On Strength

Cubicle 7 // 2018
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fluminor
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 1:30 pm

Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:55 am

Hi all,

My impression is that Strength is now (much) less important that it used to in the past. This because of the much increased importance of WS as a combat skill.It used to be the main stat for melee damage, but it is not longer, which is sad. I think even combat oriented characters would be better off spending 2N xps to boost WS than spending N xps to boost S. Since the opposed combat test can result in up to +10 damage when two equally skilled combatants fight, and since it can determine who hits and who misses, Strength as a stat will be mostly neglected. Not to mention if a group decides to forgo encumbance rules altogether, which seems not uncommon from what I hear around.

A simple idea to give S a bit more importance in damage dealing is to use S as a cap for the net SL obtained in opposed melee tests. The argument being that a skilled blow alone cannot do overly high damage if not supported by adequately high strength.

So for example, if fighter A has Strength 3 and attacks fighter B scoring 4 SL while fighter B scores -2 SL, with a net SL of +6 in the opposed test, the damage inflicted would be S+weapon damage+3 minus opponent armor and T.

What do you think?
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Orin J.
Posts: 188
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Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:00 pm

i think this is actually a very good idea- as you're spot on about the heightened importance of weapon skill and making STR a requirement for players who want to deal heavy blows means that players have to choose between their skills on a very real level.

i do have a few questions though: firstly is the STR bonus mitigating the amount of SLs for all purposes or simply damage? secondly, if you and your group are currently using advantage would you include it in the limitations or would advantage allow players to exceed the "Strength cap" in any way? possibly spending advantage to push themselves beyond their normal limits or something......
CapnZapp
Posts: 205
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Location: Norsca

Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:17 am

I don't have any real input on your suggested houserules, just wanted to comment on this:
fluminor wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:55 am
Hi all,

My impression is that Strength is now (much) less important that it used to in the past. This because of the much increased importance of WS as a combat skill.It used to be the main stat for melee damage, but it is not longer, which is sad. I think even combat oriented characters would be better off spending 2N xps to boost WS than spending N xps to boost S. Since the opposed combat test can result in up to +10 damage when two equally skilled combatants fight, and since it can determine who hits and who misses, Strength as a stat will be mostly neglected. Not to mention if a group decides to forgo encumbance rules altogether, which seems not uncommon from what I hear around.
Yes, you're entirely right there is close to no reason to increase Strength at all.

Eventually, of course, an effective increase in your Melee skill becomes so very expensive that you might find it attractive to take the very first advances of Strength. Even then, you'd probably do it more to help your ability to grapple, climb and swim than for the damage increase. However, where that line goes is not an exact number, and will likely vary from player to player.

Encumbrance is boring and fiddly administration. Ergo my opinion is that no rpg should rely on it to achieve some design goal, ever. (By all means include rules for Encumbrance for those who want it, but don't make it significant in terms of balancing different character builds)
fluminor
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 1:30 pm

Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:38 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:00 pm
i think this is actually a very good idea- as you're spot on about the heightened importance of weapon skill and making STR a requirement for players who want to deal heavy blows means that players have to choose between their skills on a very real level.

i do have a few questions though: firstly is the STR bonus mitigating the amount of SLs for all purposes or simply damage? secondly, if you and your group are currently using advantage would you include it in the limitations or would advantage allow players to exceed the "Strength cap" in any way? possibly spending advantage to push themselves beyond their normal limits or something......
I am glad that you like it. It has not been tested for we are not currently playing, but hopefully starting soon. Hence the idea of trying some house rules and see how they go.

My idea for Strength is to make it a "hard cap" for damage, one that cannot be bypassed with advantage nor talents. This way, a weapon with damage +N will never be able to strike with a force higher than 2S+N, hence will never deliver more hits than 2S+N-AP-T. It's simple. And this cap to damage has several (interrelated) implications that I all quite like:

1. A warrior with low strength armed with a knife has a harder time (relative to RAW) delivering damage to a warrior with high T and lots of armor, even if the former has higher weapon skill. This is very WFRP-like to me.

2. It makes armor more meaningful. For example, a warrior with a hand weapon and S=3 can deliver blows with a max attack force equal to 2*3+4=10. Hence an opponent with T=3 will at most receive 7-AP wounds by a single blow. The difference between AP=0 and AP=4 then becomes quite substantial. I like it because we are planning to strip armor of the ability to absorb criticals, same as Zapp is doing, for the same reasons. Of course, if you are planning to keep armor's ability to block criticals, it might be best to consider a "soft cap" for damage that can be bypassed by advantage, or talents, or both, else armor becomes ever more important than it already is.

3. It essentially removes the possibility that someone of roughly the same stats/skill as you, with some luck, may bring you from full health to 0 wounds in a single blow. The damage swing in the RAW is too extreme for my taste. Consider that the average starting human has 12 wounds, and the average human who attacks another average human with one hand weapon and no advantage can deliver up to 14-AP damage in a single blow. :shock: So the hard cap on damage I propose makes wounds more meaningful, since having a few more wounds means you can probably withstand one extra blow, especially is you have some armor on. As of now the difference between 12 and 14 wounds is almost statistically insignificant.

4. Despite the damage cap, skills still matters, since a higher WS means you will "hit the cap" more often. The cap just shorten the "tail" of the damage output.

5. The combat may last a few more rounds as a result, but i like it (testing is of course needed to confirm my gut feel). WFRP4 clearly does away with whiff factor from wfrp2, which is good, but it does so in a way that is too extreme for my taste, as randomness plays too big a part in combat. So adding a few extra rounds is a welcome change for me if this means that luck matters a bit less. Also consider that the “damage cap” based on S should speed up damage computations a little bit because any roll that is "good enough" will just hit the cap, with no need to run the exact math.

6. Lastly, and most obviously, a "hard cap" means Strength matters more, which is the reason why this change came to mind to begin with.
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Orin J.
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Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:33 pm

fluminor wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:38 pm
The combat may last a few more rounds as a result, but i like it (testing is of course needed to confirm my gut feel).
I consider this a plus, as 4th edition threatens to run too fast for the adventurers to tell if they accidentially got into a bad fight before they at stuck with a party kill. not that i object to slaughtering parties, but i feel it's good sportsmanship to let them flee in pants wetting shock from obviously bad engagements rather than dark souls them. they deserve to have a couple rounds to let the numbers start adding up in their heads so they can realize this isn't one of those "fight your way through" encounters.
CapnZapp
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Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:32 am

Orin J. wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:33 pm
I consider this a plus, as 4th edition threatens to run too fast for the adventurers to tell if they accidentially got into a bad fight before they at stuck with a party kill. not that i object to slaughtering parties, but i feel it's good sportsmanship to let them flee in pants wetting shock from obviously bad engagements rather than dark souls them. they deserve to have a couple rounds to let the numbers start adding up in their heads so they can realize this isn't one of those "fight your way through" encounters.
Hmm.

As a fledgling adventurer (especially if you're not a dedicated Warrior) you should avoid any fight where:
* the enemies outnumber you (the outnumbering bonuses are what kills player characters!)
* the enemies have ranged attacks (unless you expect to shut down those ranged attacks imminently, of course)

As the GM, my best suggestion for any encounter where you intend to "trickle-feed" them with new opponents, is to allow them to realize there are enemy reinforcements impending. That way, they can evaluate the results of the first combat round and base their decision on something tangible.

In short, if they managed to kill two out of three goblins (beggars, etc), without any ally losing a significant number of Wounds, they can probably handle another couple of combat rounds and another couple of goblins rushing into the fight.

In contrast, if all three goblins remain standing, it is probably best to eat their free attacks and flee to avoid getting outnumbered the next round.

(That 4E combat rounds no longer are likely to result in "everybody missing" is not something I consider "too fast". In fact, it is one of the few unmitigated design successes of C7's edition!)
CapnZapp
Posts: 205
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Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:42 am

CapnZapp wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:32 am
As a fledgling adventurer (especially if you're not a dedicated Warrior) you should avoid any fight where:
* the enemies outnumber you (the outnumbering bonuses are what kills player characters!)
* the enemies have ranged attacks (unless you expect to shut down those ranged attacks imminently, of course)
Of course, you should also avoid any duel against a more skilled opponent whenever you can. Unless your allies allow you to gain outnumbering bonuses to mitigate this.

A piece of advice: against equally matched foes (when you're crap at fighting and so are the foes), be ruthless in using your Fortune Points and Corruption re-rolls at the start of any engagement!

Winning the first couple of opposed Tests allows you to snowball Advantage, so I can't stress enough the value of a fortune point spent to make the difference between starting the fight with a lost Test and starting it with a won Test.

To be blunt: re-rolling a lost Test to turn that into a win is obviously always powerful, but especially valuable at the start of any combat.

Once you have a thousand XP under your belt, and likely out-skill most mooks, you can relax this regiment, and go back to how you used to spend fortune points - that is, at the last minute and only when you really need them.
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Orin J.
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Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:49 am

oh no, my problem is they like to try and "force" the game to run like D&D because i'm friends with most of the murderhobo players in the area and as the GM they figure they outnumber me, but that is good advice! thanks anyways zapp
FasterThanJesus
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Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:27 am

Tried to post earlier, seems to have failed.

I don't think S is useless, but I agree that it's value is dimished. W as a derived stat from S will always give it some value and there can be any number of tests employed where S is appropriate (like getting into an inn with a stiff door...).

I do like the suggestion though. Having read the new rules but not played or tested yet, it does look a lot quicker and imposing this cap will help address that problem. Similarly, the I cap to advantage looks like its definitely needed, too (and maybe halfing advantage on top whilst we're at it).

It's a classic game-balance over-correction. Problem: too many misses; combat is too long. Solution, change x, y and z. Maybe just changing x was needed.

You suggestion looks like it addresses two problems neatly, it slows combat a little and increases the value of S.
Last edited by FasterThanJesus on Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
CapnZapp
Posts: 205
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Location: Norsca

Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:41 am

Orin J. wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:49 am
oh no, my problem is they like to try and "force" the game to run like D&D because i'm friends with most of the murderhobo players in the area and as the GM they figure they outnumber me, but that is good advice! thanks anyways zapp
For what it is worth, I consider the way a duel between a 30% character and a 30% ungor or mutant goes down to be simply improved in 4E vs 2E. The fact there is far less whiffing does not mean I think 4E combat moves too fast or that it plays anything like D&D.

Basically, the 4E system means that amateur hour (30% vs 30%) plays out just as fast as, say, 70% vs 70%.

Of course, this is rather theoretical, since 4E adds in a boatload of knobs and levels that modify either your or your foe's effective score (and/or success level).

Best regards,
Zapp
fluminor
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 1:30 pm

Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:26 am

FasterThanJesus wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:27 am

You suggestion looks like it addresses two problems neatly, it slows combat a little and increases the value of S.
Thanks, I am glad you like it!
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