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Shadows of Malice» Forums » Rules

Subject: Active vs Defending in Banded Combat rss

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Tony Pecorelli
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Reading over the rules I've noticed that an avatar can be either an active member or a defending member. I'm kind of fuzzy on what the differences are between these two states. What can one type of participant do that the other can't?

As an example, in the sample turns on the website, there is the part where the one player goes defensive and uses his scroll. In the example, the scroll kills the monster. What if it hadn't? What changes about the combat?
It seems like the CR dice pool should be reduced, but the part on combat in the rule book says you use dice for all defending avatars, too. So there has to be something different between the two states. I just can't seem to put my finger on it.

For the most part everything else makes sense to me. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.
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Jim Felli
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First, thanks for the good question! Second, I hope the rulebook isn't wrong. Third, I hope this response resolves the question!

1) Rulebook section 10c on page 12 (Joint Combat) states that "X is the number of non-defending avatars engaged in joint combat." The next sentence that gives the example states "... 3 avatars actively engaged..." The "actively engaged" means "non-defending." (Note to self: make that more clear in the FAQ.)

2) An avatar that is defending to read a scroll or use a potion completes the action at the start of the combat phase. Regardless of the degree of success (e.g., the grenade does not kill the monster), the avatar must defend for that combat phase. That means that the defending avatar does not contribute a die to the joint combat roll of another avatar targeted by the creature that phase. If the creature targets the defending avatar that phase, the defending avatar gets a combat roll that is made at a -1 to the die roll. The defending avatar's combat roll is the made with a number of dice equal to the number of other, non-defending avatars engaged in the joint combat. If the avatar is alone, or if all the other avatars engaged in the joint combat are also defending, it will get 1 die for itself so that is can actually make a combat roll. Yes -- this means that defending creatures still get a combat roll (at a -1 as well). If the defending combatant is hit and wounded by its opponent, it takes the appropriate number of wounds for the combat; if the defending combatant out-rolls its opponent (and would normally hit an wound it), it does zero wounds and the attack does not count as a hit (e.g., for abilities triggered by hitting a foe).

3) Since the effects of non-combat actions (e.g., scroll damage) resolve first each phase, a creature must survive those effects before it can engage in combat (or use its abilities) that combat phase.

I hope this explains this better. Did I leave anything out? You said that the rulebook suggests that you should use dice for all defending avatars... It should not say that. Can you tell me where you are reading that? I may need to reword the sentence in an FAQ.
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Tony Pecorelli
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jcfelli wrote:
First, thanks for the good question! Second, I hope the rulebook isn't wrong. Third, I hope this response resolves the question!

1) Rulebook section 10c on page 12 (Joint Combat) states that "X is the number of non-defending avatars engaged in joint combat." The next sentence that gives the example states "... 3 avatars actively engaged..." The "actively engaged" means "non-defending." (Note to self: make that more clear in the FAQ.)

2) An avatar that is defending to read a scroll or use a potion completes the action at the start of the combat phase. Regardless of the degree of success (e.g., the grenade does not kill the monster), the avatar must defend for that combat phase. That means that the defending avatar does not contribute a die to the joint combat roll of another avatar targeted by the creature that phase. If the creature targets the defending avatar that phase, the defending avatar gets a combat roll that is made at a -1 to the die roll. The defending avatar's combat roll is the made with a number of dice equal to the number of other, non-defending avatars engaged in the joint combat. If the avatar is alone, or if all the other avatars engaged in the joint combat are also defending, it will get 1 die for itself so that is can actually make a combat roll. Yes -- this means that defending creatures still get a combat roll (at a -1 as well). If the defending combatant is hit and wounded by its opponent, it takes the appropriate number of wounds for the combat; if the defending combatant out-rolls its opponent (and would normally hit an wound it), it does zero wounds and the attack does not count as a hit (e.g., for abilities triggered by hitting a foe).

3) Since the effects of non-combat actions (e.g., scroll damage) resolve first each phase, a creature must survive those effects before it can engage in combat (or use its abilities) that combat phase.

I hope this explains this better. Did I leave anything out? You said that the rulebook suggests that you should use dice for all defending avatars... It should not say that. Can you tell me where you are reading that? I may need to reword the sentence in an FAQ.


Yes, this does answer my questions and I see it more clearly now. Thank you!

As for where it says defending in the rule book. I think I read it wrong. In 10c it says non-defending when creating the dice pool. I'm sorry about that. I read it as defending.
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Jim Felli
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hatchhermit wrote:
jcfelli wrote:
First, thanks for the good question! Second, I hope the rulebook isn't wrong. Third, I hope this response resolves the question!

1) Rulebook section 10c on page 12 (Joint Combat) states that "X is the number of non-defending avatars engaged in joint combat." The next sentence that gives the example states "... 3 avatars actively engaged..." The "actively engaged" means "non-defending." (Note to self: make that more clear in the FAQ.)

2) An avatar that is defending to read a scroll or use a potion completes the action at the start of the combat phase. Regardless of the degree of success (e.g., the grenade does not kill the monster), the avatar must defend for that combat phase. That means that the defending avatar does not contribute a die to the joint combat roll of another avatar targeted by the creature that phase. If the creature targets the defending avatar that phase, the defending avatar gets a combat roll that is made at a -1 to the die roll. The defending avatar's combat roll is the made with a number of dice equal to the number of other, non-defending avatars engaged in the joint combat. If the avatar is alone, or if all the other avatars engaged in the joint combat are also defending, it will get 1 die for itself so that is can actually make a combat roll. Yes -- this means that defending creatures still get a combat roll (at a -1 as well). If the defending combatant is hit and wounded by its opponent, it takes the appropriate number of wounds for the combat; if the defending combatant out-rolls its opponent (and would normally hit an wound it), it does zero wounds and the attack does not count as a hit (e.g., for abilities triggered by hitting a foe).

3) Since the effects of non-combat actions (e.g., scroll damage) resolve first each phase, a creature must survive those effects before it can engage in combat (or use its abilities) that combat phase.

I hope this explains this better. Did I leave anything out? You said that the rulebook suggests that you should use dice for all defending avatars... It should not say that. Can you tell me where you are reading that? I may need to reword the sentence in an FAQ.


Yes, this does answer my questions and I see it more clearly now. Thank you!

As for where it says defending in the rule book. I think I read it wrong. In 10c it says non-defending when creating the dice pool. I'm sorry about that. I read it as defending.


No worries -- glad to help! By the way, I added your question to the official game FAQ. Thanks! And happy gaming!
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Brian Hunt
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I am not sure this helps.

In the example on page 25, Bryan drinks a potion, which would then make him a Defender (?). Then in the combat phase you say '...Bryan and Charlie are both active combatants'.

Am I getting confused between pre combat and during combat I wonder?

In my game I have a flask of acid which can be 'hurled at a target'. Can I use this in pre combat to cause 2d3 of immediate damage and then still participate as an active combatant during combat? Could I alternatively save the potion, not use it in pre combat, and 'hurl' it during a combat round, but then only act as a defender for that round?

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Jim Felli
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BrianJohnHunt wrote:
I am not sure this helps.

In the example on page 25, Bryan drinks a potion, which would then make him a Defender (?). Then in the combat phase you say '...Bryan and Charlie are both active combatants'.

Am I getting confused between pre combat and during combat I wonder?

In my game I have a flask of acid which can be 'hurled at a target'. Can I use this in pre combat to cause 2d3 of immediate damage and then still participate as an active combatant during combat? Could I alternatively save the potion, not use it in pre combat, and 'hurl' it during a combat round, but then only act as a defender for that round?



You called it right. All avatars get one freebie potion or scroll use in pre-combat before combat phases actually start. After combat phases start, an avatar must defend the phase it uses a consumable item.

In your example with the flask of acid: 1) yes, you could hurl it in pre-combat and then actively participate in combat; 2) yes, you could save it and hurl it during a combat phase but you would be defending during that combat phase.
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Brian Hunt
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Thanks Jim!
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