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"Are Gambits really Decisive attacks?"

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  • #61
    So, for all practical purposes, Gambit is a third, separate category (and the lexicon, rather than the rules text, is correct). Things that are Decisive-only don't apply to Gambit attacks and can't be used to generate them, because Gambit attacks are not Decisive attacks; things that are Uniform do apply to them, because they apply equally well to all categories of attack. Charms that explicitly state they are exceptions are, as ever, exceptions.

    Under this interpretation, you can't use a Charm that responds to Decisive attacks to respond to a Gambit, nor can you flurry Gambits with Iron Whirlwind, but you can enhance them with Excellencies just fine.

    Does that leave any weird cases unaccounted for?


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    • #62
      Thank you John Mørke and Holden for offering your clarification and insight. It is much appreciated.


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      • #63
        Originally posted by Irked View Post
        So, for all practical purposes, Gambit is a third, separate category (and the lexicon, rather than the rules text, is correct). Things that are Decisive-only don't apply to Gambit attacks and can't be used to generate them, because Gambit attacks are not Decisive attacks; things that are Uniform do apply to them, because they apply equally well to all categories of attack. Charms that explicitly state they are exceptions are, as ever, exceptions.

        Under this interpretation, you can't use a Charm that responds to Decisive attacks to respond to a Gambit, nor can you flurry Gambits with Iron Whirlwind, but you can enhance them with Excellencies just fine.

        Does that leave any weird cases unaccounted for?
        Dude. It requires an almost willfully perverse reading of

        Originally posted by Gallus View Post
        Gambits are explicitly Decisive attacks, as stated in the first sentence of their rules on page 199. Instead of doing damage you do a special effect. If you think there is a contradiction in the rules, you need to actually say what and where that is, instead of stating it to be true.
        Originally posted by Holden View Post
        Gallus is correct.
        and

        Originally posted by John Mørke View Post
        Charms that aid or create gambits specifically say so.
        and conclude that gambits are in some form not decisive attacks.

        Gambits are decisive attacks. Ergo, anything that triggers off of a decisive attack triggers off of a gambit, because gambits are decisive attacks.

        John's statement seems better understood as "Charms which create or enhance decisive attacks implicitly only create or enhance damaging decisive attacks, unless the charm specifies otherwise." rather than psuedo-third-category madness - I'll grant, that could have been explicit in the text, but it's hardly a jump.


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        • #64
          There's nothing mad about the pseudo-third-category approach. To me, it seems like a good way to understand which Charms were intended for use with gambits and which weren't.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Wastevens
            John's statement seems better understood as "Charms which create or enhance decisive attacks implicitly only create or enhance damaging decisive attacks, unless the charm specifies otherwise."
            This seems the easiest way.


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            • #66
              Originally posted by wastevens View Post
              Dude. It requires an almost willfully perverse reading of

              *snip*

              John's statement seems better understood as "Charms which create or enhance decisive attacks implicitly only create or enhance damaging decisive attacks, unless the charm specifies otherwise." rather than psuedo-third-category madness - I'll grant, that could have been explicit in the text, but it's hardly a jump.
              Yeah, that's probably the sane reading, but note that you're having to read intent into the post that was supposed to clarify his intent. It doesn't require a "willfully perverse reading" of "Charms that aid or create gambits specifically say so" because what is Excellent Strike doing if not aiding a gambit? This brings us back to the question of what charms can be used on Gambits because I think we can all agree that the intent is likely not that Excellent Strike should not apply.

              Maybe it's best to consider it a sort of branch in the resolution process? You have damaging decisives and gambits which both use the same attack roll and rules for resolution of that phase. It seems reasonable that all charms that aid this part of resolution would be able to apply to a gambit (e.g. Excellent Strike, Excellencies, etc.). Once that's done, you have the 'consequences' portion of the attack resolution where you're either rolling for damage as with normal decisives, or trying to make the difficulty check of whatever gambit you're doing. It seems reasonable that only charms which specifically call out gambits (per John's post) would apply here so that you don't get people popping damage boosting charms to make their disarms more reliable.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by wastevens View Post

                Dude. It requires an almost willfully perverse reading of
                ...
                and
                ...
                and conclude that gambits are in some form not decisive attacks.

                Gambits are decisive attacks. Ergo, anything that triggers off of a decisive attack triggers off of a gambit, because gambits are decisive attacks.

                John's statement seems better understood as "Charms which create or enhance decisive attacks implicitly only create or enhance damaging decisive attacks, unless the charm specifies otherwise." rather than psuedo-third-category madness - I'll grant, that could have been explicit in the text, but it's hardly a jump.
                Hm. I communicated badly, then - apologies!

                I'm not trying to be perverse; I'm trying to form a reading that's produces the mechanical effect they're describing. "Gambits are Decisive attacks; Charms can't enhance them unless they say so" doesn't do that, because as others have noted, there are plenty of non-Decisive-only Charms that still should enhance Gambits.

                "Gambits are a third category" - with nothing pseudo about it - does make sense of this; it restricts Decisive-only effects to Decisives, and it lets Excellencies and Excellent Strike and so on apply as normal on Gambits. And it's blessedly unambiguous - it seems to capture the intent without needing a long list of caveats and "well-but-if"s - and it at least seems like simple language that captures the effect of what they're saying.

                If this handles counterattacks-to-Decisives wrong, then okay, I've got the wrong approach, but I'm not clear that we know how Gambits and counterattacks-to-Decisives interact; the argument that would say, "Well we can clearly infer..." would also say Excellent Strike doesn't work.
                Last edited by Irked; 06-01-2016, 09:14 AM.


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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Irked View Post
                  Hm. I communicated badly, then - apologies!

                  I'm not trying to be perverse; I'm trying to form a reading that's produces the mechanical effect they're describing. "Gambits are Decisive attacks; Charms can't enhance them unless they say so" doesn't do that, because as others have noted, there are plenty of non-Decisive-only Charms that still should enhance Gambits.

                  "Gambits are a third category" - with nothing pseudo about it - does make sense of this; it restricts Decisive-only effects to Decisives, and it lets Excellencies and Excellent Strike and so on apply as normal on Gambits. And it's blessedly unambiguous - it seems to capture the intent without needing a long list of caveats and "well-but-if"s - and it at least seems like simple language that captures the effect of what they're saying.

                  If this handles counterattacks-to-Decisives wrong, then okay, I've got the wrong approach, but I'm not clear that we know how Gambits and counterattacks-to-Decisives interact; the argument that would say, "Well we can clearly infer..." would also say Excellent Strike doesn't work.
                  Gambits are decisive attacks.
                  Charms that are uniform have the same effect on withering and decisive attacks.
                  When I launch a disarm gambit, I am making a decisive attack, and therefore can enhance it with Excellent Strike.

                  Gambits do not (normally) inflict damage.
                  Charms which enhance the damage of a decisive attack therefore are not applicable for the same reason that charms which increase your withering damage are not applicable.
                  Charms which enhance the result of a gambit (for example, Flying Steel Ruse) may not be used to increase the damage of a damaging decisive attack, because they are again not applicable, even if the Charm has the Decisive-only keyword.

                  The vast majority (I'm not willing to say all, but all that I could find on a casual scan) of Uniform charms enhance the attack roll.
                  The vast majority of decisive-only charms enhance the damage roll. A minority of decisive-only charms instead enhance a gambit, as described in their text.

                  (Two interesting edge cases do remain; hypothetical charms which enhance the attack roll of decisive attacks, and hypothetical gambits which inflict damage. I trust that the later will provide some general guidelines as they arise, and the former will be judged on a case by case basis)

                  I *suspect* that this problem arises from a change in philosophy regarding the use and meaning of keywords between 2E and 3E.

                  Keywords in 2E could be understood as, by and large, mechanical hooks. They were attributes of the charm, and they could not be excised without changing the meaning of the Charms they were on- to do so would require integrating those hooks into the body of the charm itself.
                  Keywords in 3E seem to be much more like reminder text. They are not attributes of the charm directly, but rather a shorthand means of capturing certain common ideas. They could, by and large, be excised without changing the meaning of the Charms. (There's some exceptions- Psyche and Form, in particular come to mind, but they are exceptions).

                  PS: Sorry for the 'perverse reading' Irked; your response is a credit to the ability to not rise to anger. I just... something about this topic has gotten under my skin. I should probably bow out after this post.


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                  • #69
                    There is no third category. You do not make a gambit attack, you make a decisive attack. If your decisive attack is also gambit, it has a special effect instead of damage. Charms that enhance this will say so. That is how it reads to me.


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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by wastevens View Post

                      Gambits are decisive attacks.
                      Charms that are uniform have the same effect on withering and decisive attacks.
                      When I launch a disarm gambit, I am making a decisive attack, and therefore can enhance it with Excellent Strike.

                      Gambits do not (normally) inflict damage.
                      Charms which enhance the damage of a decisive attack therefore are not applicable for the same reason that charms which increase your withering damage are not applicable.
                      Charms which enhance the result of a gambit (for example, Flying Steel Ruse) may not be used to increase the damage of a damaging decisive attack, because they are again not applicable, even if the Charm has the Decisive-only keyword.
                      Hm. That's not sufficient, though, because your description doesn't handle the case where a Charm says, "Make a Decisive attack," without specific damage call-outs. (Finishing Snipe, for instance, does this.) We're told above that such Charms should not be able to make Gambits, even though Gambits are Decisive attacks, but they aren't handled by your break-down here.

                      (Two interesting edge cases do remain; hypothetical charms which enhance the attack roll of decisive attacks, and hypothetical gambits which inflict damage. I trust that the later will provide some general guidelines as they arise, and the former will be judged on a case by case basis)
                      The first of these cases isn't hypothetical; Accuracy Without Distance, before repurchases, is a Decisive-only Charm that only enhances the attack roll. Can it be used on ranged Gambits, or not? Certainly we can make case-by-case houserules, but that seems like a thing to avoid if at all possible.

                      I *suspect* that this problem arises from a change in philosophy regarding the use and meaning of keywords between 2E and 3E.
                      I would agree that the origin is a philosophy change, but I'm not sure keywords are the problem - I would point more to the general tightness of 2e's mechanical language, which (while decidedly imperfect) generally had unambiguous rules for how purely-mechanical packets interacted. 3e opted for a different style, and I think that shows heavily in the Gambit rules.

                      I definitely agree that the way keywords are being used has changed in the way you suggest, though - but even then, it's inconsistent; Finishing Snipe, again, can (presumably) only be used to make Decisive attacks, but we only know this because of the keyword. (The same is true of AWD.) So sometimes Decisive-only functions merely as reminder text, and sometimes it's an integral part of the Charm's functionality.

                      This drives me a little bonkers, so I try to find clear principles that don't require case-by-case houseruling where I can.

                      PS: Sorry for the 'perverse reading' Irked; your response is a credit to the ability to not rise to anger. I just... something about this topic has gotten under my skin. I should probably bow out after this post.
                      No worries - it was a fair challenge.
                      Last edited by Irked; 06-01-2016, 12:06 PM.


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                      • #71
                        I would like Accuracy Without Distance to apply to ranged gambits, since if I'm shooting someone's sleeves to pin them to a wagon, I want to be able to enhance that roll.

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                        • #72
                          There are definitely cases where denying a charm's use in gambits actually violates the current idea of what they're supposed to be. If you aim at something, then Accuracy Without Distance should help with that. There's no logical reason it shouldn't.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                            There are definitely cases where denying a charm's use in gambits actually violates the current idea of what they're supposed to be. If you aim at something, then Accuracy Without Distance should help with that. There's no logical reason it shouldn't.
                            Agreed. This is where I think the "if the rules stop making sense" rule comes in, and not in a rule-0-fallacy sort of way:

                            In most instances I can think of, it makes sense to Counterattack a disarm attempt.
                            In most instances I can think of, it doesn't make sense to Counterattack a distract attempt.

                            Likewise, Excellent Striking a weapon out of an enemy's hand seems legit.
                            Excellent Striking your distracting shouts and hand motions... not so legit.

                            It seems, to me, that having a blanket rule about how gambits interact with Counterattacks and Decisive-Only isn't much more helpful than the absence of one, because Gambits are so varied that it's mostly going to be case-by-case.


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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                              Agreed. This is where I think the "if the rules stop making sense" rule comes in, and not in a rule-0-fallacy sort of way:

                              In most instances I can think of, it makes sense to Counterattack a disarm attempt.
                              In most instances I can think of, it doesn't make sense to Counterattack a distract attempt.

                              Likewise, Excellent Striking a weapon out of an enemy's hand seems legit.
                              Excellent Striking your distracting shouts and hand motions... not so legit.

                              It seems, to me, that having a blanket rule about how gambits interact with Counterattacks and Decisive-Only isn't much more helpful than the absence of one, because Gambits are so varied that it's mostly going to be case-by-case.
                              Okay, but... we have blanket rules for Gambits?

                              And they don't always make sense. Does only being able to distract a person who you can hit with your sword make sense? I can't think of much more distracting than evading an attack, leaping five meters away, having this jump carry you off a waterfall, and gliding to a landing in the treetops below... but with Leaping Dodge Method and some Athletics Charms, that gets you out of the Gambit.

                              The rules do not treat that as "so varied that it's mostly going to be case-by-case," because they are a set of rules. If you have an idea for a house rule in a given situation, you can always use it, but the appeal of a rule system (especially a rule system with hundreds of pages worth of exceptions) is that it tells you what to do when you don't have such an idea off-hand.

                              And that's before you get to the idea that, say, the ability to parry a lava flow with your sword might also extend to parrying loud noises. Common sense will only take you far in dealing with Solars.


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                              • #75
                                I don't know about anyone else, but cutting a shockwave in half makes perfect in-genre sense to me.

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