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Sample Combat: Angel vs. Demon

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  • #31
    KieranMullen - I see what you’re trying to do and think it’s a worthwhile exercise, but can I suggest that for the purposes here you frame the combat as an inevitable activity that’s about to take place, and provide more description around the location - unless you want the locale to be loosely described so that the players have the opportunity to fill in the blanks?

    For example, if you said ‘Damien the demon has solid information that the orchid hides Infrastructure that he’s determined to take down. After scouting the area several times over the past few days, he’s seen that the beekeeper is always present no matter the time of day or night, and that she tirelessly works her bees. He’s convinced she’s anything but normal - with the intel about the Infrastructure he’s sure she’s an angel. He doesn’t know how powerful but he knows he needs to hit hard and fast to take her down so he’s readied an ambush to take her by surprise. Unfortunately for Damian, he doesn’t realise that she’s noticed his observations and is waiting to see what he’ll actually try. She’s identified that he’s alone, so whatever he tries she’s free to hit back with maximum force in protection of her God-Machine-ordained task of protecting the honey.”

    That right there would tell us why neither side is playing safe and sensible. Damien’s in over his head but doesn’t realise it. Angie is ready and Knows the location. Though Damian thinks he’s the hunter, he’s about to become the hunted...

    Edit: And ‘the orchid is designed to be isolated, fenced in, and warded to contain its murderous cryptoflora’ is, IMO, an essential piece of setting detail for this conflict. As are Angie’s prime directives. 🙂
    Last edited by Bunyip; 01-05-2019, 04:23 AM.

    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum


    • #32
      Originally posted by KieranMullen View Post
      I am sorry but I don't quite understand your point about Hellfire. I agree that it is reflexive, so Damien can activate it on the same turn that he fires the gun. Can you be more specific about what was wrong? Or was my writing unclear?

      Your points about Merciless Gunmen are, of course, completely correct.

      I think they’re referring to the fact that Hellfire, though Reflexive, requires an activation roll separate to actually shooting at anyone. The results of this roll dictate what effect Hellfire has. In the example you appear to have skipped this step.

      Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum


      • #33
        Originally posted by Bunyip View Post

        I think they’re referring to the fact that Hellfire, though Reflexive, requires an activation roll separate to actually shooting at anyone. The results of this roll dictate what effect Hellfire has. In the example you appear to have skipped this step.
        Yes. Additionally, it lasts the Scene, so subsequent shots would also inflict Aggravated Damage.

        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


        • #34
          The DtD states about Merciless Gunman:
          A demon can automatically sense whether Merciless Gunman would work; if the demon risks exposure by using it or the opposition has resources that the demon isn’t aware of (if they’re vampires, for instance), then the Embed doesn’t work and hopefully the demon realizes she needs to be more circumspect.
          But then later:

          If the Down and Dirty Combat rules aren’t in effect for this particular scene, the character can use Merciless Gunman to gain the 8-again quality for a Firearms attack (reflexive Wits + Firearms roll before the actual attack roll).
          So what happens when Damien tries to use this against Angie? The ST tells the player that the Embed won't work. Can the player still invoke it anyway to get the 8-again quality if they succeed on a Wits+Firearms roll before the actual attack roll? However, the rules specifically state that the Embed won't work against supernaturals like vampires (and be implication, angels).

          As I understand it, the application of the "Down and Dirty" combat rules is a dramatic decision by the ST, who may rule that it doesn't apply against some particular opponent, irrespective if the opponent is supernatural. If they are supernatural, the Embed doesn't go off and the player knows it. If they aren't, the player can choose to still use the power but only to get the 8-again quality. Is this correct?


          • #35
            The ST ideally warns them of the risk and the nature of the conflict, including that this is not just someone who gets shot down and that it might result in a compromise roll, but since it's a clear situation for it's use outside of Down and Dirty, using it still applies the 8-Again bonus.

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            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
            Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.


            • #36
              Yes, there’s some confusing wording in that Embed. I think the intent is that when the demon tries to use Merciless Gunman on an ineligible target, the ST informs the demon that the Embed won’t work as he expects. If the demon still decides to use it anyway, he makes use of the reduced (8-again) effect.

              The main purpose of saying ‘it doesn’t work’ isn’t to prevent its use altogether, but to give the demon a chance to pause and maybe change tactics.

              Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum


              • #37
                Here's the next version. Because of some of the errors on my part the combat has changed some what (especially about Initiative). I hope that I have not introduced yet more errors in making those changes.

                As always constructive criticism is welcome. Let me know how I can improve the demonstration of the mechanics.

                One thing missing from the DtD books is an extended example of combat, showing all of the rules in action. This is an attempt to do so for a scene between a demon and an angel involving many aspect of an angel's abilities (Influence, Incepts, and Numina). The goal is to show the mechanics.
                This is an iterated document that incorporates many corrections and useful comments from posters to the Onyx Path form. The mistakes are my own, and I will fix it as they are pointed out. I hope that someone else could do this in a separate topic for demon vs. demon combat and mortal vs. mortal combat as well.

                Thanks to: ArcaneArts, BigDamnHero, Bunyip, Deinos, Griautus,Tessie, and Vent0. (I hope I have gotten everyone!)

                N.B.: There are many different styles of play in DtD: from James Bond super-spy to George Smiley cold war agent. The choices made below by the PC and ST may not be suitable for your approach to the game, and are not intended to be proscriptive. However the rules should be the same no matter the style of play.
                Scene: A large, very isolated orchard surrounded by forbidding fencing and locked gates. The orchard is filled with rows of flowering bushes with dark purple leaves. The bushes are 2-3 meters high and can provide cover from sight. This installation provides blood honey, an occult material vital to a short-term project of the GodMachine. The characters are: Angie, a guardian angel in Cover as a beekeeper. She never leaves the orchard. Her top priority mission is to collect and protect the blood honey produced from these plants. Her hooded mask hides a vaguely insectle face. She is not worried about maintaining her Cover since she never interacts with humans except those she feeds to her plants. Any trespassers in this remote and fenced in area are clearly enemies, so she’s free to hit back with maximum force in protection of her God-Machine-ordained task of protecting the honey.

                Damien, a Saboteur demon who knows that the orchard is related to an imminent GM plot. After scouting the area several times over the past two days, he’s seen that the beekeeper is always present no matter the time of day or night, and that she tirelessly works her bees. He’s convinced she’s anything but normal - he suspects that Angie is a simulacrum or an angel. He’d like to be more cautious but he has been told that the GM will act soon and time is running out. His goals are to investigate the site, find out what is going on, and interfere in whatever way would be most effective. But in order to do so he first must take out Angie. He doesn’t know how powerful she is but he knows he needs to hit hard and fast to take her down. He’s readied an ambush to take her by surprise.

                Damien: Saboteur Demon, Primum 2.
                Attributes: Intelligence: 2 Strength: 3 Presence: 1
                Wits: 3 Dexterity: 4 Manipulation: 3
                Resolve: 2 Stamina: 2 Composure: 2
                Physical: Athletics 2, Brawl 4, Handguns 4, Tailing 2, Weaponry (Blade Hands) 4
                Cover: 7 Health 7 Willpower 3 Primum 2 Aether 11/2
                Size 5 Speed 11 Defense 3 Initiative Mod 5
                Embeds: Cause and Effect, Merciless Gunman, Callout
                Exploits: Murder by Improbability, Hellfire
                Modifications: Armored Plates, Blade Hand, Fast Attack
                Technologies: Mirrored Skin, Clairvoyant Sight,
                Propulsion: Teleport
                Process: Wound Healing

                Angie: Bee Keeper (Rank 2 Angel) Guardian
                Influences: Bees - 2 (Manipulate)
                Attributes: Power: 5 Finesse: 4, Resistance: 4
                Size: 5, Corpus: 9, Defense: 4 , Initiative: 9, Max Essence: 15
                Bane: Takes, Agg. Dam. from Rhododendron or Azalea nectar
                Ban: May not leave the circle enclosing the garden.
                Manifestations: Discorporate, Materialize, Twilight Form
                Numina: Innocuous:, Speed , Blink:
                Incepts: Motion, Scale
                Damien snoops around for a bit - it takes him a while to find Angie due to her Innocuous numen. When he does, he decides to resort to decisive violence - no witnesses. He stalks Angie until he can get a good shot from 18 meters away.

                Turn 0
                Damien attempts to use the Embed “Merciless Gunman” but is told by the ST that he senses that the Embed will not work, as per the Embed description. However, it will still give the “Eight-Again” advantage, so he decides to attack anyway, using it and surprise. He rolls Dexterity + Stealth(Tailing) =6 dice for 1 success. The angel rolls Wits + Composure= Finesse + Resistance = 8 dice for 3 successes and is not surprised.

                Damien goes for a partial transformation, activating Fast Attack to get +2 to his Initiative. This costs one Aether and will lead to a Compromise roll later. The ST decides to handle this after the scene since there may be more factors contributing to Compromise as the battle unfolds.

                Turn 1:
                Damien rolls a d10+Initiative(5)+Weapon Penalty(0) , while Angie rolls a d10+Initiative(9). The first time they both roll 11, so the ST has them roll again; this time Damien wins. Because of the Fast Attack form, he will always have the Initiative.

                Damien fires his pistol. This is short range. The roll is Dex+Skill-Defense, and as a Rank 2 Ephemeral, Angie uses the lower of Power and Finesse as Defense (which Ephermerals can use even against ranged attacks). He rolls 4 + 4 - 4 = 4 dice and gets 2 successes. The pistol is 1L so Angie takes 3L damage but since she is an Angel, this is only 3 Bashing damage.

                Angie appears to do nothing. However, she is using her Influence to rouse the bees. This costs 2 Essence and requires a Power+FInesse roll. She rolls 9 dice and gets 3 successes. The ST decides that they will Swarm in four turns which is about 12 seconds. (A different ST might choose to have this happen more quickly, given that this Influence is one of her major abilities).

                Turn 2:
                Damien activates the Hellfire Exploit, which is reflexive and costs 1 Aether. The roll is Presence + Firearms + Primum = 7 dice. He gets 4 successes, so the exploit activates and the gun will deal aggravated damage. His 4 die attack roll is looking weak so the player burns a point of Willpower as well to add +3 dice. He rolls 7 dice but gets just one success to do 2 Aggravated Damage. (A wiser player might have used the Hellfire Exploit earlier, but not all players are perfect.)

                It is Angie’s turn. She starts 18 meters away from Damien. A character’s speed is equal to Strength + Dexterity + 5. A character can move this many meters in one turn. As angel this means Power+Finesse+5, which is 14. The ST decides that Angie would activate her Speed numen, which requires a Power+Finesse roll. The ST rolls 9 dice and gets 4 successes. Angie spends 2 Essence and her speed doubles, so she closes in one round. Damien realizes that he may be in trouble.

                Turn 3:
                Damien maintains the Initiative. Nervous now, he goes for a full transformation, which activates Armored Plates, Blade Hand and Teleport. Damien would heal up to his Primum in lethal or bashing damage during the transformation, but he has not taken any damage yet. There will be Compromise rolls later and it will also cost Aether to undo the transformation. This is a reflexive action, so he can still attack. He rolls his 4 attack dice and has one success. Blade hand does 4L damage, but Angie is an Angel so this is 5 bashing.

                (Blade Hand reduces Initiative by 3; a different ST might demand a new Initiative roll since the character has greatly changed his Initiative, but this one chooses not to do so.)

                By now, she realizes that this is no ordinary opponent. She also realizes that her primary mission is being threatened. Given the serious nature of the threat, she activates the Scale Incept, which is an instant action, and spends 2 Essence. This gives her + (2 x Rank) = +4 to her dice pools and subtracts (Rank+1) = 3 from an attacker’s dice pool.

                Angie starts to brawl, and due to the Incept has 13 dice. Damien’s defense is lowered by 1 due to his armored plates, so it is now just 2. She rolls 11 dice and gets 5 successes. The armor absorbs 3 so Damien takes 2 bashing damage. The ST rules that due to the exceptional level of success, Damien loses his gun and the initiative.

                Turn 4:
                Angie continues to brawl, and on 11 dice gets two successes. The armor absorbs this. Damien goes next and rolls Str + Brawl - Defense - (Rank+1) = for a melee attack. This gives 3+4-4-3 = 0, or a chance die. He misses. The ST offers Damien a Beat if he will take a dramatic failure. The player declines the offer. He has Wound Healing, which is reflexive, and heals one Bashing.

                Turn 5:
                The ST rules that by now the bees have responded and Damien will have the Swarm tilt. This is not going the way he anticipated. The swarm of bees, manipulated by Angie, will condense and do 4L damage (DtD p.179) on normal targets, and half damage on those in armor (like Damien). All his rolls are also now at -2 due to the swarm tilt.

                Angie continues to brawl, and on 11 dice gets four successes. The armor absorbs three, but Damien is getting whittled down.

                Damien decides to teleport away. The ST asks him to make a Wits+Composure - 2 = 3 dice roll to see if he teleports in the correct direction since he is in a swarm of bees, and the player gets no successes. Again, the player turns down the offer of a dramatic failure in exchange for a Beat. Damien teleports, but is still inside the orchard. This costs one Aether. He also heals one point of Bashing damage from the Wound Healing ability. Both of these are reflexive actions, so Damien still has an action left. He uses it to get oriented, and look for a way out.

                Turn 6:
                Angie’s connection to the bees allows her to track Damien during this turn. She uses Blink of an Eye to catch up to Damien, which costs 2 Essence. There is no activation roll, and there is no one along the path to provide a contest roll. Angie continues to brawl, and on 11 dice gets three successes, which the armor absorbs. The bees will be here next turn. Frustrated by his survival, she considers spending more Essence to re-employ the Scale Incept to boost her damage.

                The teleport has momentarily freed him from the bees. He teleports, spending yet another Aether, and manages to leave the orchard. Angie’s ban prevents her from giving chase. The combat was close - if Damien had scored another hit with his 4L blade hand he might have taken Angie down.

                Damien must make a Compromise roll at -3 since he transformed into demon form. However, Angie does not know who he is and has no way to track him down since she is constrained to stay in the orchard. She will alert other nearby angels that she is threatened and request help. Just one more week of honey production and the plan will be complete...

                Other demons (and perhaps other supernaturals) in the area may notice the use of an Incept, and be curious. It’s a brief but loud Aetheric signal that they might be able to triangulate. Certainly Damien will contact other members of his ring. While it might be good to gain information about the site, perhaps they will simply try to destroy it now that they know it is so important.
                Last edited by KieranMullen; 01-22-2019, 03:14 PM. Reason: More formatting fixes.