The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

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thirtythr33
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby thirtythr33 » 09 May 2016, 02:07

So the next question is how does the possibility of Feint change all of this?

Eg. Player and NPC have 16 dice pool each in the first tempo. NPC has initiative and makes a 1 dice Swing to the Shin.

Player has the following options:
a) Not defend very much. Allocate say 2 dice to Block.
NPC responds by declaring a Feint and moves the target wheel to the Arm and uses 14 CP to increase the attack to 8 dice. Player is likely to take a level 3 wound and will remain of defense for the following tempo. NPC kept 1 dice to attack with 2nd tempo so initiative doesn't automatically pass to Player that has 14 dice remaining. In second Tempo Player defends with Deflect & Strike, Slip & Strike or Preempting, possibly winning the exchange depending how badly each party was wounded and how the BTNs changed. If Player has an unarmored wheel to be hit by Feint this is not really a viable option.

b) i) Invest heavily in the defense, predicting NPC wants to Feint. He allocates 8 dice to Block.
NPC responds by not Feinting. Player wins the tempo and takes initiative, now with 8 dice remaining to the NPCs 15. Player makes an attack with 8 dice and NPC easily wins this exchange by using Deflect & Strike, Slip & Strike, Counter or Preempting. Bad option for Player all around.

ii) Invest heavily in Expulsion.
Same as above, but NPC wont be able to deal any damage in second tempo. Probably best option overall, but doesn't punish the NPC at all.

iii) Heavily invest in Disengage.
Again, gets him out of trouble but doesn't punish the attacker at all.

c) Preempt the attack.
The NPC has the advantage here (literally) and cannot afford to let Player preempt, as he will get to sink 16 CP into an undefended attack. Player allocates some number of dice to the Contest of Speed and the remainder to their attack. NPC spends 1 or 2 more dice than Player on the Contest of Speed and probably wins (he has advantage). In order to stop the incoming huge attack from Player, NPC declares Feint and changes to Grab (the only basic offensive maneuver which restrains which can be selected by Feint). Player is restrained since he cant defend the Grab and the fight goes to Tempo 2 with both parties empty of dice and Player taking impact from the Grab. Not good, but better than a) or b) so far.

d) Defend with Deflect & Strike or Slip & Strike.
i) Invest a little in the Deflect/Slip and heavily in the & Strike and the NPC responds by going all in on the Feint which then negates the Players Follow up attack. Terrible option for Player he takes a wound and is out of dice.

ii) Invest heavily in the Deflect/Slip.
If player puts say 9 dice to Deflect, NPC wont bother Feinting since the Player will win anyway. Player then makes an unopposed 6 dice follow up attack to NPC. Goes to Tempo 2 with Player having scored a good hit and gets initiative but NPC still has 15 dice to Players 1. Looks like both parties end up getting hurt, like option a) its going to come down to what kind of wounds and BTNs got inflicted to determine who's going to win the exchange.
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nemedeus
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby nemedeus » 09 May 2016, 04:33

One might disincentivise investing too little in preparation to a feint by this change:

- Defender gets (own parry dice) - (opponent's attack dice) as a bonus when opponent declares a feint.
- To compensate, one might change the feint exchange rate to one for one, instead of two for one.

Alternatively, one could limit the maximum numer of dice invested into a feint by the before declared attack, something like:

- Feint can maximally add as many dice to an attack as it had initially (can not increase beyond twice as many).
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby hector » 09 May 2016, 07:46

If someone uses too few dice (obvious sign of a feint), just use an expulsion as a defence, with a few more dice than you might usually use (remember that they get, at most, half of their remaining dice to add, so if you're at similar CP numbers than a little over half your dice to the defence should work). If they feint, then you have a strong defence; if they don't, then sure, they have a load of extra dice for the second tempo, but they have to dodge as a defence because they can't use their weapon. Alternatively, both block and strike and slip and strike are options - invest just heavily enough in the defence to deal with a feint, then throw the rest into the attack. Since they won't be able to defend against the attack, those dice they saved from under-investing won't help them very much.

This all depends on what weaponry you're using, of course, but these are a couple of defences that ought to work against somebody who under-invests for an obvious feint. Once again, I would be wary of changing the rules to disincentivise behaviour when an object lesson can work just as easily - under-investing on an attack makes it obvious that you plan to either feint, or make use of the extra dice should your opponent prepare for a feint, but there are ways to make those extra dice useless.

Edit: I would like to point out that after a good hit, the person who under-invested won't have have 15 dice any more - they've just been hit, so they'll lose dice to impact. They'll also have a higher TN (each addition to TN is approximately the same as losing 20% of your pool), and they might have lost their weapon or have been knocked unconscious or forced to spend some time vomiting depending on where you hit them.

Edit 2: I would point out, of course, that this is all assuming that it is a PC who is under-investing rather than a NPC (who has no need to worry about such things as healing after the fight, since he ceases to exist). There is a reason for this: my assumption that any halfway decent GM would hopefully play NPCs as rational beings who fight according to their motivations. Someone who wants you dead and doesn't care how badly they get hurt is probably so pissed off that they're not even thinking about defence, so they over-invest - and the players can deal with that as listed here. Someone who wants to win the fight and would prefer to avoid serious injury while doing so (i.e. the vast majority of NPC adversaries) would fight sensibly; investing reasonable amounts of dice into attack and defence. Someone who is willing to die to see you dead might attack in lieu of defence, and invest all of their dice into the attack in the hopes that at least some of those dice are left once they've been hit. However, there is no reason whatsoever for an NPC to under-invest in attack to the levels pointed out here other than GM meta gaming. Perhaps something along those lines should be added to the combat bit of the book; a reminder to GMs that NPCs by and large do want to live, and a reminder to players that such cheesy tactics do have some pretty nasty counters: a pyrrhic victory can be just as bad as simply losing.
Last edited by hector on 09 May 2016, 21:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby taelor » 09 May 2016, 21:46

I agree with Hector. Expulsion may not "punish" the would be feinter, but it does negate the incentive to underinvest ahead of a feint in the first place.(Punishment is in general an ineffective method of method of altering behavior; changing incentives works much better.)
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thirtythr33
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby thirtythr33 » 10 May 2016, 11:24

I'll just point out I didn't use the names Player and NPC for any specific reason to do with GMing or some such, I could have just have easily called them Alice and Bob or Character 1 and Character 2. Reading into my word choice such as Punishment and how I think NPCs (or players) should act based on my analysis above is misguided. Obviously I agree that NPCs should be played realistically and "punishing" players for bad choices is not good gaming.

From a strategic perspective though, if a particular strategy is strong and has no counters (ie, no way to punish my opponent for making that choice) then it is going to be a dominant strategy that gets used every combat.

I do disagree that the only reason a character would under invest in an attack is because of metagaming. A fearful or cowardly character would very reasonably throw out 1 or 2 dice tentative attacks. Or an arrogant master might be toying with his prey. Or you are facing off against an opponent of unknown skill level and you are throwing out "tester" blows to see how they react.

I don't think "just put half your dice in expulsion" is a great idea. They simply let you win that tempo and not invest any more dice and go to tempo 2 with twice as many dice as you. They can't use their weapon but they are almost guaranteed to be able to Preempt and Grab & Throw, Grab Weapon or Shield Push, or Slip & Strike with their shield.

ie
Alice: Swing for 1 dice. 15 remain.
Bob: Expulsion (AC1) for 8 dice. 7 remain.
Bob wins and Alice can't use Weapon next tempo.
BoB: Swing for 7 dice. 0 Remaining.
Alice: Preempts and adds 3 dice (12 remaining) for 6 total vs Bobs 3 (both have 3 speed).
Alice Grab & Throw (AC2) for 10 dice (0 remaining). Bob can't defend and is restrained.
~5 dice is used to Throw. Again, Bob can't defend.
Bob takes a 2.5 damage hit a random location.
Bob is prone and Alice has ~50% to also get advantage on next Tempo.

Follow up attacks from Slip & Strike and Deflect & Strike use the MOS as the dicepool for the follow up attack. You would have to put all your dice in to make a decent attack but then they can just add all their dice to the Feint to reduce your MOS.

ie
Alice: Swing for 1 dice. 15 remain.
Bob: Deflect & Strike for 16 dice.
Alice: Feints to add 7 dice.
Bob gets ~8 successes and Alice gets ~4 successes.
Bob gets 4 dice for follow up attack.
Alice takes a 2 damage hit.
That's probably not going to do a lot unless Alice is naked.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby taelor » 10 May 2016, 15:53

Remember, Expulsion disarms the attacker if the defender succeeds with MoS 3+. I crunched the numbers, and in the example above, (assuming neither party is wounded) there is a 77.5% chance that the attacker will be disarmed.
Last edited by taelor on 10 May 2016, 19:44, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby hector » 10 May 2016, 15:56

Where does it say that the followup attacks from the deflect/strike and slip/strike use the MOS from the defence? I can't find that anywhere in the manoeuvre descriptions. Now, Master Cut does work like that (which is why you'd only use it on somebody who is much, much less skilled than you), but the other two don't...
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby taelor » 10 May 2016, 19:58

hector wrote:Where does it say that the followup attacks from the deflect/strike and slip/strike use the MOS from the defence? I can't find that anywhere in the manoeuvre descriptions. Now, Master Cut does work like that (which is why you'd only use it on somebody who is much, much less skilled than you), but the other two don't...

Slip/Block and Strike both grant follow up attacks. Follow up attacks use the margin of success on the initial action as the die pool for the attack (p. 52).

thirtythr33 wrote:
Follow up attacks from Slip & Strike and Deflect & Strike use the MOS as the dicepool for the follow up attack. You would have to put all your dice in to make a decent attack but then they can just add all their dice to the Feint to reduce your MOS.

ie
Alice: Swing for 1 dice. 15 remain.
Bob: Deflect & Strike for 16 dice.
Alice: Feints to add 7 dice.
Bob gets ~8 successes and Alice gets ~4 successes.
Bob gets 4 dice for follow up attack.
Alice takes a 2 damage hit.
That's probably not going to do a lot unless Alice is naked.


It doesn't have to do a lot. The point is that Alice's ploy accomplished nothing. If Alice's goal is to stall for time, then perhaps this strategy might be a useful one. Otherwise, it seems like she'd be better off without the funny business.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby hector » 10 May 2016, 21:13

Ah, OK; that makes more sense.

How much damage a blow will actually do depends on the weapon and the armour - in a civilian street fight, this probably means a gambeson (which covers everywhere but the head), a one handed sword (probably either an arming sword or a rapier) and a buckler. A thrust to the head with a 2 MOS from an Arming Sword, assuming equal strength and stamina, is a level 3 wound, which could result in a knockout, it will cause bloodloss, a TN of 8 on all rolls and 3 impact - two of which go through to the next round. With a rapier, it only gets nastier. In a civilian duel, they might not even be wearing armour, meaning that it's either a 3 or a 4 regardless of where the follow-up blow lands.

A more knightly duel would probably involve full plate and crushing weapons - probably a Lucerne hammer, to use the options given in the duelling kit. Even so, with AV 6 from proofed plate, it's going to take an MOS on the attack of at least 5 to deal a level 1 wound, and of at least 7 to actually deal any long term damage (fairly unlikely out of eight dice). As such, such fights are almost certainly going to end up turning into grappling bouts. With munitions plate only being AV 4, the under-invest will only require an MOS of 3 to deal damage - but again, only for a level 1 wound. In proofed plate, you might as well just ignore the attack - it'd take seven of the attacker's eight dice coming up as a success in order to do any serious damage, and in the meantime you've got very reasonable odds of ending the fight outright. In munitions plate, you might want to put a few dice into trying to pre-empt the blow. A 13 blow from a +2 weapon against AV 4 armour will probably do a level 4-5 wound on average, and spending dice on not being pre-empted will make it significantly less likely that even if they hit you first, they'd actually cause you any real harm.

Incidentally, this all assumes that the 10+ rule doesn't apply to combat. An automatic success for every die after the tenth would change the maths significantly...
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby nemedeus » 11 May 2016, 05:13

hector wrote:Incidentally, this all assumes that the 10+ rule doesn't apply to combat. An automatic success for every die after the tenth would change the maths significantly...

I assume this rule was scrapped a long time ago? because i don't remember it.
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thirtythr33
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby thirtythr33 » 11 May 2016, 09:01

p11 in the sidebar. It's still in, but I believe only applies to Skill and Attribute rolls, not combat.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with It

Postby higgins » 11 May 2016, 14:28

thirtythr33 wrote:p11 in the sidebar. It's still in, but I believe only applies to Skill and Attribute rolls, not combat.

Correct.
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Re: The Infamous Over-Investing Issue and How to Deal with I

Postby Glidias » 13 Sep 2016, 05:48

Agamemnon wrote:The big difference though is in stealing initiative. In TROS, it was something the defender just kind of bought. You paid a number of dice equal to their Perception to be able to make an opposed roll between your WP and their Wit, with TN equal to each other's reflexes. You could wind up investing a ton of dice on a roll that costs your opponent nothing, leaving you even worse off than you were before.

It's the asymmetry of this that foils it.

In 'Bastards, we handle it differently. The defender still declares that they want to steal initiative, but all dice that are going to be rolled on both sides have to come from their remaining CP. Simply put, if you go all-in on your attack in the first Tempo, you don't have any dice left to defend yourself if the opponent tries to steal initiative.




Hmm, I thought TROS wasn't any much different? ie. I had always thought that once the attacker had declared the specifics on his attack manuever (ie. commited his CP), the defender can choose to steal initiative if he wishes to. So, all CP investments with regards to maintaining initiative/stealing initiative back/etc. are done with remaining CP.

Let's see.

Classic TROS:
Only the buyer can spend more CP to increase the TN of his opponent for +1TN per CP die spent. So, having enough CP to buy initaitive, and then extra CP to increase opponent's TN, is likely to give you a chance of success to get the initiative over your opponent.

If the buyer wins, the original attacker can attempt to buyback initiative if he has enough CP left remaining in his pool to do so. (so, he'll normally reserve at least 4 CP, or a bit more to increase the TN of his opponent as well), if he wishes to take the consideration of buying-back initiative with a fairly equal chance at succeeding it back as well.

I personally find Classic TROS system doesn't play too well with multiple combatants involved, since it can divert into a 1-on-1 initiative back and forth stealing metagame between 2 people instead of "let's get on with the process..", as the result of buying initiative is determined immediately upon declarations of both parties.

TFOB TROS:
Both sides can allocate more/extra CP dice to to their Reflex pool for the reflex contest, though no detail on who should declare the allocation first. (I'd assume BOB's approach of getting defender (ie. the initiative-stealer) to declare first is the correct approach.)

Resolving a buying initiative case is simply defered as contested initiative like in regular Red-red, taking into account any extra dices added to their respective party's reflex pools to determine the final winner of initiative upon resolving manuevers.

There is no Red-red buying initiative case for TFOB, if both attackers had already thrown down red dice simultaneously, then its a matter of a reflex contest with no further modifiers from remaining CP. (This however, does encourage both attackers to just throw in their entire dice pool already.)

___

Perhaps, one way to encourage more reserved CP in any situation, is to allow any player with remaining CP during resolution of manuevers, to quickly re-contest for initiative again (after contested initiative has been resolved in a red/red situation to determine who would normally go first by default..), where the losing side of contested initiative can choose to attempt to veto this by adding more dice to roll/re-roll for additional successes with his remaining CP...) at the last minute in order to change the results of the reflex/speed contest? This approach however, involves players directly interrupting the "resolution of manuevers'" phase in order to buy initiative.



______

For any TROSLike game, when up against armored opponents, players can steal initiative with a "disabling" manuever instead of a damaging one. Optionally, for certain type of manuevers that reduces your target's CP upon success, the player may optionally interrupt the process and choose to deplete off the attackers' remaining combat pool instead of his attack pool (or some manuevers might go for the remaining CP instead...). This can trigger knockdown rolls and such, if the CP drops down to negative.

Additionally, rules for certain types of bludgeoning/stopping-power weapons, may not readily deal wounds on certain types of heavily armored opponents, but may effectively deal shock nevertheless. Or precision strikes can find a way around armour. It largely depends on the variety of manuevers available.

However, I do find that dealing with the "alpha strike" exploit, may not be so readily obvious to new players that are unfamiliar with such options. Such is the weakness of the TROS system (ie. it requires adequate knowledge of the system in order to counter such exploits.). One way to get around this (ie. initial hand-holding) is to have an introductory tutorial/training mission where you run up against such an alpha striker and is guided through the process of stealing initiative and choosing the "right" manuever to deal with the alpha strike.

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