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BRP Optional Strike Rank system


Mankcam

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I've been GMing Strike Ranks since RQ3, and I kinda like the 'nuts and bolts' feel of them, they're a big part of fantasy combat scenes for me.

The rules have always stated that your strike ranks do not carry over into the next melee round, which means if you can't act upon SR 10 the you can't have an action at all during that melee round.

This is contradicted (well, in AH RQ3) by saying that magic actions such as spellcasting can have strike ranks carried over into the following mekee round.

One of my players has queried that if you can do this with spells, then why not with other combat actions?

Will this break the system?

Does anyone else use the strike rank initiative system, and allow for strike ranks to be carried over into the next melee round?

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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It requires more careful book keeping and makes combats with large numbers of participants a nightmare, but otherwise it works fine. I've used it many times in my campaigns, but I rarely have large-scale battles.

Doesn't RQ3 also allow missile attacks to carry over? Or am I just thinking of the multi-round load actions for crossbows?

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RQ 3 does allow carry over for for spells, specifically Sorcery, but NOT for missile functions. The reload for crossbows is simply a mechanic. 1/3 for example does not mean it takes three Strike Ranks to reload, but three rounds.

An Archer for example, cannot continue to shoot an arrow every third, fourth, or fifth Strike Rank, but can shoot once, twice, or three times per round based on their DEX.

I THINK they were trying to move this way with the Phase based system in Ringworld, but it seriously became a bookkeeping nightmare.

I see no reason why you couldn't test it out to see how it works though. Might prove very workable, depending on the group.

SDLeary

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Strike Rank is something that has its own logic and philosophy. It works well, but only if you use it properly.

Strike rank is only a measure of how fast you act in combat, not of how many seconds it takes for you to hit your opponent. It does not take you longer to swing a dagger than to swing a great axe - in fact, the opposite is true. This means that applying this logic to melee attacks will produce AWFULLY UNREALISTIC results, with polearm wielders striking more frequently than people with short knives. This makes absolutely no sense, and it WILL break the game.

When you play BRP, you should always keep in mind principle #1: an attack is just the abstraction of one full round worth of blows, not just one blow. And the Strike Rank at which it occurs is a measure of your "initiative" in the round, not of the time it took to hit.

If you do not like this approach, RuneQuest provides a valid alternative.

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Just for clarification, is the BRP Optional Strike Rank system the same as the RQ3 Strike Rank system? My RQ3 is packed away and the BRP BGB is at hand, but I thought it read very similar to RQ3 (or exactly the same) from my memory.

I understand it is an abstraction of how fast you act in that instant (melee round), and is not measured in seconds per see as a definitive measurement.

I do have conflicting views on it myself and was initially willing to see how it pans out in gameplay, but I can see the logic when RosenMcStern indicates that in some cases it could 'break' the game, such as a Polearm wielder attacking more times than a Knife wielder.

I've 'broken' a system before with house rules, so I'm generally cautious altering game mechanics these days, restricting most changes to character generation or magic rules - combat tends to work well and I guess if it aint broke then I shouldn't try to fix.

So I guess the jury is still out on what to do with this one, however I appreciate all the advice with my query.

Edited by Mankcam
grammar

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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combat tends to work well and I guess if it aint broke then I shouldn't try to fix.

This is definitely a good principle.

Unfortunately, the BRP Strike Rank system is not exactly the same as the RQ2/RQ3 one. The "fast swinging polearm" effect is there, too, as it states that you can restart the SR sequence within that same round if your SR is 5 or less. While this is ok for spells and missiles, this is not the case with long weapons. This particular rule should be ditched if you wish to play the BGB like RQ3 used to play. Apparently, this is one of the few flaws that slipped into an otherwise-flawless books.

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BRP Optional SR sysem isn't the same as RQ3 SR system?

That's news to me, I'll certainly have to look at both sources now, I quickly perused BRP BGB and thought that Jason Durrall had just ported the RQ3 SR system in there as an optional rule.

Well I guess then I should clarify this better, if I am using RQ3 SR system do you reckon it will bust the bank? I'm particularly interested in your comments Rosen, seeing how you're a writer/publisher which means you've got more than a passing knowledge with this system.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Thanks for reminding me, SDLeary. That's what I must have been thinking of: missile use carries over within the same round only, so a high-DEX character might be able to get of 2 or 3 shots in the same round with a quick-to-reload weapon.

[...] polearm wielders striking more frequently than people with short knives. This makes absolutely no sense, and it WILL break the game.

Good point. I belatedly remembered that carrying over SR involved a host other modifications - weapon SR is effectively reversed. Reach becomes a function of movement. SIZ SR (already broken for non-humanoid creatures) no longer makes sense. Characters need to spend SR on movement to close with an opponent if they have a shorter weapon. There are a whole slew of consequences if you go down this path, and I'm not sure it's worth the effort if you're playing in a fantasy or historical setting.

SR-as-seconds comes into its own in modern and science fiction combat, where things speed up considerably compared to hand-to-hand or even pre-modern ranged combat and weapon length and reach are rarely significant.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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SR-as-seconds comes into its own in modern and science fiction combat, where things speed up considerably compared to hand-to-hand or even pre-modern ranged combat and weapon length and reach are rarely significant.

The problem is that the SR system was designed to handle melee combat. In a modern game, I would recommend not to use it.

The SR system in the BGB is a subset of RQ3, and it has some differences. The dangerous one is the one that I marked up. The rest is almost identical to RQ3.

SR does work as a whole, but not for everyone and not for every game. It has its "sweet spot" in a melee oriented game with moderate magic, and with a group that fully understands that decisions must be made at Statement of Intent phase, and carried over at your calculated SR. If you consider each individual SR as a "turn", you will break the game.

I think that the whole debate that Daddystabz initiated in June is emblematic of the strength and witnesses of the system. If you do not like the fact that you plan at statement of intent and execute at your SR (or DEX rank), plus or minus delay for movement, and wish to make a decision at the exact moment it is about to be carried over, then strike rank will not work for you, and any adjustment will wreak havok in your game. RuneQuest and Combat Actions are a good alternative in this case.

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That is an Action Point system. Action Points (introduced by the computer game Laser Squad, IIRC, and made famous by the XCom series, which in turn influenced the sci-fi equipment description in BRP, Jason said) are a measure of how many actions you can perform in a turn, not just how fast you perform them.

Again, the RuneQuest combat system is more akin to the Action Point method. Please consider that APs work smoothly in computer games, a bit less smoothly on tabletop. RuneQuest works fine with 2-4 actions per round, using chits to keep track of them. More than that, and you risk bookkeeping problems.

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Actually, Action Points go as far back as Traveller in the late 1970's with it's boxed set called Snap Shot if I recall. I cant say for sure if they go back any further than that.

Rod

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"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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Well thanks for all the advice, I think I'll just veto rolling over the strike ranks in subsequent melee rounds, and just play it as written (in RQ3). It's worked well for the last 25 years, so I'm not changing it now!

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you're interested in using an Action Point system I wrote one up and chucked it into the downloads section (here).

I haven't had much of a chance to test it out properly but we've had a few fights in my game and it's worked pretty well so far. The biggest stumbling block is the delay between declaration and resolution but people seem to get it locked in after a couple of goes.

"Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing."

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Actually, Action Points go as far back as Traveller in the late 1970's with it's boxed set called Snap Shot if I recall. I cant say for sure if they go back any further than that.

Rod

I think they did. I suspect that Aps o something like them were used in some wargames before they were incorpated into RPGs.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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