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Sumath

Making sense of Strike Ranks in RQG combat

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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).

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1 hour ago, Sumath said:

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.

Great list Sumath, can you provide a reference for No 10. I can't locate where is prohibits using the same weapon to attack and parry,

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14 minutes ago, Psullie said:

Great list Sumath, can you provide a reference for No 10. I can't locate where is prohibits using the same weapon to attack and parry,

There's not much evidence for this in RQG, but I'm sure I remember it from previous RQ editions, and it is implied by p.219, Shield Attacks, which says 'It is possible to attack with a shield, giving up the chance of parrying that round'. Similarly, it would make sense that one can parry with a weapon if you give up an attack that round. 

This is something I'd appreciate some thoughts on, as it's something I have in my head, but can't find precise evidence for it.

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40 minutes ago, Psullie said:

Great list Sumath, can you provide a reference for No 10. I can't locate where is prohibits using the same weapon to attack and parry,

There is no such rule in RQG, I think Jason has clarified this.

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3 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

There is no such rule in RQG, I think Jason has clarified this.

Which then begs the question why use a shield? Vasana for example has 90% parry with the Broadsword and only 55% with the Medium shield. Both block 12HP, why would she ever choose to parry with the shield?

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2 minutes ago, Psullie said:

Which then begs the question why use a shield? Vasana for example has 90% parry with the Broadsword and only 55% with the Medium shield. Both block 12HP, why would she ever choose to parry with the shield?

Swords break so easily.

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1 minute ago, PhilHibbs said:

Swords break so easily.

According to the rules they break as easily as Medium Shields. Also if you parry with a Sword you will do more damage on failed attacks and therefore more likely to break your opponents weapons. I can see some tactical situation where shields are preferred, but for most combats sticking with your primary weapon is the best option

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Swords are very very expensive compared to a shield.  Plus swords don't block ranged attacks. Also the repair spell reduces HP by half lost so eventually you have to see a Smith.   Broad Sword is 50L a medium shield is 14C. For hide 1L Wicker and 12L for wood.  A large shield is 25C for hide, 5L wicker and 40L for wood. With zero difference for material, as in stats, hide shields are a smarter chohidein stats.

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4 hours ago, Sumath said:

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).

As per multiple activities in a melee round on page 196 of RQ RiG

Quote

While an adventurer might throw a spell at an oncoming foe and then engage that foe in combat within the same round, an adventurer cannot, while engaged in combat, attack both physically and magically. This means that an adventurer who starts a round physically engaged in melee may either:.Attack and defend normally; or Defend normally and cast spells.

Odd how the purpled text contradicts the blacked text.  Frustrating... Let’s make it even worse... 

 

 

Quote

 

However, casting a spell such as Bladesharp or Fireblade on a weapon held in the hand and striking with it in the same round only involves adding the normal strike rank to cast the spell to the normal strike rank for that weapon for that melee round.

from Page 194 of the RQ RiG

 

This just confirms that there are exceptions. I believe the exceptions are non-attack spells (if their is no opposing roll on the resistance table) can be combined with attacks if SRs allow.

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I don’t think those are contradictions — the first purple text is trying to show the difference between being engaged in melee and not being engaged. So it’s talking about someone casting a spell while NOT being engaged, but then being engaged later that same round because an enemy closed the distance... after which that character won’t be able to spell-cast and attack in the same round anymore.

The second purple text is a lot more confusing, but I think it has to do with spell foci: if you’re casting something for which the focus is on the weapon, and the target is also the weapon, then you can do it while keeping the weapon in hand and no other free hand.

But yeah this is all quite unclear, and would benefit from a text revision, or some extensive errata, or something.

Edited by lordabdul
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Sorry for sounding like a nay sayer...believe me I am happy ypu are doing this.,

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

7.     A combatant cannot start taking SR actions before their DEX SR (an interpretation).

 

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

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).

Parries, I believe can only happen on SRs that a parrying weapon in ready, dodge may be limited to SRs one is on one’s feet (The jury was out to this interpretation last time this issue came up) I think one can dudgeon the ground myself

 

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

7.     A combatant cannot start taking SR actions before their DEX SR (an interpretation).

Except rune spells wish I believe at their fastest take place on SR 1

 

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

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).

Correct

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

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).

and that there are sufficient SRs to fulfill the two strikes without exceeding 12 SRs. For missile add the SRs and 5 for an unready arrow at the beginning of the MR (prepared arrow costs nothing)  and 5 for preparing the second. Use the SR of one of the melee weapons snd then dd the two melee SRs together to the SR of the 2nd weapon.

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

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.

All weapons both one handed and two handed can be used to attack and parry (parry possible multiple times) in a single MR.  I know, this takes a bit of thinking, so why a shield. More APs to a shield. when the shield breaks you still have your attack weapon to parry and you can use a shield passively to block missiles...

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

14.  Apart from spell casting, SRs reset between rounds, but loaded/unloaded status of missile weapons needs to be tracked and allowed for.

Should be easy... if you trust the players, they can keep track of this (if you can not trust the players, bummer),

5 hours ago, Sumath said:

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).

and can often reasonably be done in conjunction with another task without additional penalty

.Sorry to find these to call out but sounds like your getting close.

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5 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I don’t think those are contradictions — the first purple text is trying to show the difference between being engaged in melee and not being engaged. So it’s talking about someone casting a spell while NOT being engaged, but then being engaged later that same round because an enemy closed the distance.

 

Right my bad Thanks for catching that.

 

6 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

The second purple text is a lot more confusing, but I think it has to do with spell foci: if you’re casting something for which the focus is on the weapon, and the target is also the weapon, then you can do it while keeping the weapon in hand and no other free hand.

 

spell foci and non attack spells

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4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

As per multiple activities in a melee round on page 196 of RQ RiG

No, my post is correct on this - it is p.195, not 196.

 

4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Parries, I believe can only happen on SRs that a parrying weapon in ready, dodge may be limited to SRs one is on one’s feet

4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

and that there are sufficient SRs to fulfill the two strikes without exceeding 12 SRs

Yes, agreed. The object of the post was to list things for consideration, it's not intended to be an exhaustive list.

 

7 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

There is no such rule in RQG, I think Jason has clarified this.

4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

All weapons both one handed and two handed can be used to attack and parry (parry possible multiple times) in a single MR.

Cool, thanks both. That was the main thing on here that I wanted clarification on.

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3 minutes ago, Sumath said:

No, my post is correct on this - it is p.195, not 196.

 

Thank you of the correction, cheers. 

 

3 minutes ago, Sumath said:

Yes, agreed. The object of the post was to list things for consideration, it's not intended to be an exhaustive list.

 

Oh hell, the work you’ve done I feel like a laggard. If I was being exhaustive, I would hope to not be exhausting. So as long as you do not mind my putting in more work than you are willing to address, simply set phasers on ignore anytime I start to sound like Joerg. (sorry, low hanging fruit)

I do want to put in at least an exhaustive effort and I know I probably won’t be able to but... and I believe that was my first long post to this great effort (I feel like I’m at that famous synod where the number of angels that could dance upon the head of a pin was being debated), thanks! 

Ergo, I think I really owe more. Thanks all for those who noted my silly mistakes. Thanks to all the others who are trying to sort this out.

Cheers

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