Another Perspective on "Feint"

Ok guys, I’ve had my first full session yesterday an it was a blast.
I will not talk about it here but maybe I will in another thread.

While playing, I thought about the following:
The conflict mechanic is great, it can be used with any type of conflict.
And if I compare it to real life conflicts that I had or have seen in movies for exemple,
it is the same thing (i.e: the mechanic really represents what happens in a real conflict).

But there is one discrepancy that makes it a little difficult for me and my players to come up with a good narration of the action as it unfolds.
This discrepancy comes through the “Feint” action. Of all the feints that I have ever done,
it was always to draw out an “Attack” from my opponent (an attack that I wanted) and then use the opening that he provided to give it to him.
If my opponent, didn’t “take the bait” by defending himself, then I was just left with a useless feint.

I want to try and change the “Feint” mechanic to where if it is versus an “Attack”, the attack is foiled and the “attacker” doesn’t roll,
and when it is used against a “Defend” then the “feinter” doesn’t roll (really just do the opposite of what it is now).

While I have no qualms about houseruling that into my sessions, I’d like to know if someone tried it and what their experience is with it.
Or is there a big “game mechanics” reason for not doing so?

I would personally prefer to give more trepidation to an attacker then to a defender not knowing if his move is going to be foiled or not.
The big disadvantage is that defending would be at not much risk being always either independent or versus,
but if you defend all the time, you can’t deplete the opponent’s disposition (in war, you have to take risks).
As it is now, there is no “big” risk at attacking all the time.
Maybe changing that part of the game mechanics would have people attacking a little less and try more maneuvers and the such…

There is risk in attacking all the time, your opponent may attack better.

Also, your “feint” doesn’t make sense. What can you do to someone that prevents their attack from being effective, that is not a Defend or Maneuver?


Having studied a little kenjutsu, in that style, I can understand your complaint, since Katana/Bokken/Shinai, the feint taught is usually a faked opening.

In western Fence, a normal feint is a move to get their defense to open by implying an attack to a different spot than you intend.

In verbal sparring, a feint is that “get them to react how you want so you can lead them to the trap” mode… EG, the old saw:
A: Y’know, I saw your wife today…
B: leave my wife out of this!
A: So have you stopped beating her, sir?
B: … ≤glares≥
Any response would lead to an accusation of having been a wife beater.
It nullifies the defense.

Either form of feint would be mechanically viable, but most forms, the feint is used to bypass the defenses… just make a “Lure” line, with
[indent]Lure vs Attack: Lure rolls and attack fails
Lure vs Defend: Lure fails and defend rolls
Lure vs Feint: opposed
Lure vs Lure: neither rolls
Lure vs Maneuver: both roll unopposed.

It’s added complexity for little gain. Most of the time, I’d consider it a maneuver, but if it is worth the complexity, go for it. (Mind you, the line between maneuver and lure is blurry.)

Oh, and there is a big risk to attacking ALL the time. It means that the opponent kows they need to burn Artha and smack you GOOD, then defend, then smack you good again. If you’re the better fighter, sure, you’ll win a lot… but you’ll be making lots of compromises, and that IS a bad thing.

Thanks guys for the replies, all your advice helped a lot.
I know that this post is long overdue but here goes anyway:

As it where, I am playing in Japan with Japanese guys so that might explain everything as Aramis pointed out. Their views (and coincidently mine) on the subject of feints are of the oriental way compared to the occidental way of thinking. And I think Aramis nailed my problem on the head.

Now I don’t have the book in front of me so I’m just paraphrasing here but the first thing that pushed me to this post was something in the conflicts mechanics where if you where on a journey conflict, then a shortcut would be “feint”. Any way I turned that in my head, a shortcut would nullify an “attack” from the weather while a “defend” would not change anything… It might just be a perspective kind of thing.

Anyways, we played as is for the time being and everything runs smoothly. We are thinking of either the “Lure” thing of Aramis or that when you “feint”, you choose versus what it will be (attack or defend). At the reveal step everybody gets the surprise.

And yes, we understand now that always attacking is not a good strategy as if the opponent does the same thing, your disposition will be depleted very fast and while the opponent may loose, sometimes loosing is not as bad as all the compromises…

In a journey conflict you’re doing a shortcut as a Feint. But I think it makes sense to use the rules as is. A Defend I see as something that will prolong the journey, so maybe the normal path ahead is blocked in some way. But you’re not taking the normal path, so the blocked path doesn’t affect you. Also, shortcuts probably are more dangerous in some way, otherwise they would be the main path. So if there is an Attack like a rainstorm or something then it will affect you more, possibly preventing you from making use of the shortcut (maybe it’s prone to flooding).

We had a hard time storytelling feints in a journey, and what we came up with is that in a feint, the party strikes out early without taking the usual precautions against the elements, trying to get a bit further while the weather is good.

This seems to me to be no better than a dangerous short cut, but the party was on a fixed path and couldn’t do that.