Casting into melee

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Gargoyle
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:39 am

vaminion wrote:If I ever run Torg and want to keep the penalty for firing into melee I'll probably steal a rule from Savage Worlds: if you roll a natural odd and you miss you hit someone else in melee at random. But I'll admit the immutable 50% chance to hit a random bystander really bothers me regardless of whether it's a power or a gun.


Well here's something that will make you want to use that house rule even more, it's actually more that 50% chance of attacking a random target. Since the chance of a final die total being odd is greater in Torg due to rerolls on 10's and 20's, it's a bit more than a 50% chance that you'll attack a random target. However that random target could be the original target too, not just bystanders or buddies. So it's less than a 50% chance that you'll attack the wrong target still. And you could still miss.

I do like the effect, there needs to be something to encourage melee, more than just the small chance of a mishap. But all these odd/even roll stuff is jarring to me, and it's never really good to have the sniper shooting his buddies, it hardly ever happens in movies and feels very un-cinematic. I rather think that villains would also pick the path of "Shoot them both," from Raiders of the Lost Ark. and this doesn't model that well either, though that's sort of because of the way rapid fire and multi-attack works.

So considering all that, I have considered a house rule to instead force the users of rapid fire options and Double Tap to attack everyone who is "engaged" in a melee clump. That gives me the ability to do the "Shoot them both" thing, which would work for some anti-heroes too. For single shot attacks, I think the RAW rule works well enough for unskilled attackers to reflect the randomness of their shooting, but I think if you have the appropriate skill I'll just make it so that the randomly selected target is only made Very Vulnerable (or Very Stymied if already Very Vulnerable), which should be a good deterrence to firing into melee and potentially even more deadly without the anticlimax of having a Storm Knight get cut down by one of their own, at least not directly. And finally I like the house rule that if you take the Aim action you don't have a chance to hit anyone else, but I'm only going to allow Aim for single shots, I don't allow it with multi-target attacks or rapid fire anyway.

So if you're going to hose the bad guy down with a machine gun while your buddy is swinging a sword at them, they are both getting attacked as if you were trying to hit them both. If you're taking your time to aim, no chance to hit a different target. If you're firing a single shot, then your allies (not everyone) becomes Very Vulnerable as the bullets whizz past them. It's a bit gamey, especially the latter result as some would say "what about the other bad guys in that melee clump?" but I don't feel it's too unrealistic within the context of cinematic gameplay and that it is a little more fair toward the players as those damage rolls can get crazy at the worst times.

All that said, my house rule list is purposefully short, and I'd like to keep it that way, so I'm not sure I'll implement this at all, just ruminations.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:31 am

Gargoyle wrote:Well here's something that will make you want to use that house rule even more, it's actually more that 50% chance of attacking a random target. Since the chance of a final die total being odd is greater in Torg due to rerolls on 10's and 20's, it's a bit more than a 50% chance that you'll attack a random target.


And then the math gets really weird when you consider a skilled marksman vs. an unskilled marksman. You're less likely to hit a random combatant if you're not skilled at firing the gun.

Since my probability theory is old and rusty, I am relying on simulations. In a simulation of 100k die rolls, I get the following percentages for a skilled roll (reroll 10s and 20s):
Odd: 55.6%
Even: 44.4%

But for an unskilled roll (reroll 10s), I get:
Odd: 52.7%
Even: 47.3%

So there's an increase of about 3% for a skilled shooter to possibly hit an ally.

This is all unintentional, I'm sure. It's just a funny result of the rule that'd be a fitting entry for Murphy's Rule, if that were still being published. It probably would've been numerically better to reverse the polarity, but since 1 is an odd number, it makes more aesthetic sense to go with what we have.

Of course, with 1 being an automatic failure, that changes the percentage. The question is how do you handle a mishap. In general, I rule that the 1 is just a failure, but if something bad can happen, it should. Each GM treats that differently.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:34 am

Kuildeous wrote:
Gargoyle wrote:Well here's something that will make you want to use that house rule even more, it's actually more that 50% chance of attacking a random target. Since the chance of a final die total being odd is greater in Torg due to rerolls on 10's and 20's, it's a bit more than a 50% chance that you'll attack a random target.


And then the math gets really weird when you consider a skilled marksman vs. an unskilled marksman. You're less likely to hit a random combatant if you're not skilled at firing the gun.

Since my probability theory is old and rusty, I am relying on simulations. In a simulation of 100k die rolls, I get the following percentages for a skilled roll (reroll 10s and 20s):
Odd: 55.6%
Even: 44.4%

But for an unskilled roll (reroll 10s), I get:
Odd: 52.7%
Even: 47.3%

So there's an increase of about 3% for a skilled shooter to possibly hit an ally.

This is all unintentional, I'm sure. It's just a funny result of the rule that'd be a fitting entry for Murphy's Rule, if that were still being published. It probably would've been numerically better to reverse the polarity, but since 1 is an odd number, it makes more aesthetic sense to go with what we have.

Of course, with 1 being an automatic failure, that changes the percentage. The question is how do you handle a mishap. In general, I rule that the 1 is just a failure, but if something bad can happen, it should. Each GM treats that differently.


Yep, and mishaps have their own repercussions with jammed guns, etc, and the added problem of if you want to use a roll of one to four against a friendly, it's not likely to hit or do significant damage, thus the decision to do the odd/even thing in the first place I think.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby vaminion » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:56 am

Atama wrote:If you have one ally in melee with 3 others, you only have a 12.5% chance of hitting the ally if you fire into melee and roll a success.

50% chance of getting an odd, and if you roll an odd there’s only a one in four chance of the random target being that ally. 1/4 of 50 is 12.5%.

Or put another way, there’s an 87.5% chance of hitting an enemy, or 62.5% chance of hitting your original target.

How cool is that? You can look at the situation and gauge the odds and decide if it’s worth it to you. I just really like how this rule was conceived.


Meanwhile in the game I was in we had a lot of many-on-one fights. So we were looking at anywhere from a 25% to something like a 37% chance of hitting an ally with every trigger pull. And since the baddies were large, stupid, badass, or some combination of the three they were either functionally or actually immune to interaction attacks. We ended up in a lot of fights where a shooter's choices would have been between risking an X% chance of hitting an ally or simply skipping their turn.

Thankfully the GM handwaved the firing into melee rule so we could actually play without killing our friends.

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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:05 am

Also, melee combatants can do a little dance. It's not ideal for them, but it's probably better than getting shot in the back by your friends. The simple version of the dance is:

Round 1: Ranged combatants fire; melee combatants close and attack.
Round 2: Melee combatants attack and then withdraw; ranged combatants fire.
Round 3: Same as Round 1.
Round 4: Same as Round 2.
And so on.

If the enemy closes with you, then you start with Round 2 tactics.

It's not ideal for melee combatants since withdrawing leaves you Very Vulnerable. But you know, if you're going to be Very Vulnerable anyway, you might as well gain something for it and do all-out attacks. Counter the +4 they get against you by getting +4 against them.

And if you have a well-oiled team, you may even have someone who can remove the Vulnerable status (Leadership perk category, I believe).

With a few exceptions, you generally are not forced to fire into melee.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Greymarch2000 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:07 am

Why doesn't the melee character attack and then disengage from combat freeing everyone else up to fire? Sure they're vulnerable now but it's not like an enemy can't just decide to leave and attack the ranged characters anyway - there's nothing "locking" you into melee.

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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:04 pm

Kuildeous wrote:Also, melee combatants can do a little dance. It's not ideal for them, but it's probably better than getting shot in the back by your friends. The simple version of the dance is:

Round 1: Ranged combatants fire; melee combatants close and attack.
Round 2: Melee combatants attack and then withdraw; ranged combatants fire.
Round 3: Same as Round 1.
Round 4: Same as Round 2.
And so on.

If the enemy closes with you, then you start with Round 2 tactics.

It's not ideal for melee combatants since withdrawing leaves you Very Vulnerable. But you know, if you're going to be Very Vulnerable anyway, you might as well gain something for it and do all-out attacks. Counter the +4 they get against you by getting +4 against them.

And if you have a well-oiled team, you may even have someone who can remove the Vulnerable status (Leadership perk category, I believe).

With a few exceptions, you generally are not forced to fire into melee.


Yeah, this dance is part of what inspired me to just making them Very Vulnerable. It speeds things up and makes it more abstract, but it's the same result, nearly. However just making them Very Vulnerable does give the players the option of having the melee character attack first to set up status like Vulnerable on the enemy that the ranged can take advantage of. (Edit: and it encourages All Out Attacks which admittedly some characters use all the time as part of their "build")
Last edited by Gargoyle on Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:05 pm

Greymarch2000 wrote:Why doesn't the melee character attack and then disengage from combat freeing everyone else up to fire? Sure they're vulnerable now but it's not like an enemy can't just decide to leave and attack the ranged characters anyway - there's nothing "locking" you into melee.


They just don't want to be Very Vulnerable because enemies can just move and attack. It's a harsh status.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:33 pm

It is a harsh status. While I'm not opposed to it, I do recognize just how much of a burden there is on melee combatants. For one, they're likely the ones taking many of the attacks. They're spending Possibilities on attacking and soaking. Most of the time, ranged combatants don't have to suffer this (but if the GM throws in lots of ranged enemies, this is no longer true but then firing into melee is probably not an issue anymore). But on top of that, the melee combatants have to take the Very Vulnerable status to open up the enemy to ranged attacks. It's actually quite the burden to place on them.

Not that I'll be changing these rules, but I thought about alternatives. What if the melee combatant is Very Stymied instead? This makes great thematic sense because they're only half-heartedly attacking since part of their action is to also move away. But this opens a different can of worms. What if you choose to withdraw after you attack? Do you retroactively apply the -4? Perhaps the melee combatant has to commit to the -4 and then could decide not to withdraw after all, taking the penalty without the benefit.

Or maybe put the burden on the shooter. Make him Very Stymied to fire into melee. It really translates to D&D's -4 to shoot into melee. It works, but it also doesn't convey the danger of sending high-speed projectiles in the direction of your allies. Maybe give the ranged combatant a choice: Be Very Stymied or risk hitting an ally. Make it less game-able by allowing the Very Stymied only if he's not already Stymied.

The main issue is that melee is generally at a disadvantage compared to range. There's a reason why higher tech stories see a greater usage of guns. It's what makes Starfinder so weird because there's still this notion that melee fighters have to be big and strong and eschew firing their guns in a world where everyone else is using guns. There's always room for fisticuffs and swords, and there's often an advantage to getting up in the face of someone with a rifle, but mostly the combats will be at range, and that generally puts melee fighters at a disadvantage.

But it's a team game, and the players should focus on that and strengthen their weaknesses. If the melee person is getting pummeled, then trade them the good cards. Play Transfer to give them more Possibilities. Acknowledge that melee combatants will generally be at a disadvantage compared to ranged combatants and give them the chance to narrow that gap.
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Re: Casting into melee

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:52 pm

Okay, I decided to make absolute sure about this ruling and I double checked with Darrell.

There are two types of attacks. "Attacks" and "Interaction Attacks". If it's not an Interaction Attack, it's an Attack.

All attacks obey the firing into melee rule. So that also includes things like attacks vs. willpower.


Edit: Nope. What I said earlier is the ruling.
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