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An alternative to the defense roll penalty?


Shadowdragon

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I'm not really liking the idea of each defense roll after the first having a cumulative -30% penalty. I really don't want to keep track of how many times each character and NPC has been attacked during a round. I was thinking of just removing the rule entirely, but I'd like to have some rule where a character suffers a penalty when fighting multiple opponents. Is there something like a gang-up bonus/penalty already made somewhere? If not what would be a good way of handling something like this?

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I suspect being ganged up on is bad enough that you don't really need any other penalty!

But infinite dodges is almost certainly too good. The -30% rule, as a side-effect, limits the number of parries/dodges per round, so I'd advise keeping that aspect of it (i.e. once per 30% skill).

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I'm not really liking the idea of each defense roll after the first having a cumulative -30% penalty. I really don't want to keep track of how many times each character and NPC has been attacked during a round. I was thinking of just removing the rule entirely, but I'd like to have some rule where a character suffers a penalty when fighting multiple opponents.

Well there's the old RQ / Call of Cthulhu approach - you get TWO combat actions a round (two of three from Dodge, Attack and Parry), so if you want to defend against two opponents you have to sacrifice the option to attack and against three opponents you have to pick one not to actively defend against...

But that's probably a bit more brutal realism than you might be after :D

Nick

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...you get TWO combat actions a round (two of three from Dodge, Attack and Parry)...

A possible problem with that approach is that anyone can do two attacks whenever they like. (Typically, when they are in no danger of being attacked in return, or it suits them to ignore the danger).

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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A possible problem with that approach is that anyone can do two attacks whenever they like. (Typically, when they are in no danger of being attacked in return, or it suits them to ignore the danger).

As far as I remember, the RQ3 rule is a bit more complex than that:

*with 1 Weapon (either 1 handed or 2 handed) : you cannot use twice the same action with your weapon. That is : you can attack and parry, attack and dodge or parry and dodge, but not attack twice or parry twice. I don't remember if 2 dodges are allowed...

*with 2 Weapons (a shield being considered as a weapon) : it is possible to attack or parry once with each weapon. That is, if I have a Broadsword and a shield, I can parry twice : once with the shield, and once with the sword.

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I'm not really liking the idea of each defense roll after the first having a cumulative -30% penalty. I really don't want to keep track of how many times each character and NPC has been attacked during a round. I was thinking of just removing the rule entirely, but I'd like to have some rule where a character suffers a penalty when fighting multiple opponents. Is there something like a gang-up bonus/penalty already made somewhere? If not what would be a good way of handling something like this?

If you want to give the attacker(s) a bonus instead of the defender a penalty, maybe you could just say that for every extra attacker (2:1, 3:1, etc.), each of them gets a +X% to their attacks against the target.

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A possible problem with that approach is that anyone can do two attacks whenever they like. (Typically, when they are in no danger of being attacked in return, or it suits them to ignore the danger).

I've never found this to be a problem. Sometimes, my players do attack twice (once with main weapon, then with offhand weapon 3 strike ranks later) and forego their defense. This is one of the tactical choices that can make BRP combat so interesting. I always make them declare their intent to do this at the beginning of the round, so it's never a case of 'oh, he missed his attack so I guess I'll attack twice since I don't need to parry'. The GM has to assert that level of control for it to work, but it does work. What's more, my players have often regretted making the decision to forego of parry. Bad guys get specials and criticals, too!

Thalaba

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

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The cumulative -30% penalty came from Stormbringer I-III and was needed in part I believe because masters (90% or higher with their weapon) could riposte (get a free attack) after a successful Parry. Without that cumulative penalty Mr(s) Master swordsman becomes a veritable one-person killing machine.

I agree that the cumulative penalty is a bit of a pain book keeping wise.

In PenDragon I give a +/- 5 penalty for superior numbers (so if 6 PCs gang up one poor Giant they gain +25 skill and he suffers -25). Since combat in PenDragon is abstracted to one roll per character this works rather well.

I read a set of houserules (hosted on Tal Meta's website IIRC) which introduces the concept of 'tactical advantages' if you have an advantage then your level of success is boosted by 1 (failure to success, success to special and so on) and if you have a disadvantage you drop by 1.

I have used this and included superior/inferior numbers as one advantage. (Along with height, attacking from the flank, armed vs. unarmed, shorter weapon vs. longer upclose, longer vs. shorter at range and so on)

Or as suggested earlier in the thread just treat the extra ROLLS to hit as advantage enough.

Al

Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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A possible problem with that approach is that anyone can do two attacks whenever they like. (Typically, when they are in no danger of being attacked in return, or it suits them to ignore the danger).

Not with the same weapon, unless they have 90+% attack. And with two weapons (e.g. Rapier / Main-gauche), sacrificing ALL opportunities for an active defense in a round is a high risk strategy, especially as the second attack is deferred by 3SR (in RQIII) - but also reflects the fact that, if a target CAN'T defend and you wish to kill them, and you had a weapon in each hand, why wouldn't you use both?

Cheers,

Nick

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As far as I remember, the RQ3 rule is a bit more complex than that:...

Not with the same weapon, unless they have 90+% attack....

Yes. I'm just making sure ShadowDragon knows there are possible problems, 'cos he may not want to get into those complexities at this stage...

I've never found this to be a problem.

...or maybe, like Thalaba, he won't worry about it!

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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The multiple defense/-30 cumulative penalty is a must for D&D games (characters vs. hordes). Just leave room on the character sheet for a slide rule, starting at the character's highest parry, dodge. Each line lowers this by 30%. Have the players use a small colored paperclip to track their current percentages.

eg:

Top of Page: 77, 91 [assuming 77 dodge, 91 parry]

2nd Defense: 47, 61

3rd Defense: 17, 31

4th Defense: -, 1

I'm not really liking the idea of each defense roll after the first having a cumulative -30% penalty. I really don't want to keep track of how many times each character and NPC has been attacked during a round. I was thinking of just removing the rule entirely, but I'd like to have some rule where a character suffers a penalty when fighting multiple opponents. Is there something like a gang-up bonus/penalty already made somewhere? If not what would be a good way of handling something like this?
Edited by Harshax

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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Why not just allow a player to make as many defense rolls as he wants without a cumulative penalty? It's how it works in GURPS, and in CoC I think. I'm going for more of a high fantasy setting that'll have plenty of combat. I think a character should be able to defend himself more than once or twice in a round. However, I think there should still be some kind of benefit for outnumbering an enemy. Like a -5% penalty to defence rolls for each enemy attacking you after the first, or a bonus to attack rolls when attacking an enemy's flank or rear (I usually use miniatures in my games, especially for larger combats).

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Why not just allow a player to make as many defense rolls as he wants without a cumulative penalty? It's how it works in GURPS, and in CoC I think. I'm going for more of a high fantasy setting that'll have plenty of combat. I think a character should be able to defend himself more than once or twice in a round. However, I think there should still be some kind of benefit for outnumbering an enemy. Like a -5% penalty to defence rolls for each enemy attacking you after the first, or a bonus to attack rolls when attacking an enemy's flank or rear (I usually use miniatures in my games, especially for larger combats).

You could certainly try it this way. With the all or nothing parry in BRP though, if your players characters are well skilled, and fighting a skilled opponent<s>, then you might find the combat long and drawn out.

My suggestion would be to use the Heroic level options from the book (example: CON + SIZ for HP), and lower the penalty for additional defensive maneuvers if you think its too high. Perhaps down to -15 or -20 %. This will give the PCs better odds against multiple opponents without prolonging the combats too much, hopefully.

SDLeary

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Why not just allow a player to make as many defense rolls as he wants without a cumulative penalty?

What if they've got 100%+ Defence? Could you live with them successfully dodging virtually all the time?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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What if you allowed them to have 1 free parry at full value, and then unlimited addtional parries at difficult rating (half skill)? It would be easy to keep track of - might give you the balance you're looking for.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

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What if they've got 100%+ Defence? Could you live with them successfully dodging virtually all the time?

For someone with a 100%+ defense, yes, they should be able to dodge incoming blows at almost inhuman speed. That's what the high skill represents.

I've run a lot of high-level games with BRP, and combat frequently comes down to who fumbles or gets a critical result first. Having a full percentage parry does not break the game, or make combats run any longer than they usually do. Instead, it makes the game seem more heroic, as the threat of having your awesome swordsman taken down by mooks is less present.

Something I looked at in Gods of Law was to allow people who focus heavily on weapon skills or dodging to make defensive actions at their full percentage for any attack that comes their way. However, for each use after the first, they paid a Magic Point. That way, there is still a cost for pushing yourself.

Naturally, this would only work when trying to emulate a cinematic play style with BRP. IMO, of course.

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