Garrote clarifications

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« on: <10-15-16/1427:49> »
Wasn't sure if I should post here or to the "Rules & Such" forum.

Garrote rules seem a bit unclear to me. Initial attack takes a Called Shot Location modifier, and you need at least 1 net hit. The rules don't state whether that attack does damage. After that, it says the attacker can "choose to do the damage of the weapon during their next Action Phase along with improving their hold with another Attack Test or knocking the opponent to the ground". Assuming you choose the attack test, It's not clear if your net hits contributed to the DV (like with most weapons) or not, and if they do, if it is cumulative net hits or just the net hits from that attack. It's not clear if the Called Shot Location modifier is needed on those subsequent attacks. It's not clear if the subsequent attacks can be resisted by the opponents defense test (and if so, would a failure potentially reduce the cumulative net hits for the garrote?), though that seems unlikely. It reads like if the attacker chooses the knockdown action, there is no attack test for that action and no damage is applied to your opponent. However, I could see how someone might think there was an attack test for the knockdown (net hits having no real effect), or that weapon DV is always applied but there is a choice to either improve the hold with an attack test *or* knockdown the opponent. It also isn't clear if defender break free actions are cumulative, just like the attackers, and whether break free actions are free actions, simple actions, or complex actions.

It *seems* like the intention is that initial attack does no damage; the net hits from that initial attack are used to resist the inevitable breaking free response from your opponent. In subsequent phases, if the target hasn't broken free, the attacker can choose to tighten their grip or knockdown their opponent. If they go with the knockdown, it automatically succeeds. If they tighten their grip, the target suffers the weapon's DV with no modifier from net hits (though the usual soak damage rules apply), but the attacker rolls a normal (no Called Shot Location modifier) attack test, with no defense test against it, and the hits are added to the cumulative net hits that the defender must overcome to break free. Defenders can attempt to break free with a simple action, and net hits from break free attempts are not cumulative (meaning if an attacker who is constantly tightening their grip and your first couple of break free attempts don't pan out, your odds of breaking free look pretty darn grim).

One additional oddity: initiative & action phases. When thinking about the mechanics of a garrote, it seems like damage really shouldn't apply at all to action phases. Since the garrote is continuously applying pressure to your opponent, given a combat turn that starts with someone with a garrote around their necks and they never break free during the turn, it seems odd that an attacker with three initiative passes that turn could do three times as much damage as one with only one initiative pass. Intuitively, it seems like a slower but stronger opponent would do more damage, and the only advantage of a quicker character might be that it'd be harder to break free from the garrote. It makes far more sense if garrote damage is applied per combat turn, rather than per action phase.

I propose this rewording of the rules:

"...After the weapon is in place, the attacker can choose to either knock their target to the ground (which automatically succeeds) or tighten their grip with an unopposed attack test (no called shot location modifier). Net hits from garrote attacks do not affect damage, but instead are accumulated as the limit for break free action tests. If held by a garrote, a target can free themselves with successful Knock Out of Hands called shot or similar attack, or they can perform a break free simple action. The break free simple action is an unresisted Agility + Unarmed Combat [Physical] Test. If at any point, the cumulative net hits of all break free actions exceeds the cumulative net hits from the attacker, the target escapes the garrote's hold. Any subsequent attack with the garrote must start from scratch with the initial attack applying the Called Shot Location modifier and no cumulative hits for the attacker or target. Damage is applied at the end of the combat turn: if a target has been held by a garrote from the start to the end of a combat turn without ever breaking free, they take the garrotte DV (again, no modifiers from net hits) resisted with soak as per normal."