RE: Starting APs

From: Richard Develyn <Richard.Develyn_at_...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 14:23:29 +0100

From: Mikael Raaterova [mailto:ginijji_at_...]

>In the case of Indy vs Arab Swordsman, the swordsman attacks with his
>sword. I don't see why Indy can't simply defend himself with his gun.

I suppose I was thinking that you can't parry a sword with a gun.

>If Evil Meldek casts a turn-to-frog spell upon you from afar, you
>*can* defend yourself with "swordsman". However, since you have to
>close first, i'd give you a big penalty. If you defend with a ranged
>weapon that you don't have readied, you'd get a slightly lower
>penalty. If you defend with "hide", no penalty (assuming he has to
>target you for his magic to work). If you defend with magic, no
>penalty. If you defend with "plead for mercy" i'd give you a big
>penalty, since Evil Meldek is already in the process of cursing you.

I hadn't seen counter-attack as defence, me. I didn't think swordsman would be a good response to turn-to-frog.

Well, even if you allow it, but with an improv penalty, that penalty clobbers your APs just because Meldek was first actor. And remember, first actor doesn't mean he surprised you or anything like that. In any extended contact between two people *someone* has to be first actor and there might be no good reason to pick Meldek over yourself.

>>So what this comes to in the end as that generally people will use one of
>>their best abilities, if not their *best* ability, in all statements of
>>intent in order to get high APs, and then swap abilities as appropriate.

>Was this statement meant to be proscriptive or descriptive? If
>descriptive, i'd say you are wrong.

>In my experience, people tend to choose the most appropriate ability
>rather than the highest rated.

Here's another example:

Someone challenges you to a game of cards. You accept, thinking to yourself that if this person is a cheat you'll chop his head off. You may be ok at cards but still figure that if the contest is likely to switch at some point from card playing to combat your better off answering with your combat ability (to get the high APs) even if the first thing you actually do is play cards.

I generally agree that your starting APs should be governed by objective. The problem I can see is that objective is not necesserily determined by your first action in the encounter. So you make a statement of intent which encompasses some high rated ability to make sure you get the high starting APs, but then do the most appropriate thing for that stage of the encounter.

Another example:

You face a Jack-O-Bear (pre-empting Anaxial) with claws 2w2 and Confuse 10w1. You are a pretty handy swordsman 5w2, but the Jack-O-Bear gets in first with Confuse. Assuming your resistance to Confuse is 14, regardless of whether the JOB succeeds or not you are stuck on starting AP of 14 (instead of 45) against the JOBs 30. The JOB switches to claw for next round and you combat but you are, effectively, 30APs short of pocket.

And remember, the JOB got this advantage on you just because he happened to have been first actor. If you'd simply been walking down the road towards one another deciding who went as first actor could have been nothing more significant than tossing a coin.

If you're saying his attempt to Confuse you can be answered by your sword ability, then we're just down to arguing improv penalties. Some people would say that answering a Confuse attempt by waving your sword would have 20 penalty or more.

I would deal with this by not using first actor at all, treat instead as a two man group contest. Now, interestingly enough, you choose sword (45 APs), he would probably choose claws (42), so you would go first. On the JOB's go he would still try Confuse against your resistance of 14 (just as before, but the starting APs is better realised), and would still have the advantage since 10w1 vs 14 will win more often than 5w2 vs 2w2.


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