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Delay, Simultaneity, and Clash (from: Exalted Arena)

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  • Delay, Simultaneity, and Clash (from: Exalted Arena)

    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
    ... and it even took this thread a while to adopt Delay -> Clash as a major combat tactic (incidentally, I maintain that if your opponent does that, you answer by taking the Aim action, and just letting them bleed Initiative), ...
    So how does this work, exactly? I mean in principle it makes sense, but when exactly does the delaying character declare that they are acting?

    Let's say A has an initiative of 9 and B has an initiative of 6. On tick 9, A has a chance to act, but spends 2i (now at 7) and delays. Then tick 6 comes around. I'm assuming it goes something like this, but please correct me if I'm wrong:
    1. As tick 5 ends and tick 6 starts, A declares she is acting this tick.
    2. A and B both decide their action choice in secret, because either might change their choice dependent on what the other does.
    3. Both reveal their actions. If and only if both declare they are attacking each other, proceed to Clash.
    4. If their actions end up being completely independent, they both just resolve.
    5. In any other circumstance, referring to the "Advanced Troubleshooting; Changing Initiative and Simultaneous Actions" sidebar, they pick amongst themselves who goes first, rolling dice or whatever to resolve disputes.
    So my question is, what if B wants to delay? When would that happen? Since delaying isn't itself an action, I would think it needs to happen in Step 1, that inter-tick window when A decides to stop delaying. But if that's the case, what if B's choice effects A's choice? Does step 1 need to look like steps 2 & 3, where everyone eligible to act this tick decides in secret whether or not they are acting, and then reveal together?

    Edit: or, counterpoint, do 1 & 2 get rolled up into a single step, where everyone eligible to act secretly decides what they want to do this tick (which may be "nothing", i.e., start or continue delaying)? This would mean that the combatants can't even know for sure who else is acting on the tick when they decide what they're doing, making it really hard to plan Clashes.
    Last edited by Blackwell; 01-02-2021, 01:06 PM.

  • #2
    In my experience, delayed actions have to be declared with a trigger in mind: "I'm going to wait until A moves" or "I'm going to act after my ally opens the gate," or "I'm delaying until B's tick." Then if A acts and doesn't move, or the ally doesn't manage to open the gate that round, the player is asked what they want to do instead now that their trigger window has passed, but they would always act on B's (initial) tick if that's what they declared.

    To answer the specific posed question: It would get to tick 6, I would remind A and B that they are both acting this round, and if they choose to attack one another it would be a Clash. Give them a moment to decide, ask for their choices. If A says attack and B says delay, that's what happens. I'd ask what B was delaying until, then resolve A's attack, then we'd go on to the next tick.


    -Kate, co-founding member of RPGClinic (known for ExalTwitch and Changeling: The Streaming)

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    • #3
      A simple, valid, but unlikely alternative: "Advanced Troubleshooting; Changing Initiative and Simultaneous Action" gets invoked way earlier, during step 3, *before* going to Clash. A and B have a chance to defer priority to the other's attack or ask for a coin flip, avoiding the Clash entirely. In this world the Clash only happens if both agree to it, otherwise the attacks get resolved serially.

      Pretty sure this is not authorial intent, but it does prevent a lot of the trickier scenarios at the expense of making it very difficult to force a Clash.

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      • #4
        The delayer paid 2i to get where they are; I allow the clash-creating attack to be declared as a defence.


        (10chars)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
          So how does this work, exactly? I mean in principle it makes sense, but when exactly does the delaying character declare that they are acting?

          Let's say A has an initiative of 9 and B has an initiative of 6. On tick 9, A has a chance to act, but spends 2i (now at 7) and delays. Then tick 6 comes around. I'm assuming it goes something like this, but please correct me if I'm wrong:[*]As tick 5 ends and tick 6 starts, A declares she is acting this tick.
          This is the step where I ask everyone, including both those whose initiative has just come up, and those who delayed before that, if they are acting this tick. People who delayed get asked second. So I would ask B if they were acting first (this would be when they could declare they were delaying instead), then A.

          Then, I check what anyone acting this round is actually doing, again first asking the people whose initiative just came up, then the people who delayed. So I would first ask B what they were doing (or declare it, if they were an ST character), then ask A.

          If multiple characters have delayed and are now asking, I ask them what their actions are in reverse order of when they delayed (that is, the most recent delayed character gets asked first).

          This means that it's pretty easy to force a clash, yes, but I prefer that outcome, because a) having both sides record actions and then reveal them takes up extra time, and b) delaying is supposed to be beneficial - you're sacrificing a couple of your init to enable you to act in response to another character.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Zen_r0b0 View Post
            In my experience, delayed actions have to be declared with a trigger in mind: "I'm going to wait until A moves" or "I'm going to act after my ally opens the gate," or "I'm delaying until B's tick." Then if A acts and doesn't move, or the ally doesn't manage to open the gate that round, the player is asked what they want to do instead now that their trigger window has passed, but they would always act on B's (initial) tick if that's what they declared.
            I think this is a perfectly sensible house rule, but it's at odds with the description of Delaying Actions:
            A character may delay his turn, waiting until a point later than his initiative to act. The delayed action may be deployed on any tick later in the round that the player wishes.

            So I think a legalistic read would support pre-specifying the tick you're waiting for (In our example, "I delay until tick 6"), *or* a wait-and-see approach where the character can stop the delay whenever they like, but I'm not able to parse it in a way that says you declare a trigger condition in advance and are then bound to it if it comes up but can change your mind if it doesn't? Personally I think that has too much potential of descending into word games with elaborately-phrased triggers.

            But you did help me pinpoint a source of ambiguity, and it is something I've noticed before; incautious use of turn vs. action.

            "the delayed action" implies that the character specified an action and is waiting to do it. This is more in line with your interpretation.
            "delay his turn" implies that the character has deferred deciding what to do, because deciding happens during your turn.

            Originally posted by Zen_r0b0 View Post
            To answer the specific posed question: It would get to tick 6, I would remind A and B that they are both acting this round, and if they choose to attack one another it would be a Clash. Give them a moment to decide, ask for their choices. If A says attack and B says delay, that's what happens. I'd ask what B was delaying until, then resolve A's attack, then we'd go on to the next tick.
            So in this scenario, is there an assumption (enforced by the social contract) that A and B decide their actions independently? Or does someone choose first?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Elkovash View Post
              The delayer paid 2i to get where they are; I allow the clash-creating attack to be declared as a defence.
              Interesting! So on the one hand, I like this because it yields a very straightforward general-case rule for Clashes. You could just say something like: "During any tick less than or equal to their initiative, if a character who has not yet acted is attacked, they may immediately use their turn to counterattack, triggering a Clash."

              A duelist character who is delaying in the hopes of getting a Clash can see who attacks them before declaring an attack, and in the case of "natural" simultaneous actions, the same rule says a character can safely declare they're doing something else knowing that they can abort-to-Clash if provoked. It would require some wordsmithing to leave room for flurries but that's not impossible.

              On the other hand, I feel like this doesn't seem to be the intent, because it would have been really easy to say this if it were? And for what I'm working on right now it's more important that I understand what the rules are more than what they could be.

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              • #8
                The way I see the rules, delaying doesn't force you to key off a triggering action.

                If you delay, you get to wait until a tick, and then on that tick you get to say you're going to take your action. Obviously, you know things like that tick is when another character acts, so you can delay to that tick to purposefully act at the same time as someone else.

                As I see it though, once the ST calls "tick 6," and the delayer says, "I'm taking my action this tick," they're locked in. They can't delay further:

                "The delayed action may be deployed on any tick later in the round that the player wishes."

                Is what I base that on.

                Where I think the sticking point is, players/STs trying to game each other because there's no declaration order set in the rules for this. A wants to wait to see what B will do, and B wants to wait to see what A will do, so neither wants to commit.

                I think the "delayed people declare after" approach of Kelly's is probably the most functional answer. B can still choose to act conservatively (A is delaying into my tick, so they're up to something, I'll delay/aim/use a simple Charm/etc.), but if B opts to attack then A gets to force the Clash. Making A declare first, or doing a secret reveal is fairly harsh to the 2i cost.

                But my reading that A can't keep delaying if B delays I think is a good one. A didn't lose their action, and even if they didn't get the outcome they wanted, they did exert considerable control over the round and what B's choices were. If you let A keep delaying, it seems a bad recipe for making the game to turtle happy.

                Even so, I think Clash is going to be something that needs a serious revisit when we inevitably get 3.5 or whatever we're going to call that.



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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
                  This is the step where I ask everyone, including both those whose initiative has just come up, and those who delayed before that, if they are acting this tick. People who delayed get asked second. So I would ask B if they were acting first (this would be when they could declare they were delaying instead), then A.

                  Then, I check what anyone acting this round is actually doing, again first asking the people whose initiative just came up, then the people who delayed. So I would first ask B what they were doing (or declare it, if they were an ST character), then ask A.

                  If multiple characters have delayed and are now asking, I ask them what their actions are in reverse order of when they delayed (that is, the most recent delayed character gets asked first).

                  This means that it's pretty easy to force a clash, yes, but I prefer that outcome, because a) having both sides record actions and then reveal them takes up extra time, and b) delaying is supposed to be beneficial - you're sacrificing a couple of your init to enable you to act in response to another character.
                  This is kind of the direction I'm leaning as well. It seems internally consistent with all the rules, just with some right-of-way laid over the top (which the book hardly addresses at all, so it seems safe to assume a categorical omission).

                  Follow up question:
                  Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
                  Then, I check what anyone acting this round is actually doing, again first asking the people whose initiative just came up, then the people who delayed. So I would first ask B what they were doing (or declare it, if they were an ST character), then ask A.
                  How does this interact with the simultaneous actions sidebar? Do you wait for everyone to declare what they are doing and then check for sequencing issues (to be resolved through discussion or coin flip)? Or does that happen for the normally-acting folks before the delayers decide what they're doing?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                    IOn the other hand, I feel like this doesn't seem to be the intent, because it would have been really easy to say this if it were? And for what I'm working on right now it's more important that I understand what the rules are more than what they could be.
                    True. The only text on the matter is the sidebar you already quoted, and it just says 'characters decide who goes first amicably, or flip a coin' which is... helpful I guess, but I figure if a delaying character payed initiative to do it, then they should get the benefit of responding to whatever happens- otherwise it feels more like they are just standing still, rather than lying in wait.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                      How does this interact with the simultaneous actions sidebar?
                      I'd note that the simultaneous actions stuff is all about when actions are resolved, not declared. In general, I'd just use whatever method would be used in any case to decide when the actions resolved, no matter who got to declare first. So, for example, say that A and B are acting on the same tick, after A has delayed. B declares he is going to run across the rope bridge to the next platform in this Castlevania-esque battlefield. A declares in response that she is shooting a blazing arrow at the rope bridge in an attempt to destroy it and cause A to plumet into the void. I'd still have A and B make opposed rolls of some sort (probably (Wits + Athletics) for B vs. A's (Wits + Archery)) to figure out who ended up doing their thing first.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        The way I see the rules, delaying doesn't force you to key off a triggering action.

                        If you delay, you get to wait until a tick, and then on that tick you get to say you're going to take your action. Obviously, you know things like that tick is when another character acts, so you can delay to that tick to purposefully act at the same time as someone else.

                        As I see it though, once the ST calls "tick 6," and the delayer says, "I'm taking my action this tick," they're locked in. They can't delay further:

                        "The delayed action may be deployed on any tick later in the round that the player wishes."

                        Is what I base that on.
                        Agreed, this seems like the most consistent answer. Like I said before, the exact wording is ambiguous, butt to me, "deployed" is more consistent with an indefinite delay than a predefined one.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        Where I think the sticking point is, players/STs trying to game each other because there's no declaration order set in the rules for this. A wants to wait to see what B will do, and B wants to wait to see what A will do, so neither wants to commit.
                        You put your (heavy?) finger on it. Exalted has always had the soul of a Storyteller game but the beating heart of a CCG (or more accurately an LCG, I guess). And who declares what when is the most important part of basically every card game's rules. This creates a cake-and-eat-it-too problem for 3e, which doesn't want to be super gamey, but also wants to leverage the detailed rules engine to create tactical depth and Charm variety.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        I think the "delayed people declare after" approach of Kelly's is probably the most functional answer. B can still choose to act conservatively (A is delaying into my tick, so they're up to something, I'll delay/aim/use a simple Charm/etc.), but if B opts to attack then A gets to force the Clash. Making A declare first, or doing a secret reveal is fairly harsh to the 2i cost.

                        But my reading that A can't keep delaying if B delays I think is a good one. A didn't lose their action, and even if they didn't get the outcome they wanted, they did exert considerable control over the round and what B's choices were. If you let A keep delaying, it seems a bad recipe for making the game to turtle happy.
                        See, I'd go the other way. I think if you split up declaring your participation in the round and declaring what you're doing in the round to two steps, and you have a backstop of "one last tick" for everyone to put up or shut up before the round is over, I would rather A get to keep delaying, because otherwise B gets to spend 2i to counter A's clash attempt, and I don't love that race-to-the-bottom of the initiative track.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        Even so, I think Clash is going to be something that needs a serious revisit when we inevitably get 3.5 or whatever we're going to call that.
                        I don't know that Clash in particular needs revisiting, I think if you overlay a right-of-way rule so that it's obvious who gets to declare what when, it's pretty serviceable.
                        Last edited by Blackwell; 01-02-2021, 09:52 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                          Like I said before, the exact wording is ambiguous, butt to me, "deployed" is more consistent with an indefinite delay than a predefined one.
                          I'm not sure I'd say indefinite, but definitely not predetermined. I know a lot of games do have delayed reactions work in a predetermined fashion of, "I delay until X happens," rather than this, the phrasing definitely doesn't require you to pick on your normal spot when you're going to delay to.

                          ..because otherwise B gets to spend 2i to counter A's clash attempt, and I don't love that race-to-the-bottom of the initiative track.
                          I don't like it that much either, but it's ultimately a losing proposition for B as the one that would run out of init first. Crashing yourself to avoid a Clash doesn't seem like it's an effective strategy (I could be missing something though).

                          I think, what would be more likely, are other more productive things like Aim or activating a Simple Charm if you're trying to avoid someone forcing a Clash, esp. if the inits are close and they can't keep spamming delays.

                          Also, whats the lowest you can actually delay to? If someone's Crashed at -3, and I want to delay to Clash them, it's not like there's an inherent bottom number here. Setting "one last tick" is a house rule. Probably not a bad one, but it's less important if you can't continue a delay after you say you want to act that tick but your target delays instead of acting.

                          I don't know that Clash in particular needs revisiting, I think if you overlay a right-of-way rule so that it's obvious who gets to declare what when, it's pretty serviceable.
                          Clash has a few things that probably need looked at that are particular to it. I mean, the reason why delay to Crash is something that's even on people's radars is how effective it is to attack and defend with on roll on your mote economy.

                          I'm not sure it's a high priority, mostly because it feels like, to me, to more of a white-room issue. If I'm the ST and my players are delaying to Crash all the time, it's not hard for me to shut that down in any number of ways if I think it's being abused: I can stat my NPCs however I want, and I can just talk to my players if they're relying on one combat strategy so much it's getting unfun for me (whether that means house rules or they want me to send them against stuff that works within the framework set in the books to counter it).

                          Even with a more solid right of way ruling, I think there's a big question of whether delay to Clash should be as good of a tactic as it stands.

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                          • #14
                            The rule is that if I delay I get to act on whatever later tick I want. I don’t know whether I want to act on tick X until I know what else is happening on tick X. Therefore, I don’t have to decide whether I’m acting on tick X until everyone else acting that tick says what they’re doing.

                            If you and I both delay, and we’re both waiting to see what the other does and when (e.g.- I want to clash you, you want to attack my Defense), there’s conspicuously no rule for how to resolve that so the ST decides what they think is fair.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                              And for what I'm working on right now it's more important that I understand what the rules are more than what they could be.
                              A noble aspiration, but one must remember that 3E was unfinished when they released it.

                              If it helps:

                              Originally posted by Exalted p196-7, emphasis added
                              The delayed action may be deployed on any tick later in the round that the player wishes. This is an excellent way to force Clash Attacks (see p. 202), for characters who know powerful Clash-enhancing Charms.


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

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