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Why does Delaying your action cost Initiative?

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  • Why does Delaying your action cost Initiative?

    What is the rationale behind this cost, and what sort of rationale justifies a Charm which would reduce the cost to nothing or otherwise play around with it?


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  • #2
    First, you are delaying. You are waiting. And so you have become slower, because you took time to do nothing.

    Secondly, it's to stop people just delaying for the perfect moment every turn and then going in some weird order. The initiative cost means that most of the time, people will attack on their own turn.
    This is especially important because of clashes, but the main thing is just to get the fights to continue properly.

    Now, 1 initiative is not enough, but then, delaying is usually of marginal benefit, so it works to dissuade people. Unless they really want to delay, in which case they can.
    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 12-27-2015, 02:00 AM.


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    • #3
      Well, there's no martial arts style currently reflective of it, and true it rarely comes up that an action would be delayed without a good reason, but if someone were to make a character who's fighting style resembles that of Aikido [an almost purely defensive martial arts], it seems kind of a dick move to punish them for having to delay their action if they have a higher initiative, just so they can fight in a manner fitting with their concept.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Dude View Post
        Well, there's no martial arts style currently reflective of it, and true it rarely comes up that an action would be delayed without a good reason, but if someone were to make a character who's fighting style resembles that of Aikido [an almost purely defensive martial arts], it seems kind of a dick move to punish them for having to delay their action if they have a higher initiative, just so they can fight in a manner fitting with their concept.
        Check out Crane style, a Crane style master will probably never initiate an attack action himself if he can help it.

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        • #5
          Crane Form removes the Initiative cost from full defense actions. Maybe Aikido Form could remove the Initiative cost from delaying your action.

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          • #6
            I would say that before making such a style, one would need to carefully consider whether an exception to the cost of delaying actions is equivalent to an exception to the cost of boosting Defense, in terms of how it shapes combat dynamics. Or at least how much it can be built towards a specific style; Crane might make it easier to have a strong defense, while the whole style is strongly built around being on the defensive and letting your enemy attack you; the most obvious weakness of that to me appears as it placing some of the initiative in the hands of opponents, letting them take options around attacking you. At a surface level, delaying your action looks like something that places you in full control, letting you directly leverage its advantage against the opponent, so what can be built around that or assumed to undermine that to make it more than something that snaps out a key opportunity cost?


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            • #7
              Delaying mainly allows you two things: one, it lets you clash attacks, which can be very powerful and very advantageous. Two, it lets you and your allies pile up all your actions after your opponent's own action, allowing you to stack onslaught penalties without them reseting halfway through. Both these tactics are potentially powerful enough to warrant a cost.


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              • #8
                There may also be a thing... I imagine that it's the only thing that can be fully confirmed when seen in play, but between my experience with video game turn-based RPGs and observations in Second Edition of the dynamics of things like tick- and action-length powers, I have the sneaking suspicion that Initiative's blend of turn order and attack power are already built around certain assumptions of the issues, for good or ill, that can come with when you act in a round, above and beyond the aforementioned subject of onslaught penalties. So being able to rearrange that at will without cost... I couldn't quite break down how in short order, but it seems like it would create problems. Still, the upside is that this Edition introduces conceits to how Charms work beyond mote costs that can be used to further adjust a power viewed as necessary to ensure that it isn't overwhelming.


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                • #9
                  I just want to make it clear that I'm not COMPLAINING about the cost, and I understand why the developers wrote the system that way.

                  I merely want to understand the in-setting or narrative justification for this abstracted mechanic, because I didn't want to write a Charm that says "ignore this cost, lol" without understanding what that would actually MEAN.

                  Just like I wouldn't want to write a Charm that lets a character take a full defense action while spinning and dancing around in place with a hammer to keep the hammer's momentum alive. Which is a thing I considered for Unstoppable Pendulum Dancer Style, but then discarded -- because the rationale of Full Defense is focusing totally on defending yourself, and you don't have that kind of focus when you're concentrating on keeping your hammer and body sufficiently in motion for a bigger hit on the next turn.

                  Or, more simply, why it's a silly idea to have a Charm that lets you make a Piercing AND Smashing attack at once. They are really not supposed to be used together like that, or at least not so simply.

                  .
                  Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 12-27-2015, 04:33 PM.


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                  • #10
                    During PT I actually recommended they change delay to 2-3i cost because Initiative represents momentum in the system, and clashes are obscenely powerful.


                    Incentive is not permission or justification.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      I just want to make it clear that I'm not COMPLAINING about the cost, and I understand why the developers wrote the system that way.

                      I merely want to understand the in-setting or narrative justification for this abstracted mechanic, because I didn't want to write a Charm that says "ignore this cost, lol" without understanding what that would actually MEAN.
                      Initiative is already a pretty abstract concept, so there's not going to be a perfect 1:1 mapping to the concrete reality of the fiction. I conceptualize the cost as my character taking a moment to center themselves and focus on following the movements of whoever I'm going to beat the shit out of with a clash attack, and it makes a sort of sense that holding back to seize the perfect momentum does slow your momentum just a little bit. There are plenty of other valid ways you could interpret it.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        I just want to make it clear that I'm not COMPLAINING about the cost, and I understand why the developers wrote the system that way.

                        I merely want to understand the in-setting or narrative justification for this abstracted mechanic, because I didn't want to write a Charm that says "ignore this cost, lol" without understanding what that would actually MEAN.

                        .
                        I think that in-universe, the justification would be that you're waiting, no longer keeping up the pressure. In other words, you're losing the initiative, because rather than acting, you're waiting. You've paused (whatever that might mean) in your attempts to keep the pressure on the opponent, so that you can directly react right when the opponent(s) is (are) weakest. At least, that's how I see delaying. You are, quite literally, focusing on the right moment to act, such that you give up some of the initiative that you've taken in the engagement.


                        All that I write but don't cite is simply my perspective, colored by my experiences and beliefs. I extrapolate a lot, too, so don't take it too seriously. :P

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                        • #13
                          Back in my teens, I practiced Bujinkan, which have some Aikido like parts and also guest practiced at an Aikido dojo before school once a week for a while. From that point of view, here is my suggestion...

                          Do not handle that "passive waiting" as delaying, handle it as an attack. You are not passive, but creating a trap, leading the opponent to attack where you want. So the waiting and redirection is withering attacks, and when finally giving up on a peaceful solution to the problem, the decisive attack is when redirect the opponents attack into something that will end up in either a painful lock, or something torn or broken. It isn't being passive, it is controlling to room and the fight.

                          So narratively, the withering attack might be "I shift my left foot slightly to right, exposing my left hip, as I say 'I'm sorry sir, I can't stand aside.'"

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                          • #14
                            That's an excellent example of a non-passive Delay action! I think my above point is, however, that that isn't as active as going and keeping the pressure up on your opponent - you are ceding some of the initiative you might have otherwise taken by acting in a different way. You are giving your opponent(s) more control of the situation.


                            All that I write but don't cite is simply my perspective, colored by my experiences and beliefs. I extrapolate a lot, too, so don't take it too seriously. :P

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                            • #15
                              It is a quite mental fight, as aggression sides with the more primitive parts of the brain. I don't have 3E yet, as I missed the funder by a week or so. So I'm not entirely sure how things works. Perhaps an Aikidokas withering attacks should be against the MDV than the normal DV. But yes, I agree that a pure defensive style would be giving over quite a bit of control (Aikido is after all also a quite recent invention, where the origin isn't really as nice). I mean, if the character is a 100% pacifist, I wouldn't see a problem if the opponent is destroying the pool by refusing to engage.

                              The use of delay action can probably come from that lack of control. You have primed the opponent so he is ready to slice your neck of now, but you want him to wait a moment or two for your buddy to get in position (or out of the way).

                              Both "use opponents momentum" and contra-strike techniques tend to use the opponents momentum (trying to hit someone with a hook, and they use what we called an "S-block" feels like running into a pole you didn't see; the harder you tried to punch the more painful it was). But also creating a lot more momentum than the opponent actually had, by shifting balance, pulling or just getting the opponent to overextend themselves..While it probably could be simulated by a system worthy to be the heir of Phoenix Command, I kind of guess it can be fairly well abstracted and narrated with the current system.

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