Thursday, March 17, 2011

1 REA Attacks

I'm  doing some testing of knock-back attacks (which I'll post on later) and still playing around with the DP, ADP, and Power Field costs as per the last post).

Thomas pointed out another change which I'll address:

If the (Current) Book Says A Skill (or Power) Gives a 0 REA Strike It's 1 REA
Some attacks like Knife Fighter give "0 REA Attacks" along with a regular 5 REA attack. After some playtest and consideration we changed that to simply a 1 REA Attack (with or without another strike). How come? Well, a couple of reasons:

  1. The "Along With Another Strike" was meant to stop things like someone spending all their REA to move and do other things and then always taking a "free strike." We wanted even a free strike to be some kind of meaningful choice. For example, we didn't want strikes happening when a character's REA was used to play "full defense." However:
  2. The requirement of a 5 REA attack was limiting in some ways we didn't like. It restricted move-and-strike combinations that made combat more static (one of the big changes from JAGS 1.0 to JAGS Revised was stuff to make combat more dynamic--such as increasing Step and Run rates and moving to 6 second Rounds instead of 1 second Rounds). It also, we felt, interfered with the "REA Economy" of the game. If you made the strike cost 1 REA then having 1 (or 2) REA 'left over' after you did your thing was suddenly valuable: Hey--I could get a 1 REA Strike and do something with that!
What Else? Shield Skill
We think Shield Skill doesn't do anything good. Yes: you get a better block--but at the expense of  having to buy two Combat Skills--which isn't a good way to spend your points most of the time. Also: really, really high blocks are bad for the game in some ways (they require things like many-on-one and the use of the Feint rules to get around). So if "Shield Skill" gives you an "unbeatable block." which is what it kinda has to do to be worth dividing your Character Points between two combat skills, then it's just not good for the game.

We think having a shield is a valid choice in Fantasy combat: it should give you a better AGI Bonus (replacing, not adding to yours) and +1 to Blocks (at the cost of not having a 2-handed weapon). We've done a little modeling and might do some more to iron that out further--to make sure it's a good choice but not a stellar one.

However: we're considering a few things:
  • CP or AP moves that give 1 REA Blocks with a shield
  • A shield-bash maneuver that has some utility under some conditions (such as, for example, immediately after your primary meele weapon is blocked). Although we think anyone with combat skills could perform this.
  • It can also block slow incoming missiles (arrows, thrown objects)--and block anything at "Level 4"--so there might be room for a shield skill in some circumstances (playing Captain America, for example). But right now it's looking like it might be special moves for CP rather than a whole skill.
Tangle Attacks
Our thinking right now is that Tangle Attacks (lassos, whips, glue-guns, etc.) don't ever completely shut you down--they just stack up -DM's until you're noneffective unless you break out. This means that someone using tangle attacks on you costs you REA in exchange for theirs--but usually tangle attacks don't end the fight unless they are just utterly overwhelming (Spiderman's webbing vs. regular crooks).

Surprise Rules
There are several forms of "combat advantage" and Surprise you can get. These deserve a whole 'nother section but we find there's room for diversity in things like:
  • You get a single free attack but then Initiative is rolled normally (the "I have a gun pointed at his head" scenario)
  • Your side wins Initiative or at least has a big bonus for one roll (military ambush where something gives it away but only barely)
  • You (and maybe your side) get a free full Round of action then go to Initiative (complete surprise military ambush)
  • Etc.
Some rules around that will help give flavor to "positions of advantage."

Knock-back is kind of a weird thing in JAGS. After some discussion we decided we didn't want it to do extra damage like it did in Champions (however 'realistic or not' that was). And being knocked back (and knocked down) was bad enough. We also wanted super-hero-y attacks to deal knock-back sometimes so we decided on a "hit by 4+" and we rules that "if the player declared a set of strikes before resolving each one then the Knock-back would be handled after all the strikes landed to stop super-strong characters from constantly having to chase down their targets.

This works well enough for those kinds of games--but it's a pretty iffy Advanced/Optional rule for, we think, most players. It also hurts strikers pretty badly if they get knocked back by blasters.

And then, if you are not playing with the optional rules, what do you do with guys with "force beams" or "repulsor rays" or whatever who can knock people back with the nature of the attack?

Well, we've set up the simulator to test the effect of KB both 'on any hit' and only on hits by 4+ to see what it does. The results seem to be: not that much: characters with ranged attacks don't really suffer (they get knocked down but keep firing). Hand to hand characters suffer more but not as much as we'd though (we need to monitor that).

So that leaves us back with the initial question: what do we do in games where any attack can knock someone back but some attacks (like force rays or water cannons or whatever) always knock people back? We think that what happens is this: you go from the 4+ rule to the "any hit rule" when the optional KB rules are in play and, if those aren't in play then you stick to the 4+ (which, really, is a bit of a better experience to our minds).


1 comment:

  1. Gah, had the site eat my comments again, so I'll try and abbreviate:

    1. I still think Shield techniques are as distinct (and conceptually important to those that use them) as those associated with staff or fencing moves, which you break out from melee weapons. I'd suggest one thing that might make it worthwhile without being overwhelming would be, besides a modest bonus to block, making higher levels of Shield skill slightly faster and the like (I realize blocks are already 3 REA so you only have so much to do here).

    1. I'm not sure that the movement times in JAGS Revised are as clear as they could be; since everything is defined in move/second, the fact that I'm pretty sure you still have a section near the start of the discussion of rounds saying they're 1-5 seconds at the GM's discretion doesn't help here (though I think they're referred to as 6 seconds elsewhere). It may be that I'm just missing something but I'm not sure how many "seconds" of movement many of the move options use.

    (As an aside, I think moving away from 1 second rounds was a good idea on the grounds of pace-of-resolution issues if nothing else. It was too easy to resolve things too consistently quickly in GURPS when I ran it, in a way that didn't seem to match any cinematic combat against anything but mooks I could recall, or, frankly, even many real ones you hear about. Resolving in that small a time frame almost always ignores the realities of hesitation, waiting for openings, and other practical issues that tend to drag out real combats).