Richard's AP Issues.

From: Alex Ferguson <abf_at_...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 02:55:33 +0100 (BST)

Richard Develyn:
> 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.

That's all correct, and true.

> 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."

My apologies, David, I missed this on my quick re-skim as I posted earlier. You're right that the rules say this -- and I'm still right that it's a dumb idea, of the first rank... Pretty much a case of writing a buggy rule, and then rubbing salt into the wounds by adding an extra passage encouraging players to rejoice at it and exploit it ruthlessly, regardless of narrative game-world logic. (Which reminds me of the Community Participation rules, curiously...)

> This feels totally ridiculous to me.

You're right. It's a shame no-one realised this in advance of publication-- hey, wait a minute!

> 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.

It's the same problem, really, and so I still agree with you. ;-)

Here's how I suggest you fix it:

  1. ignore the 'first ability rules' idea. Use common sense. Where common sense is not available, to steal from Steve Jackson, use a referee.
  2. When switching abilities, I'd recommend that you _do_ normally ignore this, for AP purposes. But if a particular case just seems completely egregious, then you could legitimately ask if it's actually a fresh contest. Assume the switchee 'forfeited' the first, and apply consequences, and possible carry-over, as seems appropriate. (For example, you use a lampoon against Harrek, scoring a truly devestating poetic hit or two. Soon, Harrek gets bored with this, and decides to change the 'field of play' (regardless of the nuance of whether his Critique Iambic Pentameter APs were ever exhausted).
  3. If you ever are confronted with a case that doesn't sit well with easier no AP total change, or a fresh contest, then consider 'splitting the difference' and making an ad hoc AP adjustment. I'd do this on a purely narrative basis, judging by how much someone seems to have 'gained' or 'lost' by their tactic. This is obviously totally arbitrary, and not even remotely covered by the rules, but I promise and absolutely guarantee[*] that if you do it, David Dunham will _not_ burst through your door and beat you up for it. Well, not if he doesn't find out about it, at least. If you want a fig-leaf of rules respectability to cover this audacious move, you can dress it up as a hefty bonus/malus, and/or edge/handicap, but

And the whole of the Hero Wars Law shall be, if it feels good, do it.


[*] Not a promise or guarantee.

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