Thursday, August 29, 2019

Frequency of Maneuvers in my GURPS games

I was just thinking today about the frequency of use of maneuvers in my GURPS games. Based on what I've seen, not a hard count, this is the breakdown.

Most frequent use: Attack, Concentrate, Feint, Long Action, Move, Ready, Wait

Frequent use: Aim, All-Out Attack, Change Position, Committed Attack, Do Nothing, Move and Attack

Occasional use: All-Out Defense

Rare used: Defensive Attack

No use: Evaluate

No matter what I've done with Evaluate, no one uses it. Defensive Attack is something I like, but rarely does anyone want the bonus to defenses but still want to attack - All-Out Defense is a more popular choice if defense is important. That one doesn't come up all the time - maybe 1-2 times per combat from, mostly, non-combatant types who are close to being attacked. The offensive-heavy ones come up a lot, and the balanced attack and defense approaches the most.

How about in your games? What sees the most use, less use, and no use?


  1. Very frequent: Attack, Concentrate, Move, All Out Attack, Ready, Move and Attack. These are used several times each in a battle

    Semi-Frequent: Wait, Committed Attack, Defensive Attack, All Out Defense, Change Position [1], Do Nothing [1]. These happen as a rule at least once per battle, usually more than that though.

    Occasional: Aim. Maybe once every few battles.

    Rare: Feint. Maybe once in a campaign, unless the PC is optimised for Feinting, then it's a go-to,

    Never: Evaluate [2]. No one has ever willingly Evaluated in my games. Except for one arena style martial arts tourney where /everyone/ started each match with 3-4 rounds of Evaluating.

    1 - These aren't taken because the Player wants to take them, but because they are forced on them by circumstances.

    2 - This one is actually probably in the 'Occasional/Rare' group, but only because I allow certain Wait Maneuvers to turn into Evaluate.

    Also, I use "attack replacement" for Aim, Ready, Evaluate, and Feint, so a PC can swap out an attack or defense for one of those "maneuvers" during an "Attack or Defense type" maneuver. However, despite this, Aim is pretty unused and Evaluate is never willingly chosen (they do accept it as a "Wait" replacement if the Wait doesn't trigger though).

    1. I allow "attack replacement" for Feint only. Ready, absolutely not. I don't even want to deal with Great Hasted Extra Attack 2 guy who regards "your weapon is unready!" as costing a mere one of of his 9 attacks (1 base, +2 from EA, +1 effective from a DWA or RS, +1 from AoA on the first turn).

      Aim gets used because it's a sizable plus - often +3 to +4.

    2. "a mere one of of his 9 attacks"

      Wait... what? An attack is an attack, not an Attack Maneuver. If you can get 9 attacks in a turn and you're using a † or ‡ ST weapon /without/ having 1.5 times the minimum ST, you're only getting one attack a turn. You have gimped yourself.

      Using my house rule they'd get 5 attacks in one turn, 4 in the next...

      Mr 5 Attacks (AOA(Dble)+1RS, +2 EA), weilding a † or ‡ weapon without the requisite ST, and Great Haste:

      Turn 1a
      1st attack, ready, 3rd attack, ready, 5th attack.
      Turn 1b
      Ready, 2nd attack, ready, 4th attack, ready.

      I mostly see the option used with defenses and Parry U weapons, it "blows" the first defense, but even a Parry at 'second Parry' penalties (-2 or -4) is better than /no/ Parry. But I have seen with All Out Attack (Double or Determined +RS) and someone wielding a † or ‡ weapon when that wasn't their normal set up.

      Noting I'm basically using Doug Cole's "On Target" rules from Pyramid 3-77 and applying them to Ready, Aim, and Evaluate; so Mr '10 Attacks' could actually critically blunder a Ready roll and drop his weapon!

      I've seen it happen.

    3. "Using my house rule they'd get 5 attacks in one turn, 4 in the next..."

      Ahem. Using my house rule they'd get 3 attacks in one turn, 2 in the next...

    4. I'm not seeing how your count is different than mine. It's just you are assuming "Ready" is used to re-ready a weapon that's too heavy for you. I'm assuming it's recovering from a Critical Failure roll, which is the most common way I see weapons become unready. So I stand by my count of 5 and 4.

    5. "I'm assuming it's recovering from a Critical Failure roll, which is the most common way I see weapons become unready."

      Ah, there's the difference. I also see it used to change Reach, Change Grip (Defensive), Ready a weapon from a sheathe, change hands, Ready as in 'pick up', Ready a special use, etc.

      In fact, I can't even remember the last time I saw a critical failure turn into Unreadied. Usually it's "lose weapon", "break weapon", and "hurt yourself".

    6. Critical Failure causes dropped weapon then Ready to get said weapon (on its lanyard) back to hand is like 95% of Readies I ever see

  2. Mostly, Evaluate has to double average damage per strike to make up for halving the strike rate. Would it be worth it even at +4?

    1. Well, yes, if you assume that every other turn is an Evaluate and nothing breaks that rhythm.

  3. I actually saw a lot of Evaluate in Cherry Blossom Rain, even without a buff to effectiveness. I think it's partly because it's very in genre for a chambara game to watch an opponent and seemingly doing nothing while planning your strategy. But I definitely noticed a big uptick in Evaluates when I added the Last Gasp, because it offered a way to regain action points without losing combat effectiveness.

    1. Huh. Weird. Almost like the author planned it that way, but he's a hack, so probably not.

  4. I really like the idea of using Evaluate--I feel like the fights would have a better flow, especially given the one second per turn time frame--but the sense that I get is that *not* doing something is seen as "wasting" a turn, and in a one-on-one combat, no big deal...when "wasting" a turn could lead to a makes things that seem "suboptimal" to be totally anathema (again, that's all in the eye of the beholder).

    I can't recall if the Vryce v. Sword Spirit fight had any evaluates...but that was a good one. Maybe it was a lot of cascading waits?

    1. Vryce vs. the Sword Spirit featured Feints but one Wait, if any.

      You already know how I feel about weighing options to avoid "suboptimal" choices and worrying about avoiding a TPK by staying as frenetically busy in combat as possible. For those that don't, I think it's a fool's errand and leads to TPKs.

      I accept that Evaluate isn't, as written, terribly useful. Even as expanded, no one cares to use it if they're within range to either attack or be attacked.

  5. I only run DFRPG at the moment. So no Evaluate, Defensive Attack or Committed Attack, though I allow the latter for more experienced players.

    Feint very rarely gets used, players usually forget about it and it's mostly worthless for enemies who rarely have more skill than the PCs.

    Beats do get used when I remember they exist (I allow them to punish high skill PCs parrying)

    Everything else gets used a fair bit even surprisingly Move and Attacks.

  6. Attack - Lots! Move and Attack - Lots Feint - Never by itself, only as Extra Attack Move - I think I can count the number of battles I've used this on one hand. Twice running away, thrice couldn't reach enemy, once had Great Haste left at end of battle so sprinted to find next battle before it ran out. Okay need 2 hands. Long Action - lifting portucullis twice Ready - other than the Portucullis incidents never done this except when critical fumble made weapon unready All Out Attack - only with Surprise or Great Haste

    Aim - Once ever. Change Position - Not sure if I've used it. Wait - Sometimes. Do Nothing - only when stunned. Concentrate - Sometimes as a Cleric. All Out Defense - only when locked in C with no good C attacks

    Committed, Defensive, Evaluate - Never

    1. Is that for your character, or in games you have run/played in? I find it hard to believe Move and Concentrate come up infrequently overall in a game.

    2. My characters in games I've played in. I pretty much never chose Move, either Attack with a ranged weapon, Move and Attack (melee, slam or ranged weapon) or Wait - hit first thing to enter melee range all are things I far prefer to move. Taking a Move action just feels like taking my action and throwing it in the wastebin.

      Concentrate has only occurred when I've played a Cleric, and then usually only when I couldn't attack. And clerics can have shields for shield rushes.

      These are only actions I've chosen once combat time started though. My characters have spent lots of time moving and concentrating when wasn't actively in 1 second time frame.

      When I played a Knight A - I had the Knight abysmal init, and B - tried very hard to always position myself as much at the front as possible and hold pistol crossbow ready. Since enemies would go before I went they would have two full actions to try and reach range for me to shield rush so I didn't have to actually move.

      My non knight characters all had 1/round or better ranged weapons, or were clerics with spells thus avoiding Move that way

    3. I see. I've used Move a fair amount myself. But I really regularly rail against the idea of "wasting" a turn. I don't think a turn spent doing something that advances your victory (or survival, where victory isn't possible) is useful. That can include Do Nothing, a Long Action, a Wait that isn't spent, just moving around with Move, etc. I've seen too many dead PCs from "but I didn't want to waste my turn so I did (fill in what got them killed.)"

  7. Move and attack melee weapon is a good way to give up all your parries.

    I always cringe whenever one of the PCs does it and then wait for the inevitable mob to descend on them.

    1. It's a risky move if you don't have a superior alternate defense.


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