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Attack to Knockback


Philotomy

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Can any melee attack be designated as a knockback attempt? The combat chapter notes that unarmed throws and shield attacks can cause knockback on a special success (in addition to damage). And the Spot Rules chapter says "If an attack is designated as a knockback attempt...," which implies that you can make deliberate attempts to knockback. However, there doesn't seem to be any downside to designating an attack a knockback attempt.

I like the idea of allowing melee attacks that are designated knockback attempts (shoving/thrusting/pushing). I'm thinking maybe you can designate a knockback attempt that is more of an effort to create distance or knock-down than it is to do any damage (i.e., damage to be used only for the purpose of determining knockback).

What do you think?

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Off the cuff, for weapons / attacks that don't normally allow the Knockback as a special effect, I'd probably impose a DEX / SR penalty (say 5 DEX / 3 SR) as well as saying the Knockback is calculated from rolled damage but only half that damage is taken as actual wounds by the target, whatever happens. Need to look at how RQIII handled it as it was a option in that and I can't recall the rule at present...

Nick

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Can any melee attack be designated as a knockback attempt? The combat chapter notes that unarmed throws and shield attacks can cause knockback on a special success (in addition to damage). And the Spot Rules chapter says "If an attack is designated as a knockback attempt...," which implies that you can make deliberate attempts to knockback. However, there doesn't seem to be any downside to designating an attack a knockback attempt.

I like the idea of allowing melee attacks that are designated knockback attempts (shoving/thrusting/pushing). I'm thinking maybe you can designate a knockback attempt that is more of an effort to create distance or knock-down than it is to do any damage (i.e., damage to be used only for the purpose of determining knockback).

What do you think?

Virtually any melee weapon can be used to do a knockback attack, by using the flat of the blade or whatever, even if the weapon doesn't normally have the knockback special effect.

This can be useful to disengage from combat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would allow knockback attacks exactly as rules allow judo throws or limb immobilizations.

That is, instead of damage. Then, I would certainly require a STR against SIZ roll on the resistance table after the succesful attack, to avoid a hobbit making an elephant knockback with a penknife for instance*...

A succes on this second roll would mean a step knockback**. A special success would mean a two steps knockback*** and a critical success would mean a three steps knockback plus fall down****.

* With chance modified depending on the weapon : hard for a knife and easy for a large shield for instance... Chance of success would also depend on how exactly the character tries to make his foe knock back...

** With the victim immediately making an Agility roll to avoid falling down.

*** With the victim immediately making a hard Agility roll to avoid falling down.

**** Without any chance to avoid falling down.

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Technically speaking there aren"t any restrictions to speak of, but I'd generally not allow impaling weapons to do knockback. A spear that does a lot on damage isn"t going to push the foe back, but go through him.

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Not necessarily. It all depends on how the character uses it. He can for instance swing it rather than thrust it, and use the handle to hit the foe rather than to impale him... That is, use it like a quarter-staff (or bo, in japanese).

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Not necessarily. It all depends on how the character uses it. He can for instance swing it rather than thrust it, and use the handle to hit the foe rather than to impale him... That is, use it like a quarter-staff (or bo, in japanese).

In which case he is using staff skill instead of spear, and won't be able to impale. Basically, I'd say he could get knockback or the impale, but not both. This is where RQ6's ability to pick specials would shine.

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Technically speaking there aren"t any restrictions to speak of, but I'd generally not allow impaling weapons to do knockback. A spear that does a lot on damage isn"t going to push the foe back, but go through him.

Doing a knockback attack with a spear would probably involve the shaft and not the tip of the spear. I don't see a problem with allowing this except I would not allow the attack to do damage, only knockback. Of course, if you knock your opponent off a cliff, he will take damage from the fall.

Classic Fantasy adds a Slam attack which you can use to get out of or pass through an opponents zone of control:

"To do this, compare his STR vs. the SIZ of the target on the Resistance Table. A target kneeling or crouching may only resist with half his or her STR. The attacker may add +1 to his effective STR for each 10 squares, or fraction there of, moved through prior to contacting his target (maximum bonus of +5). A successful resistance roll knocks his enemy prone into any of his back squares and if the attacker fails an Agility roll (Difficult if crouching or kneeling) he falls prone as well. If the attacker fails the resistance roll he ends movement in the square in front of the enemy and with a failed Agility roll, he instead falls prone. "

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In which case he is using staff skill instead of spear, and won't be able to impale.

BRP's skills are more versatile than GURPS ones (for instance). I remember an hint about the use of scientific skills in Call of Cthulhu: these skills also allow to say whether the character personally knows a scientist who can help him (more you spend times in university, more you know its teachers)...

Furthermore, the spear training certainly teach how to use it to knock your foe back (or out) with the shaft. I'm practicing okinawa's kobudo and every weapon is used in a lot of manners. Knowing your weapon, especially when you know it well, is knowing all the way it can be used. And there are a lot of way to attack with every weapon...

In which case he is using staff skill instead of spear, and won't be able to impale. Basically, I'd say he could get knockback or the impale, but not both. This is where RQ6's ability to pick specials would shine.

I fully do agree with that. That is why I wrote "instead of damage". To my mind, either you use a spear to impale a foe or you use yo knock him back... Or even to make him fall down by swinging at his legs...

Edit:

The game master could require the Martial Arts skill in conjunction with the spear to use it in any other way that trying to impale the foe (and to parry his attacks). That would make sense. It would make a difference between a mere soldier, who knows how to use it among many other weapons and someone who really masters the spear and all its possibilities...

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Doing a knockback attack with a spear would probably involve the shaft and not the tip of the spear. I don't see a problem with allowing this except I would not allow the attack to do damage, only knockback. Of course, if you knock your opponent off a cliff, he will take damage from the fall.

Classic Fantasy adds a Slam attack which you can use to get out of or pass through an opponents zone of control:

"To do this, compare his STR vs. the SIZ of the target on the Resistance Table. A target kneeling or crouching may only resist with half his or her STR. The attacker may add +1 to his effective STR for each 10 squares, or fraction there of, moved through prior to contacting his target (maximum bonus of +5). A successful resistance roll knocks his enemy prone into any of his back squares and if the attacker fails an Agility roll (Difficult if crouching or kneeling) he falls prone as well. If the attacker fails the resistance roll he ends movement in the square in front of the enemy and with a failed Agility roll, he instead falls prone. "

I fully do agree. This rule is much better than mine.

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BRP's skills are more versatile than GURPS ones (for instance). I remember an hint about the use of scientific skills in Call of Cthulhu: these skills also allow to say whether the character personally knows a scientist who can help him (more you spend times in university, more you know its teachers)... ]/quote]

THat is a matter of interpretation. CoC might have done it that wayt, but many other BRP systems break down weapon skills more. If somebody wants to use a spear as a staff than they need staff skill. And, IMO rightly so. Virtually any weapon can be used as a club or to thrust, and if we allow spear skill to double as staff, we'd have top allow sword to double as staff, mace and ax. The basic principles underlying all melee weapons are the same.

And the techniques you learn with a spear would also help you if you were forced to fight with a staff, right? In BRP terms you are being taught some staff skill as well as spear. RQ used to have skill crossover rules that reflect this. Somebody who masted sword would start off better than usually with an ace or club.

We afgree here. Either the guy got skewered or he got knocked back. That's why choosing specials appeals to me here.

Well, in the rules the difference between a "mere" soldier and a "master" is the skill score. Mere solders have lower skill scores than masters. But I do think that a skilled combatant does cross tain and pick up useful related skills.

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That is a matter of interpretation. CoC might have done it that wayt, but many other BRP systems break down weapon skills more. If somebody wants to use a spear as a staff than they need staff skill. And, IMO rightly so. Virtually any weapon can be used as a club or to thrust, and if we allow spear skill to double as staff, we'd have top allow sword to double as staff, mace and ax. The basic principles underlying all melee weapons are the same.

All weapons are not really the same. You can't use a sword like a staff, for instance. And the handle of the sword is too small to be used for knocking back a foe. The best that you can do with a sword handle is punching your adversary exactly as you would with a bare hand...

Furthermore, it's part of the nunti* training and of the yari* training to use the shaft of the weapon as well as the impaling point, while it is not part of the sword training to use it like a mace or a warhammer...

But I still understand what you mean. And I do agree with you on the fact that it is a matter of interpretation... I even suppose that this difference of interpretation comes from the fact that your main reference is Runequest while mine is Call of Cthulhu. Call of Cthulhu is more versatile with skill use, because combats are not as important as in Runequest.

So, for the purpose of this thread, you are the one to follow. This is a thread about a combat technique!

And the techniques you learn with a spear would also help you if you were forced to fight with a staff, right? In BRP terms you are being taught some staff skill as well as spear. RQ used to have skill crossover rules that reflect this. Somebody who masted sword would start off better than usually with an ace or club.

Yes. And in Call of Cthulhu, even if there is no specific rule to cover skill crossover, nothing prevent a character to have both Spear and Staff in order to use his spear in different manners.

We afgree here. Either the guy got skewered or he got knocked back. That's why choosing specials appeals to me here.

Exactly. In my mind, this is like the difference between punching someone (with the Brawl skill) or making him fall (with the Grapple skill). Either you do damage, either you do something special.

Well, in the rules the difference between a "mere" soldier and a "master" is the skill score. Mere solders have lower skill scores than masters. But I do think that a skilled combatant does cross tain and pick up useful related skills.

You're perfectly right here. My interpretation of the rules was too "Call of Cthulhu" centered. In a campaign that requires more combat precision, your manner of doing things is much better.

_____

* the nunti is a boot hoak, very similar to a spear. The yari is the japanese spear.

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It's not a bad interpretation of the rules, but with so many variants it is harder to come up with a "Standard" method in BRP.

I think CoC uses more borad skill categories because it has to cover a lot more ground, skill wise. For instance, pilot covers many different types of aircraft. Withe systems like RQ and Stormbringer, skills could mbe more focused. Even RQ wasn't consistent between editions. Broadsword vs. 1H Sword, for instance.

I think what I'd like to see is a list of special effects that a character can learn for each given type of weapon. Stuff like impale, knockback, trip, entangle, disarm, all depending on the weapon/fighting style. . A character would start off with one such special (the default) and pick up another for every 20% on skill or so. THaat would probably give skilled fighters the versatility you mentioned. We could even incorporate some fencing maneuvers or martial arts maneuvers into the mix. Liek a guy with a high martial arts might be able to get a free kick or punch in as a special.

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It's not a bad interpretation of the rules, but with so many variants it is harder to come up with a "Standard" method in BRP.

I think CoC uses more borad skill categories because it has to cover a lot more ground, skill wise. For instance, pilot covers many different types of aircraft. Withe systems like RQ and Stormbringer, skills could mbe more focused. Even RQ wasn't consistent between editions. Broadsword vs. 1H Sword, for instance.

I think what I'd like to see is a list of special effects that a character can learn for each given type of weapon. Stuff like impale, knockback, trip, entangle, disarm, all depending on the weapon/fighting style. . A character would start off with one such special (the default) and pick up another for every 20% on skill or so. THaat would probably give skilled fighters the versatility you mentioned. We could even incorporate some fencing maneuvers or martial arts maneuvers into the mix. Liek a guy with a high martial arts might be able to get a free kick or punch in as a special.

It would be nice, of course... But the risk would be to make another game like GURPS.

Before coming to the BRP system, I was playing GURPS, which was even my favorite system. GURPS gives a lot of options like the ones you describe. The problem is that it makes a lot of rules... Several hundreds pages, just for combat! So, eventually, I get bored of all those rules with precise modifer to know for each maneuver...

What I love with BRP is that it let the GM decide how to handle such things. In a very simple way or with a little more detail... No more very specific bonus or penalty and option to remember for every contingency!

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After reading the HQ vs RQ thread, I would add that BRP is between GURPS and HQ.

To explain what I mean...

GURPS is very simulationist. Of course, you can use it in a simplier manner, by getting read of all optional rules... But when you bought a 500-page book of dense and detail rules, you rarely do that.

HQ, tp the contrary, is very narrativist. It lets the GM decide freely what is a success or a victory, etc., depending on the situation and the genre.

Then, BRP falls somewhere in between. It offers simulationist rules... But they are much more simple than GUPRS ones and they give a lot of freedom to the GM. Our discussion about what can or cannot do a character with the Spear skill only is one example of that.

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I'm not sure that GURPS is more simulationist that BRP. At least not more than Steve Perrin's RQ/Strombringer version of BRP. GURPS is more detailed in some ways, but that doesn't necessarily make it more simulationistic.

RQ3 game mechanics are probably at least as complex as GURPS.

And switchable special effects wouldn't make BRP more complicated, since most of the effects already exist, we'd just be adding some choice. I believe MRQ2/RQ6 does something like this, anyway.

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I'm not sure that GURPS is more simulationist that BRP. At least not more than Steve Perrin's RQ/Strombringer version of BRP. GURPS is more detailed in some ways, but that doesn't necessarily make it more simulationistic.

RQ3 game mechanics are probably at least as complex as GURPS.

And switchable special effects wouldn't make BRP more complicated, since most of the effects already exist, we'd just be adding some choice. I believe MRQ2/RQ6 does something like this, anyway.

You may be right. I don't know Runquest enough to make a very good comparison. All what I can say is that GURPS gives a lot of very precise modifiers for almost every combat situation and BRP - as it is written in the big gold book - doesn't. And I am very happy of that. Having more freedom (and much less rules to memorize) is what I want now.

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You may be right. I don't know Runquest enough to make a very good comparison. All what I can say is that GURPS gives a lot of very precise modifiers for almost every combat situation and BRP - as it is written in the big gold book - doesn't. And I am very happy of that. Having more freedom (and much less rules to memorize) is what I want now.

Precision does not equal accuracy. GURPS can get very detail oriented and nitpicky, but it's not really any more realistic or simulationist that RQ, or even it's major rival Hero System. A lot of GURPS rules and assumptions are questionable. Some of the minutiae pushes for other minutiae that the game doesn't have. For instance, GURPS makes ax swings slower than sword swings due to the time to recover the unbalanced weapon, but it fails to note that one can make two to three thrusts in the time it takes to swing a sword.

Rule-lite can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on what you are trying to do.

As for RQ, most of RQs rules found thier way into BRP as optional rules. But RQ wasn't as complex as GURPS as it never tried to cover as ,much territory. Rather than being a generic, universal RPG, the RQ/BRP rules were always customized to the specific setting. About the only time they bent the setting to fit the rules was with ElfQuest. EQ was pretty much the RQ rules.

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Precision does not equal accuracy. GURPS can get very detail oriented and nitpicky, but it's not really any more realistic or simulationist that RQ, or even it's major rival Hero System. A lot of GURPS rules and assumptions are questionable. Some of the minutiae pushes for other minutiae that the game doesn't have. For instance, GURPS makes ax swings slower than sword swings due to the time to recover the unbalanced weapon, but it fails to note that one can make two to three thrusts in the time it takes to swing a sword.

You're perfectly right here.

Rule-lite can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on what you are trying to do.

Yes. It also depends on how the GM handles things. A rule-lite game is good for someone who can quickly improvize and adapt the system to what the player characters are exaclty doing... Contrary to what most people think, too light sets of rules are not good for beginners.

As for RQ, most of RQs rules found thier way into BRP as optional rules. But RQ wasn't as complex as GURPS as it never tried to cover as ,much territory. Rather than being a generic, universal RPG, the RQ/BRP rules were always customized to the specific setting. About the only time they bent the setting to fit the rules was with ElfQuest. EQ was pretty much the RQ rules.

Yes, that's right. My approach of BRP is too "generic and universal" centered. The only BRP game I really know is Call of Cthulhu. After that, I directly jump to the golden book.

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Yes. It also depends on how the GM handles things. A rule-lite game is good for someone who can quickly improvize and adapt the system to what the player characters are exaclty doing... Contrary to what most people think, too light sets of rules are not good for beginners.

Yup, with rules-lite it almost entirely depends on the way the GM handles things. A good GM can run a good game with any rule system, or even none. THe rue system does make certain things easier or more difficult, but a skilled GM can adapt. Each RPG has a sort of "Sweet spot" that it was designed for, and if the group pushes the envelope, things can get tricky. Very detailed rules sets can sometimes break down in those situations faster than lite rules sets, with thier own level of detail clogging things up. It can often be easier to expand a lite rulesset than to tram away from a more detailed set.

Yes, that's right. My approach of BRP is too "generic and universal" centered. The only BRP game I really know is Call of Cthulhu. After that, I directly jump to the golden book.

I wouldn"t say your approach is "too generic" any more than I'd say mine was "too specific" THere are several versions of the BRP rules out there (RQ1/2, Strombringer, Call of Cthulhu, Hawkmoon, Elric!, Nephilim, Worlds of Wonder, Superworld, Ringworld, ElfQuest, RQ3, Nephilim[, and the Gold Book/I]), and that is just counting the ones from Chaosium. Each version has slightly differernt rules from the others. With so many differernt versions floating around, it's no wonder that we aren't all playing by the same rules. The Gold Book incorporates a lot of the rule varaints into one game, as options. Personally, CoC is probably my least favorite version of the system. THat or Nephilim. Probably COC though. IMO, the works of H.P. Lovecraft is a terrible basis for an RPG. But that's a different topic.

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It would be nice, of course... But the risk would be to make another game like GURPS.

Before coming to the BRP system, I was playing GURPS, which was even my favorite system. GURPS gives a lot of options like the ones you describe. The problem is that it makes a lot of rules... Several hundreds pages, just for combat! So, eventually, I get bored of all those rules with precise modifer to know for each maneuver...

What I love with BRP is that it let the GM decide how to handle such things. In a very simple way or with a little more detail... No more very specific bonus or penalty and option to remember for every contingency!

I think RQ6 uses a special effects system. I have not played/GMed the game or fully digested the rules, but you can read about the RQ6 special effects system on page 142 of the rulebook.

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Personally, CoC is probably my least favorite version of the system. THat or Nephilim. Probably COC though. IMO, the works of H.P. Lovecraft is a terrible basis for an RPG. But that's a different topic.

I still found it works very well. Especially with this very lite version of the BRP system. It lets the GM focuse on the storytelling, which is the most important for a Lovecraftian atmosphere. Rules have to be completely forgotten by players...

But as you said it, it is off topic. We should carry on this discussion with private mails if you want to.

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I think RQ6 uses a special effects system. I have not played/GMed the game or fully digested the rules, but you can read about the RQ6 special effects system on page 142 of the rulebook.

I don't have RQ6. But I'm very interested to know what you mean by "special effect system". Now, since it is of topic, we may carry on this discussion with private message if you do agree.

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