Reply To: Abuse Or Intended – A discussion about possible exploits.
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With 1 AP damage, there’d be very few scenarios where the perk actually makes any difference. Knocking a target towards an ally would still leave it able to attack normally with 8 AP. In most cases, a target knocked away and then closing in again would be able to make one attack afterwards – with or without a shield bash perk that drains 1 AP. The only scenario where I see this having any effect would be a target closing in again over difficult terrain or a height level difference if wielding a two-handed weapon. I doubt that this is enough to make the perk an attractive pick.
With 2 AP damage, the average target wielding a one-handed weapon would lose one attack. It could only make a single attack if knocked towards something it can attack right away, but would not be hampered at all in its ability if wielding a two-handed weapon. If closing in again after being knocked away, the target could in most cases still perform one attack with a one-handed weapon – but this is true with or without the 2 AP damage. On the other hand, it could no longer perform any attack at all with a two-handed weapon after closing in again, which in this case may make it disproportionally effective, close to a stun.
Just based on the way the whole system of Action Points works, I don’t see this working out in a balanced and even way, leaving it useful enough to make the perk an attractive pick, but not too strong against certain enemies to be easily exploitable. But, again, maybe I’m missing something?
No, you’re not missing anything. I just goofed and misremembered two-handers having a 5 AP attack. :P I checked the AP costs and you’re also right that the 1 AP would be too situational for it to be worth taking the perk. I think I’ve figured out a way of getting AP damage to not disproportionally penalize high AP attacks, though.
Rather than having the shield bash perk do AP damage, have it increase the AP costs of abilities by 1 for a single turn (so movement cost is not increased). So it turns into a method that can be used to prevent the other unit from using two 4 AP abilities, while a two-hander would only be unable to attack when moving across difficult terrain (and not having taken the Pathfinder perk). It also enhances offensive use of shield bash as a way of dealing with an entrenched opponent taking potshots (shield up, stab or slash) by breaking the deadlock. You remove their positional advantage, take the spot and then force them to either use their shield or attack as they can longer do both, for that turn, while standing still. Or make it more useful for breaking a battle line, since people knocked out of it will have more trouble effectively joining the fight again. That way you make the perk increase the flexibility of shield bashing, while two-handers not being able to attack should be situational enough that it is not exploitable (and make pathfinder more attractive for two-handers).
I also thought of a change that is closer to what you currently have with the fatigue damage. Rather than having the shield bash perk do a flat amount of fatigue damage, make it increase the amount of fatigue that actions take in the unit its next turn by a percentage. That’s more flexible and useful than the 10 fatigue damage it does now, with a percent based increase in cost being stronger against high fatigue attacks. This could be in addition to the AP increase tweak above, in case that isn’t strong enough on its own, or as a replacement if the two-hander is still too exploitable.