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trystero last won the day on May 24 2016

trystero had the most liked content!

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About trystero

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    Senior Member

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    Massachusetts, USA


  • RPG Biography
    D&D player who discovered RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu in 1984 and has loved all three games since then.
  • Current games
    Call of Cthulhu 7th edition (Horror on the Orient Express 2nd edition), D&D 5th edition
  • Location
    Massachusetts, USA
  • Blurb
    I was born several decades ago and am still alive.

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  1. trystero

    [RQG] How do you do mass battles?

    Book of Battles has maneuver rolls, sample foes (you typically fight one round with a given foe, rather than to the death), and abstract measurement of how much the PCs are in the thick of things expressed as their "Rank" (first rank is the killing zone, second rank is behind that, etc.). It measures your overall progress on an Intensity scale, where 0 means decisive victory and 40 means decisive defeat; commanders oppose Intensity with their Battle skill, and lots of events affect it. And there are forms for the GM, any leaders, and other PCs to keep records on what happens every round. As this indicates, the system is surprisingly "crunchy" where the original Pendragon rules are not; good if that's your thing, though they're very tightly focused on Arthurian knightly battles and would likely need some adaptation to handle the wilder, weirder Hero Wars. L5R 5th edition's mass-battle system is more abstracted but structurally similar: the two army commanders set their strategic objectives for each round of battle (like "capture a position" or "grind the enemy down"), and leaders of cohorts in their armies take actions (like Assault, Reinforce, or Rally) to try to achieve it. You get rewards for achieving the objective. Armies are rated for Strength (which is reduced by attrition in the form of casualties) and Discipline (which is reduced by panic), and can have special abilities, like cavalry inflicting extra panic if they take the Assault action. PCs are typically expected to command armies or lead cohorts (any subsection of an army which acts on its own, from a squad on up); in a round, a leader can choose a stance (tactic), narratively move their cohort on the field, and perform an action. Fortifications and defensive terrain reduce attrition for forces in them, and have a measure of how hard it is to push those forces out. The one downside is that it doesn't really provide much structure for PCs who aren't leaders or commanders. L5R 4th edition (the only other one I have) has simpler rules that focus more on roaming PC heroes and less on the details of the battle itself — the army commanders make opposed Battle skill rolls to see who's winning, then each PC makes a check to see how much Glory they win, how many Wounds they suffer, and whether or not they have the opportunity for a Duel (a one-on-one fight with a foe using the normal melee rules) or a Heroic Opportunity (a chance to change the course of the battle at some risk, such as getting a shot at an enemy commander or having the opportunity to fall upon the enemy's reserves before they can be committed to the fray). I think I'd mix bits of the L5R 4th- and 5th-edition rules to get about the level of abstraction I like. I want a system that tells me which army will win if the PCs don't do anything to affect the outcome (and how it'll win) and that takes the opposing leaders' tactics and forces into account, but that doesn't get bogged down in detail. And I think I prefer the Duel/Heroic Opportunity idea to the Pendragon approach where you and a foe always each take one swing at each other and are then swept apart; it seems a bit more flexible. YMMV, obviously.
  2. trystero

    [RQG] How do you do mass battles?

    My preference is to have a simple resolution system that takes the armies' sizes and positions, opposing leaders' Battle skills and chosen tactics, and a few other factors into account, and then allows for significant PC actions to tip the balance. I suppose you could steal the Battle rules from Pendragon (either the simpler ones in the core book or the much-more-complicated system from Book of Battle). I'd also suggest checking out Legend of the Five Rings (almost any edition) for a good set of rules that give PCs some heroic things to do without requiring you or the players to run a wargame-like experience, and GURPS Mass Combat for a somewhat crunchier system which would require conversion but which does almost everything I want a mass-battle system to do for me. It's possible that Chaosium will publish rules for battles in a later RQG supplement, of course; these are the Hero Wars…
  3. trystero

    Movement Rate

    I like the 7th-edition Call of Cthulhu movement-rate rules; everyone starts with base MOV 8 (sound familiar?), and you get +1 if your SIZ is the lowest of STR/SIZ/DEX or –1 if it's the highest of the three. And you also lose 1 MOV for each full decade above 30 (so –1 at 40–49, –2 at 50–59, etc.). It's not super-crunchy, but it does mean that different investigators have different movement rates… which is a big thing in a game where you often just need to outrun your fellow PCs. :-) I'd probably use the same +1/–1 adjustments in RuneQuest, at least as a starting point.
  4. trystero

    Death by a thousand cuts

    Maybe. For myself, I read "hit for three times as much damage as the adventurer has hit points in that location" as meaning instant death only occurs if a single hit does that much damage, but it's definitely open to interpretation. If it's cumulative, why have the thrice-the-location-HP entries at all? That would be superfluous.
  5. trystero

    Death by a thousand cuts

    I don't think the rule is superfluous. Someone with 10 HP who takes 6 points of damage to the head followed by another 6 points to the same location dies at the end of the current round because their total HP are 0 or less, per pp. 146–147, but if the same person takes 12 points (3× location HP) in a single strike to the head, they die instantly, as per p. 148. It may not be a huge distinction, but it's the difference between "maybe someone can heal me before I expire" and "well, I hope someone has Resurrection".
  6. trystero

    Death by a thousand cuts

    It's not helpful that the examples for twice-location-HP and thrice-location-HP both show the effect of a single hit. I think you might be right about twice-location-HP: the condition is "If the head, chest, or abdomen suffers more than twice as much damage as the adventurer has hit points in that location", with no comment on the number of hits required. But the thrice-location-HP instant-death special-effect condition is "A head, chest, or abdomen hit for three times as much damage as the adventurer has hit points in that location", which to me suggests a single hit for that much damage, not just the location damage cumulatively reaching that threshold. I do wish this was all clearer; the book has been out for months, we're up to a corrected PDF version, we have Q&A access to the design team… and I still can't tell what the intent of the rules are on several key points of combat. I don't want RQ to read like Pathfinder or a case-system wargame, but I do wish it had been gone over prior to release by someone who valued consistency of terminology and more illustrative examples. After RQ3, the combat system of which I thought was a paragon of clear writing (though not without errors), this edition feels like something of a retrograde step to me.
  7. trystero

    Death by a thousand cuts

    Here's my summary of how I think damage effects actually work by hit location. Interested to see whether this is how everyone else parses the rules. Damage < Location HP All Hit Locations: No effect beyond total HP loss. Damage >= Location HP Arm: Arm is unusable; adventurer drops anything held with it. Leg: Leg is unusable; adventurer falls prone, takes no action this round. May fight from prone position in following rounds. Abdomen: Both legs are unusable, adventurer falls prone and takes no action this round. May fight from prone position in following rounds. Adventurer bleeds to death in 10 minutes unless abdomen is treated or healed. Chest: Adventurer falls prone, can take no actions, bleeds to death in 10 minutes unless chest is treated or healed. Head: Adventurer is unconscious, dies in 5 minutes unless head is treated or healed. Damage >= 2 × Location HP Arm or Leg: If limb suffered 2 × location-HP damage or more from a single hit, ignore total HP loss in excess of 2 × location HP; adventurer is incapacitated and can take no action beyond healing attempts. Otherwise, no further effect. Abdomen, Chest, or Head: If location suffered 2 × location-HP damage or more from a single hit, adventurer is unconscious, bleeds 1 HP/round until location is treated or healed. Otherwise, no further effect. Damage >= 3 × Location HP Arm or Leg: If limb suffered 3 × location-HP damage or more from a single hit, ignore total HP loss in excess of 2 × location HP; limb is severed or maimed, adventurer is incapacitated and can take no action beyond healing attempts. Otherwise, no further effect. Abdomen, Chest, or Head: If location suffered 3 × location-HP damage or more from a single hit, adventurer dies instantly. Otherwise, no further effect.
  8. trystero

    Original Trollpak (2e) Previous Experience

    I wouldn't; I think that would go beyond the limits of fair use. But let's hope the Classic Edition version is out soon...
  9. trystero

    Armor Rules Clarification - CoC 7th Ed.

    By the 7th-edition rules, armour's effectiveness is not reduced no matter how many times it's penetrated or struck.
  10. trystero

    Augments once per session

    The suggestion of augmenting comes from the RQG rules: "The Move Quietly skill may be used to augment the Hide skill, and vice versa." (p. 189, Hide skill description) Seems counter-intuitive to me, too.
  11. trystero

    Is Sword Trance broken?

    Back in RQ3, when Humakti got Berserk instead of Sword Trance, my group played that it was essentially a "Death Song" spell, one that the Humakti would only cast when she or he thought their death was upon them; it was meant as a "go down swinging"/"make a heroic ending" spell, and Humakt would frown on those who used it casually… which is to say, those who cast it and then survived. 🙂 I might be tempted to do the same thing with Sword Trance, though I'd prefer to find a way to make the spell less bothersome in the first place so that Humakti can actually use it. My complaint with the spell (and Axe Trance) is that you spend MP to boost it, and those come back overnight, meaning that you have a one-day cost for a spell that you can bump up to much longer durations. Other spells that follow a similar bonus pattern, such as Arouse Passion, are boosted using Rune Points, meaning that if you Extend them you can't recover your cost until the spell duration lapses. But with Extended Axe or Sword Trance, after one day you're effectively getting a potentially-huge benefit for free. This doesn't sit right with me. Thinking out loud here: making Axe/Sword Trance unusable with Extension is an easy answer, but not a lot of fun. But what if you had to pay the MP cost again each day when the spell was Extended? That would at least provide some counterbalance: either you'd go with a lower MP boost, or you'd spend all your time with reduced MP, making you more vulnerable to magical attacks… no, wait, that's RQ3 thinking: in RQG you defend with POW, not MP, so that's not really much of a penalty either.
  12. trystero

    Death by a thousand cuts

    What's the final consensus on this? I'm lost.
  13. trystero

    Original Trollpak (2e) Previous Experience

    High-level overview: each profession has a list of eight skill bonuses, like +10% Insect Care or +05% any non-missile weapon. You get those bonuses for each full year of previous experience spent in that profession, with the limit that once your skill hits 50% or better you have to make an experience roll to get the bonus. The rules recommend allowing no more than five years' worth of previous experience using this system. This is somewhat like RQ3's previous-experience system, in that you gain a flat number of percentiles per year of experience in a profession-dictated set of skills, but the percentile values in Trollpak are higher (5 or 10 percentiles per year, where RQ3 had 1–5 percentiles per year) and the suggested five-year limit and addition of the experience-roll mechanism at 50% means that you can't just age your way into Rune Lord status.
  14. trystero

    Group tasks

    As a side note, The One Ring allows for exactly this sort of assistance; you can get one, two, or three successes if you make your Stealth skill test, but you only need one to be stealthy yourself, and the rules allow you to spend the extra successes to compensate for other party members who fail their own Stealth tests. It's one of my favourite things about that game.
  15. trystero

    Group tasks

    My immediate inclination would be to ask all PCs to roll the Augment, but then have only the one with the worst augmented Hide skill make the actual roll for sneaking, and to similarly have only the guard with the best augmented Scan or Search make the opposing roll (or, more accurately, make a single roll for all of the guards).