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Bodyguard command

Would be nice to have 'bodyguard' command for protecting targets. 'bodyguard ' which prompts an attack on the attacker of the target you're bodyguarding.
Last time it came up things got a little bogged down in details but I agree and I think one of the main reasons why there is no real bodyguarding/protection gameplay, no meaningful combat role for immies, and why every character is their chosen archetype plus a minimum of half a combat archetype, is that there is no real way to protect someone or be protected by another character. In the end everyone is pretty much on their own as far as relying on their stats to win out over their attacker.

It's basically one shot at winning one grapple check if the player can type that fast and otherwise your ultrarich fixer boss is sewered.

My understanding was that Slither was open to something like this but needed to be able to justify it with an appropriate stat/skill check worked into the combat system.

That's why I had suggested the same roll one would make to dodge an attack as, in my mind, getting in the way of an attack and getting out of the way of an attack take almost identical skills/stats. I am not sure if the suggestion was not agreed with or if something like this is just on the back burner for now.

Just to be thorough though, here's a more detailed explanation of how I imagine it working:

Once the attacker uses a command on a victim that would force that victim to dodge or get hit or be grappled, the game checks to see if anyone is guarding the victim.

If not, the flow is as always.

If someone is guarding then the guard makes a dodge check against the attacker's grapple or attack.

If they manage they take the hit or become grappled instead of the victim.

If they fail then the victim must defend against the attack like usual and should they fail, they take the hit or become grappled.

Could even add some appropriate flavor messaging like: Bob tries to get in the way of Sam's attack but Sam weaves around Bob. NORMAL ATTACK MESSAGE AGAINST JILL.

Or: Sam tries to attack Jill but Bob manages to get in Sam's way. NORMAL ATTACK MESSAGE AGAINST BOB.

I think something similar to the above can be wrapped in with the escort command, as that is the intention of the command anyways. It shouldn't need a separate command to take the brunt of someone's attack.

On a different note, I wouldn't be opposed to a bodyguard command that allowed the above, or additionally allowed you to take a hit for someone with the right skills/check in combat you join. For instance, Joe Baka the client gets attack, and you do 'bodyguard Joe Baka' or whatever, and when they are attacked you dive in the way to take that hit (or all of the hits, whichever works best for combat stuff). Would be handy in situations, though don't know how it would play into combat targetting.

Yeah. I prefer to keep it simple and to balance it by making a successful 'bodyguard' equal taking a hit. Not make it so that you deflect the damage to nowhere. If we did a thing where the bodyguard could just negate the damage, no matter how realistic or cool it might seem, I feel it would be power gamed - even if it required mean skill/stat checks.

Success as a body guard is taking the damage in my opinion. That's the only way I can see this not getting out of control. Sure, armor can help reduce it but you succeed you get hit!

I also prefer to rely on dodge checks as it encourages bruisers to spread their UE so they CAN get in the way and speedsters to spread the UE so they CAN take the hits. I'd prefer a change here to encourage spreading the UE and not finding ways to make it working out of the box with the optimized builds of today.

And you are 100% right. This could be bundled with the escort command as the game does track who is escorting who already and that was kind of what escort was designed for. Great call!

How do you counter bodyguarding?
Bring someone to deal with the bodyguard? I imagine that, if grappled or engaged themselves that they couldn't focus on taking hits on their charge's behalf. Or if they were separated from their charge. Wait for the bodyguard to move then grab the charge before they can follow. Just the first thoughts that come to mind!

Be faster than the bodyguard if you're attempting melee, or, shoot from a different room.
I envision guarding someone and blocking attacks as stat weighted in the same way that attacks against a character themselves would be made, so low-skill/low-stat characters can't block skilled attackers going for their guarded subject, but a very skilled and deeply statted character could readily defend the them.

I think especially grapples being intercepted would make non-combat 'leader' characters way more viable, I can think of a few past situations where someone was able to sprint in and drag a target out before anyone could react to stop it. Even if immy muscle had a low tens percent chance of blocking a hit like that, it would make it well worth someone's while to hire them for the task.

One possible example could be a defender making skill checks similar to a difficult parry (but without weapon constraints) to block attacks made at their target, but only so long as they remain in a guarded posture.

So a player could choose to soak initial hits made against their target at a penalty without being able to roll attacks for those rounds, and then shift into another posture to begin attacking the attacker themselves. The bodyguarded subject is now vulnerable to attacks again, but kind of crucially can't be just flash grabbed by the first attacker because that character is now in combat. It also would make it possible to get someone who is being guarded by bringing someone in to engage the bodyguard and someone to get the target.

Multiple bodyguards would need multiple attackers to deal with, rather than one high UE character whose blood has been replaced by V-202 flashing through a crowd to do a hit.

It feels to me that rather than having a code check for every individual attack against a guarded individual, better would be a single check at the beginning of combat. If the bodyguard wins, then the bodyguard is the person in combat. If the attacker wins, then the victim is the person in combat.

This would allow protected people to flee and limit the need to have another layer of calculation on every attack.

Putting bodyguarding behind a skill check just makes it impossible for Immies to do the thing someone would hire them to do. Unless, like someone said, it was gated behind a low-difficulty Dodge roll.

Even then, I don't think taking a job where you're likely to die is something that should take more than a week's worth of UE.

Dealing with a bodyguard or two is the same as dealing with anyone else. You grapple them and drag them away, or you cover the cement in their face. Have someone waiting on the other side of the door for when your target makes a run for it.

The question should be, "How can combat characters protect weaker characters?" Because right now they just can't.

If there's any restriction on bodyguarding someone, consider making it so that you can't bodyguard someone who has a higher UE investment in combat skills than you. That is, in any escort group, the first to get targeted is usually the strongest. That way bodyguarding can't be gamed into having a Max UE solo surrounded by a horde of gremlin meat shields.

Interesting. I'm rather a fan of the meat shields concept. Seems more themely. Plus, encourages people to assemble teams, which I would like to see more of as the game continues to grow our playerbase.

I'd like to see the 'real solos' stand out as being so selective about who they work with that they wouldn't stoop to working with others. But this RP for RP's sake, and the players who do solo-math will probably not see it as profitable to put their $500K in equipment and chrome and PDS possibility on the line for a $40K hit.

However, I do hear the concern about abuse of the system to make hired killers unstoppable. And the combat characters have always found amazing ways to push the system to its edge and find the weaknesses. I feel that's an acceptable and themely risk!

alittlonger's idea is great.

Pick a skill -- Dodge has been suggested -- and in a bodyguard group, have it target whoever is best at that stat+skill combo. I think the gremlin meat shield issue is real.

What if the person being bodyguarded can't attack?
I honestly don't understand the question Mirage. Would be happy to brainstorm if I did though!

Keep in mind that if you only have one check at the beginning of combat that the attacker can just 'attack victim' twice and bypass the guard with minimal impact. This might be considered a good thing or a bad but it should be considered for sure.

I am also very much not a fan of the bodyguard being able to parry the blows or dodge the attacks for the victim - no matter how hard you make those checks. I am okay with a bodyguard taking damage to protect the victim IF they can move into position but that's about it.

Multiple guards could be a matter of checking each guard, one after the other. As soon as one manages to get in the way of the blow, move on. If none do then attack against the victim like usual.

I do think that there should be a hard limit here before it stops working. Like, two guards is okay and even good. Three is too much flesh in one place so they all fail. Period.

If you have a simple system where the guard tries to 'dodge' the attackers attack and, if they manage, they take the hit, then I don't think there's much need to bar lower powered from guarding higher powered. If this happens the lower powered will likely be of little value in the combat as those attacking will probably be too skilled for the guard to block. If they are blocking the attacks that means the attacker is closer to the guards level than the victim so why not let them duke it out while the power hitter watches?

Just some additional random thoughts!

Thought about Pavane's suggestion... You could avoid the easy bypass if it's just framed as the check being made when the attack or kill command is used instead of just once at the beginning of combat.

So attacker types 'attack victim', a check is made between the attacker and the guard. Guard wins so the game switches the attacker's aim onto the guard. And if the attacker tries to do 'attack victim' again the check is made again. Same with grapple.

The downside to this, in my mind, is that the guard can completely nullify the attacker without taking hits or damage if they are skilled enough. That makes body guarding too strong for my personal taste. I'd rather a system that really makes a meatshield a meatshield and sharply limits how long a meatshield can aid and makes defending a costly thing in terms of health.

I also don't think that it might be worthwhile to make it so that a guard can not attack while guarding. So if Victim Fixer has PowerHitter Guard and they are attacked, Guard will just be taking hits until they drop. If they want to actually hit people they need to stop guarding which makes the victim an easy target.

Try 2, Grey:

If someone is bodyguarding you and taking hits for you in a fight, you cannot attack.

Or if bodyguards could only guard against one per at a time, you just can't attack THAT person.

Just me spitballing here...

If someone is bodyguarding you and taking hits for you in a fight, you cannot attack.I'd be 100% fine with this. Kind of like the too many guards stops being effective thing. And, as I said before, I think the guards should not be attacking at all. If they want to go on the offense then they are no longer guarding. I think this would prevent bodyguards from being used as an offensive aid and that this is a good thing.

Or if bodyguards could only guard against one per at a time, you just can't attack THAT person.

Eh... I honestly feel that Guard should not be able to take hits from Attacker 1 while engaged in normal combat with Attacker 2. I think it is fine to say that Guard can only take hits from one attacker but I would say that this means guard can not attack anyone. The guarding has their full attention.

Just my first thoughts on the issue!

I'm not troubled by a system where hiring a bodyguard is a big advantage. I want to encourage PC bodyguarding.

I do think that once you're in combat, you're no longer body guarding -- so an attack squad of two people is a viable way around.

As I imagine it, the players: Guard 1, Victim 1, Attacker 1...to whatever.

Guard 1 is guarding Victim 1.

Attacker 1 attacks Victim 1. There is a 'bodyguard check' by Guard 1 when Attacker 1 types 'attack Victim 1' or 'kill victim 1.' If the bodyguard check is successful, then Attacker 1 is in combat with Guard 1 instead of Victim 1. If the check fails, Attacker 1 is in combat with Victim 1.

If Attacker 2 is also there, once Attacker 1 and Guard 1 are in combat, Attacker 2 can attack Victim 1 freely. One is only in the 'guarding' position when one is not in combat, so as soon as Attacker 1 and Guard 1 engage Victim 1 is vulnerable.

This can also create situations where Attacker 1 -- a solo -- hires an immy to peel off Guard 1, which I think is good for RP.

I wouldn't tack the functionality onto escort, because escort is being used as a reliable 'follow' and not in every situation where you would use the current 'escort' you'd want to guard the person you are walking with.

Determining who is the guard by looking who has the highest Dodge is also problematic, because what if someone has invested into Dodge, but plays an otherwise non-combat character and wants to hire cheap muscle as a meat shield, or a bodyguard who is more of the bruiser type with relatively low Dodge?

Try 2, Grey:

If someone is bodyguarding you and taking hits for you in a fight, you cannot attack.

Or if bodyguards could only guard against one per at a time, you just can't attack THAT person.

Or just treat it like grapple, wherein the bodyguard can get in the way and you could inadvertently hit them instead.

ok I like this, added.

locking thread