Author Topic: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all  (Read 3075 times)

John

  • Posts: 4291
Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« on: March 30, 2016, 06:28:47 AM »
Quote
I don't mind people using it against any target so long as it's roleplayed as a (real) attempt to kill or -seriously- hurt in one surprise attack.
* Hence, you'd never do it sparring.
* I'd probably be annoyed if I saw someone with a macro to dismount, backstab, remount.
* I wouldn't care if you did it on animals or wilderness targets, if you did it from some kind of "surprise" attack - already engaged another PC, snuck up on them, whatever.
This really needs to be put into the helpfile. Black and white "Using backstabas an attempt to seriously hurt or kill a creature (inclusive of wild beasts) in one surprise attack is acceptable use of backstab. No other use of backstab is accepted and is considered an abuse of code and bad roleplay." It shouldn't be necessary. But staff have changed and attitudes towards this skill have varied wildly in the past. There are people who (apparently, this is news to me) are so worried about how their use of backstab will be perceived they simply don't use it. When I started, I was given a sparring knife and told to practice backstab on a sparring dummy. I was told this by the player of a staff sponsored role. Clearly attitudes have changed (I believe sparring knives that can be used with backstab are no longer even in the game). And they can always change back. This seems like something new staff should be forced to deliberately change and then alert the playerbase rather than use their own judgement which changes from staff member to staff member.

Even seidhr's response isn't worded as a "this is the situation." It's a "this is what I think". As an administrator we can hope his view is official staff policy. But I really do think this should be codified once and for all. And not codified in a message board post that will get lost in the archives and forgotten about next time staff see's someone using backstab in a way they perceive as unrealistic.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 06:31:11 AM by John »

Jingo

  • Posts: 4791
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 07:15:13 AM »
AFIK it's basically been a-ok to backstab whatever you wanted for 10 or so years.

There was a period where using backstab on non-humanoids was considered non-kosher but let's not talk about the before days.
Now you're looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.

John

  • Posts: 4291
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 07:29:44 AM »
There was a period where using backstab on non-humanoids was considered non-kosher but let's not talk about the before days.
I was not aware those days had stopped to be honest. Also your estimate of 10 years seems to be potentially out by 1 or 2. Possibly as recent as 4 years ago as to there being confusion with backstab based on communication with staff.

One person, whose only had their current forum account for 6 years (no indication as to how long they've been here, I know) is scared to train backstab because of the uncertainty that has surrounded the skill. I don't see an issue with updating a helpfile for a skill that's had as checkered a history as backstab. Might seem odd to newbies when they read it, but at least it will be clear for people moving forward.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 07:32:02 AM by John »

Jingo

  • Posts: 4791
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 07:41:44 AM »
Yeah. I played an assassin who would one-hit backstab mammoth kryl while fighting alongside an imm-animated npc. That character basically got 100% of his backstab skill from backstabbing kryl and the occasional gortok during our patrols.

I remember having the same hangup. I didn't use the backstab skill on a dozen characters because I thought it was twinky to play it that way. Staff haven't seemed to care either way.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 07:46:44 AM by Jingo »
Now you're looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.

Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 09:05:44 AM »
I maxed backstab on a character in the last five years almost entirely on animals.

I felt it was actually more twinkish to run around mass murdering humanoid NPCs and expecting no consequences since they are thinking intelligent people with connections to other people.

Also, I found master backstab to be pretty disappointing in general when backstabbing other humanoids.

I don't think it's all that and a bag of chips. It was never once an insta-kill for me. Not even close actually. I actually thought it was pretty shit.
My phone now autocorrects "damn" to Dman.
The young daughter has been filled.

Jihelu

  • Posts: 2838
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 09:10:15 AM »
Backstab isn't meant to be an insta kill.
Dual wield your cool daggers and get that double poison into them.
Or finish with it.

Bogre

  • Posts: 3319
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 11:23:03 AM »
I think if you're going to backstab critters (and I think that's fine), then you should be doing it realistically. The example someone posted of riding up, dismounting, and backstabbing - that is kind of meh. Hard to be sneaky when you're riding an inix up to something. Like I'm cool if someone's roleplaying manuevering around someone, but it's basically a surprise attack. It shouldn't be your default init-combat move just to get some training in.



I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 11:38:17 AM »
I'm not sure it -has- to be a surprise attack.

It just has to be someone who is more skilled than you in striking vital points striking your vital points.

You can even expect it is coming, you just fail to guard against it.

If I'm fighting someone who is using a rapier and I'm wearing heavy armor.....I know for a fact they are going to intentionally strike for the vital gaps I my armor. It is their only option. They aren't going to slash or try to power through my thick armor....they aren't using an axe or a bastard sword.

This would in my opinion be an example of using "critical strikes" in a non-stealth situation.

I would imagine the same goes for characters who are doing things like....fighting a scrab with a pair of knives. It's pretty obvious their goal is to go for the critical vital areas if possible and that will be their goal...stealth or no stealth.

I think using stealth in combination with your critical strike attempt should absolutely give you a bonus to landing the attempt. Of course, using stealth in combination with a basic, "tries to hack you with a giant axe" should arguably give you the same bonus to landing your hit.

A Warrior/Slipknife combination who uses a pair of longknives would be a perfect example of a class that would often open with an attempt to stab his opponent in the throat even if they are face to face staring at each other. Would it more likely land if he tried to do it as a surprise from hiding? Absolutely. But to say, "You shouldn't even be allowed to attempt it without stealth and if you do attempt it you are playing poorly.", is a bit much in my opinion.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 11:40:59 AM by Desertman »
My phone now autocorrects "damn" to Dman.
The young daughter has been filled.

Bogre

  • Posts: 3319
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 11:48:43 AM »
Yeah, we disagree there Dman. I view it as a sneak/surprise attack. The echoes sort of reflect that too, in my opinion.

I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 11:57:02 AM »
Yeah, we disagree there Dman. I view it as a sneak/surprise attack. The echoes sort of reflect that too, in my opinion.

Fair enough. I agree the coded echoes given to the player do back your point of view.

I do think this may fall into the category of, "Well, it's just coded that way and shouldn't always be taken literally every time.".

There are plenty of examples of things like this in the game in regards to the code.

For example, I can see backstab being used to finish off an already down or helpless opponent.


The blue-eyed girl is here tied to a chair, looking terrified.

The darkly-cloaked figure is here standing behind the blue-eyed girl, with a knife to her throat.

The blue-eyed girl says in sirihish, sounding terrified, "Please, I don't know where they keep the coins. I just work here. Don't kill me.".

The darkly-cloaked figure just shakes his head and presses the knife more firmly to the blue-eyed girl's throat then yanks it firmly across in a bloody line.

backstab blue

You stealthily approach your target.

You jam your knife into their back between their ribs and they stumble forward! Dead!



Of course you aren't stealthily approaching your target. She knows exactly where you are and what you are attempting to do. There is absolutely no guess work involved. There is no stealth. You also aren't stabbing them in the back, even though the code is telling you that you are. Nobody in that scene would roleplay that you did. However, this seems like a perfectly fine use of backstab in my opinion. If someone did this and I saw it, I wouldn't only NOT REPORT THEM for poor use of backstab (and I don't think you would either, just to be clear, I'm not saying you would), I would give them a silent nod for an awesome scene and perhaps a kudos. It is a critical strike designed to kill the target by damaging them in a vital area.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 11:59:47 AM by Desertman »
My phone now autocorrects "damn" to Dman.
The young daughter has been filled.

CodeMaster

  • Posts: 1130
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2016, 12:15:14 PM »
Maybe it would be beneficial if backstab supported a command emote. It would be useful for a handful of other combat skills too, but backstab is an especial case because it would let you "explain" your use of this particular contentious skill.
The neat, clean-shaven man sends you a telepathic message:
     "I tried hairy...Im sorry"

valeria

  • Posts: 6073
    • I have a writing page.
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2016, 12:18:33 PM »
I'd love backstab (and bash, and kick) command emotes.
A Kuraci regular shouts, in sirihish:
     "Bad move, fool!"
A Kuraci regular slashes a filthy grey rat on its body.

Bogre

  • Posts: 3319
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 01:05:05 PM »
Yeah, I wouldn't blink about the use of it in that situation either. 
I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

Dar

  • Posts: 1543
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 01:05:38 PM »
   This skill is a generic term for 'critical strikes' against an opponent.
The victim of a backstab is not necessarily 'stabbed in the back'-- the
attack could be from any direction
. If your character successfully
backstabs someone, the target has been 'hit in a vital location,' and will
be badly injured, the severity of the injury depending on your character's
backstab skill level.

Syntax:
   backstab (target)

Example:
   > backstab raider

Notes:
   It is possible, though difficult, to backstab fighting victims.

You must always use a 'stabbing' weapon, which is a subset of the
'piercing' category.



[MORE]
Backstab is an excellent method of attack if one's presence ought to be
unnoticed by soldiers of city-states. (Of course, any ensuing fight can
attract attention.)

Your character does not necessarily need to be hidden for him/her to
attempt a backstab


I dont understand this thread.

whitt

  • Posts: 1699
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 01:18:06 PM »
I dont understand this thread.

Per OP - It's not about sneak attack.  It's about can you "practice it" against things that are not people in places like the middle of the desert.

Per your post, I think the derails about what constitutes a backstab have sidetracked the initial point of the thread.
Quote from: BadSkeelz
Ah well you should just kill those PCs. They're not worth the time of plotting creatively against.

Dar

  • Posts: 1543
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2016, 01:30:01 PM »
Ohh. Yes. Sorry. I apologize. I read the OP, but didnt reply. Then read the last few posts, and kind of ... got my wires crossed.


Well. I've practiced backstab on animals and got a staffer complimenting me for doing it imaginatively. So ... 

nauta

  • Posts: 2335
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2016, 02:47:56 PM »
Quote
I don't mind people using it against any target so long as it's roleplayed as a (real) attempt to kill or -seriously- hurt in one surprise attack.
* Hence, you'd never do it sparring.
* I'd probably be annoyed if I saw someone with a macro to dismount, backstab, remount.
* I wouldn't care if you did it on animals or wilderness targets, if you did it from some kind of "surprise" attack - already engaged another PC, snuck up on them, whatever.
This really needs to be put into the helpfile. Black and white "Using backstabas an attempt to seriously hurt or kill a creature (inclusive of wild beasts) in one surprise attack is acceptable use of backstab. No other use of backstab is accepted and is considered an abuse of code and bad roleplay." It shouldn't be necessary. But staff have changed and attitudes towards this skill have varied wildly in the past. There are people who (apparently, this is news to me) are so worried about how their use of backstab will be perceived they simply don't use it. When I started, I was given a sparring knife and told to practice backstab on a sparring dummy. I was told this by the player of a staff sponsored role. Clearly attitudes have changed (I believe sparring knives that can be used with backstab are no longer even in the game). And they can always change back. This seems like something new staff should be forced to deliberately change and then alert the playerbase rather than use their own judgement which changes from staff member to staff member.

Even seidhr's response isn't worded as a "this is the situation." It's a "this is what I think". As an administrator we can hope his view is official staff policy. But I really do think this should be codified once and for all. And not codified in a message board post that will get lost in the archives and forgotten about next time staff see's someone using backstab in a way they perceive as unrealistic.

I'm all for improving the help files and/or the coded mechanics and echoes to help us interface our RP with the coded reality of the game.

In the case of backstab, however, the help file is pretty clear that it is a "'critical strike' against an opponent."  Perhaps it could be improved to add the provisos:

o "... be it an animal or a humanoid."

o "Hence, using backstab (or sap) during sparring sessions is something that would require a good deal of RP to justify.  See BACKSTAB ROLEPLAY for examples."

As to the echoes, or adding a command emote, the situation is pretty similar to 'bandage', where the echoes are kind of silly.  There actually is in the help file on physician roleplay very helpful tips about how to navigate around the coded echoes/code.  Perhaps a similar 'backstab roleplay' help file could be added, to give examples of (a) practicing backstab/sap, (b) backstab/sap on animals, (c) backstab/sap during combat, etc., and what sort of RP would be appropriate in those cases...

I've updated the improving the help files thread post to reflect these suggestions.

http://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,50232.msg915681.html#msg915681
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 02:54:01 PM by nauta »
as IF you didn't just have them unconscious, naked, and helpless in the street 4 minutes ago

Asmoth

  • Posts: 1210
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2016, 03:02:59 PM »
I got yelled at many many years ago for backstabbing, so I haven't really tried it in recent history.

Now that it seems as if the backstab is not unable to be trained, I might try an assassin again.
<19:14:06> "Bushranger": Why is it always about sex with animals with you Jihelu?
<19:14:13> "Jihelu": IT's not always /with/ animals

seidhr

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 561
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2016, 03:33:30 PM »
There's no big, dusty thousand page grimoire of official staff policies about how to feel about and respond to every random situation, folks.  We have to go by judgment sometimes.  (We aren't interested in creating or maintaining such a big dusty grimoire either.)

I do think that my response in the Ask the Staff question is fairly representative about how the current administration feels regarding backstab in those situations, though.   :)

I too remember being worried as a player about using backstab on animals and stuff, 10+ years ago, opinion has definitely shifted over the years.

SuchDragonWow

  • Posts: 1353
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2016, 03:39:49 PM »
There's no big, dusty thousand page grimoire of official staff policies about how to feel about and respond to every random situation, folks.  We have to go by judgment sometimes.  (We aren't interested in creating or maintaining such a big dusty grimoire either.)

Perhaps instead of a grimoire, we would settle for a light revisit of the backstab helpfile, with the appropriate language so as to suggest for future generations of players (and staffers) what is le kosher.
Where it will go

manipura

  • Posts: 1541
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2016, 04:40:31 PM »
There's no big, dusty thousand page grimoire of official staff policies about how to feel about and respond to every random situation, folks.  We have to go by judgment sometimes.  (We aren't interested in creating or maintaining such a big dusty grimoire either.)

I do think that my response in the Ask the Staff question is fairly representative about how the current administration feels regarding backstab in those situations, though.   :)

I too remember being worried as a player about using backstab on animals and stuff, 10+ years ago, opinion has definitely shifted over the years.

I love the word grimoire.  Definitely an underused word but really...in modern day to day life, I'd be curious to know who is using grimoire in their everyday conversation.
Also...it seems to me that any grimoire would be old and dusty.  I think it adds to the authenticity.

Ummm...backstabbing.  I had an assassin once and I backstabbed something exactly one time.  It was a critically injured bird that I put out of it's misery, because I was anything -but- an assassin and in fact I was a weirdo basketmaking breed.  I should maybe tell tales of that weirdo sometime.

Beethoven

  • Posts: 1323
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2016, 05:10:54 PM »
I definitely use the word 'grimoire' in day-to-day conversation.

RogueGunslinger

  • Posts: 19149
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2016, 05:40:56 PM »
I had an assassin in the AOD. He maxed basically everything but only got to use Backstab once... My character hated his Erdlu so he tried to put it out of his misery.

That Erdlu kicked my ass.

Thats the character I learned that Assassin hunt is capped stupidly low and all but useless

Vwest

  • Posts: 446
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2016, 05:46:47 PM »
Yeah, we disagree there Dman. I view it as a sneak/surprise attack. The echoes sort of reflect that too, in my opinion.

The kick echos suggests cartoonish seeing of stars after a daring roundhouse kick, too.

If I'm not playing Jackie Chan's Eurasian girlfriend, I'm not actually doing roundhouse kicks - the echos given are there because there needs to be something, not because you're forced to do some kung-fu fighting. I wouldn't ever advise anyone to take skill echos as any kind of ideal or even indicative of what your character is doing.

Slitting throats wasn't even an especially popular means of assassination back in the day, believe it or not. That's mostly Hollywood dramatics.
Someone says, out of character:
     "Sorry, was a wolf outside, had to warn someone."

BUT NEERRRR IM A STEALTHY ASSASSIN HEMOTING. BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT. Shut. Up.

nauta

  • Posts: 2335
Re: Resolving the Backstab Question once and for all
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2016, 05:55:23 PM »
A number of the default echoes in the game, I think, could be massaged into something more generic or abstract.  Some get the generic spot on (forage, for instance), but others are a little too concrete.  Do I always crouch down when I hunt?  Do I always groan when someone fails a bandage check?  Do I always see stars (which apparently is about the only way to see stars on Zalanthas) when I get kicked?  And so on. 

As the documentation nerd, I just want to say that if you see an echo that you think is too concrete, you could suggest it be made abstract in the Improving the Help Files Thread.
as IF you didn't just have them unconscious, naked, and helpless in the street 4 minutes ago