Initiative Dilemma?

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gorkowskij
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 5:51 pm

The dilemma is that if the other guy wins initiative (or even just gets a tie) then the winner can prevent the caster from casting just by dropping to the caster's initiative number and "trying" to hit him.

Yes, the Fighter vs. Magic User at point blank range example is excessive. But, if we change the fighter to a goblin with a sling and move him 60 yards away we still have the same problem, even if the Magic User has some cover. Even a lone goblin that is 60 yards away can stop the Magic User from casting so long as the goblin wins (or even ties) initiative and can make an attack.

There are plenty of combat spells, so casting them should be doable.
Tree Ant
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 6:02 pm

gorkowskij wrote: Yes, the Fighter vs. Magic User at point blank range example is excessive. But, if we change the fighter to a goblin with a sling and move him 60 yards away we still have the same problem, even if the Magic User has some cover. Even a lone goblin that is 60 yards away can stop the Magic User from casting so long as the goblin wins (or even ties) initiative and can make an attack.
Counting wild ranged attacks would be a glitch, but I think that's a wording issue in the disruption rules and not anything to do with initiative. Even if you stripped the initiative delay rule (which would take a lot away from the game), ties are still very common and this issue wouldn't go away. However, I don't know anyone who would play that way.

The cornerstone of old school gaming is always going by what's reasonable. If someone is so far away from hitting that the caster can't even tell if they are shooting, should it be disrupted?
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http://www.amazon.com/Role-Playing-Game ... +gonnerman

There are plenty of combat spells, so casting them should be doable.

Even with the most extreme interpretation of ranged attacks disrupting regardless of viability of attack, combat spells would still be very usable in a great many encounters.

My main argument against any ranged attack disrupting is that it doesn't make sense. Playing that way wouldn't break the game unless all combat encounters feature swarms of humanoids with ranged weapons.
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Dimirag
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 6:14 pm

I still don't see it as a "Dilemma", its an exploitable situation.

The rule work ok in melee combat as a way of discouraging MUs from entering a fray. As for ranged combat, missing the MU don't make sense as a way to cause spell disruption, but it does not mean that it needs to be addressed in the book, rule zero is to judge each situation as they appear and not to apply every rule in a blinded way.

I think the original rules only worked if the MU was harmed, but got expanded do to the defensive nature of avoiding a melee attack, dodging a blast of fire or using pure willpower to overcome a spell.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 6:43 pm

gorkowskij wrote:The dilemma is that if the other guy wins initiative (or even just gets a tie) then the winner can prevent the caster from casting just by dropping to the caster's initiative number and "trying" to hit him.
As I said before, had I thought about the difference between ranged and melee combat, I'd have written the rule differently. If there is ever a 4th edition, I might just do that.
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Longman
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 8:22 pm

This thread may have been useful in having pointed that out, I guess.

But, there are a whole lot of things that the rules do not explicitly cover. They don't say that you can't swim in plate mail, for example. But everyone knows you can't, anyway. Likewise, most people would realise that a ranged attack that missed would not disrupt spell-casting. The rules don't need to directly state everything.

As I already tried to point out - in a joking way - if you rely soley on exact literal interpretations of the rules, you end up with bad interpretations of the rules.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Tue May 17, 2016 11:47 pm

Longman wrote:As I already tried to point out - in a joking way - if you rely soley on exact literal interpretations of the rules, you end up with bad interpretations of the rules.
Yes, exactly.
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gorkowskij
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Wed May 18, 2016 4:11 am

We all know the rules can't define everything; that's why we like this game rather than one that tries to. That's why we're here and not in a D&D 2nd edition or GURPS forum. But, that's not what's at issue here. Rather, there is a need for some baseline clarity that does not expect all readers to make the same assumptions.
Likewise, most people would realise that a ranged attack that missed would not disrupt spell-casting.
Really? After 37 years of role playing, that's not one of my baseline assumptions. If someone pointed a cross bow at me, I'd be ducking for cover and might well lose my concentration. Similarly, if a man (or a giant) 50 feet away was cocking his arm to throw a spear at me would I react less "defensively" than if a smaller foe was 5 feet away with a dagger? Would I be less scared? In reality, what do people do when they see guns pointed at them? Do they blow that off and say, "Ah, it's not melee, no big deal."

It's not that much of a leap to think that if the rules say "attack" without clarifying ranged or otherwise then they might just mean what they say. So it's not a question of a literal interpretation for everything. It's a question of clarity for a term that could have more than one meaning.

As to the (red herring) plate mail swimmer example: If the rules said that players in armor could NOT swim, would you expect readers to know that, in that instance, the word armor did not include leather armor and assume that all readers just knew the prohibition did not apply to leather? If you did, then you'd invite different, but still reasonable, interpretations.
Tree Ant
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Wed May 18, 2016 5:18 am

gorkowskij wrote:
It's not that much of a leap to think that if the rules say "attack" without clarifying ranged or otherwise then they might just mean what they say. So it's not a question of a literal interpretation for everything. It's a question of clarity for a term that could have more than one meaning.

If you did, then you'd invite different, but still reasonable, interpretations.
The head honcho already mentioned he would probably alter the wording if he does another print edition. Also, that's a spell disruption issue and not an initiative issue.

I don't think there's anything to debate here since no one holds the position that any attempted ranged attack whatsoever should disrupt a spell.

We've made progress in this thread. We have gone from 'the game is broken' to 'this particular line of the core rulebook could be made a bit more clear.'
gorkowskij
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Wed May 18, 2016 6:30 am

To be fair, no one ever said “the game is broken.” I’d ask that readers not take criticism as condemnation. Scrutiny is normal and can be value added if viewed with some detachment. For example, we certainly have come to agreement on, “this particular line of the core rulebook could be made a bit more clear.” And the ranged-attacks-don’t-disrupt interpretation certainly helps the matter by giving spell casters more “space” from which to cast in the face of lost initiative.

But, I started this thread on “initiative dilemma” because I perceive (and you can certainly disagree) that a deeper issue – which also does NOT break the game – persists and seems unfair to casters. At least one other poster stated that they don’t even use the spell interrupt rule because they feel the same way. The discussion of ranged-attacks-don’t-disrupt is a symptom of the underlying issue.

That underlying problem is the ability of those who win initiative to “lock on” and “track down” to the caster’s number to disrupt a spell. Why can’t they just as easily disrupt that other guy who is knocking an arrow or steadying his maul? As noted in my first post, the worst effect of lock-on-and-track-down is an endless loop of two spell casters continuously negating each other. I’m not saying this must change; seems to have worked for most so far? But, would it be so bad if characters and monsters just had to act on the initiative number which they rolled so that this “lock on” and “track down” aspect of initiative just went away? Spells could still be disrupted if and when the dice handed opponents the same initiative number. Yes, I can just house rule it that way. But, it also seemed interesting enough to discuss (without an argument) so I posted it.

The impact (or lack thereof) of ranged attacks is also worth pondering. It’s a maxim of military and police operations that once people start shooting at you (ranged attacks) they don’t need “a hit” to change your behavior, dramatically. At what point does that changed behavior constitute a break in concentration like that which might disrupt a spell? I don’t know. But it seems like unnecessary hair splitting to say that the nearby guy with a dagger is more disruptive to you than the far away guy with a crossbow.

So my ideal solution would be to drop the text that allows one to attack on a lower initiative number, and just keep everything else as written. Yes, I can house rule it that way. Yes, you can tell me to go make my own game. But, I though it interesting enough to discuss. Your mileage may differ.
Tree Ant
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Re: Initiative Dilemma?

Post Wed May 18, 2016 5:02 pm

gorkowskij wrote:To be fair, no one ever said “the game is broken.” I’d ask that readers not take criticism as condemnation.
No one is doing that. Criticism is quite welcome. However, one should always be ready for criticism of their criticism :D

I can say that the rules are there for a reason.
A gamey reason for the unfair treatment of casters (disruption) is the profound impact that a single spell often has on a combat encounter. Casting a spell is the biggest baddest thing a player can do in the game. Therefore, downsides are built in.

I think your houserule will work wonderfully, and if I was playing at a table where the GM used it, it wouldn't bug me at all.

Although I don't recall anyone suggesting it, you are of course welcome to make your own game. Just don't make it another OSR clone, the market is getting a bit saturated at this point. :D
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