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Thread: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

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    Protomolecule Host Flashkannon's Avatar
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    Unhappy Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    As far as I can tell, there's no situation in which 10 in dodge and/or parry +10 in toughness would be better than 20 in toughness at PL 10. Am I missing something?

    To put it another way, is there a reason besides thematic ones that someone would buff dodge and parry over maxing Toughness?

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    OPA Belta
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashkannon View Post
    As far as I can tell, there's no situation in which 10 in dodge and/or parry +10 in toughness would be better than 20 in toughness at PL 10. Am I missing something?

    To put it another way, is there a reason besides thematic ones that someone would buff dodge and parry over maxing Toughness?
    Generally a Toughness shift is optimal, but it does depend on the GM's trends when they make enemies for you.

    Your Dodge/Parry impacts your ability to defend against Fortitude/Will resisted attacks (the ones that aren't Perception range, anyways).
    The balance of power depends on how common Toughness attacks are compared to Fortitude/Will attacks. If Fortitude/Will attacks are sufficiently common, then having 0 Dodge/Parry is a very bad idea.
    It also depends on if the GM accepts the idea of Dodge/Parry resisted Damage.

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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashkannon View Post
    As far as I can tell, there's no situation in which 10 in dodge and/or parry +10 in toughness would be better than 20 in toughness at PL 10. Am I missing something?

    To put it another way, is there a reason besides thematic ones that someone would buff dodge and parry over maxing Toughness?
    The rules suggest no shifts of more than +/-5 or +/- 50% (depends on the exact edition), so in practice GMs won't let you take Parry and Dodge 0/Toughness 20.

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    OPA Belta digitalangel's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
    The rules suggest no shifts of more than +/-5 or +/- 50% (depends on the exact edition), so in practice GMs won't let you take Parry and Dodge 0/Toughness 20.
    Yeah, as a general rule I never allow a trade off of more than 1/2 PL in my games in either direction.
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    Protomolecule Host ArmoredAnathema's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Honestly, from having a good amount of enemies being pretty heavily toughness shifted, the moment someone built like that has to resist against something that isn't direct Toughness or Fortitude related they're in deep trouble.

    0 parry/dodge? Hope you like a Dodge or Will resisted Paralyzed Affliction. Or perhaps even Dodge Alternate resistance Damage against Void Blade's matter-erasing sword.

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    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    There's been some exploration of tradeoffs and where the break-even point is. A fellow named Elric did a fair amount of work on the subject here (also here).



    This graph is the chance for a character to win a 3e combat (the y-axis) against an opponent of the same PL, as I vary the relative attack tradeoff of the character whose chance to win the combat the graph shows (the x-axis) and the relative attack tradeoff of his opponent (the colors of the dots). E.g., if a defender has Dodge=Parry=Toughness, then a "relative attack tradeoff" of 2 means the attacker has Attack at PL +2 and Damage at PL -2. Attackers are just using damage, and no one has any hero points. I assume that dazed/hindered/staggered conditions don't impact a character's ability to fight.

    Throughout, I'll use "defense bonus" to mean Dodge/Parry bonus, which are assumed to be identical as both are limited to the same amount by Toughness. The linear nature of M&M means that I performed one calculation, which is accurate at any PL. This is based on 500,000 simulations.

    Note: relative attack tradeoff means that you take the attackerís attack tradeoff (where a negative number denotes a damage tradeoff) and subtract the defenderís defense tradeoff (where a negative number denotes a Toughness tradeoff). The term tradeoff should be very familiar to those who played 2e.

    Formally, an attack tradeoff is (Attack bonus-Effect rank)/2; a defense tradeoff is (defense bonus - Toughness)/2. So 4 relative attack tradeoff could be an attacker with +14 attack/6 damage and a defender with +10 defense/+10 Toughness, or it could be an attacker with +10 attack/10 damage and a defender with +6 defense/+14 Toughness, and so on. A -2 point attack shift is what we'd also call a 2 point damage shift; a -3 point defense shift we'd also call a 3 point Toughness shift, and so on.

    A character wins more often when he has more of a relative damage-shift and his opponent has more of a relative attack shift, over the whole range Iíve shown. Having a 3 or 4 point damage shift relative to the opponent tends to work the best. A 3 point damage shift character wins against a 6-point attack shift opponent about 88% of the time. E.g., this could be a +7 attack/13 damage/+10 Defense/+10 Toughness character against a +16 attack/4 damage/+10 Defense/+10 Toughness opponent.

    The intuition for why attack shifts are bad is that when you are substantially attack-shifted, it decreases the chance you hit with the attack and the defender fails the resistance check, and if the defender does fail the resistance check it tends to be by less, as you can see in these results (the link is for 2e, but the principles are analogous in 3e).

    I haven't tested extensive results between characters at different PLs. The chance to win, between two characters with no relative tradeoffs (e.g., two "vanilla" characters), for the higher PL character, is as follows (500,000 simulations)

    0 PLs up: 50% exactly (A good test case. See below for more)
    1 PL up: 72.0%
    2 PLs up: 87.3%
    3 PLs up: 95.6%
    4 PLs up: 99.1%

    Math note: This wasn't actually 500,000 simulated combats between each of these combatants. I used a method that is easier to do computationally and intuitively should have a lower margin of error. 500,000 actual simulated combats would have a +-99% confidence interval margin of error of no higher than +-0.4%.

    Since I assume that dazed/hindered/staggered conditions don't impact a character's ability to fight, I can simply calculate the cumulative distribution function (explanation of this term from a post on 2e) of the number of rounds it takes one character to incapacitate another. From there, each combatant essentially gets a draw from this distribution and you just have to calculate the chance that one is lower than the other, which means winning the fight by incapacitating the other character first (assign each to go first half of the time to resolve ties).

    One way to see the advantage of this method in yielding a lower standard error is that it ensures that an identical attacker (the even PLs/no relative tradeoffs case) is predicted to win exactly 50% of the time. So no matter how many simulations I had run, the answer should come out to exactly 50% above (and it does). If you simulated some number of fights between two identical combatants, though, you'd expect to get something a little different from 50%, even with thousands of simulations.
    He acknowledges that his method is far from perfect, and it assumes a straight slugfest, but it does suggest that there is an inequity. That said, it is indicative of an imbalance, albeit one which is usually more of a large-scale issue.

  7. #7
    Protomolecule Host Flashkannon's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Quote Originally Posted by digitalangel View Post
    Yeah, as a general rule I never allow a trade off of more than 1/2 PL in my games in either direction.
    That seems kind of limiting of character builds. As someone who usually spends 0-10 on actual defenses, as opposed to Protection or stats, the defenses usually just end up where they end up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmoredAnathema View Post
    Honestly, from having a good amount of enemies being pretty heavily toughness shifted, the moment someone built like that has to resist against something that isn't direct Toughness or Fortitude related they're in deep trouble.

    0 parry/dodge? Hope you like a Dodge or Will resisted Paralyzed Affliction. Or perhaps even Dodge Alternate resistance Damage against Void Blade's matter-erasing sword.
    Oh, well of course. There's always a paper to the rock, I'm talking in more general terms, like the poster quoted below. Unless your GM hates you or you are the victim of circumstance, you won't be running into too many people tailor-made to kill you.

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyBoots View Post
    There's been some exploration of tradeoffs and where the break-even point is. A fellow named Elric did a fair amount of work on the subject here (also here).



    He acknowledges that his method is far from perfect, and it assumes a straight slugfest, but it does suggest that there is an inequity. That said, it is indicative of an imbalance, albeit one which is usually more of a large-scale issue.
    This is good data, I'll have to go read that source further. Thus far, I've only delved into Perception-range effects, as those seemed the most... broadly useful?

  8. #8
    MCRN Admiral Ysariel's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashkannon View Post
    To put it another way, is there a reason besides thematic ones that someone would buff dodge and parry over maxing Toughness?
    The more common attacks with dodge/parry as primary resistance are, the more valuable those two traits are. Elric's analysis was purely against toughness resisted attacks, so naturally a toughness shift dominates.

    More generally, the more common non-Toughness non-Perception attacks are, the more valuable dodge/parry are, because you can dodge (=they fail their attack check against you) attacks of any resistance but toughness only protects against attacks resisted by toughness. Game masters should always try to ensure a healthy balance across resistance types and have a variety of attacks with different primary resistances.

  9. #9
    OPA Belta
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    Re: Toughness vs Dodge/Parry

    Its one of those things that will favor the character no-end most of the time and intermittently bite them really bad.. Note you can power attack or do multifire on Will or Fortitude based effects, and this pretty much means you'll be collecting at least the former every strike.

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