Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Anything related to personal combat and archaic weapons
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EinBein
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Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by EinBein » 30 Nov 2018, 16:54

Dear community,

once more we shall discuss topics outside of but complementary to the current rules draft: fighting enemies unknown to our real world history.

This time, it‘s kind of a stretch, as reports of frenzied fanatics exist from several cultures and timeframes. But still, these may be exaggerations by „civilized“ writers for various reasons and many of those fanatics - according to the accounts - still wore shields to defend themselves with.

In contemporary fantasy media such brutes appear naked (or only bedecked with a loincloth for reason of age-restrictions), armed with big two handed weapons, hammering away at numerous enemies, disregarding of their own health. I think of huge slavering orc brutes, northern barbarians with long braided beards and bloodthirsty werewolves!

There might be the simple solution of just letting them be handled by RAW, same as anyone else, but this would make them a no-brainer to beat from a player perspective (all-ins are easily countered, as we all know) or unplayable as a character concept for more than one fight.

But what makes a frenzied fanatic? I believe they should possess the following features:
  • higher pain tolerance
  • clear focus on offensive tactics
  • maybe even benefitting from wearing little or no armor
Design goals:
  • viable choice as enemies and PCs alike
  • still leaving various tactical choices other than all-in
  • but nevertheless significantly different in choices than coolheaded fighters
Please propose additional features and goals as you see fit...

I would see them with some minor tweaks in how they may use drama, maybe also some hazard zone due to their wild sweeping attacks and some consideration how they still manage to avoid serious injuries in the process (though dozens of minor cuts sustained during the fighting would add to the flavor of a PC barbarian).

What do you think??
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Landwalker
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by Landwalker » 30 Nov 2018, 17:14

With the caveat that I don't have the RAW in front of me, so I can't refer to the existing "Frenzy" trait...

As far as "favoring offensive tactics" goes, I think some sort of (currently non-existent) mechanism might allow for representing that in the crunch rather than strictly in the "player choice" behavior. For example:

[*]Character pays +1 AC for any defensive action, but -1 AC (minimum 0) for any offensive action.

or

[*]Character has -1 TN for any offensive action, but +1 TN for any defensive action.

The challenge with the second option, though, is that by using d6 instead of d10 or d12, a one-point difference in TN is probably too great to really be mechanically viable or desirable here.

[*]As a third option, something that gives the character +2 CP (or whatever) in plays where they throw red at the outset, but -2 CP in plays where they have thrown white at the outset.

Almost all of these, though, are likely to result in a character with a short life expectancy. The first option is both the least suicidal, but also the lowest-impact on decision-making.

Characters can already benefit from wearing little armor (in the form of "Don't have armor penalties"). Higher pain tolerance isn't really a thing in the RAW currently, though. Players don't get to reduce Impact based on their Grit, for example (but that might be an interesting idea). They don't get to roll Grit against the adverse TN effects of injuries. The only representation currently is Grin and Bear It.

And from a PC perspective, that might be all the answer you need: Grin & Bear It is the mechanical representation of a character being described as in an adrenaline-fueled, pain-ignorant frenzy. Unfortunately, this doesn't solve the "but what about NPCs" problem. There's also the "But Grin can only be used once per scene" issue, to boot.
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Benedict
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by Benedict » 01 Dec 2018, 11:45

Think that Frenzy by itself covers all the above design goals - at least in part - without need of introducing overlapping (hence redundant) effects. Quoting RAW:
There are some men who can only cope with violence by giving into it wholly. Your character is capable of working themselves into a terrifying frenzy. When in this al-
tered state of consciousness, they lose all fear and become resistant to pain, throwing themselves headlong into battle without concern for life and limb.

While in a frenzy, all impact ratings are halved and any TN shifts from a wound are counted as one step lower (reducing TN5 to TN4, for instance). They are less impaired
by their injuries, but things like broken or severed limbs will still apply and disable the affected regions as normal. If a character receives an injury that should have killed
them outright, they can make an r2 Grit check. If they pass this check, they somehow stagger on. At the end of each round in sequence, they must repeat the check again. If
they fail at any point, they succumb to their wounds and drop dead on the spot. Blood loss is ignored while in frenzy.

While in this state, the character may only attack and must always attack the nearest living opponent, even if they have yielded or are running away. If the character
declares any defensive maneuvers, they must be linked into an offensive maneuver.

A frenzy isn’t something that can be activated at will during combat. It requires the character to spend some time (10-30 minutes) inducing the state through breathing ex-
ercises, ritual, herbs, or just psyching themselves up to achieve the effect. However, if the character has a trait that might interact with Frenzy (Blood Thirsty , Violent Temper,
etc.) or the character suffers significant emotional trauma (your character’s child is murdered before your eyes), Frenzy is subject to temptation and the effects can apply
immediately.

After combat is over, the character takes on the full effects of any injuries they had sustained and take an additional TN shift for their troubles representing how utterly
depleted they have become. This shift lasts until the end of the scene.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
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Agamemnon
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by Agamemnon » 01 Dec 2018, 13:44

If we are talking monsters and NPCs, throwing Frenzy RAW helps a lot. The GM could also cheat to some degree and design the NPC as having a slightly higher btap for the purposes of taking damage, especially if they are going to be wearing a loin cloth. Alternatively, if it's a monster or there is a supernatural effect going on, outright giving them Brawn 10 wouldn't be out of the question. That high brawn tap will make them scary and keep them alive a bit longer.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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EinBein
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by EinBein » 02 Dec 2018, 15:13

Just summarizing the official version of the Frenzy Trait:
  • cost 5 trait points
    during Frenzy:
  • all impact halved
  • TN shifts from wounds counted as one step lower
  • outright killing is withstood with Grit r2 per round until failing
  • blood loss ignored
  • only attacking allowed
  • always attacks nearest living opponent
  • defensive maneuvres must be linked into offensive ones
    activation
  • must be activated in 10-30 minutes excercise or alternatively by tempting the player after suffering emotional trauma and/or triggering an interacting trait
    end of frenzy
  • end of combat = end of frenzy
  • end of frenzy = all suffered effects come to bear in full + additional TN shift until end of scene
I actually like this, the Links provide a defensive option and still provide some tactics for the raging char. In addition, wound effects are mitigated to a degree that makes a wounded Frenzy still dangerous.

Some questions come to mind though, that are left unanswered or aren't as clear as I would like:
  • Link: Can a frenzying char Counter? Or False Attack?
  • Fighting multiple opponents as Frenzy: Is the Frenzy allowed to assign dice for outmaneuvering?
  • How about red/white restrictions?
As SaS is mostly built on real-world logic, the issue of fighting without armor is still a thing that bugs me in a fantasy setting. Maybe this is a thing to discuss in a separate topic or not at all, but for now, there is no sane argument to be made in favor of fighting lightly. The armor penalties are so low, that there is no question whether to wear armor or not, as long as your char can afford it. Sure, the GM can boost the Brawn of orcs and werewolves without raising suspicions, but this becomes more difficult with PC's.

How about this (idea stolen from D&D) though, for less deadly fights in general?:
The AgilityTV becomes a natural armor against any attacks the char is aware of (in addition to the BTV). wearing armor does not add to the ATV, but replace it.
I admit this is unelegant double dipping into Agility, as it is factored into Reflex already. An alternative could be a respective trait to replace AgilityTV for characters in fantasy settings that come from low-tech cultures, with the additional drawback that armor penalties are doubled or so...
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Benedict
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by Benedict » 02 Dec 2018, 17:24

Link: Can a frenzying char Counter? Or False Attack?
I'd say yes.
Fighting multiple opponents as Frenzy: Is the Frenzy allowed to assign dice for outmaneuvering?
Good question.
How about red/white restrictions?
What restrictions? I think you roll Red and only Red while in a Frenzy.
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Re: Fantastical creatures and how they fight us - Vol2 - Frenzied berzerkers

Post by Agamemnon » 02 Dec 2018, 19:23

Benedict wrote:
02 Dec 2018, 17:24
Link: Can a frenzying char Counter? Or False Attack?
I'd say yes.
Fighting multiple opponents as Frenzy: Is the Frenzy allowed to assign dice for outmaneuvering?
Good question.
How about red/white restrictions?
What restrictions? I think you roll Red and only Red while in a Frenzy.
Yes, yes so long as it's declared as part of an attack, and yes.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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