Author Topic: Probabilities and Balance  (Read 28578 times)

wombatkombat

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2011, 07:44:37 AM »
All of that fiction is nice in theory but doing it every time for every attack every round every monster it's quite boring.  On top of that you are requiring everyone to be able to fancy stories behind every attack; regardless of the player's ability to think of something fancy that just means "i stab it."  I think this sort of thing is for exalted where you're rewarded for doing it, not limited to doing it to please the GM or be punished. 

John Harper

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2011, 10:04:04 AM »
Boring? Ha! Not a bit. What you call fancy I call describing the action. It's really very critical for a game like DW, where the precise fictional actions determine how the mechanics come into play.

Also, the thing I'm specifically talking about are tough, challenging monsters. The kind of ultra-dangerous foes who aren't immediately vulnerable to conventional attacks. Fighting a dragon is a kind of pinnacle experience in a dungeon crawl game. It ought to be "fancy" as you put it, with all kinds of gripping action and perilous moments. Who trudges all the way into a dragon's lair just to say "I stab it" and roll the dice? What a shame that would be.

Finally, there's not any "please the GM or be punished" going on there at all. Go back and take a closer look. If you really think there is, that's a much longer conversation for another time.

agony

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2011, 01:26:52 PM »
Okay, my blind guess was off. Maybe I'll talk about the "running fights" problem in another thread.

I haven't seen a problem with the PCs being hard to threaten (quite the opposite) so I'm at a bit of a loss. You said you're having trouble knowing how to press the attack in the fiction, and what you're allowed to do as GM. Maybe say more about that? To me, it seems the same as in AW.

Do you do the thing where you scale the challenge of an NPC (or monster, in this case) by how their fictional attributes impact which moves the PCs make make (and how they make them) when they fight?

Like, the simplest example: when they fight a dragon with teeth as long as a sword and a great lashing tail, and foul breath that can stagger a horse, and the Fighter with the longsword says, "I hack and slash it!" I say, okay... uh... how? If he says, "With my sword!" then I laugh and laugh until he comes up with something remotely plausible.

Or if he glares and says, "No, seriously, I stab it." Then I'm like, "Okay! You rush closer to get into reach, and the dragon's tail lashes out, smashing the stone wall next to you to pebbles and arcing back toward your legs. What do you do?" That's, like, part one of getting close enough to a fire-breathing giant monster to stab it. Wish him luck with parts 2 and 3.

See how that makes the dragon a major challenge to the guy with the sword? Maybe you already do that -- it's a thing I do in AW, too. I'm just trying to get a gauge on how different our approaches are.

@Ludanto: Yeah, that's what I meant. Well, that, and also when 2 of the goblins attack the fighter, while the other 4 rush around in the shadows and try to stab the wizard in the back.

I do that but likely not enough.  When the group fought a Dracolich it was coiled up above them and out of range of the beastly Fighter, using its breath weapon to inflict lots of damage on the group.  The Wizard player cleverly Dazed the dracolich causing it to fall from the ceiling and land near the fighter where he could smack it.
 

Michael Pfaff

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2011, 02:31:39 PM »
Or if he glares and says, "No, seriously, I stab it." Then I'm like, "Okay! You rush closer to get into reach, and the dragon's tail lashes out, smashing the stone wall next to you to pebbles and arcing back toward your legs. What do you do?" That's, like, part one of getting close enough to a fire-breathing giant monster to stab it. Wish him luck with parts 2 and 3.

See how that makes the dragon a major challenge to the guy with the sword? Maybe you already do that -- it's a thing I do in AW, too. I'm just trying to get a gauge on how different our approaches are.

Sweet!

evilben

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2011, 04:23:40 PM »
i wish people would stop using extremes... dragons are rare and you dont fight them very often. while your idea for making it harder to position yourself to be able to do anything to a dragon can work (personally i think following that logic makes it impossible to fight a dragon and kind of ruins some of the high fantastic feel that i get from the game) it does not work so well against something like, say, an ogre or some other high level but less physically imposing nasty.

"i hit it"
"how?"
"... in the ankle!" (yea... that works...)

of the two monsters we fought that probably should have killed us, one was a dracolich which he already explained on how we "got in" on. the other was an ogre which he imposed some restrictions on us because it was so much larger than us (especially my halfling) but that didnt really matter. (also to be fair this was previous rules when you could do double damage so it may no longer be applicable)

the whole point of this topic was that it seems very hard for the PCs to fall in this game. this is because everything is related around player stats and not really on the potency of the monsters. it also comes down to the question of 'if a monster is hack and slashed can it still make a move against the PCs (thus making hack and slash a double jeopardy situation) even if you do make the PCs come up with creative ways to close on a dragon, once they are on it and hack and slashing, unless the dragon can make other moves its pretty much locked down from there until the end of the fight. (and if it can still attack playing a melee character is now suicidal 'i roll a 9 to hack and slash and take 25 damage, now the monster gets to go and hits me for 25 more' .... x_x dead)

and as far as being over run and always having a healer etc being the reasons for how good the fighter has been in our group, that is wrong. there have been fights with no healer against multiple enemies and others in the party being threatened and it has still turned out the same. my fighter and the wizard fought off three groups of mounted marauders and their leader. they surrounded me and went after the wizard but in the end it turned out the same (this was also using older rules so im not sure its applicable [again])

tl;dr
big baddies are not always dragons, so while your idea for making them need to get in is good, it does not always apply.

can someone (sage) answer directly the question of monsters being able to make moves if they have been hack and slashed this turn?

your conditions for fighters shining are true, but my fighter has done just as well when all those conditions were turned against him.

Ludanto

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2011, 05:18:38 PM »
From a previous thread "Defending with Hack and Slash":
http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=1520.0

Barring specific in-fiction exceptions, the only thing Hack and Slash prevents a monster from doing is damaging the Hack and Slash-er on a 10+.

So, if the ogre hucks a rock at the mage, the fighter can't stop him with Hack and Slash.  However, if the ogre punches at the fighter, a full Hack and Slash will stop him.

There's no "double jeopardy".

I do find it surprising that your Fighter had no problem being "flanked" by several foes.  If he's got three higher level monsters biting at him at the same time for 10 damage each, that's pretty much a guaranteed pair of Saving Throws and 20 damage per round (before armor), unless he's doing something clever.

agony

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2011, 05:45:51 PM »
I do find it surprising that your Fighter had no problem being "flanked" by several foes.  If he's got three higher level monsters biting at him at the same time for 10 damage each, that's pretty much a guaranteed pair of Saving Throws and 20 damage per round (before armor), unless he's doing something clever.

It's simple.  One of the 3 monsters he hacked and slashed and rolled at least a 7 (which makes it a 10 with +3 strength, rolling 7 or above is the norm).

The second and third monsters he rolls Defy Danger against as he's attempting to keep his distance and fight them off.  He has to get a 6 or below on those Defy Danger rolls to take damage.  Say he fails one.  Bard heals him for 12 HP and he's better than where he started.  Plus, there's probably only 2 foes next turn as I'm sure the first one he wounded was also hit by the Wizard.

Now, I guess you could say those other 2 monsters hit the fighter automatically, but I don't like making that hard of a move without the player blowing a roll.

Ludanto

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2011, 06:02:30 PM »
Ah, well there you go.

I'd consider that a "golden opportunity".  The Fighter is fighting one monster while simultaneously keeping away from not one, but two others?  How is he doing that again?  I don't see it happening, not with three opponents, at least.  Maybe you do.

So now he's got a choice, attack the one guy and ignore the others, or do something else.

But maybe I'm doing it wrong.  Maybe it should be "Ok, you can attack, but you have to Defy Danger, with the danger being that the other two will maul your flank." (One roll, combined damage from both monsters on a fail.)

My PCs are in constant danger of dying, so I don't know what the difference is.

I guess, again only if it's really a problem, jack up the damage values.  Make those few hits count.

Ugh.  I don't know.  Is it a flaw in the system, or just a difference in play style?  I can't tell.

agony

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2011, 06:11:35 PM »
Yeah I'm definitely not arguing with it could be how I'm running the fight.  But I wish I could nail down what's going wrong exactly.  I think that above example is perhaps one point someone could comment on - whether the Fighter should roll Defy Danger against the other two foes or not.

Upping the damage, however, really hurts the rest of the group, which is why I don't think that's a real solution.

Ludanto - what level is your group's Fighter and did he take increases to maximize his fighting ability?  For example - taking two weapon fighting, increasing his own damage, etc.

Does your party also buff the fighter with magic?

Ludanto

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2011, 06:32:55 PM »
I've got to admit, my PCs, individually or as a group, are far from optimized killing machines.  Maybe we're on either ends of an extreme.

That said, if I were having the same problems I would definitely up the damage.  If that's a significant threat to the rest of the party, "Oh, well."  One or more of them better start Defending!

Maybe not all of the time, but certainly for the boss battle.  (Maybe Show Signs of Doom so they aren't caught off-guard.  Of course, if that "sign of doom" is half of the Fighter's HPs, all the better. ;))

My duergar champion, facing 2nd and 3rd level characters, does 10 damage, and 18 damage when he's "giant sized".  Throw in +6 damage on a failed Saving Throw, and he had both the Paladin and the Fighter really worried.

evilben

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2011, 06:39:33 PM »
@ludanto: i read that defending with hack and slash completely differently than you it seems. i read it as hack and slash not preventing the monsters from attacking players that do moves that put them at risk or incur damage against them. it seems that you read it as the monster still acts autonomously even though there is a hero with a big weapon standing in its way and beating on it...

as far as multiple monsters, i dont know that agony has thrown multiple monsters that were two higher levels than my fighter at us. i dont think that he has... and even so, saving throws are pretty easy for a halfling fighter...

i dont think that telling a fighter "if you fight one of the enemies you will automatically take damage from the other two" is a good way to run a fight. it pretty much auto gimps the fighter from doing what they are supposed to do, fight. as far as fighting one thing while keeping out of the range of two others... have you watched any kung fu? happens all the time in that. just find some jackie chan vids!

in your situation, at level 3 i was sitting at 36hp(good rolls at the time, but now pretty much every fighter will have about that much) and soaking 3 damage a hit (now it would be 2 as plate mail had its armor value decreased) so it would take you king boss monster 3 hits to actually kill me. if i am attacking it i can guarantee i wont be taking damage most turns (+3 str mod) and if i do i have a +3 to saving throw because i am a halfling fighter. (this is also assuming its level 5, not just 4. or if you fighter has taken the move, it might have to be level 6...) if you are going to be attacking the squishies over my head, its still not tht big of a deal to defend once every three turns to take damage for someone else. if you have anyone who can heal, i dont see how that fight is challenging...

Ludanto

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2011, 07:07:56 PM »
I totally understand what you're saying, but that's why there's the "Defend" Move.  Otherwise, you mostly wouldn't need it.

That is, "if you do it, you do it".

GM: "The ogre attacks the Wizard!"
Fighter: "No!  I attack the ogre!"
GM: "So, you're Defending the Wizard?"
Fighter: "No, I'm just attacking the ogre so he can't get to the Wizard."
GM: "So... You're Defending the Wizard.  Roll +CON."

Besides, it's not like there's any kind of initiative.  Who says that the ogre doesn't push past the Fighter and attack the Wizard before the Fighter attacks the ogre?

And why are you "defending every three turns"?  There's no "turns".  Those monsters (might be) constantly trying to smash that pesky Bard so he'll stop healing you.  If you do anything but Defend the Bard, he's on his own.

And yes, maybe the Fighter should be able to Defy Danger to fend off extra foes.  Great!  Let him.  He's one guy, and he can't be everywhere at once.  Wait for somebody to fail a Move, then "Separate Them", "Turn the Environment Against Them", "Put Someone in a Spot", possibly "Reveal an Unwelcome Truth".

If the players have a "system", get in there and break it.  If the Bard gets dragged off, or the Fighter ends up at the bottom of the cliff while everybody else is up top, then there's trouble.

You'll notice the confident, matter-of-fact way that I'm stating this.  That's because I actually have no idea.  But it sounds like it ought to work, so maybe there's something to it. :)

evilben

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2011, 07:18:35 PM »
ahh, it seems as though the flow of play between our group and yours is pretty different. usually when we play the PCs all do their moves then any remaining monsters will do monster moves and back and forth making a 'turn' if you will. why i said thee turns was if you get a 10+ on defend you get 3 hold, spend one every time the bard would get bashed and you only have to defend once every three attacks.

your narrative also supposes that everyone else in the group will keel over dead at the slightest touch. this isnt really true. in our party my fighter is the easiest person to hit at a +1 dex mod, everyone else has at least +2 giving them a rather good chance at passing a defy danger roll. even if they do fail, they can take a few hits and be no worse for it.

and, if you look back to agony's math from the first post, it is very hard for someone to fail a roll which they are built to make.

John Harper

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2011, 07:45:20 PM »
unless the dragon can make other moves its pretty much locked down from there until the end of the fight.

Of course the dragon can make other moves when someone is hack-and-slashing it. The dragon does whatever it does. The Fighter does whatever he does in response. Based on those fictional actions taken you figure out what moves to roll next.

This is what I meant by the danger of "running a fight," in my post way up above. Going in "turns", treating moves as mechanics-first, etc. etc. That's the root of the problem here.

(and if it can still attack playing a melee character is now suicidal 'i roll a 9 to hack and slash and take 25 damage, now the monster gets to go and hits me for 25 more' .... x_x dead)

Hang on. That's not how it works. The GM says what the dragon does, then asks what you do in response. The GM doesn't just say, "The dragon attacks, take 25 damage." The GM says the concrete, fictional action the dragon takes, then asks the player(s) what they do. Based on those two factors, a move might be called for (or it might not).

That's, like, the core of the game.

The same thing goes for the Fighter flanked by three foes, or the Bard trying to cast healing spells for the entire fight while under duress, or anything else in the game. You can't treat anything as mechanics-first, or you head off down this weird path that your group is currently on.

"I hack-and-slashed it with a 10+, so now it doesn't get to do anything" is not a rule. "I hack-and-slashed the group, so now I don't have to defy danger when those guys flank me," is not a rule.

The rule is: when you do it, you roll it. Period. The mechanics that have been used previously do not factor into it.

I suspect that's 50% of it. The other, related part is the GM failing to take enough actions for the monsters. Just like the PCs, the monsters get to do things -- even if someone hits them with hack and slash with a 10+. That doesn't "freeze" anything. Why would it? The PCs get to do things after they get hit. Monsters are the same.

Those six goblins gets to do six things, potentially. That's a lot of shit to deal with! Far from the walk in the park that it seems to be for your group.

evilben

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Re: Probabilities and Balance
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2011, 07:57:31 PM »
Im not suggesting that it would freeze, but it seems somewhat realistic that if you were engaged in a fight with someone your attention would be focused on that immediate fight. i see hack and slash as a character swinging their sword at something which, if at least moderately successful, could very easily keep its focus as well. (you have to pay attention to the guy with the sword if you want to maybe not get hit by it). just the way i have always seen it.

so you are saying that the PCs have a more reactionary role in DW? the DM describes what the monsters are doing and the PCs react accordingly? or i am misinterpreting what you wrote?

i never once said that hack and slash against one group made it so others could not do anything. and, to be fair, often in the earlier stages of our game (with the old rules) a hack and slash at 10+ did mean the monster didnt get to do anything because it was dead.... but that has thankfully been fixed.

hypothetical situation time. DM says the Ogre is attacking the fighter, the fighter wants to hack and slash. what rolls are made? would the entire thing get condensed into one hack and slash or would the fighter have to defy danger and hack and slash?