My AP problems

From: Richard Develyn <Richard.Develyn_at_...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 13:17:46 +0100

This is a revisit of stuff we were discussing ages ago but with the benefit of the released rules to hand.

AFAICS I have no problem with Extended Contests where everyone in the contest is basically trying to do the same thing (all fighting, debating, whatever) and aren't changing their minds. I have a problem with it when people are either trying to do different things to each other or are switching abilities.

First of all, starting at the bottom of page 128, we have the following sequence:

  1. Actor and opponent describe their goals
  2. Actor initiates exchange
  3. Opponent initiates exchange

Now I believe (and someone *please* correct me if I'm wrong) that the opponent does not have to use in offence the ability he used in defence. If actor and opponent have vastly different goals (i.e. fighter vs sleep-inducing-healer) then the two exchanges are going to be very different.

My first problem is this: the first actor determines the exchange which is used to generate those initial APs. This makes a huge difference to the outcome of the encounter. Being first actor is very important and there are no rules to help with this at all.

p.137 states this nice and explicitely

"...if you are the actor in a first exchange of a contest, it is always clever to take an action which forces your opponent to respond using one of his lesser abilities. That way, his overall AP total will be lower for the rest of the contest."

This feels totally ridiculous to me.


The second problem comes because there appears to be an implicit assumption that your objective in an encounter is entirely described by the initial ability used in that encounter. Hence the explanation about not changing APs when Switching Ability (p.137). This is simply not true. As I remember from previous discussions you may well wish to parley first but be ready for combat. The rules penalise you if you don't use your best ability first.

My answer to both these problems would be to propose something along the lines of APs being more a measure of the character rather than the skill.


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