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CofD: Need Help Understanding Medium Burst Autofire

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  • CofD: Need Help Understanding Medium Burst Autofire

    So I am struggling a bit trying to understand medium burst fire particularly.

    So from my understanding, you get a +2 to your attack pool, but then you lose 1 dice per target if you are attacking more than 1 target, which could cumulatively come out to a total of -1 to your dice pool.

    Now if you are attacking a single target, there is no way in this edition to attack them multiple times as far as I have discovered so far, correct?. However, if there happens to be multiple enemies around, now all of a sudden you can attack multiple times.

    If you attacked just one enemy, you would make one dice pool roll at a +2, and lets assume you attacked with an assault rifle, which is DMG 4. You would do a bare minimum of 5 damage if you hit (1 Success + 4 damage). However if you attacked three targets you would subtract one dice from you attack pool instead of getting +2, but would then roll your dice pool to attack each target individually, and assuming all three attacks hit, you would then do a minimum of 15 damage spread across three targets. So although attacking multiple targets should be equal to or less then the average amount of damage you would do attacking a single target, due to the innate difficulty involved, you are in fact doing three times as much minimum damage in your turn attacking three people than 1.

    I hope I explained that right, cuz I don't understand why the hell this would be the case. It makes no sense. Attacking multiple targets yields significantly more damage done per turn than attacking one target, because instead of just making it three attacks, they tried to replicate the situation with dice pool mods instead. I get that the idea is that you are spraying out bullets as opposed to firing three single bullets at different targets, but mechanically speaking it doesn't seem to make any sense. Even less so when talking about the Combat Archery fighting style where you are not actually spraying bullets, and are instead firing three arrows and three different targets. If you are capable of doing that, why would you not fire three arrows at the same target as well? I'm not even concerned with how this stacks up vs reality for the most part, because the system is meant to be fairly "representative" as opposed to realistic. But just straight balance wise, it means that the only real way to maximize your potential, is to always be fighting groups.

    Pile that on top of them getting rid of the combat marksmanship merit line, which allowed you to make multiple attacks per turn, it means that combat specialized characters are only making just as many attacks as someone with no fighting experience at all. Now obviously the person built for combat is going to have a larger attack pool, but the base amount of possible attacks and the base damage for the weapon are the same right? So the only difference is attack pool size and likelihood to have the proper stats to use superior weapons.

    Besides a small amount of venting, I just really need to confirm that I am understanding this correctly.
    Last edited by Emparawr; 12-26-2020, 07:38 PM.

  • #2
    You can attack multiple times against separate enemies because doing so does not break the action economy and guarantee victory for the single character who can act as many times as multiple characters. It still helps even the odds, but dealing five lethal damage to three people is not the same thing as dealing fifteen lethal damage to one person. Nobody who isn't wearing supernatural degrees of heavy armor is likely to survive that, let alone it happening more than once.

    "Maximizing your potential" is a nonsense priority to have for autofire — the maneuver costs ammunition to use and multiple opponents will still fuck you up. The bonus dice are applying spray-and-pray principles by making it more likely that your attack will hit and/or hit well while still resolving attacks against separate targets.

    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


    • #3
      You didn't really directly answer my question, but that's ok, I'm pretty certain that If I were wrong about the RAW you would have said something about that. As far as the rest goes, I guess I play too many other games that at least TRY to be somewhat realistic or logical, so getting back into a game that doesn't is a real stretch of the imagination. Don't get me wrong, I love playing WoD, but sometimes the abstract mechanics and outright fubars like medicine make it a lot more difficult. Anyways, I figure I got my answer, so thanks.


      • #4
        You’re right CofD is a narrative system which is why so many merits are per game rather than per day or month, I’m all for simulationist systems but this isn’t one. Balance comes from police investigations into all those dead people and the fact that someone else could have taken Allies to have those 3 people trying to kill you in the first place. Combat is dangerous to discourage it so you have a reason to explore other options.


        • #5
          Satchel has already explained why firing at multiple people is not necessarily the best course of action, even though you are technically doing more total damage. The thing is, the method of health abstraction CofD uses (shared by most RPGs and even video games) means that doing a bit of damage to multiple targets in one action is often worse than doing killshot damage to a single target. In many systems, and based on the damage inflicted, you may harm a lot of people at once without impacting their ability to harm you at all. Even Wound Penalties are relatively small in CofD. When three people attack you, incapacitating one of them before they get to roll their attack will keep you safer than wounding all three without incapacitating them. Of course in CofD there is the Beaten Down Tilt, which sort of simulates what you are looking for instead.

          Now, you could be asking: Then why do you not just go full ham on this mechanical assumption and let a long burst against a single target entirely waste it? For example, by giving straight bonus damage to bursts against a single target. The issue there is that unless you are playing a system in which PCs and NPCs work differently, this also means that NPCs (if the ST plays NPCs as being aware of the mechanical abstractions of the world) also go for the single-attack killshot bursts. That is no fun for many players though. It turns the game into rocket tag and can mean that PCs die or become incapacitated before they even get a single turn. Some players like that lethality, but then it is no problem to introduce appropriate house rules to introduce that lethality.

          Speaking of house rules, to round this out: If - despite Satchel's and mine explanations for why it works that way - you want to adjust the total damage that a multi-target burst do, I suggest changing it so that a multi-attack does not deal full damage to each target, instead the damage rolled needs to be spread around the targets, effectively dealing the same total damage as targeting a single target would have done, just spread over multiple targets as desired.

          Politeness is the lubricant of social intercourse.


          • #6
            While the CofD corebook seems to have removed the language (despite referencing it...) and I haven't looked elsewhere, the intent of the autofire rules is that they're not selective. You can't fire at two muggers and their victim with medium fire and get to just shoot the muggers. This is even more pronounced with long bursts or covering fire. And you can't aim with autofire either.

            So yes, if you happen to be in a situation where you have a burst fire capable weapon, and a lot of targets, with no other considerations, you can deal a lot of damage. All it takes is switching them to shambling zombies and bursts are worthless.

            Games aren't just designed around white-room scenarios, they're designed around how the game is intended to be played. The CofD isn't designed with maximizing your damage output as a primary concern.


            • #7
              There is also a problem with covering fire and splats able to use defense vs firearms. Do they just remove their defense from the covering fire damage?
              Last edited by totalgit; 01-05-2021, 10:31 AM.


              • #8
                I don't believe there's an official ruling on that. But since there are ways for humans to get Defense against firearms, and those don't let them do anything about covering fire, I'd assume that the same is the case here.

                Since most Defense against firearms powers are linked to speed based powers, I'd personally house rule such powers let you avoid being the target of covering fire if you end your turn with Cover or completely move through the danger zone in one turn.


                • #9
                  We're going to be using the rules as they are. Normally I'm not one to feel like complaining about a lack of realism in games, this one just bothered me, but I'm fine with it. My issues with the mechanic were made made worse by the fact that in my case I'm actually using the medium burst fire ability of the Combat Archery fighting style. In this case you aren't just spraying off a bunch of bullets, you are firing off three arrows, 1 at each of up to three different targets. So my issue was, if you are physically capable of firing off three arrows in a certain amount of time, why would you not fire three arrows at 1 target as well. Obviously in this case they really just tacked on a mechanic that was designed with guns in mind, onto archery, in order to actually make it usable power wise, because without that ability, only the most hardcore dedicated to their concept characters would ever use it. With burst fire on guns, your kind of spray and praying, and many of the bullets aren't actually hitting their target, but with arrows, you're either hitting, or you aren't. However again, they weren't concerned with realism really when it comes to the base mechanic, so expecting that they would rework it just for archery would be silly.

                  On a totally separate note, although we aren't going to be changing the burst fire mechanics, we did decide to completely abandon the Root, Bloom, and Touchstone mechanics, and instead are, at least for the moment, going to be regaining 1 willpower at the beginning of each session, regaining willpower for really good roleplay, and then using the rest of the normal willpower recovery mechanics. The concepts for Root/Bloom/Touchstone are just way too vague, and we felt that they try to pigeonhole your character into roleplaying in a certain way in order to try to regain willpower instead of doing what you feel your character realistically would. Also we would be wasting time trying to figure out how bits of roleplay should be changed in order to fulfill these weird willpower goals. I appreciate that they tried to do something different with this edition, but they should have just stuck with Vice/Virtue and written a ton more examples and detailed explanations of these concepts, because as it's written now, it just seems like a big fail. It's fine though, we still love Geist, and 2nd edition has some really interesting stuff going on. You can't expect every change to work out.