Match #1 Shardbearer vs. Coinshot and Thug

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Postby Claincy » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:23 pm

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I've been considering my estimates on the arena size and what it would mean since I posted and I realized firstly that I was pretty unspecific in that post and secondly that really the arena should be a bit bigger than that.

What I am thinking now as more accurate would be that Xhadar could get close enough once every 3 beats provided he spent the intervening beats moving 2 steps. He would still need to overcome a difficulty of 2 or 3 to hit with his throw, regardless of any defense Ser made.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but for the sake of the discussion, this is what I would do if I was controlling Ser.
-Take the 2 free attacks while moving backwards.
-When Xhadar gets close enough to attack, flare steel and try to push away the weights he is carrying. Then Xhadar has a problem, if he saves his dice for attacking he has a 99% chance of losing the weights, so he has to defend. If he puts all his dice into defense to give him a roughly even chance of holding onto the weights he won't get the opportunity to attack. His only real option then is to split his dice 50/50 and try to defend against 8 dice with 4 or less, a possible bet, but a low chance of success, then use the remaining 3 or 4 dice to try to beat the difficulty and hit Ser if he still has the weights, still not a great chance but possible.

The other important point is that his plate has already taken 3 damage, if it takes another 2 points of damage it won't be enhancing his strength anymore and not only will he have a grand total of 5 or 6 dice to defend and attack with, without his plate enhancing his strength he would need to get closer to hit with a weight, so the difficulty of hitting would go up and/or he would need to move closer, making it once every 4 beats that he got a chance to attack.

Things would be very different if he had taken a bow and flint arrows instead of a grand bow but it didn't make sense for him to know to do that :P

I think 2 thugs take a full shardbearer would be an interesting match. It would all hinge on the shardbearer taking down one of the thugs before he took 5 or more hits to his plate because at that point while he still has the defense of the plate, the remaining thug will have twice the dice that he does making hitting quite unlikely. The thugs huge dice pools also allow them to score a lot of nudges to beat the plates armour value. In the opening rounds the shardbearer would have little choice but to commit to full attack against one of the shardbearers while the other whaled on him, if he tried to split his dice for defense he would most likely just fail both rolls. *shrug* he could win, but he might not too.

From what we have seen in this fight, yeah, shardbearerse are crazy powerful against close quarters enemies, though still not close to as powerful as they are in the books. They draw a very nice parrallel with Keepers actually. A prepared keeper is nigh on unstoppable in close quarters combat, but recharging the metal minds can take a significant period of time and they aren't terribly useful at ranged combat without a bow and flint arrows. Similarly a shardbearer is enormously powerful at CQC when prepared, but as their armour cracks they become progressively more useless and the cost in regrowing shardplate is massive.

In a similar sense, properly prepared mistborn with atium are almost untouchable, not because they can take or heal damage, but because if the setup is right they can control the battlefield and prevent anyone from having a chance to attack them, there are ways to work around their defense: flint arrows for example, but like keepers and shardbearers they are enormously powerful in the right situations.

With any rules for MAG there has to be a balance point between making the game balanced and making the powers behave as they are supposed to. As it is we have all noticed that an unpowered character is weaker than a powered character and a misting is basically always weaker than a mistborn or keeper. (It does depend on circumstances of course).
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Postby Mac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:43 pm

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One thing to mention... remember that Ser is only carrying, at most, 3 weights with him (and the case could be made that carrying that many is a negative circumstance to his dodging/et ceterra). So that's three chances to actually hit and deal any damage at all with 2 nudges; after three attacks, he'll need 3 nudges to actually do anything.

Did we ever find rules to determine how Xhadar is going to go about chucking weights back at Ser? And the way they handle movement in this game has always given me a headache so I can't even begin to speak to what Xhadar has to do to stay within range.
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Postby Claincy » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:31 pm

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I think Ser wouldn't have too much difficult passing by another weight stand to pick up more, it would slow him down a little though, tis a good point.

There aren't really any easy rules we can refer to for this kind of movement in this kind of space. We can extrapolate and suggest from the existing rules like I am doing, but ultimately movement in the rules is highly abstracted already making it very difficult to choose. I am just suggesting something that *seems* kind of reasonable to me to see what you guys think *shrug*.

Here is an interesting thought, if I was given a situation where I had to build a character for a fight or campaign with a shardblade and one other average power to make "strong" powers overall (following SAW). Unless the fight was going to be against a shardbearer or I was going to face shardbearers on a relatively frequent basis I would not take shardplate.

Instead, I would take aPewter and denser tissues, then equip plate armour, gaining the same 4 damage reduction that plate has. At the start of the fight both will have the same number of AD, +5 from pewter or from plate. Let's compare the advantages of both approaches:

Shardplate advantages:
-shardplate is useful against shardblades (this is its key advantage)
-With shardplate this hypothetical character will take 20 points of damage before dying, the thug will only have 15 health (16 while flaring).
-Shardplate cannot be pushed on (without insane pushing capability anyway)

Thug advantages:
-You can flare pewter for an extra die, you can't flare plate :P
-As the shardplate takes damage the shardbearer loses AD, so by the time the character has taken 5 damage a shardbearer would be down to 6AD + traits while a thug would still be sitting happily on 11AD + traits + flare. Things only get worse for the shardbearer once we head beyond 5 damage, after a certain point he becomes practically impotent while the thug is still extremely capable.
-The thug is still a powerful character outside of their armour, more of their power is in themselves rather than gear.
-Shardplate doesn't rely on pewter vials like a thug, but it relies on gemstones that are a lot more expensive.

-healing vs repairing shardplate. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I think they roughly equal out.

My character in Futile Efforts actually had 5 damage reduction and 10 defense dice against every attack, as well as 13 AD and the option to declare last every round. That was crazy :P
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Postby Mac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:26 pm

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But you're ignoring the fact that by the rules, Plate comes with the Blade. You're right that a Pewterarm is fairly powerful, possibly even a match for someone just in Plate, but by the current rules, the character created to wear plate is also given a Shardblade for free. Tons of extra damage, auto-Burdens, they clearly tip the scales.
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Postby Claincy » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:06 am

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Mac wrote:But you're ignoring the fact that by the rules, Plate comes with the Blade. You're right that a Pewterarm is fairly powerful, possibly even a match for someone just in Plate, but by the current rules, the character created to wear plate is also given a Shardblade for free. Tons of extra damage, auto-Burdens, they clearly tip the scales.

No that's not right. Either plate or blade is an average power choice, both is strong. If it did work that way, yeah, it would be OP as hell :P
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Postby Mac » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:41 am

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Claincy wrote:No that's not right. Either plate or blade is an average power choice, both is strong. If it did work that way, yeah, it would be OP as hell :P


Oh, I was very confused. I misread your comment, I thought you were comparing a Strong Thug to a Strong Shardbearer.

I still say both powers, the blade itself and the Plate, are crazily overpowered, either on their own as Average, or together as Strong. As evidence, Xhadar killed Becker in two blows without really trying. Your only other combatant was literally calling for a retreat by the second round, and now that he's on his own, his only viable plan is to run away from you forever. This combat is a joke, as it's been from the start.

And no one is paying the slightest bit of attention to the fact that Blades and Plates are impossibly rare, and impossibly expensive, in-world. Someone made the point once that it would be ludicrous for Becker to be allowed to be armed with a Koloss blade, because of how rare those are. There are easily thousands of them in existence in the book, and the skill to make them is "get a lump of metal and half-heartedly sharpen one edge." There are MAYBE 200 Shardblades on the entire continent of Roshar, and any one of them is worth enough money to feed a village for a year. Yet now anyone can have one at character creation.
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Postby Mac » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:38 am

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So, going back and responding to your comparison.

Shardplate benefits: You automatically gain a Trait useful in social situations. You briefly mentioned the benefits of Shardplate granting more "life" but completely ignored two huge additional benefits. One is restoration. A Pewterarm who takes 10 points of damage won't be able to stop burning Pewter or he'll die, and his rate of healing is still measured in days. We have no rules yet on how exactly one goes about getting more infused gemstones, but presumably it will be easier than waiting the five days it would take a Thug to heal 10hp, and spending resource after resource getting enough Pewter to live while doing so.

For that matter, on a sidenote, there's nothing in the rules about stormlight simply fading. How quickly does Stormlight fade from the stones used to infuse Shardplate? Sure, we see everyone in the book who uses Shardplate charge into battle at full strength... but keep in mind, everyone who uses Shardplate in the books is someone with a resource score of something like 20 (indicating that Plate and Blade are both expensive as Braize and should take up more prop slots than a vial with some common metallic dust cough cough). The fact that Stormlight fades is it's biggest flaw, and one that would especially affect a Worldhopper, and yet it's entirely ignored, biased as much as it can be in favor of the Shardbearer and assumed to be perfect retention, or possibly a limitless supply of fresh Stormlight.

The other advantage you're ignoring is effective immunity to Burdens. A Shardplate, like it has its own hitpoints, gains its own watered-down version of Burdens, which are mechanically worthless to your attacker. Taking advantage of the burden requires a Called Shot. A called shot requires at minimum 2 Nudges to even work. So, you gain one die for the Burden, but then you have to hope that not only do you hit but that you get at least 2 Nudges, and then waste two of the dice you rolled, for the honor of having gotten one die. Taking advantage of a Shardplate's Burden is a net loss for the attacker, meaning that even a Shardplate's damage is an advantage for a Shardbearer.

Lastly, you dismiss off-hand both the fact that Shardplate is super-effective against Blades, and the fact that Plate Mail is vulnerable to Allomancy. Right now, the game only has one setting, we don't really have the full rules that would be required to play in Roshar, though it's starting to be an option. So, not only are you a character who, himself, has a Shardblade, proving that "having a Shardblade" is obviously a thing that can happen, and therefore shouldn't be dismissed as "well this isn't likely to happen," but the setting is a land where more than 1/8 of the common magic-users see all that armor as nothing more than a toy to play with. And, as we make rules for Surgebinding, we already know Plate will make you immune. Burning Pewter will give you no such advantage. That's literally an entire system of magic that cannot be used to directly harm you if you wear Plate. Granted, this is speculative as there is no Surgebinding yet, but it's something to consider.

The advantages of Shardplate over allomantic Pewter are huge, as written. Shardplate, alone, should be considered a Strong power, at least, and that's if we work out some mechanic for Stormlight attrition.

Edit: I said Blade once when I meant Plate so I corrected it.
Last edited by Mac on Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Herowannabe » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:02 am

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Wow Mac, I didn't realize you were so adamantly opposed to how I made my shards rules. Before I Ent any further please remember that I stated when I very first posted the rules that they were (and still are) very much a rough draft. I know that there are things and will continue to be things that need to be refined in the rules as they stand. The best way to find out what they are is to playtest them, which was the point of this arena-match in the first place. Thank you for bringing up your concerns so that we can now address them.

However, I don't think this is the best place to do it. I suggest that we move the rules discussions here so that we don't clutter up this thread anymore, and let Kadrok and Claincy get back to figuring out how to kill each other.
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Postby Mac » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:28 pm

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I do have a response to the action but I don't want to say in case it's ruled that me offering tactical advice to Ser now that Becker is dead would be cheating... if I don't hear an objection in the next 20 hours I will assume permission is granted.
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Postby Herowannabe » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:09 pm

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Permission is officially granted. ;) I mean, heck, Claincy himself is giving tactical advice to Kadrok. I see no reason why anybody couldn't offer tactical advice to anyone on either side, with the only exception being me as the moderator.
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