How difficult should it be to subvert an enemy attack?
I’m experimenting with this idea during my weekly DnD games. I’ve been trying to expand the basic effects of enchantments so that creatures and characters specializing in this sort of magic have more options at their disposal. Guild Wars mesmers are an influence I’d like to touch on at some point, but I’m not there yet.
Consider this for a moment: a leader gives up his turn in order to enable an ally to attack instead. In this case, the player or character is handing the reins of control to an ally, in whose best interest it is to hit with their attack. It’s a selfless action.
But say you want to make a creature attack itself instead, how many times should players be rolling dice? To what extent are they compelled to harm themselves? Whenever players are told to attack themselves, alarm bells go off and they have a tendency to drop or forget things. They don’t want to do the damage.
And in a system where the application of bonuses is largely voluntary, and the responsibility of applying penalties is left in the hands of the attacker, how does one determine exactly what bonuses apply to whom and how many? It seems as though it would be easier to “simply” deal damage rather than force more attack rolls.
As a game master, I almost always prefer to put the dice rolls in the hands of my players, whether it’s for attack or defense, and in many cases, I like to arrange the situation where they are responsible for whatever fate befalls their characters.
You might consider that an ongoing “domination” effect is too powerful an effect, taking away direct control of a character (especially from a player-versus-player perspective) and forcing them to attack their allies just isn’t fun. Subverting their actions, or granting extra dice rolls is something to be encouraged however.
It also keeps everyone watching the game.
Perhaps then, instead of completely taking over a character’s turn, charms and compulsions should be considered additive, granting additional options to an opposing player. If it’s to be considered a good thing to give extra actions to an ally, it should be considered an even greater thing to grant actions to an enemy, right?
There too, you have the struggle of a character to throw off mind control and remain loyal to their allies, and it’s a more engaging conflict. There’s no reason to think it’s limited to magic either, since characters with high charisma or powerful personalities could command enemies to attack each another, or simply to move.