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Alternative attacks and exploiting openings

posted Jan 24, 2013 03:28:52 by jackpersona42
Situation 1: watching movies like the 2011 Conan, I see fight scenes where two swordsmen and their sword blows are all matched by successful parries. Then they wind up close together one or the other of them exploits the situation where all the weapons are tied up and goes for the head butt or the shove or the elbow into the exposed side.

Situation 2: playing Pathfinder the other night, my character disarmed an opponent - a move that I learned to love from RQ6 special effects - and the fighter in the party, eschewing his axe, went for the style points and head-butted the gnoll. He succeeded but did up to five points less damage for this optimal, but cool, maneuver.

So, in these games we love to play - specifically RQ6 here of course - how do we represent the exploited opening? In the situation where the fighter chose to go for the less effective way, I think he deserves extra kudos (xp?) for going for the cool move. But if you have two warriors, and their swords are "locked up" in strike/parry/counterstrike, and one of them gets off a head butt, is it just that he managed to have an extra AP hanging around and his sword was pinned by a very successful parry?

What other situations could lead to this cinematic but awesome outcome?
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4 replies
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bluefenix42 said Jan 24, 2013 06:12:34
Pin Weapon and Entangle special effects can set up this kind of scenario

You can spend luck points to gain extra action points when you've run out (Desperate Effort, page 124)

A specific combat style could have a combat style trait that allows use of the Flurry special effect under certain conditions, even if the character hasn't earned an extra level of success to spend on it. This might be a sort of "dirty fighting" style that incorporates kicks, elbows, and headbutts with weapon attacks.

If using the Reach rules, a character with a big weapon may find a foe has gotten within his reach, making the big weapon less useful. In that case, an unarmed attack might be a viable alternative to trying to change range.
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Skoll said Jan 24, 2013 07:16:59
I'm stepping now outside of the RAW, but there's a house rule I have been meaning to try: Only one action per limb per Round. The main reason I have been thinking about this, has been to make two-weapon fighting more desirable, but it would also encourage more alternative actions. You have blocked with your shield, you have attacked with your axe - what are you going to do with the remaining third action?

There are obviously some issues with this rule. How to handle two-handed weapons? Allow them two actions? Also, the balance in nice if the creature has 3 actions, but the rule has close to no effect on creatures with 2 actions, and is maybe a bit too limiting for creatures with 4 or more actions.

One possible additional rule to this: if you reach a certain percentage with your skill (80%? 100%?), you can make another action with your chosen limb.
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BruceMason said Jan 24, 2013 14:26:12
For RQ6 I usually think of a time when two weapons get locked together as a pin and, therefore, being at touch reach. At which point if you have the next action then a head butt or kick (unarmed attack) is crippling. Your opponent won't be able to parry (not even using unarmed because he has no viable unarmed parry)and if he chooses evade he ends up prone anyway, can't attack, the weapons are unpinned and you're standing above him with a 2-handed weapon.

I also, though it's an interpretation rather than strictly raw, let people who are fighting with a 1-handed weapon style use unarmed parry special effects as part of their combat style. So if someone attacks and misses then you can take the chance to make a parry to grab the weapon or attacking limb.

Another handy combat trick for sword and shield users is to ward location with the shield and parry with the sword. It's fine if you're facing an opponent that your sword can completely block. It's a real turtle form of fighting, especially for heavily armoured fighters as you can set your shield over any weak spots.

A lot of this comes out the way the mechanics interact with each other. You do sometimes have to apply contextual rulings. e.g. if someone wants to ward location (head) then they need to come up with a convincing explanation of how they can see.

There's also plenty of room I reckon for improvised special effects. I take the list as a starting point. Generally, if a PC wants to do something unusual then it's a case of "sure, you can do it if you get a special effect."

This way, PCs usually don't get punished for being cool (unless they're posing in which case they deserve it) and daring by doing less damage or getting negative modifiers on an attack roll. The other key thing is that the best time to take down an opponent is when they fail an attack because you get a chance to parry and you know all you have to do to get a SE is succeed.
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SebastianJansson said Jan 24, 2013 17:02:43
With the headbutt described in the second situation above, I'd probably let the person in question pick "stun location" as his special effect for the move, which (if you ask me) is one of the better special effects. Of course, this would force him to spend his special manouver doing just that, but I would probably also let him roll 1d10+10 for hit location, as it doesn't really make sense that you suddenly go out and headbutt his legs.
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