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SRyberg
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Joined: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 06:14

Free Attacks & House Rules

Sun 21 Jan 2024, 06:50

I am new to Symbaroum but have decades of RPG experience. One of the things I didn't care for in other RPGs are provoking Attacks of Opportunity or Free Attacks simply because you moved within (or without) the effective range of an opponent. It bogs down combat making it very static, losing the dynamic flow of action.

I am going to explore alternatives that could alter or remove free attacks triggered by movement, but wanted to pose the topic here to see what others more familiar with this system had to say.

Some of the alterations I am considering are:
1) If engaged with an opponent who proceeds to make a free attack on a third party, you can make a free attack on the opponent because they have opened themselves to an attack of opportunity from you while trying to attack the third party.
2) In order to make a free attack you must first make an opposed check for Quick vs. Quick. If you pass you can then make a free attack.
3) You can only make a free attack if you have either not used your Combat Action or your Move Action. So long as you have not used both you can make a free attack.

These are just ideas to limit free attacks so that they do not completely take the wind out of the sails. Besides things like attacking someone you are not directly engaged with leaving you open to the opponent you are engaged in sounds realistic to me and does not seem game breaking. I have not been able to employ these yet so they are completely unplay tested. These ideas are just my initial thoughts. I am sure I will come up with more. In the meantime I am curious what others feel about Free Attacks and if you felt the need to remove or alter them. Thank you for your replies in advance.
 
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Falenthal
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Joined: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 21:13

Re: Free Attacks & House Rules

Mon 22 Jan 2024, 11:30

I agree that it's tempting to reduce the number of Free Attacks in Symbaroum, but in the long run, I'd advise against it.
The main reason is that A LOT of the Abilities and Qualities for weapons that you'll find, meddle with the way Free Attacks work. That means that it is a core feature of the combat mechanics. So core, that you'd have to tweak many of the Abilites in the game, leading to unbalances, Abilities that suddenly are useless, etc.

I would specially be against your 2nd point, not because it doesn't make sense, but because it adds even more rolling. You'll see that combat in Symbaroum has already lots of dice rolling; adding even more doesn't help to streamline it (which, in fact, was your intention when trying to remove some Free Attacks).

Give it a try, and see how the Abilites interact with the Free Attack mechanic. In the long run, I don't find them as annoying as I thought they would when first reading the combat mechanics.
 
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SRyberg
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Re: Free Attacks & House Rules

Sun 28 Jan 2024, 05:11

I appreciate your reply and thoughts. You do bring up the biggest reason I would be reluctant to alter the Free Attack mechanic, that making changes to a developed system is akin to pulling on a loose thread. It can unravel more than intended.

I will have to put more time into game play and enjoy the system as intended. Perhaps there are ways to present the encounters so that it has more of an impact in some situations and less in others. Barriers and elevation changes could make the battlefield more dynamic.

Thank you again for your reply.
I agree that it's tempting to reduce the number of Free Attacks in Symbaroum, but in the long run, I'd advise against it.
The main reason is that A LOT of the Abilities and Qualities for weapons that you'll find, meddle with the way Free Attacks work. That means that it is a core feature of the combat mechanics. So core, that you'd have to tweak many of the Abilites in the game, leading to unbalances, Abilities that suddenly are useless, etc.

I would specially be against your 2nd point, not because it doesn't make sense, but because it adds even more rolling. You'll see that combat in Symbaroum has already lots of dice rolling; adding even more doesn't help to streamline it (which, in fact, was your intention when trying to remove some Free Attacks).

Give it a try, and see how the Abilites interact with the Free Attack mechanic. In the long run, I don't find them as annoying as I thought they would when first reading the combat mechanics.
 
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Falenthal
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 21:13

Re: Free Attacks & House Rules

Sun 28 Jan 2024, 12:31

To give you an example, a character that wants to specialise in spears, will gain the ability at some point of keeping the enemies out of engagement if he is successful with his Free Attack due to the Long Quality. That means that, if successful, the next round those enemies will have to try to engage the character in melee, triggering once again a Free Attack due to the Long Quality that, again, might keep them at distance.

As you see, if you alter the way Free Attacks work, the way a spearman works in Symbaroum might become useless or fiddly.

It took me some time to get used to combat in Symbaroum (I still have sometimes to pause for a moment and wrap my head around what is happening in a turn, when several Abilites interact), but it's very particular and interesting. At least, it's not just a hit-miss-hit-miss type of combat.
 
DreadDomain
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Joined: Sun 04 Feb 2024, 06:16

Re: Free Attacks & House Rules

Sun 04 Feb 2024, 06:29

Personally, I reduce free attacks in two ways:

1) If damage exceeds pain threshold, I apply the Modification for Critical Damage (CRB p.178) or use Hit Locations (APG p.108) instead of making the player choose a second attack or opponent prone. It removes a lot of free attacks (but does not reduce die rolling if this is what you are after).
2) Long weapons do not provide a free attack. On engagement, they instead provide first strike, which is at an advantage.

Just these two things reduce Free Attacks by a lot. When it comes to Abilities, only those based on the Long quality are impacted (Polearm Mastery and the Natural Weapon III trait). I just replace the free attack by "first strike, which is at an advantage".

There are still many opportunities for free attacks between, moving/withdrawing/disengaging, surprise, some maneuvers (APG 103), perfect hits, fumbled defenses (CRB 179) and quite a few abilities that may provide free attacks.

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