use weaponA, which does X damage and weaponB, which does X+Y damage (for asssumed positive values of Y), and I don't actually provide any real, in game, mechanical reason not to use weaponB instead of weaponA, I can't then be confused or bothered if my players always use weaponB instead of weaponA. "I'm going to use <less effective weapon/skill/whatever> because I feel like I've used the <more effective version> enough so far this battle", is not a statement I've ever heard a player utter. Not without some tangible reason/benefit for the decision (I play in a skill based game, so it's totally possible for folks to choose to use a less effective weapon in a battle they are winning, just to get a skill check with it, for example).

    But yeah. If there's no reason for Bob not to use this ability every round, he's going to use it every round. Why think otherwise? Worse, if the encounters Bob and the party face are even somewhat balanced with the idea that these abilities exist and can be used, then he's going to feel that if he doesn't do so, he's letting his team down or something (or is personally gimped maybe).
    No, the game isn't balanced around its use.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2023-08-23 at 09:49 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I already rewrote the rule and removed any reference to narration.

    However, now I think the maneuver is OP if you can just spam it every round, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense for what it represents in the fiction, so I am probably going to have to think of a way to nerf it in the future.
    Again--why did you change the part you didn't want to change and not change the part you do want to change? What exactly is stopping you from codifying "this only works when you see a special opportunity, and shouldn't come up more than once in multiple combats"?
    I guess the only think that rankles me is Bob acting like the victim and saying I cheated him because I told him that repeating the same description because it is against the spirit of the rules even if it doesn't violate the letter of the rules; and I find an idea that the rule book needs tons of extra text attempting the (imo impossible) task of codifying every possible case where an activity could violate the spirit of the rules without technically violating the letter.
    As far as I can tell, what you're saying is that you're so offended by the idea that anyone could not read what was clearly written on the lines between the ones that had the actual text, that it would be letting Bob win to actually write the rules he should have known were there.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Again--why did you change the part you didn't want to change and not change the part you do want to change? What exactly is stopping you from codifying "this only works when you see a special opportunity, and shouldn't come up more than once in multiple combats"?
    Because the general consensus on this thread seems to be that stunting rules ARE about regailing your fellow players with entertaining speeches, and that such systems will never survive contact with a min-maxxer who isn't into that sort of play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    As far as I can tell, what you're saying is that you're so offended by the idea that anyone could not read what was clearly written on the lines between the ones that had the actual text, that it would be letting Bob win to actually write the rules he should have known were there.
    I am saying I am not going to write a giant unwieldy tome that tries to codify the spirit of the rules, and it is annoying that people would expect me to do so, either on the forums or at my table, or think that it is somehow cheating for the GM to ask the players to adhere to the spirit of the rules when the letter in silent.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Stunting

    This story reminds me of something my GM warned me about when he first started playing Rifts. One player in his group tended to abuse the "10xp for every completed skill check in a session" rule. every round of every combat he would use backflips to move around with the acrobatics skill. and check off each successful backflip for the 10xp. The gm quickly implemented a rule that the skill check has to accomplish something.


    This is the same truth that can be applied to stunting to avoid that minmaxing. The stunt still has to reasonably help with the action you are trying to perform. Like Sonic the Hedgehog grinding down a banister to kick somebody in the face is a situational circumstance where the acrobatics would reasonably improve your outcome over simply running down the stairs and hitting your target (By increasing your speed and not losing momentum). Whereas kick flipping off the wall doesn't actually help you hit anyone with a sword and in fact may make things worse (Turning your back to your opponent, going off guard, leaving yourself wide open, etc)


    You can have stunting rules in the game, and it's a great shorthand for the cumulative bonuses and penalties for doing specific stunts like in the interlock system. However I highly recommend adding examples of objective measures of what does and does not qualify as a stunt.

    Another thing to remind your GMs is to make environments for scenes that enable stunts. Have fights on top of moving stage coaches or opulent ballrooms with guests, dancers, staff, bands and waiters. have changes in elivation, cover, tables, stairs. Don't always leave it up to your players to ask if there is a chandelier that they can swing from. Build your encounters like you're directing for Errol Flynn.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; 2023-08-24 at 07:46 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Because the general consensus on this thread seems to be that stunting rules ARE about regailing your fellow players with entertaining speeches, and that such systems will never survive contact with a min-maxxer who isn't into that sort of play.
    True.

    But if you can't make the rule do what you want, there is no reason to keep the rule. It is not as if a system becomes better just by having more rules.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: Stunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Because the general consensus on this thread seems to be that stunting rules ARE about regailing your fellow players with entertaining speeches, and that such systems will never survive contact with a min-maxxer who isn't into that sort of play.
    You don't have a stunting system, man. You have a single combat maneuver. I suggested a way you could rewrite it to actually make the rules for that combat maneuver, not just your posts here complaining about your players' use of that combat maneuver, say what you want which would have taken two sentences, not a "giant unwieldy tome."
    I am saying I am not going to write a giant unwieldy tome that tries to codify the spirit of the rules, and it is annoying that people would expect me to do so, either on the forums or at my table, or think that it is somehow cheating for the GM to ask the players to adhere to the spirit of the rules when the letter in silent.
    Out of sheer curiosity, is there some number of people who could say "those rules which you wrote don't say, in letter or in spirit, that you can't use this maneuver every round" which would make you consider the possibility that you're wrong here?

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