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Waterbrick Down

Heroica: Glory Amongst The Stars - Rules & FAQ

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I am just a little confused about spending character points on proficiencies. So if I wanted say technology to rank 2, I would have to 10-2, does this mean my total character points are 8/10, or 0/8?
Also I think I accidentally put 0/10 for my registration, is it actually 10/10, or is the former right? 

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21 minutes ago, Wolfpackfan99 said:

I am just a little confused about spending character points on proficiencies. So if I wanted say technology to rank 2, I would have to 10-2, does this mean my total character points are 8/10, or 0/8?
Also I think I accidentally put 0/10 for my registration, is it actually 10/10, or is the former right? 

To get Technology from rank 1 to rank 2 would cost 2 points. So you'd be left with 8 out of 10 available points. To go from rank 2 to rank 3 would be 3 points, leaving you then with 5 out of 10 available points. You start with 10 out of 10 available points. You can also invest in Attributes like Strength, Smarts, Skill, Vitality, Velocity, etc. raising those each rank costs 2 points regardless of their current rank.

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2 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

To get Technology from rank 1 to rank 2 would cost 2 points. So you'd be left with 8 out of 10 available points. To go from rank 2 to rank 3 would be 3 points, leaving you then with 5 out of 10 available points. You start with 10 out of 10 available points. You can also invest in Attributes like Strength, Smarts, Skill, Vitality, Velocity, etc. raising those each rank costs 2 points regardless of their current rank.

Alright thank you.

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Thoughts on Meditation and associated classes.

At this point, I am fully convinced that meditation should be entirely removed as an action. Instead I am in agreement that the proposed 'Rest' mechanic for recovering Vitality and Spirit is instituted. In my current thinking, rests would be player-initiated, but would require MM approval. Once this is done, every player rolls their Strength to recover Vitality, as well as their highest casting Proficiency to recover Spirit should they possess any. Players may also choose to add either their Survival, Technology, or Medicine to one player's Vitality roll, including themselves. Vitality and Spirit recovered are equal to successes rolled. In certain cases, an MM may decide that due to a lack of threats or the length of time without combat/spellcasting, that players regain all spent Spirit and Vitality automatically.

On to classes. While the above will be sufficient for most players, for the Battlemage and Martial Artist, both will need some ability to recover spirit on the fly in order to function properly. For the Battlemage, I've already devised an alternative feature to allow this, and will now reproduce it here along with the other class features:

Eldritch Onslaught
When you deal damage with an Offensive Combat Check, you regain Spirit = # damage dealt.
Infused Strike
When you cast a spell, your next attack gains die = # Spirit spent.
Transmuter's Advantage
You may change the type of your armor if you have more than half max Spirit.

The intent here is for a 'high-energy' playstyle where the player casts spells and makes attacks in rapid succession, but has to take time to reorient their defense if it proves suboptimal. One possible further change though, is to remove Nature from the Battlemage's qualifying Proficiencies, as that would give them native access to Healing Light.

For the Martial Artist, I feel a different solution is needed. My current idea is to replace Purity of Mind and Body with an altered form of Meditate based on one of my prior suggestions. again, I will reproduce the whole class here with associated changes:

Strike Like Lightning
You may make an additional number of Unarmed Combat Checks = 1/2 current Spirit.
Flow Like Water
You may move up to 1/2 Velocity as part of a Combat Check.
Meditate
You may roll Insight or Religion to recover Spirit

One thing I am uncertain of is if this proposed change should include a limit on how many times it can be use, and what such a limit should be based on. Spirit? Skill? Should the limit be per mission or per rest?

Edited by Duvors

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On 2/26/2022 at 6:04 PM, Duvors said:

Thoughts on Meditation and associated classes...

I think most of this is on point. The restoration of Vitality with Strength + Medicine/Survival/Tech seems good to me and the caveat about MM's simply resetting everyone's Vitality/Spirit to full if the situation makes sense is sensible.

Battle Mage, looks balanced and I like the back and forth aspect to the spellcasting/melee attacking. If we removed Nature, I'd suggest adding Occult as an alternate proficiency.

Martial Artist, do we want to provide an incentive for them to spend Spirit? Perhaps something like, spend a Spirit to double Velocity, Skill, or 1/2 fall damage for free for the turn? That way, you again generate that internal tension between spending Spirit or hoarding it, just like Battle Mage. As for limiting Meditate, maybe a number of times equal to the Proficiency per combat?

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1 hour ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Martial Artist, do we want to provide an incentive for them to spend Spirit? Perhaps something like, spend a Spirit to double Velocity, Skill, or 1/2 fall damage for free for the turn? That way, you again generate that internal tension between spending Spirit or hoarding it, just like Battle Mage. As for limiting Meditate, maybe a number of times equal to the Proficiency per combat?

Martial Artists already have an implicit incentive in that their class requires a high Spirit in order to function, thus they will likely have spells. The other two passive abilities have to remain the way they are for the playstyle to work (and Flow Like Water is a pretty big boost to Velocity anyway) and I don't want them to have a trait with an action cost. The idea behind giving them Meditate is that they have some leeway to cast spells without losing access to their class benefits, but not to make them proper spellcasters. Martial artists are melee combatants that can cast spells, but won't be doing it often.
(An aside, the revised Battlemage I've suggested doesn't really have much incentive to hoard Spirit. If they end up spending too much, they can always attack with a massive bonus and potentially get most of it back.)

As for limitations, I think per battle is too often (or not often enough depending on circumstances) and doesn't provide any opportunity to recover outside of combat. I was thinking of making it either per rest or per mission.

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2 hours ago, Duvors said:

Martial Artists already have an implicit incentive in that their class requires a high Spirit in order to function, thus they will likely have spells. The other two passive abilities have to remain the way they are for the playstyle to work (and Flow Like Water is a pretty big boost to Velocity anyway) and I don't want them to have a trait with an action cost. The idea behind giving them Meditate is that they have some leeway to cast spells without losing access to their class benefits, but not to make them proper spellcasters. Martial artists are melee combatants that can cast spells, but won't be doing it often.
(An aside, the revised Battlemage I've suggested doesn't really have much incentive to hoard Spirit. If they end up spending too much, they can always attack with a massive bonus and potentially get most of it back.)

As for limitations, I think per battle is too often (or not often enough depending on circumstances) and doesn't provide any opportunity to recover outside of combat. I was thinking of making it either per rest or per mission.

Per rest works. 

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When I raised my problem with meditate and spirit, I promised there would be a few more issues I'd raise eventually. I was thinking of waiting for the end of this second quest, but I'd like to raise them both now, since I think they're prevalent for the community.

1) Melee & Range

On 3/9/2022 at 11:01 AM, Waterbrick Down said:

The Legonater's points are valid as it concerns Velocity and defenses. In Heroica 1.0 ranged combat was mathematically superior and targeting was split up into front row and back row. With a ranged weapon you did the same damage as a melee weapon, but took half damage from the back row. We didn't want that same dynamic in Heroica 2.0 hence the grid system was born. Because all weapons do the same damage (ignoring weapon grades), even in the grid system, ranged weapons would still have an advantage because they could hit more squares compared to melee weapons. Hence the ranges were broken up into short, long, and artillery, and penalties for unoptimum ranges were instituted. Velocity thus became an important stat for ranged characters to be able to position themselves for the best shot. It also meant that MM had options to increase or decrease difficulty by changing the battle grid size and shape.

 I believe if we were to simplify to two skills (melee and ranged), melee would once again be put in a disadvantaged position as such a system would eliminate the unoptimum range penalties. For ranged characters, all that would matter is simply being non-adjacent to any enemy (so as to avoid an opportunistic attack) and then they'd have a greater number of targetable squares compared to a melee weapon. The ideal system is one where in ranged and melee feel equally optimal the majority of the time, albeit sometimes for different situations.

This pretty easily sums up what I think the thinking on range is. But I think @karmajay is right as well, in the post this is a response to. Having three ranges is really really rough for ranged characters. I think a more elegant solution would be to make is "close-range" (2-3 tiles away) and "long-range" (4-5 tiles away). It will maintain that there are times when both are more or less optimal, and I think the two play styles will remain pretty different (close-range doesn't need to reposition as much, but are more likely to be hit, whereas the long range needs that velocity to put the distance and reposition). The problem, however, is exactly what you said: this nerfs melee, who has a VERY limited number of tiles they can hit. They'd need a boost as well, and I truly think that boost is the same as what we see in other gaming systems: some sort of opportunity attack, or some way to lock people down when in melee. It makes the melee fighting more meaningful, and makes them feel like they're really protecting the backline, even if they're not actively using the defend action. Just my two cents - as always, @Waterbrick Down, I think the problem you outline above is legitimate, so I'm hoping to at least a germ to the solution: range is too complex and challenging, but simplifying it would make it that much better than melee. So my solution is that melee needs SOME boost as well.

2) Initiative

Just to be perfectly frank, I don't think it adds anything to the game, and just ends up tripping up players. The idea of having good initiative in a regular system is getting to set up before the enemies get to act, but we always act before the enemies (which I'm not advocating against, it makes sense given the asynchronous style of play!). So why is this here? People who want high initiative are people who are good at rallying (to go before attackers) but they need to spend those points on other things, in order to rally well. Heavy hitters actually want low initiative, so they can get rallied first, but that means they have to give up movement for that low velocity, which is bad, especially if they're long-ranged. It just doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose. I understand it was added because velocity needed a "second thing" like skills and smarts both have, but I don't think this is the right solution. Maybe it's good enough on it's own to not need a second thing? Or maybe we think of something else to be it's second thing?

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1 hour ago, Zepher said:

1) Melee & Range

This pretty easily sums up what I think the thinking on range is. But I think @karmajay is right as well, in the post this is a response to. Having three ranges is really really rough for ranged characters. I think a more elegant solution would be to make is "close-range" (2-3 tiles away) and "long-range" (4-5 tiles away). It will maintain that there are times when both are more or less optimal, and I think the two play styles will remain pretty different (close-range doesn't need to reposition as much, but are more likely to be hit, whereas the long range needs that velocity to put the distance and reposition). The problem, however, is exactly what you said: this nerfs melee, who has a VERY limited number of tiles they can hit. They'd need a boost as well, and I truly think that boost is the same as what we see in other gaming systems: some sort of opportunity attack, or some way to lock people down when in melee. It makes the melee fighting more meaningful, and makes them feel like they're really protecting the backline, even if they're not actively using the defend action. Just my two cents - as always, @Waterbrick Down, I think the problem you outline above is legitimate, so I'm hoping to at least a germ to the solution: range is too complex and challenging, but simplifying it would make it that much better than melee. So my solution is that melee needs SOME boost as well.

This issue with this suggestion is that we already have that; Opportunistic Attacks trigger when an adjacent enemy attempts an attack against a non-adjacent target. They used to also trigger on adjacent enemies moving away, but in practice that ended up bogging down play.

1 hour ago, Zepher said:

2) Initiative

Just to be perfectly frank, I don't think it adds anything to the game, and just ends up tripping up players. The idea of having good initiative in a regular system is getting to set up before the enemies get to act, but we always act before the enemies (which I'm not advocating against, it makes sense given the asynchronous style of play!). So why is this here? People who want high initiative are people who are good at rallying (to go before attackers) but they need to spend those points on other things, in order to rally well. Heavy hitters actually want low initiative, so they can get rallied first, but that means they have to give up movement for that low velocity, which is bad, especially if they're long-ranged. It just doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose. I understand it was added because velocity needed a "second thing" like skills and smarts both have, but I don't think this is the right solution. Maybe it's good enough on it's own to not need a second thing? Or maybe we think of something else to be it's second thing?

Slight misconception here; Initiative used to work off of Skill early on. It was changed to Velocity later simply because that made more sense. Both of the 'V' attributes deliberately work differently from the 'S' ones, so there's no requirement for them to have secondary abilities.

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1 hour ago, Zepher said:

When I raised my problem with meditate and spirit, I promised there would be a few more issues I'd raise eventually. I was thinking of waiting for the end of this second quest, but I'd like to raise them both now, since I think they're prevalent for the community.

1) Melee & Range

This pretty easily sums up what I think the thinking on range is. But I think @karmajay is right as well, in the post this is a response to. Having three ranges is really really rough for ranged characters. I think a more elegant solution would be to make is "close-range" (2-3 tiles away) and "long-range" (4-5 tiles away). It will maintain that there are times when both are more or less optimal, and I think the two play styles will remain pretty different (close-range doesn't need to reposition as much, but are more likely to be hit, whereas the long range needs that velocity to put the distance and reposition). The problem, however, is exactly what you said: this nerfs melee, who has a VERY limited number of tiles they can hit. They'd need a boost as well, and I truly think that boost is the same as what we see in other gaming systems: some sort of opportunity attack, or some way to lock people down when in melee. It makes the melee fighting more meaningful, and makes them feel like they're really protecting the backline, even if they're not actively using the defend action. Just my two cents - as always, @Waterbrick Down, I think the problem you outline above is legitimate, so I'm hoping to at least a germ to the solution: range is too complex and challenging, but simplifying it would make it that much better than melee. So my solution is that melee needs SOME boost as well.

Would the intention for penalties to still be only -1 outside of the optimal range? I'm not 100% opposed to simplifying to less ranges, I just felt it was more complicated to have multiple number of squares away to be covered by a single range, plus it gave more differentiation to players. Regarding giving a boost to melee, I'd like to not go back to original opportunistic attacks as none of the players could remember that they'd be attacked if they left an adjacent square to an enemy. A potential idea I've tossed around is giving either melee an extra +1 auto-success or some sort of armor ignoring feature. Not sure how practical those would be though.

1 hour ago, Zepher said:

2) Initiative

Just to be perfectly frank, I don't think it adds anything to the game, and just ends up tripping up players. The idea of having good initiative in a regular system is getting to set up before the enemies get to act, but we always act before the enemies (which I'm not advocating against, it makes sense given the asynchronous style of play!). So why is this here? People who want high initiative are people who are good at rallying (to go before attackers) but they need to spend those points on other things, in order to rally well. Heavy hitters actually want low initiative, so they can get rallied first, but that means they have to give up movement for that low velocity, which is bad, especially if they're long-ranged. It just doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose. I understand it was added because velocity needed a "second thing" like skills and smarts both have, but I don't think this is the right solution. Maybe it's good enough on it's own to not need a second thing? Or maybe we think of something else to be it's second thing?

I'm more in agreement with this one. Duvors is correct in that Velocity and Vitality don't have secondary features unlike Skill/Strength/Smarts/Spirit, so we don't have to worry about adding something. From a practical perspective, I wouldn't be opposed to going back to the old (set a battle order) style from Heroica 1.0. The downside is that it required a mission leader to be fairly active so GM's weren't waiting around for a battle order. However in a more tactical game like this, having the heroes all roll the same initiative is probably the most ideal as it allows the party to change up their strategy as needed. Perhaps we could simply use initiative as a way to determine whether or not the party gets caught flat footed and the enemy gets to act on round 0, instead of the end of round 1?

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On 3/12/2022 at 4:31 PM, Waterbrick Down said:

Would the intention for penalties to still be only -1 outside of the optimal range? I'm not 100% opposed to simplifying to less ranges, I just felt it was more complicated to have multiple number of squares away to be covered by a single range, plus it gave more differentiation to players. Regarding giving a boost to melee, I'd like to not go back to original opportunistic attacks as none of the players could remember that they'd be attacked if they left an adjacent square to an enemy. A potential idea I've tossed around is giving either melee an extra +1 auto-success or some sort of armor ignoring feature. Not sure how practical those would be though.

I'm more in agreement with this one. Duvors is correct in that Velocity and Vitality don't have secondary features unlike Skill/Strength/Smarts/Spirit, so we don't have to worry about adding something. From a practical perspective, I wouldn't be opposed to going back to the old (set a battle order) style from Heroica 1.0. The downside is that it required a mission leader to be fairly active so GM's weren't waiting around for a battle order. However in a more tactical game like this, having the heroes all roll the same initiative is probably the most ideal as it allows the party to change up their strategy as needed. Perhaps we could simply use initiative as a way to determine whether or not the party gets caught flat footed and the enemy gets to act on round 0, instead of the end of round 1?

1) The only reason I like opportunity attack is because it allows heroes to more reliably lock down enemies, which I think is the idea behind melee builds for the most part. Means they don't need as much velocity, because then once they're near an enemy, they are effectively defending others. Enemies near them need to decide: do I want to get hit and move, or stay and fight? I'm not super sold on the auto +1, that honestly seems not good enough & makes them more heavy hitters as opposed to people who can lock down and shield others. Maybe something with a velocity decrease to enemies in proximity, but that seems more complicated than opportunity attacks. I'm totally down for other solutions, but that's my thinking about WHY I'm suggesting that as opposed to making them harder hitters. As for the range question, yes, still a -1.

2) This all sounds good for me. Group check v. group check, with highest total going first, would be fine. Would make small but fast enemies a real viable threat too. But I'm also cool with heroes just always going first. But yeah set a battle order seems best for this type of 24-hour to get actions in battle style. Allows for flexibility.

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15 hours ago, Zepher said:

1) The only reason I like opportunity attack is because it allows heroes to more reliably lock down enemies, which I think is the idea behind melee builds for the most part. Means they don't need as much velocity, because then once they're near an enemy, they are effectively defending others. Enemies near them need to decide: do I want to get hit and move, or stay and fight? I'm not super sold on the auto +1, that honestly seems not good enough & makes them more heavy hitters as opposed to people who can lock down and shield others. Maybe something with a velocity decrease to enemies in proximity, but that seems more complicated than opportunity attacks. I'm totally down for other solutions, but that's my thinking about WHY I'm suggesting that as opposed to making them harder hitters. As for the range question, yes, still a -1.

2) This all sounds good for me. Group check v. group check, with highest total going first, would be fine. Would make small but fast enemies a real viable threat too. But I'm also cool with heroes just always going first. But yeah set a battle order seems best for this type of 24-hour to get actions in battle style. Allows for flexibility.

Typically melee is balanced by having higher damage output in other games. I get the idea of locking down enemies, and if we simplified to just short range and long range that may result in people feeling at less of a disadvantage if they don't choose to move to optimal range, since at most the penalty will be -1 instead of -2 to maybe -3.

I'm open to having opportunity attacks function closer to other games, i.e. take a melee attack if you attack a non-adjacent enemy with ranged, or if you move away from an adjacent enemy without taking the Dash action. It's just really hard to teach people that.

I'm ok with Group Check, though we'll need to figure out a way to balance, so that high number enemies or low number enemies don't skew one way or another. Perhaps an average, or the majority have to be equal/above the highest enemy velocity check? Example:

Hero A Velocity Check - (4,5,3) 2 Successes
Hero B Velocity Check - (1,6) 1 Success
Hero C Velocity Check - (5,5,6) 3 Successes
Hero D Velocity Check - (4,4) 2 Successes

Enemy A Velocity Check - (1,6,2) 1 Success
Enemy B Velocity Check - (5,4) 2 Successes

Heroes have 3 Velocity checks equal/above 2, thus heroes go first.

Seems a bit convoluted though... Maybe we just go highest in the group vs. the highest in the enemy group, so in this case 3 Successes from Hero C vs. 2 Successes from Enemy B?

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20 hours ago, Wolfpackfan99 said:

 Billeck moves to D4, and fires at Dagger.

Okay, I actually made a slight mistake when talking about this earlier, as I didn't notice you were moving as part of the action. If you had gone through with this, everything I said about opportunistic attacks would've been irrelevant. Both because you were attacking an adjacent enemy, and because the other enemy wouldn't have been adjacent. However, you would have been attacking an adjacent enemy with a short range weapon, so you'd've gotten a -1 to your attack and still had a chance of hitting Jonk. All-in-all, I think your current action is still better.

On 3/12/2022 at 4:31 PM, Waterbrick Down said:

I'd like to not go back to original opportunistic attacks as none of the players could remember that they'd be attacked if they left an adjacent square to an enemy.

I my experience, everyone remembered that they would be attacked if they moved away, so no-one ever did. In practice it ended up meaning that if you were in melee with someone, you were stuck there until one of you died, because no-one wanted to risk a second attack in a single turn. As a melee player myself, I found this particularly unfun.

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3 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Typically melee is balanced by having higher damage output in other games. I get the idea of locking down enemies, and if we simplified to just short range and long range that may result in people feeling at less of a disadvantage if they don't choose to move to optimal range, since at most the penalty will be -1 instead of -2 to maybe -3.

I'm open to having opportunity attacks function closer to other games, i.e. take a melee attack if you attack a non-adjacent enemy with ranged, or if you move away from an adjacent enemy without taking the Dash action. It's just really hard to teach people that.

I'm ok with Group Check, though we'll need to figure out a way to balance, so that high number enemies or low number enemies don't skew one way or another. Perhaps an average, or the majority have to be equal/above the highest enemy velocity check? Example:

Hero A Velocity Check - (4,5,3) 2 Successes
Hero B Velocity Check - (1,6) 1 Success
Hero C Velocity Check - (5,5,6) 3 Successes
Hero D Velocity Check - (4,4) 2 Successes

Enemy A Velocity Check - (1,6,2) 1 Success
Enemy B Velocity Check - (5,4) 2 Successes

Heroes have 3 Velocity checks equal/above 2, thus heroes go first.

Seems a bit convoluted though... Maybe we just go highest in the group vs. the highest in the enemy group, so in this case 3 Successes from Hero C vs. 2 Successes from Enemy B?

1) Opportunity Attack
I really don't think it's that difficult to remember, honestly, especially if we let heroes know they can use it to their advantage as well. The reason I'm really locking into this is that, generally, our battle maps are pretty small, and even if they weren't, a "ranged" fighter still has to be 2-4 tiles away (increased to 5 if we go to the new system). Most enemies with a velocity of 2 could therefore reasonably close with almost all ranges in a turn. Since traditionally melee is a bit beefier, and ranged less beefy, this helps the melee feel like they're really protecting the ranged, who again, will almost always be close enough for enemies to rush because of the requirements of their placement for range.

2) Initiative
The positive with the latter method is it lets people with high velocity really feel like a star, which I love! The downsides are that it's indeed a little convoluted, devalues if you've got an "in general" high velocity party, and means one "striker" enemy could potentially really tip the rolls in favor of the foe, which, the latter might just be something MMs have to consider. I'm more in favor of group checks, honestly, if anything. It may sometimes tip things in the enemies favor. So, okay! Against one real slow but heavy hitting enemy, the heroes would benefit!

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6 hours ago, Duvors said:

I my experience, everyone remembered that they would be attacked if they moved away, so no-one ever did. In practice it ended up meaning that if you were in melee with someone, you were stuck there until one of you died, because no-one wanted to risk a second attack in a single turn. As a melee player myself, I found this particularly unfun.

Granted if you got stuck in melee you always had the option to change weapons, fire with a penalty, or use the dash action to disengage. With a more concise range system, the penalties may not be as drastic, plus as Zepher mentioned, for long range weapon users, the ability to target something at 5 squares means very few enemies can close the distance and attack in the same turn.

4 hours ago, Zepher said:

1) Opportunity Attack
I really don't think it's that difficult to remember, honestly, especially if we let heroes know they can use it to their advantage as well. The reason I'm really locking into this is that, generally, our battle maps are pretty small, and even if they weren't, a "ranged" fighter still has to be 2-4 tiles away (increased to 5 if we go to the new system). Most enemies with a velocity of 2 could therefore reasonably close with almost all ranges in a turn. Since traditionally melee is a bit beefier, and ranged less beefy, this helps the melee feel like they're really protecting the ranged, who again, will almost always be close enough for enemies to rush because of the requirements of their placement for range.

Part of this makes me wonder if we should extend range to cover even more squares, i.e. short = 2-4, long = 5-7. That way ranged fighters have more space to work with and won't be as accessible from a low velocity enemy. Considering skill adds to velocity, it won't be long before we have enemies with a skill of 4 or 6 and have natural velocities of 3 or 4.

4 hours ago, Zepher said:

2) Initiative
The positive with the latter method is it lets people with high velocity really feel like a star, which I love! The downsides are that it's indeed a little convoluted, devalues if you've got an "in general" high velocity party, and means one "striker" enemy could potentially really tip the rolls in favor of the foe, which, the latter might just be something MMs have to consider. I'm more in favor of group checks, honestly, if anything. It may sometimes tip things in the enemies favor. So, okay! Against one real slow but heavy hitting enemy, the heroes would benefit!

My worry with group checks is they're technically more effective with larger groups and worse with smaller groups. Thus the more important factor seems to be how many party members you have, not how fast are you.:shrug_oh_well: 6 of one, half dozen of the other it seems. Whatever way we do it, I'm sure MM can figure out ways to simulate whatever scenario they need.

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16 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Granted if you got stuck in melee you always had the option to change weapons, fire with a penalty, or use the dash action to disengage. With a more concise range system, the penalties may not be as drastic, plus as Zepher mentioned, for long range weapon users, the ability to target something at 5 squares means very few enemies can close the distance and attack in the same turn.

The thing is that neither of the first two are relevant for melee or optimal for ranged. Ranged has it especially bad, because taking an action to switch weapons will allow the enemy to attack without reprisal, and firing with a penalty is genuinely awful, and it only gets worse the closer your opponent is. In this scenario, dashing is the only real option for ranged fighters. Melee has it worse, because any action other than attacking is giving the enemy another round in which they can take actions. Even dashing isn't a good use of your action unless you're legitimately on the verge of death. The simple fact is that the playstyle encouraged by the original opportunistic attacks was boring and irritating to play.

16 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Part of this makes me wonder if we should extend range to cover even more squares, i.e. short = 2-4, long = 5-7. That way ranged fighters have more space to work with and won't be as accessible from a low velocity enemy. Considering skill adds to velocity, it won't be long before we have enemies with a skill of 4 or 6 and have natural velocities of 3 or 4.

If you keep range penalties (which you have to, because otherwise melee is irrelevant) then this seriously hampers long range fighters. short range, on the other hand, would be objectively better than everything else simply due to being able to target anything in a reasonable area of engagement with only minor penalties at most.

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1 hour ago, Duvors said:

The thing is that neither of the first two are relevant for melee or optimal for ranged. Ranged has it especially bad, because taking an action to switch weapons will allow the enemy to attack without reprisal, and firing with a penalty is genuinely awful, and it only gets worse the closer your opponent is. In this scenario, dashing is the only real option for ranged fighters. Melee has it worse, because any action other than attacking is giving the enemy another round in which they can take actions. Even dashing isn't a good use of your action unless you're legitimately on the verge of death. The simple fact is that the playstyle encouraged by the original opportunistic attacks was boring and irritating to play.

I think I understand your point now. Currently melee can be very fluid in who/where they attack, introducing attacks of opportunity simply for moving out of an enemy's threat range makes them want to stick with the same enemy until it's gone. On the one hand that means that melee can now lock down ranged fighters, on the other it makes for a game where you fight till either you or the enemy is dead. It's not necessarily better, it's just a different system. I'm used to RPG's where if you're playing a melee class you're expected to attack your opponent until they drop. If you want to play a mobile melee class, you take something like monk where that is a specific feature. Right now everyone can be very mobile without penalties, and I think it works only because most maps tend to be very small, so the ranged characters often end up being within striking range of the melee characters. I think if we had larger maps, we'd definitely see more kiting strategies from ranged characters and melee characters be more frustrated. Conversely, I think if we had bigger maps, you'd end up with melee character more excited about locking down ranged characters with attacks of opportunity threats.

1 hour ago, Duvors said:

If you keep range penalties (which you have to, because otherwise melee is irrelevant) then this seriously hampers long range fighters. short range, on the other hand, would be objectively better than everything else simply due to being able to target anything in a reasonable area of engagement with only minor penalties at most.

This all comes down to map size I think. Big maps favor long range fighters, then short range, then melee. Small map sizes favor melee, then short range, then long range. Short range gets to be average at both, and never excel at one or the other.

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I'm with Duvors on this - I think 2-3 and 4-5 are appropriate ranges, especially given the size of the boards. 2-3 still puts you in danger, but you've got to move less to get into a good position. 4-5 is much safer, but yeah, takes a little more movement.

As for Duvors other point, that's fair to me. I'm not advocating WHAT boost melee gets, just saying they'd need some boost. I like the locking people down thing because it, again, means they can keep people in place, but Duvors is right in that it also keeps you in place. If we do implement the attack of opportunity I think it'd be wise to say if you take a dash you don't get opportunity attacks - that benefits everyone, including ranged fighters and enemies. It'd also mean that melee enemies and heroes can get out of a sticky situation if they want, while burning an action. That's only, however, if we do the opportunity attacks as suggested by me. But maybe making melee fighters heavier hitters is a better solution? Or granting them some extra defense?

Duvors, you're raising good points all around. I'm just trying to simplify for ranged, since I think that's a good point as well, and trying to think of synergy. Ranged and melee should be doing different things, and ideally should be supporting each other in doing those things. That's why I like the melee locking people down - it grants ranged fighters safety, and is likely to keep enemies within the area we want them. But you're right in saying that it means the melee fighter gets locked in, so we need some sort of solution for that if we don't want that to be the case. I can see a particular issue with the fact that each side acts all at once too: a melee fighter may be pitted against someone who is at 1 HP. The ranged fighter goes first. The melee fighter wants to move. If the ranged fighter takes out this enemy, then the melee can move without a swipe, but if the ranged doesn't, they are still forced to move (due to actions all being submitted and run at once) but now all of a sudden they DO get hit by an attack.

Like I said, I'm very flexible on the fix. But I feel like this is a good fix for ranged, so now we just have to think of a fair change to melee. I'd love to hear from a melee fighter what they think a good boost would be. @Dutch Thriceman or @Kintobor or @Yzalirk, any thoughts?

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Totally unrelated, but I'm planning out character progression: can someone remind me when we get bonuses from smarts/skill/strength? It's on the even numbers, right? Can we add that to the FAQ?

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@Zepher Honestly, I am not too sure.  Lately I have been thinking about Strength boosting Melee in some capacity.  Maybe something like for every 3 Strength you gain +1 Melee?  I just try to keep in mind that there has to be some incentive to play a Melee build when you have three ranged alternatives to choose from.  Currently with Ronin, I try to maintain a rather high Velocity so he can attack first to prevent a target from just running away from me.  I had it happen on the previous mission with one of the Ice Mongers and when it happens for two turns it gets annoying.  But that is just the mechanics of the game and not all the NPCS should be treated as unintelligent.

Basically the two options that I think would help is to either somehow encourage initiative to prevent chasing an enemy for a few turns or to increase damage with Strength so that when you do hit an enemy it feels rewarding and not like you are hitting them with a wet pool noodle. :laugh:

Edit: And to answer your other question - yes.  For every 2 Skill / Smarts / Strength the bonuses get applied.  All even numbers. :thumbup:

Edited by Yzalirk

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46 minutes ago, Zepher said:

Melee seems to have been contentious since day one of this game. Not because it doesn't fit the setting, but rather balancing around range in a game based on a grid system. I remember individuals bringing up the issue "why play ranged when you can safely shoot at range?", and the solution initially was that melee attackers could swipe at enemies as they moved out of their area of attack. It made getting into melee quickly important as it could lock down ranged combatants and force them to either commit to the fight and switch weapons, or dash out of melee range. I feel this strategy is still the same, and I tend to prioritize Zaria having a high velocity, similarly to Ronin. Of course, Zaria also focuses on a bit of spell casting, with Warding Bond to block powerful melee attackers and Sonic Sweep to deal with enemy support casters who Zaria likes to bully with her build. Being able to zip around the board is important to close the gap and be effective. Perhaps in order to get out of melee combat, the defender needs to dash? Or, if you're not wielding a melee weapon, and you're in melee combat, you need to dash in order to disengage. There is no opportunity attack, it merely reflects the defender needing to make an effort to remove themselves from the attacker's threat range?

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46 minutes ago, Yzalirk said:

@Zepher Honestly, I am not too sure.  Lately I have been thinking about Strength boosting Melee in some capacity.  Maybe something like for every 3 Strength you gain +1 Melee?  I just try to keep in mind that there has to be some incentive to play a Melee build when you have three ranged alternatives to choose from.  Currently with Ronin, I try to maintain a rather high Velocity so he can attack first to prevent a target from just running away from me.  I had it happen on the previous mission with one of the Ice Mongers and when it happens for two turns it gets annoying.  But that is just the mechanics of the game and not all the NPCS should be treated as unintelligent.

Basically the two options that I think would help is to either somehow encourage initiative to prevent chasing an enemy for a few turns or to increase damage with Strength so that when you do hit an enemy it feels rewarding and not like you are hitting them with a wet pool noodle. :laugh:

Edit: And to answer your other question - yes.  For every 2 Skill / Smarts / Strength the bonuses get applied.  All even numbers. :thumbup:

 

36 minutes ago, Kintobor said:

Melee seems to have been contentious since day one of this game. Not because it doesn't fit the setting, but rather balancing around range in a game based on a grid system. I remember individuals bringing up the issue "why play ranged when you can safely shoot at range?", and the solution initially was that melee attackers could swipe at enemies as they moved out of their area of attack. It made getting into melee quickly important as it could lock down ranged combatants and force them to either commit to the fight and switch weapons, or dash out of melee range. I feel this strategy is still the same, and I tend to prioritize Zaria having a high velocity, similarly to Ronin. Of course, Zaria also focuses on a bit of spell casting, with Warding Bond to block powerful melee attackers and Sonic Sweep to deal with enemy support casters who Zaria likes to bully with her build. Being able to zip around the board is important to close the gap and be effective. Perhaps in order to get out of melee combat, the defender needs to dash? Or, if you're not wielding a melee weapon, and you're in melee combat, you need to dash in order to disengage. There is no opportunity attack, it merely reflects the defender needing to make an effort to remove themselves from the attacker's threat range?

Thank you both for your input! So, if I'm reading this correctly (and please correct me if I'm not) you both ARE interested in the melee ability to lock an opponent into a spot, so they can't run away from you. Kinto, you ended up supporting what I wrote about, that dash can work to effectively disengage and dash all at once, meaning that the following turn (unless the attacker also burns a dash) the person will be safe, but they still have to burn a turn doing it. I think this is probably the most effective solution, since it only takes one turn. If you want to really harry and shut someone down, you can (you referring to both enemies and heroes) but if, as Duvors is pointing out, you want to move who you're targeting, that's still an option, it just takes a few rounds. An analogy would be spellcasters: they're good at what they do, but every few rounds (with revised rules) they're going to have to burn a round to re-up their spellcasting ability with a brew. I think it's okay to have some re-up rounds, as long as it's not more than one every few rounds. My ideal solution is opportunity attacks if someone moves away, but not if they take a ranged attack or cast a spell next to a melee fighter. The reason for this is it'd be a double punishment if we kept both: you're unsafe moving away, and unsafe staying. This way you're still able to do what you want to do, but you're likely to get whacked if you stay and take your normal action.

Additionally, @Yzalirk, I think you'll see improvements as you bump your primary proficiency with melee, but would being able to lock someone down into a spot while others take a pot-shot at them (or they burn a full round to get away from you) mitigate your concern with melee? Or do you just want to hit harder? Seriously, appreciate the melee characters weighing in, that is THE huge benefit of a small community developing a game together.

Finally, I have no horse in this race. I'm realizing now that I do have a melee weapon equipped, technically, and it'd be nice to be able to take swings, not matter how ineffectual, should someone leave me. But this truly started with @karmajay submitting, what I thought, a legitimate complaint with the current ranged system. I'm really trying to fix that, but also feel if we fix that, melee has to get a boost. Since no one has argued against the need to fix ranged, and no one has argued against the fact that melee needs a boost if we do, I'm just looking for the best solution to what we all agree could use an upgrade.

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2 hours ago, Yzalirk said:

@Zepher Honestly, I am not too sure.  Lately I have been thinking about Strength boosting Melee in some capacity.  Maybe something like for every 3 Strength you gain +1 Melee?  I just try to keep in mind that there has to be some incentive to play a Melee build when you have three ranged alternatives to choose from.  Currently with Ronin, I try to maintain a rather high Velocity so he can attack first to prevent a target from just running away from me.  I had it happen on the previous mission with one of the Ice Mongers and when it happens for two turns it gets annoying.  But that is just the mechanics of the game and not all the NPCS should be treated as unintelligent.

This would actually hamper non-kinetic melee, since you would them have to raise two attributes to optimize your attack instead of one. Kinetic melee, on the other hand, would be boosted by getting a damage bonus tied to it's attribute without additional investment (and they already have armor requirements tied to it).

1 hour ago, Zepher said:

My ideal solution is opportunity attacks if someone moves away, but not if they take a ranged attack or cast a spell next to a melee fighter. 

First thing, spells have never triggered opportunity attacks, even damage dealing ones. Secondly, as I have said many times, the way opportunity attacks triggered when you move away without dashing was the thing I found least enjoyable about them. I personally feel that having attacks trigger as they currently do (attacking a non-adjacent enemy) is the main source of their ability to hamper ranged combatants. Even if a ranged fighter can move away freely from you, you can still abuse it to force them into non-optimal positions.

1 hour ago, Zepher said:

 Since no one has argued against the need to fix ranged

Personally, I'm not in favor of the idea. My reasons are honestly rather petty, but quite frankly I don't think It's necessary and will create more work than is immediately obvious. To start with, at least one of the major complaints seems to be that ranged players need to prioritize Velocity in order to be effective. I utterly fail to see how any of the proposed changes would effect this. Velocity and Skill are pretty much the most important stats in game - you can afford to mostly ignore anything else, but you need both of them high to be really effective. Secondly, changing weapon ranges will remove an instance of things occurring in fours (told you this was petty) - four weapon ranges, four weapon grades, four armor grades, four spell proficiencies, four weapon proficiencies. Thirdly, classes. Doing this would mean altering the class requirements for every class that can be gained from both long range and artillery. I don't know off the top of my head how many that is, but the warrior - our 'generic fighter' class - requires all four weapon proficiencies as part of it's 'generic' theme. We'd have to find a suitably generic replacement (don't say perception, every class and their mother seems to require perception already).

Honestly, at this point I just want to get rid of the class system entirely. Bring it back in a reworked form once we actually have a ruleset everyone's happy with. I'm sick of worrying about needing to revise the damn things when the rules change again.

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5 hours ago, Zepher said:

Like I said, I'm very flexible on the fix. But I feel like this is a good fix for ranged, so now we just have to think of a fair change to melee. I'd love to hear from a melee fighter what they think a good boost would be. @Dutch Thriceman or @Kintobor or @Yzalirk, any thoughts?

As a newbie to both Heroica and (digital forum based) pen and paper rpg's I am honestly not so sure, obviously as mentioned there is the benefit to not being as likely to get hit when playing ranged and melee fighters having a tendency to tank damage moreso. (Although this does also depend on enemy type/design/behaviour by the mission master.) Unless you're playing a stealth character and you 'Try Something' backstabbing with stealth perhaps...

on a side note I'll admit I still don't fully comprehend Oppertunistic Attack, I tried to use it in my first mission and understood it wrong, but as I am reading it now it should be a call made by the mission master not the player. As the mission master will know when it plays out, the player doesn't have that knowledge. Even then I think most times the melee player will already be attacking anyway, does that mean the player gets two attacks in the specific scenario where they are adjacent to an enemy which just so happens to be attacking an ally at range. edit* because normally if I am next to an enemy, attacking as a melee fighter, I am the one who gets attacked back.

Edited by Dutch Thriceman

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2 hours ago, Duvors said:

Personally, I'm not in favor of the idea. My reasons are honestly rather petty, but quite frankly I don't think It's necessary and will create more work than is immediately obvious.

I'm kind of with Duvors here. While Melee needs something to work with, I'm still not quite getting the desire to collapse weapons categories. I honestly think the specificity of range works really well; Short Range feels fundamentally different from Long Range, and Long Range from Artillery. Furthermore, I think Artillery is a pretty good cap in effective range for the moment. Being four squares away puts you pretty outside of the thick of most fights, and changing a "Long Range" class to 4-5 squares would make Long Range just about unusable a good portion of the time. And that's without pointing out that collapsing these categories in the way we're suggesting is just going to lead to Velocity being further prioritized as a stat. If you're working in a 2-3 square range, there's never going to be much point in staying in 2-square rage when you can camp out in 3-square range. Melee fighters will have to up their Velocity to compete, and a Long Range fighter will need to put all their points in Velocity just to be able to keep relevant. These problems already exist to some extent, but they'd be exasperated in this suggested system. 

Mostly, though, Range just doesn't seem broken to me; certainly not broken enough to try to reinvent the range system from the ground up. I'm all for ways to improve Melee, but collapsing the other range categories just seems like it would make those categories feel less unique. 

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