Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
sigfriedmcwild
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by sigfriedmcwild » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:58 am

Glad I could help.

Panda
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:30 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by Panda » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:55 am

Technically there aren't any rules for using ship weapons, so that comparison is something of a non-sequitur and nothing to do with hindsight. Putting mechanics in for using things that don't quite exist yet is putting the cart in front of the horse and not a great plan because the foresight on that isn't perfect. I can say Air Sailing is the perfect place to start for applicable talents, though when I have the time to fully address the topic, knacks are almost certainly coming into play. Not half-magic. The good news is there are nine other talent options to take—in all seriousness, no one was ever going to like all of them, though applicable knacks for throwing weapons are hardly done.

By that metric of defensive talents, Swordmaster is possibly even more defensive, with 3/5 of First Circle Discipline talents being defense in nature (adding two more before the tier is out), and four more in their talent options. Sky Raiders also have 2/5 of their First Circle Discipline talents being defensive (adding two more in Novice), and offering three talent options. Warriors only add one defensive talent to their Discipline talents in Novice. For Swordmaster and Warrior, Acrobatic Strike and Anticipate Blow are technically both options, but it's hard to imagine many characters truly investing in both given they're not compatible (similar to taking both Air Dance and Cobra Strike, unless you don't have a choice). Beastmaster gets the dubious distinction of being the least defensive by this metric.

Defining them by when they get their damage-adding talent isn't so good since nearly all combat Disciplines (or close to it) get it at the same time (Seventh Circle): Archer gets Flame Arrow, Beastmaster and Sky Raider get Down Strike, and Gauntlet and Warrior get Crushing Blow. Cavalryman is the exception with Charge, though that has some setup requirements and Wheeling Attack offers a better way to set it up and is available a Circle earlier, though there are still some usage requirements (mostly space). Surprise Strike is also available in Novice to Theives, Air Sailors and Scouts as Journeyman, though it requires either amenable friends (especially Distract) or using Conceal Weapons.

All this is a lot of words to say I don't particularly think those are great metrics because to have meaning they cannot be applied in isolation. Once viewed as part of a greater whole, they paint a more complicated picture.

Regarding their role in combat, Warriors were absolutely the most difficult to make the determination. However, I think the group is doing a huge disservice to their Warrior if they expect them to be using the throwing weapon to entangle an opponent. Nearly anyone with the option is as good as them, but doing so takes away from their ability to do what they're best at. This becomes less a question of can they, and more should they. Control through ranged combat isn't their thing at all—in close combat, yes. In that case, missile weapons enhances that more than throwing weapons because it can harass an approaching opponent better, or deal with enemies attacking at range that cannot be engaged with through close combat (e.g., flying opponents with ranged attacks).

There were reasons to consider Throwing Weapons as the ranged combat talent for Warriors, even to offer them both, however both wasn't a good solution as it diluted their talent options while removing an option that should be available to promote more diversity. If your table doesn't agree with the reasoning for Missile Weapons over Throwing Weapons, it should be changed. This cannot be stressed enough.

Sharkforce
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:21 am

i would agree that the swordmaster is very much a defensive oriented discipline too (a somewhat different style of it though, with a focus on social "combat", figuratively speaking, where the warrior has a somewhat mystical angle with all the elemental magic in their talents). but the fact that the swordmaster is very defensively oriented doesn't mean the warrior is not also very defensively oriented.

i actually like anticipate blow and acrobatic defence together, purely because of one anticipate blow knack that improves your mystic defence (i otherwise consider acrobatic defence to be superior because it stacks with maneuver). it's obviously not worth much until you can actually get the knack though, and even then it's situational (but man, all too often when you want mystic defence you *really* want mystic defence =P ).

i don't expect the warrior to be throwing a weapon to entangle the target most of the time any more than i expect them to be using a whip most of the time in melee. i expect them to be throwing a weapon most of the time because they emphasize defence over offence more than most other disciplines, and that means using a shield. which you can't do at the same time you're using those really good missile weapons (arguably it works with slings, though most shields i've seen outside of those intended for use on a horse use a grip and good luck loading a sling with that in your hand). having said that, the fact that the entangling ranged weapons are thrown rather than fired at a target does mean that throwing weapons gives the warrior more options on how to conduct a fight, so yeah, it's niche, but it's a niche that gives the warrior options in a fight, the ability to attack in a different way, in addition to letting them stay fully prepared for melee combat, and letting them keep their defences up.

i will certainly agree that i understand the reasoning behind not giving both missile and throwing weapons to warriors - with a strict limit of 10 talent options, it's always hard to justify including too many ways of doing the same thing. i simply disagree that a bow really offers any control at all without further talents. you're not controlling the fight with a bow, it doesn't hinder them from striking where they want, it just does damage. it is, in fact, quite *good* at doing damage. it's the weapon of choice for a ranged combatant, but the warrior isn't a ranged combatant, and it's the weapon of choice if you're trying to carry the fight by being the primary damage dealer, but the warrior isn't really focused on that either (not that they never get decent at it). it's defence before offence, strongly so.

an enemy facing a warrior that has a bow can just fire an attack right past the warrior at their companions. catch them with a bola, on the other hand, and they're going to need to do something about that first.

sigfriedmcwild
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by sigfriedmcwild » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:21 am

Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:21 am
[...] i otherwise consider acrobatic defence to be superior [to anticipate blow] because it stacks with maneuver [...]
I’ve never noticed any restrictions to stacking Maneuver and Anticipate Blow, in fact Panda’s article on Swordmaster suggests taking both, but maybe I’m missing something fundamental

(I’m also very partial to Anticipate Blow over Maneuver because I can use it multiple times, and the defensive part of Maneuver still requires me to have higher initiative than the opponent to have any effect)

Sharkforce
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:09 am

sigfriedmcwild wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:21 am
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:21 am
[...] i otherwise consider acrobatic defence to be superior [to anticipate blow] because it stacks with maneuver [...]
I’ve never noticed any restrictions to stacking Maneuver and Anticipate Blow, in fact Panda’s article on Swordmaster suggests taking both, but maybe I’m missing something fundamental

(I’m also very partial to Anticipate Blow over Maneuver because I can use it multiple times, and the defensive part of Maneuver still requires me to have higher initiative than the opponent to have any effect)
so far as i'm aware, you can stack maneuver and anticipate blow. what you can't do is stack anticipate blow and acrobatic defense (this is mentioned in the acrobatic defense talent only, so you may not have noticed it, especially if you were looking for something saying it was maneuver rather than acrobatic defense that was the problem). and since acrobatic defense works against *every* enemy, while anticipate blow only works against one enemy per use, well... i suppose there is *something* to be said for value when there is only a single target (particularly when it comes with a bonus to attack as well), but most of the time i'd rather pay my strain and get the bonus against every enemy :)

it is also worth noting that both acrobatic defense and maneuver are dexterity-based, while anticipate blow is perception... which nobody wants to have low, but i generally have much better dexterity on my weapon users. oh, and also, it isn't maneuver that requires you to win initiative, it's anticipate blow ;)

sigfriedmcwild
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by sigfriedmcwild » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:39 am

The biggest downside to acrobatic defence in my understanding is that it only works against opponents you are in close combat with (only the ones you were in close combat with when you made the test?)

Maneuver does not require winning initiative, but it is a simple action so you will only get the defence bonus from your action until the end of the round (the text is unclear on this, but other options would be weird) so defence wise it has the same effective restrictions as Anticipate Blow (but you can still get the attack bonus)

So yes useful combos are: Anticipate Blow+Maneuver and Acrobatic Defence+Maneuver

Looking back in my posts I think we’ve had this discussion before :P

Sharkforce
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:26 pm

according to the acrobatic defense talent, your physical defense is increased for the remainder of the round. it says nothing about being limited to specific opponents.

(though on a side note, it is possible for someone to make an attack at different points in initiative, the main case that comes to mind being air dance; in such a case, maneuver could be used against the later attack, while anticipate blow could only be used if you win initiative. and of course, either way maneuver could still be used for the bonus to attack the target)

sigfriedmcwild
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 am

Re: Access to ranged weapon skills by discipline...

Post by sigfriedmcwild » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:34 pm

Agreed on Manoeuver's uses for getting the attack bonus and with the timing of Air Dance.

I agree that Acrobatic Defence doesn't say it's purely for melee attacks, but I've seen some discussion elsewhere that kind of implied that and you can't use it unless you have an opponent in close range (I got that from Panda on the Discord)

I'm perfectly happy to be proven wrong about it though, it makes it much more appealing

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