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Avatar111

disengage / attack of opportunities

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I'm having a little concern with the current design of movement.

It seem too easy to disengage from melee characters. Most games have either a disengage mechanic that is part of the action economy or, attack of opportunities.

In L5R, running away from a melee character is as easy as running after one, which can create some weird situations and I would rather the disengaging character be given a tiny drawback for disengaging (or maybe give a charge action to melee characters so that they can run and do some kind of not too damaging attack).

A few time I ran into the situation of a melee character using the maneuvre action to close the gap, then the opponent just also used a maneuvre action and ran away, only resetting the range and wasting both characters action (which in this case is advantageous to the ranged or lightly armored character running away)

any ideas ? Optimally, I would like to keep this add on rule as simple as possible, and altering the original rule as lightly as possible (so no crazy new complicated action or rework of the entire movement system),

Edited by Avatar111

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There are also no repercussions for ranged characters wearing heavy armour and ranged characters can, with the exception of some weapons like shuriken, not attack while in melee range. In other words, it's also rather easy to shut a bow user down if you can close with them. Just saying, it works both ways. If you want to allow melee fighters to attack on a disengage you should probably allow ranged fighters to attack after they disengaged as well. Wasting the actions on both sides is not inherently beneficial to anyone - it's basically to the advantage of the side that's winning the part of the fight where there's actual fighting.

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I don't want to give an extra attack. I don't believe attack of opportunities are the way to go.

Probably just some kind of penalty/drawback/difficulty to run away and/or disengage from an opponent with a melee weapon.


No matter who's advantage it is to run away, it should not be that easily doable. It creates very stupid situations when your players are good enough to understand to keep their distance all the time, use ranged attacks and if somebody closes in, run away while the other party members shoot arrows. there is a REASON every rpg worth something puts a drawback when you disengage. If somebody with a bow is getting rushed by a melee character, it is time he drop his bow and fight. not back off and shoot.
 

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1 minute ago, Avatar111 said:

No matter who's advantage it is to run away, it should not be that easily doable. It creates very stupid situations when your players are good enough to understand to keep their distance all the time, use ranged attacks and if somebody closes in, run away while the other party members shoot arrows. there is a REASON every rpg worth something puts a drawback when you disengage. If somebody with a bow is getting rushed by a melee character, it is time he drop his bow and fight. not back off and shoot.

Frame your skirmish scenes narrower. Why is only one archer getting engaged and is the rest left alone?

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Just now, nameless ronin said:

Frame your skirmish scenes narrower. Why is only one archer getting engaged and is the rest left alone?

always possible to frame it better. true.

but lets go basic here, its an open field, there is a big bad rampaging monster against 3 player characters with ranged attacks.

impossible for the monster to do anything.

simple as that, this is an encounter that I CANNOT put in the game.


since there is no charge attacks, and no disengage penalty, "kiting" becomes a given in many situations for an archer whos "waiting for his bushi buddy to come get the agro".

its just a bit weird.

like I said I am not looking to change the whole rules, just to add a very slight modification so that it is a tiny bit more disadvantageous to run away than to close in.

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1 minute ago, Avatar111 said:

always possible to frame it better. true.

but lets go basic here, its an open field, there is a big bad rampaging monster against 3 player characters with ranged attacks.

impossible for the monster to do anything.

simple as that, this is an encounter that I CANNOT put in the game.

Again, consider the reverse: if you tie up archers too much once they get caught in melee, those three archers are probably not getting anything done if you put them up against a bunch of low rank mooks that manage to engage. That would then also be an encounter you can't put in the game (and it's a fairly common one). You'll also be allowing one tank character to pull aggro much more effectively if he can engage that big bad monster and have it suffer some kind of penalty if it wants to disengage, while his two archer buddies pelt it with arrows.

I think we've had this argument a couple of times already. ūüėõ¬†Fifth is not a simulationist RPG. If you want that kind of tactical combat, you'll be much better off with other editions or systems. I know you don't mind houserules to make the game better and I'm all for that, but I think that's the wrong approach if you want houserules to change the game into something it's not.¬†

If you really, really just want to add some kind of downside to something, in this system the go-to mechanic for that is strife. Do something you should not get to do for nothing? Take strife. I don't think that solves your big bad monster getting kited issue though.

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A few things to consider:

  • Without using actual grids, the relative distances between characters can sometimes be hard to picture the same way for everyone involved. Having no engage/disengage mechanic will prevent a lot of the inevitable arguments of "but I thought we were positioned [this¬†other way]?!?! Now I have no way to get out of this situation...".
  • If you consider ranged characters, it's hard to picture that they didn't have the time/chance to react by running away themselves, therefore preventing the gap from being closed entirely.
  • In a lot of interesting cinematic melee fighting scenes, the opponents are not standing still and hacking at each other in turns. They run around, try to use terrain to their advantage, improvise, etc.
  • If "kiting" monsters becomes rampant, just hit those paladins samurai where it hurts them the most: in the bystanders! That big bad rampaging monster will just tire of running around to reach these elusive¬†targets, so it'll¬†just turn around and run towards¬†a nearby farming community instead...

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in other words; I find the "backpedal and shoot" or "backpedal and run away" combo really jarring, because it rubs your nose in the turn-based abstraction of the system. and IF you don't want the system to BE perceived and played as a "turn based simulation" then you put ****** rules (or simpler, smarter rules) that doesn't make it so easy to cheese the **** out of it.

it isn't about turning the game into something it is not, it is about making the game something not half baked. otherwise just throw all the rules away and just RP, there are optional rules for "story only groups". but the optional rules for "more tactical people" are sloppy.

some basic concepts of mechanical RPG were totally forgotten or butched (like their range band vs grid system who's honestly a ****** joke).

i know.. i know... it isn't "nice" to critic the game. sorry about that.

i'm not looking for a "stop trying to make the game into something it is not" answer.

i'm looking for a mechanically smart enough gamer to get a mechanical opinion and solution to a basic game design problem.

 

taking strife or fatigue to disengage is a decent option, I like that. fatigue is probably even better as it would represent someone out of breath that cannot "kite" anymore. it would basically be an automatic attack of opportunity, not rolled (because we do NOT want more rolls). gonna toy around this concept.

 

EDIT: a system like Star Wars or Genesys "fix" many of its issues by having advantages/triumphs that can alter the narrative (thus for example forcing the opponent to not be able to run away if you expend a triumph or what not).

in Star Wars, If melee characters want to stay engaged with an opponent, they should be spending advantage to either knock the opponent down or to declare that disengaging is an invalid option come that opponent's turn because [narrative reason].

and that is good enough.

 

maybe the answer lies within the opportunity usage (like water than can "create" a piece of terrain). but this becomes awfully "precise"...

at this point, maybe they should have went all in in making the system NARRATIVE, instead of trying to quantify everything while cutting corners and not being able to handle basic tactical gameplay.

Edited by Avatar111

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1 hour ago, Agasha Kanetake said:

A few things to consider:

  • If you consider ranged characters, it's hard to picture that they didn't have the time/chance to react by running away themselves, therefore preventing the gap from being closed entirely.
  • In a lot of interesting cinematic melee fighting scenes, the opponents are not standing still and hacking at each other in turns. They run around, try to use terrain to their advantage, improvise, etc.

agreed. but it IS a turn based game. the rules don't allow simultaneous movement. that, alone, create the usual problems, that many RPG have a way to "fix". L5R does not have this fix (or I don't see it).
 

Edited by Avatar111

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48 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

 IF you don't want the system to BE perceived and played as a "turn based simulation" then you put ****** rules (or simpler, smarter rules) that doesn't make it so easy to cheese the **** out of it.

It is turn-based. I really don't know what makes you perceive it as a simulation though.

So here's the long and short of it. It's not a simulation. If you want it to handle that kind of thing properly, you need to change it to be. Personally, I think that requires a major overhaul of the system. If not, you're very likely causing more problems than you solve. If it's not the kind of system you want to play, why play it in the first place? I don't care about you being nice about this or not. No skin off my nose. I'm perfectly fine with criticism, I think I've posted my fair share of criticism here too. That's besides the point. The issue is what you want from the game. And I really don't see how disengaging making someone take fatigue is going to give you the game you want, nor a dozen more little houserules like that. If you want a game with strict tactical mechanics, you need a game that's built for it. And this one just isn't. I agree it's not polished enough and was very likely rushed through the last stages of development, but I don't think major portions of the mechanics were forgotten. FFG's Star Wars RPG is barely any better as a tactical game, and that's much, much less of a narrative system.

This is why whenever I see someone ask about whether this edition has a better system than previous ones and whether they should switch my answer is that they're largely incomparable. The setting may be largely the same, but 5th is a different game than previous editions were. If you want a game that revolves around narrative samurai drama in Rokugan, 5th is for you. If you want a game that revolves around samurai adventures in Rokugan, just play a previous edition. Third's my preferred choice, but even 2nd or the d20-version-that-we-don't-mention is probably better for that.

Edited by nameless ronin

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star wars is much more of a narrative system, not in the lore, but in the rules. it easily allow (and wants you to) change the narrative using advantages/triumphs.

l5r shy away from that, seemingly being more "tactical" and never fully committing to being a narrative first system.

i don't have anything against narrative system in which you have resources that allow you to change the "scene".  i am enjoying that, and probably l5r would have been better if it embraced that direction.

now, since we are stuck with a game that doesn't totally assume what it wants to be, i am having fun (yeah, honestly) trying to clean up the tactical issues in the cleanest/simplest way possible.

 

again, I LOVE narrative systems. But, these systems are usually assumed and don't have weird abusable mechanical rules inserted in them, since the narrative will always be the best option.

I don't want you to think of me as "this guy only likes super tactical d20 style". this is not the case. if you check my "duel houserule" you can clearly understand that I'm actually trying to remove mechanical stuck up (earth stance etc) and making it more flowing.
like, why the designers try to do some stuff like predict/center when its totally badly done ? why are they trying to include "grid based rules" when its totally butched ?

thing is... in the end... I think the core concepts of this game are fabulous. it just need a bit of polish, and i'm willing to do it while staying as true as possible to the original intent and without adding more complexity (actually, a majority of my houserules REDUCE the complexity. not all of them, but many).

 

 

Edited by Avatar111

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18 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

star wars is much more of a narrative system, not in the lore, but in the rules. it easily allow (and wants you to) change the narrative using advantages/triumphs.

I don't think that makes it a narrative system. It kind of gives you narrative resolution options but only insofar as the dice allow it,  and going by the more conventional definition of a narrative RPG the only narrative drive it has are Morality/Duty/Obligation which are completely superficial compared to strife. L5R 5th is narrative because it's supposed to revolve around samurai drama and because it has key mechanics that are really only there to make that happen. Strife is meant to be at the heart of a 5th ed L5R game. Morality/Duty/Obligation are present in a SW game, but they usually aren't meaningful.

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21 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I don't think that makes it a narrative system. It kind of gives you narrative resolution options but only insofar as the dice allow it,  and going by the more conventional definition of a narrative RPG the only narrative drive it has are Morality/Duty/Obligation which are completely superficial compared to strife. L5R 5th is narrative because it's supposed to revolve around samurai drama and because it has key mechanics that are really only there to make that happen. Strife is meant to be at the heart of a 5th ed L5R game. Morality/Duty/Obligation are present in a SW game, but they usually aren't meaningful.

indeed. i was more talking about the fact that if you have triumphs/advantages you are helped by the system, encouraged even, to alter the narrative (destiny point being a "deus ex machina" is pretty clear)
this becomes a solution to a lot of issues; the opponent is always running from you ? roll a few advantages or a triumph on your next athletic check to run after him and you can make him trip, come into a cul-de-sac etc.

l5r doesn't allow that much flexibility with the mechanical resources. They define the opportunity usage precisely enough to basically become constraining. Which would be fine if the system was actually tight. But it is not. (you can see the example of that when you compare their range band movement system vs their grid based movement system... two different animals that have nothing in common and alter the balance significantly in their own way, meaning something is good under the grid rules, and bad in the range band rule, or vice versa.)

one solution is probably to expand, and make it clear, that opportunities can have significant impact on the narrative situations. While the system kind of hint at it, it never fully commit to it.
like, sure, a 2 opportunity in water allows you to create a terrain, thus, probably able to "entangle" (narratively) the opponent who's running away. That is interesting. But it is a bit like finding a pin in a haystack since you need to know the stances, if its martial etc since all of them have clearly defined "examples". compared to SW that tells you; "you have 3 advantages? lets go, do something narrative" which makes it super smooth to run. I don't have to figure out "oh ok, if i'm in water stance I can spend 2 opp to stop the opponent from running away".

 

 

Edited by Avatar111

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4 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

one solution is probably to expand, and make it clear, that opportunities can have significant impact on the narrative situations. While the system kind of hint at it, it never fully commit to it.
like, sure, a 2 opportunity in water allows you to create a terrain, thus, probably able to "entangle" (narratively) the opponent who's running away. That is interesting.

I wouldn't say it hints at it. It literally says so on p. 28. Examples would help though (I know you like examples ;) ).

If I look at the best sessions of 5th edition I've had the common point between them is that I focused on the ninjo vs giri narrative. I gave them dilemmas. I stressed the moral and philosophical consequences of their choices. "What do you do?" was an actual question - in fact, it's the most meaningful question because everything starts from there, and it's a question that comes up over and over again, ideally with the players changing their minds and going back and forth. Whispers of Shadow and Steel, the Scorpion novella, illustrates this well. This only works if the players want this to be a major theme though: they can just as easily choose to always prioritize their giri (or even their ninjo, but giri is much easier), and look at strife as a purely mechanical thing they need to manage in order to be effective and that's it.

My best sessions in previous editions on the other hand never really had the characters question what they wanted to do. There were twists and misdirections of course, and players could find they'd done the exact opposite of what they should have, but in the moment their motivations were clear. In previous editions the big question isn't "what", it's "how". And that makes all the difference: "what do you want to do?" is a narrative question; "how are you going to do this?", despite that it might seem narrative, is really in essence a mechanical question.

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11 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

If I look at the best sessions of 5th edition I've had the common point between them is that I focused on the ninjo vs giri narrative. I gave them dilemmas. I stressed the moral and philosophical consequences of their choices. "What do you do?" was an actual question - in fact, it's the most meaningful question because everything starts from there, and it's a question that comes up over and over again, ideally with the players changing their minds and going back and forth. Whispers of Shadow and Steel, the Scorpion novella, illustrates this well. This only works if the players want this to be a major theme though: they can just as easily choose to always prioritize their giri (or even their ninjo, but giri is much easier), and look at strife as a purely mechanical thing they need to manage in order to be effective and that's it.

you never see me complaining about this part of the game. this part is great! we are 40 y old players that have been playing rpgs since we are 10 (we are 80% still the same group of 5 players, no joke). We know how to "roleplay", at least in a way we enjoy (pretty hardcore, minus the costumes, to be honest).

i won't complain about how l5r create those amazing narrative situations, it does. i just wished it also created those amazing mechanical situation... but a lot of the time, after you played a few times a similar situation, you find a way to cheese or break the system (duels, movements/maneuvre , and how the critical wounds stack up being the biggest offenders in our opinion, and p.329 which is a total bloat)
sure there are some imbalances in the schools etc... but that doesn't really bother us. at least not the same way some other core stuff does.

tdlr;

i KNOW the system create amazing narrative/stories. it DOES. and we love that!

but, mechanically, the game suffers. and no amount of "well, its fun to roleplay and have these narrative choices etc" will make some of the shittty mechanics better.

why not try to find easy solutions to fix these butched mechanic rules ?

 

if we can make duel fun, movement fun, and stacking wounds fun.

I say we will be very satisfied.

Edited by Avatar111

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You probably want a technique that penalizes leaving range of your weapon. Something like:

Face me, fool! [Kata, Close Combat]

When making an Attack check with a melee weapon or a Movement check in order to get closer and engage an opponent, you may spend Opportunities in a following way:

Opp: Choose one target within range of your weapon. Until end of your next turn, that character needs to accept Fatigue equal to your skill with your current weapon to move away from you. 

Edited by WHW

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2 hours ago, WHW said:

FÔĽŅace meÔĽŅ, fool! [KatÔĽŅa, ClosÔĽŅe CombatÔĽŅ]ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

The Kata you‚Äôre looking for is Soaring Slice: chuck ANY weapon up to range 3 + one more range band per opp, *open ended*!! In other words: ‚ÄúI throw my tetsubo at the horizon‚ÄĚ :D

The drawback is that it requires an unhealthy supply of tetsubos...

More seriously, rather than a Kata, I would see some generic opportunity spends attached to a maneuver action that brings you into reach of an opponent. *+: on their next turn, one opponent within reach of your readied melee weapon must suffer one Strife (or Fatigue), plus one more per ** spent this way to go out of your range. 

Not sure how well this would play out to be honest. So I’d try that only if faced with a case of extreme acute kiting...

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3 hours ago, Franwax said:

The Kata you‚Äôre looking for is Soaring Slice: chuck ANY weapon up to range 3 + one more range band per opp, *open ended*!! In other words: ‚ÄúI throw my tetsubo at the horizon‚ÄĚ :D

The drawback is that it requires an unhealthy supply of tetsubos...

More seriously, rather than a Kata, I would see some generic opportunity spends attached to a maneuver action that brings you into reach of an opponent. *+: on their next turn, one opponent within reach of your readied melee weapon must suffer one Strife (or Fatigue), plus one more per ** spent this way to go out of your range. 

Not sure how well this would play out to be honest. So I’d try that only if faced with a case of extreme acute kiting...

Seems basically like telling archer players to split up to me, so they can shoot at the people others are engaged with instead of the ones engaging them and hope those others can come help them out quickly enough rather than disengage and get some sort of stalemate going. I get what @Avatar111 and others would like to achieve, I just expect players will switch to other, equally bizarre tactics. If their mindset is to wring every last ounce of tactical efficiency out of the rules regardless of how contrived that is, it's going to take a lot more (and a lot more thorough) houseruling to make this an enjoyable (by my measure, I don't want to speak for others) experience. 

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Yes, unless I can come up with something that works seamlesly, automatically, without adding a new paragraphe of rule,

I'll leave it as is.

Was just wondering if somebody had a miracle idea (under the range band system, because the grid system is too broken to even use anyway).

Maybe the maneuvre action check TN could be increased if you are within reach of an opponent melee attack?

The check becomes the opponent vigilance instead of a static 2 ? Or just become a tn4?

Dunno, maybe.

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Can some of these issues be mitigated by approaches? Ok, so you want to disengage from an enemy: make a skill check with water and each opportunity (max 2) represents a range band in water stance, or half a range band in something else (2 for 1 no rounding up), else your TN is reduced by deficiency of success on the next attack?

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19 minutes ago, T_Kageyasu said:

Can some of these issues be mitigated by approaches? Ok, so you want to disengage from an enemy: make a skill check with water and each opportunity (max 2) represents a range band in water stance, or half a range band in something else (2 for 1 no rounding up), else your TN is reduced by deficiency of success on the next attack?

having to make a check only to disengage is a bit taxing. and as much as possible, you don't want someone to roll 2 checks during their turn. you need to minimise the amount of checks rolled in this game (and most RPG aside the ones with very easy rolls like D&D).

I already don't like the checks to "resist" as they are yet another source of opportunity spending and time consuming (especially when at rank 3+ when people are able to constantly throw 2 resists at the opponent every turn).

 

someone who wants to disengage, run away. enough so that the melee character will have to use a maneuvre themselve to run after them will also NEED to use the maneuvre action. That is why i'm thinking if you make the maneuvre check harder for the character running away... you give him more chance of failing and thus more chance for the melee character to be able to catch to him. plus, if the range attack character wants to attack without running away, he can still do that without penalty (aside maybe needing to use water stance).

thoughts ?

Edited by Avatar111

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Overall, maybe i'm more concern about the fact that someone can disengage and run away without any hinderance (creates an infinite loop of running around if the target choose so).

I don't think I mind as much that ranged characters can with minimal effort position themselves to attack a melee character that they were engaged with. That is fine, since the melee character will be able to attack them after.

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13 minutes ago, Franwax said:

I'll see if I run into those Benny Hill situations...

If you play with players who read miyamoto musashi, you will.

+1 (or maybe 2) tn to the maneuvre action while withing melee reach of an opponent is an elegant and butter smooth solution.

Unless proven otherwise, this case is closed. Thx all! Yet again another good discussion.

Edited by Avatar111

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could this be achived with the OPP that creates terrain features?

E.g: i spend the opp and creates a terrain feature that 'pens you in' then acts it out as i manuveaur you in to this pen.

I.e: 'As i advance, i make sure to corral him in the direction of the cliff, to late he realise that he is cornered'

this do leave the burden on the 'grappler' and not the 'escapee', but on the other hand it is a truth that stand untill the escapee takes some sort of action to overcome or change the circumstance.

 

PS cant recall if it is a water or air OPP.

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