You're not stealing it if you say "Martin asked me to post this to see what people thought."If you say "Look at this awesome thing I made (unless it sucks, then Martin made it)" and I link to it from the forums, it's also not stealing, and pretty funny.If you actually claim ownership, then I sic Katz on you. :) - Martin, a player in my game
As an outgrowth from the tactical discussions that happened in previous posts (and will continue to happen, though I haven't gotten back around to them yet), I asked Martin to come up with a short sheet of fill-in-the-blank options for players to have in front of them. He did, and I think it looks fairly nice, though next session I need to pause to make sure people actually fill it out with their own damage and skill levels. (Otherwise it's useless of course.)
While completing that project, he got side-tracked with what he calls "Deceptive yak shaving." Specifically:
So while digging around learnin' about combat strategy for the cheat sheets I idly wondered what the best deceptive attack strategies were for various attack skill/defense roll combos.
And after a quick side trip to a thread on the forums where he tried to pin down exactly how much more "damage" a critical hit was worth than a regular hit, after accounting for the fact that you will hit, and including relative effects like crippling and dropping of weapons, he came up with a really cool chart that lays out your optimal Defensive Attack strategy based on relative offenses and defenses:
A few hours later and a lot of Yaks ended up shaved. Deceptively shaved. Boy are they gonna be surprised when they find out. - Martin again
|For best results, use a yak-hair brush and lather with Mama Bear's handmade soap pucks.|
I like this chart for many reasons. First, to defend its relevance, especially at higher defense levels: your base-line opponent in Dungeon Fantasy has Skill 14. With a Medium Shield, that means a defense of 14/2 = 7 + 3 for defense + 2 for shield + 1 for retreat = 13. If you make it a Large Shield and give the opponent Combat Reflexes, that's a 15, which is already pushing the right edge of the chart. (Also: yowza. That shows you right there that "eating up a defense so the Knight can hit" is actually quite useful, not a waste of time and talent at all.)
Second, it broadly validates the first-pass recommendations by +Douglas Cole that lowering your skill to 14 or 16 is the way to go if you want to maximize your chances. There are certainly exceptions, like when you have Skill 22 and your opponent has Defense 15, but they're exceptions around the edges, and you're not too far off from optimal if you stick to the recommended course.
Third, it is supporting evidence that Defensive Attack is doing its job. With the exception of that 22 vs. 18 slot, when your skill goes up and your opponent's skill goes up, you're better off taking a higher defensive attack. (That exception is sensible if you think about it: 22-6 = 16, maximizing your chances for a crit.)
Of course this chart isn't the end-all and be-all of GURPS combat recommendations. It assumes a man-to-man fight on level ground with absolutely no interfering effects. It's a fun little thing to noodle around, though.