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Using Opposed Skill Rolls + Mook Rules for Combat


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One of my biggest gripes about combat in BRP is that high skill combat (when opponents have a 100+ rating to their respective weapon/parry/dodge skills) can become incredibly tedious where only special or critical successes matter. I found that using the Opposed Skill Rolls found in page 173 of the Big Gold Book fixed that problem while adding minimal complexity.

Like in BRP's vanilla combat the character that achieves the highest degree of success wins the roll, but in situations in which both characters roll the same degree of success, the one with the higher die roll wins the contest, still giving advantage to the character with the higher skill rating. This would still allow for combat to remain mostly unchanged, we would still be using Attack and Defense Matrix and only comparing the die roll if the level of success was the same. Characters with a skill rating over 100 would modify their die roll, counting it as a higher result result equal to their skill rating - 100.

For example, if your character's weapon skill is 110% while your opponent has 90%. You roll a 50 while your opponent rolls a 55, both are normal successes so you would have to look at the die roll to see who won the roll. Normally the opponent would've won due to his higher die roll, but since your character's skill is 110 his die roll counts as being 10 higher than what it actually rolled. So it becomes a 60 vs 55 and your character wins the contest.

 

Now for the Mook Rules

I tend to run heroic campaigns where the players mow down large numbers of disposable minions (or Mooks). Instead of rolling each individual mook's attacks, I find that it is better to form small groups of Mooks and have them act together. Basically one Mook will make the attack roll and the other Mooks supports him. Each supporting Mook gives the attacking Mook a +10% to hit and a +1 to damage. This can serve to make a groups of disposable enemies dangerous to otherwise heroic and powerful player characters, especially when it is combined with the Opposed Skill Rolls house rule.

For example, two player characters are facing off a group of 7 mooks. Instead of treating them as individuals the mooks will divide into two groups to fight the player characters, one with 3 and one with 4. Each group will have only one mook who makes the roll while the others help out. The group of 3 will make the attack roll with a +20% bonus to hit and a +2 to damage while the group of 4 will get a +30% to hit and a +3 to damage.

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1 hour ago, KPhan2121 said:

For example, if your character's weapon skill is 110% while your opponent has 90%. You roll a 50 while your opponent rolls a 55, both are normal successes so you would have to look at the die roll to see who won the roll. Normally the opponent would've won due to his higher die roll, but since your character's skill is 110 his die roll counts as being 10 higher than what it actually rolled. So it becomes a 60 vs 55 and your character wins the contest.

In a case where combatant A (110% skill) and combatant B (92% skill): What if B rolls a 91 and A rolls a 90? When A adds 10 to his roll, does he get a fumble?

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51 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

In a case where combatant A (110% skill) and combatant B (92% skill): What if B rolls a 91 and A rolls a 90? When A adds 10 to his roll, does he get a fumble?

In the BRP 4e rulebook, the opposed skill rolls favor characters with higher skill ratings since they can roll higher die results while still getting successes. Once a character attains a skill rating over 100%, they now have a further benefit where their die rolls count as being higher but only for the purpose of comparing the die rolls. It doesn't modify the level of success that they originally rolled. So in your example, combatant A would counted as rolling a normal success at 100 and comparing it to combatant B with his 91. He would only count as rolling a fumble if his unmodified die roll was 100. I hope that answers your question.

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7 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

One of my biggest gripes about combat in BRP is that high skill combat (when opponents have a 100+ rating to their respective weapon/parry/dodge skills) can become incredibly tedious where only special or critical successes matter. I found that using the Opposed Skill Rolls found in page 173 of the Big Gold Book fixed that problem while adding minimal complexity.

Like in BRP's vanilla combat the character that achieves the highest degree of success wins the roll, but in situations in which both characters roll the same degree of success, the one with the higher die roll wins the contest, still giving advantage to the character with the higher skill rating. This would still allow for combat to remain mostly unchanged, we would still be using Attack and Defense Matrix and only comparing the die roll if the level of success was the same. Characters with a skill rating over 100 would modify their die roll, counting it as a higher result result equal to their skill rating - 100.

For example, if your character's weapon skill is 110% while your opponent has 90%. You roll a 50 while your opponent rolls a 55, both are normal successes so you would have to look at the die roll to see who won the roll. Normally the opponent would've won due to his higher die roll, but since your character's skill is 110 his die roll counts as being 10 higher than what it actually rolled. So it becomes a 60 vs 55 and your character wins the contest.

There are many ways to do this but what you describe here would work fine and in essence, would reduce the probability of successful defenses (in vanilla BRP, on equivalent success level, a defense trumps an attack, with this mod, it trumps the attack only if it rolled higher). 

7 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

Now for the Mook Rules

I tend to run heroic campaigns where the players mow down large numbers of disposable minions (or Mooks). Instead of rolling each individual mook's attacks, I find that it is better to form small groups of Mooks and have them act together. Basically one Mook will make the attack roll and the other Mooks supports him. Each supporting Mook gives the attacking Mook a +10% to hit and a +1 to damage. This can serve to make a groups of disposable enemies dangerous to otherwise heroic and powerful player characters, especially when it is combined with the Opposed Skill Rolls house rule.

For example, two player characters are facing off a group of 7 mooks. Instead of treating them as individuals the mooks will divide into two groups to fight the player characters, one with 3 and one with 4. Each group will have only one mook who makes the roll while the others help out. The group of 3 will make the attack roll with a +20% bonus to hit and a +2 to damage while the group of 4 will get a +30% to hit and a +3 to damage.

It looks like it would greatly help manage what is going on behind the screen. Would the hero dispose of the mooks by the usual means (attack, roll damage to HP)? If so it becomes even transparent to the player. It should work well.

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4 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

It looks like it would greatly help manage what is going on behind the screen. Would the hero dispose of the mooks by the usual means (attack, roll damage to HP)? If so it becomes even transparent to the player. It should work well.

I wanted to leave it open, but you can do it the traditional way where the mooks have individual HP and can parry or make it so that any successful hit just kills a mook. It just depends on how heroic you want the game to be. Obviously the traditional method is a bit grittier and more difficult to deal it.

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5 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

I wanted to leave it open, but you can do it the traditional way where the mooks have individual HP and can parry or make it so that any successful hit just kills a mook. It just depends on how heroic you want the game to be. Obviously the traditional method is a bit grittier and more difficult to deal it.

Good point. One-hit-mook-goes-down is even more heroic.  And easier to manage.

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20 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

One of my biggest gripes about combat in BRP is that high skill combat (when opponents have a 100+ rating to their respective weapon/parry/dodge skills) can become incredibly tedious where only special or critical successes matter. I found that using the Opposed Skill Rolls found in page 173 of the Big Gold Book fixed that problem while adding minimal complexity.

Someone did this with Mythras combat too and it was quite unique. Pretty high action with a lot of special effects flying. 
 

20 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

Like in BRP's vanilla combat the character that achieves the highest degree of success wins the roll, but in situations in which both characters roll the same degree of success, the one with the higher die roll wins the contest, still giving advantage to the character with the higher skill rating. This would still allow for combat to remain mostly unchanged, we would still be using Attack and Defense Matrix and only comparing the die roll if the level of success was the same. Characters with a skill rating over 100 would modify their die roll, counting it as a higher result result equal to their skill rating - 100.

Would it make a difference to just subtract the amount over 100 the highest skill is from both skills and then just compare rolls? 110 vs 90 would be the same as 100 vs 80, say. 
 

20 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

I tend to run heroic campaigns where the players mow down large numbers of disposable minions (or Mooks). Instead of rolling each individual mook's attacks, I find that it is better to form small groups of Mooks and have them act together. Basically one Mook will make the attack roll and the other Mooks supports him. Each supporting Mook gives the attacking Mook a +10% to hit and a +1 to damage. This can serve to make a groups of disposable enemies dangerous to otherwise heroic and powerful player characters, especially when it is combined with the Opposed Skill Rolls house rule

13th age does something similar, where mooks are in groups with shared hit points. Defeating one requires meeting the minimum for the particular mook itself, but any extra damage spills over to another. There is explicit encouragement to find an inventive way to make that happen narratively. 

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Since 2006 we've been using opposed rolls like this: the one who succeeds better wins. 
Attk skill 80 > "60" (D100) = 20
Def skill 50 > "29" (D100) = 21, defender  wins.
Or even when failing:
Attk skill 80 > "90" (D100) = -10
Def skill 50 > "59" (D100) = -9, defender  wins.

And of course special wins success and critical wins special. If it is a tie, the higher skill wins.

So in every round something will happen.
If I remember right, there might have been some mathematical problem with thism, but I've been too lazy to check it out.

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8 hours ago, Raleel said:

Would it make a difference to just subtract the amount over 100 the highest skill is from both skills and then just compare rolls? 110 vs 90 would be the same as 100 vs 80, say. 

You could do it that way, there just needs to be some benefit for a character having over 100% in a skill over one that doesn't.

7 hours ago, Mugen said:

I'd only add the tens above 100 of the skill to the roll.

If your skill is 113, it means you have to add 13 to each of your combat skill checks, which can be tedious.

I suppose, but you wouldn't have to add the 13 on each of the skill checks, only when you roll the same level of success and the die rolls are close enough for the bonus to matter.

3 hours ago, Kränted Powers said:

Since 2006 we've been using opposed rolls like this: the one who succeeds better wins. 
Attk skill 80 > "60" (D100) = 20
Def skill 50 > "29" (D100) = 21, defender  wins.
Or even when failing:
Attk skill 80 > "90" (D100) = -10
Def skill 50 > "59" (D100) = -9, defender  wins.

And of course special wins success and critical wins special. If it is a tie, the higher skill wins.

So in every round something will happen.
If I remember right, there might have been some mathematical problem with thism, but I've been too lazy to check it out.

I thought about having something like that, but decided not to since I didn't like the idea of both characters failing but the one that fails the least will win by default. I would use it on a contest where there has to be a winner at the end of it for some reason, but not for combat. However, if you do use it for combat, it would help fix BRP's low skill flailing combat issue.

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13 hours ago, Kränted Powers said:

Since 2006 we've been using opposed rolls like this: the one who succeeds better wins. 
Attk skill 80 > "60" (D100) = 20
Def skill 50 > "29" (D100) = 21, defender  wins.
Or even when failing:
Attk skill 80 > "90" (D100) = -10
Def skill 50 > "59" (D100) = -9, defender  wins.

And of course special wins success and critical wins special. If it is a tie, the higher skill wins.

So in every round something will happen.
If I remember right, there might have been some mathematical problem with thism, but I've been too lazy to check it out.

What's good with your method is that you avoid the usual counter-intuitiveness of "blackjack" resolution methods, which is a problem for some people, but the trade-off is that it requires a lot of substractions for a result that is very close to simply comparing the d100 results.

 

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On 1/8/2022 at 11:48 AM, Mugen said:

What's good with your method is that you avoid the usual counter-intuitiveness of "blackjack" resolution methods, which is a problem for some people, but the trade-off is that it requires a lot of substractions for a result that is very close to simply comparing the d100 results.

 

Yes, I like it, because the fight is over quite quickly.  
Oh, we have found this quite easy; subtracting one number from another – and that's it.
Even after couple of beers, it seems to be easy. 😄

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7 hours ago, Kränted Powers said:

Yes, I don't know if there's any real-life logic there –  sometimes a competitor who fails less might win. 😉
Anyway, it has saved time a lot.

With this variant, the chance that an attack hits depends more on the difference between skills than the actual skill values.

I think it makes perfect sense, especially outside combat.

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