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Old January 21, 2020, 05:06   #1
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 726
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Archery Halving Evasion: Broken Mechanic

From the Sil Manual:
  • Helps you hit an opponent in ranged combat.
  • difficulty = half opponent's evasion
  • You can also get critical hits (if you succeed by enough).
  • See Combat section for full details.
Despite being someone who has spent a ton of time thinking about these issues for his own game systems, I didn't spot the issue here for quite a while.

With Sil skill checks, as in most game mechanics, it's the differential between two numbers and not the ratio which counts. Whether it's Perception vs Stealth or Melee vs Evasion or Song vs Will, a skill of 20 vs 10 is the same as 10 vs 0 and 40 vs 30. 20 vs 10 is not the same as 10 vs 5 or 40 vs 20. Halving a target's evasion doesn't do much at lower skill levels, but it's entirely out of proportion at higher levels.

Other problematic scaling:
- If you are unfortunate enough to be fighting from within a pit or a web, both your evasion and melee scores are halved
- Melee, Evasion, and Archery are halved against foes you cannot see
- Free attacks made by enemies when you fire at point blank range: your evasion is halved (Sil-Q)
So, a basic orc
B:HIT:HURT: (+2,2d6)

trying to hit his twin is at net -1 to hit, 47.5%. If he's shooting or his foe is in a web, his twin's evasion is reduced to +1 and he has a 57.25% chance to hit. Nice advantage, right?

Meanwhile, a Vampire Lord
B:CLAW:WOUND: (+29,3d7)

trying to hit his equal is at +3 to hit, xx%. If he's shooting or his foe is in a pit, his target's evasion is 13 and he has a 98.5% chance to hit!! Not to mention all the accompanying criticals.

What is the solution? Well, depends partly on what we're trying to accomplish. If the idea is that there's only so much even a very swift character could do to avoid a missile, well... I don't see a ton you can do within the constraints of opposed d20 rolls, and I won't go into alternative systems. Could halve the *rolls* of these disadvantaged souls, which is like a -5 penalty but with less variance. Then you wouldn't have to make exceptions for the minimum evasion already in place for stationary enemies. Or don't mess with the dice and just apply a flat [-X] to these situations.

Last edited by DavidMedley; January 21, 2020 at 05:17.
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