marking enemies vs realistic RP

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I'm finding it very hard to implement marking as part of a role playing experience. It seems to me that marking opponents breaks my immersion to the game completely because I can't find any basis to support how a fighter makes his opponents unable to attack others than himself...

How do you handle it?
I'm finding it very hard to implement marking as part of a role playing experience. It seems to me that marking opponents breaks my immersion to the game completely because I can't find any basis to support how a fighter makes his opponents unable to attack others than himself...

How do you handle it?

He doesn't make them unable, he makes it more difficult.

There are lots of ways. Mostly they rely on the understanding that there's more going on in combat than just what's rolled for.

For instance, the fighter is moving his body and his sword a lot. He's a master with his weapon, so imagine any cool fight scene from a movie and that's what's going on. He rolls for only one attack a round, but he probably makes a dozen in the space of 6 seconds. Once he has marked a creature, he has given it a large part of his attention and is using those unrolled attacks and unmeasured moves to harry and block that opponent from making attacks against anyone other than the fighter, and to exploit the opening the opponent gives when he DOES attack anyone else.

That's the main way I think of it. It gets trickier when the opponent has moved away and is still marked, which I think is why Essentials uses auras more than marking. Again, you can assume there are things going on that the game doesn't detail. Again, it's common in movies for attacking enemies to be blindsided and have their attacks miss. Since the fighter is paying attention to the marked opponent, maybe the fighter is doing cool stuff like kicking a dropped weapon or severed body part at the marked opponent, or jabbing his sword in the ground, hurling a dagger (abstracted) and grabbing the sword again faster than anyone can even blink. This isn't something he can normally do, but only sometimes when he's in the flow of combat. And this attack doesn't hurt the opponent, just throws off its aim.

You don't have to describe these things going on, but just think about them enough to assure yourself that there IS something going on.

I hope that helps.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The standard visual I use for marking is simple -- a fighter watches his enemy so closely that if that enemy attempts to turn his attention anywhere else, the fighter makes it harder.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
The standard visual I use for marking is simple -- a fighter watches his enemy so closely that if that enemy attempts to turn his attention anywhere else, the fighter makes it harder.



How can a fighter who fights in melee watch his enemy closely (and make it harder to fight) if his marked enemy is 10 squares away?
The standard visual I use for marking is simple -- a fighter watches his enemy so closely that if that enemy attempts to turn his attention anywhere else, the fighter makes it harder.

How can a fighter who fights in melee watch his enemy closely (and make it harder to fight) if his marked enemy is 10 squares away?

Well, the description you'd use depends how an enemy is marked 10 squares away, and it can change every time.

The mark only functions until the end of the fighter's last turn. That's only a handful of seconds since when the attack was made. The target, even 10 squares away, could still be readjusting its stance from whatever the fighter forced it to adopt to keep from getting completely smahed. It could be working out whether it made the right decision to disengage, looking over its shoulder to make sure the fighter isn't barrelling after him, or lining up a throw.

Also, bear in mind that the -2 penalty is only going to matter about 10% of the time. The rest of the time, the attack would have hit or missed anyway, so you could tell yourself that the fighter didn't make it harder for the target to fight.

Primarily, you have to want the effect to work the way it does. If you have some sort of problem with it apart from how it functions, you're not going to bother coming up with flavor for it, and nothing we can say will help you.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

They get distracted by just how ridiculously scarily protective he was of his allies.  Or he shouts imprecations about their courage or heritage at just the right moment.

Or, you may want to look into the Knight, who tends only to threaten people adjacent to him, which cuts out the issue entirely.  Or another defender with a less martial flavour, such as the Paladin or Swordmage.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
The standard visual I use for marking is simple -- a fighter watches his enemy so closely that if that enemy attempts to turn his attention anywhere else, the fighter makes it harder.



How can a fighter who fights in melee watch his enemy closely (and make it harder to fight) if his marked enemy is 10 squares away?



Intimidation.  He's rattled the foe, so it's not attacking right because it's shaking or constantly looking over his shoulder at him.

Distraction.  He's yelling at the foe, taunting him for his cowardice and demanding he come back over here and fight like a true warrior.  Or throwing rocks at him; harmless, but diverting attention.

I'm sure there are more.


Also, keep in mind the "you go, I go" organization of combat is an abstraction. In reality, the moves are happening all at once. So while to us it looks like the opponent is 10 squares away, next round the fighter is going to close those squares, which means that he was on his opponents heels the entire time, hounding him.

Or, you know, several other dozen explanations, some of which have been offered. Point is, combat is a lot more complicated and messy than our turn-by-turn approach accounts for.
The fighter is standing there with his sword ready to strike going "You want that wizard, don't you? Go get him. Go ahead. Walk on over and hit him. Do me the favor. What are you looking at me for? He's right over there." Enemy turns his attention to the wizard for one brief moment (tries to shift and/or move away)and THWAP! "Yeah. Go on. Do it again. Do me the favor".
Fighter's mark is super easy to deal with in an RP aspect.

The creatures aren't "Marked" they're "Marked Distracted" by the giant bag of death standing over there in the armor. Basically the monsters are unwilling to let him out of their field of vision, and as a result when they try to focus on anybody else, they can't get the fighter out of their head, and don't attack as accurately. In so doing, they leave themselves open to the fighter itself attacking them in an exposed area they've left open because they're not paying full attention to what they're doing.

Fighter and Paladin marks are both super easy to RP. Actually most of the defender marks are easy to RP, that one just happens to be the one I have the easiest explanation for (besides Paladin, which is pretty cut-and-dry). 

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Thanks everyone!
Truly helpful stuff!
Thanks everyone!
Truly helpful stuff!

Glad to hear it.

If you find it still doesn't work for you, take a look at the Knight class. Instead of a mark, it uses an aura, which I will concede is somewhat easier to imagine.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Fighter : Like a Basketballer doing a point mark. Except its in big armor, and instead of his hand reaching for yours, its a big ass weapon waiting to chop you to bits if you try to make a wrong move. And that makes aiming for someone else that much harder too.

Paladin : Shining Halo around the eye level and so. You can feel a higher power is nearby, only it ain't loving you. You have only one choice and only one target swims clearly into focus through the radiant field. And if you aim for someone else, its a burning radiant bolt from above!

Battlemind : some thing is in your mind, under your skin. its a time bomb building under the scalp of your head, and you know who its coming from. Better move away, it eases, but only temporarily, its hard to focus hitting anyone except the guy who is doing this to you.. And when you hit an Enemy, your head explodes into starbursts of pain, as if you just hit yourself (Mind Spike) .

Swordmage : a shimmering "aegis" shield seems to surround you. It slows your swing (both Aegis), weakens your blow (Aegis of Shielding), or even better, as you attack you can feel the energy summoning up your most hated nemesis (the Swordmage) to strike at you! (Aegis of Assault. coolest, ever.)

Edit : lol a bit late, I guess?

I am Blue/White

It gets trickier when the opponent has moved away and is still marked, which I think is why Essentials uses auras more than marking.



Actually, the reasoning is simpler:  An E-Defender never has to care about the past.  Last round is irrelevant.  Who he targeted a while ago is irrelevant.  Did he punish someone five turns ago, but after his last round?  Who cares?

All an E-Defender cares about is right now, in the current turn:  Are you adjacent to him *right now*, and has he already punished someone *during this turn*?

E-defenders use auras and OAs because that requires less bookkeeping and less remembering.  It's not a narrative decision at all.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
E-defenders use auras and OAs because that requires less bookkeeping and less remembering.  It's not a narrative decision at all.

Whatever. It's easier to narrate, that all. Whether that was intended or not doesn't matter, though it's hard to imagine it wasn't, given the complaints there have been about how unrealistic marking can be.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I always considered marking a form of taunting with a prepared action ready for when the target does something without affecting the user.
Ant Farm
marked (adjacent) is fairly easy to conceptualize.

marked (distant) is a bit harder, but try this:

have you ever playerd basketball and got away from everyone on the opposing team?  Have they ever attempted to shout or distract you RIGHT as you start to take a shot?  does it work to distract you?

if so, great, you've got your answer.

if not, what if they whipped a small rock at you as you took the shot?  it doesn't even have to hit!

THAT can be what a fighter can do...i mark an enemy by taunting it, shouting for its attention, threatening it, etc.  If necessary, i RP out the -2 to attack by throwing a rock at it right as it swings, or by releasing a string of expletives comparing its mother to something that would make a sailor blush.  THATS a -2 to hit effect.           
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