Author Topic: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project  (Read 23472 times)

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #180 on: August 15, 2017, 05:36:56 AM »
Well, I headed down to the club on Monday evening to do some more playtesting.

The changes I'm looking at to close combat seemed reasonable - reducing the attack penalties and reinstating a dodge bonus did make going for the counter-attack more of a gamble than it was in the last IRE release.
I'm not convinced I've hit the final version yet - boosting dodge too much may potentially make it too good at countering manoeuvre actions, but we'll see.

When it came to testing the psychic powers though, I have no gorram idea.
I did put two high level psykers in the game to try to maximise the amount of testing, but while you'd think that two witches throwing high Psy Rating powers around throughout the game would result in someone failing at least one Hazard roll, the little sods refused to bow to the law of probability.
Their success rates felt considerably above a statistical average, with the only real exception being that Maya's Psychic Shriek consistently failed to actually affect targets (And not because she was failing to cast it, but because the targets kept fluking their Wp tests, despite being at a considerable penalty because of the Psy Rating used).

One thing I feel safe about drawing conclusions on is that I need to adjust Blinding Flash to reduce its effective area, as Maya did throw a small supernova into the middle of a combat. Although a Psy Rating 4 Blinding Flash should be pretty effective, distant targets were rolling on lower numbers than felt right.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #181 on: August 23, 2017, 04:30:35 AM »
Not a massive update, but I've uploaded the pictures from said playtest game with some brief captions. (The captions don't mention everything - there were quite a few more psychic powers used than explicitly detailed).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoskoll/sets/72157684277372572
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline Thinking Stone

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #182 on: March 05, 2018, 05:37:39 AM »
Well, now that my introduction post is done, time to share some of my observations!

MarcoSkoll, I downloaded your most recent version of the Inquisitor Revised Edition and had a bit of a tinker! Whilst I've not had nearly the level of experience as you or others here have, I did notice a few things as a relative novice.

The first was for the free close combat reactions. I do really like the fluidity and mobility of combat now, and the range system works very well, I think. As a fencer myself, however, I did wonder if the unlimited chains of reaction counterattacks that your rules seem to imply (to me, at least! Maybe I misread them?) should be limited.

I think the first free reaction is appropriately realistic and should be kept, but I kept thinking that even very skilled fighters are going to have to take some time and thought to restart their attack—so perhaps subsequent reactions should require the spending of an action point? So that would mean A attacks, B gets free reaction to parry and succeeds in getting a counterattack. B counterattacks and A gets free reaction to parry and succeeds in getting counter attack. A (counter)counterattacks and B may choose to react but this reaction will not be free.

Unless, I suppose, the reactions continue to be opposed rolls from the opponent's previous WS tests? (Which might naturally limit chains enough, and is justifiable).

My second set of thoughts is based on my novice Inquisitor experience! Of course, one gets to know the rules better as one goes along, but I think most would agree that the organisation and description of the rules has always made them hard to conceptualise for a new player, particularly since reactions depend a lot on what the acting character does (so you have to know what you're allowed to do and how to do it!).

Part of that could be addressed with a layout change/summary. An initial section showing the structure of an Inquisitor turn before you explain Actions could be useful, so that people know exactly what actions are supposed to be from the start. A list of 'official' action types you can use might be helpful, too (e.g. Movement, Shooting, Engagement for actions, Overwatch etc. for reactions).

Since you've already done an excellent job of cleaning up so much of the terminology, I did also think about the implied difference between Movement actions and other Actions. Maybe it would be useful to formally name two categories of actions: Continuous actions (like Movement is currently, though maybe it could be used for automatic fire, and/or any similar continuous activities) and Discrete actions (like most other actions currently are, e.g. shooting, aiming).

Either that, or you could remove the confusion of why Movement is different altogether by just saying that you work out how far you want to move and then treat each Move as an individual ('discrete') action—though this would remove some of that interesting uncertainty.

Of course, all this is just friendly observation and commentary! But this is exactly the sort of project I always thought Inquisitor could benefit from! (Apologies also for the ramble-y-ness).

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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #183 on: March 05, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »
Unless, I suppose, the reactions continue to be opposed rolls from the opponent's previous WS tests? (Which might naturally limit chains enough, and is justifiable).
In all cases, you'll need to win your parry (not necessarily easy, as you now have to beat your opponent's roll) and by enough to earn a counter attack, so counter attacks are by no means automatic.

That said, we did find in the Dark Sphere playtests that counter-attacks were a bit too frequent. We did like some of the circumstances where it happened, where a couple of fights were brutally turned around by a defender counter-attacking right at the start of the combat (because now, their counter attack has a chance to roll well and be really difficult to defend against, unlike in the original rules, where the first attack of the turn is always easy to defend against), but we wanted it to happen a bit less.

This was a bit of an oversight in the statistics I worked on, as I'd not really considered just how much allowing counter attacks against failed attacks (which I felt was fairly vital, otherwise you have the really weird mechanic where experienced fighters leave more holes in their attack!) swung the balance between dodging and parrying back too far towards parrying. (Whereas before dodging was often the safe choice).

The rules as put out haven't yet been amended with any of the revisions I've been working on. Thus far, in the WIP v0.2.4 rules:

- I've reduced the attack penalties on weapons. In the currently released v0.2.0.3, the attack penalties averaged out at about -10, but in v0.2.4, attack penalties have been shifted to an average of about 0. Aside from the fact this should improve compatibility with existing weapon profiles, it shifts the balance back towards the attacker a bit.

- Some form of dodge bonus will be reinstated. Maybe even back to the full +20 from before*, in order that dodging is more reliable than parrying.
* Although I need to test this, as dodging will still ignore reach penalties - that's a deliberate choice. I want each option to be better in different cases in order to avoid the same stagnancy that happened in 1stEd.

Quote
I do really like the fluidity and mobility of combat now, and the range system works very well, I think.
I've said it before, but I was actually shocked by how well it worked when I started doing playtests.

None of the changes to the system felt particularly drastic when I wrote them, but from the very first playtests, it was clear that this was an entirely different beast.

Quote
so perhaps subsequent reactions should require the spending of an action point?
There's two issues here.

Firstly, this would considerably defeat the merits of parrying, as it's supposed to be an additional risk in order to get a free action (I perhaps failed on this as far as the percentages in v0.2.0.3 thought). While I can see there are uses to being able to get an attack in early, it's much less tangible than a free action.
Secondly, outside their own turn, characters don't have action points. Spending actions from a turn they haven't had yet does complicate the rules (and gets really weird if they should be stunned and therefore don't get that turn) and if I expect players to use reserved reaction points, the wording on the Engaged state has to get a lot more complex (and the whole state becomes a lot less useful).

That said, I have had a few possible thoughts about potentially providing bonuses for using actual reserved reactions rather than Engaged reactions - theoretically the free action from counter-attacks can be used for the "Wary" action, allowing a character to save reserved reactions. So a character could then choose to forego an attack in order to increase their chances at defending, so you might see fewer chains of attack/parry/counterattack.

Quote
Part of that could be addressed with a layout change/summary. An initial section showing the structure of an Inquisitor turn before you explain Actions could be useful, so that people know exactly what actions are supposed to be from the start. A list of 'official' action types you can use might be helpful, too (e.g. Movement, Shooting, Engagement for actions, Overwatch etc. for reactions).
A fair suggestion.

Ultimately, I intend to build up proper summary pages and quick reference sheets, and will do an example turn in the vein of the one you see in the original rulebook. However, I'm not pursuing these during the developmental stages, as they'd have to be redone with every rule change and could potentially lead to inconsistencies if I fail to update details.

Quote
Maybe it would be useful to formally name two categories of actions: Continuous actions (like Movement is currently, though maybe it could be used for automatic fire, and/or any similar continuous activities) and Discrete actions (like most other actions currently are, e.g. shooting, aiming).
I was going to say that would confuse things because of the existence of "Continuous" as a term in the rules already, but apparently I've already written that out. (Originally it referred to a kind of reaction state where you could react repeatedly - for example, Engaged was said to put a character in a "continuous" melee reaction.)
The entire system of various action "flags"/"categories" went through quite a lot of revisions. Things like the "defensive" and "passive" flags saved a lot of headaches. Rather than trying to describe what kinds of reactions were simultaneous or what actions couldn't be reacted to, just saying "this, this, this and this" straightened it out fast.

With this case... I'll have to think about it. I'm not sure what other cases it would really apply to very well, so I'm not sure if it really needs to be a universal category in the rules rather than just saying "movement is a special case".

Movement is handled differently in the rules because you need to have the number of actions vague to as a work around to avoid pre-measuring. (With something like full-auto, it's not like you open fire without knowing exactly how many targets you're firing at).
That's why I've had to treat it a bit different for the purposes of when reactions happen, because having to figure out where each exact move starts and ends would slow down the game. (And that's, as far as possible, something I'm trying to avoid).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 04:39:28 PM by MarcoSkoll »
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #184 on: June 02, 2018, 07:25:30 PM »
It's taken me a while to think around how I wanted to handle stats of 100+ in the margins of success of IRE, where the number on the dice represents a roll's margin of success.

Two initial thoughts were:
- Don't bother. Just say that they're getting the benefit of being able to take penalties and still pass by massive margins of success.
However, it does feel weird that a Space Marine can be easily beaten on a strength test.

- Add the amount the characteristic exceeded 100 added back onto the margin of success.
This makes the rules more like they used to be, where rolling a 90 with a character with S 120 still meant a pass by 30.
However, it also means putting more maths back in, and it also keeps high stats nastily powerful in a system where succeeding by large margins has become more important.

After some thinking, I'm currently looking at this idea:
Quote
Margin of success with characteristics over 100
In the event that a character has a stat that exceeds 100, either naturally or due to modifiers, then if the roll was successful (such as not automatically failing by rolling 96-00, see the Automatic Success and Automatic Failure paragraph below), then the character may elect to use the stat's remainder over 100 as their margin of success, up to a maximum of 50 points/5 degrees of success

For example, Battle Brother Artemis has Strength 145 in his power armour. When required to take a strength test,  he rolls a 32 - a respectable margin of success, but as the roll was passed, he can instead elect to succeed by 45 (the amount his strength exceeds 100). As this beats the margin of success he would otherwise have had, he elects to pass by 45 instead.

If Nug, an Ogryn with Strength 182 were to roll the same pass of 32, although his strength exceeds 100 by 82 points, he would be limited to passing by 50 points. While his massive strength would allow him to pass by at least 50 points even if he were taking a moderate penalty, he will still have to get at least somewhat lucky with his dice to pass really well!

This seems a reasonable compromise - it means the characters will get to pass by least a reasonable margin, but not by a massive margin.
I felt it still had to be capped to stop high stats being entirely unbeatable, but the number of times that characters will exceed a stat of 150 is going to be fairly thin on the ground (and they will still be getting the benefits of being able to soak a few penalties and get a decent characteristic bonus).

~~~~~

Another idea I'm potentially looking at is adjusting the way that characters can delay their actions.

As in IRE, any reactions characters are holding are automatically lost at the start of their next turn, it's possible that players will want to end up endlessly delaying to try and keep their reactions.

I'm not certain how big a problem this could prove to be, but I've got a few ideas of different severity as possible answers (should it prove necessary to reign it in at an event).

- Delaying automatically costs the character a stored reaction.
There's less point in delaying to save reactions if you'll lose them. This could be reasonable, as it'll discourage characters from delaying to hoard their reactions.

- Delaying means that a character must act at the Speed value they delay to.
If a Speed 6 character wants to go after a Speed 4 character, they will have to be Speed 4 this turn.
This is a potentially viable penalty, but it is harder to keep track of (GMs tend not to count down Speed categories like is stated in the original rules, and knowing the way it's actually played, it could get complex with the oddities of some character's speed values, injury, etc), and it feels a more drastic change from the original rules (potentially heavily penalising the way some characters are played).

- Delaying automatically costs the character 1 speed for the turn.
If two characters get into an endless cycle of trying to delay after each other, one of them will eventually have to chicken out.
However, this has similar problems to the above.

- Delaying automatically forces a character to go right to the end of the turn.
No more jumping in at any point (although it's possible that a skill, a la one of the proposed fixes for Lighting Reflexes, could allow characters to go whenever).

I think this is my favourite, as it's simple, makes it easier for the GM to keep track of ("Delayed characters" can become a standard end of turn thing), and although characters aren't hugely penalised, it may still be enough of a drawback at times to make players to think a bit about whether delaying is a good idea. (Currently, there are no real drawbacks to delaying, and I often watch games where it feels like players are, intentionally or otherwise, exploiting this by queueing up several characters for co-ordinated carnage where opponents get little chance to intervene).

It would also make it harder for players to use meta knowledge to try and wear down an opponent's reactions. ("He's got two reactions, but I'd rather he used those to try and evade Jaxon's lasgun than Covenant's Psycannon, so I'll have Covenant wait...")
Although I don't anticipate a lot of players doing that kind of thing, I certainly wouldn't complain if the exploit was less viable.

Thoughts?
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Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: IRE - Inquisitor Revised Edition project
« Reply #185 on: June 12, 2018, 06:50:19 PM »
I headed down to the club again last night to run another playtest (reusing "The Reactor" from the London GT as the scenario), which had some beautifully dramatic moments, including Kronen dropping two characters in their own turns, Evelyn managing to pull off some very fluky reactions, and Lyra missing wildly with a graviton grenade (it clattered into a heap of oil drums and launched them almost back at the originally intended target...)

I didn't have a Space Marine on hand to test the rules for 100+ stats, but I did test out the rules for delaying characters automatically waiting to the end of the turn, which I was quite happy with. It certainly simplified the process of keeping track of those characters, and meant that characters had to consider delaying a little more carefully rather than just doing it with impunity.

There were a few issues that sort of showed up:

~~~~~

- Characters being attacked from behind
IRE states that characters must be aware of an action to react to it (in order to stop characters doing things like evading shots from behind), and that after an action has entered the execution stage (i.e. dice are being rolled) it's too late to declare a reaction.

However, a case came up where a character had to choose between either having to fail their pinning test (and thus be able to turn around as they dive) or stand there like a lemon while being shot repeatedly from behind unable to spend any reactions they have.

There's two possible fixes that come to mind:
- Allow a character to turn towards their attacker (or at least attempt to) if they pass their Pinning test.
- Change it so that passing the pinning test also allows a character to attempt to dive to cover, rather than having to choose to fail to do so. (This is a fairly significant difference, because Pinned characters are only allowed to use Defensive reactions). However, I don't particularly like this, as I suspect this option would become overly popular - given how often people want to take cover anyway, an option that lets you not be Pinned would be a no-brainer.

~~~~~

- Semi auto fire
IRE has deliberately made rapid fire more effective against close-in targets (no more cases of a Storm Bolter being unable to hit a barn from the inside) and more challenging against distant ones.

However, seeing it more on the table makes it clearer that it has been affected by more than just long range, but all difficult cases. Before, it was possible to wildly fire at a weaving target while you ran across the street and possibly hope for one of those shots to get a natural 5, but that's less the case now.

The full-auto implementation sort of avoids this by disregarding most penalties, but semi-auto can become very inaccurate against difficult targets, and it doesn't feel as dramatic or realistic to be firing one shot at a time when you're hoping for a lucky hit.

As far as solutions, I could look at adopting some of the alternative semi-auto solutions I proposed - the current version of semi-auto in IRE is something that is partly as it is so that it can help test the mechanic for full auto weapons (which are somewhat rarer)., rather than because I'm necessarily expecting it to be a final solution.

The simplest of the alternatives I looked into would be handling it as in the current LRB, but with a sliding semi-auto penalty of -5 per 10 yards (or part) range. (Making short range accurate, but long range much less predictable).
This does however mean that bursts of multiple shots would again call for every shot to be rolled, rather than the somewhat quicker "exploding dice" roll for the entire burst IRE currently offers.

The other possibility is to keep IRE's current semi-auto fire, but cap the initial roll at a minimum of 5x the rate of fire to emulate the auto-hit band of before. For example, Semi(4) would always have at least an initial 20% chance of a hit, broadly the same as the minimum ~18.55% given by the chances of rolling at least one 01-05 across four D100 rolls.
This would probably be quicker in play and the percentages seem fairly fair, although it feels a little mechanically odd to have rolls with what are essentially increased auto-success chances.

Thoughts?
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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