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When do I lose my Distract initiative if I get... distracted?

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  • When do I lose my Distract initiative if I get... distracted?

    Sorry, another simple (hopefully for real this time!) combat rule question. Just want to double-check my understanding.

    The Distract gambit says:
    Distract (difficulty 3-5): The character leads, threatens, or feints his target into the path of an ally's decisive attack. The attacker declares an ally (who is not in Initiative Crash) as the beneficiary of this distraction; that ally gains the Initiative the character loses as a result of successfully executing this gambit. The transferred Initiative must be used to attack the gambit's target on the ally's next turn, or it is lost. A character can only benefit from one distraction bonus at a time.
    Here's what I think that means (particularly the highlighted part).

    The scene: Solar A and Solar B are fighting Abyssal C and Abyssal D. At the top of the round, Initiative totals are: A = 13; C = 12; D = 10; B = 9.
    • A goes first and uses a Dif. 4 Distract gambit, choosing C as the target and B as the beneficiary. Success! New initiative totals:
      • B = 14; C = 12; D = 10; A = 8
    • B now has the highest initiative of all remaining characters. She goes next, but launches a decisive attack on D instead of C!
      • C = 12; B = 9; D = 10; A = 8
    • If this attack fails in step 1, B will lose 2 initiative, not 3.
      • C = 12; D = 10; A = 8; B = 7;
    • Assuming step 1 succeeds, B will roll 9 dice for damage in step 2. After Step 4, and if D survives, our Initiative totals will be at:
      • C = 12; D = 10; A = 8; B = 3
    So in short, the initiative bonus from the Distract did still allow B to act before D (potentially dropping D before he can act), but didn't contribute to B's damage pool.

    Does that check out?

    Edit: swapped "C" and "D" 's names for clarity
    Last edited by Blackwell; 02-07-2021, 03:57 PM.

  • #2
    I ask because it makes sense that the Distract would let B act before C, in addition to providing more damage dice on the attack itself. But because everyone on the battlefield shares the same initiative track, going before C also means going before D, who wasn't involved at all.

    So I'm wondering, would it be better if, instead of transferring the initiative, A gave B a +5 bonus to her next decisive damage roll against C, expiring after B's next turn? In that case, C and D would still act before B.

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    • #3
      I think distract is under used enough that letting you act faster is actually a great incentive to start, I never thought of using it that way.

      Also you lose the difficulty of the gambit +1 initiative, so a difficulty 5 distract transfers 6i.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
        Also you lose the difficulty of the gambit +1 initiative, so a difficulty 5 distract transfers 6i.
        Oops! Fixed.
        Last edited by Blackwell; 02-07-2021, 04:24 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          I think distract is under used enough that letting you act faster is actually a great incentive to start, I never thought of using it that way.
          Is there a limit, though? As written, you and I could be back to back, and I could use a ranged Distract on a far away target to give you an initiative boost over someone at equally long range in the opposite direction.

          I suppose you could also make this more like the Delay action; i.e. B now has the option to act right away, but then her only permitted action becomes a Decisive against C (or Flurry including same)? And if she chooses not to, she just acts normally on her regular tick.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
            Is there a limit, though? As written, you and I could be back to back, and I could use a ranged Distract on a far away target to give you an initiative boost over someone at equally long range in the opposite direction.

            I suppose you could also make this more like the Delay action; i.e. B now has the option to act right away, but then her only permitted action becomes a Decisive against C (or Flurry including same)? And if she chooses not to, she just acts normally on her regular tick.
            I think it still makes sense with what initiative represents. It's not just who can act/move faster, it's about who has control of the tempo of the battle. In your example B is massively in control of the fight, and he's using that control to make an opening and boost A up, letting him interrupt and act right away. True he's only distracting C, but he's still sacrificing some of his combat domination to A, which is why A gets to act sooner.

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            • #7
              Please don't nerf Distract. My players have used it once over 70 sessions. Encourage folks to twink it as much as possible -- it needs all the help it can get.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                Please don't nerf Distract. My players have used it once over 70 sessions. Encourage folks to twink it as much as possible -- it needs all the help it can get.
                Yeah, thinking about it more I'm not sure if manipulating the turn order is even that worth it. What situation would you ever be in that you wouldn't rather manipulate the turn order by just withering one of the enemies, or launching a killing decisive yourself?

                On the other hand I wouldn't mind seeing how a distract build works. Like with Elusive Zephyr Strike and Sand-Scourge Feint, and somebody else using Swift Striking Tide or something. You could actually get really dumb with With One Mind and Blazing Interception, but that's both an Essence 5 combo and stupidly specific.

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                • #9
                  Would Tiger-And-Dragon Combination be good here? Distract to benefit your ally, then both of you attack with the ally's initiative?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by autXautY View Post
                    Would Tiger-And-Dragon Combination be good here? Distract to benefit your ally, then both of you attack with the ally's initiative?
                    Yeah, there are ways you could use it.

                    You could use Elusive Zephyr Strike, Winter Fang Attack and Sand-Scourge Feint to pop off a distract gambit that would not only transfer 6i from yourself, but also give the 5i from an initiative break if it crashes them. Winter Fang Attack means that crashing them will be easier because they lose bonus initiative based on the 10s rolled. With One Mind means the beneficiary gets a bonus +1i as well. Then you activate Twin Dragons Dancing, the beneficiary now has a bonus 7-12 initiative, and is launching an attack with a full free excellency and double 7s against a foe who's already at a -3 onslaught penalty.

                    If you want combo it with air dragon's Avenging Wind Strike, Lightning Strike Style, and whatever else MA charms you want in it to knock the enemy back 3 range bands, double 10s on damage, and add all your overflow successes to damage. The guy using thrown can fire off something like Lost Blade Riptide to reflexively disarm them before either attack lands preventing them from using parry at all, or Conflagration Lance Technique to double 10s and add 5 overflow successes to damage as well.

                    You could also just do something as simple as transfer initiative to the guy with Thunderbolt Attack Prana because he's going to make twice as much use out of it as you are.

                    There are ways to use it that are good, but it's just really niche without major charm support.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                      I ask because it makes sense that the Distract would let B act before C, in addition to providing more damage dice on the attack itself. But because everyone on the battlefield shares the same initiative track, going before C also means going before D, who wasn't involved at all.

                      So I'm wondering, would it be better if, instead of transferring the initiative, A gave B a +5 bonus to her next decisive damage roll against C, expiring after B's next turn? In that case, C and D would still act before B.
                      The couple of times we've actually used distract in our game we basically arrived at your latter interpretation, essentially treating the transferred initiative as a separate damage pool rather than affecting the initiative track.

                      In hindsight, I MUCH prefer your former interpretation, and as others have pointed out it still is justifiable narratively really – your question about distracting someone in the opposite direction allowing you to act before someone at long range in the other direction could just be stunted as covering fire allowing your ally to expose their back to the distracted/surpressed opponent to get a better shot at your other target, for example.

                      And I can think of situations where simply manipulating where your ally is on the initiative track rather than them decisiving or withering someone yourself is useful – giving them a chance for a crucial disengage or rush for example, or the chance to fire off a vital charm. It's a bit niche, sure, but at least it's something...

                      (Heck, I'd be up for just making it an outright initiative swap mechanic (so your ally could do what they like with the transfered initiative, fuel a charm, attack someone else or whatever), I don't really think it would break anything.)
                      Last edited by Moss Reynholm; 02-09-2021, 12:41 PM.

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