Facing and blindside

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Post Reply
Avanti
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:31 pm

Facing and blindside

Post by Avanti » Tue May 28, 2019 4:34 pm

Hey there!

I'm milling around with the notion of combat positioning in ED in regards to character facing and blindside.
How do I determine who/what the Character is facing and do I allow changing of facing outside of Characters turn?
I don't know of any rules that would clarify this.
Option A) - No change to facing after end of turn.
A character entering combat with a single enemy, assuming he acts first, goes up and attacks. Logically said character ends their turn facing the enemy.
So the Enemy, during its turn can move behind the character and attack & benefit from the blindsided modifier. On the Characters following turn he can do exactly the same - circle the Enemy and attack from the Blindside spot.
Option B) - allow changing of facing outside of turn
As above but the Character can declare that he keeps facing the Enemy. In this case, there is no way any of them can get the Blindside modifier as they will keep facing each other.

How do you guys handle that? If I go with option B) which makes more sense logically, you need 3 Characters facing a single Enemy in order for one of them to have the Blindside advantage as the Enemy can always position to have two Characters in his sight, according to the diagram on PG p. 391. and translating that to a hex grid. Is that intentional? Does it work for you?

I have a few interpretations but want an unbiased opinion from whoever wishes to share it with me :)

Belenus
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:27 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Belenus » Tue May 28, 2019 6:10 pm

Just go with the logic here, meaning option B.
The only mistake you're having is with 3 characters.
If you place one character in front of the enemy and the other one behind it, this is already enough to have him on his blindside,

Bonhumm
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:43 pm
Location: Right behind you

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Bonhumm » Tue May 28, 2019 6:37 pm

This is a classic issue: yes it would 'make sense' that one would follow his attackers to prevent getting him in his back but the questions is can he?

In your 1 vs 1 example it might make sense but then again when does the difference in speed (i.e. DEX) kicks in? I can easily imagine a windling with a value of 21 in DEX managing to get into the back of an obsidiman with a value of 10, no matter whom has the best initiative this round.

This gets a lot more complicated with multiples targets/attackers; if the target has already moved/made his action this round can he 'follow' an attacker afterward?
  • If its the same person he just made his action/attack against I'd say MAYBE
  • But if its another person then no; target was busy defending himself against attacker #1 while attacker #2 is moving in his back.
In any case it would be relatively easy to just treat this as using the Splitting Movement Combat Option; 'turning' on himself is still movement, so if the target wants to move after his action, that would be considered Splitting Movement . The problem, of course is that the penalties for using Splitting Movement (i.e. Harried for the rest of the round) is actually much worse than the penalty for being Blindsided.

So I'd say something in the middle? The GM would decide when to apply the new 'Splitting Turning' penalties (always, or if more than one attackers, etc) and I'd say the penalty should maybe just be a point of Strain?


Just my 2 coppers....

Sharkforce
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Sharkforce » Tue May 28, 2019 7:42 pm

option B (though as noted, 2 attackers would be sufficient for one of them to blindside) makes the most sense to me barring extraordinary circumstances.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 718
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue May 28, 2019 8:07 pm

I’m not a maps guy, so I treat it narratively. If it makes sense in the story, you get blindside, but you have to do something to earn it, like step suddenly from behind a crate. For the most part harried and overwhelmed penalties cover attacks from multiple fronts. In an edge case I might have danger sense vs dex to decide.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 489
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue May 28, 2019 8:09 pm

You are correct that the rules do not address this directly, but the companion does address this indirectly.

The Companion page 95 has a Great Leap talent Knack "Vault Opponent", wherein an attacker can use the Knack to attempt to jump over an opponent into his blindside. if the Vault Opponent test beats the defenders SD, then the attacker has jumped into the targets blindside so quickly that his first attack is made before the target can turn around and gets the blindside bonus. The target does apparently get turned around in time for subsequent attacks after the first. The obvious implication is that in the absence of this Knack, the target could have automatically turned around to face.

At my table however we don't allow unlimited changes of facing's as a free action during a turn. You can't have 6 opponents run up and attack one by one, and have the target change facing as each approaches. We allow change of facing on your action, and also one free change of facing per turn as a free action if somebody moves into or out of a hex next to you. Characters are not required to change their facing just because somebody moves into their blindside, characters sometimes choose to let the small quick opponents have blindside attacks and save their free facing change for the big strong slow opponent. We also don't allow an opponent engaged in melee to move to the blindside of the same opponent just to force a facing change. If you start your movement in a front melee hex, then in the absence of a Knack such as Vault Opponent your attack is not a blindside. You just want to come up with whatever house rules work best for your table.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Thu May 30, 2019 12:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

Avanti
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Avanti » Wed May 29, 2019 2:01 pm

Already 4 different opinions :) make me feel a bit better about this - its not just me.

Chris - that's a very interesting find regarding that knack and it's a second time (or 3rd) I see you make that "reverse engineering" on rules. You must have a high rank in research to catch those details :D

Indeed I do believe that you just can't circle around a character any time to get blindside - makes no sense.
My reasoning is this:
A character can turn around anytime anyone he can see attempts to circle back to his blind side. My logic is this - since combat simulates a constant action, all things happening almost simultaneously, facing is something any combatant will adjust on the fly choosing which opponents he wants to see at any given time. If by doing so the character puts an enemy that has not acted yet this round in his blindside area, he will suffer the blindsided penalty from that enemy.
And this is pretty simple so far, but what happens when a character chooses NOT to turn to follow someone who he has seen - this is where it gets blurry rules wise. So I think a rule that can help would be: if you consciously forfeit you free change facing or use it to turn only partially and in effect an opponent that you saw ends up in your blind side, you are effectively blindsided by that opponent.

So I stand by my statement that you need at minimum 3 attackers to ensure one of them gets blindside modifier, and they have to be smart about it. I am assuming that hexes directly adjacent to "left" and "right" are both considered "in front". See diagram below - the green dot can see all the yellow dots facing the direction of the arrow. Red dots get the Blindside if they start their turns still "behind".
As you see, if you select any 2 dots, the green one can rotate in such a way to have both on the same line to the left and right at maximum spacing.

Image

Sharkforce
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Sharkforce » Wed May 29, 2019 6:32 pm

i've yet to see someone fight in such a way that they are up against two opponents and spend most of their time facing in the direction of neither of them, relying entirely on their peripheral vision against both enemies.

facing is more dynamic than can be shown in a turn-based game, but so is attacking; when you turn away from someone for a moment (to deal with someone/something else), that's when they're most likely to make their attack.

unless perhaps you're going full-on defense, with no attacks made whatsoever, i would be inclined to say one side is going to allow blindside attacks if two opponents manage to get on completely opposite sides of you. you can pick which one gets the blindside, but choosing both seems highly doubtful.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 489
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu May 30, 2019 12:58 am

For some reason the image you posted is not displaying for me, so I don't know how you had the dots arranged.
But the diagram on page 391 of the players guild shows a character facing directly into one hex (not directly facing the line between two hexes). With three hexes defined as "front" and three defined as "back".

Oh, I forgot one other aspect of our house rules. You only get your free facing adjustment if somebody moves into/out of a hex next to you. So if somebody is already blindsiding you, you don't get to use your free move to adjust if he attacks without moving first.

So anyway, what rules you use are probably less important than picking good house rules, and then sticking with them, for both PCs and NPCs.

Avanti
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Facing and blindside

Post by Avanti » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:42 pm

Wierd, the image broke for some reason. Regardless, this got me thinking:
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 12:58 am
For some reason the image you posted is not displaying for me, so I don't know how you had the dots arranged.
But the diagram on page 391 of the players guild shows a character facing directly into one hex (not directly facing the line between two hexes). With three hexes defined as "front" and three defined as "back".

Oh, I forgot one other aspect of our house rules. You only get your free facing adjustment if somebody moves into/out of a hex next to you. So if somebody is already blindsiding you, you don't get to use your free move to adjust if he attacks without moving first.

So anyway, what rules you use are probably less important than picking good house rules, and then sticking with them, for both PCs and NPCs.
If I go with a bit more hard approach to facing - i.e. you HAVE to be facing a specific hex - it rules out my scenario, clearly defining field of view, as it was based of facing the line between hexes.

As for the free facing adjustment, I would also allow a character to turn after someone attacks from blindside - makes sense right? :D
Sharkforce wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:32 pm
i've yet to see someone fight in such a way that they are up against two opponents and spend most of their time facing in the direction of neither of them, relying entirely on their peripheral vision against both enemies.

facing is more dynamic than can be shown in a turn-based game, but so is attacking; when you turn away from someone for a moment (to deal with someone/something else), that's when they're most likely to make their attack.

unless perhaps you're going full-on defense, with no attacks made whatsoever, i would be inclined to say one side is going to allow blindside attacks if two opponents manage to get on completely opposite sides of you. you can pick which one gets the blindside, but choosing both seems highly doubtful.
In reality - yes. Also in reality you do not operate on 6 second intervals :) I assumed that if you have two opponents on your peripheral vision you could swing back and forth slightly to keep both "in check". Not ideal but gets the intention across.

To summarize, what I'm taking out of our musings:

1. A House rule is helpful here to clarify things.
2. Said house rule could be:
* A character always MUST be facing an adjacent hex directly.
* a character can freely change facing any time during his own turn
* a Character can change facing as a free action outside his own turn when:
- another character moves in to/out of a hex he can see (one of the 3 "front" hexes)
- another character that he can see moves out of his field of view and into any of the 3 "back" hexes.
- after another character has made an attack & hit against him (maybe a PER/Awarness check on miss, to notice the attempt)
3. Assuming the above, when a character is fighting with two opponents one of them can position in such a way as to gain blindside on the character

Post Reply