Counter Strike

Hey all,

Did some Fight! games last night with one of my players. It was so interesting.

One thing came up.

Counter strike says, that the Strike portion of your action doesn’t suffer disadvantage from weapon length or vying for position.

So if I am engaged at advantage for my halberd, the sword weilder would normally be at +1ob (page 431) ; but if he scripted counter strike that +1ob wouldn’t apply?

Why is that the case?

BTW does the chart on page 431 apply for all obstacle penalties suffered by combatants that are at a disadvantage in a fight for all exchanges? I realize that’s a yes for the first exchange after the Engagement test is made, but what about in subsequent exchanges when the vie for positioning has been determined?

While I can’t speak with authority on the intent of the rules, but not that counterstrike only does anything vs offensive actions. It’s about waiting for/creating an opening when your opponent attacks and you are able to use that opening to get a hit in that you otherwise would have more trouble with due to weapon length.

Disadvantage penalties apply until the next time you vie for position* at which point, wipe the slate clean and only apply penalties based on the new results of who has advantage.

A bit more positioning weirdness

First off the * is there because there are a few more actions, like Beat, that can change advantage mid-exchange. But the general rule is that advantage does not change until an action says it does or you vie for position again, and once that is done, go with the new positioning obs disregarding the old ones

As I have always understood positioning, what you do when you vie for positioning is determine which WEAPON LENGTH, not which combatant, has the advantage.
If you have a spear, and I have a sword, and you take advantage, then I disarm you, we are BOTH going to be suffering obstacle penalties until the next time positioning changes, I simply have not had time to fully step inside yet.
LIke wise if I have a sword in one hand, and a dagger in another if I win positioning with my sword, my dagger is at disadvantage.

Hope that helps!

Counterstrike doesn’t get the Ob penalty because it’s about using the opportunity created by predicting your opponents action and capitalizing on that opportunity. Fighters aren’t stationary at their weapon ranges, they’re always circling, probing forward, and dropping back. Counterstrike is about using defensive footwork and weapon-work to exploit your opponent’s aggression.

From a design angle, applying those penalties to the strike portion makes Counterstrike pretty untennable. While Counterstriking cleanly is a difficult move, best reserved for use against less skilled opponent’s, that difficulty is already represented in the need to split your dice pool; of you split fifty-fifty, you need to be twice as good as your opponent to reliably make their attack a wash. If you then needed to overcome the Ob penalty to strike, you’d have to be a super-martial-artist to make the attempt worth it in any cases where you didn’t have the advantage. In cases where you do have the advantage, your opponent is more likely to script defensive actions, so you’re less likely to get Counterstrike to go off in the first place.

Similar to what I was saying above, it’s more ludo-narratively cohesive to not apply the Ob penalties, because you don’t need to be a super-badass to have a shot with Counterstrike. In fact, the maneuvers that Counterstrike represents are the ones you’d want to use in a situation where you’re at disadvantage.

Lastly, strategically, Counterstrike gives release valve for the advantage system, and helps keep tension when advantage Obs are high. Because you might get Counterstruck pretty hard (difficult though Counterstrike already is) you might think twice before scripting as many Strikes as your WS allows. Maybe you’ll throw a Feint or two in there instead.

I hope that answers the question. Feel free to dig deep into anything I’ve said here.

As for engagement, positioning Obs don’t apply to defensive actions. The Obs hold until advantage is changes for some reason; this can be from Vying for Position, the Beat action, one of the actions that require use at Hands distance – Lock or Charge, for instance – someone futzing with their weapon(s), slamming a door in your opponent’s face, possibly some others.

You can think of Engagement as the first Vying for Positioning test, and of advantage as something that can be passed back and forth – it’s dynamic.

Simple narrative answer:
Counter-strike is you letting the enemy lunge forward to hit you, and you diverting their weapon before lunging into the opening you have made. Because you’ve diverted their weapon for a split second, you get to be at your advantage for a split second - enough time to attempt the Strike before they recover their advantage.

Like so:


Wait - two things here:

Firstly, you don’t need to split 50/50 unless this works differently than other splits?

Secondly, if I read Counterstrike correctly, you vs Skill or Power for the defense side, you Ob1 for the strike portion (since it’s a strike).

If those two readings are correct, then if I have B5 Sword and a ForK from my B3 Dpear vs an Orc with a B4 Spear skill and an spear, I could, in theory, split my dice 5 dice on defense, 1 die on attack, and let that defense feel safe while I get 50/50 odds of an incidental hit?

I don’t think this is terrible, but it means that the loss of positioning disad is very important?

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Your are correct, there is a typo that may be confusing, but it’s supposed to read “If you split your dice pool 50/50.” I didn’t mean to imply you had to do so.

There’s a very small error here in that it’s just Skill. You’d only test Power if it was Beginner’s Luck for a skill rooted in Power – Brawling or Martial Arts, for instance. This is in Contrast to Lock or Push where you can test Power in place of the Skill.

Yeah! It’s a great way to get Difficult Tests! I used 50/50 because I wanted an example that didn’t overwhelm with depth, and 50/50 felt good because of how it gave each side the best shot without infringing on the other – kind of a platonic idea of a dice pool split. Anyway, there are certainly times when just going for an even-odds incidental hit is a good call. But, there are also times when the opponent has armor and/or superficial wound greater than your incidental damage. Putting your dice into a Block instead would more reliably let you defend and benefit in the next Action. Partly because you have a greater chance of scoring sixes that can be spent on special effects, rather than on defense only. Getting a six on your one attack die is still not likely to do much for you; getting sixes on a Block might let you force the opponent to hesitate!

You can imagine how much worse things get for CS if you include positioning penalties for the strike portion.

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Hey there, sorry to hijack I wasn’t able to message you directly.

I just recently found and read Star Systems thru the BW discord, and I must say it’s amazing! I literally made this account to message you! Hope that’s not weird.

  1. if you’re still doing playtests I’d love to contribute
  2. Do you have any recco on how many RP a lightsaber would cost during character burning, or did you leave this out intentionally to make it part of the campaign? Curious.
  3. love Artha as the force, Empathy & Hatred, ships, dogfight, droids, wow, and really everything. Seriously great work.