Solutions to Whiffing

A small but vicious board
Post Reply
User avatar
Rat Catcher
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 1:11 am

Does anyone have a good house rule for alleviate the combat whiff factor?

I was thinking of something like "if both combatants have WS less than 55%, double both ratings".

So...
WS 29 v WS 37 becomes WS 58 v WS 74.
WS 29 v WS 55 stays 'as is'.
User avatar
hallucyon
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:32 pm

Rat Catcher wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:36 pm
"if both combatants have WS less than 55%, double both ratings".
Three doubts.

1) Your rule can be interpreted in two ways: either WS of each combatant must be less than 55% or the sum of WS of both combatants must be less than 55%. The example makes it clear, though.

2) If you double WS 54%, it is 108%.

3) The WS rating represents the probability a character hits his or her opponent. So, a character with WS 29% has the probability of 29% (better: 0.29) to hit. The probability of making two hits in a row is calculated by multiplying the WS rating by the WS rating:

0.29*0.29=0.0841 (8.41%)
0.37*0.37=0.1369 (13.69%)

If you double WS ratings, the character with higher WS gets a huge advantage:

0.58*0.58=0.3364 (33.64%)
0.74*0.74=0.5476 (54.76%)

Meddling with the WFRP1 combat system always causes undesirable side effects.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

if everyone's a whifflord, i'd usually just stick on a +30% "hurry up guys" bonus for most fights, where there's not really meaningful plot stakes.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Could you use the fourth edition opposed combat rules? The consensus seems to be that that gets rid of whiffing, or that it reduces it considerably.
User avatar
Rat Catcher
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 1:11 am

^ That's probably the best way to go about it. I'll check it out.

Thanks all.
BestialWarlust
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 7:06 am

I'm looking at trying the Brigandine mentioned in another thread that seems like it will take care of much of that.
makrellen
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

So just a modest observation from my own game:

- An average combatant in 1st ed has around 30-40 WS
- Charging or winning gives you a +10

If you factor in winning or charging then by definition one side should hit around half of the time. So with two combatants you should expect one of them to land a hit every round.

Now obviously that will vary but compared to 2nd ed those are much better odds (since almost everyone will parry).

Another side of whiffing is hitting and not doing damage - I totally agree that is a problem in 1st ed. But this is easily solved by giving all succesfull hits at least 1 W damage regardless of armor or T bonus.
User avatar
Hyarion
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:56 am

I think your first task is to define what constitutes an acceptable chance of missing, and what constitutes "whiffing". Changing the mechanics to always hit (or nearly always hit) is equally boring to always missing (equally boring, but more is accomplished). Once you've done that, you have to trust the numbers and not let lucky or unlucky streaks change your mind.

If you go with 4e's opposed roll mechanic where both combatants roll and whomever rolls the most DOS or fewest DOF wins the roll, you need to plan out for what happens when the defender wins. Do they do damage? Do they change the "Winning and Gaining" arrow? Or is it just a failed attack?
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Do the opposed rolls. You know you want to.
Rangdo
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:09 am

adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:37 am
Do the opposed rolls. You know you want to.
This is what our GM in an online 2e game is going. It works just fine.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Rangdo wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:26 am
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:37 am
Do the opposed rolls. You know you want to.
This is what our GM in an online 2e game is going. It works just fine.
It works a treat. Just keep combatants within 20 points of each other. Once the difference in Skill gets beyond 20, the weaker opponent has no chance of winning at all.
Last edited by adambeyoncelowe on Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bifi666
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

I was also thinking of introducing opposed rolls, but it seems counterintuitive. The whiff-feeling occurs from the low share of successes (or impactful results) on the overall number of rolls. Opposed rolls just double the amount of rolls, unless you rule that also failed rolls (i.e. above your WS) will succeed if the opponent rolled even worse than you.

I have been considering two other fixes.

1) Introduce opposed rolls, but also change the structure of the combat round. Instead of I-go-you-go/freeze-frame resolution the round has a fixed sequence of phases, as in Chainmail or the oldest versions of D&D. Typically melee - missile - move - magic or some other variant. In the first, melee phase, everybody who is engaged in close combat rolls their WS. You need to cluster combatants according to who is attacking whom, then the rolls can be treated as opposed. (If a character has multiple attacks, s*he can distribute the attacks between several opponents, but still rolls only once.) Each combatant deals damage, this is however modified by the SL difference. If I rolled SL2 and my opponent SL -1, I do damage with +3 and s*he with -3. (You could also rule that an unsuccessful roll does not cause any damage, but then you invite the whiffing issue back in.) Theoretically one could also use the same roll for simultaneously determining the success of Dodge or Parry (or perhaps reversed). One could also introduce Initiative in that the order of resolution follows Initiative from highest to lowest - and if the faster character managed to hurt their opponent enough, perhaps their blow never lands. Overall it would require a bit of testing and rebalancing, but I am playing with this fixed phase sequence in my other campaign and it is very fast.

2) Introduce resisted rolls instead of rolling for Parry or Dodge. A resisted roll means that my opponent's skill is reflected in my chance to hit them instead of them rolling for themselves. Subtract from 50 the opponent's Parry or Dodge to get at a bonus to my to hit attempt. If my WS is 42 and opponent's Dodge is 35, I will get a bonus of +15 to my WS (as 50 - 35 = 15), so I roll on a 57. If, on the other hand, my opponent's Dodge is 58, I will get a penalty of -8 (as 50 - 58 = -8), rolling on a 34. A hit is a hit - the opponent does not receive another chance at Dodging or Parrying since this was factored in already in my chances to hit. For very skilled combatants fighting each other it reduces whiffing less than for less skilled combatants (if, e.g., two characters with WS 65 fight, they roll each on 50%), but at least in this example every second blow lands and at the same time the number of rolls is significantly reduced.
makrellen
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

Bifi666 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:39 am
I was also thinking of introducing opposed rolls, but it seems counterintuitive. The whiff-feeling occurs from the low share of successes (or impactful results) on the overall number of rolls. Opposed rolls just double the amount of rolls, unless you rule that also failed rolls (i.e. above your WS) will succeed if the opponent rolled even worse than you.

I have been considering two other fixes.

1) Introduce opposed rolls, but also change the structure of the combat round. Instead of I-go-you-go/freeze-frame resolution the round has a fixed sequence of phases, as in Chainmail or the oldest versions of D&D. Typically melee - missile - move - magic or some other variant. In the first, melee phase, everybody who is engaged in close combat rolls their WS. You need to cluster combatants according to who is attacking whom, then the rolls can be treated as opposed. (If a character has multiple attacks, s*he can distribute the attacks between several opponents, but still rolls only once.) Each combatant deals damage, this is however modified by the SL difference. If I rolled SL2 and my opponent SL -1, I do damage with +3 and s*he with -3. (You could also rule that an unsuccessful roll does not cause any damage, but then you invite the whiffing issue back in.) Theoretically one could also use the same roll for simultaneously determining the success of Dodge or Parry (or perhaps reversed). One could also introduce Initiative in that the order of resolution follows Initiative from highest to lowest - and if the faster character managed to hurt their opponent enough, perhaps their blow never lands. Overall it would require a bit of testing and rebalancing, but I am playing with this fixed phase sequence in my other campaign and it is very fast.

2) Introduce resisted rolls instead of rolling for Parry or Dodge. A resisted roll means that my opponent's skill is reflected in my chance to hit them instead of them rolling for themselves. Subtract from 50 the opponent's Parry or Dodge to get at a bonus to my to hit attempt. If my WS is 42 and opponent's Dodge is 35, I will get a bonus of +15 to my WS (as 50 - 35 = 15), so I roll on a 57. If, on the other hand, my opponent's Dodge is 58, I will get a penalty of -8 (as 50 - 58 = -8), rolling on a 34. A hit is a hit - the opponent does not receive another chance at Dodging or Parrying since this was factored in already in my chances to hit. For very skilled combatants fighting each other it reduces whiffing less than for less skilled combatants (if, e.g., two characters with WS 65 fight, they roll each on 50%), but at least in this example every second blow lands and at the same time the number of rolls is significantly reduced.
My main observation with opposed rolls is that it works great when:

- The combatants are close (in terms of skill)
- The combatants are only using Melee weapons

Once you get a very high difference (30 WS vs 70 WS) opposed rolls just becomes "Higher skill takes all". The lower skill simply has no realistic chance of scoring a hit. I believe both of the solutions you are are proposing will suffer from this.

And once you add ranged opponents to the mix things start to go sour very quickly. Either you exclude them from opposed rolls (in which case ranged opponents become sort of a "fixer all" against combatants with high Dodge/Initiative) or you do opposed Ranged skill vs Dodge/Initiative in which case you get Elves super-dodging arrows left and right.

Just be aware that introducing opposed rolls (or rolls modified by opponent skill) expands the outcome range - and as a result things can become super one-sided.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Bifi666 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:39 am
I was also thinking of introducing opposed rolls, but it seems counterintuitive. The whiff-feeling occurs from the low share of successes (or impactful results) on the overall number of rolls. Opposed rolls just double the amount of rolls, unless you rule that also failed rolls (i.e. above your WS) will succeed if the opponent rolled even worse than you.

I have been considering two other fixes.

1) Introduce opposed rolls, but also change the structure of the combat round. Instead of I-go-you-go/freeze-frame resolution the round has a fixed sequence of phases, as in Chainmail or the oldest versions of D&D. Typically melee - missile - move - magic or some other variant. In the first, melee phase, everybody who is engaged in close combat rolls their WS. You need to cluster combatants according to who is attacking whom, then the rolls can be treated as opposed. (If a character has multiple attacks, s*he can distribute the attacks between several opponents, but still rolls only once.) Each combatant deals damage, this is however modified by the SL difference. If I rolled SL2 and my opponent SL -1, I do damage with +3 and s*he with -3. (You could also rule that an unsuccessful roll does not cause any damage, but then you invite the whiffing issue back in.) Theoretically one could also use the same roll for simultaneously determining the success of Dodge or Parry (or perhaps reversed). One could also introduce Initiative in that the order of resolution follows Initiative from highest to lowest - and if the faster character managed to hurt their opponent enough, perhaps their blow never lands. Overall it would require a bit of testing and rebalancing, but I am playing with this fixed phase sequence in my other campaign and it is very fast.

2) Introduce resisted rolls instead of rolling for Parry or Dodge. A resisted roll means that my opponent's skill is reflected in my chance to hit them instead of them rolling for themselves. Subtract from 50 the opponent's Parry or Dodge to get at a bonus to my to hit attempt. If my WS is 42 and opponent's Dodge is 35, I will get a bonus of +15 to my WS (as 50 - 35 = 15), so I roll on a 57. If, on the other hand, my opponent's Dodge is 58, I will get a penalty of -8 (as 50 - 58 = -8), rolling on a 34. A hit is a hit - the opponent does not receive another chance at Dodging or Parrying since this was factored in already in my chances to hit. For very skilled combatants fighting each other it reduces whiffing less than for less skilled combatants (if, e.g., two characters with WS 65 fight, they roll each on 50%), but at least in this example every second blow lands and at the same time the number of rolls is significantly reduced.
In 4e, every Opposed Melee Test has a winner. The one who fails least wins by the margin of success over the other (e.g., -1 beats -3 by +2 SLs). That works fine.

Yes, a WS 40 NPC won't stand a chance against a WS 70 PC, but isn't it equally silly that untrained Peasant has the same chance to hit a Greater Daemon as another Peasant?

Really, it should be the case that if there's a 30% difference in WS, the weaker opponent has little chance to succeed. 30% is a lot. Just give your PCs more balanced opponents and you'll be fine.

At least try it out for a few sessions before doing anything super complicated.

As per 4e, don't make ranged attacks be Opposed unless at point blank range or with a big enough shield, but do factor in cover and the difficulty of shooting into a fracas (there's a chance you'll hit someone else instead).

This isn't as unbalanced as at first it might seem. Remember that using an Opposed Test means there's always a chance your bad roll will make your enemy's attack do more damage. In ranged attacks, you can't do that.

Also, if you allow crits on a defence roll to inflict a Critical Wound, using an Opposed Melee Test becomes more interesting than no defence at all, since you'll usually have a small chance of doing something back.
Post Reply