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Dodge as an Advanced Skill
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:06 pm    Post subject: Dodge as an Advanced Skill Reply with quote

As discussed in this topic, we don't actually see a lot of Dodging (at least, as it is described in the RAW) on screen. Outside of a few exceptions, most characters in a blaster fight usually end up diving for some sort of cover. However, as Naaman described in the other thread, there are things that can be done to make one's self a more difficult target while moving. Said thing, however, don't come naturally, and require a degree of training.

So I got to thinking that maybe the best way to represent how Dodging works (apart from getting rid of it entirely) would be to make it an Advanced Skill, so that it still gets a similar effect, but scaled back into such a way that not everyone can do it, and to more closely duplicate what we see in the films (as in, characters trying to find the closest bit of usable cover to hide behind, as opposed to cavorting about like a madman out in the open).

I have errands to run, but I figured I'd go ahead and get the ball rolling. Discuss.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Dodge as an Advanced Skill Reply with quote

I don't feel that the films really contradict 2e dodges in the game enough to warrant making it an advanced skill. Normal dodges replace the range difficulties, which mean that poor dodge rolls can make it easier to get hit. Therefore, most characters should not depend on dodge alone to evade blaster fire. Players and I run characters as trying to get to cover/protection, when it is available. See my cover and protection rules, which are only slightly more developed than RAW.

But sure, there is definitely more dodging in my game than you see in the films — My general MO is to not contradict the films, but I'm ok with the game allowing more situations than the films show. That's really the whole premise behind the game — It is not just a simulation to recreate the films only.

As a trained and experienced combatant, Naaman understandably has a more military point of view of the game. I tend to have a more "cinematic" view (which I acknowledge can be less realistic). I view the dodge skill (or agility as I call it) as a combination of natural instinct, training/experience, and luck. (That luck aspect seems to also be a factor in WEG statting the very ungraceful Threepio to have 4D in dodge).

The premise of dodge being an advanced skill (which would make it rare for characters of the galaxy to have) seems to be that dodging is mostly military training. Naaman referred to putting this sort of thing under tactics, and I can see using the tactics skill to provide a bonus to dodge rolls in some situations. So I don't see needing to change how dodge works to include this idea.

So I wouldn't remove non-advanced dodge, and I also wouldn't add a second dodge skill (advanced) because that would just really make a character too OP for dodging. IMHO, it is best to leave it like it is and maybe add that tactics can boost dodge in some cases.

Also, the premise of the agility skill (dodge+running) is evening the game system out by making the skill to dodge being the same skill to move, like it is with all vehicles and other forms of movement. With the idea to make ambulatory dodging advanced, what about all the other evasions, such as when swimming and operating rocket packs, speeders, and spaceships? Would the proposed advanced skill be needed for those situations too? Or do you envision a separate advanced dodge skill for each one?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps the easiest way to resolve that issue is to remove the capacity to do a full dodge... Just have reactionary dodges only...
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 am    Post subject: Re: Dodge as an Advanced Skill Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I don't feel that the films really contradict 2e dodges in the game enough to warrant making it an advanced skill.

I'm on the fence, but I also think that what we see in the films contradicts the WEG version of Dodge sufficiently that a re-work is needed. Whether it's an Advanced Skill or replacing Dodge with a Static Defense Value derived from Agility has yet to be decided. What I'm certain of is that Dodging needs to be inextricably linked to Movement, and should be inferior to taking Cover, because that's what we see happen in the vast majority of film scenes (as in, the ones that don't involve lightsabers or having to make suicidal dashes across open ground.

Quote:
Normal dodges replace the range difficulties, which mean that poor dodge rolls can make it easier to get hit.

The problem here is that a target Dodging at Short Range should not have the same probability of being hit as a target Dodging at Long Range; the two really should be compounded, with any Dodge value stacking with the Base Difficulty. Just because there's the chance of a poor Dodge roll causing the character to get hit does not mean that the shooter doesn't have to work harder to get his shots close enough to hit as range increases.

Quote:
As a trained and experienced combatant, Naaman understandably has a more military point of view of the game. I tend to have a more "cinematic" view (which I acknowledge can be less realistic). I view the dodge skill (or agility as I call it) as a combination of natural instinct, training/experience, and luck. (That luck aspect seems to also be a factor in WEG statting the very ungraceful Threepio to have 4D in dodge).

I believe you're also the one who has said repeatedly that no WEG stats are canon. Wink

I tend to err on the side of the cinematic view, as well, but after consideration of what we see in the films, I've come around to his general perspective. It may be "luck" or plot armor or whatever one wishes to call it, but at the same time, it doesn't seem to be nearly as universally applicable as is indicated by having it be a skill. If anything, Luck would be more like a Special Ability or Story Factor, but I digress.

Quote:
The premise of dodge being an advanced skill (which would make it rare for characters of the galaxy to have) seems to be that dodging is mostly military training. Naaman referred to putting this sort of thing under tactics, and I can see using the tactics skill to provide a bonus to dodge rolls in some situations. So I don't see needing to change how dodge works to include this idea.

As you have mentioned recently, however, there is also a degree of conceptual overlap between stats; this is merely a suggestion of how to do that. What you and he are suggesting could just as easily be represented by using the Tactics skill roll to generate a bonus (or penalty, as the case may be) which is applied to the Difficulty of shooters to hit targets moving in the open.

Quote:
Also, the premise of the agility skill (dodge+running) is evening the game system out by making the skill to dodge being the same skill to move, like it is with all vehicles and other forms of movement. With the idea to make ambulatory dodging advanced, what about all the other evasions, such as when swimming and operating rocket packs, speeders, and spaceships? Would the proposed advanced skill be needed for those situations too? Or do you envision a separate advanced dodge skill for each one?

Well, I don't have anything concrete yet; mostly I'm just thinking things up on the fly and posting them to try and wrap my head around the concept I'm trying to nail down, and how to make the RAW work with it. The difference between muscle-powered and ship/speeder movement is we can at least see ships / speeders on screen make evasive maneuvers to avoid being hit.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Perhaps the easiest way to resolve that issue is to remove the capacity to do a full dodge... Just have reactionary dodges only...

That only solves part of my problem, though; a Dodging target at Long Range should be harder to hit than a Dodging target at Short Range. Simply having the Dodge roll replace the Range Difficulty eliminates that.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There not being a lot of dodging on film seems more of an argument for having a static defense number like we see in MiniSix.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheshire wrote:
There not being a lot of dodging on film seems more of an argument for having a static defense number like we see in MiniSix.

This was more of an alternative method of representing what Naaman was talking about in the other post, that "making yourself harder to hit" was more of a Tactics problem than it was physically dodging blaster bolts. Using subtleties of terrain and the like to take advantage of natural cover and so on and so forth.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So how's about what folks roll On tactics, gives them a static defense score..
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
So how's about what folks roll On tactics, gives them a static defense score..


Hmm... interesting...
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:54 am    Post subject: Re: Dodge as an Advanced Skill Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Quote:
Normal dodges replace the range difficulties, which mean that poor dodge rolls can make it easier to get hit.

The problem here is that a target Dodging at Short Range should not have the same probability of being hit as a target Dodging at Long Range; the two really should be compounded, with any Dodge value stacking with the Base Difficulty. Just because there's the chance of a poor Dodge roll causing the character to get hit does not mean that the shooter doesn't have to work harder to get his shots close enough to hit as range increases.

I follow. In 1e Core regular dodges work like that and there were no full dodges. One of the first changes made to the system in '88 was to add full dodges, and change the regular dodges to replace the difficulty with the dodge roll. This change survived through the third version of the 1e rules and both versions of 2e.

If a 2e GM is going take their game back to regular dodges adding to the range, then that will shift back to combat to being more difficult, which means more misses, and thus longer combat and less deadliness. Plus, you'd have to give some additional benefit to full dodges if regular dodges work like full dodges, unless you went totally retro and got rid of full dodges completely.

Regular RAW dodges replacing the difficulty number being less effective at longer ranges is actually a way to emulate the films in which people do not dodge at lot. Most characters would be better off not dodging at longer ranges.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Quote:
...I view the dodge skill (or agility as I call it) as a combination of natural instinct, training/experience, and luck. (That luck aspect seems to also be a factor in WEG statting the very ungraceful Threepio to have 4D in dodge).

I believe you're also the one who has said repeatedly that no WEG stats are canon. Wink

Indeed. Here I only said the author felt that way about the dodge skill. I wasn't defending any particular published stats. Threepio's 1e stats predate CPs. From the Tantive IV scene in ANH where the droids walk through a blaster fight, the SW Sb author must have felt that Threepio's dodge skill represents his ability to make blaster bolts fly around him as if he wasn't doing anything to avoid being hit by them at all. I'm not opposed to things like that in my game if it is entertaining and doesn't strain my sense verisimilitude too much (which means it wouldn't appear in my game too often). In my game, the skill for dodging can on occasion seem to take on the appearance of some Scarlet Witch probability hex powers.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a game mechanics point of view, it seems like the designers had a system in mind that broke combat styles into two skills: attack and defense.

Each attack skill has a directly opposed defense skill. The "dodge" skill is effectively the "melee parry" of ranged combat.

Eliminating the Dodge skill (or making it advanced) would create incongruity with other forms of combat (may or may not matter to OP).

Knowing that CRMcNeill likes lots of crunch (as do I, usually), I think that its worth mentioning that the weapon (or, more specifically, the targeting system/method) has more to do with hit difficulty at any range than the circumstances themselves.

It's my experience that there is an "optimum" range at which ranged (that is, gun) attacks are hardest to "evade." This works against the shooter, as well: if shooter is at "optimum" range to attack, so is his target (if armed with a similar weapon/system).

Basically, thinking of angles, we know that angles get "larger" the farther they get from the apex (or vertex or whatever the pointy part is called... can't remember).

The optimum range tends to be somewhere "in the middle" for a couple of reasons:

1) shooter reflexes at close range: in order to stay on target at very close range, the shooter must make large bodily movements, which are ultimately slower (will lag behind when trying to stay on target).

2) at long range, more precise movement is required in order to stay on target, and the necessary amount of movement may be so small as to be difficult to "measure" at the necessary speed to keep up. Against a target that is moving in a predictable manner, simply leading the target by a calculated margin will get the job done. But a foot-mobile target is much more agile than, say, a vehicle mounted target, and can change direction suddenly, ruining any buffer that the shooter put into his sight picture.

So the optimum distance is one where the shooter can move fast enough (or make smaller movements) that can also be adequately "measured" in real time such that the target cannot "get off the x" before the shooter can acquire him as a target.

So there is a balance that must be struck between precision and speed (of gross motor skills) which dictates the "optimum" range for any given weapon/sighting system.

A decent way to imagine this is trying to swat a fly. Depending on the location of the target, the length of the arm and the geometry of the arm bend, and the length of the fly swatter, the difficulty will be greater if "too close." If too far, the fly will be able to evade before impact. If the fly is airborne, the ability to imagine an "optimum" distance becomes even more tangible.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
So how's about what folks roll On tactics, gives them a static defense score..

That's a bit much, isn't it? Tactics doesn't really work that way. A more realistic approach would be, once the party has made their mad scramble into whatever cover is available, the party's tactician makes a Tactics roll to get the "lay of the land", so to speak, and formulates a movement plan based on that. How well he rolls generates a modifier to the Difficulty to hit members of said party, but I certainly wouldn't go the 1-for-1 route. 1-for-3 seems more balanced.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:42 am    Post subject: Re: Dodge as an Advanced Skill Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
If a 2e GM is going take their game back to regular dodges adding to the range, then that will shift back to combat to being more difficult, which means more misses, and thus longer combat and less deadliness. Plus, you'd have to give some additional benefit to full dodges if regular dodges work like full dodges, unless you went totally retro and got rid of full dodges completely.

Maybe 1E/2E/OpenD6 Hybrid would work, with normal Dodge being equal to 1/2 Dexterity or 1/2 Agility (using the same method used to generate Strength Damage), and Full Dodge getting the full Dex / Agility with the usual restrictions.

Of course, it would still need to be tied to a Move action somehow. Otherwise, it's just going to reach a point skill-level-wise where a character is statistically better off not going for cover at all, just cavorting around out in the open being a difficult target, and that just isn't what we see on screen apart from Jedi and the like.

Quote:
In my game, the skill for dodging can on occasion seem to take on the appearance of some Scarlet Witch probability hex powers.
I agree that random chance and such should favor the heroes to a degree, but even the heroes of the films spend a lot of time diving for cover and getting pinned down somewhere while trying to come up with an alternative plan. Luck should only reach so far.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Eliminating the Dodge skill (or making it advanced) would create incongruity with other forms of combat (may or may not matter to OP).

It's more that the Dodge skill as it currently exists seems more capable and formidable than what we see on screen, and that, while a defense skill against ranged attacks is appropriate, it very much needs to be nerfed to a level more appropriate to how ineffectual it seems in the films.

Quote:
Knowing that CRMcNeill likes lots of crunch (as do I, usually), I think that its worth mentioning that the weapon (or, more specifically, the targeting system/method) has more to do with hit difficulty at any range than the circumstances themselves.

To clarify, I like crunch in certain situations, but the worst place for it is in combat. Tabletop combat needs to be as fast paced as possible, and getting dragged down into minutiae. But just as important, IMO, is that the action should simulate the "feel" of the films to the greatest degree possible.

Quote:
It's my experience that there is an "optimum" range at which ranged (that is, gun) attacks are hardest to "evade." This works against the shooter, as well: if shooter is at "optimum" range to attack, so is his target (if armed with a similar weapon/system).

This is something I've been pondering as part of my Scale system, in that it should be possible for smaller-Scale units to get "within" Point Blank Range (the ostensible optimum range under the RAW).
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