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Uncle_Joe

Agility in Fantasy Combat

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Hi all, long time WHFRP 3E fan and just now discovering Genesys. I have the Core book and the Terrinoth source book.

I have read through the bulk of each book and I’ve piddled around with character creation. I’m sure this has been mentioned before, but in a Fantasy setting there doesn’t seem to be much of a role for Agility. It seems that all combat characters more or less have to focus on Brawn to be effective since it determines almost every aspect of combat. Your attack, your damage, your soak, and your hit points are all determined by that one stat. On the other hand, Agility really only determines ranged effectiveness and to an extent, initiative.

In a modern or futuristic setting where firearms and other ranged weapons dominate it makes sense to divide the importance that way since melee combat would be much less prevalent. But in Fantasy, the whole archetype of the ‘light fighter’ is missing (Valeria from Conan, Gord of Greyhawk, Bronn from GoT etc). Sure there is Finesse as a Talent which lets you use Agility for the attack checks (but not damage) but that still pales in comparison to Brawn. And as far as I can tell, even higher rank Talents like Dodge don’t even have an Agility requirement (or benefit) so a ‘heavy’ fighter could just as well as a ‘light’.

Are there other benefits for a melee combatant based on Agility that I may have missed?

In the absence of anything else, I’m trying to decide on a way to represent Agility-based combatants in better way.

Here is a rough idea for feedback:

When an attack is made, compare the Attacker’s AGL to the Defender’s AGL:

  • If Att AGL is 2 or more higher, Upgrade one die
  • If Att AGL is the same or 1 higher, no change
  • If Att AGL is 1 lower, Downgrade one die
  • If AGL is 2 or more lower, Downgrade 2 dice.

I am also thinking about allowing Finesse to include using Agility for damage determination as well (so attacking with a Sword using Finesse would be AGILITY +3 rather than BRAWN +3).

Would those tweaks make an Agility-based fighter competitive? Too good? Not good enough? For reference, I’m thinking that a ‘standard’ human melee type would have a Brawn of 3 or 4 and an Agility of 2 while a ‘light’ fighter might look more like  Brawn 2, Agility 3 or 4.

Thoughts? Ideas? Alternate suggestions?

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Your suggestion is bad. It's too much crunch in a system not designed to be crunchy.

Best thing you can do is play the game as-written and see how it plays. Don't go changing things to how things work in other games you have played because this is not that game. Sure, Brawn is a better overall characteristic for combat, but that's not all there is to an RPG. Unless you're playing Murder: The Hobo'ing.

Brawn doesn't have a lot of skills linked to it, while Agility has more. So from a skill perspective Agility is better. Also, just so you know, Agility does not contribute to initiative in any manner. It's either Presence or Will.

And I think you're doing a grave disservice to the Finesse talent. It's designed for exactly what you're wanting. Sure, damage is still based on Brawn, but if your Brawn is less than your Agility the extra dice you roll should overcome that one- or two-point difference.

There are a number of talents that will also help you build the character type you're looking for in addition to Finesse. Parry and Side Step come to mind right off the bat. And yes, Dodge can work, too, but you have to pay the strain on each attack as opposed to Side Step which is once for the entire round, regardless of how many attacks are inbound. Sure, the 'tank' character could take the same talents, but they'll be working on their own talents instead the ones you want to take like Durable and Toughened.

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24 minutes ago, c__beck said:

Your suggestion is bad. It's too much crunch in a system not designed to be crunchy.

I don’t think you can say that about a system that’s suppose to be a toolkit. I think the stats are fine as is, but if the poster and his or her group prefers the crunch, Genesys can handle it. After all, Genesys comes from WarHammer 3e, so it knows how to do crunch. 

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3 minutes ago, ObiWanBilbo said:

I don’t think you can say that about a system that’s suppose to be a toolkit. I think the stats are fine as is, but if the poster and his or her group prefers the crunch, Genesys can handle it. After all, Genesys comes from WarHammer 3e, so it knows how to do crunch. 

There's a reason Genesys is as different from WFRP3e. Too much crunch wasn't good for the game. And I have yet to encounter a time when changing a rule just because, before playing it as written, has been a good idea. More often than not it's lead to people not liking the system because of it. And it's all based on something that's not really part of the system at all!

Of course it's your table, your rules. And if you're having fun you're doing it right. But play as-written and see how the nuts and bolts work before you start welding more stuff on.

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57 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

Finesse lets you use Agility in place of Brawn, that seems pretty unambiguous to me.  Although I don't allow Finesse in my games.  BS nerd creation.  There is a reason boxers, cage fighters, and wrestlers have weigh ins and not dance offs....

Finesse for brawl = martial arts

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Interesting.

When it comes to competitive games (board games, card games etc), I'm with you 100% when it comes to 'play it first before changing it'. After all, there are a lot of mechanics to most games and how they mesh can have a huge effect on the way things play out.

In this case however, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that a combat-type that concentrates on Brawn will mop the floor with one who trades on Agility. And if that is not the desired outcome (as it is in our case) then a change of some sort would be warranted.

In my example case above of Brawn 4, Agility 2 vs Brawn 2, Agility 4, the former will dominate the latter completely and totally, even accounting for Finesse, He will do on average of 4 more damage per combar exchange and he'll have have more HPs to boot. Barring extreme luck, it wouldn't even be close. 

To me, that leads to dull archetypes...all combat character would need to follow the same one or else be significantly less effective. Don't get me wrong, I think the Brawn-based fighter SHOULD be better in most situations since the Agility-based fighter does have other advantages in ranged combat and skills (as noted above). But I would at least like the Agility-types to be within shouting distance in melee combat to make them a viable alternative. 

So, with that said, rather than debating the merits of whether something should or shouldn't be changed, can folks provide feedback on how likely the proposed tweak would be in making the Agility fighters a nearly capable fighter as a Brawn-based one without eclipsing them (which I don't believe they should do).

Ideally, I would prefer any tweak to make each feel unique and useful in different circumstance to encourage variety in combat characters.

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36 minutes ago, Uncle_Joe said:

In this case however, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that a combat-type that concentrates on Brawn will mop the floor with one who trades on Agility. And if that is not the desired outcome (as it is in our case) then a change of some sort would be warranted.

In my example case above of Brawn 4, Agility 2 vs Brawn 2, Agility 4, the former will dominate the latter completely and totally, even accounting for Finesse, He will do on average of 4 more damage per combar exchange and he'll have have more HPs to boot. Barring extreme luck, it wouldn't even be close. 

To me, that leads to dull archetypes...all combat character would need to follow the same one or else be significantly less effective. Don't get me wrong, I think the Brawn-based fighter SHOULD be better in most situations since the Agility-based fighter does have other advantages in ranged combat and skills (as noted above). But I would at least like the Agility-types to be within shouting distance in melee combat to make them a viable alternative. 

You're completely overlooking Critical Hits. The Agility guy with Finesse will get lots of Criticals so long as he has some yellow dice to roll (and even greens yield Advantages that can be used to crit with). Sure, the Brawn guy can do that, too, but the Brawn guy can't double as his party's ranged-combat specialist and sneak, either.

If the RAW still bothers you, just introduce a new talent: Improved Finesse. Lets you use Agility for damage on Melee attacks in lieu of Brawn. Bam, you're done.

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Hang on, maybe I'm missing something but why would the Finesse guy be getting lots of Criticals (ie, more than the Brawn guy)? Assuming the same number of Melee ranks, wouldn't their dice pools be identical in my example? Ie, 4 Stat (either Brawn or Agility) and then upgrading 1/Melee Skill rank. 

I'm wondering if I'm mis-reading something or not seeing something because by my quick math and tests, the Agility guys wouldnt even have a chance even with Finesse (and without it it's even worse).

Heavy - Brawn 4 , Agility 2, say 2 ranks of Melee (Light) for sword combat. his Soak is 4 (unarmored) and his Wound Threshold is 14. Base damage with a Sword would be 7.

Light - Brawn 2, Agility 4, 2 ranls of Melee (Light). Soak is 2 and Wound Threshold is 12. Base Sword damage is 5.

When Heavy strikes Light, his damage is 8 - 2 = 6 points

When Light strikes Heavy, his damage is 6 - 4 = 2 points

The actual damage could go up or down based on the number of successes but since the dice pools are identical (unless I'm missing something, which is quite possible), each side has the same opportunity for luck to play a part. If armor is involved, it's even more dismal for the Light.

Even with the suggested 'Improved Finesse', that just gets the equation a little close by adding 2 damage to the Light, but at the cost of a Rank1 and a likely Rank2 Talent. And he'll stil likely get mopped up in a fight.

But as I said, my preference would be for him to feel slightly inferior, but different. In the example(s) above, he's just markedly worse. Sure, he has a bit more utility out of combat by virtue of his Agility, but he is down 2 Talents too.

Again, unless I'm missing something in the combat rules (either in the Core or the RoT supplement).

Edited by Uncle_Joe

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1 hour ago, Uncle_Joe said:

Hang on, maybe I'm missing something but why would the Finesse guy be getting lots of Criticals (ie, more than the Brawn guy)? Assuming the same number of Melee ranks, wouldn't their dice pools be identical in my example? Ie, 4 Stat (either Brawn or Agility) and then upgrading 1/Melee Skill rank. 

No, no -- he gets just as many Crits as the Brawn guy assuming they have the same Characteristic/Skill breakdowns (e.g., Brawn 4, Melee 2 vs. Agility 4, Melee 2). My point was that Critical Hits don't get boosted by Brawn values, so by RAW, the Agility guy is just as good at critting as the Brawn guy. He does less damage on normal hits (assuming his Brawn is lower), but he compensates for that by being better at ranged attacks, sneaking, and so on. In other words, he already yields a differently flavored melee fighter from the Brawn guy without any new rules.

Quote

I'm wondering if I'm mis-reading something or not seeing something because by my quick math and tests, the Agility guys wouldnt even have a chance even with Finesse (and without it it's even worse).

Heavy - Brawn 4 , Agility 2, say 2 ranks of Melee (Light) for sword combat. his Soak is 4 (unarmored) and his Wound Threshold is 14. Base damage with a Sword would be 7.

Light - Brawn 2, Agility 4, 2 ranls of Melee (Light). Soak is 2 and Wound Threshold is 12. Base Sword damage is 5.

When Heavy strikes Light, his damage is 8 - 2 = 6 points

When Light strikes Heavy, his damage is 6 - 4 = 2 points

The actual damage could go up or down based on the number of successes but since the dice pools are identical (unless I'm missing something, which is quite possible), each side has the same opportunity for luck to play a part. If armor is involved, it's even more dismal for the Light.

Even with the suggested 'Improved Finesse', that just gets the equation a little close by adding 2 damage to the Light, but at the cost of a Rank1 and a likely Rank2 Talent. And he'll stil likely get mopped up in a fight.

But as I said, my preference would be for him to feel slightly inferior, but different. In the example(s) above, he's just markedly worse. Sure, he has a bit more utility out of combat by virtue of his Agility, but he is down 2 Talents too.

Again, unless I'm missing something in the combat rules (either in the Core or the RoT supplement).

I think you're putting too much stock into the fact that he needs two Talents. With Finesse and Improved Finesse, he's just as good as the Brawn guy at striking. His default Soak and Wounds are worse, but, hey, the player opted for an Agility-based fighter. If you adopt home-brew talents like Coordination Dodge, Precision Strike, and its variants, you get a guy who's even better than the Brawn guy at dealing out crits and avoiding damage entirely. But with RAW + Improved Finesse, I'd still say it's balanced. Being the Agility fighter comes with drawbacks, but it also comes with the bonuses of having more utility in other areas, like ranged combat and sneaking.

Edited by SavageBob

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1 hour ago, Uncle_Joe said:

Ok cool, thanks for the clarification.

Would you be able to point me to the those home-brew talents? I have a few ideas of my own but it would be nice to see what others have already come up with.

Thanks again!

No problem! I notice that the Genesys Talents Expanded team hasn't added in the Precision Strike/Improved Precision Strike/Supreme Precision Strike sequence (yet?), but it's from the Star Wars Martial Artist tree. Basically, level 1 lets you choose any Easy Critical Hit when you roll enough Advantage or Triumph to crit (rather than making your roll randomly), level 2 lets you choose any Average result, and Level 3 lets you choose any Hard result. Using them takes 1, 2, or 3 Strain, respectively. Your Agility guy will likely want the Parry talent, as well. Martial Grace is nice in that it lets you add damage equal to Coordination ranks for 2 Strain.

@Richardbuxton, do you know why some of these weren't ported over to the Genesys Talents Expanded project?

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Thanks to those who provided input. I finally settled on a few additional Talents to help the Agility fighters along but preferably without making them superior. They will certainly be more focused because they would need to invest in 4 Talents to get the whole hog. 

Once I got rolling with the creation, it works very well. I've got a custom weapons and armor list which is kind of a combo of the Realms of Terrinoth, another person's Fantasy Weapons, and my own tweaks. 

Next will be working on Spells based on the Magic Realm rituals and colors.

Thanks again, folks!

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