Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Knife vs Gun initiative, lessons learned

After viewing this video I got some observations I'd like to include in the game and lay the groundwork for future skill and training benefits in Weapons Free



A trained individual reacts quicker and with more options than an untrained one.
Thus the defender:
  • gains a time advantage to do more actions
  • relocates to disrupt the enemy attack
  • relocates to have a tactical advantage

Now lets look at initiative and activity sequence in a classic way as I've played it before and in the new proposed beats and tics time frame.

Classic initiative resolution
  • Attacker moves forward with knife.
  • Defender is unaware.
  • Initiative roll (some sort of modifier may be applied due to surprise, whatever).
    • Attacker wins
      • rolls to hit
      • rolls damage
      • endures defender's response if defender is still alive
    • Defender wins
      • rolls to hit
      • rolls damage
      • endures attackers response if attacker is still alive
  • Subsequent rounds ensure depending on hit point system and mechanics

Weapons Free solution
  • Attacker moves forward with knife
  • Defender is unaware
  • Reflex roll (ability to determine attack is coming and respond to it)
    • advantage is represented as a time difference
    • if the difference is in the attacker's favor the defender may not have time to respond
    • if the difference is in the defender's favor the defender may take actions prior to the attacker
  • Skill considerations (let's take a moment to consider the following)
    • Unskilled gun man
      • Hesitates
      • Has little options
      • Tries longer attacks, turn around, pull weapon, concealment issues
    • Skilled gun man
      • Does not hesitate
      • Has options
      • Tries quick attacks, and does them instinctively (faster)
    • Expert gun man
      • Does not hesitate
      • Has many options
      • Tries to dodge, parry and attack
  • Skill grants
    • Time advantage: character responds quicker, literally has more time to respond
      • Roll done against character's reflex attribute which is higher
      • The better the roll more the roll grants tics (units of time) to the character
    • Action advantage: character performs more actions in a given time frame
      • Beats (actions) require less tics
      • More actions can be performed by a skill character (instinctive trained response) than an unskilled character

Game mechanics in action
  • Encounter begins.
  • Attacker approaches defender with the knife.
  • GM and player roll for reflex. This is a roll low against the reflex value. The lower the roll the higher the advantage. This advantage converts to tics (unit of time).
  • vs unskilled defender
    • The attacker has a reflex roll bonus due to surprise. A roll is made and the difference is -4. This provides the attacker with a 4 tic lead. Imagine it as time points before zero and after. Negative is good as it represents tics before zero time.
    • The defender rolls and gets a + 2, not very good. He's 6 tics behind the attacker.
    • The attacker stabs the defender. The attack takes a beat (4 tics) to his next action. Four tics later the counter goes from -4 to 0 and the attacker can act again. He stabs one more time. Time goes by again and 2 ticks later at +2 the defender, startled, looks up from his bloodied body to try and attack. He faints and bleeds out.
    • Timeline
  • vs skilled defender
    • The attacker has a reflex roll bonus due to surprise. A roll is made and the difference is -4. This provides the attacker with a 4 tic lead. Imagine it as small time points before zero and after. Negative is good as it represents tics before zero time.
    • The defender rolls and gets a - 6, very good! He's 2 tics ahead of the attacker.
    • He may draw or dodge. Given his concealment and the action bonus the best thing is to dodge then draw and shoot.
    • He dodges and that takes him a beat, 3 tics, not 4 like the attacker since he's highly skilled in hand to hand.
    • The defender has dodged out of the way and is drawing his gun. The attacker arrives two tics later, but can only swing at the air. He turns towards his target, but that will take him another 4 tics to the next action. The defender is only one tics away from his own action. The attacker turns to see a gun raising up and a fraction of a second (tic) later it's all over for him.
    • Timeline
Conclusions

  • An initiative system that conveys skill to real time differences and not just an order or sequence of events allows the PC to leverage skill to obtain a tactical advantage.
  • Good skills + good attributes allow for a significant time advantage that can get the PC out of a tactically unfavorable situation.
  • Eventually highly lethal rules lead to low lethality for the skilled PC. Converting a unfavorable situation to a favorable one is only good if the PC can then neutralize the threat immediately by using high lethality rules. Dodging an imminent attack only to then face an enemy with 50+ hit points in a long volley of attacks and counter attacks is not favorable and could lead to PC death.


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