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dylansargent

"Prepare" an action?

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My player last night: "I pour a pool of gas on the ground, and wait with my zippo at the ready. If the monster gets close, I want to drop the zippo and run before it attacks."

 

Me: "Uhhhhhhh..."

Other systems that I'm familiar with give players the chance to "prep" an action, and then interrupt an enemy's turn. How would Genesys handle it?

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Just handle it like in any other system. Or have the player make a cool check to see if they can pull it off. I've handled standoffs in Star Wars with opposed cool checks to great effect, but in a case like you're describing, I'd base the difficulty on how scary the monster is.

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Genesys doesn't have held/readied actions like other systems do because it has a much more free-flow initiative system in the first place.

How i would handle it is in narrative time with a skill check. as @PurpleKittenofDeath of death said cool is very appropriate for that. The way to handle it in structured time is all about when you roll initiative. I tend to wait as long as possible to roll initiative, generally till right before someone wants to do a combat action. Then we roll initiative and see who is ready to move, who is surprised, and who freezes.

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Yeah, I kind of wish that there was some provision for a 'prepared' action (at least suggestions for handling them). Prepared actions are pretty much an ingrained standard in many people since their introduction in D&D 3.0. 

We had a similar situation in our fantasy game on Saturday. One of the weaker party combatants was in line with the rest of the group. The group dropped all the close-by opponents and when it was his action, he wanted to simply wait until something approached the line and then attack. The example in the OP is even more relevant since all it was take would an 'incidental' to drop the lighter on the gas.

In the end, I simply told the player that they couldn't simply wait for a target to come into range but instead I gave him a Boost on his next action to reflect the extra time/preparation. It worked out in that situation but I can imagine the OP's player not feeling satisfied if he wasn't able to torch an incoming attacker.

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Most games that have an overwatch or prepare mechanic allows the character to push their turn to the front of the next round. Most games have fixed initiative slots. Typically, if aPC rolls the first slot, then they will keep that slot, followed by the second scoring character, then the third, and so forth.

In Genesys, there are only PC and NPC slots; any PC can fill any PC slot in each round, and any NPC can fill any NPC slot in each round. So if a PC takes the last turn in round 1, they can take the first turn in the following round.

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I don't sweat the lack of this 'traditional' aspect of RPGs, mostly because it's BS.  If you're deciding to cede the initiative to an opponent and not be proactive, if you don't have the time and distance to react to whatever they choose to do, you aren't doing anything before them in reality.  The 'hold action' silliness in a melee encounter, in order to be able to act before the bad guy would literally require you being able to read their minds.  It's a nice Talent to give to a telepath, but it isn't something everyone should be able to do by default imo.

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Well given that the game mechanics are supposed to feel 'cinematic' I think some situations would call for those kind of mechanics. For example, in a running battle, the party used move actions and retreated around the corner of a hallway. One character turned and waited with crossbow ready to shoot the first person who came around the corner. 

In that situation, I just gave them the free shot but again, it would be nice to have a few guidelines for handling those situations. RAW would feel very unsatisfying to the player (ie, the orc runs around the corner with his maneuver, spends 2 fatigue to maneuver to engage, and then brains the hapless crossbowman with his sword). 

But yes, in a general melee situation I think the 'prepared action' is a bit of whack due the issue you mention. But for ranged combat and other 'incidentals' such as the OP's example, the situation clearly needs to the GM to adjust the 'standard' sequence to make the story fit.

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On 5/27/2018 at 11:27 AM, dylansargent said:

My player last night: "I pour a pool of gas on the ground, and wait with my zippo at the ready. If the monster gets close, I want to drop the zippo and run before it attacks."

 

Me: "Uhhhhhhh..."

Other systems that I'm familiar with give players the chance to "prep" an action, and then interrupt an enemy's turn. How would Genesys handle it?

I'd say, "Ok, you spend your action pouring the lighter fluid on the floor. Now it's Impassible Terrain, and they need to make an Athletics skill check to not walk into it, opposed by your Vigilance. If they fail they don't avoid the lighter fluid, and if they get HH.png you set them on fire and they suffer 3 damage (suffer damage means no soak) and a DE.png means they catch fire! Burning for 2 rounds. If they succeed, well, that's their turn anyway, but avoid the puddle."

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I'd like to nerdily point out that gasoline itself burns very poorly, it's gasoline vapour that is highly flammable. :) In any case, dropping a lighter is an incidental, but a match might be better since not many Zippos will stay lit when you release the trigger.

More to the point, this is a pretty simple case of Stealth vs. Perception to allow an enemy to get close without being noticed, and Cool vs. Vigilance for initiative: in this case, the player character's Stealth vs. the monster's Perception, followed by the player's Cool for initiative vs. the monster's Vigilance.

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2 hours ago, Uncle_Joe said:

Well given that the game mechanics are supposed to feel 'cinematic' I think some situations would call for those kind of mechanics. For example, in a running battle, the party used move actions and retreated around the corner of a hallway. One character turned and waited with crossbow ready to shoot the first person who came around the corner. 

In that situation, I just gave them the free shot but again, it would be nice to have a few guidelines for handling those situations. RAW would feel very unsatisfying to the player (ie, the orc runs around the corner with his maneuver, spends 2 fatigue to maneuver to engage, and then brains the hapless crossbowman with his sword). 

But yes, in a general melee situation I think the 'prepared action' is a bit of whack due the issue you mention. But for ranged combat and other 'incidentals' such as the OP's example, the situation clearly needs to the GM to adjust the 'standard' sequence to make the story fit.

I disagree though with the opinion the rules are lacking.  Why should characters involved in a battle melee or otherwise at close ranges, be allowed to break contact, run around a corner, turn, take a knee, and prepare the fire with no challenge?  Why isn't/aren't the orc(s) right on their asses when they flee?  It seems perfectly fine to me that the pursuers would be right on their tails and be able to brain the crossbowman while they are setting up in the confines of that encounter.  That interpretation feels like tabletop tactical mini thinking, and not cinematic or realistic at all.

So my answer to the PCs in that scenario when they say "why can't we do that?" would be "Because in this system events are unfolding near simultaneously, not in a linear mini game." "As you turn to flee, the orcs are right on your @$$es, they aren't waiting for their turn to move.  So you simply don't have the time to, run, stop, and be set up to take shot before they're on you.  Are they supposed to wait their turn before they start running and let you set up?  That sounds silly."

If the PCs wanted to realistically break contact and make themselves some breathing room to set up a new firing position, that sounds like it's time for Chase rules to me.  One good round of rolls and they could move themselves to a more distant range band (environment permitting) and then be set up for a new combat encounter with the melee orcs at a disadvantageous long range or more.

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This has come up before in my games about "Waiting until the NPC does something" and my usual response is "Ok, so you are taking the PC initiative slot before the NPC." and that is it. The only issue is if the NPC he wants to react against is not the first NPC. But, it can still be done. 

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10 hours ago, 2P51 said:

"Because in this system events are unfolding near simultaneously, not in a linear mini game." "As you turn to flee, the orcs are right on your @$$es, they aren't waiting for their turn to move.  So you simply don't have the time to, run, stop, and be set up to take shot before they're on you.  Are they supposed to wait their turn before they start running and let you set up?  That sounds silly."

If I'd said this to one of my players, I know they'd respond with something like: "Well if that's the case, I'd just fire while running all the time and the Orcs would never get to me! I don't wait my turn to start running away when they are bolting for me so unless they start in engaged range they can't catch me!" Wow, I can even hear him sying it... ?

No game system I've ever played claimed that combat flowed linarly like a game, they all* admitted that combat is chaotic and messy so the've structured it into turns and rounds to make sense of the chaos, including this one.

I allow such actions because I believe they are BOTH cinematic and realistic! Example of held/readied actions in cinema: Opening scene from LotR when the elves hold the lines against the advancing orcs. Example from real life? Warfare 101 you hold your action until command is given.

In the orc sample above I'd have asked my player for a Cool vs Vigilance check against the orc as it came around the corner, a failure meant that they couldn't get their aim straight in time or the orc had time to react and swipe the crossbow away before the shot. A failure with enough advantage and I'd maybe let them get the shot of in enaged range if the weapon allows it. Cinematic and dramatic, and it doesn't punish the player for being smart and breaking line of sight.

I don't make a fuss because you don't allow readied actions at your table Sir, it's your table and I respect that. I make a fuss about your explanation to why, as I believe it's full of contradictions. If you'd said you don't allow them because you don't like the tactical aspect they bring to the table then I'd understand that and respect it. That's likely why they aren't in the game to begin with. "Combat is streamlined so the players do not bog down gameplay with too many tactical decisions[...]" CRB p.96

*Except Dungoen World; Dungeon World don't give a s#¤%

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It seems to me this discussion is overlooking something. There are actually a handful of instances where a character can perform an action in their turn that can carry over to into future rounds. In some of these cases, the target is required to perform an out-of-turn check to resist the effects. There are, though, no instances of "I postpone my action to interrupt my enemy and prevent them from acting at all." There are interrupts, such as Parry, which are out-of-turn. There are effects that make their task more difficult, such as Grapple, Defensive Stance and Side Step. There are potentially effects that can hinder an opponent based of dice results (Improved Parry, and Star Wars has one called Overbalance, which allows you to spend bad results to stagger the character). None of these fully prevent an opponent from acting, but they do increase the chances of them failing.

Once you get down to it, what's the difference?

On 5/27/2018 at 11:27 AM, dylansargent said:

My player last night: "I pour a pool of gas on the ground, and wait with my zippo at the ready. If the monster gets close, I want to drop the zippo and run before it attacks."

 

Me: "Uhhhhhhh..."

Other systems that I'm familiar with give players the chance to "prep" an action, and then interrupt an enemy's turn. How would Genesys handle it?

While not included in Genesys, Star Wars has a talent called Cunning Snare, which allows a character to create a trap, which is essentially what the situation is doing (creating a fire trap). A trap is set by performing an action (with no check) on the trapper's turn. Any character that subsequently moves to engaged range of the trap must make an opposed check against the trapper's skill (Cunning Snare used Vigilance vs Survival; here I would say Vigilance vs Skulduggery). If they fail, they suffer wounds (ignoring soak) equal to the trapper's characteristic (Cunning in this case) +1 per f. Spend h to inflict additional effects, such as Burn or a critical injury.

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4 hours ago, PurpleKittenofDeath said:

 

I allow such actions because I believe they are BOTH cinematic and realistic! Example of held/readied actions in cinema: Opening scene from LotR when the elves hold the lines against the advancing orcs. Example from real life? Warfare 101 you hold your action until command is given.

 

*Except Dungoen World; Dungeon World don't give a s#¤%

An even better example in LotR would be the scene where the Fellowship has retreated into Balin's Tomb and are waiting for the Orcs to chop through. They are literally 'holding their actions' until the first Orcs chop  through enough to get a good shot. And then they fire.

Situations like this come up all the time in the game and in more open circumstances. The above I would actually resolve by simply giving the party initiative as the opening of the engagement but there are plenty of situations that occur on regular basis which involve an unengaged ranged weapon wanting to hold fire for a clean shot when one appears. 

The very fact that we are even having this debate with very different viewpoints on how this common situation should be handled is proof positive IMO that it's something that should have at least been touched on in the rules (if only to give examples of how they envision such situations should be handled).

 

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36 minutes ago, Uncle_Joe said:

An even better example in LotR would be the scene where the Fellowship has retreated into Balin's Tomb and are waiting for the Orcs to chop through. They are literally 'holding their actions' until the first Orcs chop  through enough to get a good shot. And then they fire.

That's just the start of a new combat encounter. Them "holding" their actions is them rolling good on their initiative checks and attacking first.

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20 hours ago, 2P51 said:

I don't sweat the lack of this 'traditional' aspect of RPGs, mostly because it's BS.  If you're deciding to cede the initiative to an opponent and not be proactive, if you don't have the time and distance to react to whatever they choose to do, you aren't doing anything before them in reality.  The 'hold action' silliness in a melee encounter, in order to be able to act before the bad guy would literally require you being able to read their minds.  It's a nice Talent to give to a telepath, but it isn't something everyone should be able to do by default imo.

"I pour out the gasoline on the ground. If the monster steps in it, but before he attacks me, I want to drop my lighter in the gas and run like ****."

You dont need to be a telepath to pull off a stunt like that!

Think whatever you want about RPG systems, but players will inevitably want to interrupt another creature's turn with their own action, and that's what prepping or holding is all about.

Edited by dylansargent

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15 hours ago, thedonnie said:

This has come up before in my games about "Waiting until the NPC does something" and my usual response is "Ok, so you are taking the PC initiative slot before the NPC." and that is it. The only issue is if the NPC he wants to react against is not the first NPC. But, it can still be done. 

That works for most cases. However, in this case, it would be most accurate to say my player wanted to split his turn:

1. Take a Maneuver to "bait" the monster.

2. Wait till the monster approaches.

3. Before the monster acts, drop his zippo (an incidental) and run like **** (second maneuver).

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2 hours ago, dylansargent said:

"I pour out the gasoline on the ground. If the monster steps in it, but before he attacks me, I want to drop my lighter in the gas and run like ****."

You dont need to be a telepath to pull off a stunt like that!

Think whatever you want about RPG systems, but players will inevitably want to interrupt another creature's turn with their own action, and that's what prepping or holding is all about.

Yes, but this example I don't see why it even needs to be split or multiple turns.  "Baiting" a monster and yelling "hey ugly" is an Incidental.  Pouring gas, a Maneuver, the lighter attack an Action, break contact a Maneuver.  All can happen in one Turn imo.

Edited by 2P51

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Bottom line is if PCs want to dominate the combat flow in an encounter, they can all invest in their initiative skills and dominate that.  This isn't D&D where it's a complete crap shoot on the initiative roll.

If they want to be able to break contact and create significant tactical distance, they can all invest in Athletics and dominate a chase roll consistently.

All these things can be done, they just aren't default abilities in this system.

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55 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

 

Yes, but this example I don't see why it even needs to be split or multiple turns.  "Baiting" a monster and yelling "hey ugly" is an Incidental.  Pouring gas, a Maneuver, the lighter attack an Action, break contact a Maneuver.  All can happen in one Turn imo.

At a guess, because the monster isn't yet in the gasoline pool and the idea is to bait the monster, wait for him to move into the gasoline area, and then ignite it to catch the monster in the flames rather than simply creating a barrier (which would the process you outline).

I honestly think we are all talking around the same thing. We all see the situation as one which requires a handling. The question is whether such handling should just case by case (what most of us have been doing so far) or if there should be some sort of 'official' guideline for handling.

For me, I don't think a hard and fast rule needs to exist but I would have liked some examples to be touched on for how Genesys GMs can reasonable handle this somewhat common player request.

If a more 'hard and fast' rule is desired, maybe remove the initiative marker from the stack/list/chart whatever and hand it to the player. When the player wants to perform his action, hand it back to him and then perform the action in mid-turn of the monster's action and then put/reinsert the initiative after the monster's turn is complete. What the character could do at that point would depend on the narrative and what the 'held' action is.

YMMV.

Edited by Uncle_Joe
typos

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On 5/27/2018 at 6:27 PM, dylansargent said:

My player last night: "I pour a pool of gas on the ground, and wait with my zippo at the ready. If the monster gets close, I want to drop the zippo and run before it attacks."

 

Me: "Uhhhhhhh..."

Other systems that I'm familiar with give players the chance to "prep" an action, and then interrupt an enemy's turn. How would Genesys handle it?

This is a bit of thread necromancy, so sorry for that. I just had something to say about, which I fell may be useful to some people.

I'd handle the situation with normal rules and bit of creativity. I'd say to player that, "You can attack the opponent with deception (or cool if that suits better) against its vigilance, and if you succeed, you lure the enemy to the gas pool and light it at optimal time". On success PC would attack the opponent with fire. Personally I like when PCs attack opponents with unconventional skills. This works for our group, but YMMV.

As one eyed pirate said, events actually happen fairly simultaneously, and PCs and opponents don't neatly wait their turns to hit, while other hack and slash at their turns. We can use this fact to our advantage. And Genesys is narrative system, not combat simulation, so PC action can narratively be delayed, but rules wise handled normally. I.e. PC acts normally on his/her turn, and that action's effect comes to play in NPC initiative slot. This requires some leniency from GM, and PCs, but in my experience works well.

In this case there IMHO is no need for delayed action. I understand that sometimes delayed actions are useful, but most of usually situations can be handled normally in Genesys, when we just remember to keep PCs acting proactively and use a bit of creativity.

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This is an older thread now for sure, but while I agree with most that there is rarely a need for actual delayed actions with the flow of the initiative in this system and they don't always make sense there are exceptions to that where it would be useful.  

In your gasoline example, I think it makes sense that someone could drop a lighter in the pool while something is moving through it(rather than having to light it before it gets there or after its already moved through).  The game already has skills to stay focused and line up an ambush like that.  On the players turn, I would have them do a maneuver to pour out the gas, and then spend an action to make a cool check(probably just easy, maybe made a bit harder if the monster was particularly intimidating).  If they succeed they toss the lighter into the pool as an out-of-turn incidental while the monster is still in the gas.  If they fail, it lands either before the monster gets there and it has to decide to continue through or go around, or it doesn't spark til after the monster has completed its turn, depending on advantages and threats.

Of course with that said, assuming the monster hadn't used its entire turn to move into that pool it will probably be finishing to move out of it much more singed and probably rather angry.

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Interesting thread. Made me think about a lot of things. All the way back to Edge of the Empire and into Genesys right now.

For example. the LotR situation with arrows loose the moment a gap appears in the door... was it really a readied action the way D&D has been making a combat as tactically ordened as possible? Or was it simply the orcs' turn, they smashed the door. Next initiative slots are a bunch of PC slots in which Aragorn, Legolas and the bunch simply used their actions and maneuvers to aim and fire through the small gap?

The gasoline situation. As far as I understood the rules correctly, the creature first has to move towards the character (one maneuver), and then actually engage the character (another maneuver). Please correct me if I am wrong about page 100 under the MOVE header, but this seems to stop the monster from actually performing an attack right away (assuming it does not have spare maneuvers and such). Next initiative slot the player gets to drop the lighter (incidental), disangage (a MOVE maneuver from page 100) and move away (another MOVE maneuver increasing range). Nothing here seems to need a 'Ready Action' rule, if only I don't mess up the amount of maneuvering here.

In the same way, a Star Wars character once wanted to snipe an unaware opponent while the foe moved from one side of a canyon to the other. That player also wondered about, and searched for, a 'Ready Action' to interrupt the foe during movement, "otherwise the foe spends two maneuvers to get from one side to the other, into sight and out of sight again." Of course, we didn't find any special interruption rule. The GM ruled the player could make one shot as a sort of 'readied interrupt'. In hindsight due to finding this thread, it might just as well have been a single shot - outside of combat - in a narrative situation. The foe was not aware of the sniper, there was only an initiative call because people assumed they had to make an initiative check as shooting is undoubtably a part of combat, Looking back at that now, the player was still thinking in 'actions', 'partial actions', 'free actions', and 'ready actions' from D&D, and not in a narrative situation with so much more freedom. Nobody, me included at that time, thought it would be possible to first take the narrative shot, then start rolling initiative if still needed.

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