Following the example combat write-up and feedback received, I’ve drawn up a summary of things to consider when running, or participating in, RQG combat. Some of these are directly from RAW (but mainly sprinkled throughout the Combat chapter), others are interpretations, so critiques are welcome. Thanks to everyone who’s chipped in so far.
Generally, there are quite a lot of specific rules governing strike ranks, hence the number of points below (although it’s far from exhaustive), but I’ve tried to arrange them in a logical order and cite rules location where applicable.
1. Changes to Statement of Intent no longer seem to affect SRs in RAW, but you may wish to house rule otherwise.
2. Unengaged combatants can move up to their full movement prior to SR resolution, unless Statements of Intent indicate they will be subject to missile fire or spell casting in that round, in which case their movement should be handled in SR order (p.192 Movement of Non-engaged Characters).
3. In a single melee round an engaged combatant can either attack and parry/dodge, OR parry and cast magic (p.195 Multiple Activities within Melee).
4. Parrying and dodging are non-SR actions (they take no SRs), that can happen at any time in a melee round. Multiple parries or dodges may be made, but each successive parry or dodge after the first in a round receives a cumulative -20% penalty (p.197 The Parry, p.201 Dodge).
5. Attacking and spell casting are SR actions (they always require at least one SR to perform).
6. Use of other skills (e.g. Perception or Communication skills) during combat might be SR actions or non-SR actions at the GM’s discretion (an interpretation).
7. A combatant cannot start taking SR actions before their DEX SR (an interpretation).
8. But with the following exception: Rune magic takes effect on SR 1, unless magic points are used to boost or alter it, in which case SRs equal to MPs -1 are added (p.194, Magical Attacks and Strike Ranks).
9. A combatant cannot attack more than once in a round unless they fulfil one of the following criteria:
a. They are using a missile weapon and have sufficiently low DEX SR (p.195, Multiple Activities Outside of Melee, p.211, Rates of Fire).
b. Their weapon skill is above 100% and they split their attack (p.202, Splitting Attacks).
c. They are dual wielding and parry with neither weapon, but ‘off hand’ attack chance applies (p.224, Two Weapon Use).
10. Only two-handed weapons can be used to both attack and parry in a single round. One-handed weapons (including shields) can be used to either attack or parry during a round, not both.
11. Spell casting success rolls – there are two schools of thought on this: roll on the SR that spell casting begins or on the SR that the spell takes effect. The issue with the second method is when long spell casting periods are involved (e.g. for boosted spells, Sorcery spells or high-powered Spirit magic) that run over a round or more. If the spell roll fails then the player has just sat doing nothing for a round or more with no end result. Rolling on the initial SR when spell casting begins confirms whether the spell will be successful and, if not, the player can abandon it and have their character do something else (an interpretation).
12. Any spell can still fail if the caster takes damage during the casting – an INT roll (as determined by the GM) should be made to see if concentration is maintained (p.247, Types of Spells - see Active Spell and Passive Spell). No MPs are lost if the spell fails.
13. For Spirit Magic, combatants should be able to perceive or feel their spell foci to cast the spell. Casting without a focus takes two melee rounds (p.254, The Focus).
14. Apart from spell casting, SRs reset between rounds, but loaded/unloaded status of missile weapons needs to be tracked and allowed for.
15. If a combatant makes a second attempt at something after failing (e.g. casting a spell, withdrawing an impaled weapon) then they must wait 5 SRs + their DEX SR (an interpretation).
16. Sheathing a weapon, drawing a weapon, reloading a missile weapon, or picking a weapon up – all these actions add 5 SRs each (p.194, Preparing or Changing a Weapon).
17. Dropping a weapon or placing an already drawn weapon into another hand (e.g. to free a hand for spell casting) presumably take 0 SRs, so can take place at any time in the round (an interpretation, based upon p.194 Preparing or Changing a Weapon).
18. Some SR actions can be combined with movement e.g. drawing a weapon (p.195 Multiple Activities Outside of Melee).
19. If a combatant is evading missile fire, they cannot move more than half their movement (p.214, Shooting at Moving Targets).
20. Ambushing or surprising an opponent adds either 1 or 3 SRs to their actions (p.193, Strike Rank Modifiers table), but the ambusher may also get +40% to their attack that round as their opponent is ‘unaware’ (p.223, Attacking from Advantage or Disadvantage).