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A rule that always bothered me, Full Move, Half Move and Attack, DEX, SPD, and you!

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I have been playing Champions, on and off, since the boxed set.

I own almost every single thing from 4th Ed.

I own the majority of the 5th Ed.books, but never really played that version, and have not looked at 6th due to a lack of players and finances.


I was mostly self-taught in the early days, and since I had bought the books, I was the most "experienced" player in the game, usually the GM.


Years later, on this very board I found out that I had been doing something wrong for years.


You and your opponent are a distance away from each other.

For the sake of argument, you are a Full Move away from each other (whatever that distance might be, let's say 30").

You and your opponent have the same SPD, and his DEX is one point higher than yours, so he acts first.

He chooses to do a Full Move and attack (Move Through, Move By, whatever.)

I want to attack him with a Ranged Attack (Energy Blast).

Because his DEX is higher he goes first.

I don't know if I misread the rule in the early edition, skipped over it completely, or just blocked it out because it would not process, but in our games we always played that.

My opponent starts running at me, from 30" away.

Based on what he is doing (running in a straight line, bobbing and weaving, using cover, whatever) I take my shot with appropriate modifiers for speed and distance.

Then, assuming he is not Stunned or KO'ed, he makes his attack on me at the end of his move.


I am not saying this is right, this is just how we did it.

I also understand now, that doing it this way could potentially rob my opponent of his attack, because he could get Stunned or KO'ed on the way, even though he has the right to attack first because of his higher DEX.


However, when I first was told about the correct way,according to the rules, it sounded so strange.

I know Champions is a super hero game, but not every character is The Flash!

So the idea that Character A stands like a statue with a blaster drawn (eyebeams at the ready, character-rang in hand, etc.) while his opponent runs the entire length of a football field and smacks him, at which point Character A gets to take his shot, just seemed crazy..


I know that is the rule as written.

I know that it works with the other rules.

I accept that it is fair to all participants.


It just feels weird.


Has anyone else ever done this any other way, or did everyone else in the world "get it" the first time they saw it?



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It made sense to me the first time I saw it, but I came to roleplaying from a wargaming background.  It made perfect sense to me that combat is broken up into sections and you might sometimes get an unrealistic result, because it's not somebody's turn to go yet.  Combat usually takes up the largest part of most rulebooks, so more complexity isn't always better.


In my mind, we get around this with held actions, everyone starting on segment 12, and the chance for surprise.  During the course of a fight, you aren't always ready to react at every instant.  Also, if you've got 30" of movement, you kind of are like the Flash.  Yeah, you're at the other end of a football field, but you can cover that distance in the time it takes me to get out of my chair.  One of your superpowers is moving fast.  In a comic book, you covering the distance to hit the other guy would be shown in one panel, and there would either be a streak of color behind you, or whoosh lines, or if you were a Batman type there'd be little afterimages showing you doing flips and bouncing off cars acrobatically to cover the distance.  To interrupt somebody in the middle of their panel, you need a held action.

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Another way to think of it is this-watch some police training videos of gun vs knife. A person with a knife can cover a good 8-10' and attack a person before they can draw a gun and shoot. If you scale that up to super hero levels, it's entirely possible to get in someone's face before they can respond with a blast. Yes, if they are 'ready' they could shoot the person before they cross that distance, but that would not be represented by Segment 12 actions (unless the GM declared them ready with a bead on the target etc). Phases after 12 where the character could hold action would represent having their attack primed and waiting to respond. 


Also, I agree with the above...if you can move 60 meters in a second, you are a speedster!

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Here's the way I generally see timing in combat.


Segment 12 -- Everyone gets to go, because everyone is generally aware that a fight is about to start.  The good guys see the bad guys, the bad guys see the good guys, everyone is ready.  Unless you're super-duper slow (Speed 1), you will get to act.  But no one has really had the chance to draw a bead on an opponent yet (i.e., holding action).  The closest you could come to representing that would just be to have the highest Dex and just going first.


Surprise actions -- I'm not even sure if this is in the rules, but we've played with it so long that our group does it this way.  If you really really get the drop on somebody, you can blast them outside of the normal combat sequence.  A sniper doesn't shoot on segment 12 -- he shoots before segment 12.  If people can detect you and get to you, then segment 12 will probably quickly follow.  You'll get to act again, because your first attack was outside of combat, and so it doesn't cost you a phase.  Imagine Batman leaping out of the shadows and kicking a goon in the face.  The next panel is Bats standing above this unconscious guy, posing menacingly while all the gangsters in the room react in shock.  This is a pre-segment 12 attack, and when combat begins in earnest we'll probably have Batman going first again (because he has the highest Dex).


Held actions -- Not everybody attacks as quickly as they can.  Particularly characters who have ranged attacks and not great movement, they may find it more helpful to wait when their action comes up rather than blazing away.  If Bob the goon has a 3 Speed and a shotgun, if he has no good targets on segment 4 (when he normally goes), he may decide to hold.  We allow people to hold generally (as opposed to something specific such as "when that guy comes around the corner").  Bob the goon can hold on phase 4, and as long as he acts before we hit segment 8 (his next phase), he's okay.  When our hero with 30" of Flight zooms over to punch a bad guy, Bob can shoot him before he gets there as long as he has a held action.  He might have to make a Dex roll-off, but he might get a bonus to that based upon why he was holding ("I'm waiting to see what Captain Meteor does, and I've got my shotgun ready").  This would allow normal people to shoot a hero who makes this giant movement.



As far as I'm concerned, as long as the game system allows you to mimic these cinematic fights, then it's doing its job.  It doesn't matter what the default setting is (if Bob can shoot Captain Meteor in mid-flight immediately, or if he has to declare he's holding action first), as long as he can do it somehow.  

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Hey, massey, for the campaign we're in, the sniper would be the only one to get a 12's attack, then a whole new round would start.


massey quote: We allow people to hold generally (as opposed to something specific such as "when that guy comes around the corner").

Woo! Nice to see someone else does this, too.  :) 


KA., depending on the situation, if the higher dex guy races the 30"/60meters across but the lower dex guy is ready, the lower dex guy could try something to surprise the higher dex guy and thus, effectively go first. Again, depends alot on the situation and creativity of the people involved. I have a vague GM memory of having a viper agent surprising a higher dex/speed hero and effectively going first but can't recall any specifics.

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Thank you both for the input.

Again, I wasn't trying to say it was wrong, just that it was very counterintuitive for me.

The idea of holding an action also helps a lot.

I think that in my mind I have been merging "able to shoot" and "ready to shoot".

Especially at the start of combat, you may be trying to figure out what is going on, who the threat is, and what your response should be.

If, at that time, you have a weapon or attack power ready, you are at that point "able to shoot", but not "ready to shoot".

It will take a certain amount of time to decide on your target and what you are going to do.

Which would explain the person with higher DEX getting to attack you first.


However, if you are using a Held Action, you are at that point "ready to shoot".

"That guy in the Skull Costume looks like trouble, if comes at me in a threatening way, I am going to blast him!"


So if the Skull guy uses his Phase 12 to take a shot at someone with his Skull Blaster, and you hold your action, then on his next phase you don't have to stand there flat footed while he runs across the football field and smacks you. You can use your held action to blast him.

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This is a peculiarity of the system, and I agree with you in that it is glitchy, especially so for Hero games that emphasise 'realism' over 'dramatic realism.  I remember years ago, one of our group who was fairly new to Hero had set up a Justice Inc. game. He had a number of hoodlums holding tommy guns -  menacingly, but not pointed at anyone in particular  - across the far side of the street. Combat erupted on Phase 12 with both parties exchanging fire. Next turn when a player who was SPD 3  realised that the hoods were SPD 2, he used his Phase 8 to charge across some 40' distance with a 'Flying Tackle' (Move Through) on one of the hoods. The GM couldn't believe that RAW, the PC would be able to charge across the road to hit one of them before ANY of them got a chance to fire off a shot. It didn't suit his dramatic sense so he allowed half of them to fire off rolls as though they had the PC 'Covered' (which they hadn't previously announced of course, so effectively he was allowing them to abort their Phase 12's to an attack). 

Nobody had any issues with this as I seem to recall, including the target PC. It was just a system rule that sounded dumb to the guy in charge and his fix didn't seem unreasonable.


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I hear what you are saying, but I think it is more how you are looking at the situation rather than a broken rule. 


On 12/5/2019 at 9:21 PM, KA. said:

So the idea that Character A stands like a statue with a blaster drawn (eyebeams at the ready, character-rang in hand, etc.) while his opponent runs the entire length of a football field and smacks him, at which point Character A gets to take his shot, just seemed crazy..

is not what is happening.


A character’s speed and dex are not just a game board measure of when you can attack.  It is the systems measure of the cognitive speed of the PC.   Or how well your PC can notice something and make the mental connections and then react. 


A more accurate description is: 

Character A with blaster drawn and head on a swivel, scans for threats from all directions.  (and then either A, B or C)

(A) Reacting to a sudden flicker of movement in the corner of his eye he twists to avoid the blow. (our Hero gets his full DCV).

(B) Reacting to a sudden flicker of movement in the corner of his eye he twists to avoid the blow. (our Hero gets ½ DCV but the enemy misses).

(C) Reacting too late, the sudden blow hurls him from his feet (½ DVC for being unaware and the enemy hits).


Now the big decider is whether the Hero has full DCV or ½ DCV (surprised).  If Hero guy is watching the side of a building in case any enemies come out the windows lining the entire side of the ground floor, then a villain attacking from “behind” or a football field down the street may get the drop on them.


That same hero in the street waiting for his action will have his head on a swivel and most likely perceive at least the flicker of movement and get his full DCV as he instinctively reacts. 


What he cannot do is time travel.  Or get an extra attack out of phase to go before the acting villain.  Speed/Dex is a measure of your reactive capability.  Instinctively reacting to avoid being hit is distinctly different than the “Detect-Formulate Response-Attack” of you PC’s conscious and deliberate actions.  One of the reasons (IMO) that you can "abort to dodge" or pull a phase to dodge is that dodging is instinctive and doesn't require the PC to think, and attack does.


The fact that the enemy was a hundred yards away is irrelevant because the distance was covered in a single phase of movement.   If you can visualize a commando suddenly closing six feet an instant and stabbing you as believable, it is no different than a super closing three hundred feet IN THE SAME INSTANT and stabbing you. 


The long and the short of it is your character was not “watching his opponent runs the entire length of a football field and smacks him”.  Instead he was scanning for danger when his opponent suddenly appears beside him (or runs past for a MB or MT) and rolls to hit.


Even if they were in a dual and your PC was actively watching him it would not be “watching his opponent runs the entire length of a football field”, it would be “watching his opponent suddenly appear right in from of him.”  Unless your PC is can move/perceive as fast as the enemy he is not watching him in motion, he is seeing the end result because the fast character moved from point A to point B in a single phase.  Wooosh!!!!


Same reason a Speed 6 PC will rip through a group of Speed 2 mooks.  I would not let those mooks get "free attacks" while the Hero was closing on them unless the Hero's turn ended before reaching them and the mooks phase came up. 


Now I cannot tell you how to run your game and I won't.  But I hope that if you do give you heroes extra attack opportunities, you apply the same bonus to the villains and mooks :winkgrin:

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Thanks for the comments.

Back when we used to play it that way, it definitely worked both ways, it a hero made a full move at a mook, the mook got his shot. If a villain made a full move at a hero, the hero got his shot.

It worked the same for everyone.


Again, I accept the rules as written, I just didn't get it back then.


I think part of the problem was thinking about it in terms of time.

The way we played it, again this was based on a limited understanding of the rules, was that if you had a SPD of 4 and there were 12 seconds in a Round, then each of your Phases took 3 seconds.

So, if you made a full move, that took three seconds.


(Again, I am not in any way saying this is correct, this is how we thought it worked.)


So, assuming that combat has already started (not Phase 12, later on in the combat) the Prime Mover (Half man, Half bull 800 lbs of angry prime beef) gives a battle snort at you and, since his Dex is one point higher than yours, gets to complete his full move for a Move-by (ole').


Based on how we were figuring how time works, his full move took three seconds.

Which left you standing there, blaster in hand, counting One One-Thousand, Two One-Thousand, Three One-thousand waiting for him to get there and run you over.

Then, if you were still standing, not stunned, etc. you got your chance to take your shot.


I think the time/movement part is what gave us trouble.

It I am standing in the street at high noon, and Billy the Young has a higher DEX, meaning he gets to draw and fire before I draw and fire because his DEX is one point higher than mine, I am okay with that, it makes sense.

It was the idea that if he wanted to walk all the way down the street and punch me in the nose, I would stand there and wait for it because his DEX was one point higher that I had a problem with.

Doing something instantly (shoot), faster than I do something instantly (shoot), because your DEX is a little bit higher makes sense.

Doing something that takes 3 seconds (the full move) faster than I can do something instantly (shoot) is what did not seem to make sense.


I understand it now.

It is a game, not a perfect simulation of reality.

As long as the rules are fair in the overall sense and work together to form a cohesive whole everything is fine.


It just seemed weird to us.



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I get you.  The big reason I prefer 3rd, 4th, 5th over 6th is 6th removed most of the specific elements that actually sold us on the game in the first place.


But we had a lot of things we had adjusted for our games.  Everyone adjusts for their likes.  Nothing is actually wrong. 😁



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