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 Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.

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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:09 am

My hangup is that "cannot be seen or predicted exactly how it is going to be able to come at you" fits very excellently with the definition of blindsided on page 386 "When a character cannot see his attacker in order to react effectively to an attack, he is considered Blindsided.". And does not fit very well with the definition of surprised on page 390:

So I think that everybody can agree that if a character who knows there is a burrowing creature in the area does not detect where the burrowing creature is emerging from, the character is blindsided.
The two potential points of disagreement seem to be ether
(1) Whether the Ambush power: "Ambush: When attacking from surprise, the creature gains a bonus to its Initiative, Attack, and Damage tests equal to their Step in this ability. This power cannot be combined with Surprise Strike." can be used when a character is merely blindsided, but not surprised. or
(2) Whether something appearing from a direction that can't be predicted is not merely Blindsiding, but is also Surprising. Reading the description of Surprised on page 390, it's causes and effects, I don't think it does.
Surprise: "From time to time, characters and creatures appear in unexpected places. This may be an intentional tactic, as when a group plans an ambush, or an accidental encounter, as when a creature suddenly appears from behind a tree in the forest. In either case, those caught off guard may be surprised. Surprised characters cannot take any actions during the combat round in which they are surprised. They also suffer a –3 penalty to their Physical and Mystic Defense during the same round (in certain situations the gamemaster may apply this penalty to the character’s Social Defense). The effects of surprise last until the end of the combat round."
Are you blindsided when an undetected burrowing creature erupts out of the floor at your feet? Yes. Might you not be able to use your shield or avoid the blow? Yes. Are you surprised that the creature you saw burrowing into the floor emerges from the floor, walls or ceiling? Probably not. Is the event itself unexpected, even if the direction of attack is unexpected? Probably not. Are the re-surprised characters unable to take any actions that round? I would think not.

I think that creatures with the burrowing ability have a power that allows them to repeatedly Blindside somebody. However I don't think they don't have the power to ambush more than once. For that you need the Surprise Strike ability
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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:12 am

I would be interested in learning if people who think that surprise can be reestablished think so because the Ambush talent does not require surprise, or that blindsiding somebody makes them surprised, or if there are additional arguments I have not considered.
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Smyandl



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:49 am

"From time to time, characters and creatures appear in unexpected places. This may be an intentional tactic, as when a group plans an ambush, or an accidental encounter, as when a creature suddenly appears from behind a tree in the forest. In either case, those caught off guard may be surprised. Surprised characters cannot take any actions during the combat round in which they are surprised. They also suffer a –3 penalty to their Physical and Mystic Defense during the same round (in certain situations the gamemaster may apply this penalty to the character’s Social Defense). The effects of surprise last until the end of the combat round."

It says IN surprise that if you do not know where the attack is coming from it MAY be considered a surprise (Case by case). I stated before that if a burrowing creature goes into the ground for a round or two you have ZERO idea who it is going to attack. Yes you can sit there staring at the ground but it is very easy to establish, especially if you are doing something other than literally just staring at the ground or walls, or ceiling because they can get there too that you can be re surprised. NO WHERE does it say surprise or ambush are a once a combat thing. You can interpret it that way but you can also just as easily go the other way. Since the wording is once again ambiguous I am leaning towards the case by case basis of the scene and what makes for a better story and more suspense.
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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:24 am

You said that it says in the surprise section that if you do not know where an attack is coming from it may be surprising. Maybe I am just being dense, but WHERE does it say that?  I mean we both quoted the paragraph, and I don't see those words or anything like them.

It says almost word for word in the "Blindsided" section that if you can't see the attack coming you are blindsided, but I just don't see it in the surprise section. Instead it seems to be saying that you are surprised if you don't EXPECT an attack.

It seems to me to be saying that if a leopard jumps out of a tree at you, and you did not know there was a leopard within pouncing range of you, you are surprised because you did not expect that to happen. If you heard an animal rustling around in that tree, you are probably not surprised.

If you walk around a tree and see a bear 10 feet away from you, there is a good chance that ether or both of you will be surprised. You knew that there were bears in the woods, but you did not know there was one that close to you. It is shocking to find yourself that close to a bear unexpectedly. Last round you were not expecting to be in melee combat with a leopard or bear, and unexpectedly finding yourself fighting one is surprising.

But if you know for a fact that a critter is in the immediate area. Are you really shocked or surprised to find it leaping out at you? Is it unexpected? Just about every definition of surprise mentions "unexpected".  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/surprise

I think we agree that in all these circumstances being discussed, a character can be blindsided. And we agree it is distressing to be blindsided, but is it really surprising?

Once again, I totally and completely agree that a burrowing creature can use his abilities to repeatedly blindside a character. I just think that not being able to see an attack coming is not the same thing as not expecting an attack. And being blindsided is not the same as being surprised.
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Smyandl



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:48 am

Reading into it.  I swear I read it but that happens to the best of us.  You realize your second post says pretty much exactly what your first one says.  Saying the same thing over and over again does not change anyone's mind....pretty much ever.

See my previous post as a response to your secondary post.  The circle begins again.

(Unexpected is a subjective term. Just because you think you may be attacked from underground does not mean you know when or where. Especially if you are fighting something else. So surprise and definitely ambush are both relevant again.)
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zexsis



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:22 pm

With any rule discussion my first thought always is.. "do I want this used against me". In all reality, combat as a player is typically not in our favor because we are few and npcs many. If a rule gives us an advantage, if follows it gives them one and I'd rather not be face opponents constantly disappearing and resurprising me. Some may say, dick move by the gm, but fair is fair. Personally, i know surprise can allow for a one shot kill, but i don't want that happening to me.. so I try and avoid those maneuvers unless the campaign is designed as stealth, assassination,etc.
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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:26 pm

The stealth disciplines of PCs (and Adept NPCs) have access to Surprise Strike, which does allow use when Blindsided. My impression is that Ambush is a poor cousin to Surprise Strike, and requires Surprise instead of mere Blindsided.
On the other hand, the critter power boosts to-hit, damage, and initiative, so is three times better when it can be used.
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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:03 pm

Much of my 2nd post can be summed up as "Surprise means unexpected", which is all new and not mentioned in any previous post. I put it in because you seemed to be saying that "Surprise means unseen".  

You are correct that the "Unseen means Blindsided" is a retread. I merely restated it because you had not responded to that point, and in support of the whole "Unseen means Blindsided, Unseen does not mean Surprised, Surprise means unexpected" argument.  I tried to include the complete chain of reasoning I am following. I tried to address all of the points you raised. You mentioned that you felt the wording was ambiguous, so I included a link to dictionary.com where all the top definitions for Surprise mention "unexpected" or "without warning".

I agree that "unexpected" can be a subjective term. When one is walking for days, knowing that you might be attacked at any time, you can certainly be surprised when you are attacked. When one hears rustling in the bushes, one can be surprised that it turns out to be a leopard of all the hundreds of creatures it might have been. When one spots a leopard, one can be surprised by it's mate. And then a round later one can be surprised by the other two leopards. And if a leopard runs away, one can be surprised by it again a few hours later (different encounter). I agree with all of that.

Even if it is the thing you most expect (perhaps you have been told that a certain creature in in this area), you can be surprised when it pounces upon you after hours of searching for it. Because your uncertainly as to when/where/what is spread over several hours and rooms. If you last saw a Rockworm 2 hours ago, your internal answer to the question "what are the chances I am going to be pounced upon by a Rockworm in the next 6 seconds" has to be "pretty low", and you could be surprised if you were assaulted by one unless you heard it coming.

However If you last saw one 12 seconds ago, the answer to the question of "what are the chances it will attack me" has to be "unacceptably high", and while it might attack from your blind side, I doubt that few experienced adventurers would call the attack truly unexpected.. So yes, a subjective term, but with boundaries ranging from "Some of the thousands of deadly things that could happen to me, might happen sometime today", up to "It is highly likely that a Rockworm is going to emerge within the next few seconds from the floor, ceiling, or wall, and there is a one in four chance it is going to be lunging at me". Even if you are busy fighting something else, the reappearance would not be unexpected. .And, I feel, therefore not surprising. More on this below.

So two Rockworms lunging out of a hole that we had already speculated was dug by rockworms sometime in the previous several centuries. Surprising. Not "OMG, we had no idea" surprising, but surprising enough. But if we had NOT been attacked by Rockworms that entire adventure, it would not have surprised us in the least. Rockworms were one of the thousand things we might have faced, so we were surprised enough when two appeared. But flip that over, and the Rockworm NOT coming back to try to blindside one of us during the fight? It would have been moderately surprising if it had not done that.So my rule of thumb. A creature you have seen within the last several rounds attempting to blindside you, not unexpected. Not surprising. A creature you have not seen in several hours attacking from a different place than you last saw him, potentially surprising.


Your previous post which you reference me to as your reply to my latest post, aside from a re-quote of the relevant rule and an assertion that the rule says something it does not mention at all, seems to me to sum up to a belief that "If an attack is unseen, it is surprising, because you don't know whom is going to be attacked, or from what direction". If that is an unfair summation of your post, please correct me.

Neither of your posts, it seems to me, addresses my points that the conditions you are describing seems to me to describe being blindsided, not surprised.
Are you arguing that being Blindsided causes Surprise? That being Blindsided implies Surprise? That being Blindsided is the same as Surprise? I don't understand what you are proposing.

I am not really getting your logic jump that "Just because you think you may be attacked from underground does not mean you know when or where. Especially if you are fighting something else. So surprise and definitely ambush are both relevant again". I heartily agree that suffering a blindside attack is relevant. I will refrain from quoting the definition of a blindside attack yet again. I honestly don't see where surprise becomes relevant.

Both the rulebook, and the dictionary, surprise is always associated with the unexpected. You can't be surprised by the expected. You can be Blindsided by the expected, but not surprised. Or you can be surprised by something that is different than expected. If you expected that there was a leopard behind that bush, you can be surprised to find that there is also a bear, or that there was a bear instead of a leopard.

The top three definitions in the link I provided are
1. to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness:
2. to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly:
3. to make an unexpected assault on (an unprepared army, fort, person, etc.).
I think definitions 2 and 3 are the most relevant. Unexpected and unprepared do not describe the scenarios we are discussing. What definition of Surprised would you fit to this situation?

In the example from the rule of being surprised by somebody walking from behind a tree. The character becomes surprised when they see the unexpected person. This is an example of somebody who is surprised without being blindsided.

So once again, I think everybody has a very clear idea of when I think somebody is blindsided vs surprised. Can you give us some more guidance upon what you think the differences and similarities between being blindsided and surprised are? What are some circumstances when somebody would be both blindsided and surprised?  How about surprised but not blindsided? Blindsided but not surprised?
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Smyandl



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:54 am

My call on this is simple. It will be a case by case thing that makes sense in the scene and the setup of the scene. So....sometimes.
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chrisddickey



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:53 pm

I apologize if I am coming off as pissy here.

I enjoy a good debate, and one of the things that really raises my Gahad is a debate where one side does not engage and defend their position, but nether do they modify it. My understanding is that this sub-forum is for debate and discussion, and Shawn suggested I post on this issue here.  I feel that a healthy debate with good give and take is the best way for all sides to reexamine their beliefs and better understand the other positions. I try to post logical arguments, with supporting points clearly spelled out. Ideally (and I certainly need improvement on this), I try to ask leading questions and ask for clarifications so that I can better understand the opposing sides point of view.

Getting back nothing except a restatement of position is frustrating for me. I feel like I am debating a void, and obviously that shows in my writing. Getting back a reply that deals with only one or two of the minor points, and ignores all the rest tends to lead me into the mistake of thinking that the unrefuted points are unrefutable. And like I said, it kind of raises my Gahad to hear "I do not refute the majority of your points, but I do reject your points and conclusions for no reason I am willing to explain". I know that is not what anybody has said, and I apologize if I tend to hear that and let my writings drip a little acid.

Even if I do support a position voraciously, that does not mean I am not having fun or that I feel the game will be ruined if play goes the other way. I just like having the best set of rules set out clearly. Unfortunately, with the poor editing of Earthdawn, and the developers not really caring if a lot of stuff is nailed down clearly, the best set of rules is debatable.  I very certainly don't want to cause anybody else to not have fun, and apologize for any stress that I cause.

I am not saying I can't have fun if we don't play it my way. I am not saying that my position is unalterable. I am saying I don't understand what Shawn thinks the relationship is between Blindsided and Surprised. He says Rockworms surprise you because you can't see them coming. I am saying that not seeing an attack coming is the very definition of blindsided. My understanding is that Surprised and Blindsided are two separate conditions with different definitions, causes and penalties. I would be very happy if Shawn would briefly (but not too briefly) explain his understanding of blindsided, when it happens, and what the penalties are, and what surprised is, when it happens, and what the penalties are. Then briefly compare and contrast situations where one or the other might apply, noting their similarities and differences. Is a stealthy archer shooting you in the back a second or third time surprising, or merely blindsiding? In what important points does this differ from a Rockworm burrowing out of a wall the second or third time? It is not that I reject Shawn's conclusions, it is that I do not understand where the limits are, nor how they were reached. If it is to be decided on a case by case basis, I would be extremely interested in reading a few similar examples and learning why one goes one way and the other another. It is very possible that if I understood Shawn's position better I might come to agree with it, or at the very least understand it. I would greatly appreciate the chance to understand it better.

Again, I apologize for all posts that sound pissy. Re-reading this post, it sounds too passive-aggressive, but I don't have time right now to revise it again, so apologies for that.
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Smyandl



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:32 pm

I am not arguing the difference between blind sided and surprise.  That is never something I was arguing.  What I am arguing is the use of multiple ambushes in an encounter.  I believe it can be done within the definition of what surprise states in black in white from the book.  You disagree.  It is opinion.  There are really no facts to be had that I can see.  That is why I generally do not continue conversations on the same subject.  It is interpretations which equals opinions.  We simply seem to be falling on two opposite sides of interpretation.  There is no real debate here.  When it comes to opinion at a table you run do it your way and I will do it mine.

The main reason I end up frustrated by your debate style is I have played in a game you ran. In that game it was NO THIS IS MY WAY 90% of the time which I am fine with because I have always believed that at a table the GMs make a call and we move on. They do it differently in this org and allow players to have more pull of opinion. That is fine. The one thing I have noticed is it seems to cause HUGE debates in the middle of stories and I HATE HATE HATE that. I hate it to the point where I just shut down. When I spend five hours working on a three to four hour story and then get interupted, argued with, and talked over while trying to explain my opinions it simply pisses me off. I am literally the only GM running atm. I am trying to make sure everyone gets their games and has fun.

It feels like every two days someone is trying to find another loophole in the rules to make their character broken and give us something to argue about. To me that is powergaming and min maxing to the extreme. It is annoying. So yes I come off as short in these arguments but that is because honestly it doesnt matter. It is a storytelling game of horror which definately imho means that it should go less in players favor all the time. I put a lot of difficulty in my games for that reason and I make consequences last longer. I still want the players to win but I actually want them to work for it and I will always interpret the rules to follow that mindset and make sense WITHIN the scene they are presented.

As I have said in regards to surprise and ambush. If creature is attacking you like wack a mole it is blinsiiding you no ambush. If creature goes underground attacks a different person 20 yards away who was fighting something else and has no idea the attack would be coming, surprise with yes ambush. It is scene based and I would not make that ruling unless it made sense in the context of the scene.
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emeketos



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PostSubject: Re: Whether Surprise can be reestablished by burrowing.    Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:14 am

witholding comment to keep the peace
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