"Gamey" tactical movement.

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49
"Gamey" tactical movement.
So, Saturday's game was... quite a windfall for the PCs- they were able to slay a hydra and a pair of Purple Worms! However, the fight prompted the players to use tactics that felt very rules-based rather than narrative-based, and while I'm not averse to houserules, I'm not wholly clear on how best to resolve them. A brief recap: The hydra was about 40 feet away. The party cast Summon Hero so that there was a hero midway between them and it. The hero, being 4th level, made his save against Paralysis fairly easily and was able to prevent the hydra from overrunning the party. (Actually this brings up a heap of questions about Overrun itself! RULES QUESTION: How is Overrun's "Free" attack handled if someone successfully blocks overrun when it gets to deal damage "as if it had struck in melee." Would that be one hydra-bite or the full attack routine of twelve heads? Further, does that count as the creature's attack for the round, or was overrun its movement phase and it can now attack normally, even if its movement was foiled by a successful save or a missed attack throw at the start?) The party's horsemen then charged the beast with lances, piling on more than a dozen double-damage attacks and slaying it before regeneration could matter. Then, against the purple worms, they attempted the exact same thing, but it passed its Overrun and managed to take out the super-tanky Paladin with poison. (Query: Does a "kill" from Poison allow for Cleave?). It did Cleave a little, enough that they were wary. Again, the lance-pile reigned supreme. Against the *second* purple worm, then, they ordered everyone to spread out, so that nobody was within 5 feet of each other, ensuring that when the beast charged it would only slay one man before the rest lancepiled it. All in all, a very anticlimactic day. I'm not sure how I would have liked the system to handle it, it just felt *wrong.*Does The Jordan 1 Fit True To Size? The Sole Supplier
Antiquities
Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

Before saying anything else, IANAA and all that jazz.

"(Actually this brings up a heap of questions about Overrun itself! RULES QUESTION: How is Overrun's "Free" attack handled if someone successfully blocks overrun when it gets to deal damage "as if it had struck in melee." Would that be one hydra-bite or the full attack routine of twelve heads?"

I would rule one - by RAW, Special Maneuvers replace one attack in a claw/claw/bite (or, in the hydra's case, bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite/bite) routine, so the "free" attack is replacing the bite that was used to initiate the Maneuver.

"Further, does that count as the creature's attack for the round, or was overrun its movement phase and it can now attack normally, even if its movement was foiled by a successful save or a missed attack throw at the start?)"

The Overrun does not count as the full attack routine, so it would deal damage, then have the remainder of its attacks. If it declared an Overrun and eleven bites, once the Overrun failed, it would get eleven bites against whatever is in range (which may be nothing if the failed Overrun drops the opponent).

"The party's horsemen then charged the beast with lances, piling on more than a dozen double-damage attacks and slaying it before regeneration could matter."

It may not have been apparent if no figures were being used, but how did they all draw a straight line to the hydra without running into each other? Hydras are somewhat large, but not large enough for a dozen horsemen to charge into if they were all protected by the Hero. That should have required them to spread out in an arc, at which point the hydra could charge one of the ends without engaging the Hero.

"(Query: Does a "kill" from Poison allow for Cleave?)"

I would say no, because Cleave is when a melee or missile attack drops a foe. Poison isn't melee or missile, although it can be applied by melee or missile.

"All in all, a very anticlimactic day. I'm not sure how I would have liked the system to handle it, it just felt *wrong.*"

Personal recommendation - given their love for the lancepile, don't throw a single big monster at them. A clowder of four phase tigers would probably be tougher for your group than a single purple worm, because of the higher AC (effectively 7 once the phasing is accounted for) and the need to account for multiple targets. A herd of remorhaz with their weapon-destroying heat will reduce the ability to make charges - they might pull it off against one or two, but then they'll either be out of non-magical lances or worried about losing magical ones.

(Also, the purple worm should probably have burrow movement, given its description, so having future ones ambush and retreat in its tunnel might help)

Aryxymaraki
Aryxymaraki's picture
Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

I am also not an Autarch.

But I have a link to someone who is! And it says that yes, you get to cleave if you kill someone off poison. (Or paralysis. Or any other incapacitate effect.)

http://autarch.co/comment/6372#comment-6372

As regards hydras overrunning jerks: According to page 109 of ACKS Core, each individual attack can be replaced as a special maneuver. That means the hydra can take twelve tries to overrun the hero, and each time the hero blocks, he gets bit. I don't think he's going to last very long in that situation.

Personally, I would allow the hydra to declare its attacks one at a time, particularly in the case of overrun, which does not count as your attack for the round when it succeeds; it seems to me that the intent is that a monster can do its best to blow past someone, and get the consolation prize of killing them if they fail.

Aryxymaraki
Aryxymaraki's picture
Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

Also, as regards the purple-worm-spread-out tactic, that's a thing that instinctively bothers me a little as well; very large creatures get the same 5' step between cleaves that anyone else does. (They also all seem to have the same reach, which is another minor quibble.)

I think I would eyeball a greater distance between cleaves based on size, while maintaining the upper limit of 'cannot move further than one round of movement total'. In the specific case of a purple worm, I would probably go with 10 feet; they're big but not fast.

Rodriguez
Rodriguez's picture
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters ContributorBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2012-04-05 04:40

(Actually this brings up a heap of questions about Overrun itself! RULES QUESTION: How is Overrun's "Free" attack handled if someone successfully blocks overrun when it gets to deal damage "as if it had struck in melee." Would that be one hydra-bite or the full attack routine of twelve heads? Further, does that count as the creature's attack for the round, or was overrun its movement phase and it can now attack normally, even if its movement was foiled by a successful save or a missed attack throw at the start?)


-susan_brindle

I would let the hydra get the rest of the attacks against people nearby just replacing one with the overrun attempt.
I dont think a Hydra should get more then one special attack just because it got more heads. (Well, maybe disarm or thunder weapon but not overrun)

(Query: Does a "kill" from Poison allow for Cleave?).


-susan_brindle

I would say yes.

All in all, a very anticlimactic day. I'm not sure how I would have liked the system to handle it, it just felt *wrong.*


-susan_brindle

At least for me ACKS is not about heroically slaying dragons.

They have proven that they are now playing a different tier: One where a single beast, even a large one, is no threat anymore.
30 armored lancers are impressive against single beasts and peasants, they are not so impressive once the army of the sorcerer king arrives...

nDervish
Sinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2014-04-02 05:05

One thing I've houseruled because of situations like those you describe with the purple worm, is to allow a combatant to attack in the middle of movement instead of at the end if they successfully overrun. This allows the purple worm to come up out of the ground, attack, and then burrow back into the earth unless its overrun fails or is blocked. Good luck charging it then... (Note that this does not make overrunning creatures immune to counterattack - you can still use a held action, set spear, etc. to attack them as they go past, provided that you're ready for them.)

On the more general matter of the lance horde, massed cavalry charges are an extremely powerful tactic on an open plain... but, in an RPG, most fights should not take place on open plains. If there's a tree (or a summoned hero...) in the way? No charge - it's not a straight line. Swamps, underbrush, or other difficult terrain? Either charging is impossible or it requires the horse to make a save vs. paralysis to avoid tripping, throwing the rider, and possibly injuring itself. Etc. Leave the open-field battles for army-vs-army action, not for fighting monsters which, with the possible exception of flyers, would normally tend to avoid large open areas.

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

Ah, yes, Terrain. I always forget terrain when setting up random encounters, even though the fights were in a swamp. That definitely could've worked to the PCs disadvantage.

I like the idea of large creatures being able to cleave more than 5 feet. Also, it occurs to me that if it were really mean it could've set action against their charge, so that even as they slam into it it unleashes a full attack barrage against the lancepile and there's just an explosion of gore on both sides.

I like the idea of overruns equal to attacks; that seems like a good compromise of large creatures that should be a whirlwind of destruction being very difficult to stop without being buffed *too* much.

Lord Crimson
Player's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War Backer
Joined: 2012-08-24 13:54

"...so that even as they slam into it it unleashes a full attack barrage against the lancepile and there's just an explosion of gore on both sides."

Lines like this are why I love being a DM.

koewn
koewn's picture
Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-07-17 20:11

Due to the AOO mechanic (pbuh) 3E did have stated reach for different sizes of monster:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/movementPositionAndDistance.htm

but, thinking about it, it may be easier to think in terms of Domains At War metrics; in that a Purple Worm is a Colossal creature that counts as a company, so it takes up a 60' hex. In theory, it's cleaves could operate at the edge of that space.

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

Also, while we're discussing that events of that day, what do you guys have happen on a failed evasion roll?

Aryxymaraki
Aryxymaraki's picture
Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

Failed evasion role as in wilderness evasion?

According to ACKS Core page 100, a failed wilderness evasion roll means that the pursuing group has kept the fleeing group in sight. If the pursuing group is faster, they have a 50% chance of catching them up close (which I would say means 'within one round of movement of being in melee').

If the pursuing group is not faster, then they can never catch the fleeing group in melee, but they can continue to track and follow them as long as evasion rolls keep being failed.

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

Oops; I misread the rules. I didn't realize it was supposed to have a binary breakdown like that. That's very interesting and makes a lot more sense than I'd thought

"Why can't 25 horsemen outrun one hydra?" I wondered. But now I see that they *can* outrun it, it'll just find their camp at some point during the night, or if the chase lasts days, maybe attack their caravan while they're in the dungeon...

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

Er, *non* binary, since there's three possibilities- Outrun but not evade, evade but not outrun, and evade.