grey reflex vs grey reflex: gods collide

Hello agaun,

So who knows how actions resolve when 2 people with grey reflexes square off.

example script:

player 1:
volley one action 1: strike, block

player 2:
volley one action 1: strike, block

Would the strikes resolve against the blocks, or would strike resolve against strike, then block against block? or does strike resolve against block for both. More difficult to determine are when one player scripts avoid and block simultaneously. does a strike have to somehow go against both? the hardest ob from either? added together?

grey seems strange to me unless volley 1, action 1 is divided into part 1 and part 2.


I don’t know if there’s an official ruling but I’d run it in declarative order within the actions.

So player 1:
Volley 1
-Action 1A - Strike
-Action 1B - Block

Player 2:
Volley 1
-Action 1A - Strike
-Action 1B - Block

Line up V1A1A followed by V1A1B, and so on. So in the above example you’d get two Strikes followed by two Blocks. Much of the reasoning here is that Grey shade reflexes means you’re much faster than a normal person but it doesn’t mean that you have any magic foreshadowing ability to know what attack is coming or to react perfectly. Playing this way also means that Feint isn’t made useless in a conflict with shade-disparity (if you allowed reordering than someone scripting Block and Strike would always order to the most advantageous as opposed to being able to safely always script Block as the first tandem action).

That said, I don’t recommend letting characters start with the ability to rock Grey reflexes unless the players are serious BW vets.

It should be resolved in declarative order, indeed. 1A, followed by 1B.

Really? I thought the idea of gray reflexes is doing two things at once, so you’d resolve Strike against Block for both. If one had scripted Counterstrike/Block and Strike then both would trigger against the Strike and the other’s Block would apply to both incoming blows.

Yes, this can lead to messiness. I haven’t actually had to deal with gray reflexes.

I’m pretty sure that the intent wasn’t meant for people to be able to be in multiple places at once with Grey reflexes. For example, how would you adjudicate the following with true simultaneous actions:

V1A1: Charge, Great Strike Set
V1A2: Great Strike, Lock

I as a GM wouldn’t allow for a tandem Strike and Set if those happened at the same time since one involves moving forward and the other involves planting your feet and holding still. Much cleaner to think about grey reflexes as simply being so fast and composed that you can deliver actions that most people simply cannot deal with.

I don’t think of it as actually simultaneous. I think of it as being so quick that Mr. Gray is doing two things to Mr. White’s one.

Charge/Set or Strike/Set means moving forwards, or lashing out, and recovering quickly enough to start setting up another, bigger strike.
Great Strike/Lock means delivering a crushing blow and then trying to get your hands around the other guy’s throat before he can blink. But it’s also so fast that you’re doing two things while he’s still doing his one thing. The simple case is Strike/Strike versus block. You can rain rapid blows, but your foe’s weapon and/or shield are still fending you off. He hasn’t completed his parry yet.

Mostly this seems like a way to avoid making gray too good. If you have two actions in every action, and the second one is always unanswerable, it makes strikes and other offensive maneuvers obvious and makes almost all defensive maneuvers useless unless you’re facing someone equally quick. I like that same-shade reflexes require tactical thinking on where to put your (Reflexes mod 3) actions. Having actions that no one else gets takes all the fun of guessing out of the script.

Grey Reflexes stupidly good. It’s supposed to be. It’s the domain of Heroes, Monsters and Devils. White is the domain of Angels, Demons & Titans. Your ordinary folk don’t stand up. Grey Reflexes requires a lot of Grey stats, and isn’t an every-lifetime thing, but the province of Millennia old Elves.

Cheaty r@$a4@s$a Elves.

It’s still stupidly good if your second actions can be opposed. You can still script circles around your opposition. It just requires a little more thought to use it well instead of just X/Strike.

At least until you hit G7 and probably get a third action pair at some point that’s just about guaranteed not to get any opposition. That’s when you go for the Block/Set, Great Strike/Strike.

This is my understanding as well.

Having played or played with/against multiple characters with Grey Reflexes, that is not the correct understanding.

I’m gonna quote from the book, to clear up any misunderstanding.

BWG page 546: “In the exchange, for each action that he would normally get due to his Reflexes, he gets a second that happens at the same time.”

Fair enough, that doesn’t rule your understanding out, though any ambiguity is probably a result of trying to make it clear that against black Reflexes, both grey actions play out during the first black action (of course, only the first is opposed). [edited to avoid confusion]

However, “So if his opponent Strikes, the gray-Reflexed character may Block and then Strike, before his opponent woUld get his second action.”

Not simultaneously, sequentially.

Also, where rule interpretations come up, it’s a good idea to think about Luke’s intent when he wrote it. Is it more likely that he would put in a rule that effectively circumvented the gritty consequences of a Fight, allowing you to cherry pick when and how you performed actions, rather than a gently scaled improvement that, while powerful, still adhered to the, “you scripted it, suck it up”, ethos of the game?

To my mind, the deciding factor is that if you try to make them simultaneous, you end up with a world of headaches about how to pair up actions (e.g. both grey dudes script Block and Feint). If you treat them as sequential, you can just use the existing rules.

Now I’m curious, if someone with black reflexes scripts: Block while their grey opponent scripts Strike, Strike - does the block affect both strikes. Is that the intent of the world ‘simultaneous’ in the rules?

What’s wrong with simultaneity? Block does nothing against block, feint does nothing against feint, but feint has an effect against block. Both characters end up effectively dealing with a feint against block.

Yes, the Block working against both Strikes is the really important thing. How you handle gray vs. gray is less critical. I think the intent is simultaneous resolution (but not simultaneous action in fiction, which is that pesky second sentence). For gray vs. gray you can treat the actions as separate and it still works if you’d like. For gray vs. black you can’t or the black character is totally screwed.

Well yes, exactly - you need some other principle to decide how to pair up the actions. You seem to be using ‘most effect’.

A better example would have been Strike+Counterstrike against Block+Feint. One pairing will be awesome for one guy, the other pairing will be awesome for the other guy.

Important point. The black character is supposed to be totally, completely screwed against the gray character. When a blacksmith goes up against a greater demon, the lesson is “don’t go up against a greater demon.” This has always been the intent behind the shades. Lesser shades get p0wned by greater ones. Don’t try to lessen this by giving the black character a chance. Again, he’s not supposed to have one.

Is that the point of shades? Because that’s certainly not how I interpreted them. They’re powerful, yes, but they’re only one axis. I’m not so sure that G4 should have an advantage, and a substantial one, over B7. The blacksmith’s problem is that he’s not a fighter and the demon is. If a powerful but black shade knight goes up against a demon he should not just lose, period. He should have a fighting chance. That’s drama.

(I think using “demon” as the example has confused the issue. A black-shade knight should certainly have a fighting chance against a gray-shaded knight (a badass elf, say), who is a worthy but plausible opponent. Demons are several leagues above that, like dragons. In BW they’re forces of nature that push the PCs to do something other than a direct confrontation.)

A badass Elf is unlikely to have Grey shade reflexes unless they have so dedicated themselves to martial pursuits as to be a literal whirlwind of death and, similar to the demon, should be confronted in a different way. Also, remember that it takes earning a minimum of 9 Deeds, 30 Persona, and 60 Fate to get Grey reflexes (assuming optimal spending on Artha).

Agreed. You guys are underselling the dedication and determination necessary to get Grey Reflexes. It’s almost impossible to do in play without starting off with a grey stat or two. Go through the monster burner and see just which monsters have grey reflexes. I don’t think there’s a single mortal one that fits the bill.

So sure, a knight with B7 reflexes and fully kitted up going against a creature with G4 reflexes (an Imp?) should have a decent chance. His armor should soak up the Imp’s free shots and he gets a bunch of free shots of his own. But put him against a creature with G7 reflexes and he’s toast - as intended and only right.

If I was playing a character with Grey Reflexes that took me years of real time to earn, there’s no way in hell it would be fair for some lesser shaded character to be given a chance against me.

If you have gray Power and Agility and Forte you’re not suddenly unstoppably awesome. Your dice are more successful. You’re better at some things. I don’t see why this particular confluence of shade-shifting should lift you into the realm of the untouchable.

I also think you’re undervaluing doing two things at once. That’s a game changer. How do you defend against someone who can Strike and Feint at the same time? You Avoid and disengage, that’s how! Yes, you’re still going to be running for the hills, but you’re not just subject to instant, unstoppable death in the first action of the first volley.

But this is clearly an edge case we’re not going to agree on, and it’s very fortunately not one that comes up much in play. 9 deeds, 30 persona, 60 fate!