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Combat Movement - how mobile are your fights?

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  • Combat Movement - how mobile are your fights?

    I tend to picture Exalted combat as a fairly mobile affair. No-one's standing still while the action is happening - characters in hand to hand are running through the street kicking carts at each other between swings, archers are hopping from building to building while taking shots, switching targets to help an ally is fairly common.

    However, we ran into an odd issue in our latest session, revolving around the Disengage action.

    If you want to move towards a different enemy while in melee, you need a good Dodge+Dexterity roll to do so.

    Without charms that let you close the distance to different enemies out of range, any non-Trivial enemy will tarpit a character in melee until incapacitated or knocked prone. On top of that, you need to use a specific skill to move around in the fight. If an ally is at short distance and needs your help but you've got a bad Dodge+Dexterity pool they might as well be on another planet. Hell, 4 Solars could be outnumbering a Dragon 4 to 1, but until that Dragon dies they can't help their friend who's fighting the other 4 shikari without passing a challenge.

    As our game currently has 2 people going down the Strength and Stamina Lunar subsitution route for combat, we're left in the weird position where there is literally no ability for half the Circle to move once battle is joined. We can Rush but can't do anything about it, as there's no Strength or Stamina charms that let you shrug off attacks while rushing to an ally's aid. Functionally, combat is much less mobile than we'd thought.

    Has this been an issue in anyone else's game, or is there something I'd missed?

  • #2
    Well, also keep in mind that a character will only prevent another character from moving if they choose to do so. I don’t imagine your guy getting dogpiled by four Solars is really going to object to one of them electing to walk away and not keep beating his teeth out.

    Moreover, if a person’s got no means by which to oppose a mover’s movement, they can’t oppose the movement; a ground-based brawler with no reach weapon is probably going to be penalized at minimum when trying to stop a sparrow flying two yards over his head, and a swordsman who lacks Charms to interact with dematerialized spirits will not be able to stop an intangible ghost from walking into a room.

    Sure, if a character elects to completely dump Dexterity and Dodge, they’re often going to have difficulty escaping a determined attacker. But not always - a creative PC might use his cunning to conceal a bear trap where the fight takes place, wait for the enemy to step into it, and then leisurely walk away. Or use his Joint-Wounding Attack to specifically injure his enemy’s legs before trying to make his escape. I don’t see this as a bug; if you have a disadvantage and do nothing to either mitigate it or level the playing field, it’s going to hold you back.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 02-14-2020, 11:06 PM.

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    • #3
      About this mobile.

      As for disengages to move between opponents in a battle, I only call for disengage actions when a character cares about getting away from their opponent (so, if you're just trying to move towards a doorway but don't actually care about getting away from the other guy, there would be no need to disengage), or when an opponent is specifically trying to prevent a character from moving in some particular way (towards an ally, towards a recently disarmed daiklaive, etc). Otherwise I don't call for it.

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      • #4
        I've encountered issues with the tar pit before now. Though my experience is mostly Melee Solars who treat Dodge as completely superfluous because that's what they did in 2nd edition.


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        • #5
          Yeah, that happened to my Melee 5 assassin, he got stuck fighting a mortal guard while the target put on his armour, because I had Dodge 2 and no excellency.

          My fights are generally very mobile stunt-wise, with people leaping, swinging, etc. And charging into combat. But once there, they'll stay for a bit. I haven't had big issues with it though.


          I play...
          Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
          Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.

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          • #6
            System working as intended. You can't just put a Five in one Ability and be good at combat. You need all the Abilities marked (in bold) This Ability is important in combat.

            And remember, it's only the normal Reflexive move action that can't be used. If you have a Charm that moves you, then you move.

            But, yeah, Dodge is important in combat.

            If you make a big, strong brute who isn't very mobile, then they're not going to be very mobile.
            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 02-15-2020, 06:14 PM.


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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            • #7
              Considering that for a swordsman, Dodge is otherwise only there for the occasional unblockable attack (whereas in real life a master swordsman would also be good at dodging attacks, you can't parry everything), I agree that it's probably a good thing that you need it for Disengage.

              Still, even if you do have it, Disengage needs 2i and a roll, so there's probably not going to be a ton of Disengaging even when people are good at it.


              I play...
              Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
              Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.

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              • #8
                In the Narrative, Monkey Leap and runs, jumps, flips, side rolls, etc are all happening every round. Mechanically, my players seldom try to get to specific places and just kill the enemy closest to them.


                Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
                -Chausse

                Message me for Japanese translations.

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                • #9
                  The real advantage of Monkey Leap technique in combat is if you're fighting a master Air Dragon stylist in an area that's covered in difficult terrain you can chase after him without spending two whole turns just to even attempt a rush each time. Note that difficult terrain can also be climbing up ladders to reach a wall above you or any other such thing.

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                  • #10
                    One thing to remember is that you can be very mobile in fluff terms without your movement doing much re: range bands.

                    As far as actual disengages and such, I've seen some but not constant disengaging. I personally always have my characters with at least solid Dodge capacity (I have some slightly weird personal minima my characters nearly always, so I never really have had to deal with the "whoops my disengage is real bad" problem myself. However, I often don't invest much in Athletics; thus my characters are good at disengaging, but not so good at opposing disengages or being on either side of a rush.

                    Also, re: the problem of 4 Solars being tarpitted by a single DB, besides the fact that the DB might be content to get a Solar off their back, there's also the fact that a character being so dogpiled is at not insignificant risk of being rendered less capable of opposing a hopeful escapee. Beyond simply being incapacitated or even just wounded enough to penalize their anti-disengage rolls significantly, a character who is prone or who is being grappled cannot normally oppose disengage attempts. I like this, since it offers more ways to assist oneself or one's allies when disengaging gets difficult.

                    EDIT: I also remembered, regarding DBs, that they have two rather neat Charms that each allow a character to enhance a combat movement with Performance or Sail, respectively. While it costs motes and initiative, it's still a way for someone who might have poor standard movement investment (in my case, it'll be poor Athletics more than poor Dodge) to whip out a good movement pool.
                    Last edited by Beans; 02-16-2020, 10:00 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                      The real advantage of Monkey Leap technique in combat is if you're fighting a master Air Dragon stylist in an area that's covered in difficult terrain you can chase after him without spending two whole turns just to even attempt a rush each time. Note that difficult terrain can also be climbing up ladders to reach a wall above you or any other such thing.
                      This is why I have Stormwind RIder on my Melee Dawn. How do ya like me now, flyers and archers? How do you like it!? (He has an Intimacy of hating archers)


                      Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
                      -Chausse

                      Message me for Japanese translations.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                        Considering that for a swordsman, Dodge is otherwise only there for the occasional unblockable attack (whereas in real life a master swordsman would also be good at dodging attacks, you can't parry everything), I agree that it's probably a good thing that you need it for Disengage.
                        Yeah. You'll probably survive being unable to disengage effectively and learn for next time, inability to parry tends to not be a mistake you'll live long enough to repeat.


                        Onyx Path Forum Moderator
                        Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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                        • #13
                          Must say for the moment I've been pretty unsatisfied with the movement. I've rarely seen someone use a disengage for another reason that "I'm not a fighter and I want to flee before I die".


                          My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                            I've rarely seen someone use a disengage for another reason that "I'm not a fighter and I want to flee before I die".
                            In my seafaring game, one of the PCs got forced underwater by a demon during a fight, and one of the others disengaged with the demon he was fighting to pull her out.

                            (Also, I’d argue that an Archery Supernal Dawn is just as much of a fighter as a Melee Supernal Dawn, even if he’s not enthusiastic about having a Melee Supernal Dawn in his face.)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                              In my seafaring game, one of the PCs got forced underwater by a demon during a fight, and one of the others disengaged with the demon he was fighting to pull her out.

                              (Also, I’d argue that an Archery Supernal Dawn is just as much of a fighter as a Melee Supernal Dawn, even if he’s not enthusiastic about having a Melee Supernal Dawn in his face.)
                              That's the kind of situations I'd like to see more but they were very rare in my games.

                              I won't really argue about Archers and stuff I sadly never got any in my games


                              My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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