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Enemies Without - NPCs with Free Action attacks

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After having a flick through the new book, I've noticed that a few of the NPC enemies have special abilities that grant them extra attacks as Free Actions. The wording of some of these abilities indicates that these Free Action attacks occur immediately after another Attack action. This seems to blatantly break the limit on one Attack action per round and the FAQ ruled on this in a similar manner for the Desperado Move and Shoot ability.

 

Here are a couple of examples. First up: Dark Eldar Incubus on page 117.

 

Master of the Klaive: Once per round, when an Incubus inflicts Critical damage on an Elite or Master opponent (or a PC), he may make a melee Standard Attack action against another foe in range as a Free Action.

 

Second: Eldar Striking Scorpion on page 107.

 

Scorpion Sting: As part of a Charge action, a Striking Scorpion may make an additional Standard Attack or Semi-Auto Burst action with his mandiblasters as a Free Action. This occurs once he reaches the target, but before he makes his melee attack. He suffers a -10 penalty on his Ballistic Skill test but also benefits from relevant modifiers for range as normal. 

 

I'm curious about what this might mean. On the one hand, the abilities are very much in line with what you would expect these NPC combatants to be able to do. However, these abilities do completely ignore the Action limitations that are placed on the players and ignore the previous rule treatment for Move and Shoot. Is this something that could/should be modified to make it conform to the rules or should the Action limitations be revised to allow more cool stuff for players and NPCs? This would also make the Desperado's ability more exciting again.

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Also keep in mind Two Weapon Fighting.  That allows a second attack as a Free Action in the same turn as well.  

 

This isn't the domain of NPCs alone, they just have some nifty, specialized methods of doing it themselves.  

 

On top of that, how is the Desperado's Move and Shoot not exciting?  You can do a Full Move and keep on shooting, which is very nice if you want to keep firing on the enemy as you change positions. Or Half-Move, Shoot and still have a Half Action to do something important.  

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Move and Shoot is limited to only pistols and only a Standard Attack with a single pistol. So if you are dual-wielding Autopistols, you can only fire one with Move and Shoot. It's okay but kinda meh.

 

Two Weapon Fighting actually says that the attack with the off-hand weapon is made as part of the same attack with the main hand. It's actually not a Free Action to do so. The Striking Scorpion and the Incubus both list the extra attacks as Free Actions which means that they are separate to the action that trigger the special ability. However, as it is a separate action and not similarly described as Two Weapon Fighting, it seems to contradict the standard limitation on one Attack subtype action per round. It could be a simple error that has resulted in how it is described but it does technically go against the rules.

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There are more than a few things that "ignore" the Attack Action limitation - like Devastating Assault or Counter Attack. These xenos "talents" don't really seem like anything different, and I think the intention of how to use them is pretty clear

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I had overlooked Devastating Assault as that is basically the same thing as the xenos abilities. My bad. Counter Attack I can sort of understand because it's a Free Action attack that occurs outside of your turn. The Attack Action limitation only appears to apply to Attack Actions that you take on your own turn.

 

I wonder what was different about Move and Shoot that makes it operate under the Attack Action limitation but not Devastating Assault or the other xenos abilities.

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Move and Shoot seems to be the odd one out then. All these other things essentially ignore the limit on Attack actions or word them in ways that it allows extra attacks. All of them except for Move and Shoot which seems to be a bit of a downer for the Desperado. When your role ability is mostly replicated in a talent (Hip Shooting) that anyone can get and NPCs can get multiple Attack actions seems a little unfair. If xenos can get extra Attack actions through special abilities, I don't see why the rules couldn't allow the Desperado one Free Action pistol Standard Attack without getting caught by the rule limitations.

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Both lesser and more in my opinion. They each do something similar but have their own quirks and bonuses.

 

Move and Shoot is very handy in a lot of situations, what with applying after any move action, but limited in that it only applies to a single shot with a single pistol.

 

Hip Shooting is limited to only after a Full Action move but is a single shot with any ranged weapon and it can be combined with Two Weapon Fighting. So you could, potentially, use Hip Shooting while dual wielding bolters or even just Hip Shoot with a missile launcher.

 

Move and Shoot has broader application and will trigger in more situations but it can't bring as much firepower to bear as Hip Shooting. The reason why I made the comparison between the two is that Move and Shoot, as a role bonus, feels a little too similar to a talent that anyone can pick up. It feels pretty bland. When NPCs can pull off extra free attacks with special abilities and the Desperado can't because of the rules, it feels more than a little underwhelming.

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Most roles don't get to change their core gameplay with their special ability.  Many of them are about consistency or throughput in a dedicated sphere.  Most role benefits are something you graduate from.  As high rates of success become more standard for your character, the benefits of auto-succeeding or setting a certain number of successes diminish.

 

Notably, Move and Shoot is very powerful in early play, where running away may be more necessary due to minimal equipment, and enemies may lack powerful long-range armaments.  Later on, it's a tool in the kit, but it shouldn't be your primary mode.

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You're correct in saying that the role special abilities don't change or alter the core gameplay of each role but it does heavily encourage a certain style of playing, eg. a chirurgeon will always be the preferred character rolling Medicae than any other role. The majority of the roles act as safety nets for the characters in their respective fields. Of the three roles that don't have Fate Point centric abilities (Mystic, Penitent, and Desperado), their abilities are very much in line with the type of characters that are encouraged by the aptitudes and other elements to the roles. The Desperado heavily encourages a pistol gunslinger and a mobile character with its aptitudes and role ability. 

 

Where I feel Move and Shoot comes unstuck is that, due to equipment choices, the role ability could become completely useless. If the Desperado does not have a pistol, the character cannot use Move and Shoot. It's not even a tool in the kit as you say. To use Move and Shoot, your primary mode is with pistol in hand. It's the only role ability that forces you into playing with a certain character mindset to use it. 

 

That's kinda my take on it. Move and Shoot is already so restrictive in its application and when it can be used that, when I see NPCs with special abilities that break the action limitations, it feels like Move and Shoot should also be allowed to break the action limit to give it more utility.

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