Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

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Doctor Devious
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby Doctor Devious » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:29 pm

There are of course the obvious issues of "how much fun is this character anyway?" and its friend "a rule quirk shall not a character make".

One would instinctively expect surprise to be viable whenever a target would not seriously expect an attack, which is not the same as expecting an attack but not knowing what direction it is coming from. After all, if that logic was sound, a speedster could continually claim surprise using the same idea, as could any long distance attacker, any insidious attacker and so on.

From a GM POV, one might have considered this aspect of the character simply to be some of the descriptor for their attack level, as it seems to be the norm for the character.

But a player does have a right to benefit from the points they spend: if the player and GM don't agree on the utility of a power, then best to talk it through (ideally at build time) and agree a solution, be that one way, the other, a mid-ground or re-jigging the players powers to something you do both agree on.

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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby JDRook » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:48 pm

This is actually from the 2e Core description for Stealth. I've bolded the part that's not similar to 3e.
Your Stealth check is opposed by the Notice check of anyone who might detect you. While using Stealth, you can move up to half your normal
speed at no penalty. At more than half and up to your full speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s practically impossible (–20 penalty) to use Stealth
while attacking, moving all out, or charging.

I'd use that to extend a few ideas into 3e on how to deal with "Infinite Stealth." If you move stealthily into range (Move Action), then attack with a non-subtle effect (Standard Action), the attack would essentially "break" your stealth (or put a -20 on it, which is practically the same thing), and you would need to make another Move Action to reactivate Stealth (and someplace to hide). You couldn't do two Move Actions and a Standard Action in one round without using Extra Effort, but with a little planning one could have the stealthing PC wait and hold or ready actions while hidden.

As mentioned before, Move-by breaks up the movement distance of a single Move Action, it doesn't turn one Move Action into two, so watch for that avenue of abuse.

Find a reasonable top end to stealth. The skill can theoretically be as high as PL +10, so +20 in a PL10 game. That allows for absurdly high Stealth for 10p or less, and it rarely needs to be that high to be effective in most situations. Concealment can be similarly cheap, especially with any kind of Flaw on it, so be sure to watch for those as well.

Have opponents react and adapt. One on one or against small groups of minions, the stealth technique is a classic and should work quite well -- usually. If it always works, it becomes boring, so spice it up. Have groups break into smaller teams that can cover each other, readying shots to take out the stealther. If the PC is known to sneak up all the time, have special detection equipment, or at least put their backs into walls or corners if they suspect he's nearby. If they don't know who's attacking, have them fire blindly around them - yeah, it's dangerous, but occasionally it should work (stealther takes a hit as a Complication). And of course there's always allies and bystanders to attack or take hostage.

I agree with Dr. D on making sure that this character is fun as opposed to ruthlessly effective. If the player insists on building it like that and you choose to let them, allow it to work exactly the way they expect it to once, maybe twice, and then start throwing those curveballs. This is how every hero with amazing abilities manages to stay interesting, so I assure you you're doing the player a favour with this. If you like, take it further and create an archenemy with similar or opposing powers. Don't go overboard, though, unless you specifically want the game to be players vs GM as opposed to a collaborative effort.
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby Hellhound » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:23 am

JDRook wrote:This is actually from the 2e Core description for Stealth. I've bolded the part that's not similar to 3e.
Your Stealth check is opposed by the Notice check of anyone who might detect you. While using Stealth, you can move up to half your normal
speed at no penalty. At more than half and up to your full speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s practically impossible (–20 penalty) to use Stealth
while attacking, moving all out, or charging.

I'd use that to extend a few ideas into 3e on how to deal with "Infinite Stealth." If you move stealthily into range (Move Action), then attack with a non-subtle effect (Standard Action), the attack would essentially "break" your stealth (or put a -20 on it, which is practically the same thing), and you would need to make another Move Action to reactivate Stealth (and someplace to hide). You couldn't do two Move Actions and a Standard Action in one round without using Extra Effort, but with a little planning one could have the stealthing PC wait and hold or ready actions while hidden.



The problem I see with that is that in 3e the Manual says something like this:

Surprise attacks occur during the surprise round of a conflict (see Surprise earlier in this chapter) and may also occur as a result of stealth or concealment, allowing you to sneak up on a target. The GM can also grant you a surprise attack for an unusual maneuver that catches the target off-guard, such as an Indirect attack (see the Indirect modifier for more).


The Surprise Round only happens if somebody is surprised, as the book says: This is typically because the character did not succeed on a Perception or other check and was therefore caught off-guard

So once that happens a surprise round, everything continues on a regular basis in action rounds. So I think that, after a character has been surprised will be hardly surprised again even if can not see her opponent.

Concealment characters (as per invisibility) only impose a -5 penalty to her opponents, they may have an idea of ​​where are their opponents either by the noise they make when moving, breathing, even the heartbeat if someone has super senses.
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby ican » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:37 pm

I think Doctor Devious's has some very valid points especially the comment that a surprise attack should be “viable whenever a target would not seriously expect an attack, which is not the same as expecting an attack but not knowing what direction it is coming from”.

JDRook, where does it explain Stealth requires a move action? I also understood it to require a move action as well but I can't find it in the book. Your Move-by breaks warning is a good rule of thumb.

In another example say the character doesn't have Move-by-Action but instead just snipes. So lets say the character was already in stealth from a previous round, he now shoots as his standard action which takes him out of stealth, but then stealth moves....rinses and repeats for multiple surprise attacks.

Something caught my attention from Hellhound's post of the surprise attack rules.
The GM can also grant you a surprise attack for an unusual maneuver that catches the target off-guard

So using the already mentioned examples (stealth, invisibility,indirect) could possibly “unusual maneuver” be interpreted as the first time it is used in that combat, and that it becomes usual there after? The one part I'm not sure of is it mentions “Indirect attack”, is that to solidify that Indirect attacks usually are surprise attacks?

Also all you had great suggests on how to minimize the abuse and make it challenging/fun for the player.

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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby JDRook » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:18 pm

ican wrote:JDRook, where does it explain Stealth requires a move action? I also understood it to require a move action as well but I can't find it in the book.

There's a chart at the beginning of Skills Descriptions in all versions of the Handbook, p115 in the Deluxe Edition, that shows the associated ability for each skill, whether it can be used untrained and what action it takes. The 2e Core actually described the action at the end of every skill description, but I guess they decided the chart was clear enough and took it out of 3e.
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby saint_matthew » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Doctor Devious wrote:One would instinctively expect surprise to be viable whenever a target would not seriously expect an attack, which is not the same as expecting an attack but not knowing what direction it is coming from. After all, if that logic was sound, a speedster could continually claim surprise using the same idea, as could any long distance attacker, any insidious attacker and so on.


Actually I would allow that exactly once for the speedster.... After that you are just exploiting the system & your GM..... Once could possibly be believable, in fact a perfect example would be The Flash in the season final of JLU season 4, when the Flash runs around the world to punch Lexiac (the Lex Brainiac hybrid) from the opposite direction. But once he knows the trick is coming, that's it for the element of surprise.
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby danelsan » Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:22 am

saint_matthew wrote:
Doctor Devious wrote:One would instinctively expect surprise to be viable whenever a target would not seriously expect an attack, which is not the same as expecting an attack but not knowing what direction it is coming from. After all, if that logic was sound, a speedster could continually claim surprise using the same idea, as could any long distance attacker, any insidious attacker and so on.


Actually I would allow that exactly once for the speedster.... After that you are just exploiting the system & your GM..... Once could possibly be believable, in fact a perfect example would be The Flash in the season final of JLU season 4, when the Flash runs around the world to punch Lexiac (the Lex Brainiac hybrid) from the opposite direction. But once he knows the trick is coming, that's it for the element of surprise.

Of course, in that scene he does it a whole bunch of times in succession, without the opponent being able to do anything. In M&M mechanics Lexiac could easily have countered by preparing an action...if he had a turn to do so, which I think he did not have.

Instead, I prefer to consider all those runs around the world attacking Lexiac as a single surprise attack with multiattack (and considering the results, possibly Power Attack and/or a critical were also involved). Then the part in which he sticks his hands in a blur over the villain and dismantles all the mechanic parts remaining from Luthor is likely the result of Extra Effort for another action in the same round, still before Lexiac gets a chance to act.

The extra effort on his speed powers then causes the "GM" to trigger his Speed Force Complication.
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby saint_matthew » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:35 am

danelsan wrote:Of course, in that scene he does it a whole bunch of times in succession, without the opponent being able to do anything.


I just assumed it was multi-attack, like you said. :D
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Re: Multiple Surprise attacks in the combat encounter.

Postby Monolith » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:10 am

I had always assumed the running around the world hits were slams, with Flash using his 'end of the world' acquired hero points to help with all his save checks. The part at the end where he's multi-punching was probably multiattack.


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