Problem with "tank" PC

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Jounichi
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#41 Postby Jounichi » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:59 am

Ilina_Young wrote:spear and shield is specifically a setting rule for settings taking place in Greece, Rome or Persia during the Era of BC. where the weight of some rather massive spears was supported by the strength of the Phalanx working together. the reason the Spear was popular in Phalanx fighting was because it provided reach, which is a huge asset in Phalanx Combat, where you warriors were lined up in rows of people armed with spears and shields. but if you are playing in a Setting where Phalanx is the common military style, there really shouldn't be full plate armor and well, the parry bonuses of the spear shouldn't stack with the parry bonuses of the shield. but i usually rule that encumbrance penalties affect Parry and sometimes Pace. for example, if you have a -1 from your load, that reduces your parry by 1.

It could be a setting rule in something BCE, but I don't know of any off the top of my head. Weird Wars Rome may have something similar, but I'm unfamiliar with the setting. In any case, full plate armor is also part of the equation, and despite my ignorance of WWR I'm confident in saying I don't think it's there. It's not impossible, though. Individual components could be made of bronze or possibly iron. But in general full body armor wasn't a thing, and it certainly wouldn't enclose to body enough to adequately guard against AoE attacks.

It has been stated multiple times that parry from weapons and shields do, in fact, stack with each other. If someone is somehow capable of effectively wielding both, then they get the benefits of both. Going back to your BCE example, there might also be spears different than those found in SWD which can be wielded one-handed with efficiency. The idea of a rapier being reskinned as a short spear has been tossed around this thread. Still, it's splitting hairs.

The issue here is how to adequately both challenge and reward a player who has invested so heavily in defense as to make them nigh untouchable and uninjurable.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#42 Postby Panzerkraft » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:33 am

The PCs are Seasoned rank, we have started from this rank so surviving the low levels wasn't a problem. They are all humans.
They have used all the possible stats increases, but they still have D4 on Smart and Spirit.
The spear was a mistake, but we will probably switch to a rapier refluffled in the next session.
I think that the problem was simply forgetting about savage attack and tricks. -4 to Parry and +2 to damage should make a lot of difference.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#43 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:57 am

i would rule that each -1 penalty from encumbrance or fatigue reduces their parry by 1. this generally keeps the tankier combatants closer to being defeatable once you track the load they carry and have them roll vigor checks with the weight of thier load against them and possibly a penalty for being not appropriately dressed for the weather because most heavy armor in fantasy settings is made of metal, which is extremely vulnerable to both heat and cold. this helps lots when the characters loads up on armor, a small armory of weapons or both. just try not to give bags of holding or the equivalent. the concept of the rule is that being weighted down or tired makes it harder for you to defend yourself.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#44 Postby Ndreare » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:03 pm

Ilina_Young wrote:i would rule that each -1 penalty from encumbrance or fatigue reduces their parry by 1. this generally keeps the tankier combatants closer to being defeatable once you track the load they carry and have them roll vigor checks with the weight of thier load against them and possibly a penalty for being not appropriately dressed for the weather because most heavy armor in fantasy settings is made of metal, which is extremely vulnerable to both heat and cold. this helps lots when the characters loads up on armor, a small armory of weapons or both. just try not to give bags of holding or the equivalent. the concept of the rule is that being weighted down or tired makes it harder for you to defend yourself.


The funny thing about this topic is I just realized I never really understood encumbrance. I have been applying the penalties to Pace, Agility, and all Agility based skills.

Makes me wonder which is better.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#45 Postby ValhallaGH » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:42 pm

Ndreare wrote:The funny thing about this topic is I just realized I never really understood encumbrance. I have been applying the penalties to Pace, Agility, and all Agility based skills.

Officially, it applies to Strength, Agility, and all linked Skills for both attributes. See encumbrance in the Gear chapter.

Some settings apply it to other things (Tour of Darkness applies it to Vigor rolls to resist Heat), but most don't change anything.
Ilina_Young uses a ton of house rules, and isn't always clear about which rules she discusses are house rules, leading to some confusion. Which is a shame, some of those house rules are pretty awesome; the confusion detracts from appreciating how awesome they are.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#46 Postby Ndreare » Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:52 pm

Okay,
Well that makes sense. Thanks ValhallaGH.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#47 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:00 pm

it is a house rule idea. each point of penalty from encumbrance or fatigue applies wholesale to a Target's Parry, applies A penalty rolls against fatigue induced from intense heat or cold, and possibly applies as a penalty to pace to a minimum parry and pace of 1 each. the basic idea comes from the premise that carrying a massive load or being extremely exhausted makes it harder for you to defend yourself. it discourages minmaxing tank builds. but tanks can easily be ignored because tanking doesn't really work in tabletop games where there is no aggro. but the best way to deal with tanks is having a mature discussion. for every Tanky Character there is one less character contributing to the group's success. i understand the desire to kill off tanks, but it is best to ignore tanks until they get bored, and find ways to force them to take a more direct and straightforward playstyle.

even in MMOs, tanks still have to make attacks and use skills. in Fact, WoW Tanks have lots of AoE damage skills because AoE DPS is a huge part of a Tank's Role in that game.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#48 Postby Jounichi » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:01 pm

Ilina_Young wrote:it is a house rule idea. each point of penalty from encumbrance or fatigue applies wholesale to a Target's Parry, applies A penalty rolls against fatigue induced from intense heat or cold, and possibly applies as a penalty to pace to a minimum parry and pace of 1 each. the basic idea comes from the premise that carrying a massive load or being extremely exhausted makes it harder for you to defend yourself. it discourages minmaxing tank builds. but tanks can easily be ignored because tanking doesn't really work in tabletop games where there is no aggro. but the best way to deal with tanks is having a mature discussion. for every Tanky Character there is one less character contributing to the group's success. i understand the desire to kill off tanks, but it is best to ignore tanks until they get bored, and find ways to force them to take a more direct and straightforward playstyle.

even in MMOs, tanks still have to make attacks and use skills. in Fact, WoW Tanks have lots of AoE damage skills because AoE DPS is a huge part of a Tank's Role in that game.

That sounds like something a bit difficult to balance. It's not hard at all for penalties to bring a target's Parry down to ludicrously low levels. If a mage casts "cone of cold" (burst with a cold trapping) or a huckster "parch" (damage field with a heat trapping) you could drop the target's Parry by -2. Even something as simple as lower Strength could do the job; potentially even more so if the drop makes them temporarily ineligible for Brawny. Why target the Fighting skill at all?

While I do somewhat agree with the sentiment that a conversation should be had, I disagree with the reasoning. The tanks, by virtue of being tough to hit and damage, aren't necessarily contributing to the party's success by being there. They have to actively draw attention away from other, softer members of the party. Or they have to reposition themselves to actively soak that damage. That's how it works in online gaming, but that doesn't mean it works at a table. It can, but you need to employ mechanics to attract that playstyle. In Pathfinder, there's a paladin archetype where targets of your smite deal reduced damage to anyone else; which forces the enemy to make a decision as to where their efforts are best directed. There are also plenty of feats for locking down spellcasters, who are often the most dangerous members on the battlefield. But those build "threat" (to use World of Warcraft speak) and that mechanic, as far as I know. doesn't exist anywhere in Savage Worlds. I simply don't know any way of coercing an enemy into attacking you.

The alternative is to reposition, to put yourself between your allies and the enemy. The only way I'm aware of is the Guardian Edge from Pirates of the Spanish Main. Short of some of your house rules, your MMO analogies aren't helpful.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#49 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:19 pm

to Explain the World of Warcraft Analogy. Tanking Specializations have a passive specialization specific presence related perk that lets them generate more hate from dealing damage than most other characters in the group. they also have area attacks that make no real sense and are usually used as a means to draw the attention of multiple opponents at once. but either way, a Tank Still has to inflict damage. they merely inflict Area Damage, usually have a Cheap Self Heal, and a Taunt at their core. they generally use their Area Attacks in single target rotations because they love to Carpet Bomb and usually have the cheapest carpet bombing methods out there.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#50 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:33 pm

the True Role of a Tank is not to be the Last Person standing. the True Role of the Tank is to be the Diversion and Wreak Havoc upon your Enemy's Ranks by becoming the most Massive Distraction you can and drawing the attention of your enemies to yourself. even in MMO's, tanks have offensive perks.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#51 Postby ValhallaGH » Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:23 pm

I always hated the MMO co-opting of tank in reference to actual tanks. A real tank is tough, mobile, and hard hitting. MMO "tanks" are generally just tough.

Savage Worlds allows "tank" builds to be Tough, Mobile, and Hard Hitting.
Toughness 12 (3)? Sure, can do that at Novice.
Parry 9? Sure, can do that at Novice.
Damage d8+d8 (average 10.2 damage)? Sure, can do that at Novice.
Pace 8 with d10 Run die? Sure, can do that at Novice.
Heck, with a single Advance, you can build a character that does all four of those at the same time. Not going to be good at much else, but the character can move fast (Fleet Footed), hit hard, be tough to strike in melee, and be tough like a two ton automobile.
Agility d6, Strength d8, Vigor d12. Fleet Footed and Brawny. Fighting d12. Long sword, small shield, plate corslet.
If you're able to wait until Seasoned (20 xp, four advances) then the character can be Brave and able to Sweep, plus have Strength d12 (or d10 and Agility d8 for all those combat edges).

Hitting the combination is important for a Savage Worlds "tank" because there are very few game mechanics to force attacks upon yourself (generally a Setting Rule or GM call based upon some player action). This means that to really pull enemy attention, the character has to appear as both a big threat and someone that needs to be hit a lot to put down. Moving around the field, hitting enemy leaders hard, and ignoring most strikes (including free attacks for withdrawing from melee) will do a great job of giving that impression.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#52 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:16 pm

MMO Tanks still need to deal Damage to keep the enemy attention drawn towards themselves. if you Look at World of Warcraft and Even Final Fantasy 14. a Tank is still Expected to inflict Damage and is still expected to hit hard. in Fact, FF14 Tanks are expected to Wear Strength Increasing Accessories to help them increase their ability to keep the enemy focused on themselves because too much focus on Vigor/Vitality for the hit points is generally not a viable build.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#53 Postby Jounichi » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:13 pm

We're not talking about MMO tanks. They rely on mechanics which simply don't exist in this game.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#54 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:28 pm

Jounichi wrote:We're not talking about MMO tanks. They rely on mechanics which simply don't exist in this game.



i was pointing out that turtle tanks don't work, even in the medium they were assumed to come from. Tanks still need to put an active effort into inflicting damage, they can't go all defensive and put no effort into inflicting damage and assume the enemy won't or shouldn't ignore them. there is a reason newer tank classes in MMOs seem to focus on inflicting massive damage and have nasty AoE, because playing a Tank like they were a Damage Dealer seems to usually be more effective than playing them as a turtle.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#55 Postby JackMann » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:50 am

Unfortunately, most RPGs don't really let you be a bodyguard, mechanically. They don't have great mechanics for letting you stand between an enemy and your buddy. Things like attacks of opportunity can help a bit, but it's still not something most tabletop games let you do.

I liked 4e's marking mechanic because it was both realistic (it's based on rugby, which is functionally a small melee skirmish) and effective. Sure, enemies could ignore you, but it let you put the hurt on them (and fighters had abilities that let them shove enemies around, like grabbing an enemy and pushing him away from your friend).

But that's getting off topic. Sometimes, all you need to make a tank PC work is for the GM to recognize that the player wants to be a tank and having enemies attack him. Sure, it might not be the most effective tactic, but it's likely to be the most fun tactic for your players.

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#56 Postby Jounichi » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:48 am

JackMann wrote:Unfortunately, most RPGs don't really let you be a bodyguard, mechanically. They don't have great mechanics for letting you stand between an enemy and your buddy. Things like attacks of opportunity can help a bit, but it's still not something most tabletop games let you do.

Or at least very few do. Those that do tend to be more crunchy in terms of battle mechanics. Dungeons & Dragons (and its derivatives) are at their core combat simulators, so there it makes sense. I think most of us agree Savage Worlds is decidedly less so.

JackMann wrote:But that's getting off topic. Sometimes, all you need to make a tank PC work is for the GM to recognize that the player wants to be a tank and having enemies attack him. Sure, it might not be the most effective tactic, but it's likely to be the most fun tactic for your players.

And that's part of the problem we've been discussing since the first page. It's not enough to just throw endless mooks at the guy(s) because doing so isn't all that challenging. If all they've invested in is making themselves difficult to hurt, then how are they contributing to the fight when they can easily be ignored? They're not actually performing the role of an MMO tank like Ilina_Young keeps bringing up, which is why I've taken such umbrage with her thought process. Whether or not the players-in-question had this kind of role in mind when they built their characters is unclear, so the constant allusion to makes her contribution seem almost perfunctory.

Ilina_Young wrote:i was pointing out that turtle tanks don't work, even in the medium they were assumed to come from. Tanks still need to put an active effort into inflicting damage, they can't go all defensive and put no effort into inflicting damage and assume the enemy won't or shouldn't ignore them. there is a reason newer tank classes in MMOs seem to focus on inflicting massive damage and have nasty AoE, because playing a Tank like they were a Damage Dealer seems to usually be more effective than playing them as a turtle.

I know you mean well, but I'm not entirely convinced you've thought this through. Nobody's disagreeing with your assessment of "turtling," but being a tank was never supposed to be a passive role. The idea is always to be a distraction, whether it's in a tabletop RPG, an RTS, or an MMO. It's active by nature, and to assume where and what the player(s) got their idea from seems foolhardy. It's also irrelevant. For whatever reason the player(s) chose, they've made their choice. The only issue now is how to deal with it.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#57 Postby Ndreare » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:56 am

JackMann wrote:Unfortunately, most RPGs don't really let you be a bodyguard, mechanically. They don't have great mechanics for letting you stand between an enemy and your buddy. Things like attacks of opportunity can help a bit, but it's still not something most tabletop games let you do.



I started another thread For this. Tell me what you think.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=52200

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#58 Postby Ilina_Young » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:32 pm

the Concept of a Tough player character has been around for a long while. i know the Role of a Tank is to Wreak Havoc and cause distraction. but lots of new people only understand the tough part of the role and build "Tough" Characters. because some people measure a character by the standard of how long they can survive and how much damage they can mitigate. mitigation isn't the sole job. i agree the role is active, but i disagree that passive players are a bad thing. you need 3 passive players for every 2 active players because it is less conflict causing than 5 active players. passive players are still useful.

but MMO's are popular, and Tanks in those games, which are percieved to be defensively stacked by outsiders. technically have potent ofenses they have to use to keep distracting thier enemies. most tanks aren't plate wearing shield bearing dwarves. i kinda assumed the guy was trying to build an MMO tank. but i think he or she might have been simply trying to present what they thought was an unkillable character.

i personally hate it when a player tries to build a seemingly invincible character and i hate it when they complain thier character isn't a priority target. did you present a paladin? or is paladin a code word for "i'm going to build an invincible character?"

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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#59 Postby ValhallaGH » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:59 pm

There have been a lot of MMOs where "tank" classes had active abilities to generate Threat, either by doing tons of damage or manipulating the code for threat directly. But minimal concern about getting attacked a lot is the defining aspect of an MMO tank.

Focusing on "minimal concern", to the exclusion of all else (especially "getting attacked a lot"), is a mistake many players make in RPGs of all kinds. Being tough is all well and good, but if the foe doesn't have a reason to engage the character then the concept is fundamentally flawed.
Aside: I had a lot of lengthy conversations about this topic when I was involved with the Iron Heroes RPG. IH had a class, the Armiger, that used armor and shields better than anyone else, making it the toughest combatant around. Unfortunately, most iterations of the class had little to no offense (or had to be attacked to build up offensive ability), so were ineffective and often ignored in combat, defeating the purpose and role of the class. I'm very familiar with this discussion.

Fortunately, this isn't a problem in the Savage Worlds rules. Even a very tough character can have the same offensive ability of the "rogue" type (2d6), and can Wild Attack (usually with d12 Fighting) for +2 damage and better odds of a Raise - heck, that high Parry is practically begging to be lowered by near-constant Wild Attacks.
Further, any damage roll can be the final damage roll. Acing damage means any attack that gets to roll damage has the potential to kill the target. 2d4 isn't a lot of damage, but if you roll 25+ enough times then your players are eternally afraid of swarms. :mrgreen:
Generally, a character will only be ignored when they spend an inordinate amount of time using Defend or other actions that prevent them from making attack rolls and equivalents (good use of Tricks and Tests of Will can make a character as high a priority as healing magic). That's a poor choice by the player, one that can be changed the very next round, not a fundamental flaw in the rules, character build, or character concept.
The solution to this problem is to talk to your player(s), not write new rules.
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Re: Problem with "tank" PC

#60 Postby Panzerkraft » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:41 pm

I don't think that pointing out that enemies can ignore the tanks is a valid criticism.
First of all, the PCs can still make decent damage.
But even if they were "turtles" the enemies would have to attack them after they have dealt with the other PCs. And those would find it unfair if the enemies were always to prioritize them.
In some situations there's no choice but to attack the tanks. For example in the fight in the 1st post the mercenaries were trying to kill or capturing the tanks because they were wanted. The other PCs were not present or were helping the mercenaries (it was a complicated situation).


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