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Storming the Wizard's Tower--my first TPK, twice

Started by Matt Wilson, April 12, 2009, 08:42:20 PM

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You don't get blue dice against a specified opponent. You get blue dice period full stop, or else you penalize a specified opponent's attack. Against two opponents, the options are balanced: 4 blue dice gives you on average +2 defense against both incoming attacks, eliminating 4 incoming hits. Against 3 or more opponents, the blue dice are worth more.

But either way, in most cases it'll be obvious which is appropriate. If it protects you from every attacker, blue dice. If it protects you from only one attacker, the attack penalty. The circling ogre case is clearly the latter.


Paul T

I've been away from this place (the Forge) for a few weeks, so this reply seems very late. In fact, however, it was typed up a long time ago, even before Vincent's last post, above.

It seemed redundant to post it, given Vincent's answers matching up with my own solutions, but I've decided to post anyway, for the sake of anyone else following this thread. Here are my solutions to the things that tripped me up.



Where Confusion Was Coming From

A few points in the text which confused me:

1. The text says, "The purpose of all these colored dice and the what-beats-what is to make every combination of outcomes possible..."

I was trying to make sure that was followed in any situation. However, in the example of something like a retreat, it is NOT the case.

If I'm retreating, and rolling green hits which subtract from the monster's attack, if I successfully retreat I CANNOT be wounded, period. I guess we'll just have to live with that.

2. The difference between "fighting while _____" and "tactical maneuvering".

I said:

"Okay, so when you fight while ____, you get the benefits of your action next round."

Then Vincent said, "Yep, pretty much."

And the options listed in the "Fight" section of the text say that your options for preventing someone else's attacks are: 1) you get bonus blue dice, 2) you subtract your hits from their attack, or 3) roll green dice and count them as blue dice against a specific opponent.

But! If you can have the "fight while" subtract from a monster's attacks, then it's taking effect the same round, for sure. It doesn't do anything next round. (Which is fine, because all it shows is I was wrong earlier, and Vincent shouldn't have agreed with me.)

Vincent said: if I'm retreating, I roll my green dice to keep my distance, the monsters hit me if they beat that with their attacks. So, if, this round, I do a good "keep them at a distance" roll, I'm keeping them at a distance.

Here's the thing:

That means my roll to get away from them _last round_ accomplished nothing whatsoever. It makes no difference to this round.

So, how does retreating work in this game? How do you keep monsters at a distance?

My Solutions

1. Making tactical advantage dice easier:

--Use blue or red dice when you're using an advantage that's against everyone. (as a default, at least)
--Subtracting from attack rolls, use when it's against one person.

This is implied by the math of the system, but not at all spelled out in the text. I would recommend it as an addition. The third option (green dice handled as red or blue) should say something like:

"If you're taking advantage of a tactical feature that applies against some opponents but not everyone, roll green dice and count them as red or blue, as appropriate, against those opponents."

I think listing it as a separate option "equal" to the others is misleading.

2. Differentiating "Fighting While _______" and "Taking Advantage of Tactical Features"

"Fighting while" accomplishes something within the battle that changes the tactical situation for next round. It doesn't and shouldn't subtract from anything or give any dice. Next round, it'll take effect. (For example, "I climb up the mast." If you succeed, by the time the next round starts you're up the mast.)

"Taking Advantage" means there's already some feature in play, and you're using it to gain advantage. Your Setup gives you some dice to roll in this round of the fight.

All this is already in the text, or at least implied. The GM has to make a judgement call sometimes about things like "I'm climbing the mast!" Sometimes it's going to be "fighting while" and no immediate bonus, sometimes it's "taking advantage". The rule of thumb I'm going to use is, "can the monsters prevent you from doing this? Is there opposition?"

So, climbing up the mast to fire your bow gives you red dice this round--it's "taking advantage". Climbing up the mast as the skeletons try to pull you back down to the ground is "fighting while", no blue dice this round.

3. Retreating

Retreating only makes sense if you have to do it twice for it to count, which works nicely given the guidelines above:

* First, you do a "fighting while ____" action to get out of range. You can still be hurt, because your roll just determines your success in getting away, it doesn't subtract from anyone's attacks.

* In the second round, you've now established a tactical feature--you're "out of range", or keeping your distance from your enemies. NOW, you can take advantage of that, rolling your Perception or Skill and subtracting your hits from attacks coming at you.

You're effectively bending the rules. Normally, you can only subtract hits from one opponent's attack. However, the "range" tactical feature is giving you leverage to do so against all the opponents that are "out of range".

So, to subtract from several, you need some special way to do so; some leverage. Ducking behind a wall to protect from ranged attacks is one way. Taking advantage of the fact that you're already out of range is another way.

If you began the fight at a distance, you wouldn't need to first "set up" your out-of-rangeness, you could take advantage of it in Round One.

(And, yes, I would rule that any monster that beats your Effort is no longer out-of-range.)

So, that clears it up for me. Some of it is already in the text, of course. In any case, I hope it helps someone else who experiences the same confusion.


This sounds really cool.  I like the hordes of the undead rising from the bog, it's a very compelling image.

This conversation really has brought to mind a concern I had about monster design.  Specifically, the "The monster opposes your effort with it's attack" seems like it might create real constraints to monster design.  Taking the example above of trying to maintain distance (i.e. keeping the tactical constraint of distance), if you've designed a monster with a very powerful non-ranged attack (by powerful I just mean extremely hurty) then aren't they ALSO more likely to overcome any tactical constraint?  Since attacking is the only mechanical way the monster CAN overcome a tactical constraint, it has to use it's attack to try and move closer.  But this monster wasn't supposed to be sprightly, just big and strong!

I'm not sure if I'm getting my point across appropriately.  Looking at the rules, I'd be tempted to make the monster's weakness "is very slow" or some sort of riff of that concept, but I'm not sure that still works in the game.

yeargh, can't look at the rules right now as I'm at the workplace (and I'm only willing to cheat a little bit), but I think what I'm saying makes sense.  If not, I'll try to clarify.
My real name is Timo.

Darcy Burgess

Hi Motipha,

I hear you -- my AP experience parallels your concern pretty much to the "t".  I haven't worked out a justification for why it is the way it is in my head.

I'm kind of hoping that Vincent'll think of something that obviates more SIS-related gymnastics inside the ol' brain.

But yeah, the big, hurty monsters are harder to do a whole pile of things against.  Including casting spells.  And yeah, it's weird for me too.

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.


Before I go thinking about rules changes, just confirm for me:

If you're fighting while __ or casting a spell at a monster, your white+green has to beat the highest incoming attack score, not the attack score of your target.

If you're fighting while __ or casting a spell at a monster, and nobody's attacking you, you don't subtract anything from your white+green, because there's no incoming white+red.

You got that already?



Quote from: lumpley on May 21, 2009, 09:56:36 PM
Before I go thinking about rules changes, just confirm for me:

If you're fighting while __ or casting a spell at a monster, your white+green has to beat the highest incoming attack score, not the attack score of your target.

If you're fighting while __ or casting a spell at a monster, and nobody's attacking you, you don't subtract anything from your white+green, because there's no incoming white+red.

You got that already?


yep, makes sense.  I think it is the "and nobody's attacking you" that I'm getting messed up over.  With the change in the way monsters attack, I hadn't quite worked out the place of our fair and impartial judge.  Just because an attack hits everyone in range doesn't mean that the monster will always neccessarily try to close range with every party member.  In fact, they are NOT going to do so if it doesn't fit the narrative.

I think the idea is that, unless there is some particular text that says otherwise, assume that monsters are as fast and nimble as the characters.  So if you want slow but powerful, slow really is going to be the weakness (like with Willow's playtest example elsewhere on the forum).  Otherwise, a tactical constraint is not going to be challenged unless the monster chooses to do so.  And, as far as monsters are concerned, that's attacking.

whether that constraint was overcome due to being uber strong or uber fast or some other characteristic is really a matter of narrative, not neccessarily of mechanics.

...ok, I think this makes it all clear and ok to me.  Though I can still imagine a monster who has some other weakness, but is actually stationary.  I guess there just has to be an good in game description as to why it just doesn't care about people being out of range (it's impossible to be out of range, if you are out of range you can't hurt it in response, etc etc).
My real name is Timo.


Yeah, the rule where the monster attacks everyone every time is a stopgap, and this is another good reason for me to replace it with something better. But THAT'S the rule I'm going to replace, not the one where being attacked messes up your groove.

The rules in the manuscript work just fine for 3 PCs, so if you have only 3 (and maybe 4), use the rules in the manuscript. Don't use the stopgap rules unless you have 5 (or maybe 4) or more players.