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  • #16
    The problem is manyfold.

    First, the players aren't at the scene. The characters are. The game rewards action, not compliance, as a game should do, and the players aren't getting this as a threat to their lives. Which is one and the first thing. You'll see such boldness on any kind of game, actually. Even at paintball (if in a lesser degree).

    Second, it is the whole of the combat system, and that is the meat of the problem. Initiative, Attack roll, Damage and Recovery, all play a role in that. Pointing a gun doesn't mean you got the Initiative, so the player knows the character still have a chance at first attack. Attack roll means that even at such a situation, the attacker still have a chance at failure, a very regular one. The damage system means that the shot have also a regular chance of not killing the character outright, and that's the main problem. IRL, having a gun pointed to you is a very direct threat to your life. I the game, there are too many ways even for a mortal to survive the first shot. Finally, even not soaking nor regenerating Lethal at a fast rate, a mortal character does recover from this, and to the player it is just a time-skip.

    It isn't Intimidation IRL, because the threat is real. The problem is that in the game it simply isn't such a threat. And most of those things can't be taken out of the picture, or the game will become excessively lethal. So, if you want to recover the effect, those are my suggestions:

    1- Use Ready Actions. If a character is ready to shoot, and the target isn't ready to respond, the shooter have the upper hand. How this is achieved isn't relevant, and sometimes it is simply a question of taking the initiative (low case i) of going for it first. You rarely get this effect, even IRL, in the middle of a shootout, or when you're otherwise expecting to have to deal with a gun and is prepared to that. The effect occurs when you're taken by surprise, even the simple surprise of someone drawing a gun in a bar fight.

    A Ready Action means that the shooter get a free attack with the gun if the target tries anything. It is very simple and realistic. If you got your gun pointed at someone, you can pull the trigger faster than your target can achieve almost anything, including drawing another gun. This free attack can be just an automatic win at Initiative (capital I), or go further to be totally free (the shooter can still win Initiative again and attack again). Now the threat level of a point blank shot is far greater without any further change to the actual ability of the characters to ultimately survive.

    You don't need to severely reduce their ability to survive, by the way. Just their ability to still win the fight with such reckless reaction.

    2- Easier hits. My suggestion is to, in such a situation, the attacker have an automatic success at the attack, removing a die from the attack pool. This will make for the attack not being far more life threatening, but still be a lot more "real" for the players. A defensive roll can still be successful, with little difference, but the point is still delivered.

    3- Guarantee minimal damage. Maybe the point blank shot deals instant mean damage, or maybe one or two of the weapons damage dice are changed for automatic damage in such a situation. The trick, again, is more to guarantee danger than to augment too much said danger. The character shouldn't be killed for good just because of silliness, but to deliver how much this is a serious decision, being shot at such a circumstance should be a guaranteed bad beginning for the combat.

    4- Just if you feel particularly serious in this matter, go for scars. Don't make recovery being seriously hampered, that will only hinder your game, not the character. But lasting consequences, even relative minor ones, will make most players give a pause to it. And that is exactly the behavior you want. Another way could be in the needs of recovery. A character that was shot in such a way will need medical attention of some sort. And there is the need to balance three factors: risk of complications, risk of discovery and risk of unwanted costs. Going for a hospital is a sure way of getting the police to ask questions about the bullet wound. Going for underground doctors is a sure way for being in debt with other shady people, or at the very least cost as a favor already from eventual allies and such. Going for improvised surgery is a risky proposition for your body, even for supernatural creatures, albeit a minor one for them. A Garou still need to expel the bullet, and bad surgery can make for scars or improper healing. The same for a Kindred. Again, the consequences don't have to be harsh, but they should be lasting.

    By going all four, you should deliver a good threat level to a point blank gun, without making it into an auto-kill. The player have to plan cautiously the exit, because this will be a sure shot if not avoided properly, with a low chance at winning the fight and uncomfortable lasting consequences. The fundamental question, "why not try", now have a sounding answer.


    Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      It isn't Intimidation IRL, because the threat is real. The problem is that in the game it simply isn't such a threat.
      I don't understand this.

      Why isn't something intimidation because the reality of the threat? Nothing in how the game discusses Intimidation says the threats have to be empty. You can try to Intimidate people whether you can back it up or not, and their perceptions of your ability to do so are just modifiers to that.

      The whole point of having an Intimidation stat, is so that how the combat might play out doesn't matter. Whether you can mop the floor with the person you're trying to intimidate, or they'd actually cream you, if you successfully Intimidate them you convince them you're a threat worth taking seriously; even with the player knowledge vs. character knowledge disconnect the players can't actually know how combat will play out with certainty even if the system is designed to avoid casual PC death.

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      • #18
        It isn't that you can't Intimidate here. You can pretty much point a gun to back-up an Intimidation roll, be it a bluff or not. I'm not saying in any way that you can't roll Intimidation to deliver the threat.

        But there is a specific phenomenon at hand. When someone points a gun, you stop. It is present both IRL as in the media. Even in Die Hard, John McLean don't just ignore a gun pointed at his head. He adapts, even when violence is his choice of action.

        That is the point, to adapt how this kind of scene unfold in the media. So, with "the threat is real", I meant that the way this kind of scene unfolds isn't defined by Intimidation (thought it does can happen along), but by the fact that a gun pointed to your head is a very real hazard that you need to avoid, in the same way that you can not fear a 20 stores fall, but you can't simply ignore gravity, either.

        Look at it this way: if you draw your gun and successfully Intimidates, the target will probably freeze, and concede at any demand you make. If you do not successfully Intimidate, the target will access the situation and search for options, but your gun remain as a threat. The target does have options to react, or maybe just concede while not seeing any, though with the intent of creating such an option. But you see, at first the target freezes all the same, and that delivers most of the drama and tropes of the scene.

        How it usually evolves on an RPG, though, is that the players solemnly ignore the gun if not intimidated, and act as if it wasn't all that much, just another combat scene.


        Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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        • #19
          IME, it kind of depends on the games you're used to playing. Vampires and werewolves tend to be less worried about it, because a gun is far less threatening to them and the player's know it. Mages, mortals, Hunters, etc. tend to be worried because guns are actually pretty dangerous in the system.

          I mean, if someone is behind you with a gun at close range, they have some pretty big bonuses to their attack roll. Even if they don't kill you, putting you at -2 wound penalty in the first round is not a good place to be.

          I've run a lot of Mage and Hunter, and I can say that the games are more than deadly enough that my players do not ignore guns, because being one roll away from death because of a few mooks with guns has happened enough that they don't want to take guns lightly.

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          • #20
            So your players don't need any house rule for it. But the OP state precisely that problem actually happening in game, and I saw other groups going through that.

            If the game needs, the suggestions are there.


            Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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            • #21
              I don't think that's an accurate summary of what the OP was saying. The OP was saying that they don't see games where weapons are used to force compliance, not that players aren't worried about their characters getting killed so they aren't reacting to enemies with weapons with caution.

              That's why there was a focus on Intimidation. The WoD games have mechanics (no need for a house rule at all) for trying to "win" a fight before it starts by threatening someone with a gun.

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              • #22
                My group had this problem back when we were playing WoD. We created a house rule where if you catch someone flat footed (they aren't expecting a fight), you can choose to "stick them up." Both sides get to make opposed Initiative rolls with the person holding the gun getting to add the lower of their dots in Firearms or Intimidate to their Initiative roll.

                If the person being held up wins, he gets an additional 2 dice on his first attack against the person holding the gun, representing that he performs some kind of risky maneuver to catch the gun-wielder off guard.

                If the person with the gun wins, the person getting held up isn't allowed to choose to defend against the attack at all, representing the gun-wielder having plenty of time to aim the gun at a vital point on the target. If the gun-holder decides to shoot, he's going to land the attack and can very easily kill someone.

                This tends to mean that pointing a gun at an unsuspecting person is a useful tactic, though at the same time it can backfire, and it doesn't work on someone who is actually expecting trouble and prepared for an ambush or an attack.

                I don't know if that rule would be very useful for other groups but it turned out to be fairly useful in ours and made catching someone at gunpoint pretty worrisome mechanically.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                  *lots of sexy things about dice and pointing guns at people*
                  That is a great homebrewed rule- it would fit in well with a Hunter game, where holding someone or something at gunpoint could conceivably grant a big advantage.
                  Last edited by The Laughing Stranger; 12-12-2016, 05:10 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    I don't think that's an accurate summary of what the OP was saying. The OP was saying that they don't see games where weapons are used to force compliance, not that players aren't worried about their characters getting killed so they aren't reacting to enemies with weapons with caution.

                    That's why there was a focus on Intimidation. The WoD games have mechanics (no need for a house rule at all) for trying to "win" a fight before it starts by threatening someone with a gun.
                    Fair enough, I re-read and you're right about the OP.

                    So, indeed, a standard Intimidation roll, maybe with a bonus for the context (a gun at your head), should suffice.

                    If not, both my house-rule or the one presented by AnubisXy should suffice.

                    Given how Faradn seemed to be unsure about just Intimidation, there are options, now. For Intimidation alone, I would suggest the Damage Rating of the weapon as bonus dice, or half as dice, half as less difficulty.


                    Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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                    • #25
                      I think pointing a gun to someone could be intended as an intimidation roll if your opponent is not ready or willing to start a battle...

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                      • #26
                        This is something that's an issue because the game mechanics don't accurately reflect real life.

                        For NPCs, this isn't a problem because the ST can always jduge their reaction. Of course, if the issue is getting PCs to ask them to surrender first, you may want to tell them that they can offer surrender and it won't go against their initiative (it's not a real action). If the NPCs make a move for the gun or do something else, the PCs will always have a chance to fire (or abort and do something else). Of course, if you are not sure if the NPC with the gun pointed towards them will surrender, bolt, or do something else - that's when you can do a Intimidation roll.

                        If it is NPCs getting the drop on PCs, it's harder. The main reason being that PCs can decide to do whatever they want even if it is an action they'd likely never do in real life (and as guns tend to be a much lower threat against WoD characters than normal humans). If you want mechanics in that way, you may want to have some kind of game mechanic to encourage "proper behavior" - they can't roll Dodge or some such thing.

                        Another issue with PCs surrendering, is that in general players hate, hate, hate to be captured for any reasons. Escape plots seem to be rarely fun, and even if enjoyed once aren't tolerated a second or third time.

                        If that is the case, you may want to try something else. Tell them that if they surrender now, you will give them an opportunity later to escape by doing another thing often done in cinema and TV, but rarely in game - the PCs escape their captors by grabbing their guns and holding them prisoner. You may need to advise some kind of house rule that is more dramatic mechanic than game mechanic, but most gaming groups can probably agree to something.

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