Str and attack rolls

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Str and attack rolls

Postby Steve Kenson » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:56 am

Just thought I'd mention a few things about Str not added to melee attack rolls in True20:

The basic rationale is that, in core d20, armor provides a bonus to Defense making it harder to get a successful "hit," since any successful hit in d20 automatically does damage (at least 1 hit point). So great Strength helps to overcome armor, making it easier to get a successful hit.

In True20, however, armor provides a Toughenss bonus rather than a Defense bonus, so Strength comes into play primarily in overcoming that Toughness bonus through damage, while Dexterity reflects accuracy and the ability to tag a target with a successful hit (and to avoid getting hit). Strength does come into play when it comes to trying to block an attack, pitting your Strength against an attacker (which is why the Str bonus to parry option is in there).

Now, the point about Str granting the ability to more effectively use heavy weapons is a good one. If you want to reflect this in the game, you can use the optional rule that any two-handed weapon has an attack bonus equal to your Str or Dex, whichever is less since it takes both great Strength and accuracy (Dex) to wield such weapons effectively. This makes it harder for low-Str, high-Dex finesse fighters to wield two-handed swords, and gives the mighty-thewed barbarian an advantage, since he can more easily wield them.

It adds a bit of complexity to the system, but if it works for you and your group, by all means play around with it.
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Re: Str and attack rolls

Postby Denaes » Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:37 am

Same conclusions I came to as well. I agree with Dex to tag since Str overcomes armour which is now part of the damage save.

Steve Kenson wrote:Strength does come into play when it comes to trying to block an attack, pitting your Strength against an attacker (which is why the Str bonus to parry option is in there).


You beat yourself out on this one and it makes absolutely no sense.

If Str isn't used in the least to attack (which it shouldn't IMO) then how could Str defend? If someone is using their Str to prevent a blow from landing, it stands to reason that a stronger opponent would have more of a chance of forcing their way in.

Oh and the 2h weapon using strength isn't a proper argument.

Unweildyness is a matter of perspective and isn't unique to 2h weapons. It has to do with a weapon being too heavy for you to use properly.

A weakling is going to find a Mace or Longsword unweildy, just as a gladiator would weild a Longsword without any problems and might find a 2h weapon unweildy, while conan weilds a 2h weapon just fine and might only have problems weilding a tree or equivilent to a street sign or something.

What this means is that Str should not come into an attack roll by the 2h logic, but weapons should have a minimum Str to weild properly without getting penalties.
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Postby Matterhorn » Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:37 am

The whole Strength Vs Dexterity argument as Melee Combat mod is an interisting one. In D20 a Warrior type who is not interested in ranged combat can allocate their best abilities into Strength and Constitution, knowing that they are amongst the best for their character level in hitting opponents, damaging them and surviving whatever blows strike them in return. As levels increase and hitpoints amass initiative can become less relevent because an opponent is unlikely to make a single fatal strike.

The Narrator in me is attracted to diversity and likes the idea that Dexterity is suddenly just as relevant as the other two physical attributes in True 20. It forces hard decisions on a player and makes the +1 attribute per 6 levels a harder decision than it may once have been.

Armour is no longer the universal solution to combat in True 20 and parrying and dodge become seperate paths for the combat focused warrior. Dex is for Initiative and hitting and dodging. Strength is for damage and parrying. I am not big on trying to quantify abilities in a `real world' context but my take is that a heroes Dexterity, when used in combat, measures how rapidly they can apply their strength. So a high Dex low Str hero is fast but doesn't have much power behind their moves, a high Dex and high Str hero can apply their considerable physical power very rapidly. So Strength is used for parry because by the time the strike gets to the target it is expressing all of the power that the attacker has available. The target must be able to turn this blow aside and must use their own Strength to do so in order to successfully parry the blow. Well, thats my take on it all and if it is a case of `justifying after the fact', its good enough for me.

This approach makes sense to me especially when a Hero is facing Adversaries of a different size. A small creature tends to have a high Dex and low Str and this advantage is further multiplied by the Size modifier to Combat Bonus (p66). They can dart in and paw or bite at you quickly but they just don't have the strength and power to hurt you much. Sit down and play with a cat some time. It will grab you 9 times out of 10 but even if it was totally enraged at you, you would get away with scratches at worst (and an ego fatality). Going the other way, larger opponents are less dextrous and more cumbersome but you will be seriously punished if they hit you. The ultimate predators strike fear into people because they are stronger and more dextrous; tigers and great white sharks for example.

Finally, use an analog of the Weapon Finesse Feat where Strength can be used instead of Dex. Call it Potent Strike or some such thing and make it a Genral Feat. If this will not do and you want to use Dex for melee but factor Str into the equation, give a hero a -1 penalty to hit per point that Weapon damage exceeds Str. Weapon damage relates closely to size and mass so this could work. So a Str +2 hero suffers a -1 to-hit penalty using a long spear (Dam +3). I would consider this penalty a situation modifier because, for example, it would not apply if the spear was set against a charge and may not apply if used mounted. Also, Supernatural or other bonuses to a weapons base damage would not be figured in this equation and it could be appropriate in some cases for masterwork weapons to ignore it altogether.

Hope this helps

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Postby Dragonspawn » Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:06 am

Thanks for giving us the thinking behind that change Steve!

Even if I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion I am really glad you guys put this level of thought into True20. Blue Rose had an awsome system but there were some aspecs that were just holdovers/throwbacks to regular d20 that didn't really make much sense anymore (such as "favored" skills being a remnant of class skills.) True20 has worked out most, if not all of these kinks.

That said, heres my argument.

Dex is definately the right choice for rapiers/daggers etc (basically all the stuff that used to be covered by the weapon finesse feat). Those weapons rely on agility to bypass your opponents defences.

The strategy behind a warhammer is much different.

A warhammer, battleaxe or greatsword is not built to be maneuverable like a rapier. Instead of delicately feinting and jabbing your way through your opponent's shield and parry attempts you basically smash your way through. Granted you still try to avoid their parry/shield, but with such a large weapon this is almost impossible. You count on the momentum of the weapon (including the stregnth you put behind it) to be able to bypass your opponent's parry attempt.

Steve, You said parrying is a contest of strenght, and I agree... except in the rules as written its the defender's strength vs. the attackers dex. If parry is stregnth based, you need stregnth to overcome your opponent's parry with some weapons.

I think I will house rule that dex is used for small weapons (daggers, short swords and such) plus a few select medium and large weapons built for dexterous use (rapier, javelin, net, staff, shortspear, whip) Thes youd use dex to avoid an opponent's parry attempt. (Ex: He tries to block with his sword but you easily get past the parry by changing the direction of your blow and stab your opponent in the shoulder with your rapier. Yay dexterity!)

Meanwhile "heavy" weapons will use strength (clubs, warhammers, battleaxes, longswords, claymores, greatswords, pole-arms). These weapons would use strength to oppose an opponent's parry. (Ex: Your enemy tries to block with his sword, and while his weapon does get in the way of the arc of your warhammer, its a moot point because the hammer had a ton of force behind it and still made contact with your opponent's skull. Yay brute strength!)
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Postby cynic_devine » Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:52 am

I think I am going to house rule that a character can use either Str or Dex for attack rolls. I think it works well with the idea that a character can either use Str or Dex for Defense.
Last edited by cynic_devine on Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Str and attack rolls

Postby Grazzt » Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:56 am

Denaes wrote:What this means is that Str should not come into an attack roll by the 2h logic, but weapons should have a minimum Str to weild properly without getting penalties.


Agreed. And I believe Chaosium used such a thing in Stormbringer or Elric (or both).

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Postby Grazzt » Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:40 pm

Nisarg wrote:hey grazzt, welcome to the forum!

And since you're here, what do you think of the idea of making True 20 stuff for the City State of the Invincible Overlord setting?

Nisarg


:) Thanks...True 20 for City State/Judges Guild? :) Might be interesting.
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Postby Strand0 » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:49 pm

Grazzt wrote:
Nisarg wrote:And since you're here, what do you think of the idea of making True 20 stuff for the City State of the Invincible Overlord setting?
:) Thanks...True 20 for City State/Judges Guild? :) Might be interesting.
why has this come up? :o
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Re: Str and attack rolls

Postby theCimmerian » Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:24 pm

Nisarg wrote:When you say "whichever is less" do you mean "the lesser of the two attributes"? Because I don't see how that would help the Barbarian at all.
It would just end up screwing both types when using two handed weapons.


Maybe Mr. Kenson is a fan of Robert Howard's famous barbarian Conan.

Contrary to the painfully slow, lumbering hulk that Schwarzenegger depicted in the movies, the literary Conan was fast.

So he would probably have Str +6 or better and Dex +6 or better, and even with the optional "Lesser of" rule be able to handle two handed weapons with brutal accuracy.
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Re: Str and attack rolls

Postby skywalker » Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:37 pm

Denaes wrote:
Steve Kenson wrote:Strength does come into play when it comes to trying to block an attack, pitting your Strength against an attacker (which is why the Str bonus to parry option is in there).


You beat yourself out on this one and it makes absolutely no sense.

If Str isn't used in the least to attack (which it shouldn't IMO) then how could Str defend? If someone is using their Str to prevent a blow from landing, it stands to reason that a stronger opponent would have more of a chance of forcing their way in.


I disagree. Attacking and Parrying are two very diffierent option. Parrying is intentionally putting yourself in the way of an attack. As such, it requires Str to absorbing and redirect the blow not Dex.

The only criticism I have on a technical level is that very strong attacks should make Parrying less favourable and can actually overcome the defences. Parrying a Hill Giant with a tree is a little different than a Goblin's sword.

As such, I am thinking of adding the following feat to deal with the disadvantages of Parrying very powerful attacks.

Mighty Blow [General]
Prerequisite: Str 5+
Effect: When you miss an opponent that is parrying by equal or less than your Str bonus, then you are considered to have hit. This attack's damage is reduced by the amount that you missed by.
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Re: Str and attack rolls

Postby Denaes » Tue Jun 28, 2005 5:04 pm

skywalker wrote:
Denaes wrote:
Steve Kenson wrote:Strength does come into play when it comes to trying to block an attack, pitting your Strength against an attacker (which is why the Str bonus to parry option is in there).


You beat yourself out on this one and it makes absolutely no sense.

If Str isn't used in the least to attack (which it shouldn't IMO) then how could Str defend? If someone is using their Str to prevent a blow from landing, it stands to reason that a stronger opponent would have more of a chance of forcing their way in.


I disagree. Attacking and Parrying are two very diffierent option. Parrying is intentionally putting yourself in the way of an attack. As such, it requires Str to absorbing and redirect the blow not Dex.


Strength is used to resist/overcome strength. Strength of motion, strength of structure, etc thats all it does. Nothing more.

Dexterity is agility. This means instead of overcomming someone in brute force, you work around force.

If you're attacking using Dexterity - as the Ability Scores are currently defined and as the Attack/Defense is currently explained, a Strength of -5 or 55 would have no impact on parrying because the weapon (fist, sword, mace, etc) never comes into contact.

Being strong or weak won't change the fact that you tried to grab your opponents sword and he moved it to the left and you missed it. Strength doesn't help your coordination. Thats Dexterity. Dexterity on attacks means that you're going around the defense, not charging through it. If you're charging through it, then someone can defend with strength.

Strength will help once you have a hold on someone, you can prevent them from moving. If you happen to connect with a weapon, you can stop it from moving or possibly break it.

If a martial arts master (super high agility/technique) comes at you, it doesn't matter how strong you are. You could stop a friggin moving car (+500 Strength!!) and it won't matter. Because you'll never grab the Masters hands. They're very agile and will maneuver around your defenses, not through them.

This is why the Strong Brutes without much agility get hit all the time. They're not agile enough to parry. But they can normally take the damage and keep going.

I agree that if your character were agile enough to block a weapon with his own, there should be a difference based on attackers strength. Because the attacker then needs to FORCE his way though, rather than finding an opening.

I have no problem with the mechanics of Str for Parry and Dex for Dodge, but if you're going to explain it, make sure the explaination holds water. If it doesn't, then just say "It's a balance issue" or find another way to explain it.
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Postby Matterhorn » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:40 pm

As I wrote earlier in this thread, Str works well for parrying. Most unarmed martial arts (that are taught following tradition) require the student to practice blocking and block / grapple against fast attacks, using physical power to do so. In my Muay Thai training this is a matter of using forearms to protect the head and elbows to protect the sides. The foot is raised and the thigh is used to block sweeping kicks. In this case it is a matter of `bracing' for the hit and keeping the blow away from vital areas. Training is done at speed but it is physical power that stops the blow from `breaking' your block. One the other hand my CHen Tai Chi training is all done very slowly. This is to enhance precision because this art requires the practitioner to engage an attackers limb in such a way that a hold or grapple is the result. This is then converted into a bone break or take-down with my next move. I interpret the True20 rules as meaning that Dexterity, when used in combat, is the speed at which a person can apply their strength. Chen Thai Chi gives me the ability to rapidly engage a hold on my opponent in order to the apply a later move, to take control of the opponents limb and to then disable their ability to use it. So these are two different martial arts and their use of Strength in the parry.
I have seen a demonstration of an ancient Nordic Combat Art (can't remember the name) using either the spear or the axe. It was amazingly brutal and essentially each move was a killing move. So a successful parry was a set up for a spear jab to the face, chest or thigh and each axe parry was a swing to the jaw, shoulder, ribs or thigh. If one of these parries managed to `break' the blow that it was parrying, it would continue as an attacking blow. It was a spectacular demonstration and makes me thankful that I will never have to face an angry Viking!
All of my practical martial experience tells me that Strength is the attribute for the parry and Dexterity is the attribute for Attack.

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Postby Grim Luck » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:52 pm

You could argue both sides of this all day. What does this represent? What does that represent? Is this differentiation artificial or realistic?

It hardly matters.

The important thing is that in THIS game, dexterity represents an ability to attack, an ability to dodge, an ability to gain initiative, a base upon which certain skills are focused, etc. and STrength adds to damage, measures lifting capacity, etc.

If you wanted a realistic system you might have to come up with a hundred or even a thousand different true attributes, and the character creation process would take days.

I'm not trying to stop you all from debating. Its your right. I just feel that it might be a waste of your time and energies - much like trekies debating the nature of warp core dynamics.

I mean, at some point you just have to say, its a game and I like these rules enough or I don't like these rules enough.

right?

Anyway, just my opinion. Feel free to ignore it if you want.
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Postby Matterhorn » Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:52 pm

No way Grim Luck
True20 isn't a game its a ... a ... a ... um, well. OK, so its a game. :lol:

Thanx for the slap.

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Postby Grim Luck » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:11 pm

Please understand. I don't wish to offend anyone. Its just that I've found myself debating truly pointless arguments before, and I wanted to prevent others from having to experience my pain.

I pray that you all take a good look in the mirror and don't succumb to the path that leads to fear!





heh heh.

I hope you all get the Donnie Darko reference.
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Postby cynic_devine » Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:45 pm

You know the more I see the debate the more I think giving the player the choice between Dex & Str seems to be a fair & viable houserule for me. I am not saying everyone should do it, but I think it will work for me.

Can anyone think of a downside of using either Str or Dex at the players option?
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Postby Grim Luck » Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:57 am

Well the developers felt that with the removal of increasing toughness saves as a character progresses in level, that the effects of a high strength influencing damage becomes magnified. Further balancing things out is the inclusion of Strength for parrying.

Also, with the increase in a character's combat modifier (both attack and defense) as a character increases in levels, the effects of dexterity on combat (both towards attack AND defense) becomes lessened.

Further reducing dexterity's effectiveness and increasing strength's effectiveness is the way that armor works in this game. You can trade up your toughness save for slowly increasing limits on dexterity.

While D&D had already included penalties imposed by dodge bonuses, D&D armor gave bonuses to armor class (defense) to give back what it took away.

So if you allow characters to choose either Strength OR Defense you are changing this balance. Perhaps for your game it takes on exactly the correct parameters. Who knows? The developers felt one way, but you are certainly entitled to your own take on things.
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Postby Denaes » Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:12 am

cynic_devine wrote:You know the more I see the debate the more I think giving the player the choice between Dex & Str seems to be a fair & viable houserule for me. I am not saying everyone should do it, but I think it will work for me.

Can anyone think of a downside of using either Str or Dex at the players option?


Str doesn't make sense for parrying per se as it was described.

When you look at many of the Combat Feats, they allow special actions/situations/effects when an opponent attempts an attack and it is successfully parried.

This is where the Strength comes in. Dex would represent agility in interception, avoidance & making contact. Dex won't help you overpower someone or break a weapon or whatever other Feats there are for Parrying people.

I mean, if it floats your boat, then go for it.

I think Str being there is a good mechanic - The reason describing why Str makes sense isn't logically correct though. It's something they might want to fix.
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Postby Hellequin » Mon Aug 29, 2005 8:47 am

So, here is another question: parry helps you in your toughness check? This would make sense, you know. But, how it works? As I said in the other thread I just have the Blue Rose book and Im trying to figure out what are the changes between the True20 and the Blue Rose system.

Another think that bugs me: its possible to use Str to the toughness check and let Con to increase your number of "vitality levels"? (as its done with the new WoD) I dont know if this is a good idea. It seems to me that the stronger your the best you can overcome direct damage. Another point is that Dex its to important being responsible for attack rolls, defense, initiative, reflex save and a lot of skills. Its TOO important. Don´t you think?
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Postby Denaes » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:26 am

Hellequin wrote:So, here is another question: parry helps you in your toughness check? This would make sense, you know. But, how it works? As I said in the other thread I just have the Blue Rose book and Im trying to figure out what are the changes between the True20 and the Blue Rose system.


This is in True20 this thread was discussing Str in parrying.

Parrying adds to your defense, not your toughness on melee attacks.

Another think that bugs me: its possible to use Str to the toughness check and let Con to increase your number of "vitality levels"? (as its done with the new WoD) I dont know if this is a good idea. It seems to me that the stronger your the best you can overcome direct damage. Another point is that Dex its to important being responsible for attack rolls, defense, initiative, reflex save and a lot of skills. Its TOO important. Don´t you think?


No clue about nWoD.

True20 (I'm not sure about Blue Rose) has the best balance between all of the physical stats that I'd seen until Spycraft 2.0 came out and made it so NO stat could be a dump stat.

Great, you have an extra +1 to +3 to defense. I would rather be preventing 1-3 damage or inflicting 1-3 more damage.

Your hit rolls and defense rolls both increase with your level progression.

When you're level 5 and have +5 to hit and defense, +1 to +3 isn't such a large chunk of the pie.

Compare that to Toughness preventing wounds (in True20 there is no Toughness save progression, just Con + Armour+random feats).

Compare that to Strength causing wounds (in True20 the damage is just Str + Weapon + random feats)

It really is pretty darned balanced. Dex does a lot in combat at 1st level, but the least by far once you get a few levels under your belt. But it still affects skills quite a bit.

Really, in True20, the three physical stats form a good triumverate where each is really useful.

Strong character will get hit more often and take damage more often.

Dexterious character will hit more often and dodge more often, but is more likely to take damage and less likely to cause damage.

Constitution characters is less likely to hit and more likely to be hit, but less likely to take damage.

I'm not sure how this all balances out in Blue Rose, though I do recall that the Toughness progression and some ceilling cap made armour useless after a certain point.
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Postby Hellequin » Mon Aug 29, 2005 6:06 pm

Off:

Thanks.
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Postby Dork Elf » Sun Sep 04, 2005 8:24 am

My two cents:

I pretty much think the triumvirate of STR, DEX, and CON work in a very elegant, fluid fashion that balances out really well. However, I do have some misgivings about the logic of parrying, so I considered doing this:

Parry bonus is (STR + DEX) halved then rounded UP. So, as long as one's DEX is at least near their STR score, they can use most if not ALL of their STR bonus. If it's significantly lower than STR, parrying suffers a bit since all that power cannot be in the right place at the right time quite as well. This also allows for the "dextrous" parrying mentioned in above posts but makes it weak if there's no brawn backing it up. Of course, this might seem a bit too book-keepy for some people, especially those attracted to the simplicity of True20.

Makes sense to me, and doesn't usurp Strength's place as the big daddy of physical skills. I really love this game system. LOVE.
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Postby Hellequin » Sun Sep 04, 2005 10:19 am

Hum ... I dont think that this is needed. I think that the combat bonus is the 'thing' that measures your skill in combat (ok, stupid thing). I wanted to mean this: DEX is just a plus on your combat skills, not your only combat skills, so there is no need to limit your STR by your DEX. Got it? If there is really need of a 'limiting thing' this thing would bem your combat skills not your DEX. That´s what I think ... but this limit is not that important.

Ah, now I have the True20 book.
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