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    Default A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I was looking at a 4E thread again, something along the lines of "things 4E did well" and saw a point that was made about how it's really not a bad idea to combine reflex saves and touch AC. That got me thinking. In third edition, (non-touch) AC is seen as (generally) not that useful, especially at higher levels. Reflex saves, too, are often considered the weakest save.
    What is important, however? Initiative.
    So, that got me thinking. How about if touch armour, initiative and reflex saves were rolled into a single statistic, called something like "reaction"? Too good? Too useful?
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Seems to me folding Reflex and touch AC together is enough to make the combination worth buffing. Initiative might be related, but for most purposes it should probably be at least a little harder to combine going first, dodging spells, and being missed by all attacks in one single massively useful boost.

    Separately, though, armor, parrying/blocking, and one or two other things should probably also get a bit of a boost.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Mhm. I'm not too sure about what to do with armour, really.

    One thought I had was to combine it with Fortitude and make it a kind of damage save. If you would take hit point damage, roll a save against a DC determined by the damage, if you succeed, take no damage. A bit like DR. Not a working concept yet, though.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I find the balancing issue here is helped if you start equating all the mental stats to Saves. Such as:

    Wisdom= Reflex Save
    Intelligence= Willpower Save
    Charisma= Fortitude Save
    My reasonings are:
    Charisma is from the Greek word "charisma" which means "gift". This is why we have sorcerers and internal abilities based off of Charisma, because it implies that it's their inborn gifting. Likewise, Fortitude is the save that has the most to do with the body's natural durability rather trained ability. Thus Charisma=Fortitude
    Likewise, Wisdom is most commonly connected with "perceptions" and "common sense" rather than mental prowess. Thus, Reflex makes sense to be tied to the stat that allows them to most quickly notice incoming attacks.

    But you are asking about Touch AC:
    Touch AC is already where it should be, with DEXTERITY. Dexterity, in combat, is your dodge stat. It gives you a dodge bonus. Thus, you already have a stat solely dedicated to Touch AC.
    Now, you could switch that to Wisdom, because it's your perception stat. But then, why would anyone ever take Dexterity? Dodge is what makes Dexterity worth taking.

    Alternative options:
    1. Combine Dexterity and Wisdom into "Reactions". Give divine casting to Charisma. Dexterity and Wisdom are already sub-par stats, so combine them.
    Charisma actually works best for divine spellcasting. Historically. The greek word "charisma" is the one that the Christian Bible uses for the gifting's god's people have for performing miracles, healings, etc.

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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    depending on how you balanced it, having normal armor class equal reflex + fortitude might work. I would recommend then having armor be damage reduction so wearing plate doesn't make you immune to poison.

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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    One thought I had was to combine it with Fortitude and make it a kind of damage save. If you would take hit point damage, roll a save against a DC determined by the damage, if you succeed, take no damage. A bit like DR. Not a working concept yet, though.
    Sort of like Toughness in Mutants and Masterminds?
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I'd say leave Initiative out of it, and roll nothing together, but if your Reflex save + 10 is higher than your AC you can use it instead (if Flat-Footed you lose your Dex to your Reflex save in this case). That way Reflex saves still get around touch attacks which means a wizard's touch spell will not take out the Great Wyrm Dragon no save (a great wyrm dragon has 6 or 2 touch AC but has something along the lines of +20 or greater Reflex) and you don't have to fiddle with everything that grants an Initiative, Reflex, or Armor bonus to figure out how it should apply now. It also means that if your Reflex save is higher than your AC (as can be the case for a rogue) you can now use it to dodge attacks.

    Initiative already serves its purpose quite well (letting you go first) and I'd be more inclined to tie it to BAB or a class based bonus all of its own instead of just saying all good Reflex people get a bonus on it (meaning Fighters and Barbarians and Crusaders would be particularly slow to react in combat). Reflex typically is the weakest save because Reflex halves is just damage and usually AoE damage (not intended to be save or lose), but coupled with replacing touch AC it now stops a lot of bad touch effects which are save or lose or no save just lose (Slay Living, ice touch spell, Rigor Mortis, Irresistible Dance) making it much more important. This has a stronger effect on monsters (who are more likely to have a vast touch AC Reflex save disparity) than PCs (who are less likely to be targeted by touch attacks) but serves to nerf a certain type of wizard (not necessarily the strongest but one of the simpler ones to break thanks to Frostburn) while not also nerfing fighters, barbarians, and low Reflex combatants.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon X View Post
    I find the balancing issue here is helped if you start equating all the mental stats to Saves. Such as:

    Wisdom= Reflex Save
    Intelligence= Willpower Save
    Charisma= Fortitude Save
    My reasonings are:
    Charisma is from the Greek word "charisma" which means "gift". This is why we have sorcerers and internal abilities based off of Charisma, because it implies that it's their inborn gifting. Likewise, Fortitude is the save that has the most to do with the body's natural durability rather trained ability. Thus Charisma=Fortitude
    Likewise, Wisdom is most commonly connected with "perceptions" and "common sense" rather than mental prowess. Thus, Reflex makes sense to be tied to the stat that allows them to most quickly notice incoming attacks.

    But you are asking about Touch AC:
    Touch AC is already where it should be, with DEXTERITY. Dexterity, in combat, is your dodge stat. It gives you a dodge bonus. Thus, you already have a stat solely dedicated to Touch AC.
    Now, you could switch that to Wisdom, because it's your perception stat. But then, why would anyone ever take Dexterity? Dodge is what makes Dexterity worth taking.

    Alternative options:
    1. Combine Dexterity and Wisdom into "Reactions". Give divine casting to Charisma. Dexterity and Wisdom are already sub-par stats, so combine them.
    Charisma actually works best for divine spellcasting. Historically. The greek word "charisma" is the one that the Christian Bible uses for the gifting's god's people have for performing miracles, healings, etc.

    I'm really not sure what you're talking about... I never mentioned the mental stats. I certainly don't want to add wisdom to AC for everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Sort of like Toughness in Mutants and Masterminds?
    Like that, yeah.

    Initiative already serves its purpose quite well (letting you go first) and I'd be more inclined to tie it to BAB or a class based bonus all of its own instead of just saying all good Reflex people get a bonus on it (meaning Fighters and Barbarians and Crusaders would be particularly slow to react in combat). Reflex typically is the weakest save because Reflex halves is just damage and usually AoE damage (not intended to be save or lose), but coupled with replacing touch AC it now stops a lot of bad touch effects which are save or lose or no save just lose (Slay Living, ice touch spell, Rigor Mortis, Irresistible Dance) making it much more important. This has a stronger effect on monsters (who are more likely to have a vast touch AC Reflex save disparity) than PCs (who are less likely to be targeted by touch attacks) but serves to nerf a certain type of wizard (not necessarily the strongest but one of the simpler ones to break thanks to Frostburn) while not also nerfing fighters, barbarians, and low Reflex combatants.
    Hm. Didn't think about monsters. A lot of them would suddenly have quite high touch AC. Add size modifier to reflex saves? (I could see it being added to fortitude saves too, but the other way around. Bigger things are harder to kill with the same dosage of poison, etc.)
    Last edited by Eldan; 2014-04-09 at 01:48 PM.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I'm really not sure what you're talking about... I never mentioned the mental stats. I certainly don't want to add wisdom to AC for everyone.
    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I mostly wanted to make the case that a new stat would weaken the system. It's a much stronger option to either convert Dexterity or Wisdom into the Reactions stat, or combine those two in some way.

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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Oh, now I see the confusion. I don't want to introduce a new attribute. By "statistics" in the title, I just meant the variety of... hm. I'm out of words... parameters? Let's go with that.
    By "statistics", I just meant all the parameters on the character sheet. Like AC or Initiative or "Grapple modifier". I don't suggest introducing another base attribute like strength or wisdom. I suggest combining reflex and touch AC into a single parameter that would still depend on dexterity.
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    Lightbulb Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Just do like 13th Age and get rid of Reflex altogether.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I wouldn't go that far. I think it still serves a lot of useful purposes. Jumping out of the way of a falling boulder. Covering your eyes in time to avoid being blinded by a flash of lightning. Grabbing onto a ledge while you fall.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I've put some more thought into this, after it's been mentioned. What would people think of this, regarding the armour issue? (Parts obviously cannibalized from vitality/wound points and some terminology from Warhammer).

    A basic attack consists of two rolls.

    First, you roll to hit.
    1d20+base attack bonus+dexterity+weapon enhancement (+maybe other boni)
    vs.
    10+dexterity+deflection+shield+dodge(+maybe class defence bonus)

    If the attack rolls higher, it's a hit.

    Then, you roll to wound.
    1d20+strength+weapon enhancement+weapon damage rating(+base damage bonus from class levels?)
    vs.
    1d20+constitution+armour+natural armour(+maybe size modifier? Class bonus?)

    If the attacker rolls higher, it's a wound.

    Issues to clarify would be:
    Critical hits, what do they do. A bonus to "armour penetration"?
    Critical wounds, what do they do.
    What do wounds do, exactly? How many can you take before dying? Are there penalties for wounds?
    An interesting issue, too, would be weapons. This has the potential for a more granular weapon system, where some weapons penetrate armour more easily, while others do more grievous wounds.

    Thoughts?
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Not to be a negative Nancy, but wouldn't that just make combat slower? I realize this is mostly a thought experiment so let me play devil's advocate.

    First, under the wounding roll, is the constitution bonus to defense the constitution score, or the modifier? secondly, this adds more rolls to regular 3.X combat, so it'll slow combat down. It can also get somewhat frustrating.

    for example:
    Player 1: "Yes! I hit!"
    DM: " Ok, now see if you hurt him."
    Player 1: "Well, I rolled a 2 that time, for a total of 14"
    DM: "Sorry, I rolled a 10, plus my constitution of 14, and my fullplate brings that up to 32. You do no damage."
    Player 1: "Aw shucks"


    I suppose the example can be solve if weapons/classes had sufficient "wounding bonuses" to compensate for the (on average) higher defense rating. Without a clear example of what the bonuses are (you still have a few bonuses listed as "??"), and some example changes to PC's and creatures, it'll be hard to tell whether this is an effective my of making armor more viable at higher levels.

    Also, the wounding mechanic is already built in to the basic 3.X system with weapon damage rolls, and bigger creatures tend to have more HD than smaller creatures anyway.

    In response to the original post. I think rolling Touch AC into Reflex saves can easily work, and I think it'll help balance out martial characters against those nasty touch attack w/ no save spells.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    It doesn't really add more rolls, does it? It mostly just replaces weapon damage with a to-wound roll.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    It doesn't really add more rolls, does it? It mostly just replaces weapon damage with a to-wound roll.
    The way I was reading it ... it seems as though you roll "to hit" and then roll "to wound", and only after making both do you finally roll weapon damage to the target. (which may weaken characters that rely on weapons to deal damage, since the chance of actually dealing damage is lessened by the fact they have to make two attack rolls).

    If that wasn't the intent, then if you could clarify, I'll look over it again.
    Last edited by TheFamilarRaven; 2014-04-19 at 05:22 PM.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    With regards to the original proposal, I had some similar thoughts before. Reflex saves are really several separate concepts wrapped into one. Splitting that into initiative (react to things, avoid a pit trap) and AC-style defense (take less damage from fireball) solves a lot of problems. However, combining Reflex and touch AC completely, as you seem to be suggesting, is a bad idea. Many things which make you more difficult to hit (shields, rings of protection) have no effect on your reaction speed, and vice versa.

    With regards to the separate rolls to hit and wound: this is a bad idea. White Wolf has used this for a long time, and it's one of the worst things about its combat mechanics. Among other problems, it makes Dex the god-stat, and Strength vastly less relevant; the entire concept of a strong warrior who is not very agile (giants, Hercules, Fezzik...) breaks. The core mechanics for attacking and damaging are fine in the d20 system. The important issues lie elsewhere.
    Last edited by Vadskye; 2014-04-19 at 11:00 PM.

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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Re: hit roll + wound roll, if you give the wound roll to the defender you basically have a soak roll instead (and a setup that keeps both parties on hand for every attack, if that's a thing you care about). There's lots of game systems that use that sort of setup if you're looking for additional comparisons, though none I'd point out as a shining example of it.

    With regards to the separate rolls to hit and wound: this is a bad idea. White Wolf has used this for a long time, and it's one of the worst things about its combat mechanics. Among other problems, it makes Dex the god-stat, and Strength vastly less relevant; the entire concept of a strong warrior who is not very agile (giants, Hercules, Fezzik...) breaks. The core mechanics for attacking and damaging are fine in the d20 system. The important issues lie elsewhere.
    White wolf has never had particularly good mechanics, but the setting and concepts have been enough for people to make it work anyway. Shadowrun uses this sort of system in a less terrible way, but it has its own idiosyncrasies. Nothing is stopping the idea from being workable, even if it might also involve a large rewrite of additional mechanics and progressions (hit points and maybe also hit points).

    That said, Dex to hit in a dnd system is probably out for legacy reasons. Str to hit vs. Dex to avoid is pretty thoroughly ingrained in the system, and you probably don't want the guy who can avoid all of the hits also being the only one who hits regularly.

    And I gathered from the way Eldan brought it up that he's more interested in generic idea discussion than d20 fixes. Even if the current mechanic works fine there's no reason not do discuss alternatives.
    Last edited by tarkisflux; 2014-04-19 at 11:44 PM.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I like generic idea discussion, yeah. I mean, there's always this voice in the back of my head that screams "Write your own D20 heartbreaker! Do it now!" But chances are, I'll always be too lazy to actually do it.

    I don't care for legacy reasons. Really, it's not much of an argument for me.

    Finally, on the issue of damage rolls: there wouldn't be any, as such. Once you penetrate an enemy's toughness, or whatever it is called, you deal 1 wound, not a variable amount of damage.

    An example with mostly made-up numbers:
    Fighter McHero has dexterity 14 and a base attack of +2, as well as weapon focus, so he has +5 to hit.
    Knight von Badguy has dexterity 12 and a heavy shield (+2), so he has a, hmm what to call it, evasion rating of 13.

    McHero rolls a 12, for a total of 17 on his attack, so he hits.

    Next, damage.
    McHero has strength 14, a weapon with a damage rating of +2, for a total of +4.
    Von Badguy has constitution 16, +3 from his armour and +1 from racial damage reduction. His final tougness rating is 17.

    Mc Hero rolls high, a 15.

    Von Badguy takes a wound. From his constitution and class, he can take, say, 5 wounds before he is incapacitated, so he's still standing.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Legacy matters little to me too; that's not the reason I don't like "Dex to hit, Str to damage". Your second point:
    Quote Originally Posted by tarkisflux
    you probably don't want the guy who can avoid all of the hits also being the only one who hits regularly.
    is a persuasive argument by itself, without any need to discuss legacy. This system makes Strength fundamentally a subordinate stat, since it can only be rolled after you hit with Dex.

    It also makes invincibility more possible. If there is any degree of optimization/customization available, you have to deal with the potential for high-Con, armored characters becoming immune to damage. d20 solves this problem for AC with iterative attacks; even if you have a heavily optimized AC, a character's first attack will usually hit, so you can't reach true invincibility. Without iterative penalties on damage, and a threshold-based damage system, it's possible to reach the point where you can't actually deal damage. That sounds like a huge frustration-builder, either in the hands of bosses or PCs.

    With all that negativity said... the conceptual simplicity of a threshold damage roll is immensely appealing. Hit points become vastly easier to track, with less math. You can run the entire system on a d20 (and the occasional d100 for the DM). I actually can see really enjoying the play style of your example, Eldan. I just don't like the current math behind it.

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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    The math can be tweaked.

    That treshold you speak of is already there. It is difficult to reach, but there can always be a point where your AC can only be hit by a natural 20. Technically, there could also be a point where your damage reduction is so high, you are immune to physical damage, but I don't think it can be reached by any optimization I've ever seen.

    Still, it could happen, at least for AC. At level one, a reasonably competent fighter has, what, +5, +6 to hit? An AC of 26 is really high for level 1, but it wouldn't be impossible with some stat stacking. Wisdom and dexterity to AC (each +4), mage armour and shield spell (also each +4) and we're there.

    As for the maths, that can be tweaked. Adjust the bonus armour and spells give. Introduce, as I mentioned, a weapon damage bonus. Limit the number of different boni one can have.

    Finally, the one who hits doesn't necessarily have to be the same as the one who always damages. There can be class and feat boni to all those rolls. Class toughness and class damage boni. Class defence and base attack boni.

    Of course it would require a lot of carefuly tweaking to make the numbers appropriate. But that's always a given, really.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2014-04-20 at 12:38 PM.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I'm going to assume mirror matches in this post, because things get weird if you're trying to account for differing BAB and BDB values on top of different stat values. You can do those things of course, and might want to, but they muddy the general discussion water if you don't have a specific proposal to evaluate.

    The easiest soak systems to make the math work on are 2 stat opposed systems - something like dex vs. dex for the hit and str vs. str for the damage. Your builds are miss much / get hit often + hit hard / resist much or hit often / get missed much + hit weakly / resist little, or something balanced in between. And the math on that basically works, even if iterative probability and potential wasted damage places a slightly higher value on the regular hitting dex guy (but it's pretty small really). If you're not concerned about legacy arguments, you could just roll Con into Str completely and go with such a system. You can do something similar for the mental non-physical abilities too (spellcasting, supernatural stuff, etc.), which opens up enough different reliable vs. hard hitting builds to mix things up a bit.

    It's harder to balance these things in a 3 stat system, but one way to do so is with a form of RPS. One stat opposes another, which itself opposes a third, which then opposes the first in some combination so that each stat is used on both attack and defense, damage and soak. And you might be able to pair that with the weapon damage types in an acceptable way. For example, piercing weapons attack with con (repeated thrusts or holding a shot for the right time) and damage with dex (because you successfully hit a good spot), blunt weapons attack with str (bashing through blocks) and damage with con (because you need to carry through with a big heavy thing), and slashing weapons attack with dex and damage with str (which shouldn't need much justification). You might be able to do non-symmetric attack or soak rolls in that (ex: str vs. con), but the math on that is much harder to run and much less clear at the table. Justifying what goes where is also annoying. I started to work up an example but gave up - I was too tempting to overuse a stat.

    One of the things I think interesting about that setup is that if you run across someone strong against what you're using, switching to a backup weapon can completely change the fight. And some classes naturally gravitate towards certain classes of weapons that work with stats they already care about, which may or may not be a positive depending on goals.
    Last edited by tarkisflux; 2014-04-20 at 02:43 PM.
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    I prefer higher powered games, do not consider magic to be "special", and want non-casters to have similar levels of utility. If you haven't clearly said what your balance goals are, my suggestions generally reflect that. I'm pretty good with other balance points too though, so if I'm offering OP advice, let me know and I'll fix that.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Post Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Finally, on the issue of damage rolls: there wouldn't be any, as such. Once you penetrate an enemy's toughness, or whatever it is called, you deal 1 wound, not a variable amount of damage.
    Ok, now I see what you're saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    An example with mostly made-up numbers:
    Fighter McHero has dexterity 14 and a base attack of +2, as well as weapon focus, so he has +5 to hit.
    Knight von Badguy has dexterity 12 and a heavy shield (+2), so he has a, hmm what to call it, evasion rating of 13.

    McHero rolls a 12, for a total of 17 on his attack, so he hits.

    Next, damage.
    McHero has strength 14, a weapon with a damage rating of +2, for a total of +4.
    Von Badguy has constitution 16, +3 from his armour and +1 from racial damage reduction. His final tougness rating is 17.

    Mc Hero rolls high, a 15.

    Von Badguy takes a wound. From his constitution and class, he can take, say, 5 wounds before he is incapacitated, so he's still standing.
    Ok, but what about McHero's friend McSmartypants the Wizard? What happens when McSmartypants lobs a fireball into the room? Or how about something more level appropriate to the example, a magic missile? If McHero has to make two attacks rolls before successfully dealing 1 wound to his opponent, then this new system is granting more power magic wielders in a system that already favors magic users over mundane adventurers. Sure, magic missile might be manageable a lower levels, and even higher ones, if each missile only deals 1 wound. But then we get to spells like Missile Storm, Enervation, etc.

    I'm bringing this up because 3.X assumes players and monsters have access to magic, so magic needs to be taken into consideration in this new system of wounds. Not saying it can't be done, though.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    I personally like Legend's solution. All the saving throws get two stats, use the higher one. So Fortitude is Str/Con, Reflex is Dex/Int, and Will is Wis/Cha. Then they also have your offensive and defensive stats vary with your class.
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    Default Re: A thought on basic statistics [3.X]

    Sooort of works, really. My problem would be that I can't see any of the mental stats really working for reflex and all of them working for will, depending on what will does, exactly.

    As for Wizard McSmartypants, well, the missile would still need to wound, I think. Which would probably be quite hard, since it probably wouldn't have a stat added to it, just a damage bonus from the spell. On the other hand, it would hit automatically. So it would be very useful in removing lightly armoured, quick opponents.
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