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Marksman Talent query

Around our table, we interpreted it to mean “1 Additional Momentum for the attack,” meaning it can be converted into a bonus D20 for the attack (Creating Opportunity). That option is the only one we ever use, bonus Momentum generated from that is then used to modify the attack. Maybe suggest that to your players, rschweik?

I’m also weary of wasting Momentum because it should “always be useful.”

I realize that this goes against FrankF’s interpretations but, at our table, our interpretation works very smoothly, with no imbalances.

I also think that there is the “pricing” of Marksman and Trick Shot is right. The big difference is that Marksman requires no additional input. It’s automatic. Trick Shot requires you to sacrifice a Minor Action.

Anyway, first post (kind of), and 2 cents’ worth.

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It’s actually the other way around.

The phrasing is very weak, but I tend towards that Marksman makes the skill test generate 1 additional Momentum. That would be 1 Momentum that you can actually keep if you like, because it’s not bonus Momentum.

It feels very weird to me if a talent would just add 1 Momentum that you could spend for immediate Momentum spends before the actual skill test. Generally, Momentum is added after tests. If this would indeed be the intention of the talent, I feel like this would have been phrased completely differently.

Usually talents that affect the skill roll itself add a d20 directly, or affect the Difficulty directly. But that’s of course all my opinion.

In Conan, and Infinity and MC3, you actually CAN keep any Bonus Momentum generated by Talents for your group Momentum pool.
There is a recommendation for a house rule not to allow keeping Bonus Momentum at all, as this could lead to LOTS of Momentum on many tests, filling the group Momentum pool, making the need to generate Doom a rare occurance, thus keeping the GM short on this very central resource.
But as of rules as written, the only limitation of Bonus Momentum is, that it only ever is added to the amount of Momentum generated by a test, if the test was successful in the first place.
Trickshot explicitly states the exception, that this Bonus Momentum may not be stored in the group Momentum pool - normally, Bonus Momentum could, of course, be stored in the group pool.

TBH, I ignore the clause in Trick Shot that states that the bonus Momentum cannot be stored in the group pool; I considered it an odd and somewhat silly restriction. Combat example from my last game:

Archer uses Minor Action to generate 1 Momentum (which I have ruled, as I noted above in this thread, can be used for Create Opportunity (+1d20) or Create Obstacle (+1D to enemies). Archer has Quick Release and uses 2 Loads, granting him 5d20 without spending Doom or Momentum pool. Archer rolls {1,3,12,12,15} which with his Coordination and Ranged Weapons skill is 7 successes. Trick Shot adds one additional success. Lighting conditions required 2 successes to hit (target was in optimal range for his bow), so that gives him 6 net successes.

I shorthand this in my combats to “6 net,” announcing it aloud and jotting it down as the player expends it. With his bow and Awareness and 2 Loads, he rolls 10 :bird: and gets 1,1,2,2,3,4,4,5,5,6; he’s got plenty of Ranged Weapon talents so that Accurate allows him to reroll the 3,4,4; final string is 1,1,2,2,4,4,5,5,6,6 for 10 damage, 4 Effects and 6 net successes.

Piercing 4 (one per Effect) is more than enough to go through the light armor the snake man was wearing, so he doesn’t need to spend Momentum on piercing, so he lets that damage stand – this turns out to be wise since the Toughened creature has only 10 Vigor and the shot is instantly fatal.

He still has 6 net successes. He fires a second shot (2 Momentum since it’s the same weapon), 2 more Loads, and spends 1 of his 6 net to gain 1d20 for a second 5d20 shot; he couldn’t use Marksman this time as he doesn’t have another Minor Action. This shot is also +1D (second attack), so he needs 3 successes, and this time he rolls {2,5,7,14,19}, yielding 6 successes, plus Trick Shot adds another one for 7 net. Needing 3 successes to hit, he’s now at 10 net - 3 = 7 net. The attack does another 10 :bird: damage. He again gets at least three Effects and thus pierces their armor in every location, rolls enough damage to kill the snake man, and so is left with 7 net at the end.

He would put them all in the party Momentum pool, but it’s already got 2 Momentum from last round, so he spends 3 Momentum for Confidence, gaining 3 :bird: Courage Soak until the start of next turn, and puts the other 4 in the party pool.

This is often what happens with the archers (this party has two) – they max out the party pool for the benefit of the melee and threaten attacks to follow.

After resolving the first Ranged Weapons test, the player needs to decide how many points of surplus, unused Momentum he wants to store in the group Momentum pool. Every point that is not used or stored simply vanishes.

Then, making the decision to attack using the Swift Attack spend, he can draw the 2 Momentum for this second attack out of the group Momentum pool.
After resolving the second attack, any surplus Momentum from the second attack could be stored in the group Momentum pool - not exceeding the limit of 6 points.

While it is possible to have more than 6 Momentum left during the resolution of a Skill test, as soon as this test is resolved, it needs to be used, stored or dropped.
There are (very few) Talents that allow you to carry over your Momentum from one Skill test that gets resolved into another Skill test (Riposte - Parry test Momentum gets carried over to the Melee test).

So the archer character would not be able to simply “add up” the Momentum generated on two separately resolved Ranged Combat tests.

I have to disagree with you there, Frank, because of the following. From the rulebook, p 101:

As noted before, the player does not have to declare what Momentum is being used for until the time it is spent, and does not need to spend Momentum in advance to obtain effects later. Continuing from the prior example, an attacking character doesn’t need to spend Momentum to increase the amount of damage inflicted until after the damage roll. Momentum spends can be made as soon as the need for
them becomes apparent. Momentum is always useful. There is no chance of wasting Momentum by spending it on a benefit that isn’t needed.

Most Momentum spends can only be used once on any given skill test or effect. In action scenes (described in Chapter Five: Action Scenes), a character can only use a given Momentum spend once in any round. However, some Momentum spends are described as Repeatable. This means they can be used as frequently as the character has the desire and Momentum to spend. Once the character’s task is resolved (or in an action scene, at the end of the turn), any unspent Momentum is lost. However, characters have the option to save Momentum for later use if they wish.

The example, where the attacking character doesn’t need to spend the Momentum to increase damage inflicted until after the damage roll, means that Momentum does not disappear instantly as you described. Yes, you could argue that the damage roll is part of the Ranged Weapons Skill Test, but the damage roll is distinct from the Skill Test. Further, from p. 118’s Action Scene Momentum Spends:

Momentum is a key tactical resource during Action Scenes. When a character generates Momentum in an action scene, numerous options are available by which the character can overcome enemies, empower allies, and bolster the effectiveness of actions.

The table above provides a number of additional options available to a character generating 1 or more points of Momentum in combat. These are in addition to the normal uses of Momentum and any others that players or gamemaster create themselves.

Nothing in that rule says the options in the table (which includes the Swift Action spend) have to come from the group pool, and I’d read it such that it does not. Why would you be able to use the Bonus Damage or Re-roll Damage Momentum Spends with your initially-generated Momentum, and not the Swift Action spend? If there was a differentiation on that table between what you can use from your generated Momentum vs. what’s in the Group Pool, it’d say so – Break Guard, for example, states a limitation “May only be used on an attack or a Defend Reaction.”

The Standard Action - Ranged Weapons attack - is resolved only after the damage roll (if a hit was achieved) was made and all Momentum spends regarding this damage roll (re-roll of damage dice, penetration spend, etc.) were made.
Then, the action is fully resolved.
Any Momentum from that action, that is still unspent, can be saved in the group Momentum pool, but only to the maximum of 6 Momentum. Any excess is lost.

Momentum does not disappear instantly, only after the task is fully resolved.

That is the situation for the Swift Attack Momentum spend during a combat scene.
It is your character’s turn, you make your Standard Action as a Ranged Combat attack, generating a lot of Momentum.
The attack will be fully resolved - including the damage roll and any Momentum spends regarding that.
The remaining “floating” Momentum is still your personal amount of Momentum during your turn, it is not (yet) stored in the group Momentum pool.

If you immediately after your Standard Action spend 2 Momentum for the Swift Attack, you can draw that from your “floating” Momentum. - But you could end your turn here and, for example, make the Swift Attack on a Reaction later in the round, so not on your actual turn, but on the turn of the attacker you made the Reaction against. In that case, the Momentum for the Swift Attack comes from the Reaction - Acrobatics or Parry test - as “floating” Momentum or from the group Momentum pool.

The point where it gets weird is, when the archer in your example has 3 Momentum left after declaring the Swift Attack and buying another d20 for Momentum.
In that case, he starts another action, which could be another Ranged Weapons attack, but it could be a totally different Skill test which requires a Standard Action.
The 3 Momentum he has left will be stored in the group Momentum pool, before he makes the dice rolls for the next attack. They don’t carry over into the next attack.

This is important, as with Riposte Talent, they DO carry over into the Riposte attack - which is an exception.

As there were 2 Momentum in the group pool before he made the first attack, the group pool is now at 5 Momentum before he rolls for the second attack. This generates 4 Momentum, 3 of which he spends for Confidence, and the last point goes into the group pool, maxing it out at 6 Momentum.

Momentum is, unless a Talent says otherwise, only “floating”, until the action is resolved and you made all your spends. When you undertake another action, any surplus, unspent Momentum goes to the group pool or is dropped if the pool is maxed out.

You only have a single Minor Action per round.
In your example the archer used THREE of them:
First Minor Action to use Marksman for 1 Momentum (which you allow him to spend before the actual Standard Action).
The second Minor Action to use Quick Release for spending 2 Loads on the shot.
The third Minor Action to use Quick Release again for the second attack.

This makes three Minor actions, which is not possible according to the combat rules.

If your archer used the Marksman Talent, then this would have used the single allowed Minor Action, so he would have only been able to spend 1 Load on his shot, maybe buying additional d20 for group Momentum or Doom, and still rolling 1 damage die less than in your example.
And the same on the second attack.

If you allow your player to use any number of Minor Actions, then they often don’t need to generate Doom or use group Momentum. So you get this very “effective” archer as a generator of group Momentum.)

Last things first, yes, you’re correct, I shouldn’t have used Quick Release twice + Marksman. It slipped my mind that QR uses a Minor Action. I don’t give any bonus Minor Actions in my game. That’s what I get for writing a post too quickly!

You can’t use the Swift Action Momentum Spend do either perform a Reaction or to gain additional Reactions – you get as many Reactions as you want, so long as you have a triggering event (i.e., being attacked) and you are willing to pay the Doom cost. Swift Action is only for a second action in the PC’s turn (at +1 Difficulty), which is why they can use “floating” Momentum, as you called it.

I do not allow a character to act and then later use 2 Momentum to do a Swift Action after other characters (PC or NPC) have acted between their original action and the Swift Action. That’s not allowed in the rules (p.113):

Outside of the turn, the character cannot take any actions, but can attempt Reactions in response to the actions of others. Actions can be taken in any order, but all actions must be declared before each is resolved, and the gamemaster has the final decision as to whether any combination of actions is possible.

Once you act, you’re done (other than Reactions).

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You definitely can use the Swift Attack Momentum spend outside of your turn after a Reaction.

Here is the relevant paragraph from the Conan Rules FAQ (from the old Google+ group):

Q: When does Momentum have to be stored in the Momentum Pool; can you wait till the end of your turn, or the round?
(Clarified by Nathan Dowdell on Google +)
You couldn’t save it across the Round: the character parries, generates Momentum, spends none/some/all of that Momentum, then saves any left over at the end of that Turn (even if that Turn is someone else’s). However, if you were to take multiple tests in a Turn – such as moving through difficult terrain and then attacking, or counter-attacking with the Swift Action Momentum Spend after a parry – you would not have to bank unused Momentum until that Turn ended. Saved Momentum can then be used to “top up” a character’s generated Momentum in subsequent successful tests.
In summary, Momentum doesn’t have to be saved in the Pool until the end of that character’s Turn in Action Scenes. In non-Action Scenes, the Momentum is saved (or lost) after the character has acted and spent what they want to from the generated Momentum. Momentum is saved at the point that it would otherwise be lost. (Note that there is a difference between the terms Round and Turn.)

That is the clarification regarding your question about when Momentum has to be stored and it includes the one about using the Swift Action Momentum spend after a Reaction.
As this is the clarification by @Modiphius-Nathan it does not get any more official than that.

Maybe he could clarify the original question about the Marksman Talent, too?

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That post from Nathan Dowdell completely contradicts how Reactions are described to work in the rulebook. Reactions are just that – reactions to another’s action. They are very limited, although you can theoretically do as many of them as you like, provided you keep being given an opportunity to react and are willing to pay the ever-increasing Doom cost.

Using the Swift Action Momentum Spend is an action, in fact a subtype of Standard Actions (see the introductory paragraph on p. 115), at least by the RAW.

Nathan’s answer sounds to me like someone remembering how it worked in playtest, actually. Maybe they originally had you spend 2 Momentum to counter-attack, but they changed it to the Riposte mechanic. Can’t speak to that; only what’s in the rulebook.

However! he did say “In summary, Momentum doesn’t have to be saved in the Pool until the end of that character’s Turn in Action Scenes,” which means my example of using the initially-generated Momentum to fuel a second shot, even though the archer originally created >6 Momentum, works. (Take away the extra Minor Actions I accidentally put in there, naturally.) The archer didn’t have to lose Momentum or toss it in the group pool until he was done acting.

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Riposte is not a “mechanic” that is open to everyone, it requires a Talent (with prerequisites). And a Riposte counter-attack is not any kind of action, it is part of the Parry Reaction.

The Swift Action Momentum spend is different, it raises the Difficulty by +1, it costs 1 or 2 Momentum, and it counts against the limit of only two Standard Actions per round.
But it is a Momentum spend that could be made on a Reaction, provided the character did not take a second Standard Action, yet. And that is the way of counter-attacking that is open to everyone with 2 Momentum to spend - no special Talent required.

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The Action Scene Momentum Spends are not “attack” Momentum spends or even only “Standard Action” Momentum spends.

You can make those spends that fit on any type of Action, Minor Action or Standard Action on your turn, or a Reaction.

And on Reactions a Swift Action spend does not necessarily mean another attack. You could have a Parry Reaction in a round where you haven’t used a Movement action at all. So you spend 1 Momentum for Withdraw and 2 Momentum for a Standard Action to move two zones away from your opponent. That is a very efficient disengage.

Or you spend Momentum to Disarm the opponent on your Reaction. Or you could spend Momentum for Break Guard, and, if sufficient Momentum is available, for Swift Action to attack the opponent without Guard - useful if you have a Reach 1 weapon versus a Reach 2 or 3 weapon.

Limiting the Swift Action Momentum spend to the character’s turn, cuts off a lot of the tactical elements that Conan 2d20 offers.

And that is not “from the playtests”, this is in the core rules.

Then take a look at the Conan 2d20 core rule book, page 115:

■ Swift Action Momentum Spend. By spending 2
points of Momentum from a prior skill test (even
one from a Reaction), the character immediately
gains an additional Standard Action. The Difficulty
of any test associated with that extra Standard
Action increases by one step.

I cannot imagine how it could be stated more clearly that you can use the Swift Action Momentum Spend on a Reaction.

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I see it; I see how it feeds into several mechanics – your Break Guard example is well taken – and now I’ve got to figure out what it’s going to change in how I’ve been running things. I suspect mostly not; the most common Swift Action Spends my players have is to perform a second attack during their turn, but knowing they can do so during a REACTION could be quite powerful.

This is definitely an area where, had I been one of the writers of the rulebook, I’d have included play examples of these kinds of different mechanics. The examples of play are good, but they don’t seem to have ones that describe some of these types of things.

Appreciate you knocking it through my thick skull, Frank :slight_smile:

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