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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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Inspired by Delecti, I'm engaging in a little thread necromancy here.

I've been thinking a bit about this basic issue of SRs and multiple attacks, which hasn't entirely sat right by me either. One of my big complaints is that as per pg. 137 of the RAW a single round takes 12 seconds. I know that each SR isn't supposed to represent a single second, but ... Well, it just seems really weak to only allow the majority of characters one attack every 12 seconds, even taking parries into account.  In 5th ed DnD a combat round takes 6 seconds (with one attack action for characters at low level), while in GURPS a combat round (allowing an attack and parry) is a single second. In my view, this makes RQG characters seem capable of less than in other games. And it doesn't strike (no pun intended) me as enjoying much verisimilitude (anyone who trains with real weapons is welcome to comment on this).

So, I'd like to propose two partial solutions:

a) Declare that rounds are six seconds long. Pros: rules as written in regard to SRs, combat, and multiple attacks suddenly make more sense and have more verisimilitude. And it's simple. Cons: Doesn't solve the above question of reach and short weapons in close combat.  

b) Keep rounds at 12 seconds, but allow everyone to have multiple melee attacks per round, not just those with over 100% in a melee weapon skill. Then either assign attacks, after the first, a penalty similar to attempting multiple parries or just halve skill right off the bat. (Personally, I'd go with the first option.) At the next combat round, everything is reset - representing combatants reacquiring footing, position, etc. 

         - possible corollary: allow attacks after the first to be made using weapon and DEX SR, representing that folks are now duking it out at the same approximate range. Not sure if this would work though without a clearer mechanism for taking weapon reach into account, say like GURPS does. 

And regarding getting in close... What do you all think of the following solution: to get into close combat (for punching, going stabby stab with a knife, etc.) vs a foe wielding a weapon with longer reach (let's say a spear), the prospective close combatant has to either forego a parry vs that weapon (relying solely on dodge for defense) or parries that weapon (spear) at a penalty (like half skill or something.) Afterwards, the two fighters are now in close combat; all unarmed or close-combat weapon attacks are made using the DEX SR of the combatants and anyone using a weapon longer than a dagger either has a penalty to parries or can't parry at all. Close combat can then be broken the next round by the spear/sword/dagger-axe wielder retreating a meter or two or shoving/kicking the close-in fighter back; thus creating space again and returning their advantage.

Phew. That was a lot. Sorry everyone.

 

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4 hours ago, Beoferret said:

So, I'd like to propose two partial solutions:
[...]
possible corollary: allow attacks after the first to be made using weapon and DEX SR, representing that folks are now duking it out at the same approximate range.

There's a bunch to unpack here I think, but the usual disclaimers apply (your game will vary, different people like different levels of crunch for different things, etc.)

1. As you probably already know, it's not about only being to attack/parry once every 12 seconds. Just like in D&D and most other games with large combat rounds, it's more along the lines of "the 2 characters engaged in melee are spending 12 seconds trading blows, pausing, evaluating, trading blows again, and it only resolves to one significant blow in that span of time". Hell, you could even consider that it represents several blows that are factored into the same damage roll. So it's really how you interpret it.

2. As a result, "multiple attacks" really means being so good (>100%) that you manage to find more than one opening, not that you're striking more often.

3. This can happen in GURPS too, only the system starts from the opposite baseline: you have a base skill but you get bonuses if you spend turns Evaluating, or doing a Feint (thus "reducing" the number of hits in an equivalent span of 12 seconds). If you attack every turn, you get more chances of striking at a lesser percentage. Another difference is that GURPS assumes you have all your wits available to you when fighting (unless you use some optional rules for Will in combat), so you can constantly re-evaluate your tactical choices on a per-second basis. RQ however makes a difference between "engaged in melee" and "not engaged" -- when you're not engaged, you can do much more things, including multiple things per round. When in melee, though, it assumes you can only make significant tactical decisions once or twice every dozen seconds or so, because of the mental overhead of being in a life-or-death situation. Whether that's realistic or even just to your liking is another matter, but let's just say that's the kind of "flavour" that RQ is going for.

4. Incidentally, as I understand it, that's how RQ3 worked, or at least how people interpreted it: they resolved SRs one by one, effectively taking it down to a 1-second-turn similar to GURPS (although I'd argue GURPS does it much better), but kinda grouped in 12 second batches.

5. As for your corollary, that's actually how Steve Perrin himself runs it, as far as I understand. He only uses Strike Rank for "first contact" (when 2 characters get engaged in their first round of melee), and then only goes by DEX SR after that. That's to me the most elegant way to solve the problem with weapon reach in melee -- it doesn't add any rules, it removes one, and keeps the overall combat experience at a consistent "crunch level" as the rest.

 

Edited by lordabdul
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Oh and I guess I forgot to mention that, for your proposed house rules:

a) In case it wasn't clear in my previous post, my honest opinion is that there's no problem there, it's just a matter of interpretation of what's going on in a round.

b) I would be careful with that rule. If you choose to let anybody attack multiple times, I think it should be an up front penalty that applies to all attacks (which is the case if you make people split their skill)... because if you apply cumulative penalties, then there's no downside to attacking more times than not. Not only does it not totally make sense (being reckless and forcing more openings to strike should come at the detriment of good openings, so the first attack shouldn't have been at full skill), but most importantly all players will just choose to attack as many times as they can all the time -- sure the percentage rolls will be shit but it just goes to waste if they don't do it, right? That's going to get tedious quickly.

Edited by lordabdul
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We play a very much house ruled amalgam of RQ2/3/G, because our game has been going since 1985 with multiple GMs over the years and has experienced some organic growth.

Over the years we have borrowed from Dragonquest (the old SPI role playing game) and give all weapons a Range/Melee/Close classification so for example a war hammer, pick  or mace would be M/C as would a dagger or Knife (in fact Daggers and maces are classified as RMC as they can also be thrown), Whereas a Broadsword or spear would only be classed as M. 

Weapons can only be used as per their classification so as per the above a dagger can be used in any situation but if you are wielding an M only weapon and someone gets in close you have to drop it,  Shields cannot be used when in close combat and also must be dropped. 

If an opponent can summon their courage to push past your sword or spear and close into the same hex (DQ used a will check while we tend to use a combination of Pow and roleplaying) he needs to survive your attack as he comes in (parrying counts) then the combatants are considered to be in a corps-a-corps or rolling around on the ground and only weapons with a C classification may be used and no shields

This has some fun implications as all creature attacks are deemed as close and they don't need a will check to jump on you. So you can find your spear master who doesn't kill the sabretooth with his one chance, wrestling a half ton tiger with his dagger/hatchet, even better if it pounces from a rocky overhang! Also friends trying to help by hitting into a close combat have good odds of getting the wrong target. In one case this ended in a blue on blue war-pick impale event, oh how we laughed, well all bar two of us!

On a broader note we tend to use SRs in quite a time based manner and therefore don't always reset at 12 for things like drawing weapons, reloads casting big spells etc. Though we do restart for melee and stick to one attack per turn (apart from splitting attack by weapon masters) which we know is inconsistent, but seems to work.

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41 minutes ago, Karlak One-eye said:

our game has been going since 1985

😲😍

42 minutes ago, Karlak One-eye said:

This has some fun implications as all creature attacks are deemed as close and they don't need a will check to jump on you. So you can find your spear master who doesn't kill the sabretooth with his one chance, wrestling a half ton tiger with his dagger/hatchet, even better if it pounces from a rocky overhang!

Yeah there are some fun things happening when you add the extra crunch for weapon range. If you want one more option, you can steal a rule from GURPS where you can change your "grip" on a weapon to adjust the range -- like fighting with a quarterstaff where you switching between holding it from the end or holding it in the middle. Same thing with a spear, although it might give you some penalties if the weapon isn't meant to be used that way (but it might still be better than losing it, or spending a turn to put it away).

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On 12/19/2019 at 6:38 PM, Karlak One-eye said:

We play a very much house ruled amalgam of RQ2/3/G, because our game has been going since 1985 with multiple GMs over the years and has experienced some organic growth.

Over the years we have borrowed from Dragonquest (the old SPI role playing game) and give all weapons a Range/Melee/Close classification so for example a war hammer, pick  or mace would be M/C as would a dagger or Knife (in fact Daggers and maces are classified as RMC as they can also be thrown), Whereas a Broadsword or spear would only be classed as M. 

Weapons can only be used as per their classification so as per the above a dagger can be used in any situation but if you are wielding an M only weapon and someone gets in close you have to drop it,  Shields cannot be used when in close combat and also must be dropped. 

If an opponent can summon their courage to push past your sword or spear and close into the same hex (DQ used a will check while we tend to use a combination of Pow and roleplaying) he needs to survive your attack as he comes in (parrying counts) then the combatants are considered to be in a corps-a-corps or rolling around on the ground and only weapons with a C classification may be used and no shields

This has some fun implications as all creature attacks are deemed as close and they don't need a will check to jump on you. So you can find your spear master who doesn't kill the sabretooth with his one chance, wrestling a half ton tiger with his dagger/hatchet, even better if it pounces from a rocky overhang! Also friends trying to help by hitting into a close combat have good odds of getting the wrong target. In one case this ended in a blue on blue war-pick impale event, oh how we laughed, well all bar two of us!

On a broader note we tend to use SRs in quite a time based manner and therefore don't always reset at 12 for things like drawing weapons, reloads casting big spells etc. Though we do restart for melee and stick to one attack per turn (apart from splitting attack by weapon masters) which we know is inconsistent, but seems to work.

Veeeeeery interesting stuff here! 

I really like how this considers the real-life utility of small weapons, instead of them just being the worst thing you can possibly have. 

I think I would maybe use the grapple skill to close the gap into close combat, and perhaps a grappling contest every round to determine if the players stay in C or if the defender manages to back off to M. This would add a ton of utility to the very underused grapple skill as well. 

Maybe give some animals a pounce skill which would deny the free attack as they close the gap...

I have a lot to think about now.

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3 hours ago, gochie said:

... I think I would maybe use the grapple skill to close the gap into close combat... 

Maybe give some animals a pounce skill which would deny the free attack as they close the gap...

I wouldn't do this.  It's REALLY hard to close range with a skilled fighter without taking at least one hit.  If weapons could be negated so easily, they'd be MUCH less popular!

By the same token, animals seldom even know to that a "weapon" is something to avoid.  If they get a genuine surprise-attack, sure... But not when facing a ready foe!

 

Edited by g33k
autocorrect isn't

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8 hours ago, g33k said:

I wouldn't do this.  It's REALLY hard to close range with a skilled fighter without taking at least one hit.  If weapons could be negated so easily, they'd be MUCH less popular!

By the same token, animals seldom even know to that a "weapon" is something to avoid.  If they get a genuine surprise-attack, sure... But not when facing a ready foe!

 

Sorry, I meant I would still allow the free attack, but a grappling roll would need to succeed to stick to your opponent or take him down after receiving the free attack. It would actually be more difficult to stay in C range this way. 

As for the animals pouncing, I think realistically you don't really have the reaction time to strike a black panther as it pounces on you. Maybe allow C range weapons (ie dagger) to get the free attack, but not bulkier weapons. 

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On 12/19/2019 at 11:38 PM, Karlak One-eye said:

If an opponent can summon their courage to push past your sword or spear and close into the same hex (DQ used a will check while we tend to use a combination of Pow and roleplaying) he needs to survive your attack as he comes in (parrying counts) then the combatants are considered to be in a corps-a-corps or rolling around on the ground and only weapons with a C classification may be used and no shields

I imagine a lot of animal-intelligence creatures will use this tactic - a lion or tiger leaps onto you, forelegs round your head, back legs raking your guts out. Very C.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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