Strength and armor based initiative penalties

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Telarus
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by Telarus » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:17 pm

Mataxes wrote:
Slimcreeper wrote:I've often thought (but never really tested) that the larger weapons (i.e., the ones with higher strength requirements) should have substantially higher damage output. Can't a broadsword basically cut someone in half? And it only does a few more damage points on average than a dagger?
It's actually kind of hard to "cut someone in half". There's a lot of bone and guts and fluid in the way.

As kind of a quick-and-dirty thing, I looked at the numbers, factoring in the weapon's damage step with the (minimum) Strength needed.

Short Sword: Dmg 4 + Str 4 = Step 8
Broadsword: Dmg 5 + Str 5 = Step 10
Troll Sword: Dmg 6 + Str 6 = Step 12
2-hd Sword: Dmg 8 + Str 6 = Step 14

And higher Strength scores add to those baselines.

Considering the 'average' human has a Wound Threshold of 7 or 8 (TOU 10-12/Step 5), any of these weapons are capable of dealing a Wound to a 'typical' unarmored person. And for most untrained folks... a single Wound is probably enough to take them out of a fight. And is also dealing a not-insignificant portion of their available health pool to boot.

Remember, the game isn't a simulation. I'm not ever really shooting for "realism" in the ruleset, more the verisimilitude of "does this seem reasonable and make sense."

In ED3's "character toolkit" download, there was a table of non-adept namegiver "average" attributes. This might not be valid for 4E, but it's a base of comparison.

I'm not going to produce the table in full, but humans had these stats for a "normal person":
Dex 14/6
Str 13/6
Tou 14/6
Per 14/6
Wil 12/5
Cha 14/6

That is an array of +4, +4, +4, +4, +3, +2. That would cost 24 attribute build points in 4E.

It is noted that:
"Adepts and even high profile non-adepts (such as guardsmen, town leaders, gifted artisans, and so on) are not considered ordinary people and in addition will often increase Attributes pertaining to their fields of expertise in the course of their careers. They often use the Versatile or Focused Attribute Arrays (see above)."

Referencing the table above gives these (4E build points noted in parenthesis):
Focused +6 +5 +3 +2 +2 +2 (25 bp)
Versatile +5 +4 +4 +4 +2 +1 (25 bp)

The STR Mins in the book work fine in these ranges. This is a really interesting conversation so far, I've been taking notes for the Airship Crew rules, so thanks everybody. Just wanted to share the scale I was working with (not all air sailors are Adepts... though I need to nail down a ratio with Mataxes on that).
Last edited by Telarus on Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

MetalBoar
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by MetalBoar » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:25 pm

Yeah that makes sense. Though again it does mean that something like Min. Str. 12 for a sword is pretty ridiculous, since an average strength person should be able to wield a sword just fine. That's honestly a problem with strength minimums in most games. Since player characters will tend to have at least average strength, any strength minimums on weapons are going to be either too high to be realistic, or too low to be relevant.
Though again, as I've argued for a relationship between strength and mobility in armor, while the average person might be able to "wield a sword" (or move in heavy armor without collapsing), there's a difference between using it like a club and using it with proficiency. I've done a little WMA training and when I first started with the rapier I would say that I was a little stronger than the average modern male and while I could definitely perform the basic movements I had to develop quite a bit of wrist strength before I could maintain a proper guard position or wield it with finesse, while the small sword wasn't really much of an issue (though technique got easier with the small sword as my wrists got stronger too). I don't know much about broadsword or backsword technique, so I don't know how much their weight impacts their use, but they are heavier than a rapier.

Baravakar
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by Baravakar » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:30 pm

Dyrmagnos wrote:In topic:
Dex is just overpower when compared to any other physical stat like perception in mental. For fighters initiative is not important because they can take air dance/tiger and still be first + in plate have 15 armor. In our group we had a lot of conversations about stacking bonuses of combat disciplines and fighter without any buff can kill mage/support class in 1 round before they can even react.
Its somewhere in the archive of articles but initiative penalties apply to all Initiative boosting talents. If your wearing crystal plate then your air dance talent has a -5 penalty.

On thing I noticed missing from this topic is this rule:
  • Player's Guide pg272: A character’s Initiative Step cannot voluntarily be lowered below Step 1.
[/b]
No matter what your combat build, in order to wear armor in Earthdawn you need a high DEX to offset the penalty. Crystal Plate weights 90. It carry the armor you need a STR of 11. It also has an initiative penalty of 5. You need DEX not STR of at least 13 to voluntarily accept the penalty.

I understand the mechanic of the armor system but historically speaking (no research done), when plate armor was used the wearer had to be incredibly physically fit. They needed both a high muscle mass to carry the armor and agility to fight in it effectively.

I think the only modification to the rules would be to allow a character with a high STR to voluntarily lower his Initiative step below one for each step of STR above a certain amount. They would still be using Step 1 for initiative but could still fight effectively because of their STR offsetting the weight of the armor. The rigidity would still come into play.
The Undying wrote:
MetalBoar wrote:Now, you may say "well, we'll just dump it on Warrior" or "fine, we'll rent/buy a horse to haul stuff." That presents it's own problems. A Warrior pack mule can't have everything strapped at the ready (whereas it may be reasonable for a character to have a few core items available as Simple, or a single, Standard action). Once you leave the realm of "at the ready," you're talking ~ three turns to locate and retrieve an item from a backpack (per the Player's Guide, citation currently not available). That can be a problem. Then, an animal-based pack mule presents its own problems. You got to feed the thing. If it's not war-trained, it's going to bolt when conflict kicks up. It won't be able to go to a variety of places that adventurers can go (ever tried to get a horse to climb a rope?).
  • Player's Guide pg374: Sustained Action: Finding a specific object in a backpack (3–4 rounds)
[/b]

Tattered Rags
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by Tattered Rags » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:26 pm

Baravakar wrote: On thing I noticed missing from this topic is this rule:
  • Player's Guide pg272: A character’s Initiative Step cannot voluntarily be lowered below Step 1.
[/b]
No matter what your combat build, in order to wear armor in Earthdawn you need a high DEX to offset the penalty. Crystal Plate weights 90. It carry the armor you need a STR of 11. It also has an initiative penalty of 5. You need DEX not STR of at least 13 to voluntarily accept the penalty.
Page 372.

When I first read that, I assumed it meant no matter how you piled on, your initiative wouldn't drop below step 1. I'm inclined to believe your interpretation now that I've read it. It makes sense.
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The Undying
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by The Undying » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:43 pm

Mataxes wrote:Remember, the game isn't a simulation. I'm not ever really shooting for "realism" in the ruleset, more the verisimilitude of "does this seem reasonable and make sense."
I've made this statement so many times in my group, and while I know it isn't original, it's nice to hear one of the designers say it.

When a game is made, it's focused on a certain feel and with certain assumptions bakes into it. Some of those assumptions are stated as rules, but some of those are strings transparently woven together in the background to make things work as intended. It's one of the reason I'm not a huge fan of system modification (except where the system ALLOWS you to modify it - for example, Knacks in ED, or when it doesn't really impact core gameplay, like an art quality system). Sometimes, yeah, there are holes that crop up, things that weren't completely connected, and some patchwork needs to be made, but I'd say this is pretty rare to uncommon. More often, a group has a particular style, or their group has a particular composition, and changes become desirable to fit those. That's fine, seek input or just brave forth into the great unknown - just be aware that changes can lead to unintended consequences (e.g., certain things suddenly becoming insanely strong or weak).

I think there's a good rule of thumb: if you don't see the level of complexity you're thinking about added anywhere else in the system, you're probably going a bit too far. When it comes to armor, ED kind of tops out at "you must be this tall to ride" style (e.g., minimum STR, resulting Init penalties that you must be able to incur without dropping below Step 1). In my mind (and this is just my opinion), this is the extent of their model: by meeting the STR threshold, you are sufficiently strong to wear the armor without ill effects, being stronger doesn't make you better at wearing it; by meeting the DEX threshold, you are sufficiently agile to wear the armor and still perform actions, and the existing system already accommodate greater agility making you better.

Moreover, if you look at the numbers, allowing STR to offset armor Initiative penalties seems at odds with the system. Nearly ALL armor has an Initiative penalty. Given that pretty much ANY Namegiver will have at least say Step 3 in Strength, why do we even see Initiative penalties up to Step 3? Because, as others have mentioned, armor is encumbering, not just heavy, and separately, (in my opinion) the effects of weight are already baked in as one of those invisible assumptions of the system.

As for the weight of weapons, or their amount of damage, again, my perception is that ED tops out at "you must be this tall to ride" with built in assumptions. ED says "you need STR X to wield weapon Y," with the invisible assumptions being that that is the strength necessary not to CARRY it, but to wield it effective: swing it with enough force to damage, hold it aloft in front of you in a fighter pose for the length of a combat, withstand the resulting counter force when your sword smashes into armor or deflects other blows (remember, ED doesn't have hit boxes, it's a fluid system, your weapon can be considered part of your 'defense'), etc. A sword in ED does not have minimum STR, DEX (have to be able to aim that blow), PER (have to see the best time to strike), TOU (have to be able to withstand the bruising it places on the body just forcing your blows) - these are either nebulously rolled into the STR minimum, or it's accounted for in other parts of the system.

But, this is all my opinion. :)

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Kosmit
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Re: Strength and armor based initiative penalties

Post by Kosmit » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:46 am

Also not necessarily STR should be considered but TOU...

And remember that you can always train like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-bnM5SuQkI

If it will work for you just use the old rule. But remember enemies can use it too. And... your players will probably end up very heavy armored.

For me it was always good that high armor = low initiative.

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