Is enhanced defense Purely cinematic?
Should I allow Combat Reflex in Historical Games?
and other threads you care to search more thoroughly through.
my main concerns for Combat Reflex is the following:
- Its cost (+6 vs mental stun, +2 fearlessness, +1 on all Active Defenses) for 15cp, seperately the advantage would cost arond 30-40cp. (I thought the new edition is "you get what you pay for" philosophy, no more "free-bees" and discounts like in 3rd ed).
- It is the Only source of "realistic" Combat Awareness
- Its +6 Combat awareness or Bust (no gradating flow)
- It OUT-Values Soldiering Skill and Tactics, which is actually the Cause of Such Combat Awareness. Soldiering represensents the experience and the discipline, Tactics represents the Combat Awareness and ability to quickly take action. You can just put token amounts (1cp each) and just invest in Combat Reflex.
For simulation nuts like myself, the 1 or 0 for combat experience is unfun and unrealistic. The difference between 100hrs and 1000hrs of combat experience has nothing to do with the gradating values in between but if you can be deamed "combat veteran".
Where the Bonuses All Fit in. It is a -6 Penalty to roll vs Mental Stun in a surprise combat situation. In My interpretation that is any situation where there is Little or No build up to the action. 2 factors should be considered when adjudicating it: is it a matter of Shock or Confusion.
- Occassions of Unguarded moments. When the situational context is negatively predisposed to violent action, and where the is strong reasons why Violence cannot be the one occuring Roll Will + Soldier. Ex. an ally drawing a weapona and aiming at the PCs. The key mental tag for such a situation is the overwhelming belief the situation cannot be what it simply appears.
On the reverse, this is a Secret Roll for the GM. The GM presents bad or incorrect information to the Players of what the PC's believe, especially appropriate when the PCs have reasons to expect violence (like Intollerance, Reputation, etc.) the GM rolls a Per+Psychology (If no psychology default is -6). Still the Players are the last officiators of what information to act on.
- Occasions of Anticipated Action. Sometimes when violence and events escalate there is no more surprise left, instead there is the shock of confusion that affects who acts first in a situation. This is more appropriately an Initiative roll, by which the roll determines who acts first not by physical speed but by speed of situational awareness roll IQ+ Tactics.
- Occasions of Confusions. There are occasions where the situation is confusing and rushed. PCs may have overcome the initial shock but they may not know what is happening. The GM can delay providing details of equipment, movement, until the character can find time to analyze he situation. Until then, the GM will just use simple and fast dictations (speeding up game play) with the barest detail. When the combat LuL arrives for the situational assessment, the GM can make a hidden (Tactics + Per; or Soldier + Per -2; add Eidetic Memory) to measure how much information the PC were able to pick-out.