Logs:System Seminar

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This is a log of the system seminar Lextius gave on November 25, 2012. Thanks to Naima for logging!

Introduction

Lextius says, “Okay, so first I want to say that questions are welcome at any time. The system is a homegrown, and it's been patched together from a variety of sources. As a result, there are still some kinks that need ironing out. That said, the core of the system is what we'll be talking about today so that players understand how everything on their sheets fit together.”

Lextius says, “So today I'm going to be talking about System with a capital S. I'll be talking about everything we have on our Wiki, and I'll be going over examples and hypotheticals. Feel free to raise your hand at any point to ask a question. Also, as I just mentioned it's a home-made system and not every circumstance is covered. Don't be surprised if some rules get made today.”

Lextius says, “I'm going to be covering some general design philosophies which guided us when creating the system, some basic mechanics, and then some more in depth examples that focus on combat and the myriad of complexities related to combat. When we talk about the basic mechanics we'll be talking about the role of attributes, skills, and careers/blessings. We'll be talking a lot about synergy and dissonance rules during that section. When we get to the more advanced rules we'll be adding in combat maneuvers, multiple combatants, ranged combat, and the special circumstances that come up.”

Design Philosophy

Lextius says, “I want to begin by talking about some design philosophy elements we've used in creating the system. Understanding them will help understand both how we determine rolls for PCs as well as how we distinguish NPCs from each other.”

Lextius says, “To begin, then, we started designing this system with the PCs in mind as the protagonists of the story. Not everyone is playing someone with high-minded or even decent goals, but the focus of the story here is on the PCs. That means that while the NPCs will have agendas and personalities, more often than not they will be spurred into action by PC activity. That's not system-related, but it's worth mentioning.”

Lextius says, “There are three 'classes' of people in our stories. There are the PCs, who are going to make use of all the rules we're about to talk about. There are the named NPCs, who are the important figures in the world and who serve as a foil to the PCs. These are the equivalent of PCs in almost all ways. Then there are the background NPCs, and these range from the peasant on the street to the imperial soldier. These are the vast majority of NPCs. They have their own set of rules, and we'll talk about how they differ in each applicable section.”

Lextius checks to see if there are any question (feel free to raise a hand) so far?

Lextius says, “Otherwise I'm going to jump into basic system.”

Basic System

Lextius says, “Basic system- We're using a 3d6 dice mechanic here on Starcrusade, which means every time that you hit the +roll command, it is going to roll 3 six sided dice, sum them up, and use that total for resolving success or failure. This produces a relatively predictable curve.”

Lextius says, “In order to determine the 'goal' of a character, we add an Attribute (Mental, Physical, or Social) to an applicable skill to create a Goal.”

Lextius says, “The Goal is modified by a variety of things- circumstances, wound penalties, but most of all synergies. Once the goal and all modifiers are added together, they are tested against the dice roll.”

Lextius looks around the room. "So, for example, if Hombor were trying to lift a heavy rock off of his friend Malcolm, he would test the applicable attribute (Strength), and the applicable skill (Vigor). The syntax of that in the system is '+roll Strength+vigor'.

Lextius says, “The system would then add Hombor's strength+vigor, roll 3d6, and check to see if the number rolled was less than or equal to Hombor's goal. If it was, Hombor would succeed. If it was higher, Hombor would fail.”

Lextius says, “We measure the margin of success by Victory Points. Some of you may remember this from Second Edition rules and for some of you this mechanic is totally new. Victory Points mark the margin of success, and will mean different things in different circumstances. 1 VP is a typical success for the situation. In the above example, Hombor struggles with the heavy rock, eventually freeing Malcolm.”

Lextius says, “With more VPs, the more complete the success. 2 VPs: Hombor gives a great heave, lifting the rock free with a grunt. 3 VPs: Hombor quickly lifts the heavy rock, relieving Malcolm almost instantly of the horrible crushing weight, and 4 VPs: Hombor flings the rock to the side. 5+ VPs are typically only achieved on critical successes or on truly high skill rolls, so expect these to be appropriately dramatic success.”

Lysandra maths. So with 3d6, the highest goal you can have with a chance of failure is 18, yes?

Lextius says, “Lysandra- we've retained a mechanic from second edition called "Critical Successes" and, as we've named them "Mishaps". A critical success occurs on a roll of 3, 4, or 5 (or a little bit less than 5% of the time). Similarly, a mishap occurs on a 16, 17, or 18 (same odds).”

Lextius says, “Thus there is always a small chance of failure, regardless of your skill as a mishap means failure. The odds are equally good, however, that you have a critical success.”

Lysandra says, “Ah, okay. So even if your goal is 18 and you roll 16, you beat your goal, but sometimes crap still happens. ;)”

Lextius says, “Exactly. A higher skill, however, means that on average you will increase the odds of receiving more VPs. A goal of 16 will, on average (with an average roll of 10) receive 3 VPs (1 for every two a person beats their goal by). A person with a goal of 18 will on average receive 4.”

Lysandra thumbs up. Got it.

Isabeau says, “So there is no point to getting the goal above 15?”

Nicolas says, “more VPs because you can get further below it”

Isabeau says, “Ok”

Lextius nods to Nicolas. "Exactly.

Nicolas says, “Do critical success double VPs like the book crit?”

Nicolas says, “sorry if you said that somewhere and I missed it”

Lextius says, “Now the example of Hombor and the rock above is what we call a simple task. We use these rolls to resolve simple, quickly resolved actions in which it is the player versus the world. Can a player leap a wall? Can a player remember which berries are poisonous? Can a player build a tent?”

Lextius says, “A critical success adds 2 VPs to the success.”

Lextius says, “So a character with a goal of 10 who rolls a 4 (6 below), would normally receive 3 VPs. Instead, because he rolled a critical, he receives 5 VPs.”

Solomon says, “Wouldn't that normally be 4 VPs?”

Solomon says, “Wait, no, I'm stupid.”

Lextius says, “No worries.”

Nicolas says, “Actually that does bring up a point. If you only get 1 below your goal, is that 0 VP?”

Lextius says, “Round up. So that's 1 VP.”

Nicolas says, “so 3 below is 2, 5 3, etc.?”

Solomon says, “I just thought 10-6=4, so 4 VPs.”

Lextius says, “It's 1 every 2.”

Solomon says, “I wasn't reading that right.”

Solomon says, “Oh see, I didn't know that.”

Lextius says, “That's correct nicolas.”

Lextius says, “Any other questions about simple task resolution?”

Nicolas says, “Good to know. Always round up. One more quick. Is there any greater impact of a mishap, or just failure?”

Lextius says, “Yes- Mishaps generally include something on top of failure. There's no strict guideline for this, but in general it will be equivalent to a missed action or a -4 on the next turn.”

Lextius says, “Mishaps are going to be very situational.”

Lextius checks to make sure we're all good?

Lextius says, “Okay...”

Contested Tests

Lextius says, “There are two other kinds of task resolutions- the contested task, and the extended task. The contested task is when there's someone on the other end trying to beat you. The most obvious example of a contested roll might be a tug of war... Hombor and Malcolm each grab one end of a rope and yank, trying to pull the other off their feet.”

Lextius says, “Here they each roll Strength+Vigor, and the person who rolls the highest 'wins' by the margin. Thus if Hombor rolled 3 VPs, and Malcolm only rolled 1, the margin would be 2 (Hombor's 3 VPs minus Malcolm's 1).”

Nicolas says, “Ties are resolved how?”

Lextius says, “As ties. In the above example they would both heave and pull and neither would go anywhere.”

Nicolas nods. Probably will be covered in combat section, but just for general rule, when rolling in contest against multiple opponents, only roll once and compare against each individually?

Guest3 says, “Lets just hope for no ties in a fast draw duel. 2 parties would lay dead.”

Lextius says, “We're going to cover combat separately.”

Lextius says, “What's important is that ties mean that the status quo is maintained. A character who is testing their sneak against another character's observe might remain hidden, but he makes no progress- So for example, if Hombor is trying to sneak past Malcolm to get into a building, a tie would mean that Malcolm does not see Hombor, but Hombor cannot get close enough to get by.”

Lextius says, “In contested rolls against multiple people, yes- everyone rolls only once.”

Lextius says, “Any other questions on contested rolls?”

Lextius says, “Okay, extended rolls.”

Nicolas says, “Are there any situations where you can roll against a 'group' as a whole rather than individually? Like if trying to sway some big group with oration or sneak past a big group?”

Lextius says, “That's a good question, and is an example of how we treat PCs and NPCs differently.”

Lextius says, “A large group of soldiers is going to be tested as a single roll, probably with some bonus based on size or situation. Named NPCs and other PCs, however, will always get their own roll.”

Lextius says, “So sneaking past a group of sentries is going to be a single contested roll- the PC versus the Group.”

Lextius says, “Make sense?"”

Linnea thumbs up!

Nicolas says, “Yup. Good to go.”

Extended Tests

Lextius says, “Extended tests are tests which take time. It isn't the case that a PC will go into a library and pull down the book that just happens to contain what they are looking for, and an engineer may take weeks trying to rebuild a tank from spare parts.”

Lextius says, “There are two elements of an extended test- the VP threshold (the number of VPs needed before success), and the time period between rolls.”

Guest3 says, “so fixing a gun might be a roll every day, but a starship rebuild might be a roll every week?”

Lextius says, “So, for example, if Paulus' starship is damaged and he is forced to make a landing and work on repairs, he might have a threshold of 10 VPs, with a time period of 1 hour between rolls. Thus, every hour he rolls his wits+tech redemption and records his VPs.”

Lextius says, “Exactly- the exact period and VP limit is going to be heavily dependent on the situation.”

Lextius says, “The time interval is a function of the complexity of the task- how quickly a person will be able to determine if they are on the right track. Simple machines or machines which require less guesswork have lower intervals. Machines like starships and electronics typically have longer intervals.”

Isabeau says, “So how do we determine that?”

Lextius says, “The VP limit is a function of difficulty. A starship might have a simple problem (3 or 4 VPs), but require extensive work (1 week between rolls). Alternately, a relic pistol might have extremely complex parts that need to be specialy fitted (10 VPs), but they are quickly fabricated and tested (1 hour between rolls).”

Nicolas says, “Is there any standard way mishaps impact the progress? I hope they won't eradicate all prior successes, as that'd be a potentially huge impact, but I could see them adding another interval or something. Or is it purely GM fiat?”

Lextius says, “In the above example, anyway. There's going to be a lot of variability. Extended rolls can also have a period of 1 turn- for example, an engineer trying to hack a console might have be able to roll every turn, with a VP threshold set by the complexity of the lock.”

Guest3 says, “as in like.. rolling a crit failure in the middle of your extended rolls?”

Nicolas says, “And yeah guest 3, crit failure/mishap defined as rolling a 16, 17, or 18 during the extended rolls. Different systems treat them differently.”

Lextius says, “Yes, that's what Nicolas is asking and the answer is that it's a bit of a GM fiat. Sometimes, if the task is sufficiently lengthy, it will add a negative quirk to the results (the starship shields fail when someone flushes the toilet). Sometimes, if thet ask is short, or the work especially dangerous, complete disaster could occur.”

Lextius says, “task is short.”

Nicolas says, “Doh. I hate it when we can't go to the bathroom during battle drills.”

Nicolas says, “Ahem. Anyways, next question. Is there any general limit to the number of rolls? or just what time limits there might be?”

Hybrid Tests

Lextius says, “The mechanic of extended tests combined with the contested test can lead to a hybrid. These kind of tasks are just the contested rules mechanic and the extended rules mechanic combined. An example of this might be a chase: Imagine Hombor is chasing Malcolm.”

Lextius says, “There's an initial distance between them, which the GM requires 2 VPs to overcome. Every interval (for this example it could be a round), Malcolm and Hombor roll their Strength+Vigor and compare VPs. If Hombor wins, his VPs decrease the 'gap'. If Malcolm wins, it increases the gap. The GM will determine some threshold at which malcolm escapes.”

Lextius says, “So if on the first round Malcolm rolls 3 VPs, and Hombor fails, now the gap between them is a threshold of 5 VPs (2 initially, +3 from Malcolm's success). The next round, Malcolm fails and Hombor rolls 2 VPs. He is catching up- the gap between them is now 3 VPs. When the gap gets to 0, Hombor has caught Malcolm.”

Isabeau says, “So...start them both at 5, subtract to 0 and Hombor catches him, and increase to 10 and Malcolm gets away?”

Lextius says, “This is the contested rules combined with the extended roll mechanic. Any questions?”

Lextius says, “So that's how we resolve things basically. Now I'd like to talk about a critical element of all of this- Synergy.”

Nicolas says, “Just to verify with that one. You reduce or increase the gap only by the amount they win by right?”

Lextius says, “That's correct”

Lextius says, “It's possible to imagine a situation where the gap is automatically increasing (in which case it might increase or decrease automatically), but that's a pretty special case.”

Nicolas says, “And my earlier question got missed I think. Is there any general limit to the number of rolls, or just the time limit?”

Nicolas says, “for general extended I mean”

Nicolas says, “And just to complicate things, is there any way to rush the job by taking penalties or take your time to get higher goal?”

Lextius says, “Sometimes there may be a time limit, though it's going to be by the circumstances. In general a person can spend years working on some projects (like research), but there are going to be times in which the think machine might shut down if it is hacked too many times.”

Lextius says, “That's going to be covered in a later section :)”

Nicolas says, “k. Sorry for jumping ahead. :)”

Lextius says, “No worries. Any other questions?”

Isabeau says, “I assume that rolls can be cumulative between players too, like fixing a ship.”

Lextius feels like the college professor looking out at a see of recording devices.

Lextius says, “Yes.”

Lextius says, “sea”

Guest3 flips tape over to side B and hits record.

Synergy - READ THIS SECTION!

Lextius says, “Okay, Synergy- If there is one section of this entire tutorial that you read closely, this is the one.”

Lextius says, “Some of the more math minded of you may be looking at your sheets, or looking at the wiki-page "What do traits and goals mean" (http://starcrusade.fadingsuns.org/index.php?title=What_Do_Traits_and_Goals_Mean%3F), and think to yourself- A goal of 10 means that I succeed only half the time! That seems like an odd success rate for someone the system claims is a trained professional?”

Lextius says, “You, hypothetical doubting Thomas, are not adding in your synergy bonus.”

Isabeau says, “That link does not work for me?”

Lextius says, “A synergy bonus is a boost you get to your goal whenever you are doing something in your wheelhouse. All those careers and blessings you have provide a meaningful game benefit and adding them to your goal as a bonus.”

Lextius says, “Sources of synergy are relatively broad- careers are a prime source of synergy bonuses and are worth spending a few minutes talking about.”

Lextius says, “Your careers are not merely things which serve as statted representations of your character's history. They also represent training earned over half of a decade within the culture of that profession. They make you better at socializing with other people in that profession because you 'speak the same language' they do. You understand the culture of that career. And the result is that when you are performing anything which is associated with that career, you're better at it than someone who has an equal skill because you have an edge in experience.”

Lextius says, “The general rule for synergy is this: A character should total up their sources of synergy. This number is important, as you'll see. For each source, you get a +1 to your goal up to a maximum of +2.”

Isabeau says, “So no more than 2 synergies.”

Lextius says, “Thus a trained professional blacksmith might only have an attribute+skill goal of 10 in blacksmithing, but with his careers and experience, he will likely be rolling against a 12 (10+2). The syntax for this when rolling is '+roll <attribute>+<Skill>+2”

Isabeau says, “Yes?”

Lextius says, “No more than 2, but! Keep track of the number of sources! And here's why.”

You say, “Would 2 of the same 'career' count as 2 different sources?”

Lextius says, “Yes”

Lextius says, “A person with 5 years of experience as a healer is good, but a person with 10 years experience is better- they have seen more and know more tricks of the trade.”

Lysandra says, “Is there a list of which skills which careers give you synergy on, or is it a case of can you justify it?”

Lextius says, “So synergies operate in a special way in contested rolls, as they are a key way to distinguish those who have a lifetime of experience and those who do not. If Hombor has 2 sources of synergy in a contested roll, and Malcolm has 4, then rather than Hombor rolling at a +2 and Malcolm rolling at a +2, the person with the lower number of sources of synergies gets no benefit, and the person with the higher number subtracts the difference.”

Nicolas says, “Subtracts up to +2, or can go above +2 in that case? i.e. someone with 5 versus someone with 2”

Lextius says, “In response to Lysandra- there is no list, because some careers are going to add to skills in only certain circumstances. It's based on whether a reasonable justification can be made. An armsman, for example, might receive a bonus to charm- but only when dealing with other armsmen.”

Lextius says, “Subtracts up to +2. +2 is always the maximum.”

Nicolas nods. Just making sure that's out there.

Lysandra says, “So in your example above, Hombor rolls with no bonus and Malcom rolls with +2. You can only roll with +2 max no matter what, but you use /possible/ sources of synergies to determine who would have the most?”

Lextius says, “That's exactly correct.”

Lysandra thumbs up.

Lextius says, “So suppose that Hombor and Malcolm are both trying to woo an NPC. Hombor has the "Eloquent" blessing. Malcolm, however, has Attractive II. In this example, Hombor has 1 source of synergy, and Malcolm has 2. Thus Hombor gets 0, and Malcolm gets a +1.”

Lextius says, “The consequence of this is that people who are doing what they have a great deal of experience doing will generally get a bonus over people who either have no experience, or less experience.”

Lextius says, “Synergy is critical to all non-combat rolls, and there are going to be few circumstances in which a character is doing something they are competent at in which they do not receive a bonus.”

Nicolas says, “Only non-combat, or will there be further discussion later on combat synergy?”

Karl says, “Does that imply that synergy is never used... yeah what Nicolas said.”

Lextius says, “Synergy is never used in combat. Instead that involves the edge, which we'll talk about later. There is one small caveat with that.”

Lextius says, “There are some skills which 'cap' other skills- though the one most players will ever encounter is ride. While on a horse (or any mount), a character's skills are capped to whatever their ride is. Thus a person with a ride of 4 and a melee of 6 is treated as having a melee of 4 on a horse.”

Nicolas says, “Ahh, so does that replace cross-skill synnergy bonuses? Like the high-physik sort getting a bonus to remedy when doing first aid for their exceptional knowledge of the body or whatever?”

Lextius says, “No, though you can get a synergy bonus for having a closely related skill.”

Lextius says, “Actually, let's pause for a moment-”

Lextius says, “Are there any questions so far about when/how to apply synergy bonsues?”

Lextius says, “Take a look at your +sheets to make sure."

Karl says, “And what about things like psi and theurgy? Or other (I can't think of any but I'm sure there are some) things beyond what sounds like mostly social/professional rolls?”

Tarah says, “There are psi and theurgy related careers.”

Karl says, “Right, I'm asking if those (or other weird things) give synergy, since combat is specifically excluded?”

Lextius says, “There are a host of psi and theurgic careers and blessings. For example, the visionary blessing can give a synergy bonus to certain sensory powers. The "Thought Police" career can give a bonus to psyche.”

Lextius says, “They do- they fall into an exceedingly narrow gap.”

Nicolas says, “Can battle brother count towards Mantius theurgy despite it's combat association?”

Lextius says, “Typically not, though the career of Mystic affects all theurgic rituals.”

Lextius says, “And Brother Battle theurges often have that career.”

Karl also probably has some questions about some specific career situations, but can cover that at another time maybe.

Lextius says, “Now is a great time to bring them up. The more hypotheticals on the table the better people will be able to understand them. Plus, if you have a question, odds are good other people will to.”

Tarah says, “Well there is skill synergy I have been thinking about, how broadly applicable is Focus when using psi abilities to help synergy?”

Lextius says, “This is a critical area of the rules- it affects quite literally every roll staff makes during resolution (we look at careers and blessings before we look at skills often).”

Karl says, “Ok well, I was treating them kind of like lifepaths/tours in the original game/etc and so I took what I thought was a 'youth' career (Squire in my case), but with the way you're describing Armsman synergies for example, I'm having trouble imagining where I'd get bonuses from it (since, technically, the focus of a career like that would mostly be the martial skills you're learning from say an older knight and the social aspects... would also probably deal with that relationship, I dont know where they'd apply generally).”

Karl was trying to replicate the military apprenticeship from the original, more or less.

Lextius says, “Focus is an example of a skill synergy though in the context of psychic powers it is going to give a +1 if a character has it at 3 or more, and a +2 if a character has it at a 6+. However, it is also a meditative skill, and will provide those bonuses only when a psychic has the ability to actually focus- sneakily activating a power in the street is not typically preceded by a moment of quiet reflection.”

Tarah says, “Karl, armsmen as an example are not just soldiers, they also run a farm, hunt a lot, ride a lot, etc. Plenty of non combat activities.”

Karl says, “Well I'm asking for my example somewhat. Although I'm sure people with other ones could come up with similar weird quirks (Duelist, for instance)”

Karl says, “Where they would apply if they don't apply to combat.”

Lextius says, “So a squire career is a martial noble career path. It gives synergy bonuses to a variety of skills in certain circumstances: interacting with other martial nobles (which includes charm, impress, and to a lesser degree courtier related skills). That said, not all careers are equal in terms of what they apply bonuses to. Staff balances that out when statting characters, and more martial characters often have more maneuvers.”

Karl says, “And I'm not sure about the riding thing as there seem to be specifically careers to help you with that, with special rules.”

Tarah says, “Rolling Ride rather than an adaptation bonus I think.”

Karl definitely has some more nitpicky questions on that, but will save them. Good for now :)

Lextius says, “Synergies are meant to be intepreted relatively broadly within a career- careers are by their nature expansive things in which many different tasks, all related to the career, are performed on a daily basis.”

Lextius says, “The person with the career blacksmith isn't just getting their bonus to hammering iron, for example. They are also getting a bonus to commerce when selling their goods a the market, and asking for favors from other blacksmiths, etc.”

Lextius says, “So, first off, keep in mind that when you are rolling dice you should always consider your blessings and careers before determining what your final roll is. The odds are good a synergy bonus applies.”

Lextius says, “Now the dark side of synergy is dissonance. Some people really have no idea how to do something, and in Fading Suns there is plenty of ignorance to go around. Because we have designed our skills to be broad there are lots of examples in which a single skill covers a myriad of circumstances. For example, the skill of commanding a starship is the same skill as commanding two dozen knights.”

Lextius says, “The Sabotage skill is both the skill of undermining a castle and breaching the hull of a star cruiser.”

Lextius says, “As you can imagine, some characters have a skill but may not know how to use it in some circumstances. This acts as a negative penalty on a dice roll.”

Isabeau says, “This accounts for thinking you know how to do something you don't?”

Lextius says, “Similarly, some curses are going to affect rolls as well. A character you is unnerving is going to receive a dissonance penatly.”

Tarah points to her creepy albino self.

Lextius says, “...on charming people, obviously.”

Tarah, obviously a souless monster.

Lysandra says, “Like having inquiry but being mechanically disinclined.

Engineer tells me ship doesn't run, I have no idea what to ask for more information.”

Lextius says, “Essentially, Isabeau, though it is also the penalty associated with being stuck in a situation with which you are not familiar.”

Lextius says, “That's a good example Lysandra.”

Isabeau says, “Well I'm not sure why being stuck in an unfamiliar situation would be more penalizing for having a related skill than if you didn't have it and were rolling without it.”

Hubert says, “Hubris.”

Tarah says, “Well the penalty would likely be smaller than the boost you get from having the skill.”

Hubert says, “You think your knowledge should apply but it doesn't?”

Paulo says, “It's like rolling your skill at a 4 instead of a 5. The unfamiliar guy doesn't have those 4 skill points.”

Isabeau says, “Well that's what I was thinking, Hubert.”

Tarah says, “But a knight with Command 8 who has experience commanding knights in glorious charges is not going to get the full benefit to command starfighters defending a transport convoy in deep space.”

Lysandra can ask, but I get a penalty because mostly my questions consist of 'Can you make the thing do the thing? You know, with the thing?'

Linnea says, “Sometimes, when you know a little about something, that is worse than knowing nothing - you overestimate your ability or oversimplify the problem, perhaps.”

Lextius checks in with Isabeau to see if that makes sense, as it sounds like there are some good examples.

Lextius says, “There's no situation in which a -1 dissonance penalty to a skill is going to be worse than having a 0 in the skill.”

Hubert says, “Glorious starfighter charges, Tarah!”

Isabeau says, “Oh so you still get the skill bonus, but then added penalty for unfamiliar ground equals less bonus but still bonus.”

Tarah attaches a lance to a starfighter.

Lextius says, “Yes.”

Lextius says, “So the knight commander in the above example still knows a little something about motivating people to fight, even if he suffers a penalty for not knowing which side is port.”

Linnea says, “Ah, perfect!”

Paulo says, “Your Tank gunner still knows how to use a gunnery console. But when he's trying it on a starship he's not as good because he thinks of things like ballistic trajectories, and wind and stuff. :)”

Lextius says, “So synergy and dissonance are two sides of the same coin and operate as a penalty on simple tasks, and follow the same rules as synergy on contested actions- If Hombor receives a -1 penalty to his wooing attempt above because he is unattractive, and Malcolm receives no bonus, we do the math (0 - (-1)), and suddenly Malcolm gets a +1 to his roll.”

Lextius checks in to make sure everyone follows that math.

Lysandra says, “So contested rolls don't have penalties so much as they have bonuses for your opponent.”

Lextius says, “Yup.”

Lysandra says, “Cool.”

Lysandra says, “That's in addition to bonuses your opponent may have, still with the max of +2?”

Lextius says, “Always within the max of +2.”

Lextius says, “The max is there because of a bunch of math we did, and we concluded that +2 was a pretty big bonus.”

Lextius says, “Make sense to everyone? I want to make sure that when you look at your sheet, you never, ever, stop after just adding your Attribute+skill. Always think whether a synergy bonus applies.”

Lextius says, “Okay...So that is the basic mechanics. The types of rolls, synergy, and dissonance.”

Lextius says, “Now for the advanced stuff- Combat and special circumstances.”

Combat

Lextius says, “As mentioned earlier, we don't use synergy in one on one combat. We use a stance mechanic, and something called 'the edge'.”

Lextius says, “For those of you who have used the combat system here you will be familiar with these stances, but for those of you who are new, when you are enaged in melee combat, either hand to hand or with weapons, the first step, before any dice are rolled is to let the GM known which 'stance' you are in. Because combat is not tracked blow by blow, a stance represents an overall fighting style for a period- Are you hammering away at your opponent, leaving yourself open but hoping to keep them off balance? Are you attacking when an opportunity presents itself, but parrying and keeping yourself safe? Or are you parrying, retreating, and trying to control the pace of the battle by forcing your opponent to overextend?”

Lextius says, “There are three stances, as suggested by my examples above- Aggressive, Balanced, and Defensive.”

Lextius says, “Each one of the stances has its own advantages and disadvantages.”

Lextius says, “Balanced stance is the easiest to understand. In balanced stance a character receives no bonus to their roll. If the character rolls more VPs than the opponent, then he does damage. If he receives fewer VPs, then the character's VPs act to absorb some of the damage of his opponent's attacks.”

Lextius says, “In aggressive stance, a character receives a +2 to his or her goal. Like in balanced stance, a character who wins applies their VPs as damage to the opponent. However, unlike in balanced stance, a character in aggressive stance who loses does not use his VPs to absorb damage.”

Lextius says, “Defensive stance gives a +2 to the character's goal as well. If the character rolls more VPs than his opponent he does not do damage, but if he rolls fewer, his VPs are subtracted from any damage done to him.”

Lextius says, “Thus there is a gamble every round whether you believe you are going to roll more VPs (in which case Aggressive stance is the best), or fewer VPs (in which case defensive or balanced is better).”

Lextius says, “I'll give a simple example- Hombor and Malcolm are fighting over the love of an NPC. Hombor chooses aggressive stance, receives a +2 to his goal, and rolls 2 VPs. Malcolm chooses a defensive stance, receives a +2 to his goal, and rolls 1 VP. Hombor does damage equal to his weapon (found on the weapon chart on the wiki) + the difference between his VPs and Malcolms (in this case 2 VPs - 1 VP = 1 VP).”

Lextius says, “Make sense so far?”

Tarah says, “Question, I assume one can shift stance mid combat freely? I am guessing the answer is yes but thought it worth clarifying.”

Lextius says, “Yes. At the start of every round a character can choose a different stance.”

Lextius says, “Any other questions?”

Isabeau says, “Just a minute.”

Lextius says, “Sure thing.”

Isabeau says, “What is the difference between absorbing vps in balanced and absorbing vps in defensive?”

Lysandra says, “So if you have any successes, you will always do damage at least equal to your weapon?”

Lextius says, “There isn't one, though defensive stance offers a +2 to goal.”

Lextius says, “And yes, Lysandra. Your weapon damage is fixed.”

Isabeau says, “Ah.”

Lysandra says, “That seems like a lot of damage to deal in one round. Or am I off?”

Lextius says, “With defensive stance, however, you have no opportunity to do damage.”

Isabeau says, “I think there may be armor offset, Lysandra.”

[OOC] Tarah says "Lysandra, people have armour, not to mention strength. Dealing more than a flesh wound to somebody in armour generally needs a pretty solid hit."

Lextius says, “We'll talk about armor and wounds in a second, but yes, an average sword does 5 damage. You should not want to hit with one.”

Nicolas says, “get hit rather?”

Lextius says, “yes, get hit with one. :)”

Isabeau steals Lex's words randomly. Whole pocket full!

Lextius says, “okay, so are we good?”

Lysandra is generally in favor of not getting hit, yes. XD But I guess I'm trying to understand how one takes anything but serious damage when one gets hit at all. It sounds like armor is the answer to that, though.

Lextius says, “So the next element of the fight is the edge. The edge goes to whoever won the last round of combat (and disappears in the case of a tie). It manifests as a +1 goal to the side that has it, and additionally it may be used in certain circumstances to determine who is in the least advantageous position. If two people are fighting at the edge of a cliff, for example, the person without the edge is the one who has his back to the edge. Obviously this latter situation is going to be situational, and many times the edge will only confer the +1, but it is something to keep in mind.”

Lextius says, “In the above example, Hombor has won the last round, and so as he goes into the next round he has 'the edge'. He is pushing Malcolm back and controls the flow of the fight. He receives a +1 to his goal on top of any bonus from stances.”

Lextius says, “If Hombor wins this next round he will retain the edge. If he loses, Malcolm will take the edge. If they tie, then Malcolm has halted Hombor's advance, but now they are fighting at a standstill.”

Lextius says, “Neither would have the edge in a tie.”

Lextius says, “Everything clear on the edge?"”

Nicolas says, “There ever a case where you can start with the edge?”

Nicolas says, “surprise attack or whatnot”

Lextius says, “Yes, and that's an example of it.”

[OOC] Isabeau says "Hombor and Malcolm sure do fight a lot."

Lextius says, “Surprise attack, an unprepared opponent, etc.”

Nicolas nods. Cool cool.

Lextius says, “So let's say that Hombor hits Malcolm again, with 1 VP to Malcolms failure. Hombor is using a club (which does 4 damage). We add 4 to the 1 VP, so Hombor does 5 damage. Now armor comes into play.”

Lextius says, “Every piece of armor has a rating that is subtracted from certain kinds of attacks. Feel free to take a look at the weapon and armor charts on the wiki to get a sense of this.”

Lextius says, “Armor has three ratings- basic: which covers all manner of melee attacks, falling damage, damage from blunt or low-speed projectiles, etc. Piercing: which covers all damage done by bullets, high-speed projectiles, or specially designed weapons (there are some high tech melee weapons which do piercing damage), and Energy: which covers lasers, blasters, and flameguns, as well as a few more exotic types of weapons that do damage by directing energy into the body.”

Isabeau says, “Not finding armor on the wiki.”

Lextius says, “Let me guess you can see a list of ranged weapons? Take a look at the lower left corner and you'll see that that chart has tabs.”

Lysandra says, “At the bottom are the tabs.”

Lysandra almost asked the same question. >_>

Isabeau says, “Oh!!”

Lextius says, “So let's assume that in this case Malcolm is wearing a generic armor worn by many nobles- Synthsilk. Synthsilk has a rating of 3. We directly subtract 3 armor from Hombor's 5 damage to get the actual amount of damage that Malcolm feels- 2.”

Lextius says, “If you look at your +sheets, you'll see two types of wounds there- Flesh wounds, and Serious wounds. Flesh wounds are relatively minor things and serious wounds (like their name suggests) can be crippling. A character receives a flesh wound when they receive damage less than their strength attribute. Thus, if Malcolm has a strength of 3 or higher, Hombor's blow is only a flesh wound.”

Lextius says, “Malcolm, however, is a shivering weakling and his strength is only 2. When a character receives damage equal to or greater than his strength, he receives a serious wound.”

Lextius says, “Flesh wounds don't immediately cause a penalty. A character must have 3 flesh wounds before they take a -1 penalty to all fo their rolls. For every 3 flesh wounds, another -1 penalty is added.”

Lextius says, “A serious wound causes an immediate -2 penalty to all rolls, however.”

Lextius says, “So in the example above, Hombor has struck Malcolm with a club, and now Malcolm is at a -2 to everything from his serious wound. They decide to stop fighting and Hombor gets the girl like the caveman he is.”

Lextius says, “That's basic combat- stances, the edge, the contested roll, damage, soak, and wounds.”

Nicolas says, “Where does death come in?”

Lextius says, “Always with the questions that bring up PC and NPC differences!”

Karl says, “And how do things like shields (both kinds, for that matter) and shield fighting work?”

Nicolas hangs head.

Lextius says, “shields comes up next, but let me answer nicolas first.”

Lextius says, “the many faceless NPCs out there- the soldiers and the peasants- can take a single serious wound before they either pass out or die (it's a little bit by GM fiat there). PCs, however, can remain conscious for much longer.”

Agravain knows all about getting seriously wounded. ;)

Hubert says, “Lex, will this go on the wiki by any chance?”

Lextius says, “A PC falls unconscious when their wound penalties equal their resolve. After that death occurs as a product of bleeding out, or being struck again, or what have you.”

Lextius says, “Yes- we're going to clean up this log and post it up.”

Lextius says, “The situation is going to dictate that, Nicolas.”

Lextius says, “Any other questions on the basics? I'm going to move on to shield combat (because many if not most of you have energy shields), and combat maneuvers generally.”

Nicolas says, “I assume you combine flesh wound and serious wound penalties?”

Lextius says, “You do.”

Lextius says, “They are all wound penalties.”

Isabeau says, “In what regard? Next combat maneuver? staying conscious?”

Lextius says, “Is everything clear so far, or shall I move, is what I meant to ask.”

Isabeau says, “You combine flesh and serious wounds in what regard?”

Nicolas says, “like if you have -1 from three flesh wounds and a -2 serious, you are at -3”

Sans says, “Okay, I'm late to the discussion, but i'd like to ask you something in a page if I can”

Lextius says, “Oh, you combine the penalty from flesh wounds with the penalty from serious wounds for a total penalty.”

Isabeau says, “In all cases then.”

Maneuvers

Lextius says, “Okay, so combat quickly becomes complicated when you add maneuvers in- maneuvers represent a certain style of fighting, whether it is the dancing parry-riposte of a fencer to the hammering onslaught of an infrantryman or the charge of a cavalryman. There are tricks and techniques to each style, and many of you play characters who have a handful that represent things they have learned either through instruction or hard earned experience in the field.”

Lextius says, “Maneuvers are grouped broadly into three melee classifications (though there is some overlap)- Fencing, which is the use of a light blade and teaches how to duel noblemen with their energy shields. Battlefield maneuvers, which represent the use of heavier weapons and armor typical of the modern battlefield, and martial maneuvers, which represent hand to hand techniques.”

Lextius says, “I'm not going to enumerate all of the maneuvers here and go through them, but they are all listed on the wiki. Almost all of them have rules which fit snugly into the basic rules I've been covering- for example, the 'Master at Arms' style gives a +1 to goal in balanced stance.”

Nicolas says, “Question about maneuvers that require X VP to succeed in the action (like sweep or throw or whatnot). Do those have to be 3 above the opponents defense VP. i.e. to sweep someone who rolled 3 VP would need 6 VP?”

Lextius says, “It should be clear in the language, but I believe that is the case.”

Tarah says, “Another question, combining maneuvers.”

Lextius says, “When applicable, maneuvers -do- stack. Thus a character with Mastery at Arms (giving a +1 to goal in balanced stance when fighting with a broadsword or heavy weapon) and Shield Expert (+1 goal to balanced stance when fighting with a shield) receives a +2 in balanced stance if using both mastery at arms and Shield expert.”

Tarah says, “What about with shooting people maneuvers? For example can one ust 'Snapshot' to take two attacks, each of which is a 'Short Burst'?”

Lextius says, “Yup.”

Lysandra says, “Does the code automatically take these things into effect, or is there something we have to do to adjust it? For example, it says shield dueling means my damage to an opponent is automatically halved. Is the code going to recognize that, or do we need to keep track, tell a staff person, etc?”

Tarah says, “And can somebody who is insane and wealthy use Snapshot with Speed Loader two take two Empty Clip actions a round?”

[OOC] Angelique says "Can that be the official name for them? Shooting people maneuver."

Tarah has several shooting people maneuvers!

Lextius says, “So the maneuvers sometimes limit themselves. Empty clip states that it is a single roll, as does Long Burst. So while you can take two short bursts, you have to pick snapshot or long burst/empty clip”

Tarah nods.

Lextius says, “Lysandra, you're going to keep track of it- there are simply too many permutations of maneuvers to code it in.”

Lysandra says, “Is that the case for all damage? Or are we going to need to then notify staff for adjustments?”

Lextius says, “I'm not sure I follow Lysandra?”

Lysandra says, “Is code calculating any damage automatically?”

Lextius says, “No.”

Isabeau says, “I think she means adding wounds?”

Sans says, “Okay, a question related to this: let's say you have a convert-damage maneuver, and one that gives you damage bonuses under certain stances. Are those stackable?”

Lextius says, “ah. Staff can add wounds. Just let us know (if it comes up).”

Lysandra says, “Yeah, wounds. Okay, so we'll need to let someone know about our wounds/damage after a scene to account for healing?”

Lysandra says, “Okay, cool.”

Lextius says, “Can you give me an example, Sans?"”

Tarah is guessing Hack and Slash plus Hammering Blows or something?

Sans says, “Yeah, some guy decides to hammering blow you. He takes a -2 to damage in exchange for making 1 more stun damage. On the other h- Tarah's got it.”

Sans says, “There are other combinations but yeah, I'm reading the wiki right now and puzzling that.”

Lextius says, “Absolutely. A character in aggressive stance, using hack and slash, and hammering blows, does 1 point less damage total, and does 1 stun damage.”

Sans says, “Cool. Thank you!”

Lextius says, “To clarify- stun damage is in every way like normal damage, it just heals quicker. There's a chart on the wiki to help clarify wound healing times.”

Lextius says, “So maneuvers play a -huge- roll in combat, as you can imagine. A highly skilled swordsman with few maneuvers is going to be far less versatile than a lower skilled swordsman with a collection of maneuvers at their disposal.”

Lextius says, “And to your point, Karl, about how some martial careers offer limited synergy potential, those are also the careers which are more likely to yield combat maneuvers in the appropriate field.”

Karl says, “K though I still have a personal follow up on that :)”

Lextius says, “Okay, so maneuvers is a huge topic, but we've fielded some good questions and I think hammered out some details. Are there any other questions?”

Lextius nods. "Okay, we can talk afterwards.

Lysandra says, “When learning maneuvers, are there prerequisites to learning maneuvers from a new category?”

Lextius says, “As in- can you learn a Koto maneuver if you only have Iron Heel?”

Lysandra says, “As in, I have fencing maneuvers, but not battlefield ones. Do I need to have something particular in place before I start learning battlefield maneuvers?”

Karl says, “Oh thats a good question too, how those categories work, where you can use what, which maneuvers are cross-applicable, etc.”

Lysandra says, “Or even fencing maneuvers from another school.”

Karl says, “Like, is hack and slash the only fencing maneuver you can use in a real fight? Or can you use them all?”

Lextius says, “No special prerequisite, though obviously experience on the battlefield is the most common form of education for battlefield maneuvers. Nobles often retain experts, though, who can train them.”

Lysandra says, “Okay, cool.”

Sans says, “So to learn duelling techniques it would take a duelling instructor?”

Sans says, “And also, would using a Major Effort or two to 'hone his civilian sword techniques' be considered wasteful or...”

Lextius says, “As to your question, Karl, the cross-applicability is going to be a question of circumstances. It's certainly conceivable that on a battlefield a duelist might face one-on-one with an axe-wielding Kurgan and make use of all of his maneuvers that he feels are useful. Recently I ran a scene in which fighting was in close corridors with packed lines, and a character asked if they could use fancy footwork- I said no, as it required room to move around in.”

Karl says, “Thats... awfully vague. I mean especially things like, many of the 'categories' say 'Fencing weapons only' - but then they also appear in different lists with different rules sometimes.”

Lextius says, “So it's going to depend. However, in order to slip under shields and make use of the "Energy shield dueling" maneuver, a fencer is going to need to use a fencing weapon.”

Karl says, “So is it only the ones that say it in their maneuver text, not ones that say it in the fencing school text?”

Lextius says, “It turns out that players are really good at coming up with creative uses for the things on their sheets, so as a rule we don't want to ever say "No, you cannot ever do this ever".”

Xof says, “Context and creativity can do amazing things.”

Lextius says, “Can you give me an example, Karl?”

Karl says, “So... That still doesn't really answer my question I guess. I'm not talking so much interesting situations as, a fairly normal fight, there are maneuvers that say fencing weapons only. Does even THAT not apply sometimes? Or is that solid and other maneuvers are case by case? Or are other maneuvers mostly wide open?”

Tarah says, “Karl, if you look at the weapons list it shows which count as 'fencing weapons'”

Karl says, “I know.”

ChiakaBATTLE says, “I think his point is some of the Fencing schools focus on different weapon types, and still get Energy Shield Dueling.”

Lextius says, “I'm looking for an example so that I am sure that I understand.”

Karl says, “Well my example is kind of the entire fencing school list (which often lists specific weapon requirements) vs. the actual maneuver list.”

Tarah says, “Well there is the one school that uses 'backswords', not all backswords are fencing weapons though.”

Karl says, “Which lists them in far fewer instances.”

Karl isn't confused by keywords on weapons, plays D&D, etc :P

ChiakaBATTLE says, “Yes, Cimetare was the one I noticed.”

Lextius says, “Ah, okay.”

Karl says, “And saying 'ah well it depends on creativity' is a little vague especially since this is an area where PvP can happen.”

Lextius says, “No, I misunderstood the question. Allow me to clarify.”

Tarah says, “You can use Cimetarre with a two handed Great Scimitar or a Heavy Saber, but cannot use those weapons to slip under an energy shield.”

Lextius says, “Energy shield dueling requires fencing weapons. Fencing weapons are weapons which, by the nature of how they are swung or used, can be appropriately wielded to slip under shields. Some backswords are fencing weapons, and these are the ones which are typically used by Cimetarre swordsmen. Also, some cimetarre fighters (such as those using Aggressive shield fighting) may not even use energy shield dueling, as the plan is to 'hammer away' at the shield rather than slip under it.”

Tarah says, “Or they might be on a battlefield still able to apply their fencing maneuvers in some cases, Cimetarre is sort of hybrid.”

Lextius says, “Indeed it is.”

Lextius says, “Does that clarify?"”

Karl says, “No, it still misses the question somewhat. Like most of the maneuvers themselves don't require fencing weapons. Lets take Press since you want a specific example but its almost universally true.”

Karl says, “Actually...”

Karl says, “Lets take...”

Karl says, “Fancy Footwork”

Karl says, “The maneuver says nothing about weapon requirements at all (again, this is the case of almost all of them). Its available to Cimetarre and Art of Defense.”

Karl says, “Those styles have different weapon rules, as well.”

Karl says, “So, can the following people use Press, yes/no: A) Cimetarre duelist using a great scimitar B) Cimetarre or AoD duelist using an axe C) Generic combatant that learns it some other way w/ an axe”

Karl says, “Er, not press, Fancy footwork, sorry.”

Karl says, “Since thats our cross-example”

Karl says, “I assume A) is yes”

Karl says, “B) and C) are unclear.”

Karl says, “And there's also an embedded question there somewhat about how maneuvers are tied to styles.”

Karl says, “Since styles aren't actually something you can learn, as far as I can tell.”

Lextius says, “Sorry, I needed to take a brief break there...”

Lextius says, “Good question (and as I said when all this began, some of the finer points still need hammering out). As a rule fencing maneuvers represent a general 'style', which is why they are grouped separately from battlefield maneuvers. 'Press' is meant to be a calculated, precise onslaught of slashes and lunges designed to keep an opponent off target. More clear language should be used, but it is the 'fencing' version of 'Hack and Slash"”

Karl says, “Ok, so in general ALL fencing maneuvers EXCEPT Hack and Slash are fencing only, except if you know Cimitarre, and then you can battlefield those 4 with a great scimitar?”

Karl says, “(I'd point out that probably makes it vastly superior and you'll see everyone doing that, but thats another issue :P)”

Lextius says, “I think I missed something in the backscroll about great scimitars...?”

Tarah says, “They are 'Backsword' weapons according to the weapons list.”

Tarah says, “So technically they could be used with Cimitarre”

Karl says, “And Cimitarre lets you use backswords.”

Karl says, “Right.”

Karl says, “see this is why I'm raising it, this doesn't seem like its been entirely thought through, no offense meant.”

Karl says, “Its not clear at all what is usable when.”

Lextius says, “Hack and slash isn't a fencing maneuver?”

Tarah says, “Cimitarre has Hack and Slash”

Karl says, “It is for one style, and is listed as being a crossover kind of thing.”

Lextius says, “Ah, okay.”

Tarah says, “Then again, Mastery at Arms with a two handed sword is much nastier than Cimitarre for battlefield use.”

Tarah says, “I mean... It is horribly lethal.”

Tarah says, “Or Mastery at Arms and Sword and Board using a shield and arming sword.”

Karl says, “Tarah thats not necessarily true, depending on which maneuvers the people have”

Karl says, “And its also possiuble that the two are stackable and thats furtherly not clear :P”

Tarah could see stacking Sword and Board and Cimitarre being possible as the rules are written at the moment, a shield and a saber perhaps. "Mastery at Arms is pretty seriously potent though, it gives +1 goal in balanced stance and has Pommel Strike."

Diana says, “now I am wondering if misunderstood it, as it seemed logical to me. You lean style X that says it uses weapon Y. From the style you learn manuevers 1, 2, and 3. So logicaly manuvers 1, 2, and 3 use the weapon. If manuever 2 says fencing weapons only, then you can only use it with a fencing version of your weapon.”

Tarah nods there. "You can have a maneuver in multiple styles to open up your weapon choice of course."

Karl says, “Diana the problem with that is that maneuvers appear in multiple places and as people branch out they'll start having more than one etc.”

Karl says, “Like right now, as people are cged, no one is probably able to stack anything, no.”

Karl says, “Except for people who got what is it, grapple + close combat”

Tarah says, “If you have Hack and Slash in Cimiterre, that works with backswords, if you also have it in Mastery-at-Arms you can also use it with broadswords. I know at least one person has that combo.”

Diana can stack 2-3 things actually

Diana says, “So far Karl I have only seen one example, Hack and Slash”

Tarah has Close Combat in Iron Heel and in 'Other Maneuvers', but that is probably completely redundant.

Karl says, “Well we're vering into another argument here.”

Karl says, “One is simply IF you can apply those fencing maneuvers at all.”

Karl says, “Which is still unanswered.”

Sans says, “Some of the Cimetarre maneuvers are turned null by MaT.”

Sans says, “ASF, for instance.”

Sans says, “But that's just a tactical thing.”

Karl says, “Then there are questions about... is the 'source' of the maneuver tracked, especially if you learn more styles.”

Sans says, “But, Karl, I would assume that unless noted otherwise, all Fencing maneuvers could be stacked with battlefield ones.”

Diana says, “it is on my sheet at least”

Sans says, “For instance:”

Karl says, “Well thats what I'm asking.”

Karl says, “I dont know why people are piling on me now. There are things here that are not clear at all.”

Lextius says, “okay, let's quiet down so I can get to answering questions :)”

Tarah says, “The source of maneuvers is tracked, take a look at your +sheet :)”

Karl says, “Right Tarah, but thats one of those things that will stop being true as you get past CG.”

Karl says, “And you start having multiple styles.”

Karl says, “Do you have to learn it twice?”

Lextius says, “As in, will we ask whether you are learning Hack and Slash as part of Cimetarre or as part of Mastery at Arms?”

Karl says, “Sure. I mean, I have H&S and I dont have Cimetarre. Thats another great question. Can I use it in a duel?”

Lextius says, “Or will we simply say "You have Hack and Slash" and that applies to both?”

Karl says, “I think I've kind of demonstrated there's a huge pile of uncertainties here.”

Lextius says, “Well, it's clear there are some questions I need to answer.”

Karl says, “I mean, a very easy answer would be 'Fencing maneuvers are for fencing only except for H&S', which is certainly one way to read the wiki page.”

Karl says, “And then the only thing special about cimitarre is they fence with slightly different weapons than their peers.”

Sans always read it as 'Unless otherwise noted, they stack', himself.

Karl says, “Well yeah, that's another way to read it, which is going by the maneuver texts rather than the style stuff”

Lysandra says, “Very basic question: Lys is a straight up fencing duelist. Makes sense for the character. But since she's been on Yathrib, she's obviously been involved in more warfare than dueling. And dancing around like Zorro on the battlefield is cool for the movies, but not really practical. What kind of steps would I take stat-wise to represent growth in the battlefield direction? (I think this might address the question at hand in a more concrete way.)”

Karl says, “And just say 'yeah you can use anything your weapon qualifies for'”

Sans says, “I think considering that they want to foster creativity and not stifle it, when it comes to maneuvers as well, I'd go for the latter approach.”

Karl says, “In which case only Precision and Enery Shield Dueling get restricted.”

Lextius says, “That is correct.”

Karl says, “Ok so... EVERYTHING else you can use ANYWHERE regardless of where its from so long as your weapon qualifies to the maneuver text, and you ignore the style text?”

Sans says, “General versus specific rule principle applies here, Karl, I think.”

Karl isn't making any assumptions.

Lextius says, “I'll adjust the wiki to include the following- Fencing maneuvers are restricted by weapon type only when specifically mentioned- a person trained in facny footwark can use it as easily when holding a broadsword as when holding a rapier. However, Fencing maneuvers do not generally stack with battlefield maneuvers, and vice versa.”

Lextius says, “Obviously without the typos.”

Lextius says, “A person with an axe can press with an axe, but he is doing something different and incompatible with Hack and Slash.”

Karl says, “Even though Hack and Slash is on the fencing list too?”

Lextius says, “Cimetarre is at a disadvantage dueling- it cannot combine hack and slash with its dueling maneuvers.”

Lextius says, “It isn't part of the dueling list- it's a versatile battlefield application for Cimetarre”

Karl says, “Ok then, that's clear enough. Clarity is good.”

Lextius says, “Excellent!”

Lextius says, “Wow, okay. So any -other- questions?”

Lysandra says, “Were we going to talk about shields?”

Lextius says, “Yes!”

Caelwyn says, “And about mounted combat.”

Nicolas says, “One quick MA question. sorry.”

Nicolas says, “Grappling requires an aggressive stance and then roll at a goal of -2. Does that mean actual -2 or does the -2 and the +2 from aggressive cancel out? And then with the wrestling maneuver, it gets a +2 to grapple attempts, does _that_ +2 cancel out the grapple -2 or is +2 the final bonus? I'm assuming the answers to these are -2 for the normal grapple and -0 for the with wrestling, but just making sure.”

Lextius says, “One part of the question first- Aggressive stance gives a +2, grappling gives a -2, for a total goal modifier of +0. I'll adjust on the Wiki to make it clear.”

Lextius says, “The wrestling maneuver gives a +2, so with wrestling, an attempt to grapple is at a +2.”

Nicolas says, “Nice. Thanks.”

Energy Shields

Lextius says, “Okay. First let's talk energy shields. Second Edition energy shields had a lower threshold, an upper threshold, and a hit counter. We've largely done away with the lower threshold. Now, in order to 'slip' under energy shields a fighter must either have the energy shield dueling maneuver, or take a penalty to their roll of -2. In both cases they must be using a fencing or light weapon.”

  • NOTE: Since the seminar, this rule has been modified to be weapons with the Fencing, Light, or Knife qualities.

Lextius says, “In both cases, any damage done to the target -after- VPs have been added in but -before- armor is halved. Thus a target that is struck by a saber (damage 5) for 3 VPs (for a total damage of 8) using energy shield dueling takes 4 points of damage (8/2).”

Lextius says, “Round up.”

Nicolas says, “Err, just to clarify (or possibly jump ahead), if someone doesn't have a fencing or light weapon, their only option is to try and do damage over the upper threshold?”

Lextius says, “Energy shields still have a maximum threshold, however- 10 for normal and dueling shields, 15 for assault shields, and 20 for battleshields.”

Tarah says, “Also Nicolas, this is an excellent reason to always carry a dagger.”

Lysandra says, “They take four points of damage, which is then mitigated by armor?”

Lextius says, “Or to beat an energy shield into submission. Every energy shield only absorbs a certain number of hits. 10 for normal shields, 15 for dueling, 20 for assault, 30 for battle.”

Karl says, “Nic if you can't get under, the standard tactic is often just battering the shield down since they only work a number of times.”

Lextius nods to Lysandra. "Yup.

Lysandra says, “Okay, cool. Does armor come before or after strength?”

Lextius says, “Before.”

Lysandra says, “That makes sense.”

Karl says, “Isn't that all just additive? Where's the before/after? Or are we talking the halving?”

Tarah says, “Lex mentioned that the halving happens before armour is considered.”

Nicolas says, “This may be a theme newbish question, but how do energy shields stop grappling, throws, or sweeps? Frictionless so they can't be grabbed and just absorb impact of other things?”

Lextius says, “The 'order of operation' goes 1) Calculate damage (weapon+VPs+ any bonus from having a high strength) 2) divide that damage by half. 3) Subtract armor 4) apply wound as appropriate.”

Karl says, “So its... right ok that makes way more sense saying it that way.”

Karl says, “All adders together, then half.”

ChiakaBATTLE says, “Wow, that's actually pretty easy to overwhelm a shield then.”

Tarah says, “Which does mean the synthsilk under armour is entirely capable of stopping 1 VP attacks.”

Tarah says, “Under shields even”

Karl says, “Yeah, if you have any sort of decent armor underneath, you still won't take a lot of damage without high str/vps.”

Tarah says, “Well remember you can only wear light armour with a normal or duelling shield.”

Lextius says, “Not a newbie question at all. Actually grappling is one of the ways around shields. A person who is grappled does not receive the benefit of their energy shields from attacks by the grappling party. So if you grab someone and stab them, the energy shield does not have enough space to form, and therefore it does not function.”

ChiakaBATTLE is gonna want a tank to hide inside now, because Synth and shield no longer makes me feel safe in battle. :p

Karl says, “Yeah but you can wear more under the bigger ones, which will come up for war stuff.”

Karl says, “Just not for nobly dueling.”

Tarah says, “Chiaka, you are a baroness, you can wear powered ceramsteel!”

Caelwyn says, “If one can find powered ceramsteel in midget size ;)”

Lextius says, “That's basic energy shield rules, with some special circumstances- like grappling- thrown in gratis. Any questions?”

Diana says, “You can hire a platoon of muster for a season for about the same price as powered ceramsteel, and use them ablatively :P”

[OOC] Lextius says "Okay, let's keep it to system. I want to make sure every question is answered."

Nicolas says, “One that goes back to basic that I think we skipped. How is strength bonus calculated again?”

Nicolas says, “For damage I mean”

Tarah says, “I guess there is the question of how assault/battle fields work with this ruleset, is it medium armour for assault shields max and heavy for battle fields?”

Karl says, “I know it was always battle for heavy, not sure about medium.”

Tarah says, “Well 2e rules allowed plastic plate armour with an assault shield.”

Lextius says, “I did completely forget that- thanks for brining it up. Strength provides a bonus to damage: for every two points of strength past 4, you do an extra point of damage with single handed melee weapons.”

Tarah says, “Just no ceramsteel.”

Sans says, “What kind of armor can a baronet get anyway?”

[OOC] Lextius says "okay guys, we're talking system but let's keep it organized."

Karl says, “Right, yeah. I mean they didnt have the same armor categories. I meant powered armor when I said heavy.”

Sans says, “And that is good to know.”

Nicolas says, “Only single-handed? What about two-handed or unarmed?”

Karl says, “Well it is system relevant which armor goes with which shields.”

Lextius says, “Sure, though we can get around to that in order. I agree, though, it's worth talking about.”

Lextius says, “For every point above four, a character does an extra point of damage with a two handed weapon.”

ChiakaBATTLE says, “And Cael, since when is 5'0" a midget? :p”

Karl says, “I think the thing to do there would be put the shields up on the equipment spreadsheet somewhere, both so you have the absorb/hits listed and you could do the sizes as well.”

Lextius says, “Good call. It takes a bit to tinker with the spreadsheets but I'll get it done.”

Nicolas says, “Err, sorry Lex to hang up on this. Extra on top of the +1 per 2 above 4 that was given to a single handed, or the same bonus to both?”

Lextius says, “Unarmed is treated as single-handed weapons.”

Karl says, “There's a chart somewhere on the wiki as well, Nicoloas.”

Nicolas says, “Ah. I must have missed that one somewhere”

Agravain says, “What if you Kirkpunch. Is that a two-handed weapon? :)”

Lextius says, “There is- Fighting with one handed weapons or unarmed, +1/2 points above 4. Two handed weapons, +1/point above four.”

Nicolas says, “The above talk about armors was the first I'd heard about strength bonus to damage”

Karl says, “starcrusade.fadingsuns.org/index.php?title=Melee_Combat#Strength_and_Melee_Damage”

Nicolas says, “Oh! Okay thanks Lex. that makes sense”

Karl says, “For those who don't like having to do basic division :)”

Nicolas says, “Wow. it _is_ easy to go over 10”

Lextius says, “the math is not in your favor, but it is an option certainly.”

Lextius says, “someone mentioned they wanted to talk about mounted combat?”

Lextius says, “Or are there more questions about energy shields?”

Lysandra says, “One more question about shields, because I don't remember if it was addressed in the book or if it was relevant to the game anyhow. When your shield gets burned out/overwhelmed, is it a matter of battery replacement, or full shield replacement?”

Lextius says, “Battery replacement”

Lextius says, “Recharge, really.”

Lysandra says, “Okay.”

ChiakaBATTLE presumes we have an on grid charging station somewhere?

ChiakaBATTLE says, “Err, not on grid, but that there's one somewhere in Akko and elsewhere?”

Lextius says, “Yes, though charging it requires access to electricity, which most nobles and guilders have.”

Lextius says, “well, many nobles and guilders I should say.”

Final Questions

Lextius says, “Okay, we've gone five hours now, and we've covered everything from how to roll strength+vigor to lift a rock to a rather in depth discussion about the intricacies of fencing maneuvers vis-a-vis battlefield applications.”

Caelwyn says, “Regarding mounted combat: just if there was anything other than the 'ride caps your melee' aspect, or if you had to have the mounted combat styles to gain advantage from horseback combat: I see the 'overrun' advantage is signifant if you have the manouver, but it seems to be strictly a disadvantage to be mounted without it, unless you are good at ride, at which point it is neutral.”

Paulo says, “The Adaptation blessings, Equestrian for example, raise that cap by 2 as well.”

Lextius says, “Sure, though I understand your point- being mounted seems to provide no advantage unless you are specially trained in mounted combat. Getting a horse is actually worse for many soldiers.”

Xof says, “Trying to drive and shoot is easier than ride and shoot."”

Paulo says, “A Horse gives a soldier mobility though. Think Civil War Cavalry, they'd use the mobility, but often dismount to fight.”

Lextius says, “I don't have an answer for you on that, Caelwyn, and it is something that I think we're going to need to address- driving is probably similarly capped as riding.”

Diana says, “Also if you are trained on fighting on horseback you are pretty nasty”

Isabeau says, “Nasty?”

Lextius says, “You are. I, however, need to step away from the keyboard for a few minutes. I'll be available for pages in about 20 and we can talk privately as I know a number of you asked questions that I said I'd get to afterwards.”

Caelwyn says, “Aye, that's my point - and no problem, does need to be considered later.”

Diana says, “As in effective in combat :)”

Diana says, “I think it is fairly realistic, people used cavalry for ages as they are effective. But you need a lot of training otherwise you are more danger to yourself :)”

Caelwyn says, “Yes, but that is the ride skill, in part. I agree that manouvers should make you nastier. But being able to be in the saddle and fight, we do with the ride-skill-cap, and it offers no net advantage if you do have it, even a +1 to strength from charge would seem about right.”

Nicolas says, “Is there any rules about the warhorse itself attacking since most mounted military train them to bite and kick during close battle, maybe something could be balanced out where the mount attacks are thrown in would help balance.”

Karl says, “They had stats in the 2e rules.”

Karl says, “And could fight.”

Karl says, “Plus there are things scarrier than horses you can ride, spitters and flying beasts of doom.”

Diana says, “or it would be a kinda cool synergy bonus, having your horse kicking ass with you”

Zebediah says, “This the battle seminar or whatever? just poking my head in curiously”

Diana says, “It is mostly over, Lextius is having a break and will be back to handle questions folks asked him privately”

Zebediah says, “Ah okay”

Zebediah says, “I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the system anyway, was just curious. Was watching Brave with the missus”