Aura of Fear in Fight!

Bladesman starts outside of Wizards Presence, and thus, his Aura of Fear.
Volley 1 Action 1 Bladesman scripts Charge with his long sword Vs. Wizards Avoid from Defensive Stance. Does the Bladesmans Steel Test from Aura of Fear hit him as soon as he runs into Wizards Presence (before his charge action), or does he finish his charge before he tests?

According to page 515 of BWG (under the heading “Area of Effect in Fight”), presence includes “all enemy targets with whom you are engaged”, so I’d rule that the Bladesman can not start the fight outside the wizard’s presence, and call for the him to make a steel test at the start of the Fight, before any actions are resolved.

Aura of Fear doesn’t have the presence of a spell, it just affects anyone in the bearer’s presence, colloquially. But The Fear works a lot like it. Either way, if your scenario were somehow possible, the swordsman has entered the presence and must test Steel and risk stumbling to a hesitating halt.

I think that page 515 is refering directly to spell in fight as it is in the sorcery section and discussion is about spells in combat and area of effect so it’s relevant for things like “The Fear” and “Horror” spells as they are cast, but not so much with Aura of Fear as it’s something that is always in effect, you have no control over it and it affects everyone that comes into the presence of the person who has it, each and every time they encounter that person they are affected again. (Up to once per scene). Note that presence is determined by normal speaking voice range (basically same room like area, no intervening walls or such) so if the Bladesman in my example could see the hated Wizard without being directly in his presence he could decide to charge after him, only to suffer a steel test when he git closer to him. (He could even surprise the Wizard and suffer the aura of fear effect at the same time)

I guess that it would have the same “weapon length” and “range” as presence origin spells: (pole arm length and pistol range) not that I can see how that helps (maybe against someone with ranged attacks like throwing blades or an archer or another spell caster)

I thought I read that presence was roughly five feet per point of will, was that some where in MaBu ?

Regardless of linear measurements (BW isn’t big on them anyways) aura of fear effect should probably be tested as if it were an ambush, before first volley. Especially for melee conflicts.

That is the length for purposes of positioning and RaC. The area of effect of presence spells in Fight is essentially “everyone in the fight.” If you can charge, you’re engaged; if you’re engaged, you’re in presence. That’s what p515 says. Maybe you’re not in presence if you see someone a mile away across the field of battle, but you also can’t use the Fight maneuver charge across that distance. Once you engage you’re afraid.

An archer can volley arrows from beyond presence. That’s the pistol range. But that’s also RaC, not Fight.

Presence is within normal speaking range for origin, p501, and the area of effect is a number of paces equal to the caster’s Will (p507) if a measure is needed, but that’s superseded largely by the simpler p515 rules for AoE in combat, where it hits “all enemy targets with whom you are engaged.” And probably a sanity check so if you’re fighting side by side with another group then they’re hit by your presence too even if you’re engaged in parallel.

The other folks have it right - if he’s close enough to charge, he’s close enough to be affected by the aura. That might strike you as stopping the fun or being unrealistic, since you could totally imagine a situation where blah blah.

Here’s what you can do if the (hypothetical) player has that (hypothetical) intent. We know that a Steel test is required either way, right? You could say that if the player passes the Steel test, he gets advantage dice to Vie for Advantage. Maybe even the Wizard has to make a Steel test if he exceeds the ob. Because, shit, if I was a Wizard with Aura of Fear, a dude who managed to charge at me and just keep coming would be way surprising.

Not in my game! Your advantage from getting past the aura of fear is actually getting to charge. There’s no bonus from charging beyond what charging gets you and there’s certainly no advantage from holding up in the aura of fear. Because the trait doesn’t say so, and because the wizard could just as easily raise an eyebrow at your temerity before raining White Fire down on you. Want to force a steel test? Actually bloody the wizard’s nose.

Thanks guys, and especially wayfare on this one, that really helps to clear things up for me.

If we’re already in Fight, I’d agree. But that’s not the situation that was framed. The characters are not in Fight yet, charging dude is not yet affected by the aura. The intent is to enter into a Fight via a surprise charge. (The aura’s range is not “sight” so it could be a valid intent and, therefore, testable.) If the reward for actually managing to succeed that craziness is having the first scripted action broadcast to the other person in Fight, that’s no reward at all.

If it’s not a Fight then there are no maneuvers. If you pass the Steel test and whatever test it interrupted then you get your intent. Sneaking up on someone has rules, and yes, that includes forcing a Steel test (p461-462). But charging across open terrain? That’s not stealthy, that’s just trying to engage quickly and force a fight. There are already rules for that: go to Fight, vie for positioning, and script Charge if you really want to bowl someone over.

You may not want to use Fight, and that’s fine. Then maybe the charge is Brawling, or even just Speed. Succeeding at your test, then at the Steel test, means you get what you want, and what you want should probably be decisive for the conflict. Killing the wizard with your weapon, knocking him to the ground with your sword at his throat, or knocking him aside so the sniper’s quarrel misses? All fine intents that don’t require a Fight if you don’t want one. But if you’re going to use Fight then you use it straight, no funny business for what you do going in.

Yep, Wayfarer has it.

So in a straightforward fight against someone with this trait, do we script the first exchange before we do the steel checks and then let the hesitations fall where they may?

That you can do that without using Fight, but can’t do that leading up to a Fight is legitimately weird to me, because the only difference between the systems is supposed to be how detailed the fighting is. But I guess those are the rules.

Since fight slows things down to a blow by blow exchange the rules are tighter than anything else, which is why hesitation becomes so important. If an opposing wizard can make you hesitate for four rounds in fight I highly suggest run screaming!

(Then when you recover, get a bow track him down, and take him out from optimum range with a poisoned arrow!)

I see it now. Resolve the non-Stealthy charge, then, if both parties are still willing, go in to a Fight, but the Aura thingy already happened so it’s totally standard.

If you’re attempting to engage then I’d say you’re entering presence and testing for steel. You script and then test because it’s not quite right to test, get hesitation, and then script with that in mind. That’s not how hesitation works!

If you want to do that in a Fight you can, but you have to script it out. You have to succeed at your Charge maneuver, succeed at Lock or Push or whatever you’re doing, and win the Fight.

When someone states that they’re going to charge you decide whether this is a Fight or not. If it is, you go to Fight rules for the charge. If it’s not, you don’t. You don’t resolve the charge and then go to Fight. That’s like testing Sword to strike someone and only then going to Fight rules. You use the expanded conflict rules for the entire conflict or for none of the conflict, and anything that would be a maneuver in Fight triggers that decision. Usually it’s obvious; you don’t use Fight to hit someone on the head with a bottle in a barroom brawl, that’s just Brawling. When a duel is arranged at down you start by engaging and take it from there in Fight, with nothing beforehand. In less obvious situations the players and GM make a decision before the first blow, be it charge, strike, lock, push, or other. Heck, you have to decide before you even walk up to someone preparatory to smacking them, because the distance at which you’re standing in the conflict is also part of the Fight. Standing next to someone in a bar, they shove you, you decide they must die? If it matters, and you go to Fight, you still have to make the initial test for positioning. Maybe the other guy wants to back off. Maybe you’re hefting a broom as a cudgel but the other guy’s got a shiv gripped in his hand and wants to get up closer and personaler.

The best a charge before a fight can get you is a fight, as opposed to Range and Cover or the other guy turning tail and fleeing. How close it actually gets you is determined by the positioning.