Combat: Thoughts and rough guide

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Combat: Thoughts and rough guide

Post by Heron » Wed May 26, 2021 2:07 pm

A few days have gone since my initial newbie outlook, and my understanding of combat has changed significantly, mostly in part due to hitting the threshold where aim can actually hit the chest. This will be written in the form of a guide, where best / extremely best (overpowered) options are looked at and inferior options discussed. My points of concern are multi-throw and the disparity between melee and ranged weaponry. There will most certainly be some cheesy things within, and I write this with the perspective of a rat running through a maze. This outlines what I believe to be the path of least resistance, and if it's deemed there should be a little more resistance along some points, then there we go. The things below are written from an efficacy and not game health standpoint is what I'm saying. As before, nothing is really urgent and it all works well enough.

Let's take another look! We'll exclusively cover warrior-guild combat, since that's all I know.

Tackle is the crown jewel of the warrior abilities, and at a very quick glance, no-one outside the guild gets access to it. Combat readiness is also available across the board, which means a warrior can immediately tackle their opponent. If you immediately apply a tackle following an enemy's attack and it connects, they eat enough stuntime for anyone to get two aimed attacks off on them. Duelists can very reliably get three with quickstrike, but probably won't want to bother (more on this later).

This is also true for duelist/nightblade's sweep, but since the stun is shorter duelists cannot get 3 attacks off. A precisely timed sweep just barely allows for 2 aimed strikes on a prone and staggered target.

If they are unarmored, the odds are often in your favor that they will never get back up. The sheer number of negative rerolls they have to eat means your enemy will have a rock-bottom defense roll unless they luck their way into a crazy high roll 7 times in a row. They do this sometimes, but it doesn't really matter when you can just bowl them over again. It also destroys enemy balance, which has a twofold effect: it makes them easier to hit, and it prevents them from destroying /you./

The most fatal followup at the moment is multi-throw. Throwing daggers can hit up to 65 while broken against infested, 70+ if they aren't. This drops to a measly 40 max (usually 20 or less) per dagger against hill guardians, who have both armor and piercing resistance. Right now at 210 in all my combat skills, I can throw three daggers fairly reliably, with the occasional four. Flubs with ones and twos are still regular occurrences. This is enough to oneshot hill guardians through light / medium armor if I max-roll on enough daggers, though this is fairly rare. That's where the second salvo comes in.

Against weak infested, they'll often die in one salvo without even a knockdown but this is because they're unarmored and have shabby defenses to begin with. Even through heavy armor with like 10-15 damage a dagger, I don't feel it's worth aiming for anything besides the chest.

Let's talk aiming!

Damage to body parts reduces energy by the damage taken, and running out of energy is fatal. Damage to extremities does not seem to do anything. However, fractures to extremities have a variable effect. At a very rough estimate, you rack up maybe -2 rerolls per level of fracture on your legs and feet. Puncture, hack, bludgeon and crush are the only valid types for causing fractures, which often come with knockdowns. Puncture is the best overall damage type, with all armors offering only 30% protection against it on top of fracture-ability, but crush will work just fine.

Shattering someone's legs will destroy their ability to dodge. Shattering someone's arms does not seem to hamper their offense in any way, but I bet it applies a similar malus to block rolls. I just haven't tested against a shield-enemy yet.

Leg fractures are fatal, but for fighters, it's just more efficient to destroy the chest-- you can usually kill them before they get up, so why not? The only time I might break out the leg fractures is against another PC.

Ranged vs. melee:
Currently, ranged weapons are substantially superior to melee weapons. This is something of a concern. Ranged weapons have single damage types, only deal in the best and deadliest types, and have high damage ratios as well. An ash longbow with a quivering bowstring (what I have) can hit for over 100 damage. My sling regularly clocks in around 80. The longbow does have a 6s unaimed roundtime, but it's still very scary.

This is just the icing on the cake, however. The real thing that puts ranged weapons head and shoulders above melee is distance and fending. Ranged weapons count as having maximum distance, and you will never, ever be fended off since you're plinking shots. A ranged vs. melee situation means:
You're rolling against maximum odds of being fended off.
Their attacks ignore your fending completely.
Their maneuvers have lower odds of being negated since they have a max-range weapon (Uncertain).

This is massively disadvantageous to the melee attacker, as you already had substantial odds of being fended off to begin with. My rapier (long) vs. a spear (extreme), and I'll still get fended two, three, four times in a row a couple times every day. Ranged weapons bypass that completely while still doing comparable damage, which means they average out to significantly more damage per action as well as having better defenses.

I'm not sure how to fix this, but I'm pretty sure a new ability that mitigates enemy reach advantages would be welcomed by every fighter.

Single damage-type weapons are also advantageous because they're predictable. The rapier has long range, and relatively excellent armor chink. Unfortunately, it can slash and stab, which means half your attacks have zero chance of armor chink. This is also why daggers lose to the stiletto: you waste a lot of time just scraping the paint off your enemy's armor. Control over your damage type would go a long way towards increasing weapon variety. Pretty much all combat PCs and many NPCs are armored, so it's almost always relevant.

Grinding your combat practices:

First things first: Go to the bakery and buy yourself a big ole' emberberry pie! Now find your favorite scented soap, and buy a lot of it. I like sea kelp from New Emberlight. Washing gives +1 morale. Pie gives +1.05 morale. Take a big bite, and drop that bad boy in your room, or maybe your bank vault. It's a treasure. Just don't step on it by accident. Eat and wash whenever your morale is under 5 (the cap) and the cooldowns have expired. You can check with the 'morale' command: if something along the lines of "Ate good food" or "bathed with soap" isn't in green text there, you're good for a morale boost. You can stay maxed with pie and soap indefinitely. High morale often gives you a reroll to offense and defense, as well as probably noncombat stuff. The difference between having your first reroll and not having your first reroll is night and day. It's the most pronounced, and everything after is statistically diminishing returns. High morale is good, cheap, and low upkeep. No reason not to do it!

**Edit followup: Since block and dodge have no difficulties required to raise, you can practice them by holding a shield and standing around crows.

It's all in the graveyard. Birds and infested laborers give the same practice-per-kill. One can scratch you for like 5 damage tops and the other can smash you for 40 with a stick. Birds are the clear winner. Don't bother aiming at all, since it just doesn't work until much later. No, not even with combat precision!

Still early, but birds don't give EXP, or you joined a guild and have access to combat abilities:
After that, you have your choice between skeletons and the tougher infested. Skeletons are unarmed and unarmored and hit for like 20, tops, with pretty fair riln. The tougher infested... Have reach, maybe armor, definitely hit a lot harder. One rarely hits above 10, will never fend you off, as well as exists right next to the infirmary. The others will wallop you for 40-60, make you wade through doorways or water instead of an easy route, and are found far, far away from the infirmary. Skeletons truly are the best. Bring a mace, preferably iron, or a sling. You might think the warhammer could be better, but it can deal puncture damage, and I'm pretty sure skeletons resist that so it's actually worse. ***Maneuvers count as a melee strike, so you can feint and tackle with a sling, kill the enemy exclusively with the sling, and get practice EXP for both your melee and ranged skills if you want both.***

Once the skeleton EXP drops off around level 8 or 9:
Hill guardians, also in the graveyard! By the time the nethrim get weapons, the infested get takedowns, and you don't want any of that. Dusklamp infested are way harder than hill guardians despite being like a hundred points lower in offense and defense. You still have to be careful, since you're finally in the realm where the bad guys can hit and hit hard. Use a feint, and a circle if you have a lot of time between enemy attacks. Wait until they attack and tackle or sweep the second that they do, then go to town on their bones. These should give .6 a kill all the way through to your late teens, making for very fast practices.

At level 14 or 15:
You should be able to reliably land aimed shots now or very soon, which is a gamechanger. Combat precision is good to have at this point. Type 'aim chest' and now you never have to interact with the aim command again. Instead of beating your enemies to death through randomly distributed energy loss, you can now kill them by reaching 100 damage to the chest. Aim will only become more reliable as you level further. This is when you become able to kill something before it gets back up, and when multithrow begins to shine. It'll require some adjustments in your fighting style to get used to the slower attacks.

Early 20s:
Tomb dogs have low bodypart HP and higher stats than hill guardians, but they don't have money. Hill guardian practices begin to fall off around here, so it's time to think about moving deeper into the crypt. This is annoying because it's dark, so you should offhand a candle or lantern or magic up a glow. I haven't advanced past this point yet, but I expect to fight the tougher nethrim inside and eventually blood cultists for my practice.

Warrior-guilds getting toe-stepped by non-warriors:

I saw a post about this, so I'll write my perspective on it to close this off.
I'm pretty sure that, at level 21, I could beat up most non-warrior PCs who have their combat stats maxed, and this holds true even if they have cool abilities like bard mesmerizations, or sorcery. As a combat guildie, I roll a lot more dice than they do, even if theirs are bigger (for now). We get free counterattacks, free defenses. Tackle and sweep are fight-ending maneuvers, where if you survive the initial knockdown, your options afterwards are pretty much flee or die from the followup that you aren't going to avoid because of the balance loss. I'd say the warrior niche as murder monsters is pretty well-protected. Warlocks are formidable and possibly lethal if the RNG is mad, but I still wouldn't sweat over facing one. Shadow familiar is mechanically kind of like having tumble: an extra roll to prevent damage. One extra die is better than nothing, but it doesn't come close to my four or five.

What I'm saying is: It's probably fine for the scholarly guilds to get some cool gimmicky combat abilities if they want them. The gap between warriors (or at least duelists) and non- is pretty wide.

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Re: Combat: Thoughts and rough guide

Post by Talyn » Tue Jun 15, 2021 7:20 am

I got to thinking about ranged weapons. Range vs Melee is the age old question of balance and how to make it fair. Normally, using D&D as an example distance becomes a factor and disadvantage is used if a range user is in melee combat, however, as distance seems to have been taken out of the factor what if range or range weapons simply were just more inaccurate if fired at random. I'm not talking about aimed shots. Picking up a bow and just firing wildly at a target you're not going to hit the chest in a panic you need to take the time to aim and shoot. Perhaps up the RT for aim shot. I feel that in groups range will be a great assist for the team as those with melee weapons will be doing the bulk of the fighting where a user with a bow or magic could pick off specific targets.

Another thought I had was simply give negative rerolls when firing into combat. Meaning in a group firing at a vagrant that is engaged in combat with an ally. You wouldn't want to hit your ally so you take more precaution when firing, Same if the vagrant is trying to attack you. You would try and retreat back.( I know distance isn't a thing just trying to think of how it would work). This COULD in theory lead to, range engaging combat first with an alpha strike then melee getting into the mess of things. Like old medieval combat, range then follow up with melee.

If this is how it works already then I'm just thinking my thoughts out loud. I want both Range and Melee to be fun. So far I haven't had the appeal to want to do range, this is coming from someone who used Multi-throw and a crossbow. So it could also be perspective of character.
Haven't been the same since I expired, doesn't mean I plan to retire, and now I have the power to bathe all of you in entertaining fire!

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Re: Combat: Thoughts and rough guide

Post by Talyn » Tue Jun 15, 2021 7:35 am

Another thought of ranged combat...was what if terrain effected things? firing a bow in an open field is much different then firing a bow in a forest or jungle, and the wind (Again not sure if it does or doesn't yet) but both play a part in real life for firing off ranged weapons. Range combat is a very useful feature and should be deadly. It's why we don't go around stabbing people with swords in real life because of how effective range is but in a game for the sake of balance just a few thoughts I had.
Haven't been the same since I expired, doesn't mean I plan to retire, and now I have the power to bathe all of you in entertaining fire!

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