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D&D 4E Disarm in 4E

Regicide

First Post
The designers of 4E didn't like disarm.

Disarm is too small an effect to show up in 4E really. People want disarm to be some big huge effect that permanently alters combat, but 4E combat is modeled after anime or WWE "wrestling" where someone is bleeding on the canvas, they take a healing surge, spring back up and are suddenly jumping from the top ropes slamming their opponent to the mat. What happens when The Undertaker has the chair knocked out of his hands or Jackie Chan's vase gets shattered? They pick it or something else up and keep going.
 

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tyrlaan

Explorer
2) The guy doesn't want to play 4E, either because he doesn't know the rules or because he doesn't like the rules.
This seems like an extreme assessment. The player could just want disarm rules. Just because 4E doesn't have them doesn't mean he's opposed to 4E as a whole.

The designers of 4E didn't like disarm. The 4E combat system is not made to deal with disarm and the effect on a PC is far worse than a monster by RAW. <snip>

In my case, if I had a friend like this I would just tell him that disarm does not work within the 4E combat system because the designers made it that way.

I think this is a mistake. The concept of disarming makes far too much logical sense to just brush off because 4E chose not to handle it RAW. There are plenty of things I think a game can expect a player to suspend disbelief for, but this one just goes too far in my opinion. Trip attacks are in the same family here.

I do think that the player is expecting a bit much, however. My vote would be to use the stunting rules and adjust as you go. The player has to understand that whatever you build to support this ability is going to require playtesting because 4E RAW does not support what he wants to do. And if he really wants to do it a lot, the idea of building a power to support it makes a lot of sense. Also, don't forget that in 3E a disarm attempt provoked an OA. I'd say it should in 4E as well, regardless of the implementation you decide on.


Overall, I feel like people are too willing to say "it's not in the 4E rules, so you can't do it." I think this is a bad trend that people need to get past. Saying yes (with caveats) is a much better place to be as a GM than saying no.
 

Gort

Explorer
If Intimidate can force a bloodied foe to surrender by breaking their morale, use the same formula with Acrobatics (or maybe Thievery) to force a bloodied foe to surrender by taking their weapon away (and impressing them so much with the ease with which you did it, that they don't even try to get it back).

This is like the (disarm = reduce to 0 HP), but it does give some benefit...no more than Intimidate, so it should be more or less balanced. Of course there have been other arguments about whether someone who makes an Intimicheesemonkey should be rewarded, nerfed or both, and the same arguments would apply to a Disarmbot.

Yeah, I don't really like the "intimidate bloodied opponent into surrendering" mechanic, because it's really easy to get a ton of bonuses in skills. Perhaps if the intimidate mechanic was rebalanced to take into account that anyone who really wants to can get massive bonuses to it (basically make the intimidate DCs a lot higher) then I'd agree with this solution.

Anyone know what the highest Acrobat skill bonus you could get at level 1 is?
 

Alabast

First Post
Regicide had it right. Disarming should be a option for when you knock an opponent to 0 hit points, because disarming someone is effectively the same as defeating them.

If your friend is a simulationist, that's fine, but he needs to understand that D&D 4e is NOT a simulationist system. 3rd edition is the simulationist system, with 4e being a deliberate attempt to make the game more balanced and gamist, like a MMO.

That said, if you REALLY want to give him a system for disarming, make sure it is not something he can do off the bat in a single round. If it were me, I'd require that the enemy be already bloodied, and the PC have combat advantage and spend an action point after hitting the opponent.
 

Nytmare

David Jose
I had been thinking along the lines of retooling the intimidate rules at first, but then I remembered that intimidate has the catch that if you don't make the check, you can't try to intimidate them anymore. I think that will stick in too many throats to work effectively as a "I want to disarm them and pick up their sword and continue combat till I murder them" kind of rule.

My vote is to use the things that already exist in the game, and call them disarming. You intimidate someone? You got someone to 0 hitpoints? Great, you knock their sword out of their hands and they give up. If that doesn't fit in their world view, give anyone disarmed person a lone imaginary hitpoint so the player can take it away from them. If even that doesn't work, I'd begin to question whether it's the concept they like or the previous editions overpowerd combo.
 

tyrlaan

Explorer
If your friend is a simulationist, that's fine, but he needs to understand that D&D 4e is NOT a simulationist system. 3rd edition is the simulationist system, with 4e being a deliberate attempt to make the game more balanced and gamist, like a MMO.

While I'm not keen on the incessant 4E = MMO on tabletop analogy, if you want to take that route, you're argument is wrong. WoW has disarm mechanics and it's quite prevalent. Players and mobs alike can disarm and its a temporary loss of your weapon, which does indeed both reduce your damage output as well as restrict what abilities you can use.

So if 4E is a tabletop MMO, it should support disarm. :)
 

inkmonkeys

First Post
Yeah, I don't really like the "intimidate bloodied opponent into surrendering" mechanic, because it's really easy to get a ton of bonuses in skills. Perhaps if the intimidate mechanic was rebalanced to take into account that anyone who really wants to can get massive bonuses to it (basically make the intimidate DCs a lot higher) then I'd agree with this solution.

Anyone know what the highest Acrobat skill bonus you could get at level 1 is?
Offhand, I'd guess 17.
 

Cadfan

First Post
The real question to ask if you're going to make up disarm rules is to decide how badly you want the enemy to be screwed over when you disarm them.

Lets suppose you want to use the regular rules for weapons dropped in the square of their owner. In that situation, unless you can move the enemy after you disarm him, he's going to lose a minor action picking the weapon back up. Price that as you will.

Lets suppose you want to make the weapon fall away from him. If its within one square, he can shift over and pick it up. You've basically forced your enemy to move one space and then spend a minor action. Price that as you will, its about as good as sliding your foe one space and then dazing them, minus the combat advantage.

Lets suppose you want to make it so that the weapon is stolen, or flies far away, or so that the disarm is coupled with an attack that pushes the enemy far from his weapon. In that case your enemy will have to fight with a secondary weapon, or go through great lengths to get his weapon back. He may even be incapable of making meaningful attacks in the meantime. That's going to be more equivalent to being weakened (using a crappy new weapon), or getting extra attacks (forcing your foe to provoke OAs to run over and get his sword). Price that as you will.

Personally, I go for the "disarm = 0 hp and not dead" theory. It fits better with disarming someone as a means of actually stopping them from fighting.
 


CovertOps

First Post
Options:

1. If you just want the guy to play let him have whatever he wants for the power, then just don't ever send monsters that use weapons against the party.

2. Whatever you decide for the effect make sure it's realistic including the -16 to hit and such mentioned by another poster by the time you hit epic. Make sure to include several monsters in every battle with said power and just wait for him to ask you to get rid of the power.

3. Sarcasm aside I think the best option I've seen here is the weakened condition. Give him an at-will power that does NO DAMAGE but inflicts the weakened condition (save ends). What, he wanted to do damage AND disarm? This gives it a good existing system effect and a way to overcome the effect, plus you now have to CHOOSE what you're going to do....did I want to disarm him or kill him? Also this allows you to let anyone use the power. Make it STR vs. AC, but also work with that combat training feat so you can use your prime stat for it.

Me? I'd go with option 2.
 

tyrlaan

Explorer
Options:

1. If you just want the guy to play let him have whatever he wants for the power, then just don't ever send monsters that use weapons against the party.

2. Whatever you decide for the effect make sure it's realistic including the -16 to hit and such mentioned by another poster by the time you hit epic. Make sure to include several monsters in every battle with said power and just wait for him to ask you to get rid of the power.

3. Sarcasm aside I think the best option I've seen here is the weakened condition. Give him an at-will power that does NO DAMAGE but inflicts the weakened condition (save ends). What, he wanted to do damage AND disarm? This gives it a good existing system effect and a way to overcome the effect, plus you now have to CHOOSE what you're going to do....did I want to disarm him or kill him? Also this allows you to let anyone use the power. Make it STR vs. AC, but also work with that combat training feat so you can use your prime stat for it.

Me? I'd go with option 2.
I've actually left a game because a GM did (1), amongst other things. I'd consider doing the same with a GM that did (2). Neither of those are a respectful way to treat your players, not to mention friends.

Here's what I'd recommend if you go with a power. Note this is a rough design but hopefully something folks could use as a springboard for something more polished:

Disarm
At-Will * Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One creature
Special: This power triggers an OA.
Attack: Strength - 2 vs. Fort OR Dexterity - 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: The target drops it's weapon at it's feet.
Notes:
(a) It takes a minor action to pick up a weapon.
(b) You suffer a -2 penalty to the attack roll if the weapon is being wielded in 2 hands.
(c) you suffer a -2 penalty per size category the target is larger than you.
 

ChristopherA

First Post
I suggested that if it was something they were going to do that regularly, then maybe it might be something that might justify a homemade feat or power, but he strongly rejected this idea since he seems to think that disarming a foe shouldn't require a feat or power anymore than being able to charge or bull rush an opponent.

Bull Rush (and Grab) are really special exceptions. In general, in 4th edition, you cannot perform special actions to put a condition on an opponent without having an appropriate power. You cannot poke people in the eyes to blind them, slash at their legs to hobble them or trip them, slash their arms to disable them, sap them from behind to stun them, break their shield, set them on fire with your at-will flaming sword power, neutralize them with grappling, chop their wings to keep them from flying, or whatever, unless you have an appropriate power or special one-time GM dispensation for a cool stunt. If you want a justification, it might be that you don't have the skill to perform these maneuvers effectively in combat without a power. But basically, it is part of the game balance that you can only perform the maneuvers you know how to do.

Now, 4th edition doesn't have much support for the disarmed condition even for powers. Such powers might be annoying limited, too many battles are against monsters which don't use weapons. I think it is more in keeping with the spirit of 4th edition to use powers with a more general effect, and have the special effect against armed opponents involve disarming them. You could make up your own effect, as you did, or use existing effects. For instance, maybe knocking them prone disarms them - they have to crouch on the ground to grab the weapon back. Or maybe the stun effect - they grant combat advantage because they can't parry, they can't make attacks because they have no weapon, and they can't perform other actions because, umm, they are too busy looking for their weapon. OK, that last is a little weak, but fits the non-simulationist theme of 4th edition, where a lot of effects don't 100% make logical sense but work really well when you are moving your figure around the map and playing the combat.



__________________
Come read my game design/analysis blog at: http://gamedesignfanatic.blogspot.com
 


Regicide

First Post
The real question to ask if you're going to make up disarm rules is to decide how badly you want the enemy to be screwed over when you disarm them.

Yeah. In 4E you can... take off your backpack, undo the straps, rummage around, find the potion you want, open the potion, drink the potion, refasten the backpack, put the backpack back on... as a minor action.

Being disarmed and the opponent getting the weapon back... several times... is just one of the things that happens during every fight as part of HPs being lost.

Characters aren't intended to be removed from their gear, it was built into the balance of the system. There also aren't any rules for "breaking things" like in 3.5E, nor are there "you rolled a 1 on a reflex save, now your equipment falls apart" rules like 3.5E. No Disjunction spells etc.

If the person persists in wanting an actual disarm, just say all gear in 4E comes equipped with unbreakable and unstealable while worn safety straps, like little kids with the cord that goes between their mitts to keep them from losing them. :lol:
 

CovertOps

First Post
I've actually left a game because a GM did (1), amongst other things. I'd consider doing the same with a GM that did (2). Neither of those are a respectful way to treat your players, not to mention friends.

Here's what I'd recommend if you go with a power. Note this is a rough design but hopefully something folks could use as a springboard for something more polished:

Disarm
At-Will * Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One creature
Special: This power triggers an OA.
Attack: Strength - 2 vs. Fort OR Dexterity - 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: The target drops it's weapon at it's feet.
Notes:
(a) It takes a minor action to pick up a weapon.
(b) You suffer a -2 penalty to the attack roll if the weapon is being wielded in 2 hands.
(c) you suffer a -2 penalty per size category the target is larger than you.

I was left with the impression from the OP that his player basically said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I'll play, but I want an at-will disarm type power that anyone can use without having to take a feat or get a power". As a DM I don't take kindly to players who demand they be given something. And what kind of a "friend" does that to you?

As to my first two options they were in response to my opinion of the player in question. And please note
3. Sarcasm aside...
emphasis mine from my original post.
 

WalterKovacs

First Post
I've actually left a game because a GM did (1), amongst other things. I'd consider doing the same with a GM that did (2). Neither of those are a respectful way to treat your players, not to mention friends.

Here's what I'd recommend if you go with a power. Note this is a rough design but hopefully something folks could use as a springboard for something more polished:

Disarm
At-Will * Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One creature
Special: This power triggers an OA.
Attack: Strength - 2 vs. Fort OR Dexterity - 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: The target drops it's weapon at it's feet.
Notes:
(a) It takes a minor action to pick up a weapon.
(b) You suffer a -2 penalty to the attack roll if the weapon is being wielded in 2 hands.
(c) you suffer a -2 penalty per size category the target is larger than you.

Now all you need to do is:

(a) Have the monster's weapon proficiency

and

(b) Have the monster's unarmed attack damage

calculated.

Likely, if it's an existing weapon at least, it should be 2 or 3 proiciency and the weapon's damage should be appropriate (with size adjustments factored in), so the unarmed would drop to xd4 (again, size adjustment factored in), assuming there aren't claw/bite/etc attacks already on the character sheet.

Of course, rarely does a monster have a magic weapon. He doesn't rely on expertise and magic to get his bonuses to hit. So, a disarmed monster may have his d12 weapon dropped to d4 weapon and have a -2 to hit (or d10 dropped to d4 and -3 to hit), but a 15th level PC losing his +4 greataxe would lose 8 (2 for proficiency, 4 for magic, 2 for expertise. Not to mention dropping not just down to a d4, but also losing +4 to damage rolls, etc). Of course this just talking about normal melee classes.

Disarm a rogue, and most of his powers stop working. Disarm a ranger, and most of his powers stop working. Disarm a barbarian and most of his at-wills stop working. Certain classes have restrictions tied to the type of weapon you are wielding ... losing your weapon severely hurts you in that regard.

Part of the issue is that monsters and NPCs are not PCs. They work differently. Luckily for the PCs, a monster taking their weapon would only get a small bonus to their hit rolls and damage (there are rules for equipping monsters with magic items).

Up thread there was a MMO mention of their "disarm rules". It seems like a temporarily loss of the weapons use, reflected by doing less damage and it being harder to hit. BUT, you get it back after some ammount of time, your opponent doesn't get to use it against you, nor take it and run away resulting in the permanent loss of your item. That is the exact kind of thing being suggested here, things causing the opponent to take a penalty on their attacks and/or reduce their damage. Which, is only a status effect that partially does a disarm, but eliminates a lot of other things.
 

Flipguarder

First Post
Then of course there is the issue of npcs and boss monsters using magic weapons and whether or not that gets added into the attack roll block in their stats.

It just gets way too messy. Honestly I would just explain these things to the player and if he insists then give him the option to take it or leave it (your game I mean). It really breaks the game and insisting upon anything is just not how players in D&D should behave.

So far the issues are:

1. If players can do it, monsters should be able to do it. This is crippling and terrible for paragon and epic tiers.
2. If you use it on creatures that attack only with their weapons they can no longer attack.
3. NPCs and boss monsters have magic items themselves. Do these account for their attack bonuses.
4. having the disarm effect give a simple -2 to attack rolls doesn't make sense on creatures with no weapon. And imo, doesn't really make sense at all anyway.
5. At epic tier across the board, it simply becomes unreasonable, either completely crippling monsters and removing them from battle or not really doing anything. Of course there are ways to fix this with houserules and general interpretation but its still an issue.

If a player insisted this idea on me, I'd just remove him from the game.
 

Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
Disarm
At-Will * Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One creature
Special: This power triggers an OA.
Attack: Strength - 2 vs. Fort OR Dexterity - 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: The target drops it's weapon at it's feet.
Notes:
(a) It takes a minor action to pick up a weapon.
(b) You suffer a -2 penalty to the attack roll if the weapon is being wielded in 2 hands.
(c) you suffer a -2 penalty per size category the target is larger than you.
My take would be slightly different. I like the weakened idea, it is easy to run and powerful enough (half damage is nothing to sneeze at). The save ends mechanics mean that solos and elites will have an easier time getting their weapon back/improvising a suitable weapon/drawing a new weapon. The lack of OA will speed up play.

Disarm
At-Will * Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One creature no more than one size larger than you, wielding a weapon
Attack: Strength -4 vs. Fort OR Dexterity -4 vs. Reflex
Hit: The target is weakened (save ends).
Special:
If the target is your size or smaller, you receive a +2 bonus to hit.
If the target wields its weapon in only one hand, you receive a +2 bonus to hit.
These two bonuses stack.
 

N0Man

First Post
Let me try to clarify a few things. My friend isn't anti-4E. He certainly has reservations, and there are definitely things that seem to bug him, but he's willing to play. There are also certain things he likes about 4E. I think if he had his way, he'd pick and choose things between 3.5 and 4E.

Of the options that I presented to him, he seemed most content with me just using the weakened condition for melee attacks on monsters until they retrieve the weapon or use another weapon or attack. I'd probably just say that disarming ranged weapons would prevent ranged attacks. He wanted something different with minions, and I'll get to that. He also thinks there should be penalties based on the size of the opponent or weapon, etc. In fact, he seems to think the penalties should be greater than what I think they would be.

So it seems that what he wants to do is create a kind of semi-pacifist character who does not want to kill and is a very skilled martial combatant that uses unarmed attacks and focuses on disarming opponents and perhaps grabbing their weapons from them to wield himself in some cases.

Since I don't see hit point damage as being a representation of just "health", but a combination of wounds, morale damage, psychic damage, fatigue, and the many other factors that can keep an opponent fighting. Because of this, I told him I'd be willing to try to work with him in order to get something to work. I have a feeling that we might end up having to design or modify a class heavily, but we'll see.

I told him that I would allow him that I could probably allow him to reskin some attack powers to be using fancy footwork, provoking missed swings, and so forth in order to allow the narrative to be that he is making enemies wear themselves out against him and lose morale. A defeated opponent could "surrender" at 0 hit points, or "run away" at 0 hit points. He wants to reflavor a basic attack against a minion so that instead of dealing damage to them (and killing them or knocking them unconcious) that he wants it to be flavored as he knocks the weapon from their hand and they lose morale and retreat.

I'm ok with that conceptually, but it will probably take some tweaking.
 

Squire James

First Post
Given the nature of 4e D&D, I'd say we look at action movies for inspiration. One thing that I've noticed is that disarming generally served two roles: (1) a "game-ender" that represents the end of the fight, or (2) a dramatic moment where usually-the-hero is temporarily placed in a position of disadvantage.

(1) seems to be a result of reducing someone to 0 HP. (2) seems to be a somewhat serious status effect such as dazed or weakened. It'd probably be easiest to state that a daze or weakened result can be from losing one's weapon, with the end of the effect representing recovery of that weapon.

The only problem I foresee is when a PC tries to interfere with the weapon's retrieval in some way. I'd call it a penalty imposed on the monster's next save based on how "big" the action the player spent in their hindrance (-1 for a minor action, -2 for a move action, or -4 for a standard action; non-stacking). If the effect automatically ends at end of next turn, apply the penalty to the next d20 roll the foe attempts that round. If the foe makes the save and/or hits the PC anyway, well, luck is like that sometimes!
 

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