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Dodging and Parrying


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1 hour ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

If you accept the abstraction of the combat round as including some form of movement inherent in the fight anyway, and add in rolls for significant actions like jump,   knockback attempts, and assign modifiers for the terrain to give tactical elements it soon becomes more colourful. People will have a reason to use movement & other options.

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Each to there own but I’d either rule that out entirely, or use a visualisation of the knife parry as the pivot on which the defender moves themselves out of the way (on a crit), as a sort of parry/dodge. My vision of combat is full of sidesteps, ducks ( yes humakti ones as well) combined with parries and attacks, rather then just a static parry, attack, parry,  attack etc. 

Yep exactly, that's how I would visualize it too (in both cases). You're right that rounds are abstractions, and the rolls represent your "general approach"... that is: you don't roll a weapon skill to deal one blow, you roll a weapon skill to dance around and trade blows and such and maybe one of those blows land and that's when you deal damage.

But if your "general approach" is "dodging", you should roll Dodge. Dodge with Knife could be pictured as you said (that's how I initially pictured it), but IMHO that can undermine another player who actually spent points in Dodge. As a GM I'm trying to be careful to not devaluate a character as an unfortunate side-effect of handwaving things for another character. Even if nobody spent points in Dodge, that still makes them wonder what Dodge is for, and further cement their belief it's not worth training up. This gets you closer to the point where you might as well remove Dodge altogether.

45 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Unless you roll a Special or Crit, who cares?  The dinosaur does 86 damage, and your knife deflects 8.  You still fall down.

You might be able to parry with a weapon for which you have a really good score (either naturally or with magic buffs). So for instance, a SIZ 50 dinosaur tries to trample you, lash at you with its tail, or other such attack. That's typically a 60% attack skill. Per RAW you can lower that to, say, 30% if you have 130% in your weapon. By being allowed to parry, you can lower the dinosaur's chances. That's something you wouldn't be able to do if the GM rules that your puny knife or shortsword wouldn't help you and that you have to Dodge. I assume that most GMs would indeed make a call there to force it that way. I would. But after the second or third such call, or some more difficult call where the monster isn't so big, I would probably convert these historical precedents into a house rule. Handwaving is for exceptional situations IMHO. If that situation repeats, or if I want to be prepared for that kind of situation, I make a "proper" house rule (if such things can ever be "proper" :D ). I prefer to keep my limited cognitive abilities as free as possible so I can spend them on exciting narration, NPC tactics, and so on.

23 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I can't make up my mind in what direction to rewrite it (a strict action-point economy is interesting but fiddly, while a pure initiative system offers a lot less tactical interest), but I'm going to go in one of these directions. Otherwise you get a lot of incoherence.

Agreed. I'm personally trying to go with the simpler route, which is to turn SRs into a simple initiative system. I haven't quite succeeded yet but I'm still working on it. I'm then reintroducing the "tactical interest" through a few other house rules that give players a handful of options. I believe that greatly simplifying the SR system frees up quite a lot of cognitive load on the GM and players, and that makes room for these new options without exceeding the crunch of RAW. In fact, I think the overall crunch has gone down with my rules, but that's obviously subjective, and off topic.

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I couldn’t see it in any of the previous posts (so apologies if it’s already been said), but shields have been hugely useful in my campaign, saving lives on a number of occasions. Rules p.198 has

Like many others in the campaign we play, combat is a last resort and relatively uncommon – only occurs when there are really no other options (there is an exception to this at the moment with our Orl

As has been mentioned, dodge has it advantages.  Back in RQiii days I once took a warrior with dodge as the main defence, and I recall he was very survivable.  O.k. you’re not a typical front line gru

9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Agreed. I'm personally trying to go with the simpler route, which is to turn SRs into a simple initiative system. I haven't quite succeeded yet but I'm still working on it. I'm then reintroducing the "tactical interest" through a few other house rules that give players a handful of options. I believe that greatly simplifying the SR system frees up quite a lot of cognitive load on the GM and players, and that makes room for these new options without exceeded the crunch of RAW. In fact, I think the overall crunch has gone down with my rules, but that's obviously subjective, and off topic.

I'm also in a situation where my players are of different minds as regards rules complexity. Probably the easiest Initiative system would be something along the lines where you still calculate SR for your action (this is pretty clumsy, but doesn't require a lot of re-writing), and then you get D&D-style Move Action, Standard Action, maybe Minor Action. Standard Action can be used as Move, and any Move action allows you to make a regular move. The easiest SR system would be where you get to intermix actions freely in a turn (I cast a spell [2], then move to take total cover behind the tree [2], then prep a new spell [5], then peek out [1], then cast a second spell [1]) and the length of a move depends purely on how many SRs you commit to it. You could even have a system without turns and just a long SR track where each one is a second.

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

You could even have a system without turns and just a long SR track where each one is a second.

You're reinventing GURPS :D     (GURPS rounds are 1 second)

(well not exactly because an infinite SR track would allow for non-regular action resolution)

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day after day my point of view has changed

so now..

I don't say anymore "parry" with a weapon, I say "defense" with a weapon

I don't say anymore "dodge", I say "defense without weapon"

 

So facing a geant with your knife, you have to choices :

defend yourself with the "defense without weapon" skill (so you dodge as raw, with maestria)

or defend yourself with the "defense with knife" skill (so if you make a special, you dodge as raw with maestria, and if you succeed you deflect only x points, as raw)

 

the question (for me but you can answer if you wish) is it could be good to give penalty to "defense without weapon" when you use a weapon (maybe weapon's size x 10%) I still ask myself

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

day after day my point of view has changed

so now..

I don't say anymore "parry" with a weapon, I say "defense" with a weapon

I don't say anymore "dodge", I say "defense without weapon"

 

So facing a geant with your knife, you have to choices :

defend yourself with the "defense without weapon" skill (so you dodge as raw, with maestria)

or defend yourself with the "defense with knife" skill (so if you make a special, you dodge as raw with maestria, and if you succeed you deflect only x points, as raw)

 

the question (for me but you can answer if you wish) is it could be good to give penalty to "defense without weapon" when you use a weapon (maybe weapon's size x 10%) I still ask myself

 

 

 

considering characters dodge skill is already likely to be worse than their weapon skills (at least their preferred ones) that seems like a bad idea tbh

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1 hour ago, Blindhamster said:

considering characters dodge skill is already likely to be worse than their weapon skills (at least their preferred ones) that seems like a bad idea tbh

not sure, a character good with a weapon probably uses "defense with weapon" / parry  and not "defense without weapon" / dodge.

 

My issue is more when  you are using, let's say, a two hands sword but your skill is 20% when your defense without weapon / dodge skill is 50% - 60% (good dex + 25% creation and it is done).

Any munchkin will choose dodge to get experience check both in 2H sword and dodge (after escaping many rouds without hit, there is a time you succeed your attack roll). Three boring and long fights with three differents weapons and you can pretend 4 fight skills experience checks with few risk (if you max your dodge).

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

My issue is more when  you are using, let's say, a two hands sword but your skill is 20% when your defense without weapon / dodge skill is 50% - 60% (good dex + 25% creation and it is done).

Any munchkin will choose dodge to get experience check both in 2H sword and dodge (after escaping many rouds without hit, there is a time you succeed your attack roll). Three boring and long fights with three differents weapons and you can pretend 4 fight skills experience checks with few risk (if you max your dodge).

Note however that a 60% Dodge skill is not as good at protecting you against regular enemies as a 60% parry, as a regular success won't help you against specials or crits, which represent 20% of the successful attacks.

I'd rather train in my 2 handed sword skill before going in an actual fight with such a low skill.

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20 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Should I look up RQ3 to see how it handles SRs?

The only significant difference is that RQ3 measures movement in strike ranks within the actual melee round. With RQG and RQ2 movement is only calculated if you are approaching an on going melee, in order to determine where you fit into the pecking order. So RQG/RQ2 remains an initiative system, while RQ3 falls slightly more into the action point allowance side of things because of the measurement of movement within the melee round. 

In RQ3 there are rules for closing in on an opponent with a longer weapon, and attacking on the run/running attack.

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21 hours ago, lordabdul said:

You might be able to parry with a weapon for which you have a really good score (either naturally or with magic buffs). So for instance, a SIZ 50 dinosaur tries to trample you, lash at you with its tail, or other such attack. That's typically a 60% attack skill. Per RAW you can lower that to, say, 30% if you have 130% in your weapon. By being allowed to parry, you can lower the dinosaur's chances. That's something you wouldn't be able to do if the GM rules that your puny knife or shortsword wouldn't help you and that you have to Dodge

I guess the argument for allowing the knife user to reduce the effectiveness of the dinosaurs tail attack with their over 100% skill would be that wielding a knife involves positioning and reading the opponent just as much as striking out. So you could say the effectiveness of the knife user in reducing the dinosaurs chance of attack is due to reading the situation and positioning themselves advantageously, keeping out of the thrust of the tail etc, until an opening shows it’s self. 

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21 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:
22 hours ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

 

I think RQG strike ranks are a mess, probably because they can't make up their minds about whether they're an initiative system or an action point economy (they look like an initiative system at first, but then you can get multiple attacks and spells cast, the ability to squeeze preparations into the round, and so on). I can't make up my mind in what direction to rewrite it (a strict action-point economy is interesting but fiddly, while a pure initiative system offers a lot less tactical interest), but I'm going to go in one of these directions. Otherwise you get a lot of incoherence.

If you don’t look too hard I find RQG/RQ2 strike ranks fine to use. There are some ambiguities but it works for me. 
As I pointed out above RQ3 pushes strike ranks more in the direction of the action point economy you mentioned. If that’s you’re thing, then worth having a look at RQ3. It becomes a more precise measurement of time and movement. 

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22 hours ago, lordabdul said:

But if your "general approach" is "dodging", you should roll Dodge. Dodge with Knife could be pictured as you said (that's how I initially pictured it), but IMHO that can undermine another player who actually spent points in Dodge. As a GM I'm trying to be careful to not devaluate a character as an unfortunate side-effect of handwaving things for another character. Even if nobody spent points in Dodge, that still makes them wonder what Dodge is for, and further cement their belief it's not worth training up. This gets you closer to the point where you might as well remove Dodge altogether.

There’s a good argument in there for bringing back RQ2’s defence skill in place of dodge :) 

Yeah I see what you mean, you don’t want to devalue someone else’s dodge skill.

I guess dodge is an overt attempt at getting out of harms way, where as using your weapon skill is more reading the opponent and positioning yourself in an advantageous way to make yourself a harder target to hit, and at the same time finding openings to strike. It’s fine line but I think I could justify that in combat if you accept that there’s movement inherent in every clash. 

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22 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

... You could even have a system without turns and just a long SR track where each one is a second.

22 hours ago, lordabdul said:

You're reinventing GURPS :D     (GURPS rounds are 1 second)

(well not exactly because an infinite SR track would allow for non-regular action resolution)

Actually, I think this is how the BRP Ringworld impulse system worked, isn't it?

There were no "rounds" really, just a question of how many SR's until the next action.  One guy might be swinging a sword every 5 SR's, another might be shooting a blaster every 3 SR's, someone might be initiating an emergency-launch with 17 more SR's before lift-off, etc etc etc.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

Yes this is a gap in my BRP knowledge, never played that but have heard that thats where RQ3 got inspiration to change strike ranks from ?

AFAIK, AH-RQ3 and Ringworld RPG were both published in 1984.

Both written by Chaosium.

Whether one was *WRITTEN* first, and contributed to the other, or there was mutual back-and-forth, or they each proceeded in parallel but largely separate, is something I don't know.
 

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On 11/9/2020 at 6:28 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Plus, from a balance perspective, it would make two-handed weapons a little less overwhelmingly good if you had some parry benefits from a sword&board (I house-ruled away the Greatsword both on historical and especially balance grounds

There are already a lot of reasons for sword and shield over great sword - passive use of shield and shield walls, passive defence against missiles, parrying thrown weapons, and the increased reliability of having two possible weapons to parry with  means you aren’t defenseless due to single broken weapon or fumble. 
Greatswords are generally a better weapon for fighters who prefer offense over defence, but most fighters without heavy armour and magic can’t afford to do that if they want to survive long.

And in general I find the reasoning that says shields are weak defensively to be implicitly ignoring ranged, especially thrown weapons, and I think that seriously underrates how dangerous javelins are in particular. A javelin, often at 1d10 +3+ 1d4 or more (that’s with a Speedart, but could be a Firearrow, or an extra 1d6 for an atl-atl), is a serious threat. I also find the reasoning that ignores shield walls etc to be misleading - it’s not exactly wrong, but only because PCs are weird, for the majority of soldiers formation fighting is a very important factor (and why Yelmalio, which appears a very weak warrior cult based on their magic, actually deserve their reputation as the best soldiers around - phalangites tactics work very well both irl and in RQG). 

The potential advantage of two weapons, or weapon and shield, over two handed weapons offensively is that you can attack twice, but it’s really only an advantage for berserks and such, and even then the higher damage usually makes the two handed weapon the better option unless you wish to mow down weak opponents like chaff and have some serious weapon damage enhancing magic. Generally two handed weapons are a better option for fighting offensively, shield and 1 weapon the better option defensively, and two weapons a distant third place except for fencers and particularly bloodthirsty hero types. And defensive fighting the preferred option for most warfare and most normal people. 

Of course greatswords are the best for Humakti PCs, but they have a wild array of sword magic available to them. Even normal Humakti rank and file troops are normally sword and board, use shield walls, and don’t stick to swords obsessively but will use ranged weapons like javelins. 

And noting that, despite being among the bloodthirstiest fighters, 1H axe and shield works really well for Babeester Gor Axe Ladies- they can use Slash to push up their axe damage so the extra damage from the great axe isn’t that big a deal, and Earth Shield on their shield is a superb defensive option, especially in a long battle. Of course, great axe plus Berserk or Axe Trance works very well too, as long as ranged attacks aren’t a problem. And they have to learn both one and two handed, so they probably tailor weapon use and magic enhancement to the situation a lot. I love BG, IMO the best fighting cult in the game due to their flexibility and great range of magic. 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

And in general I find the reasoning that says shields are weak defensively to be implicitly ignoring ranged, especially thrown weapons

To be honest, our PCs, who almost all use shield & 1H weapon due to cautiousness and similar advice, have, so far, faced almost no hostile missile fire.  Murphy's Law I guess.

Babs Gor is a great fighting cult, but, IMO, not a playable PC cult unless the GM is willing to "go along".  How many campaigns involve sacriledge against the Earth?

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

A javelin, often at 1d10 +3+ 1d4 or more (that’s with a Speedart, but could be a Firearrow, or an extra 1d6 for an atl-atl), is a serious threat.  

Small rules comments here. First, it’s only half DB for thrown. Second - and very easy to miss - you don’t get even that for Atlatl, as it counts as a projectile weapon rather than thrown.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Small rules comments here. First, it’s only half DB for thrown. Second - and very easy to miss - you don’t get even that for Atlatl, as it counts as a projectile weapon rather than thrown.

Atlatl is described (RQG p 211) as projectile, but the chart p 212 puts it with the javelin (as thrown). One more ambiguous point to correct.

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6 minutes ago, Kloster said:

Atlatl is described (RQG p 211) as projectile, but the chart p 212 puts it with the javelin (as thrown). One more ambiguous point to correct.

Not quite - it's under "Javelins, spears and darts", but not explicitly described as thrown. As it is explictly defined as Projectile on p. 211, that has to have priority in my reading.

Although it certainly isn't obvious why it shouldn't receive DB - it's still just as muscle-powered, only with an extension.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Not quite - it's under "Javelins, spears and darts", but not explicitly described as thrown. As it is explictly defined as Projectile on p. 211, that has to have priority in my reading.

Although it certainly isn't obvious why it shouldn't receive DB - it's still just as muscle-powered, only with an extension.

The same argument can be made about bows and arrows adapted to the archer's strength and draw length.

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15 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The same argument can be made about bows and arrows adapted to the archer's strength and draw length.

Yes, and it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to have higher-damage bows with a higher strength requirement. For the bow, unlike the javelin, the bow itself creates a limit though.

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13 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Yes, and it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to have higher-damage bows with a higher strength requirement. For the bow, unlike the javelin, the bow itself creates a limit though.

A bow with a full or even half damage bonus would likely break game balance.  Something you can shoot twice a round from relative safety that can't be parried.

A bow with a +1 would be reasonable.

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5 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

A bow with a +1 would be reasonable.

I think this is a much better design, agree. For one thing, the bow is only interested in whether you can pull it, so the size aspect of DB seems less relevant (unless it's a really big longbow and you need arms long enough).

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