Defend

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Defend
« on: June 11, 2012, 01:04:45 PM »
With Defend you have the ability to cause more damage than Hack and Slash as you increase in level, is this intentional?

Re: Defend
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 05:00:18 PM »
Sage, Adam, anyone?

Re: Defend
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 05:13:01 PM »
I don't have an answer as to the intention, but it seems to me that a player has a choice of who to attack in melee and roll H&S, usually. They don't get to choose who the monster attacks and they have to defend someone or something specific for the move to apply, right? That's where I see the balancing factor. Defend is useless if the monster attacks something you're not defending, so I wouldn't expect savvy players to imagine the awesome Defend damage as being a better option, mechanically much less fictionally.

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stras

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Re: Defend
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 05:18:25 PM »
we use 1d4 so it's not 'the best option' for a mage past level 2.

Also, this opens it up for future moves from say ... a compendium class.

The Guardian

Move: Wall of Steel
When the target you are Defending is struck for full damage, take +level piercing forward.

Move: Retributive Strike
When the target you are protecting is struck for full damage, expend a Defend hold to deal 1d8 damage

You get the idea! :)

Re: Defend
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 05:43:02 PM »
I am approaching this purely from a mechanics point of view and how this might influence narration.

Cannot the person you defend be yourself, if so then players might be inclined to Defend rather than Hack and Slash?

If this is not the case then I believe it should be clearly stated.

It was highlighted to me when I was making a Riposte move which would be:

Riposte
When you successfully parry an attack you may change the Defend option from "Deal damage to the attacker equal to your level" to "Deal damage to the attacker"

However I then realised that at higher levels this would be mean less damage being given.

Re: Defend
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 06:01:35 PM »
It's pretty hard to decouple the mechanics and fiction in this game, at least, in practice. It's a pretty boring choice to defend most of the time, much less have 3, 4, or 5 people defending all at once. It's also based on Con which is not the best stat for every character, most likely. So yeah, go ahead everyone - Defend! *waits for someone to roll a 6-*


Re: Defend
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 06:18:58 PM »
Don't get me wrong I'm not advocating everyone Defends, however as I mostly run one shots at conventions and I want to run some higher level scenarios, I've got to look at the options available to Players.

Re: Defend
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 09:46:35 PM »
Here's how I see it. The first sentence of the Defend Move reads:
Quote
When you stand in defense of a person, item, or location under attack, roll+CON.
The italics are my emphasis. If I were GM, I wouldn't let a player defend someone or something unless or until that thing came under attack or it was blatantly obvious that person or thing was going to be under attack in very short order.

GM: The Cave Troll hefts his club high into the air, ready to bring it crashing down onto the Halfling Thief. What do you do?
Fighter: I leap in front of the brute, raising my shield to deflect the blow!
GM: So you're Defending the Thief, then? OK. Roll+CON.

I would also only allow the character to continue the Defend Move if they don't take any offensive action. The third sentence of Defend starts:
Quote
So long as you stand in defense, when you or the thing you defend is attacked...
Again, the italic emphasis is mine. In my opinion, as soon as the character makes an offensive move (small "m" here), they'll lose any unspent hold they have from the Defend Move. If they want to protect someone or something again, they'll have to narrate the action, giving a fictional context to the Move. They'll also have to roll+CON again. Even if they're defending the same thing.

Fighter: [Rolls] That's an 11, so I get 3 hold. The Troll's club smashes into my shield, but I turn it lessening the impact. At the same time I bring my sword up and drive it into the shoulder gap it's outstretched arm creates.
GM: So that's half damage and damage equal to your level?
Fighter: Uhn, wait. That's redirect the attack to me, and half damage. So the hit I landed on the Troll is only cosmetic damage I guess. I have 1 hold left.
GM: The Troll bellows are reels backwards a few steps. He looks at the blood trickling down his arm and roars at you. Spittle sizzles as it strikes your dented shield. What do you do?
Fighter: I rush forward to finish the brute and...
GM: Hold on. So you're abandoning your defensive position? You're going offensive now, and you'll lose that 1 hold if you do. Is that OK?

As iserith said, the Defend Move is pretty useless if the person or thing you're defending doesn't get attacked. I mean, it'd be a total dick move for the GM to have the monsters ignore a defending character just to make the player waste their holds, but if nothing comes after the target of the Defend Move, that's what will happen. As soon as the character doesn't meet the "stand in defense" requirement of the move, the holds disappear.

And yes, high level characters have the potential to do more damage with the "damage equal to your level" option of the Defend Move than with their base damage. A 7th level Fighter will always deal 7 damage instead of rolling a d10. But a 10+ on Hack & Slash allows you to deal you damage and avoid taking damage. Contrast that with the 10+ on Defend. If you only take the "deal level damage" option, either you or the thing you were defending gets hit for the monster's full damage. That could possibly kill or destroy the thing you were attempting to defend in the first place. If you take the "redirect to yourself" and "deal level damage" option, then you're taking the full brunt of the monster's attack with no way to avoid it. If you spend all 3 hold at once to take the "redirect", "half damage" and "deal level damage" then you're still taking half damage and you've used up all your hold, forcing you to roll+CON again for your next move if you want to continue to defend.

So the best outcome of Hack & Slash is damage to the monster and none to you. The best outcome for Defend is damage to the monster and half it's damage to you. But the thing you were defending doesn't take any damage at all, which was the whole point of defending it in the first place.
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Re: Defend
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 10:36:26 PM »
You guys have it covered.  Defend can do a lot of damage but narratively, you have almost zero control over your circumstances.  You can't go after and enemy with Defend.  You're standing stock-still, so to speak.

Re: Defend
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 01:30:08 AM »
All very good narrative, however this wasn't my point.

For me it boils done to "Can you Defend yourself"?

If you can, then you can always defend against an attack directed at you, possibly causing more damage than if you reacted with a Hack and Slash...

Re: Defend
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 06:52:26 AM »
I don't think you can. You have to defend someone or something other than yourself. The way I see it, when you defend youself, you are actually Defying Danger with CON.

Re: Defend
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2012, 09:03:08 AM »
Yes, you can defend yourself. It's still only narrowly advantageous for the reasons stated above.

Re: Defend
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2012, 09:28:47 AM »
Yes, it's stated in the moves discussion. In my pdf, at page 308:
Quote
Defending yourself is certainly an option. It amounts to giving up on making attacks and just trying to keep yourself safe.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

Re: Defend
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2012, 10:39:09 AM »
What (the other) Adam said.

Re: Defend
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2012, 11:18:02 AM »
For me it boils done to "Can you Defend yourself"?

If you can, then you can always defend against an attack directed at you, possibly causing more damage than if you reacted with a Hack and Slash...
I think the last paragraph of my post still applies, even if you can Defend yourself. But I'll do another narrative just to clarify.

GM: The Cave Troll hefts his club high into the air, ready to bring it crashing down onto your head. What do you do?
Fighter: I raise my shield to deflect the blow!
GM: So you're Defending... yourself? Uhn... OK. Roll+CON.
Fighter: [Rolls] That's an 11, so I get 3 hold. The Troll's club smashes into my shield, but I turn it lessening the impact. At the same time I bring my sword up and drive it into the shoulder gap it's outstretched arm creates.
GM: So that's half damage and damage equal to your level?
Fighter: Yup. And I have 1 hold left. Lets spend it to give an ally +1 forward.
GM: OK. The Troll's blow smashes you to your knees (take half damage) but your sword pierces it's flesh and drives deep into it's rib cage. It takes X damage.

So again, if you *can* stand in defense of yourself, the best outcome you can get is dealing your level damage (plus any bonuses) to the monster, taking half of the monster's damage, and giving an ally +1 forward against that particular monster. But you'll have spent all 3 of your hold.

If you respond with Hack & Slash the best outcome you can get is dealing your damage (plus any bonuses), and avoiding the attack from the monster. If the player is willing to take damage every time they use the Defend move, I don't think it's a problem that they'll always deal their level damage to the monster.

Once the Fighter hits 5th level if they Hack & Slash in response to a monster's attack, there's a 40% chance they'll do less than 5 damage, a 10% chance they'll do 5 damage, and a 50% chance they'll do more than 5 damage. You still have a 50/50 chance of doing more damage if you go for the Hack & Slash response, which is still fairly good odds.

As the Fighter goes up in levels, the chance for them to do more than their level damage with the Hack & Slash move decreases. At 10th level, they'll *always* do 10 damage if they go with the Defend move. But they'll also *always* be taking half of the monster's damage in return. And I imagine that even half damage from a monster that a 10th level character is facing is going to sting. If you think about it, two 10+ Defend moves means you take damage equivalent to a full monster attack (half damage + half damage = full damage). Two 10+ Hack & Slash moves have the potential of you dealing less damage, but guarantee that you take absolutely no damage from the monster.

I'm totally OK with a character doing more damage on a Defend but taking damage in the process. I think it's also worth pointing out that the holds gained from the Defend move don't stack. If you have 1 hold left from a previous Defend and then roll a 10+, I'm pretty sure you *don't* have 4 hold but still only have 3 hold. The Defend move says "you hold 3" and not "you hold +3".
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