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  • Shields functioning as cover vs Ranged?

    So a house rule I've been using as long as I can remember is using shields as Cover vs ranged attacks (Light shields provide Light cover, Medium provides Medium, Heavy provides Heavy) and using the Obstacle rules, rather than providing a flat armor bonus. To me, that's basically what a shield is supposed to do against Ranged: provide cover. It does weaken shields, since a high enough roll ignores the Armor bonus, and allows for Called Shots to ignore the armor as well. It does allow for more levers that can be tweaked for different shields shields (such as having cheaper and lighter Large leather shields that only provide +1 Armor, or having a slightly costlier and heavier Medium iron or steel shields that provides +3 Armor instead), which I personally like.

    It's something I've been using for forever, even though it doesn't come up much (we haven't had a lot of focus on shields in our games, more modern stuff), so I wanted to know if it seems like it de-values shields too much in your opinions. If I wanted to keep this option, is there anything I should do to increase the benefits of shields, since their effectiveness vs ranged drops a fair amount?
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  • #2
    I do the same sort of thing in Savage Armoury, it definitely doesn't devalue shields.
    My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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    • #3
      Oh, that's fantastic! Clearly must be a good idea, then. Skimming through that, I noticed you placed Hardy on plate armor. That was actually something I've been considering recently too, given the cost/weight of that level of Armor (and double-shaken doesn't make so much sense when your armor is impenetrable to anything short of a high-caliber pistol or rifle)!

      Off-topic, but I've always kind of wondered why PEG prices Hardy as a +3 so often, since it definitely doesn't feel as effective as other +3 abilities (like, say, Extra Action, for example). I know you're a huge proponent of it being a +1 ability, and I could see it as maybe a +2 ability if you stretch it a little bit, but that's always seemed a little over-priced to me (along with SPC2's Uncanny Reflexes, which feel like both levels cost one point more than they should when compared to similar powers, but that's starting to nitpick a bit!).
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      • #4
        Originally posted by DoctorBoson View Post
        I've always kind of wondered why PEG prices Hardy as a +3 so often, since it definitely doesn't feel as effective as other +3 abilities
        For one-on-one fights, Hardy is less effective than an increase to Toughness. However, I imagine the value stems from gang-up situations, where you are much more likely to be hit, but any Shaken result could just be ignored.

        Zadmar Have you tried running such scenarios in your combat simulator?

        If the survivability of a 5-on-1 fight is three times better with Hardy than, say, a Toughness or Parry bump, then the value can be justified. I just don't know those stats.

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        • #5
          It's about as useful as a +1 Toughness against multiple opponents. Hardy is overpriced.

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          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            Even with a +4 Gang-up bonus? That's practically a guaranteed hit by all 5+ foes. And the likelihood of any of them getting a raise is proportionally better, meaning the extra d6 damage nullifies a +1 Toughness on the worst result.

            I might agree Hardy isn't worth +3 build points, but until I'm convinced by some stats I refuse to accept it's worth just +1.

          • dentris
            dentris commented
            Editing a comment
            Hardy is useful in a very specific circumstance: when the damage is just enough to cause a Shaken. A raise on the damage rolls equals a wound, Hardy or not. In your example, the +4 Gang-up bonus means a higher chance of getting that raise on the damage roll as well, ignoring Hardy altogether.

            What the +1 Toughness does, in effect, is pushing the window of ''damage'' higher, decreasing the chance of getting Shaken a second time, but also decreasing the chance of getting two or more wounds from the same attack, something Hardy has no influence on. Let's take a Toughness 7 character and a Toughness 6 character with Hardy.

            Tough 7: anything below 7 is ignored, 7 to 10 is Shaken, 11 and up is Wound(s)
            Tough 6 (Hardy): Anything below 6 is ignored, 6 to 9 is Shaken (and if you are already Shaken, you do not take a wound), 10 and up is Wound (s)

            A roll of 6 on the damage roll, if already Shaken is completly ignored by both. The only difference is if the damage roll is 7, 8 or 9, and you are already Shaken. Every single other results have either the same results, or a worse effect for the Hardy guy.

            It's barely worth the +1 bonus.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
          For one-on-one fights, Hardy is less effective than an increase to Toughness. However, I imagine the value stems from gang-up situations, where you are much more likely to be hit, but any Shaken result could just be ignored.

          Zadmar Have you tried running such scenarios in your combat simulator?
          Yes, in this thread:

          A PC Wild Card with d6 in all attributes, Fighting d8, and armed with a spear - against 4 goblins:

          There were 10000 fights. PC won 4730 of them, while Goblins won 5270.

          Give the PC Hardy:

          There were 10000 fights. PC won 5178 of them, while Goblins won 4822.

          Instead of Hardy, give the PC leather armour (or +1 Toughness):

          There were 10000 fights. PC won 5726 of them, while Goblins won 4274.

          In summary, +1 Toughness is significantly better than Hardy.
          My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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          • dentris
            dentris commented
            Editing a comment
            Hardy in itself is a cool ability and fills a nice niche. The real problem, unfortunatly, is the fact it is overpriced. Just like Combat Reflexes or the SPC's Growth.

          • DoctorBoson
            DoctorBoson commented
            Editing a comment
            Growth is a bit overpriced at the higher levels but it’s fine prior to Size +4 imo; Combat Reflexes, however, is a fairly priced Edge, especially considering that its only requirement is Seasoned. I’d argue Block is significantly more overpriced.

          • dentris
            dentris commented
            Editing a comment
            Combat Reflexes is way worse than a single +1 Toughness, (Although the difference is slightly less if the fighters no longer have Bennies to Unshake automatically. It still favors the Tough Guy no matter what)

            There were 10000 fights. Combat Reflex Guy won 4218 of them, while Tough Guy won 5782.
            The shortest fight lasted 1 round, while the longest lasted 50 rounds.
            The average duration of a fight was 8 rounds.

            It's even worse than Hardy (on a one on one fight)

            There were 10000 fights. Combat Reflex Guy won 4844 of them, while Hardy Guy won 5156.
            The shortest fight lasted 1 round, while the longest lasted 49 rounds.
            The average duration of a fight was 8 rounds.


            And as I'm writing this I realize those numbers are for the old Shaken rules. Here are the results for the new unshake on success, which degrades its value even more. In order to be an effective Edge, it should have a little extra ability to compensate for its low efficiency, like a free Unshake every session or something like that.

            CR vs +1 Toughness

            There were 10000 fights. Combat Reflex GuyUnshakeOnSuccess won 4168 of them, while Tough Guy won 5832.
            The shortest fight lasted 1 round, while the longest lasted 45 rounds.
            The average duration of a fight was 8 rounds.

            CR vs Hardy

            There were 10000 fights. Combat Reflex GuyUnshakeOnSuccess won 4806 of them, while Hardy Guy won 5194.
            The shortest fight lasted 1 round, while the longest lasted 58 rounds.
            The average duration of a fight was 8 rounds.



            I agree for Growth, although it is actually the same as having the same number of Super-Strength and Super Toughness, but with a built-in requires activation for which you receive no points. The Large and Huge penalties, on the other hand, should be worth at least -6 each...




            EDIT: I made a few tests, and giving an extra automatic Unshake to the Combat Reflexes Guy evens out the fight pretty nicely. I just might add this as an houserule myself to make it worthwhile.
            Last edited by dentris; 01-18-2018, 07:44 PM.

        • #7
          Originally posted by DoctorBoson View Post
          So a house rule I've been using as long as I can remember is using shields as Cover vs ranged attacks (Light shields provide Light cover, Medium provides Medium, Heavy provides Heavy) and using the Obstacle rules, rather than providing a flat armor bonus.
          FWIW, I have been doing the same thing for a long time. I also allow shield users to increase the cover to the next higher level if they are crouching behind the shield (not moving or attacking) to hide from ranged attacks.
          Last edited by Johnny Utah; 01-31-2018, 07:11 PM.

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          • Lord Lance
            Lord Lance commented
            Editing a comment
            I do that too. You crouch behind the shield, you gain more cover (also, it's standard SW rule to go Prone and inflict -2 to enemy ranged attack, beyond 3").

        • #8
          Hardy is probably worth more for a high toughness foe. I mean against a human scale enemy, it's not to difficult to get a raise. Against something like a Dragon, heck, even Shaken is pretty hard to get.

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          • ValhallaGH
            ValhallaGH commented
            Editing a comment
            The ease of killing dragons depends upon the build - some of them can guarantee a wound with minimum damage.

            Statistically, the dragon is better off getting another +1 Toughness than getting Hardy. If that 1 isn't available then Hardy is a nice bonus, but that +1 Toughness is better in all circumstances.

          • Zadmar
            Zadmar commented
            Editing a comment
            There were 10000 fights. Hardy Dragon won 4597 of them, while Tough Dragon won 5403.
            The shortest fight lasted 1 round, while the longest lasted 39 rounds.
            The average duration of a fight was 7 rounds.

            "Hardy Dragon" is the SWD dragon. "Tough Dragon" replaces Hardy with +1 Toughness.

          • Zadmar
            Zadmar commented
            Editing a comment
            This is the result of running the SWD dragon through my Build Comparison tool, which pits the character against 29 other NPCs from the SWD bestiary:

            Without Hardy: 92.8% (26940 wins, 2060 losses)
            With Hardy: 93.0% (26984 wins, 2016 losses)
            Without Hardy, +1 Toughness: 94.4% (27376 wins, 1624 losses)
            With Hardy, +1 Toughness: 94.5% (27421 wins, 1579 losses)

        • #9
          About the Hardy thing: I did the same (for armors and edges in my campaigns), calling it in a different way for not creating confusion with the standard Hardy ability. However I slightly reduced its power: I specified that you still suffer a wound if you was Shaken from a non-damaging effect. This is 'cause I like that ability, however I don't want to turn the fights "dry": there's almost no meaning to invest in tricks or test of will, if an Hardy character/monster still doesn't suffer from that Shaken result: you just need higher and higher damage value, and I don't like it. On the contrary, with the Alternative Hardy, the characters are very encouraged to try nice things in combat, because they are rewarded with a Shaken that actually can be used with the following Damaging Shaken to wound the enemy. Do this thing add a little bit of complexity? Yes, 'cause you have to remember that you did a "distracting" Shaken in place of a "damaging" Shaken, however, with the new rules about the super easy recovery from Shaken, you probably will never be forced to remember that for more than an half round.

          About the Shield thing: do what you like more. I actually tagged the shields as weapons, so you can use them as weapons with no downsides. You don't lose their Parry bonus (as you don't lose the Parry bonus of a rapier), they give Cover from distance, but obviously they are bulky and weak as weapons. I also removed the facing thing. It has almost no meaning, in a RpG system that doesn't use facing for any other facet of the game! Also, the text says that the characters are not "frozen" in their square, they are fighting, they are moving each other around, but we still need squares as a compromise to help visualize the battlefield. You can easily parry enemies coming form any side, you suffer no malus to your Parry even if you have 3 wounds, etc. so why to bother with shield orientation to be tracked each turn!? I can assure you that removing the facing don't turn shields in overpowered weapons.
          "Balance is the key, Trapping is the word." - - Lord Lance


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