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Pointing guns at people

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  • Pointing guns at people

    Stick-up robberies are a real thing. Cops frequently get suspects, even armed suspects, to surrender by pointing guns at them. It's a real thing that is also portrayed a lot in media--thrillers, action films, etc; someone gets the drop on someone else with his firearm out and the other person is forced to surrender, at least temporarily.
    .
    And yet I rarely see this in roleplaying games. This bothers me.

    Part of it must have to do with the primarily melee human v. monster combat that kicked off the medium. Even if you had a gun in Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms you wouldn't get a Beholder to surrender with it. But more importantly is the obstacles in representing this kind of maneuver well in a turn-based system (similarly with cover fire--but I'll have to go into that more in another post). The main question is, what constitutes getting the drop on someone? Is it enough to win initiative in the first round? I'm skeptical of that. Once you're at the point where people are rolling initiative it seems like it's too late. Would the stickup guy have to win a stealth check? That seems like a sufficient condition, but to say it's a necessary condition cuts out the majority of scenarios where this device is used in media.

    One thing I haven't seen in the Drama section of a rulebook (could have missed it; that section tends to make my eyes glaze over) is hiding one's intent to attack, or detecting that in others. That could be the key to a lot of these scenarios--if you wanted to pull a gun on an unsuspecting person you're in a conversation with, you'd have to roll Manipulation or Dexterity + Subterfuge against their relevant Ability. From that point you could get a free shot or at least have a large bonus to initiative if they tried to attack you. Between those two options (extra attack or bonus to initiative) I have a hard time deciding which, actually, they each have their advantages.

    Or the scenario where two people both have guns out and neither are really stealthing, but there are visual obstacles one sees the other first. Maybe an ST could call for an opposed Perception+Alertness roll as they come into each other's field of fire, and the winner of this contest would get the drop on the other.

  • #2
    I wouldn't focus on the combat nature of it. I'd treat such things as Intimidation attempts, with the successes rolled equated to how well the aggressor shocked the target to deny them a chance to enter a "fight" response instead of a "flight/submission" response.

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    • #3
      For me, its more of an Intimidation thing than 'drama/stealth'. You intimidate the opponent to your will based on your perceived force.

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      • #4
        Sure, intimidation factors into it. But who is pointing the gun first is going to matter a fair bit, I'd say.

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        • #5
          Or it would be none of that. It could be the damage system that is the deciding thing. We have Joe Schmoe, a mortal street thug armed with a Beretta 9mm. Then we have Jane Wolf, Black Fury Ragabash, armed with a knife. 1st round of combat, Jane uses a Rage to change into Glabro. Well now Jane has a Str of 4 and a Sta of 4. Also she now Regenerates 1 health level a turn. Joe fires at the Amazon. Hits her pretty good. After Soak she still takes 4 health levels.Jane lunges at Joe and sinks her blade into him, he can't soak Lethal damage. Jane has a base damage pool of 6. I believe Joe is screwed. And next turn Jane rolls Sta to heal, where every success heals a health level. If Jane was a Kindred, the fight would be basically the same. Who cares bout getting the drop on someone, or finding cover, when the damage is temporary. Now if both combatants are mortals then all that matters. But the lack of soaking Lethal makes mortals weigh in the odds on getting the first shot or not. The system as it is now works for me. I try to think in the mind set of the combatant. How likely is it that "I" will get hurt in this? How good are my odds of being the one to fire first? Is it in my best interest to go ahead and surrender? Do I have a reason to risk a very lethal encounter?

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          • #6
            Welll yeah, I'm assuming it's a scenario where one or more of the characters are vulnerable to bullets. Hunters, Mages--any of the many unAwakened NPC's your character might encounter.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Faradn View Post
              Sure, intimidation factors into it. But who is pointing the gun first is going to matter a fair bit, I'd say.
              Make it a difficulty bonus for the one that had it first. Perhaps add in one for the perceived danger of a weapon (which doesn't have to directly equate to the real world effectiveness of a weapon).

              But the goal here is intimidating the target into compliance, so that should be the core of the mechanics used to adjudicate it.

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              • #8
                People keep saying it's about intimidation, but I might find a nervous twitchy guy pointing a gun at me just as intimidating as a cool professional.

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                • #9
                  You know it's a LARP because the people are running toward the gunfire.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Faradn View Post
                    People keep saying it's about intimidation, but I might find a nervous twitchy guy pointing a gun at me just as intimidating as a cool professional.
                    It's not the same in my experience.

                    An assailant that knows what they're doing an shocks you with a sudden show of force... is more mind numbing than scary in the moment. You don't have time to be scared. Your brain turns that off so you focus on taking the actions you need to protect yourself (which in 99% of people means compliance and submission).

                    A guy with a weapon that lacks confidence is scary a hell, but it's easier to go into a more controlled response (not that you'll make a smart decision with that control). Just because you're not Intimidated into compliance doesn't mean you're not scared. It just means you're acting on your own choices (which can still be compliance) rather than having your brain hijack your body so you don't do something to anger the person with the weapon.

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                    • #11
                      Plus as often seen in military folk and cops, even being trained/skilled, you can still 'freeze' when the moment hits.. you got intimidated.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by garhkal View Post
                        Plus as often seen in military folk and cops, even being trained/skilled, you can still 'freeze' when the moment hits.. you got intimidated.
                        V:tM 5th could do with adding in a Darkest Dungeon-esque Stress meter.

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                        • #13
                          A stress meter might work but it would have to be both race specific, your average vampire's not going to find a 9mm pistol pointed at their chest as very stressful while a human will most likely, and it would vary from individual to individual. It works in Darkest Dungeon because everyone experiences stress in the same way in that game but IRL or in WoD it's not going to be as clear-cut.

                          On topic, I would say that intimidation is what I'd use to determine if you manage to make someone stand down or not. And the person in question has to be vulnerable to whatever it is your weapon dishes out, like a vampire faced with a shotgun that it knows is loaded with dragon's breath.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kristviljan View Post
                            A stress meter might work but it would have to be both race specific, your average vampire's not going to find a 9mm pistol pointed at their chest as very stressful while a human will most likely, and it would vary from individual to individual. It works in Darkest Dungeon because everyone experiences stress in the same way in that game but IRL or in WoD it's not going to be as clear-cut.

                            On topic, I would say that intimidation is what I'd use to determine if you manage to make someone stand down or not. And the person in question has to be vulnerable to whatever it is your weapon dishes out, like a vampire faced with a shotgun that it knows is loaded with dragon's breath.
                            Good point. Someone who's immune (or takes less) damage due to the weapon not affecting them as much is going to inevitably be less intimidated by it.. BUT however if he knows its lethal/deadly, its got MORE 'push' ..

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by garhkal View Post

                              Good point. Someone who's immune (or takes less) damage due to the weapon not affecting them as much is going to inevitably be less intimidated by it.. BUT however if he knows its lethal/deadly, its got MORE 'push' ..
                              This. If the rules are not lethal, player will play "four colour", and I can not judge them for it.


                              .

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