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mrjam

strike rank and multiple attacks

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Hello,

I'm trying to understand the concept behind strike rank.

I understand the relative advantage of a longer weapon and a bigger SIZ against a smaller opponent in determining who strike first. But I don't understand the absolute higher speed that a longer weapon and a big SIZ give, i.e. I have difficult to figure why in a combat:

- between two high SIZ and high DEX combatants, with long reach weapons (and so a pretty low strike rank), the combatants could have theoretically many attacks (provided they split a high enough weapon skill);

- between two low SIZ but high DEX combatants, using small weapons, these combatants could use fewer attacks (due to the higher strike rank) than in the above situation.

So, same DEX (18), same weapon skill value (i.e. 150%), but different SIZ and different weapon length give different number of attacks in a round while pairing combatants with the same characteristics (big vs big, or small vs small).

Am I missing something?

Thanks

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3 minutes ago, mrjam said:

I'm trying to understand the concept behind strike rank.

That's a dangerous thing to try to do!

3 minutes ago, mrjam said:

I understand the relative advantage of a longer weapon and a bigger SIZ against a smaller opponent in determining who strike first. But I don't understand the absolute higher speed that a longer weapon and a big SIZ give, i.e. I have difficult to figure why in a combat:
...

Am I missing something?

What I think you are missing is, "there is no why".

Whilst RuneQuest combat is quited detailed and "crunchy" compared to Some Other Game Systems™, it's actually rather simplistic in some ways. One thing that it specifically does not model is the potential for fast attack speed of a small weapon. The low SR of a long weapon or a high SIZ is due to its reach, and that makes sense. The low SR of a high DEX is due to speed, and that makes sense. However, when you are getting up close and personal with a dagger against a polearm, the SR system has a problem. The high SR of a dagger means that you might not be able to split your attacks and get two or three hits in, whereas the halberd wielder can potentially hack you several times.

Now there used to be a couple of fixes for this. In RQ3, there were two rules which I think are absent in RQG: closing against a longer weapon, and no split attacks against a single target. Correct me if I'm wrong about the closing rule.

In RQG you can do split attacks against a single opponent, whereas in RQ3 you specifically could not. Split attacks were against separate targets only. Therefore the situation where you have closed against an opponent didn't have the counterintuitive thing whereby your short weapon was preventing multiple attacks, because nobody could do multiple attacks against a single target anyway! By allowing that, RQG has created this counterintuitive situation.

Personally I don't worry about it too much. Most competent fighters will have a high enough DEX or SIZ to allow them to split their attack with a short weapon anyway. If not, tough, just learn to enjoy the higher crit chance and/or the opponent's reduced parry chance instead.

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Dual wielding allows you to attack twice. Once with one weapon at its own SR, and once with second weapon at the sum of both weapon's SRs.

As a side point, splitting attack skill doesn"t seem like a very interesting strategy to me in RQG.

-If you don't split your 150% attack skill, you'll attack once at 100% and your opponent will parry at -50%

-If you split your 150% attack skill, you'll attack twice at 75%, and your opponent will parry first attack with his full parry chance, and the second at -20%

You're more likely to land at least one blow with option 1 than option 2, even if possible rewards are bigger with option 2.

Edited by Mugen

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2 hours ago, Mugen said:

Dual wielding allows you to attack twice. Once with one weapon at its own SR, and once with second weapon at the sum of both weapon's SRs.

As a side point, splitting attack skill doesn"t seem like a very interesting strategy to me in RQG.

I think you're right. The only real use case is where you entirely out-class your opponent, and would be wasting percentage points by driving the opponent's parry chance way below 05%.

I have 200%, you have 50%. I think I'm better off hitting you twice at 100% with you parrying at 50 and 30, than once at 100%. It's touch-and-go though even in that case. 300% vs 50% is a no-brainer, I split to two 150% attacks and drive your parry all the way down on both.

And with Sword Trance, 300% is quite achievable.

In the 200 vs 50 case, I think optimal is one attach at 145% and one at 55%, the first becomes 95 vs 05, the second is 55 vs 30. The risk there is that you might damage my sword if I miss and you parry.

Of course, the players don't necessarily have perfect information about the opponent's skill levels so they can't always hit the sweet spot. I'm torn on whether that is a good thing or not.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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You are right -- it is confusing.  The thing is, the Strike Rank system has always sat kind of uncomfortably on the border of just being a RANKING system (order-of-action); and an Action-Allowance system (governing multi-attacks (as with skills over 100%, and/or dual-wielding)); and also a TIME system, with "movement" (which by definition is distance/time) in combat being measured in SR's.  So... confusing!

In the specific examples you gave -- 2 opponents with large SIZ/DEX and long weapons, such that neither has an advantage vs the other, with (identical) very-low SR's;  and 2 opponents with very-high DEX but average/low SIZ and small weapons, both having moderate SR's -- you have indeed pointed to an irrational outcome.  If this is a serious problem for you, I suggest HouseRule'ing it.

The HR that my original RQ GM taught me, back around 1980/81, was this:

  • When the SR's based on "Reach" (SIZ of character + weapon-length; do NOT count DEX or magic (unless the magic affects Reach)) are different by 3 or more points, the person with less Reach needs to make an attack just to close the range.
  • This attack does no damage, but gets them "inside" the range of the spear/etc.
  • N.B. -- The person with 3+ points of Reach may well get an attack (doing damage) vs. the person attempting to Close -- they do have those 3+ points of SR advantage!
  • If the attack-to-Close misses -- or is parried by the Reach weapon (not a shield!) -- they failed to Close:  they couldn't get past their foe's guard.  Better luck next round.  (Gee, being a spearman's target-dummy sucks!)
  • If they DO close, the situation reverses -- the person with 3+ points of "advantage" from Reach has a foe inside their guard, and must roll an attack to increase the range.
  • As with the Closing attack, the Increase-Range attack does no damage, and fails to increase the range if it misses or is parried.
  • When calculating multiple attacks, ONLY calculate using Skill rules and DEX SR's:  daggers can attack swiftly! (but they still may need to Close vs longer weapons / bigger foes)

This HR may not suit you; other solutions have been found.  One is just to apply some common-sense and say that when SR's are identical due to SIZ/Weapon Reaches, then they go on the same DEX ranks as the Reach weapons' wielders.  Each being fully-engaged and with no Reach (dis)advantage, they attack "as if" their SIZ and Weapon SR-mods were both 0.

 

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If only we had a new edition of the rules system so someone could really go in there and fix this hodgepodge of antiquated mechanics from umpteen previous editions that don't *quite* work!

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

If only we had a new edition of the rules system so someone could really go in there and fix this hodgepodge of antiquated mechanics from umpteen previous editions that don't *quite* work!

I get your point and don't want to derail this thread, but:

Is it really necessary?

I've abandoned RQG in terms of rules and instead enjoy the RQG fluff, the artwork, the Glorantha content in the books.
Imho there's no need to overhaul the RQG rules in total. Jason Durall can give advices and the tribe is able to come up with plenty of great houserules. Who is really playing with the rules as written?

RQG has its rules framework, so now we can go foreward.

It would be a pity if RQG will still be struggling with rules discussions like "what's with SR"? [This is literally a hundred times that the topic Strike Ranks pops up on Facebook, this forum... since RQG is published.]
Why not go further, leave the rules as they are and push RQG in new territories like: HeroQuesting, the terra incognitas of western and eastern Genertela, great adventures and so on?

The stuff from Chaosium is so awesome, that I hope for new gaming material instead of endless overhaulings of rules. The chassis is RQ2/RQ3/Elric/Heroquest..., so it is what it is.


 

Edited by prinz.slasar
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6 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

I get your point and don't want to derail this thread, but:

Is it really necessary?

I think you took me too literally.  I wasn't ACTUALLY asking for a new rules edition.

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On 8/6/2019 at 7:20 PM, prinz.slasar said:

The stuff from Chaosium is so awesome, that I hope for new gaming material instead of endless overhaulings of rules. The chassis is RQ2/RQ3/Elric/Heroquest..., so it is what it is.
 

And it is a good enough chassis for me. It is also worth noting that the BRP Big Gold Book by Jason Durall  is highly compatible with RQG and offers lots of rules options for combat etc. that are very easy to drop in a RuneQuest game.

To the original poster, if you really dislike the little inconsistencies of the SR system, the BGB has a simpler DEX rank combat system that you can plug and play in RQG. Personally, I wouldn't bother though. 

Edited by smiorgan
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23 hours ago, smiorgan said:

To the original poster, if you really dislike the little inconsistencies of the SR system, the BGB has a simpler DEX rank combat system that you can plug and play in RQG. Personally, I wouldn't bother though. 

Good point. And, if someone like the idea of the SR system, BGB also offers a better implementation of said system.

Edited by DreadDomain
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On 8/6/2019 at 8:44 AM, g33k said:

The thing is, the Strike Rank system has always sat kind of uncomfortably on the border of just being a RANKING system (order-of-action); and an Action-Allowance system (governing multi-attacks (as with skills over 100%, and/or dual-wielding)); and also a TIME system, with "movement" (which by definition is distance/time) in combat being measured in SR's.  So... confusing!

I think we discussed this in some other threads but yeah that's the core issue -- and definitely one of the top problems with RQG for me. I'm going to house-rule the hell out of it, but I'm a bit disappointed that the book was published without at least something addressing the situation (although to be honest, there's a few other situations that are not fully or satisfyingly addressed by the rules either).

Thanks for the house-rules @g33k! My tentative/work-in-progress house rules are a bit similar but I was considering adding a new "bulk" stat to weapons, which would make the distinction between low-SR-but-slow weapons (like 2H swords), high-SR-and-slow (like a mace), high-SR-but-fast (like daggers), etc. Then this new stat defines the SR interval between attacks. I need to playtest it though.

 

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Thanks everyone for the answers.

Has the authors ever commented in the past about this issue? I'm looking for some design/development insight: it is the forth iteration (counting only "official" Runequest) of the system, so there will certainly be a design reason about this rule.

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41 minutes ago, mrjam said:

Thanks everyone for the answers.

Has the authors ever commented in the past about this issue? I'm looking for some design/development insight: it is the forth iteration (counting only "official" Runequest) of the system, so there will certainly be a design reason about this rule.

Nope, they are busy with the interesting stuff (scenarios, Glorantha books, GM's book).

Regarding "Design inside" take a look at the DESIGNER NOTES. At one point they wrote about combat.

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IIRC the only comment we ever got was that splitting attacks doesn't happen enough to warrant extra rules to solve this, and that the authors implicitly encourage GMs and players to bend the rules when it would make more sense.

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32 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

IIRC the only comment we ever got was that splitting attacks doesn't happen enough to warrant extra rules to solve this, and that the authors implicitly encourage GMs and players to bend the rules when it would make more sense.

From the people who expect characters to be heroes in the Hero Wars... 🙄

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8 hours ago, mrjam said:

Thanks everyone for the answers.

Has the authors ever commented in the past about this issue? I'm looking for some design/development insight: it is the forth iteration (counting only "official" Runequest) of the system, so there will certainly be a design reason about this rule.

Not specifically but issues with the combat system have been brought up so often that they may decide to offer solutions or more advanced rules in the upcoming GM guide.

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