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Advise sought on (over)use of Wild Attacks
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GruffaloCrumble
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:44 am    Post subject: Advise sought on (over)use of Wild Attacks Reply with quote

Hello! Very Happy

I am currently running a savaged version of the Pathfinder adventure path Rise of the Runelords using the generic Fantasy Companion and am having some trouble with Wild Attacks. Suggestions from other GMs/players eagerly sought!

Essentially, when I read the rules for a Wild Attack, I imagine it as a sort of 'all or nothing!' power attack where the character puts everything he/she's got into landing a devastating blow on a formidable adversary. Like the desperate attack that Isildur makes against Sauron in the prologue of the Fellowship of the Ring movie, that sort of thing, right?

My issue is that my players are completely spamming the move!

ME: "You're fighting a goblin."
PLAYER: "I make two wild attacks!"
PLAYER B: "So do I."
PLAYER C: "Me too!"

ME: "A bandit jumps out of the bushes."
PLAYER: "I make two wild attacks!"
PLAYER B: "So do I."
PLAYER C: "Me too!"

I appreciate that there's nothing in the rules that says they cannot do that, and in some cases (like if a PC is a raging barbarian type guy) it might be totally in character (in which case I would not object), but they're all at it!

I've now told them that they can only make a single Wild Attack per round, if they want to attack more than once then they can make normal attacks or a rapid attack. Cue a load of grumbling and consulting of rules. I don't feel this is unreasonable, as the sort of effort you would need to put into the sort of powerful attack outlined above would require that sort exertion/concentration. Am I being unreasonable? I don't feel I am, but some of my players (the one's unhappy with the ruling) mostly play Pathfinder and D&D and are all about damage per second, rather than using tricks or manipulating the environment to do cool stunts.

Ultimately, I am the DM so my word is law, but I would welcome other opinions if anyone else has experienced the same issues in their own games. Cheers!
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wild attack lowers parry by 2, so the obvious way of discouraging them to use it all the time is to swarm them with enemies.

With a lower parry and ganging up bonuses against them, they will be in for a world of hurt. Once one goes down, it might just encourage them to use Wild Attack a little more sparingly.
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Rerun941
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may want to consider charging a Fatigue each time Wild Attack is used. If the PCs are throwing everything they've got into the attack, then it ought to be exhausting if used too often.

Optionally, you could require a Vigor check before imposing the Fatigue rather than have it always cost 1 Fatigue.
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GruffaloCrumble
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've been applying the-2 penalty on Parry, but it's not much of a deterrent as they have pretty formidable Parry ratings to begin with. I mean, one of them is making two wild attacks per round with an axe in one hand and a shield in the other (shield bash), which knocks the Parry penalty down immediately.

Plus, it's only ever a -2 penalty on Parry, regardless of how many Fighting rolls they make. You'd think the multi-action penalty would discourage that, but as most of them have D10/D12 fighting and ambidextrous and two fisted edges, they're generally landing almost every attack they make.

I have had to resort to swarming them with enemies just to make the fights moderately challenging, but this drags out combat longer than I'd like it too. Sad

The Fatigue idea is good too, but I don't want to discourage them from using Wild Attacks altogether, I just want to encourage them to only use it when its thematically appropriate!
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, well if they're all specc'd for melee, then hit them with powerful ranged attacks, which ignore their parry and, if the attack is AOE, will hit their least armoured area.
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Sean-Khan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few extras give great gang-up bonuses, especially if they concentrate on one or few heroes close to each other. Add a wild card to the soup that attacks from behind ('But added the shield bonus to the parry against that extra on the opposite side, didn't you?') and soon you're getting nice called shots to the head, with some luck with a raise... I believe such will help the players to reconsider using wild attack Smile

Any poisonous and infectious attacks, a few-man reserve ready to exploit a weakness, an enemy having a poisoned dagger just for tight cases will help.
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Enno
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to take the whole package of combat maneuvers into consideration.
No combat consists of simple bashing, but has tactics, tricks and tests of will involved.

If your guys have so good parry and damage scores, they usually concentrated on Agility, Vigor and eventually Strength, so they lack in Smarts and Spirit. So they are easier to be tricked, intimidated or taunted.

Study the Combat Survival Guide for the obvious tactical possibilities - for either side of the conflict.

As mentioned, ranged attacks and Pushes are also a good method, as they don't rely on parry.

Make good use of leadership edges, ganging up and let the opposing extras act smart. If ganging up gives no further advantage (beyond +4), let them shoot their ranged weapons, trick the PCs or test their wills against them.

A good number of opponents per hero is 3-4 extras and 1 wild card at heroic rank and beyond, so there are enough chances to wear these tanks down.

If the opponents can act before them (Quickness, level-headed etc) the better.

Finally, the opponents can wild- and rapid attack too. With about half a dozen opponents fighting this way, that will give any hero some pause.

Combat in SW is a team action, where a good team beats a bad, but strong one anytime.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:59 am    Post subject: Re: Advise sought on (over)use of Wild Attacks Reply with quote

GruffaloCrumble wrote:
Essentially, when I read the rules for a Wild Attack, I imagine it as a sort of 'all or nothing!' power attack where the character puts everything he/she's got into landing a devastating blow on a formidable adversary.

Personally I'd suggest viewing Wild Attack as fighting aggressively, with non-Wild Attack representing a more defensive fighting style.

The problem is that your players are almost always better off using Wild Attack. You can reduce the advantage by throwing multiple opponents at them (as I described here), or even easier still, by having the enemy use Wild Attack as well; if everyone's using it, it'll mostly just speed up the fights.

If you really don't like that, I would suggest changing wild attack so that players can choose between the attack bonus (lunging at an opening) or the damage bonus (hitting as hard as they can), but not both.
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BluSponge
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, looks to me as though you aren't throwing enough opponents at them. I'd add an additional goblin/bandit per player. Maybe give them the quick or level-headed edge to improve their initiative. Or throw a few ranged attackers into the mix. Lots of ways to alleviate the problem.

Curious rules question, though. If a character makes two wild attacks in a round, each attack gets +2 to fighting (potentially alleviating the MAP) and damage, but the parry penalty remains at -2, or would it compound to -4? This is probably already answered in this thread, but in case it hasn't been...

Tom
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GruffaloCrumble
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the threads I've read in the rules section, I got the impression it was only ever -2 on Parry, even if they make two wild attacks in one round.

These are all awesome ideas, thanks! Very Happy
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Ryche
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GruffaloCrumble wrote:
Yeah, I've been applying the-2 penalty on Parry, but it's not much of a deterrent as they have pretty formidable Parry ratings to begin with. I mean, one of them is making two wild attacks per round with an axe in one hand and a shield in the other (shield bash), which knocks the Parry penalty down immediately.

What is there parry like? Assuming the guy has a d8 Fighting, that means his base parry is 6, then with a wild attack he is down to 4 (with a d10 fighting his parry is only going to increase to a 5). Two goblins with a d6 fighting should have no issue hitting that since each will get a +1 for gang up bonus (or have them wild attack as well getting another +2 to hit -- giving you a +3 versus a parry of 4 or 5 which means almost an automatic hit). Then if he is making two attacks around, he is at a +0 with his primary hand (-2 MAP, +2 Wild Attack) and -2 with his off hand (-2 MAP, -2 Off-Hand, +2 Wild Attack) assuming he doesn't have other edges to help compensate.

Not sure if I read the above correctly, but if he is using the shield for an attack, he shouldn't get the shields Parry bonus for defense.

Like others have said two or three goblins swarming the guy wild attacking, means most likely he will get hit. Now getting past his toughness is another thing, but should have good odds at making him wonder if the -2 to his parry is worth it.

Also, part depends on the rank of the characters, if they are Veteran or Heroic and have the appropriate edges, then let them have the fun of wading through little guys. Eventually, one of those extras is going to ace on his attack roll and damage.
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I ran groups of goblins, I figured mob tactics would be one or more does an agility trick to distract, then the others attacked or wild attacked.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BluSponge wrote:
Curious rules question, though. If a character makes two wild attacks in a round, each attack gets +2 to fighting (potentially alleviating the MAP) and damage, but the parry penalty remains at -2, or would it compound to -4? This is probably already answered in this thread, but in case it hasn't been...

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37387&highlight=wild+attack
http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37291&highlight=wild+attack
Thanks Clint!

For those that don't want to follow the links:
Wild Attack is a maneuver that applies to all FIGHTING attacks on the turn, and the penalties last until your next full turn.
Note that the Push variant - Shield Bash - is not a Fighting attack. It's an opposed strength roll, and gets no benefit from Wild Attack. If you're beating people with a shield as a Fighting attack then you're using an Improvised weapon (-1 Fighting and -1 Parry) and probably giving up your shield benefits.


Regarding Parry:
The highest possible pre-Legendary Parry is 14 (2). That's a d12 Fighting, three edges (Acrobat, Block, Improved Block), a rapier, and a large shield. With Wild Attack that drops to 12 (2), or 10 if they lose the shield bonus.
Maximum gang-up bonus is +4, with Wild Attack is +2, for a total +6 attack. A d6 fighting (goblins, random bandits, or wolves) will need a65+ to hit Parry 11 - that's a 1 in 6 chance of hitting, or a 3 in 8 chance if they upgrade to a d8 fighting. Against less insane parry scores (d12 fighting, heavy shield, Parry 10 (2)), they'll hit the wild attacker on a 2+. The lesson being to throw dozens of Extras at your player characters to put the fear of death into them - possibly by eating a few of the PCs. Laughing

Of course, Swarms completely bypass Parry, ignore most armor, and are often immune to slashing or stabbing attacks. And that 2d4 damage loves to ace. There's a reason all my players are terrified of rat swarms. Twisted Evil


Good luck!

P.S. Isildur's mighty blow could have very simply been a use of the No Mercy edge - spending a benny to reroll damage against Sauron's hand. Or even the Mighty Blow edge, which doubles your damage on the round you have a Joker.

Edit: Thanks Zadmar! And yeah, setting can change that, but I'm ignoring setting rules since none were mentioned by the OP.
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Last edited by ValhallaGH on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R˙che wrote:
Not sure if I read the above correctly, but if he is using the shield for an attack, he shouldn't get the shields Parry bonus for defense.

Officially he can, although if he used it as an Improvised Weapon he'd suffer the usual Parry penalty. But it sounds like he was just using the push/bash attack.

ValhallaGH wrote:
Regarding Parry:
The highest possible pre-Legendary Parry is 13 (2). That's a d12 Fighting, three edges (Acrobat, Block, Improved Block) and a large shield.

Don't forget the rapier! Certain settings may include additional +Parry edges, such as Close Fighting (50 Fathoms), Bewildering Warrior (MMA), Favored Foe (Hellfrost), etc - and a spellcaster could use Deflection (not technically a Parry bonus, but it serves the same purpose).
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Cryonic
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And foes with First Strike help... The player charges in, and gets interrupted while under the effects of the Wild Attack.
Use Improved First Strike for opponents that might get hit by several PCs (and maybe Sweep). Lets them attack each player as they step into the fight.
A few extras with bows to back the melee guys will make pincushions of the high parry guys (since Parry has no effect on ranged attacks) Smile
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SavageGamerGirl
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You say they're making two Wild Attacks. Do each of the characters have Ambidextrous and Two-Fisted?

If not, they take a -2 penalty to their first attack (for the multi-action penalty), and a -4 for their second attack (-2 MAP and -2 off-hand). Even with the Wild Attack, their second attack should get a -2 for being off-hand.

And there's always the old saying that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Have your bad guys assume the same tactics. A wild attack against someone who wild-attacked last round is like getting a +4 to hit! (+2 from wild attack and the opponent's parry is down 2).
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ThatGiantMan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try throwing in the occasional combat where wild attacking is actually a sub-optimal strategy.
For example, a fight against some venomous animals. Make them easy to hit and not particularly tough, but give them a really annoying poison, like strength die type reduces by one step for 1d10 hours or something. This puts players in a situation where they don't need to wild attack to take the enemies out and not taking the penalty to parry might allow them to avoid the annoying poison effect.

Obviously, this isn't going to break them of the habit in a single night, but it might give them the idea that they don't always need to wild attack.
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Lord Inar
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were a big burly fighter and I saw a goblin or a simple bandit, I'd wild attack every time too.

Now if I saw some big Pit Fiend or a large pack of coordinated kobolds, I'd think twice about throwing caution to the wind, especially when those kobolds see that I've thrown caution to the wind and start doing called shots with their own wild attacks (Wild attack against me when I have a -2 Parry and they choose to do a head shot, means that they just need to make my regular parry to do +4 damage).
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehi Zadmar, may I ask you a favor?
Could you make a simulated fight with your simulator? Giving Warrior A standard Stats (something about d8 everywhere, a modifier of +2 to attack, and a modifier of -2 to parry, while Warrior B should be the same of A, but the modifiers are +2 to damage, and -2 to parry.

I'd like to test a sort of "limited power wild attack", giving a choice to my players: Wild Attack for Power (+2 to Damage, -2 to Parry), or Wild Attack for Hit (+2 to Hit, -2 to Parry). I feel that +2 to Hit is more powerful than +2 to Damage, however I'd like to see 100000 simulated fights...

If you can, please make another wave of fights with heavy armored warriors (3 Armor), or with high parry (+2 maybe for a shield and a rapier)?
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Redtwin
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. Now that I think about it, wild attacking with a sword and shield is far better than a regular attack with a two hander. You get +2 to attack, a net +1 to parry, and higher average damage with higher odds of exploding dice.
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