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  • Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

    I've noticed a weird little quirk with the rules which seems to make dealing with less agile enemies in heavy armour incredibly easy and almost comical.

    If you have a respectable level of Athletics, and your enemy's Agility isn't spectacular, you can succeed on knocking them down pretty reliably; it'll be a rare occurrence that you manage to screw up the roll. This seems okay at face value; all you're doing is giving yourself an advantage on your next attack, and forcing the enemy to use half their turn getting back up. But then I noticed this little part of the rules (page 164 of the Game of Thrones edition);

    If your Armor Rating is 6 or higher before any Qualities or Benefits, it requires a Greater Action to stand.
    So what this basically means is that in a 1 on 1 duel, one knight can spend every round knocking over their target and using their second lesser action to stab the poor guy while he's down, while the knocked down knight has to dedicate 100 percent of their time to standing up, giving them no opportunity to actually DO anything. This makes Gregor Clegane a hilariously easy guy to take down in a fight as long as your Athletics is around 5 or 6.

    Am I missing something, or is this just a broken little loophole in the rules?

  • #2
    Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

    Originally posted by Hoob View Post
    I've noticed a weird little quirk with the rules which seems to make dealing with less agile enemies in heavy armour incredibly easy and almost comical.

    If you have a respectable level of Athletics, and your enemy's Agility isn't spectacular, you can succeed on knocking them down pretty reliably; it'll be a rare occurrence that you manage to screw up the roll. This seems okay at face value; all you're doing is giving yourself an advantage on your next attack, and forcing the enemy to use half their turn getting back up. But then I noticed this little part of the rules (page 164 of the Game of Thrones edition);



    So what this basically means is that in a 1 on 1 duel, one knight can spend every round knocking over their target and using their second lesser action to stab the poor guy while he's down, while the knocked down knight has to dedicate 100 percent of their time to standing up, giving them no opportunity to actually DO anything. This makes Gregor Clegane a hilariously easy guy to take down in a fight as long as your Athletics is around 5 or 6.

    Am I missing something, or is this just a broken little loophole in the rules?
    I agree with your concerns, we kicked the topic around a bit in this thread: http://roninarmy.com/threads/848-Mou...Handling-views.

    In live play, I've seen a crazy amount of knockdowns and mathematically it was almost always a sensible tactic, so I houseruled things to make it less likely. I ultimately simply settled for not including armour penalties on knockdown tests. This had the added bonus of increasing the use of other combat options.

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    • #3
      Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

      Even ignoring armour penalties seems to lead to it being pretty easy to knock down targets when athletics is suitably high (my tests were 3 agility vs 6 athletics). I'd say removing the line that says it takes a greater action to stand would go a long way to fix things. That way, knocking down people repeatedly is a viable strategy, but the target has a chance of fighting back.

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      • #4
        Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

        Indeed, although Athletics 6 puts you in Sandor Clegane's league so it's normally fairly rare!

        However, I agree on your broad point.

        Also, remember you can take an Agility (Acrobatics) test with a TN of 9 to stand as a free action (lesser action if AR 6 or higher). This helps people fight back if they're agile enough to spring to their feet. Again, you could drop/halve the armour penalty for this test (or characters can spend a destiny point/fatigue point to ignore armour penalty under printed rules).

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        • #5
          Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

          Funny you mention that but about Sandor; the original way I discovered this was simulating a battle between Sandor and Gregor and realising that the fight basically boils down to "whoever knocks the other guy down first wins". Cleganebowl is not as hype as everyone led us to believe.

          I hadn't noticed the bit about the acrobatics tests. That definitely helps a little to alleviate the issue.

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          • #6
            Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

            I agree that this is a very strong tactic, but one thing to consider is the existence of the (optional) Fatigue rules (p. 175). If you allow heavily armoured opponents to take Fatigue, they can take an extra Lesser Action a limited number of times per fight, thus enabling them to get up and still be able to attack.

            Also, a successful Challenging (9) Agility test will enable a heavily armoured foe to stand up as a Lesser Action (though the odds of success are fairly low for the average opponent). Unlike the Fatigue rules, this isn't an optional rule - it's part of the standard Agility/Acrobatics rules (p. 56).

            Another mitigating circumstance is that, as far as I can tell, there are no actual penalties associated with fighting while flat on your back! So, a heavily armoured fighter doesn't have to get up to fight back. He can take a swing lying down just as easily as standing up, which is actually perfectly in line with how Gregor Clegane beat Oberyn Martell!

            Regards,
            rax (first post - hi!)

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            • #7
              Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

              I hadn't considered fighting on your back at all, but I really can't find any rules to explicitly stop you doing it. Seems like an oversight, if anything. I'd say if my players wanted to fight on their backs I'd give them -1D or some other penalty to stop things being too unrealistic, but it definitely seems like a viable strategy.

              Fatigue rules are something I'd completely overlooked, too. They actually make this kind of a combat interesting; it becomes pretty easy to force heavily armoured, slow opponents to take on a lot of fatigue, tiring them out. That seems pretty appropriate to the tone of the game.

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              • #8
                Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

                The sensible outcome is that both knights ends up on the ground, not getting up at all until one is dead.

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                • #9
                  Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

                  Considering the lack of any real rules on making actions while you're downed, I came up with this little houserule to throw in.

                  Fighting from the ground
                  When you're flat on your back, often you don't have the opportunity to get back on your feet. If a character is knocked prone, they may continue to fight as usual, but gain -1D to all tests. As usual, an upright character attacking a prone enemy gains +1D to their Fighting tests. While prone, your Movement becomes one yard, and you may not sprint or charge. All other combat actions may be used, although the GM may veto some actions which stretch disbelief. Note that prone targets do not gain +1D when attacking other prone targets; if you can't get back up, your best bet is to drag your opponent down onto your level with a Knockdown.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

                    Originally posted by rax View Post
                    Another mitigating circumstance is that, as far as I can tell, there are no actual penalties associated with fighting while flat on your back!
                    From Knockdown, p175: "Opponents gain +1 Test Die on Fighting tests against you while you are knocked down." In this system, that's a decent bonus against you.

                    Still, given the ability to do an Agi test, spend fatigue in advanced rules, or spend a DP, I think major enemies (and PCs!) with heavy armor have sufficient options if they get knocked down, and I would suggest playing out a combat or two with people in heavy armor before modifying the rules, to see if it's really a problem that needs fixing. As for common enemies, I don't see a problem with PCs defeating them by knocking them down and keeping them down.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

                      Originally posted by Hoob View Post
                      Fatigue rules are something I'd completely overlooked, too. They actually make this kind of a combat interesting; it becomes pretty easy to force heavily armoured, slow opponents to take on a lot of fatigue, tiring them out. That seems pretty appropriate to the tone of the game.
                      Fatigue rules actually provide a HUGE advantage for 'tank' types, because you can spend a fatigue each round to negate the CD penalty of your armor (10 point Plate with 0 armor penalty? Sign me up!). Even if you only do this for 2-3 rounds, that's a huge advantage.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Knocking down heavily armoured targets seems broken

                        Originally posted by easl View Post
                        From Knockdown, p175: "Opponents gain +1 Test Die on Fighting tests against you while you are knocked down." In this system, that's a decent bonus against you.
                        Certainly, but my point was that there are no penalties applied to the Fighting tests of the character that was knocked down. So if your +1 Test Die attack doesn't finish him off, he can fight back at full capacity without getting up.

                        Originally posted by easl View Post
                        Still, given the ability to do an Agi test, spend fatigue in advanced rules, or spend a DP, I think major enemies (and PCs!) with heavy armor have sufficient options if they get knocked down, and I would suggest playing out a combat or two with people in heavy armor before modifying the rules, to see if it's really a problem that needs fixing. As for common enemies, I don't see a problem with PCs defeating them by knocking them down and keeping them down.
                        I agree with this, though. Knocking down the Mountain only requires rolling 6 or better on an Athletics test, but actually doing enough damage to defeat him is still extremely difficult - he has CD 12 and AR 11. Unless you're as monstrous as Clegane himself, you're going to need at least 2 DoS (a roll of 17 or better) with a high damage weapon to even scratch his 18 Health. And if Clegane is still alive after your attack, you're probably dead - even one DoS on his attack will kill most lightly armoured opponents outright.

                        Regards,
                        rax

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