Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

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Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by jferngler » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:34 pm

"Once a character is engaged in melee, he cannot back away without opening himself up to attack. If a character or monster
withdraws from an active melee – whether to retreat, move to a new position, or attempt some action – his opponents
immediately receive a single free attack."

Situationally, does this mean that ANY movement in combat suffers the free attack penalty from a non-MDA movement? For instance, a character opens a door. Enemies in the room behind the door push into the character's room, but neither party is surprised. Should the character get a free attack on the enemies entering the room? If not, when exactly does a melee begin, when initiative is rolled or when the first blow is struck?

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Karaptis » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:03 pm

I imagine melee starts when you are next to your enemy within (melee)weapon or fist range.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by caveman » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:28 pm

hmm, well the way i always play is you can only get one free swing a round. This comes from type III/IV games, but it makes sense to me. That's how you get overrun, or how the dudes escape. So like, if it was my game, you get to slay one rat as they swarm around you... ;)

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Galadrin » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:46 am

Well, "withdrawing," by definition, means to retreat backwards from something, not approach it, so I think we're safe in saying that charging into melee is NOT punished with a free attack! I would also say that melee begins when two parties have the intentions and ability to strike each other (so they would have to be an arms length away), although Original Dungeons & Dragons had melee range as 30 feet in the dungeon (and 30 yards in the wilderness)!

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by jferngler » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:58 am

I think "Withdraw" in this instance is any movement in combat, period. It lists retreat as a act distinct from moving to a new position in combat. I'm interpreting it as similar to an attack of opportunity. Enemies move past the character more than one square, and they are technically readjusting in combat, and deserve a whack.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:08 am

jferngler wrote:I think "Withdraw" in this instance is any movement in combat, period. It lists retreat as a act distinct from moving to a new position in combat. I'm interpreting it as similar to an attack of opportunity. Enemies move past the character more than one square, and they are technically readjusting in combat, and deserve a whack.
I think you will find the relevant passage on page 314: "The judge is always right. Let the rules bend to you not the other way around."

The general rule relates to withdrawal (moving away), but I agree that it should relate to "move throughs" as well. The question then becomes, at what point are there too many creatures moving by you to allow you to attack them all? And that, my friend, is up to the Judge. In my case, I deem that (1) the size and number of creatures and (2) the experience of the character are both relevant.

Imagine that you open a door, and five mid-sized dogs come out. Even if those dogs all have collars and leashes, is it conceivable that you can grab all five dogs? Your interpretation of the rules would make the expected outcome that at least 2-3 of the dogs are successfully grabbed (attacked). My experience suggests otherwise. The literature that inspired the game suggests otherwise as well -- even Conan does not get unlimited attacks on every Pict that moves past him.

Either you can have a ruleset in which the writer must imagine all possibilities beforehand, or you may have a ruleset that gives general guidelines and relies upon human moderation. Joseph Goodman, thankfully, decided upon the second option. So, as with Gygaxian D&D before it, DCC RPG doesn't grant a "court of appeals" from Judge/DM decisions, although (again, as with Gygaxian D&D before it) it does grant the ability to address the Judge/DM not only on specific rulings, but also on whether or not specific rules should be applied to your character under special circumstances.


RC
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:08 pm

jferngler wrote:"Once a character is engaged in melee, he cannot back away without opening himself up to attack. If a character or monster withdraws from an active melee – whether to retreat, move to a new position, or attempt some action – his opponents immediately receive a single free attack."
Imagine, if you would, that a party of 25 0-lvl characters is facing a group of 5 giant rats in a big chaotic scrum. Suddenly, the 25 0-lvl characters decide to withdraw. Does each rat gain 25 attacks? Or does each rat get to attack one character, once?

I think you know what my ruling would be.


RC
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by jferngler » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:18 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:Imagine, if you would, that a party of 25 0-lvl characters is facing a group of 5 giant rats in a big chaotic scrum. Suddenly, the 25 0-lvl characters decide to withdraw. Does each rat gain 25 attacks? Or does each rat get to attack one character, once?

I think you know what my ruling would be.


RC
As the Judge, it is absolutely your call how this rule is interpreted and implemented. Posting to this forum was meant only to provoke a discussion about how other potential Judges might interpret and implement the same. I intended no offense.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:29 pm

jferngler wrote:As the Judge, it is absolutely your call how this rule is interpreted and implemented. Posting to this forum was meant only to provoke a discussion about how other potential Judges might interpret and implement the same. I intended no offense.
LONG ASIDE WARNING:

I was more concerned than offended. You have an absolute right to decide whether or not you believe the person running the game is doing so fairly, and I would never advise anyone to continue playing in a game they thought was unfair. And I have to make sure that the game continues smoothly for the other people at the virtual "table". The pause, combined with the other thread, made me believe that a problem might have arisen that required a decision on my part. It is an unfortunate truth that, in pbp games, sometimes people just....stop posting.

I am glad that is not the case here.

As a Judge, I attempt to be fair, and I also understand that what I believe is fair might not be what someone else thinks is fair. This is also a new ruleset for me, so I do appreciate pointing relevant bits out that I might have missed or failed to take into account. And I will do my best to give you an idea, before you make a decision, about how I would rule in whatever case might arise.

I believe pretty strongly that (genre) plausibility trumps the rules,so if you can explain why you ought to be allowed to do something, and I think your explanation makes sense, I'll either give it a chance of success or simply let it succeed (whatever makes more sense to me). That doesn't mean that I'm throwing the rules out, but it does mean that you can think outside the box with a reasonable chance of success.

For example, when I first ran The Portal Under the Stairs (12 0-lvl PCs), only 2 PCs died. When I ran it a second time (8 0-lvl PCs) no one made it past Area 3. The difference wasn't just the die rolls, either -- the first players did more lateral thinking, and made me work to decide how to frame their ideas within the context of the rules.

Barrowmaze can be lethal. If it comes down to a die roll, and that roll says your character dies, then that character dies. I have no compunction whatsoever about letting PCs die. On the other hand, I have no compulsion to let them die, either, and if everyone survives the 0-level funnel, then you just have a stable of potential freebooters to continue with.

I do think the setup of DCC RPG implies gods and supernatural powers that are more interested in the world than one typically sees in, say, D&D, and I will attempt to reflect that in actual play. Thus the +1 Luck bonus earlier in this expedition. The gods are real, and they are aware of much that passes in this material plane. That is likely to become more obvious as the game continues.

So, absolutely, continue to point out anything you think relevant to me....either relevant as rules or based on the "fictional space" of the characters. But if the game is waiting on your decision, and you've opened a thread to discuss the lead-up to that decision, I just need to know that you still want in ('cause years of WotC-D&D memes have created some who are hostile to relying on rulings, and sometimes experiences of Judges who didn't "get it" in terms of not trying to use their rulings to "win" [as though the GM could lose in any way except losing players!] in any era RPGs have made players leery of trusting GM judgements).
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by SYKOJAK » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:06 am

I believe that when looking at the definition of "Withdrawl Movement", one must look at the specifics of the case in question. First, Opponents must allready be "Stuck In" melee combat. That means they are allready trading blows from the previous round(s) with your typical melee weapons, (eg. Swords, Spears, Maces, Teeth, Nails, Claws, Tentacles, what have you.) To get a FREE attack on the opponent who flees, that opponent must turn their back and give up all defencive fighting in order to put as much distance between themselves and thier opponents. Please refer to when a Unit Routs or its Morale breaks in combat within a Wargame.

Now, if a said creature is backing slowly away and giving ground gradually, a term I would use as Retiring in Order, that means they are not just turning thier backs and fleeing. There is a big difference in fleeing like its every man for himself and an organized withdrawl. Primitive cultures/ less Organized militaries are more inclined to flee to the winds. Highly disciplined units are more inclined to perform a fighting withdrawl.

As to how many number of free attacks someone should get, base it off of how many they would get normally. That means a faster attacker/more skilled attacker could get more in a round. As opposed to some slow rookie who may not get one at all, if he loses initiative and he has a slower movement rate.
Last edited by SYKOJAK on Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Karaptis » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:18 am

Dancing around in between combatants should provoke an attack as well. Only a fool or someone who thinks they are hard to hit does that. I would say, if using miniatures, to use the 3e rule.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by SYKOJAK » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:25 am

Karaptis wrote:Dancing around in between combatants should provoke an attack as well. Only a fool or someone who thinks they are hard to hit does that. I would say, if using miniatures, to use the 3e rule.
Yup! I totally agree! That only happens in a Movie, when it is choreographed to have it happen that way! Someone tries to run through a Melee in a confined area is just as likely to get hit by his own side as well as the opposing side.
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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Mintaro » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:52 am

something I found very funny was on page 12, in the introduction, it mentions
"DCC RPG does not have prestige classes, attacks of opportunity, feats, or skill points."
Except the with drawl rule IS basically attacks of opportunity.

That said I let my players take a "withdrawl action" in place of an attack, this lets them fall back without taking an attack from the enemy. So if say the wizard is suddenly set upon by a goblin, and wants to make room for the warrior to charge up (and save his precious HP). He may, rather than casting a spell, Move away from the goblin safely.

I have not tried it out at higher levels (I.E. with multiple attacks a round), so I am not sure how well the general rule will work at that point. It might also be prudent to make your players pick a single monster they are moving away from to defend against (E.G. I'd rather have the goblin hit me than the Oger.)

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by goodmangames » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:59 am

In actual play I call this the "free whack" rule. Do something that exposes your back to an enemy, and they get a free whack against you. I played with this rule back in the 1980's, before 3E turned it into an overly complex mechanism that required rulebooks and map grids to adjudicate. In the 1980's it was, "Sure, if you want to turn around and run you can do that, but as soon as you expose your back the orc's gonna get a free whack!" And the goal of the rule is exactly that. The rule doesn't grant additional attacks, doesn't change the way a creature normally operates, and by no means should make anything more complicated than "if you turn your back, the other guy's gonna swing for it."
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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by SYKOJAK » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:17 am

goodmangames wrote:In actual play I call this the "free whack" rule. Do something that exposes your back to an enemy, and they get a free whack against you. I played with this rule back in the 1980's, before 3E turned it into an overly complex mechanism that required rulebooks and map grids to adjudicate. In the 1980's it was, "Sure, if you want to turn around and run you can do that, but as soon as you expose your back the orc's gonna get a free whack!" And the goal of the rule is exactly that. The rule doesn't grant additional attacks, doesn't change the way a creature normally operates, and by no means should make anything more complicated than "if you turn your back, the other guy's gonna swing for it."
Sometimes, the beauty of a system or particular rule is its simplicity to implement.
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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Karaptis » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:12 pm

There was more to attacks of opportunity than hitting a guy dancing in combat. Besides, that's the way I will run it, not the way it may or may not have been written in the rules. If there is something about 3E or 4E I like, I don't think Mr. Goodman is gonna visit my gaming table and point his finger in my face and yell "WRONG!!!" though he's is always more than invited to.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by shadewest » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:18 pm

Karaptis wrote:There was more to attacks of opportunity than hitting a guy dancing in combat. Besides, that's the way I will run it, not the way it may or may not have been written in the rules. If there is something about 3E or 4E I like, I don't think Mr. Goodman is gonna visit my gaming table and point his finger in my face and yell "WRONG!!!" though he's is always more than invited to.
Per appendix R, pg 447, he's already said he won't do that.
...unless the judge rules otherwise.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by SYKOJAK » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:36 am

Karaptis wrote:There was more to attacks of opportunity than hitting a guy dancing in combat. Besides, that's the way I will run it, not the way it may or may not have been written in the rules. If there is something about 3E or 4E I like, I don't think Mr. Goodman is gonna visit my gaming table and point his finger in my face and yell "WRONG!!!" though he's is always more than invited to.
Just coming to our gaming table would be an adventure into the unknown for him. At that point, I would call it "The Dunwich Horror."
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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Karaptis » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:53 am

I'm not disputing pg 447 or any other rule. But in appendix K for Karaptis pg 666 it clearly states " I don't care what the book says, if someone runs between some guys fighting with sharp objects (or heavy blunt ones), bring bandaids!"

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by phg » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:14 pm

goodmangames wrote:In actual play I call this the "free whack" rule. Do something that exposes your back to an enemy, and they get a free whack against you. I played with this rule back in the 1980's, before 3E turned it into an overly complex mechanism that required rulebooks and map grids to adjudicate. In the 1980's it was, "Sure, if you want to turn around and run you can do that, but as soon as you expose your back the orc's gonna get a free whack!" And the goal of the rule is exactly that. The rule doesn't grant additional attacks, doesn't change the way a creature normally operates, and by no means should make anything more complicated than "if you turn your back, the other guy's gonna swing for it."
Would you consider attempting to cast a spell next to an enemy worthy of a free whack? This came up in our last session. I had been interpreting the "...attempt some action" clause of the Withdrawal rule as including using a ranged weapon or casting a spell (ala 3/4e I s'pose), but some of the players were speaking strongly for this text to be describing a reason for the withdrawal, not an example of a type of withdrawal. As such, if the character stood their ground to cast the spell (or fire an arrow)... no free whack.

Is the intention of the phrasing to allow for a "free whack" for actions such as these?

Thanks for any insights!

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by ShaggyCan » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:50 am

Did anyone else think as they read this thread, 'it's questions like this that got you 4E' :)

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by beermotor » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:36 am

What about removing the free whack entirely?

Hear me out.

Move the game just slightly towards a Chess-like system. Let's be honest, this is really "advanced Chess" for the most part, and I'd wager 95%+ of us use miniatures and battlegrids and everything. I don't think that makes the RPG any less "pure," FWIW. Anyway.

What about the following:

1. Initiative
2. Movement actions
2.a. Ranged attacks / spell effects, as appropriate
2.b. Melee attacks, if in melee range / spell effects, as appropriate
3. Follow-up movement, IF ALLOWED (e.g., a double-move, sprinting, charge-through, etc)

Repeat.

However, this system would greatly reward clustering your initiative rolls, low-high from rounds 1-2: it would allow the lucky, based on their rolls, to move into melee range after an opponent's initiative, attack, then roll great next round and move away before they could be attacked. Still, I'm not sure this is a bad thing... it's pretty simple, and you can add one slight layer of complexity - the "guard" function a la the old Gold Box SSI AD&D games - to allow the "holding" of a melee attack action, such that if you have somebody move into melee range of you after your initiative, you get to make your attack when they move adjacent. That would balance it a bit, I think.

And just ignore "attacks of opportunity," withdrawal, etc. There's just initiative, movement, and actions.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Eyeball360 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:36 pm

I think it's clear that this is intended to apply only to someone withdrawing and not if they reposition themselves while staying within the area I threaten. I realize that you can read the rule that way if you choose to, but generally, I think if there are two ways to interpret something and one makes significantly more sense than the other, you go with the one that makes the most sense.
ShaggyCan wrote:Did anyone else think as they read this thread, 'it's questions like this that got you 4E' :)
Well put.

My take on this rule is that you apply common sense and allow a single attack of opportunity. Everything is really happening simultaneously, so even if 4 people leave the area adjacent to me, I can't really attack all 4, just one of them. If I'm the one who leaves, however, all 4 should be able to attack me.
Mintaro wrote:... I let my players take a "withdrawl action" in place of an attack, this lets them fall back without taking an attack from the enemy...
I like this a lot. Of course, in hand-to-hand combat no one is really going to turn their back on an opponent to move away unless perhaps if they are fleeing and assuming that they are doing so oversimplifies the situation quite a bit. This idea really makes a lot of sense to me.

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by screenmonkey » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:10 pm

Keep in mind that the use of a "withdrawal free whack" rule is what effectively kills any chase scene from occurring. The PCs don't run when they should for fear of an ignoble death and the bad guys never manage to escape to plunge down some alleyway with the heroes in hot pursuit.

That's been my experience anyway.

So what is the origin of this rule? Appendix N? Wargaming? Gygaxian D&D? D&D3.0?

If its not Appendix N, why not drop it?

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Re: Question about "Withdrawl," page 95

Post by Devil Swine » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:43 pm

I give this thread a 6.3 rating of the wackO'meter!

What the heck?


We don't want people to get away from combat without at least the risk of getting hit so we have the free whack rule.

Don't try to read stuff into it.

Don't try to psycho analyze it and ask if it could be expanded out to include sneezing and what about that whole what way are you facing stuff.

If someone is in combat with someone else and they want to get away. They don't get to without getting swung at.

Could you expand it WAY WAY past that simple rule and include spell casting and flat footed and the price of beans in space? Sure. That's what house rules are for.


Now if one guy was fighting 10 guys and they all fled does he get to attack them all. Heck,I dunno,ask your DM,he is the guy making 10 people flee. Frankly with those odds I got no clue whats on his mind.

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