Re: AP's and switching in combat

From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_...>
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 10:17:18 -0800

> I understand what you are trying to do here and I agree, but I have some
> more questions on this situation:
> 1. Cyrano is the Actor and attacks with his Rapier Wit. Can the troll
> defend with his Great Maul at a huge improvisational modifier? (Reasoning:
> The troll intends to clobber this guy, not listen to him.)

Yes. In the example of Cyrano and the fool, the fool did, indeed use his sword as a defense (I'd have to re-watch or reread to make sure if he tries any witticisms of his own, its been a while...) Of course, Cyrano was using his fencing to augment his Wit, so there *was* a physical element to the contest as well.

> 2. Same situation: At the metagame level, Cyrano's player should stake a
> lot of AP on this first exchange in order to deplete the troll rapidly. Do
> you think that this is okay or do you see a limiting factor that the
> Narrator could apply?

I think it is okay. When Cyrano bids in the first exchange, the fight is primarily one of Wit, even if the troll is planning on retaliating physically. If Cyrano can achieve a 1-round knockout, why should he be held back?

> 3. Same situation: The limiting factor that I can think of is that a large
> AP stake means a large risk. Since Cyrano is presumably defending with
> Fencing and attacking with Wit, I can see a negative improvisational
> modifier being added to the next Fencing defense to simulate the risk
> in order to stake a large number of AP staked in the previous Wit attack
> (maybe Cyrano throws his arms wide apart in order to punctuate his point
> and has to scramble to bring his foil back in line for defense). Does this
> sound right to you or do you have a better idea?

The risk of a big AP bid is in losing it. There need not be any penalty to the ability rolls. If I bid big, and win, well, I gambled and won. If I lose, I am at a disadvantage. We are not trying to model combat so much as the flow of advantage between the contestants. Igf I won the exchange, I obviously brought my blade back in line after my exorbitant gesture, while if I lose, I didn't.

> 4. Same situation: Cyrano has brought the troll down to negative AP. The
> troll obviously isn't physically hurt. How would you, as Narrator,
> why the troll isn't fighting anymore? (I'm dubious of the "the troll is
> shamed and confused explanation by what he regards as your irrelevant
> yammering" explanation and there aren't always going to be troll mothers
> around to hold back the troll.)

He is demoralized. He has lost the will to fight. The circumstance of the fight is of utmost importance at this stage - what was Cyrano trying to do? Why did he chose Rapier Wit as his ability when he started the fight? Since he obviosly wasn't trying to injure the troll, what *was* he trying to do? Whatever it was, he is able to do it now. The Narrator must have agreed that Rapier Wit was a good ability for whatever Cyrano was trying to do, so the narrator must decide what the troll's reaction is.

> 5. General thought: It has already been discussed that in order for
> Oscar/Cyrano/whoever to use Rapier Wit, he must have skills in Uz Culture,
> Uz Language, etc. There doesn't seem to be a mechanic on hand to apply
> these handicaps. Should the Narrator determine them by rolling on the
> Augmentation Resistance Chart, has there been any thought about
> an Edge or Handicap from a raw ability score, or is the Narrator supposed
> to wing this? If the last option, do you have any helpful guidelines?

You can play it several ways:

  1. It is a pre-requisite that you have a high level of the language in order to use your Wit (possibly using the lower rating of the Language as a limit on the Wit). I would personally use this in the case like this, where you are trying to use Wit against someone's native lanuage.
  2. You can augment Wit with Language. I would use something like this when insulting a social inferior, or a foreigner that knows the language but not well - overwhelming them with *my* grasp of the subltties of the language - (also good when you are in a crowd of your social equals that you are trying to impress)
  3. Figure that Tradetalk can cover the Wit and not worry about language. There is a section in the narrator book about this.

> 6. Same thought: Cyrano's Rapier Wit score could be limited to his ability
> in Uz culture. This type of mechanic doesn't seem to exist yet in Hero
> Wars. Is this with or against the spirit of the rules?

It is not addressed. As noted above, I would use it as a narrator in some circumstances

> 7. General thought: Maybe trolls are naturally resistant to human wit and
> troll wit is incomprehensible to humans (maybe is involves eating things
> that humans can't eat while generating sonar clicks). In this case, it
> seems that Cyrano's Rapier Wit can't work on trolls. Is this an acceptable
> Hero Wars ruling?

Yes, for your campaign. You might decide that Cyrano's Wit is absolutely wrong for the occaision, but Beavis & Butthead (with numerous bodily function jokes) is perfect. I depends on how *you* see the trolls, at least until the HW trollpak is written.

> 8. Same thought: Maybe trolls aren't entirely immune to human wit but some
> unique ability of theirs like the level of the highest ability in the Uz
> culture keyword is applied to a human's Wit attack as a handicap. Is this
> ruling more true to Hero Wars canon?

> 9. Same thought: If trolls are naturally immune or resistant to human wit,
> then that would explain why this is such a difficult (and possibly
> inappropriate) example.

Wit vrs Troll is used as an extreme example (the original example was against a Zorak Zoran Berserker). We are working under the assumption that the troll in the example is the typical crude ZZ worshipper, as opposed to an urbane Argan Argar trader. There are any number of other people that can take the place of the troll, a Storm Bully for example.

This example assumes that the player(s) are playing sensibly. Would I, if playing Cyrano, use Rapier Wit if I was in a situation where my opponent's most likely response would be to take my head off? Probably not. If, as a Narrator, you think that Wit is the wrong abiltiy in the situation, tell the player to use something else or face a huge Improv penalty. This applies to offense as well as defense. If Oscar's player walks up to a Zorak Zoran warparty in the Elder Wilds and tries to use Wit as an attack, I'd first let the player know that this is a *bad* idea. If he insists, I'd penalize him (penalties *before* the contest starts will lower his starting AP, making it a double whammy). As a narrator, I can even disallow the ability - just tell him "it doesn't work. The troll winds up for a line drive using your head, what do you do?". If he tries to use Wit as his defense, he gets penalized, and the troll swings...


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