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RQ3+4+BRP?


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I'm going to try combining RQ3 with the combat system from the unofficial RQ4: Adventures in Glorantha from the 90s, that only exists as a pdf as far as I know. I am looking for feedback. I'm really excited about the combat rules in RQ4, which seem like the natural evolution of those in RQ3. The improvements, as I see them:

Damage bonus progression goes +1, +2, +3 etc instead of 1d4, 1d6 etc. The reasons why: going from 0 to 1d4, as in RQ3 (and most of the BRP family) is such a huge leap, one more point of STR on SIZ than the human average means you do up to almost 50% more damage with most hand weapons? This has always been my biggest gripe with the BRP systems. The RQ4 version has smoother progression and makes the difference between characters with higher and lower stats less huge.

Damage to hit locations: three damage levels (1 x, 2 x and 3 x location HP). The reasons why: this, together with the lower DB, reduces the problem of limbs flying off all the time. It now takes a serious instead of an average hit with a broad sword to sever an arm or a leg. This seems to have been implemented in the latest RQ version btw.

Death at 2 x general HP instead of 1 x HP. The reasons why: again, together with the change to location HP, makes your PC less likely to die from an unlucky hit, which I think is a Good Thing. It's still pretty deadly though.

All weapons do double damage with specials and criticals, not just impaling ones. The reasons why: I think it is a Good Thing, and especially with the reduced DB you need this. Now the specials become really decisive, while regular hits tend to cause minor wounds, rather than "whoever gets in the first hit wins the fight". This is how it should play out IMO. It also makes skill much more important, since you get more specials with higher skill. It's also a Good Thing that letting your impaling weapon stay in the wound becomes optional. It seems both unfair to spear users and a little weird that you could do as little as a point or two in damage with an impale and still get your weapon stuck.

Move is calculated from SIZ and DEX rather than a flat rate for each species. This makes much more sense, for exampe not all humans are equally fast. Duh!

Combat sequence: everyone gets to move MOV stat in meters, then combat in SR sequence, then extra move for those who didn't fight fully or at all. Combat options include attack twice but no parry, or just one attack or parry but extra move later, or no actions and double move later. The reasons why: retains SR but detaches it from clunky combat round segments. Allows for many different tactical options instead of just ping pong.

Rules for getting up from prone. Different options for fighting prone or kneeling. Takes 5 MOV to get up from prone to kneeling, 3 MOV from kneeling to standing. The reasons why: rules for getting up from prone was missing in RQ3. This is a good system and I like it better than the BRP version.

I think all this will combine well with RQ3! I will also use some of the rules I like from BRP, like multiple parries, complementary skills, cooperative skill use, and maybe fate points. Thoughts?

 

 

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The average of ...

  • 1D4 => 2.5
  • 1D6 => 3.5
  • 1D8 => 4.5
  • 1D10 => 5.5

Other than the initial jump from no damage bonus to 1D4, the progression for the rest IS in steps of 1, based upon the average of available rolls. The variation a die roll provides adds "excitement" and possibly story elements ("I took his head clean off" vs "the sword twisted in my grip and just scratched his neck").

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2 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

The average of ...

  • 1D4 => 2.5
  • 1D6 => 3.5
  • 1D8 => 4.5
  • 1D10 => 5.5

Other than the initial jump from no damage bonus to 1D4, the progression for the rest IS in steps of 1, based upon the average of available rolls. The variation a die roll provides adds "excitement" and possibly story elements ("I took his head clean off" vs "the sword twisted in my grip and just scratched his neck").

In RQ3, as in BGB, the progression goes 1d4, 1d6, 2d6, 3d6, so the jump is quite a bit bit bigger than that. And the doubling of rolled weapon damage for all specials and criticals makes it more likely to get a spectacular result, only that it's with one in every five blows, rather than every single one. And it's more skill dependent.

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23 minutes ago, NickMiddleton said:

Bear in mind that the never published revision of RuneQuest planned in the mid 1990’s is known to many as RQ4 and had a DB sequence that went as Baron Wulfraed suggests. One could expand it easily to: 1d2, 1d3, 1d4, 1d4, 1d5, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12 …

How nice -- something else to be called RQ4 (I've mentally, once I caught up to some 25 years of changes, counted the two Mongoose releases as 4 and 5, and Mythras would have been RQ6... So RQ:RiG would come up as 7 in that sequence). 😱

I was mostly focused on the facet that a 1Dx (x being even) sequence did produce steps of 1 when looking at the average of many rolls. Including 1D2 makes the first step a bit large (0 => 1.5) but would buffer the jump from a 1D4 (0 => 2.5). Hopefully one doesn't need to go beyond 1D12 (I don't know of any single die between 1D12 and 1D20) -- a programmable calculator, sure...

Switching from 1Dx to using two or more dice changes the distribution... Among other things, the lowest roll is equal to the number of dice, and the average roll will become much more common: 2D6 one has just 1/36 chance of a 12 vs 1D12 having a 1/12 chance [3/36]; 2D6 rolling 7 is 6/36.

 

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1 hour ago, NickMiddleton said:

Bear in mind that the never published revision of RuneQuest planned in the mid 1990’s is known to many as RQ4 and had a DB sequence that went as Baron Wulfraed suggests. One could expand it easily to: 1d2, 1d3, 1d4, 1d4, 1d5, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12 …

The pdf I have is called "RuneQuest 4 - Adventures in Glorantha" and is from 1993. The DB table goes

STR + SIZ         DB

01-05                -4

06-10                -3

11-15                 -2

16-20                -1

21-25                +0

26-30               +1

31-35               +2

36-40              +3

etc.

(STR + SIZ/5, rounding up, minus 5)

It's a damn shame it wasn't published, in many ways it's the version I like the best that I've seen so far. It really seemed to solve many of the problems with RQ, IMO.

Edit: at least in terms of combat mechanics and general game system. I haven't studied chargen or magic closely, for that I use RQ3 and BRP.

Edited by Barak Shathur
clarification
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38 minutes ago, Barak Shathur said:

The pdf I have is called "RuneQuest 4 - Adventures in Glorantha" and is from 1993. The DB table goes

 

I wonder if we have any of the RQ4 AiG playtesters here on BRP Central. Might be interesting to hear their comments.

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14 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

The pdf I have is called "RuneQuest 4 - Adventures in Glorantha" and is from 1993. The DB table goes

STR + SIZ         DB

01-05                -4

06-10                -3

11-15                 -2

16-20                -1

21-25                +0

26-30               +1

31-35               +2

36-40              +3

etc.

(STR + SIZ/5, rounding up, minus 5)

It's a damn shame it wasn't published, in many ways it's the version I like the best that I've seen so far. It really seemed to solve many of the problems with RQ, IMO.

Edit: at least in terms of combat mechanics and general game system. I haven't studied chargen or magic closely, for that I use RQ3 and BRP.

That's very close the values in the MRQ/Legend/Mythras games, except they kept using dice instead of fixed numbers :

STR + SIZ         DB

01-05                -1d8

06-10                -1d6

11-15                 -1d4

16-20                -1d2

21-25                +0

26-30               +1d2

31-35               +1d4

36-40              +1d6

etc.

Those games also use (SIZ+CON)/5 as a basis for HP per location, instead of the RQ3 math were limbs get 1/4th, 1/3rd or 40% of HP total. IIRC, Arms have 1 fewer HP than this base value, while chest get +2 and abdomen +1.

Even Combat Actions in Mythras are based on a 5-points step mechanism, except you only get 1 every 10 points, not 5. In fact, a d20 based version of Mythras could almost divide all characteristics by 5 and use a 1-4 scale instead of 3-18.

Fixed numbers give a smoother distribution, but I prefer dice, as I think their randomness gives a less dramatique edge to high level values. Of course, rolling 1d8+3 prevents you from rolling 14, contrarily to 1d8+1d6, but it also prevents you from dealing 0 damage to creatures with AP under 4.

 

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is based on the original Chaosium RQ2 (and some RQ3) text not the Issaries licensed Mongoose text.

And, apparently a bit of RQ4, as in three levels of damage to hit locations and double rolled damage for specials and criticals for all weapons.

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1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

Ok. I’ve only played RQ7 on Roll20 as a player, so I wasn’t clear on that distinction. Thanks. 

Where it gets complicated is the weapon type variations. The core critical statement (bolded in the book) is just (all extracts from pages 203-206)

Quote

A critical hit ignores the effects of armor or any other protection, and usually does maximum impaling, slashing, or crushing damage (depending on weapon type), as described above.

Under "Special Damage" one finds

  • Impaling weapons: An impale does twice the weapon’s normal rolled damage. That is not 2xrolled, but roll+roll (given example: 1D6+1 -> 2D6+2) -- and then add any damage bonus (damage/magic bonuses are not doubled)... and weapon is stuck in target
  • Slashing: The slashing weapon’s damage should be rolled normally twice and both results added together. Essentially same as impaling, but weapon does not get stuck in target -- but there is a later clause about "incapacitating" the target
  • Crushing: The weapon damage should be rolled normally and the regular damage bonus for SIZ+STR (if any) should also be rolled normally. The maximum damage  bonus from STR+SIZ, if any, should then be added to the result. Least effective -- if you don't have a damage bonus, you gain nothing from a crush. (The critical at least gets you maximum damage vs rolled)

Summarized in the sidebar on page 203.

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2 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Where it gets complicated is the weapon type variations. The core critical statement (bolded in the book) is just (all extracts from pages 203-206)

Under "Special Damage" one finds

  • Impaling weapons: An impale does twice the weapon’s normal rolled damage. That is not 2xrolled, but roll+roll (given example: 1D6+1 -> 2D6+2) -- and then add any damage bonus (damage/magic bonuses are not doubled)... and weapon is stuck in target
  • Slashing: The slashing weapon’s damage should be rolled normally twice and both results added together. Essentially same as impaling, but weapon does not get stuck in target -- but there is a later clause about "incapacitating" the target
  • Crushing: The weapon damage should be rolled normally and the regular damage bonus for SIZ+STR (if any) should also be rolled normally. The maximum damage  bonus from STR+SIZ, if any, should then be added to the result. Least effective -- if you don't have a damage bonus, you gain nothing from a crush. (The critical at least gets you maximum damage vs rolled)

Summarized in the sidebar on page 203.

In that case I think I prefer RQ4's version: All weapons do double rolled damage on a special. In addition, crushing weapons cause at least 1 point of damage for each 5 points rolled regardless of armour, slashing weapons cause bleeding and impaling weapons impale.

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3 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

Getting a bit off-topic here, chaps. I'd like to hear more about Barak Shathur's combo.

😄

I introduced it to my campaign officially last weekend but my players managed to stay out of trouble the whole session. They have, however edged right up to danger and on Sunday sparks will fly if all goes right. I’ll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, I’d like to echo this:

On 9/18/2021 at 10:12 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

I wonder if we have any of the RQ4 AiG playtesters here on BRP Central. Might be interesting to hear their comments.

Any inside info would be fun!

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On 9/18/2021 at 9:12 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

I wonder if we have any of the RQ4 AiG playtesters here on BRP Central. Might be interesting to hear their comments.

I was an RQIV playtester. I didn't like it, no one in my group was interested in playing it once they realised that It introduced more complications to an already complex system and added nothing to the current AH version. Of its overall use, I used one rule that streamlined sorcery and that was it. I was happy when Greg finally rejected it in 1994. Oddly it feels like it's been given greater status than it ever originally had in its few years of existence (even with Ken Rolston's involvement at the beginning). I was involved in running the UK Convulsion conventions at the time, Greg, Sandy and Ken were our usual guests, and I can honestly say it wasn't really part of any discussion or great interest. Someone laid out the rules from the original simple text drafts into what made it look like an official document (around 2000). In hindsight, it's more like a set of house rules. There was a listserv called RQ4 play test echo, you might find a copy of the discussions somewhere. Here is a copy of the original RQIV Damage Bonus, Weapon Damage, Armor and Hit Location Proposals from 1993. It's a PDF to avoid the monospacing and 80 column width.

RQIV Damage Bonus.pdf

Edited by David Scott
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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

I was an RQIV playtester. I didn't like it, no one in my group was interested in playing it once they realised that It introduced more complications to an already complex system and added nothing to the current AH version. Of its overall use, I used one rule that streamlined sorcery and that was it. I was happy when Greg finally rejected it in 1994. Oddly it feels like it's been given greater status than it ever originally had in its few years of existence (even with Ken Rolston's involvement at the beginning). I was involved in running the UK Convulsion conventions at the time, Greg, Sandy and Ken were our usual guests, and I can't honestly say it was really part of any discussion or great interest. Someone laid out the rules from the original simple text drafts into what made it look like an official document (around 2000). In hindsight, it's more like a set of house rules. There was a listserv called RQ4 play test echo, you might find a copy of the discussions somewhere. Here is a copy of the original RQIV Damage Bonus, Weapon Damage, Armor and Hit Location Proposals from 1993. It's a PDF to avoid the monospacing and 80 column width.

RQIV Damage Bonus.pdf 32.91 kB · 2 downloads

Thanks! Very interesting to see that the complaints the designers list regarding damage bonus overlap exactly with mine. Also, to me it seems the combat rules *are* a simplification in many ways of RQIII’s rules. Take strike ranks. Instead of the cumbersome entanglement of weapon strike order with movement within a round, SR becomes simply order of actions, with movement handled separately before and after the ’melee phase’. Another one is knockback, which I like as a concept. But instead of having to remember to compare the damage of a blow to the recipient’s size, knockback happens with increasing severity at 10 point intervals regardless of size (very large creatures reduce this by 10). Or fatigue: instead of fatigue points, you do a stamina roll just before combat or other times when it would be useful to know if you are fatigued or not. The more you carry, the more likely you are to be fatigued. 

To me, RQIV was like a revelation. If someone implemented these rules in a BRP game and put it out, I would buy it. 

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9 hours ago, David Scott said:

I was happy when Greg finally rejected it in 1994.

I've heard many times that it was abandoned because its main author, Olivier Jovanovic, had serious problems with US Justice, even if he was found not guilty in the end.

I still don't know if the relationship with RQ4 cancellation is true.

9 hours ago, David Scott said:

Oddly it feels like it's been given greater status than it ever originally had in its few years of existence (even with Ken Rolston's involvement at the beginning).

IIRC, it was a common discussion topic on the runequest rules discussion mailing list I was part of around 2000.

I don't remember it, but I remember my conclusion was similar to yours : nothing really interesting except for Sorcery.

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52 minutes ago, Mugen said:

II still don't know if it's just an Urban Legend...

But if it wasn't before, it is now!

!i!

[Seriously, though, maybe you should edit something that might amount to damaging rumor and speculation?]

Edited by Ian Absentia
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On 9/18/2021 at 4:32 PM, Baron Wulfraed said:

Other than the initial jump from no damage bonus to 1D4, the progression for the rest IS in steps of 1

Missed a trick there.  If they wanted -- or someone wants -- to go Full GURPS (let alone RM/MERP), just extrapolate backwards to 1D2, 1D2-1, 1D2-2...  or some much malarkey.

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2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

[Seriously, though, maybe you should edit something that might amount to damaging rumor and speculation?]

The nature of the 'problems' part is verifiable and on the public record, but I have no idea if it's at all connected to the non-pub of RQ4.  It does seem a little questionable to bring it up here, I agree, and would similarly suggest @Mugen considering redacting as inappropriately off-topic.

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After all these years this is also my first time hearing about Greg Stafford, and not the fall-out from the author's problems, being the cause for abandoning the game. Everyone I know heard about the issue at the time, and discussed it at length in person and online. I don't know why it would suddenly be a problem to bring it up as an aside on a gaming forum, other than the fact that it's off-topic (but when has that ever stopped anyone!). Self-censorship is a slippery slope.

Now, then, back OT ... I see most of the proposals in RQ4 to be incremental improvements on RQ3, though in many cases not what I'd consider worth a new edition - but then, most of us grognards didn't think that new-fangled RQ3 was needed, either, and it did all right in the end. I certainly wouldn't call it more complex than RQ3, in fact as Barak Shathur mentions it seems to be a simplification and streamlining in a lot of details. Obviously it isn't terribly polished - I believe it was an early draft (correct me if I'm wrong), and the purpose of playtesting is to iron out those issues and improve upon them iteratively.

Things I liked were the incremental damage bonus vs. the D6 steps of yore (people keep saying players like to roll more dice, but I have yet to meet those players), and some of the ideas in the previous experience which made it less hassle than RQ3 with its percentiles-per-year granularity. The fatigue rules were an improvement, but still not so much that I would want to use them. The skill list seems bloated (as did RQ3, and, to some extent, RQ2). Overall there were no ideas in RQ4 we adopted wholesale, but there were a lot which made us think (and house-rule).

A lot of the changes seemed to be attempting to formalise or regularise procedures (e.g. a separate manoeuvre and spirit combat skill), but I'm not sure they succeeded, at least in this draft. The easy/medium/hard skills hearkened to GURPS but even there they were more trouble than they were worth IMO. I think the main issue with RQ4 was simply that it was trying to "advance" all the individual bits of RQ3 without taking a step back and looking at what could be streamlined or dropped altogether. A bit like what was said in the RQ/Mythras thread, where someone mentioned that RQ grew step-by-step between editions, rather than ever questioning its base assumptions.

Still, it would be interesting to actually try to run this RAW, the only real way to see what works and what doesn't. That's something D&D 5E taught me, where reams of comments raged against design decisions which in practice turned out to make perfect sense. Since then I don't like to over-analyse written rules without trying them out first, hence my interest in following this topic.

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1 hour ago, Vile Traveller said:

After all these years this is also my first time hearing about Greg Stafford, and not the fall-out from the author's problems, being the cause for abandoning the game. Everyone I know heard about the issue at the time, and discussed it at length in person and online. I don't know why it would suddenly be a problem to bring it up as an aside on a gaming forum, other than the fact that it's off-topic (but when has that ever stopped anyone!). Self-censorship is a slippery slope.

Now, then, back OT ... I see most of the proposals in RQ4 to be incremental improvements on RQ3, though in many cases not what I'd consider worth a new edition - but then, most of us grognards didn't think that new-fangled RQ3 was needed, either, and it did all right in the end. I certainly wouldn't call it more complex than RQ3, in fact as Barak Shathur mentions it seems to be a simplification and streamlining in a lot of details. Obviously it isn't terribly polished - I believe it was an early draft (correct me if I'm wrong), and the purpose of playtesting is to iron out those issues and improve upon them iteratively.

Things I liked were the incremental damage bonus vs. the D6 steps of yore (people keep saying players like to roll more dice, but I have yet to meet those players), and some of the ideas in the previous experience which made it less hassle than RQ3 with its percentiles-per-year granularity. The fatigue rules were an improvement, but still not so much that I would want to use them. The skill list seems bloated (as did RQ3, and, to some extent, RQ2). Overall there were no ideas in RQ4 we adopted wholesale, but there were a lot which made us think (and house-rule).

A lot of the changes seemed to be attempting to formalise or regularise procedures (e.g. a separate manoeuvre and spirit combat skill), but I'm not sure they succeeded, at least in this draft. The easy/medium/hard skills hearkened to GURPS but even there they were more trouble than they were worth IMO. I think the main issue with RQ4 was simply that it was trying to "advance" all the individual bits of RQ3 without taking a step back and looking at what could be streamlined or dropped altogether. A bit like what was said in the RQ/Mythras thread, where someone mentioned that RQ grew step-by-step between editions, rather than ever questioning its base assumptions.

Still, it would be interesting to actually try to run this RAW, the only real way to see what works and what doesn't. That's something D&D 5E taught me, where reams of comments raged against design decisions which in practice turned out to make perfect sense. Since then I don't like to over-analyse written rules without trying them out first, hence my interest in following this topic.

Correct. Greg was fundamentally dissatisfied with the approach taken with that manuscript. I playtested it as well, and shared Greg's dissatisfaction. It was an interesting and worthwhile exercise, but I agree with Greg that it was not the direction to go.

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