Author Topic: Miss-Mechanics  (Read 360 times)


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« on: November 05, 2018, 02:06:31 AM »
So, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I wanted to take some time to talk about it at length.  To make a long story short, I don’t like miss mechanics in RPGs.  When I say “miss” I mean when a character makes an attack, the attack ends up having no effect.  For instance, in the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, if you’ve never played, to hit an enemy with an attack, you must roll a d20 and add a modifier.  If the result is less than the target’s Armor Class (or AC), then the attack misses entirely and deals no damage.  Only a certain amount of attacks can be made in a turn, and, especially at low levels, missed attacks can mean a wasted turn. 

On the other hand, miss mechanics act as an effective release valve, as they force characters to invest in stats other than offense and defense/HP.  These types of mechanics allow for tanks to even have a hope of closing distance against a sniper without sacrificing all of their “hit points”, as an example.  If the tank remains behind the shield, the bullets won’t do any damage. 

However, a system like that works in D&D because there are rules in place and details to consider.  AC is determined in part by what armor you’re wearing, characters only perform crazy feats of acrobatics if they succeed on a skill test, et cetera.  On this website, we use a very bare-bones system to judge combat.  That allows for much more freedom in weapon design, clever strategy, and attack descriptions, but it also leaves a lot of room for bias.

As an example, consider a glass-cannon type character that’s described as “nimble and agile” in the related character profile, presumably letting them dodge attacks with relative ease.  Now consider a tank-class character that’s equipped with armor and shields, but moves slowly.  Finally, let’s pit them in a 1v1 fight against a hypothetical invincible sniper.  Which character would the sniper have a harder time taking down?

Theoretically, the tank should last longer because that character invested heavily into defense.  However, if the agile character can dodge one sniper bullet, what reason would he not have to dodge all the bullets?  And this is where I feel there’s a bit of a problem.  Under certain circumstances, nimble, “glass-cannon” characters that take advantage of “dodge-tanking” can potentially be more survivable than tank characters while also dealing more damage.

Now, I’m not pushing for a change in the system, I just want to critique it and point out flaws.  No system’s going to be perfect, and I’ve taken advantage of miss-mechanics myself.  I just wanted to share my thoughts on the subject.         
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Re: Miss-Mechanics
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 05:42:15 AM »
Well, as far as I know (I'm not a good reference), continuous dodging to the point of improbability (even in the RWBYVerse) is considered a form of metagaming, which goes against the rules. So it's more about group consensus of "is this bullshit" than an action-specific check like in DnD.
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Re: Miss-Mechanics
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 02:10:07 PM »
In your specific example I don't think it is as much as issue, outside the dodging every bullet thing, not every form or defense is going to be good in every situation so just like an agile fighter might be at a disadvantage in a confined area assumably a heavily armoured character would be also disadvantaged in another. This also plays into the fact that we haven't seen many characters in armour in the show which suggests to some extent it isn't a great defense.This is mostly neither here nor there really because the characters are supposed to be relatively even accounting for personalisation although of course, that doesn't be even in every situation.

As for the points, you are bringing up making our 'agile' character dodge everything thing is called uber-dodging and a form of godmodding which is bad. If you feel your opponent is uber dodging, either through actually dodging or 'parrying' or 'blocking' every attack thrown at them it's probably best to send them a message explaining your issue.

But of course, you will be able to evade some attacks otherwise every fight would turn into a 'whoever has the bigger gun' competition. So what do you do with these attacks which you somehow manage to evade, particularly ones which have had a lot of aura/dust/semblance or simple descriptive build up, unfortunately like most things in this system that comes down to the individual. To use your example of a sniper vs an agile character the sniper could specify they are targeting the agile character's center of gravity meaning every dodge is a significant move which would disrupt their forward momentum making them less agile.

The responsibility of defining what will happen if the attack missed isn't solely on the person attacking but it is mostly. Coming from a dnd background, 3.5 because the action economy works better for my example, maybe an impressive dodge is an immediate action and therefore denies you a swift action in your previous turn. This can manifest in simple descriptions or going as far as to reduce the number or strength of attacks.

No criticism is too harsh so hit me with your best shot.

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