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Darkness Affecting Parry

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  • Darkness Affecting Parry

    An interesting post was made in the Official Answers forum by Fnorder concerning darkness penalties in close combat.

    The question was basically: If darkness applies to attacks, why doesn't it also apply to Parry?

    It's an astute question that drives at the fact that Parry, although mechanically passive, represents a character's skill and efficiency at deflecting incoming attacks, so wouldn't it also be affected by poor lighting? Logic would say, Yes.

    I understand the reasons why it doesn't, but I need to ask... would darkness affecting the Parry score make for a good Setting Rule?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
    I understand the reasons why it doesn't, but I need to ask... would darkness affecting the Parry score make for a good Setting Rule?
    Mechanically, no.
    A setting rule that reduces both an attack roll and a defence is (almost) the same as neither side being reduced.

    If you are suggesting reducing Parry instead of reducing the attack then this leads to guns being more accurate in darkness, which I don't believe "Logic would say, Yes." to.
    Last edited by Matchstickman; 09-13-2018, 12:53 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
      The question was basically: If darkness applies to attacks, why doesn't it also apply to Parry?...
      I understand the reasons why it doesn't, but I need to ask... would darkness affecting the Parry score make for a good Setting Rule?
      Why? Ease of play.
      Would it? Probably not.

      As a situational rule, it's a good idea. The final battle of Silence of the Lambs, with Buffalo Bill creeping around in the darkness, equipped with NVGs, would be a good time to use this. It's a pretty solid way to show the advantage of being able to see when your foe can't - just put the usual attack penalty on the blind guy's Parry.

      Doing that every fight is a) a pain in the neck, b) makes combat even more offense oriented, c) devalues abilities like Block, and d) assumes that any minor obscureance (shadows, smoke, fog, etc.) makes it difficult to defend yourself - but most combat actions are reflexive, not thoughtful.

      As a setting rule, it says a lot of things about the setting that my combat experience disagrees with.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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      • #4
        If both are at, say, -2 and therefore missing, the logical thing to do is wild attack. If your foe is at -2 and you aren't, you should still wild attack, their -2 and your -2 WA penalty cancel out, and you get +2 to hit and damage

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        • #5
          I'm going to note that even Blind characters don't get a penalty to Parry. Making the penalties for attacker and defender equal means that for close-quarters combat, lighting doesn't matter at all. (When in reality, two guys in a pitch black room should simply be doing swing-and-miss a lot more often, and even their hits will be less accurate--in game terms, less likely to be a Raise.)

          In the Silence of the Lambs scenario ValhallaGH mentions, where one person is fully sighted and the other is effectively blind, I'd be more likely to treat the blinded combatant as an Unarmed Defender--the sighted combatant gets +2 to hit, and there's no Free Strike for withdrawing (this is actually pretty huge in its own right--the guy with nightvision can basically dance around the blind fighter with abandon, moving in, hitting and jumping back; the blind character needs to go On Hold to try to interrupt the sighted fighter after he attacks to get him before he gets away).

          And I would ONLY kick that in on a totally blind vs. sighted situation.

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          • DoctorBoson
            DoctorBoson commented
            Editing a comment
            For what it's worth, effects that cause blindness, like the power, actually reduces your Parry to 2. Since most sleep rulings reference the slumber power, I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that characters who can't see at all (through the Blind Hindrance or some other niche situation) have their Parry reduced likewise.

        • #6
          For clarity, I wasn't personally advocating for this as a Setting Rule, I was just throwing the question out there. I got the responses I was pretty much expecting.

          Matchstickman Since the penalty would theoretically affect Parry, the only time guns would gain any "benefit" is if they were used adjacently. Besides, I was working from the assumption that the darkness penalty would affect both attacks and Parry... so in a normal situation, the modifiers would basically cancel each other out, like you said.

          Where I see this maybe being used is when one party can negate their own darkness penalty and their target cannot. Even then it might be a little bit OP. I think a better option is to introduce an Edge or two...something like SotGH's Gloom Stalker, which provides an attack bonus equal to the darkness penalty affecting the target.

          Total Darkness, on the other hand, is another matter. In such cases it might make sense to reduce a target's Parry to 2, perhaps after they fail a Notice roll.

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          • #7
            I think so. But then, dim and dark lighting rules (gosh, I hope that the new edition really reorganizes this stuff, it's very frustrating the way it is now) don't say they affect sight-based Notice rolls, either, when logically they should. That is, until powers or equipment come into play, of course.

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            • #8
              Hi! Gosh, didn't think I'd stirr up a discussion Especially, since my original question was (probably in a poorly worded way) about something completely different!

              My conundrum was whether ranged attacks in melee still have regular ranged penalties due to visibility, or whether they are treated as any other melee attack.

              As far as darkness and regular melee combat I agree that since both attacker and defender are similarly disadvantaged by the situation the penalties shouldn't apply to either party - unless they are in total darkness (one or both, like in the Silence of the Lams scenario - damn, I love that scene!) in which case I'd probably require all attacks to be Wild Attacks? Hard to say.

              But my original question was very specifically about guns in melee while it's dark. Which tends to happen a lot in Deadlands in my experience.

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              • #9
                Well, like Cover, Illumination isn't usually a problem melee attacks have to worry about, but when they do have to worry about it then it should apply to them.

                Per Ranged Weapons in Close Combat, using a pistol-sized ranged weapon in melee combat is almost the same as using a blade or club - except for using Shooting, possibly being an Unarmed Defender or using an Improvised Weapon to defend yourself, and Wild Attack doesn't help the gunman (because Wild Attack affects Fighting attacks).
                The lesson? Stop bringing guns to knife fights. It doesn't end well for the gunmen.
                I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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                • #10
                  Hm... I seem to recall a maneuver in the oWoD book that was basically jabbing your opponent with your pistol and pulling the trigger, essentially turning it from Firearms (in that system) to Brawl (ditto). Wonder if an Edge that allowed you to use Fighting with a Pistol at an adjacent target would be A: Worth the investment of an Advance and B: Not completely stupid.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Freemage View Post
                    Hm... I seem to recall a maneuver in the oWoD book that was basically jabbing your opponent with your pistol and pulling the trigger, essentially turning it from Firearms (in that system) to Brawl (ditto). Wonder if an Edge that allowed you to use Fighting with a Pistol at an adjacent target would be A: Worth the investment of an Advance and B: Not completely stupid.
                    You already can. The TN becomes the target's parry instead the usual 4.

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Freemage View Post
                      Wonder if an Edge that allowed you to use Fighting with a Pistol at an adjacent target would be A: Worth the investment of an Advance and B: Not completely stupid.
                      Doubly unnecessary. First, because you can already shoot pistols in hand-to-hand range. Second, because the Improvisational Fighter edge already exists, letting you use your pistol as a club at no penalty.

                      Hypothetically? Nope, not worthwhile because the guy with the edge would need to have two combat skills and an edge instead of just taking more Shooting, or edges that make you a better shot (Marksman, Trademark Weapon, etc.).
                      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post

                        Doubly unnecessary. First, because you can already shoot pistols in hand-to-hand range. Second, because the Improvisational Fighter edge already exists, letting you use your pistol as a club at no penalty.

                        Hypothetically? Nope, not worthwhile because the guy with the edge would need to have two combat skills and an edge instead of just taking more Shooting, or edges that make you a better shot (Marksman, Trademark Weapon, etc.).
                        But the hypothetical Edge would let you strike the target (akin to a pistol whip) and fire the weapon at less than point-blank range. I think such an Edge can be made to be worth the investment. Maybe something like...

                        [Sleek Name Here]
                        Requirements: Seasoned, Improvisional Fighter, Fighting d8, Shooting d8
                        Making a successful melee attack with a pistol or similar one-handed firearm adds the weapon's normal (bullet) damage to the damage roll.

                        So you could jab your Colt into someone's ribs and pull the trigger, dealing Str+d4+2d6+1 damage... and that's without even getting a raise.

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                        • DoctorBoson
                          DoctorBoson commented
                          Editing a comment
                          The idea is fun but I’d rather it just inflict the weapon’s damage as a separate attack, as if you had score a hit/raise with your Shooting roll. Adding damage really doesn’t work well in Savage (see: Damage Field).

                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Fnorder View Post
                        Hi! Gosh, didn't think I'd stirr up a discussion Especially, since my original question was (probably in a poorly worded way) about something completely different!
                        Sorry if I misunderstood. Don't beat yourself up... it's likely I just derped.

                        My conundrum was whether ranged attacks in melee still have regular ranged penalties due to visibility, or whether they are treated as any other melee attack.
                        Illumination penalties in SW apply to attacks, regardless of how they're made (ranged or melee). The only way to counter illumination penalties is with light or some ability/spell that specifically says it does (e.g., low-light vision, infravision, darksight power).

                        As far as darkness and regular melee combat I agree that since both attacker and defender are similarly disadvantaged by the situation the penalties shouldn't apply to either party - unless they are in total darkness...
                        Do you mean by RAW?
                        Because removing the penalties doesn't follow that they are both disadvantaged. The disadvantage is that your target is harder to hit; removing the penalty defeats that.

                        Theoretically, to prevent each character from spending numerous rounds "whiffing" at each other, you could speedup combat by removing the penalties, then abstracting the actual time in combat (i.e., only the times they hit mattered)... but I'd only do this in one-on-one battles, and only if neither side had a means of gaining an advantage (NVG, spells, etc).

                        ...in which case I'd probably require all attacks to be Wild Attacks? Hard to say.
                        Not sure what that would solve. If both sides were mandated to make Wild Attacks all they'll be doing is making it easier to hit each other (both gain +2 to attack and -2 Parry, at least after the first action). This again defeats the point of keeping your opponent in the literal dark.

                        When it comes to specifically Shooting rolls, like ValhallaGH said, Wild Attacks won't apply.

                        But my original question was very specifically about guns in melee while it's dark. Which tends to happen a lot in Deadlands in my experience.
                        Quick answer: darkness penalties apply to all attack rolls, whether it's shooting from a distance or at an adjacent opponent. But it's Deadlands... cast a spell, or buy some infernal device that lets you see in the dark.


                        -Cheers

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post

                          But the hypothetical Edge would let you strike the target (akin to a pistol whip) and fire the weapon at less than point-blank range. I think such an Edge can be made to be worth the investment. Maybe something like...

                          [Sleek Name Here]
                          Requirements: Seasoned, Improvisional Fighter, Fighting d8, Shooting d8
                          Making a successful melee attack with a pistol or similar one-handed firearm adds the weapon's normal (bullet) damage to the damage roll.

                          So you could jab your Colt into someone's ribs and pull the trigger, dealing Str+d4+2d6+1 damage... and that's without even getting a raise.
                          There's something similar in Pirates of the Spanish Main, but with less steep requirements. I'd probably have it look something like this:

                          [Insert Flash Name Here]
                          Requirements: Novice, Improvisational Fighter, Fighting d6+, Shooting d6+
                          Characters who get a raise on a Fighting roll with a pistol may attempt a free Shooting roll against the same target.

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