Counterstrike: Do I read this right?

BWG says that the Strike portion of Counterstrike does not suffer from disadvantages from weapon length or vying for position. Can that be right?

I am holding a dagger. My opponent is holding a spear, and has won advantage. I have a +4 Ob to all attacks… unless I use Counterstrike. Is that really correct?

I do note that the Counterstrike chart does not list tests vs Avoid, Block, Counterstrike, Feint, Charge, or Throw actions. Does the Strike portion of the CS simply use the Strike chart against those actions, or does the Counterstrike simply fail altogether?

It fails altogether. Counterstrike is a parry and a riposte - the fact that your opponent attacked is what gives you the opportunity to strike him. (It does seem a bit of a stretch with butterknife vs. pike, but who cares.) If he doesn’t strike, then no fancy riposte for you.

This has been much discussed with our resident Fecht Meister. And it’s accurate.
You must imagine that every action comes with a movement. Never are the characters standing flat-footed and flailing their arms. They are sliding, whirling, advancing, skipping and ducking.

So the knifeman takes the opportunity to skip in, slash at his foe and skip out again. All in the blink of an eye.

Touché. :slight_smile:

Except why the guy with the butter knife vs the pike would skip out again seems a bit silly. So probably the pike men pushes the guy back out with the pole from his weapon.

I can see it. I’m holding a knife. I’m able to knock the spear tip aside and reach in for a Strike. I can hit him, but I’ve lunged into a vulnerable position from which I must recover from while the spear man scuttles back to maintain his advantage. In order to actually get an inside advantage with my knife, I need to get past the spear point to a position from which I can make attacks without a major shift in my center of gravity.


What about Counter-Strike vs Block?

Using the Butterknife vs Spear example. You would think that the spearman would get to levrage his reach advantage.


In CS vs. Block there is no interaction. Nothing happens as both fighters are waiting for the other to make a move.

The spearman gets an advantage for nearly every other action. This is one instance when he is at a small disadvantage. Perhaps if he’s afraid of Counterstrike, he should use a Feint.

Fair enough. I was just wondering if there was something I wasn’t seeing.

edit: no wait. I think I’ll go on a “Spear is nerfed I’ll never play BWG rampage” grin


What am I missing? I don’t understand the confusion that is being discussed between you guys, Luke and nkenny. How is the spearman being slightly disadvantaged in this instance?

Counter-Strike (aside from its weakness to feints) is mechanically superior to Strike if you are fighting with a disadvantage. This is at its most extreme when a unarmed fighter faces someone with a spear. The reason for this is that the STRIKE portion of the counterstrike doesn’t suffer any obstacle penalties for your opponents advantage as determined by his weapon compared to yours. This is conceptually sound aside from a few odd situations such as the aforementioned Knife vs Spear example above.

Mind you I agree with the system as written. Its far to much of a bother to make a specific ruling for just such a case. Counter-strikes and Feints just got that much more delicious.


edit: added example

Knife vs Spear (advantage)

#1 Strike(knife) vs Block(spear)
Weapon skill vs Block successes + 4 Ob (advantage)

#2 CounterStrike(knife) vs Block(spear)
Weapon skill - 1 dice (for defense portion of counter strike) vs Block successes

Counterstrike is clearly the best option… until the spear user feints and schools your ass.


Except Counterstrike doesn’t trigger against Block :wink:

Right, comparing the strike-half of Counterstrike to Strike when paired with various actions, there are ups and downs:

vs Strike: Weapon Skill -1d (minimum you can allocate to the Block half) vs Ob 1
vs Block: No action
vs Feint: No action, plus you get hammered on

vs Strike: Weapon Skill vs Ob 1+advantage
vs Block: Weapon Skill, subtract advantage, vs Block successes
vs Feint: Weapon Skill vs Ob 1+advantage, opponent takes no action.

Now, obviously you’d have to observe a lot of fights and count actions to determine which is actually better, since it depends on how often people tend to script each action. But obviously there are situations where Counterstrike is a bit better (when they try to hit you while they hold the advantage), and situations where it’s always worse (when they feint) and situations where it probably doesn’t matter much (if I’m blocking while you’re at +4Ob, you aren’t gonna hit me. Now, you’re better off with a Strike so you can log that juicy Knife test, but just in terms of the fight it doesn’t really matter).

In a real knife vs spear fight where my dude was outpositioned, I wouldn’t be at all worried about whether to script Strike or Counterstrike. I’d be entirely focused on how I could Beat, Disarm, Charge, get to the inside, or use the environment to even the odds.

In a more likely +1 or +2Ob situation, I don’t think I’d be going “Okay, I want to hit him, so I script Strike. Only I’m at a disadvantage, so then I automatically script Counterstrike instead, since that’s the better way of hitting when you’re at disad.” Looking at the table, if I script Strike I’m testing my B5 Shiv skill against Ob 2 for anything but a Block, Avoid, or Counterstrike. For those, I’m likely to miss (except against a highly offensive Counterstrike, where my opponent gets few successes on defense). If I script Counterstrike, I’m not hitting against Feint, Charge, or Throw (which were good bets with Strike) or Counterstrike (which was a maybe, and probably involved getting hit myself so we’ll call that a wash). I’m losing my chance at beating a Block or Avoid. Beat is unlikely, since it’s useless to my opponent. Against Strike, Great Strike, Disarm, Lock, or Push, I can test 4d against Ob 1 (which is better odds than 5 vs Ob 2, but not by much).

It’s also worth noting that I’m actually better defended during the Strike than I am when I counterstrike with all my dice: It’s easier to hit someone rolling 1d for defense than it is to beat Ob 1.

If I was trying to decide between Strike and Counterstrike anyway, this is maybe a point in Counterstrike’s favor while at a disad. But if I was trying to decide between Strike and Lock, this wouldn’t make me swap that for a Counterstrike just because of the disad.

You are absolutely correct :slight_smile: Disregard the example I used above.

False! Ties go to the defender, so if your 1d defense comes up dry, they still need 1 success to hit you. If on the other hand your 1d is a success then they need to get 2 successes. You can never be worse-defended than when you’re striking - your opponent always needs at least 1 success to hit.

True, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

If you get no successes, I am better off than I would be against Ob 1. I still need a success to hit, but I get to count that towards my margin of success and use it to improve the hit.

If you get one success, I am almost always no worse off than I would be against Ob 1. As long as I get more than one success, my result is the same (I hit, and with the same MOS I would have had against Ob 1). If I get no successes, I miss either way. It’s only if I score exactly one success that I am worse off: Against Ob 1, that would be a margin-zero hit, while in this versus test, it’s a miss.

Even if I’m only rolling three dice, the chance of that outcome is only 0.1875. The chance of an outcome where I do better than I would have against Ob 1 is 0.25. If I have a weapon skill above B3, or if I can muster a FoRK or two, I do even better.

Er, Devin, I think you need to reread block again. Block reduces your opponents strike successes, and so does the block portion of counterstrike. It doesn’t change their Ob. Thus, the margin of success is still calculated normally.

It can be useful to model block successes as increasing the base Ob, not setting the Ob. Ob to strike is 1. If I get zero block successes, Ob is still one. if I get one block success, Ob is now 2. And so on. MoS is counted from successes above Ob.

Backup on this? Or am I talking out of my ass?

Well, yes about how block successes work but there is no base Obstacle of 1 in the versus test. Subtract the defense successes from the strike successes. If there’s any strike successes left, it hits. MoS is the number of successes over the defense successes. So if defender rolls no successes, and you roll one success on Strike, you hit with a Margin of Success of 1.

See, and that seems to contradict the way things are played out in examples, and would invalidate the suggestion to “make things more dramatic” by rolling the block after the strike has been rolled as suggested both in the book and on the forums by members of BWHQ. Where’s that thread…

Post 6 and on. Also, Defending Against Aimed Shots, Pg 465-466, states outright what I’m going on about here. Sound about right?