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Help me accept Size as a Statistic


Heimdallsgothi

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I've been looking for a new main system for several years now since I moved on from Rolemaster. I took a long and serious look at the Hero System, owning a considerable collection of 5th and almost everything of 6th ed. I consider it truely comprehensive, its about as fun to read as stereo instructions. The unified mechanic for everything is nice, but the sheer amound of prep time is staggering and impractical for me. I've been eyeing both Savage worlds and BRP/RQ.

I am currently running a Savage Worlds game, using the Kingmaker AP from Paizo, and the game is tons of fun, but, its not *my* game. It's just missing something for me, Im not sure what it is, but its not going to be my long term, go to game. I'll have great fun using it for 1 shots, and open game nights, but its just missing that special click in my head, I like the game, I don't love it.

So I own BRP, RQ6, Pendragon 4, Stormbringer 4, with Basic Gamemastery, Classic Fantasy, Basic Creatures, Basic Magic, Cthulu Invictus, even BRP Rome and Witchcraft. I managed to miss the entire Runequest family of games in my RP/GM career. I've played or ran OD&D, AD&D, (missed 2.0 , 3.0, and even 3.5), Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Rolemaster, Spacemaster, MERP, Harp, Gurps (played 2-3 times), The Palladium line of games till just after Rifts exploded (TMNT is sweetness), and probably many other games I havent looked at in ages, but are still packed away in boxes in my attic for my kids.

So here I am, on a quest for the "perfect" game (doomed I know), and while I've heard/read many good things about BRP, there were a number of things that bothered me. The lack of a comprehensive bestiary, for a game as old and storied as BRP/RQ, seems strange, there are many games with much less history which them, even Paizo seems determined to print a new one every year. I understand there are rules for creating creatures, which brings me to my primary concern.

Size

Why is this a stat? It seems strange to me.

I find much of RQ6 fits what Im looking for. But this is really bothering me. All the stats for characters and monsters, are treated the same, except for size, nope thats different. Why? If its a fundamental stat common to all things, then why is it necessary to alter it for creatures?

The only reason is, because to use values reflective of true immensity (Dragons, Giants etc), then the damage bonus would be so horrific, that no character would be able to enter combat and hope to survive.

If that is the case, then how size is utilize must be fundamentally flawed, or I'm missing something.

Every other game I have played, size is used, D&D has categories (small, medium, large, huge, collosal) granting bonuses etc, Rolemaster grants OB and DB depending on size category, shadowrun gives targeting bonuses etc.

I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

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I've been looking for a new main system for several years now since I moved on from Rolemaster. I took a long and serious look at the Hero System, owning a considerable collection of 5th and almost everything of 6th ed. I consider it truely comprehensive, its about as fun to read as stereo instructions. The unified mechanic for everything is nice, but the sheer amound of prep time is staggering and impractical for me.

I would have hint you to glance at GURPS (especially GURPS Lite, which teaches the basics of the game and is absolutely free), but the problem is about the same than with the Hero System: a very good game, but which requires a lot of GM’s investment and preparation time.

That is why I play with the BRP system now. And I’m not at all disappointed of this choice! It is the best system I have ever played. The right balance between rule precision and GM’s freedom.

I've been eyeing both Savage worlds and BRP/RQ.

Savage is a very good game too. But it is mainly designed for heroic and cinematic action. It’s hard to play in a realistic and gloomy atmosphere (like the one of Call of Cthulhu, for instance) with it.

The BRP system, to the contrary, allows everything.

I am currently running a Savage Worlds game, using the Kingmaker AP from Paizo, and the game is tons of fun, but, its not *my* game. It's just missing something for me, Im not sure what it is, but its not going to be my long term, go to game.

The BRP system allows something that misses to a lot of other role playing games: it allows the Game Master to choose his own rules!

Of course, any experienced Game Master will always design his own house rules to make his games fit to what he exactly wants… But the BRP system already offers a lot of optional rules than you can use or drop, without having to build the least house rule. This makes it more flexible and customizable than any other role playing game.

I'll have great fun using it for 1 shots, and open game nights, but its just missing that special click in my head, I like the game, I don't love it.

Nobody can say if the BRP system will be the one you will love… Except you…

All what I can say is that I really was a GURPS fan. But since I’m getting old, and also because I can’t play as much as before now, I looked for a game that requires less preparation time. Something more easy to play, where the referee takes much more decision, where he doesn’t have to look through one book after the other to find a precise and detailed rule… Then, I tried the BRPS system. And I really love it. Easy to run, amazingly flexible, allowing to play in any genre… It is perfect… for me.

So it may be as perfect for you. Give it a chance; tries it.

So I own BRP, RQ6, Pendragon 4, Stormbringer 4, with Basic Gamemastery, Classic Fantasy, Basic Creatures, Basic Magic, Cthulu Invictus, even BRP Rome and Witchcraft. I managed to miss the entire Runequest family of games in my RP/GM career. I've played or ran OD&D, AD&D, (missed 2.0 , 3.0, and even 3.5), Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Rolemaster, Spacemaster, MERP, Harp, Gurps (played 2-3 times), The Palladium line of games till just after Rifts exploded (TMNT is sweetness), and probably many other games I havent looked at in ages, but are still packed away in boxes in my attic for my kids.

You are just missing the Basic Roleplaying big golden book! It collects most of the rules of other Chaosium games in one place. So, it allows to choose which one you want to use, and which one you don’t want, depending on the game you will play. And it doesn’t have to be the same rules from one campaign to the other…

So here I am, on a quest for the "perfect" game (doomed I know), and while I've heard/read many good things about BRP, there were a number of things that bothered me.

The perfect game doesn’t exist. Like you, I looked for it during several years… I even tried to design my own role playing system. But every game has flaws. And these flaws usually corresponds to its qualities… GURPS, for instance, is very detailed. But it is quite complex too. Savage is fun and easy to play. But it doesn’t allow a “serious” atmosphere. Etc.

The BRP system is probably one of the more flexible system… But it will still have some little rules that will bother you.

The lack of a comprehensive bestiary, for a game as old and storied as BRP/RQ, seems strange, there are many games with much less history which them, even Paizo seems determined to print a new one every year. I understand there are rules for creating creatures, which brings me to my primary concern.

Yes, and the big golden Basic Roleplaying book give you enough examples to let you design all the creatures you can imagine… Which is much more easy to do than with a game like GURPS, furthermore…

Size. Why is this a stat? It seems strange to me.

Yes. It is one of the strangest characteristic. Every attribute represents an ability, something which may be mostly innate, but that you can also improve with training… Size is an exception.

Having said that, this characteristic is very useful during the game. It allows to know rapidly whether someone can lift you, whether you can slip into a narrow passage, etc.

It also allows to know very simply whether your character can slam someone back or down or resists to someone trying to slam him… There are times where being heavy and fat becomes an edge! And there also are combat techniques that are easier for a big sumotori than for a karateka… Despite of the karatekas muscles…

I find much of RQ6 fits what Im looking for. But this is really bothering me. All the stats for characters and monsters, are treated the same, except for size, nope thats different. Why? If its a fundamental stat common to all things, then why is it necessary to alter it for creatures?

In the big golden Basic Roleplaying book, the Size is the same, no matter how heavy or little is the creature… A brontausor with its Size score of 72 has a Damage Bonus of +7d6 for instance. It makes it very dangerous for a human… But it is quite realistic.

I don’t know what are the precise rules about Size in RQ6. But I didn’t notice such a problem in the generic BRP.

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Nothing much to add to what Gollum said, just some precisions to make it clear:

- quantified size is necessary for using the resistance roll (e.g. STR vs. SIZ), wich is one of the ground principles of the BRP-based systems and allows quickly solving many situations which are otherwise not detailed in the rules -or to detailed. It is also used for the Encumbrance rule. This quantifying makes also it easy to compare with the STR necessary to move or carry something.

- the SIZ has a kind of logarithmic growth, something like +15 = three times as much weight (as a rule of thumb...). The SIZ 72 Brontosaur would then weight about 18 tons, which is about the estimated weight of such a creature. Even the heaviest armoured warrior would dye if a brontosaur stamps on it

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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SIZ is useful because it represents the effects of being larger and/or heavier in the game. Bigger things tend to be stronger and hit harder (which is why SIZ in in the damage bonus), have better reach (which is why SIZ in in the Strike Rank) and can soak more punishment (which is why SIZ in in the hit point formulas). SIZ also helps in determining how easy it is to hit big things.

The progression is logarithmic, at least in the 8-88 range that 99% of all animals and characters fall in. The exact progression is +8 SIZ +double the weight. Triple the weight would be about +13, so Zit was close. Each +1 SIZ is a 9% increase.The mass for a given SIZ in the 8-88 range is 2^(SIZ/8)*25 kg.

Edited by Atgxtg

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

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Every other game I have played, size is used, D&D has categories (small, medium, large, huge, collosal) granting bonuses etc, Rolemaster grants OB and DB depending on size category, shadowrun gives targeting bonuses etc.

I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Simply put, SIZ is more fine grained so differences in SIZ have more effect. E.g. in a game with size categories then every human is probably Size medium or some such so there's no real difference between someone who is 160cm and someone who is 210cm. Naturally you can say that someone who is STR 18 is probably bigger than someone who is STR 8 but having SIZ allows you to have someone with low STR but high SIZ.

It is a logarithmic scale so most conceivable creatures are less than SIZ 100. It is also possible to use it fairly abstractly and have large but light creatures, useful for flyers.

In actual play the SIZ stat is fairly useful as a quick approximation. That said, it's best not to look at the numbers too closely and really you could easily remove it from the game and replace it with SIZ categories with no harm done. (Base the damage bonus on STR alone.)

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In actual play the SIZ stat is fairly useful as a quick approximation. That said, it's best not to look at the numbers too closely

I disagree. Looking at thenumber closely actually helps. That and a little understanding as to how things work.

and really you could easily remove it from the game and replace it with SIZ categories with no harm done. (Base the damage bonus on STR alone.)

Or maybe STR plus a mod for SIZ categories. Some BRP games (Magic World) did ignore one stat and it let to some problems areas (Dwarves).

Realistically, STR and SIZ are linked. Since STR is based on muscle power and muscles get larger as creatures get bigger, STR should be within a given range for a given SIZ. It's just that the variance is just about right for two independent rolls to work for PCs. You probably couldn't have a STR 20, SIZ 60 T-Rex realistically. That much mass would probably give you a higher minimum STR.

Edited by Atgxtg

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

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SIZ is useful because it represents the effects of being larger and/or heavier in the game. Bigger things tend to be stronger and hit harder (which is why SIZ in in the damage bonus), have better reach (which is why SIZ in in the Strike Rank) and can soak more punishment (which is why SIZ in in the hit point formulas). SIZ also helps in determining how easy it is to hit big things.

The progression is logarithmic, at least in the 8-88 range that 99% of all animals and characters fall in. The exact progression is +8 SIZ +double the weight. Triple the weight would be about +13, so Zit was close. Each +1 SIZ is a 9% increase.The mass for a given SIZ in the 8-88 range is 2^(SIZ/8)*25 kg.

I've not seen this formula in the BRP gold book, nor RQ6

I've compared them both and they are essentially using the same SIZ chart in character creation, Even the comparative weights chart seems identical

It doesnt seem that size scales to height very well, and is more representative of overall weight? Is the initial size chart specifically for humanoids? There are some pig species which while short, are fairly massive, in excess of 500lbs

RQ6 says "Creatures do not follow the same height and weight progression as for humanoids. Increasing SIZ relates to a different scaling of mass, muscle and bone density", but I have not found this in the gold book, I may have missed it

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I've not seen this formula in the BRP gold book, nor RQ6

It is deliberately hidden in RQ6.

It doesnt seem that size scales to height very well, and is more representative of overall weight? Is the initial size chart specifically for humanoids? There are some pig species which while short, are fairly massive, in excess of 500lbs

The one in RQ6 on page 14 is specifically for humanoids, as stated in the third paragraph of 'Height and Weight'.

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Yeah, SIZ was one of the things that threw me as a newbie. It is wonky. The SIZ chart in the character creation section is OK for humans (and humanoids) shorter than Bigfoot or the latest NBA draft pick. Once you get any bigger or heavier, the progression isn't consistent (e.g., SIZ chart in the equipment section). So if you're statting out Commander Worf, you're in good shape. If you want to stat out Shrek, you'll have to base your SIZ on a close approximation entry from the creatures chapter. If you want to write up King Kong or (save us) Godzilla, you're going to be winging it big time (pun intended).

(BTW, Cthulhu's stats in CoC indicate that he's much smaller than Godzilla. The confrontation many of us have dreamed of might be no contest.)

Atgxtg has devised an alternate chart where the progression is consistent.

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It is deliberately hidden in RQ6.

The one in RQ6 on page 14 is specifically for humanoids, as stated in the third paragraph of 'Height and Weight'.

You know, I read that at least 15 times, and it never sunk in? It's the little things that get ya when youre tired I guess, thanks tons!

Why is the formula hidden? RQ6 does so well in explaining the logic of the other rules...

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Atgxtg has devised an alternate chart where the progression is consistent.

Actually the basics of it, from SIZ 8-88 was done by Steve Perrin for RQ3 (and possibly before than in Superworld). It's below SIZ 8 and above 88 that it gets wonky, AND there are at least two errors on the SIZ table in the back on the BRP book (not the character one). I did a fix for that a few years back, and posted it, but I think that just sticking with the doubling progression if best. There are some neat shortcuts that can be pulled off with a logarithmic table.

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

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You know, I read that at least 15 times, and it never sunk in? It's the little things that get ya when youre tired I guess, thanks tons!

No problem!

Why is the formula hidden? RQ6 does so well in explaining the logic of the other rules...

Words like logarithmic and complex formulae are the kiss of death in RPGs nowadays, when even simple mental arithmetic can bring howls of complaint down upon the authors of a game. You can only push the barriers so far. :)

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I've not seen this formula in the BRP gold book, nor RQ6

Well, we're not so prudish here at BRP Central, we're willing to show it!

The formula is 2^(SIZ/8)*25kg.

That holds true from SIZ 8 to SIZ 88 (and beyond if I have a say, which I don't), and has been the case for practically every BRP game since SIZ changed to 2D6+6 (RQ3), with the exception of Pendragon 5+, and possibly MRQ.

It doesnt seem that size scales to height very well, and is more representative of overall weight? Is the initial size chart specifically for humanoids? There are some pig species which while short, are fairly massive, in excess of 500lbs

The SIZ table by body frame thing for character creation is just for character creation, and also one of the "artifacts" carried over from before RQ3. IMO it shouldn't have been included since it's not a good fit for characters since RQ3. THat said, it won't make too much of a difference. Back in Stormbringer, when it was introduced, body frame could adjust stats slightly.

RQ6 says "Creatures do not follow the same height and weight progression as for humanoids. Increasing SIZ relates to a different scaling of mass, muscle and bone density", but I have not found this in the gold book, I may have missed it

In the real world there is something known as the sqaure-cube law. Basically it means that if you double the length, width and depth of an object (or creature) equally, it's area will increase by the square of that value, and it's volume by the cube of that value. Now STR increases with the area, while mass increases witht he volume.

Since BRP uses a logarithmic table for SIZ (and by association STR) that means that If you double the height/length of a creature you will increase it's STR by 16, and it's SIZ by 24. Or there is a 1:2:3 realtionship between length/height:STR: and SIZ.

For example, if you wanted to turn a 3 foot long 500 pound pig into a 24 foot long troit boar....

Each doubling is worth a +8 on the table. 24 is 3 doubles for +24 length

STR is increased by 24x2 for +48

SIZ is increased by 24x3 for +72

So if you know the square-cube law scaling things up (or down) is as easy as 1,2,3, literary.

BTW, reality-wise, the difference between the STR and SIZ progression is a major reason why insects are so strong, and why animals can only grow so big. A twelves foot tall man weiths eight times as much, but his bones and muscles are only four times as strong. Eventually the weight gets too great for the body to support.

For a Sci-Fi or magical monster, you'd probably want to increase STR at the same rate as SIZ. Which is bad news if you are hunting Troit Boar.

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

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  • 10 months later...

The damage bonus is represents the amount of momentum you are throwing into your attacks; the speed that your strike is being done with (Strength) and the amount of mass you have going behind the attack (Size). A physically weak person who lacks strength relies more on their body mass than their strength to put force into their attacks. That's why you can't do damage bonus without the size stat in any reasonable way.

Size also adds more strategy to the game. A creature that has a significantly more size than your character is dangerous in close combot, but less so in ranged combat (most projectile weapons in BRP either don't recieve damage bonus or only half the damage bonus, not all though) . This prevents fights from turning simply into a bunch of boring rolls and instead takes on greater dimesions. It encourages players to fight using their environment. It encourages them to actually think about what weapon they want to fight with.

The size stat also serves as a conveniant means to comparing characters in the game. A monster with a size of 20 is twice as big as a character who is of size 10, and the numbers go up as high as you can count. The small, medium, large, and huge system tells you if something is bigger than you, but not how much bigger, and after you reach huge, thats the end of it. That means that in that system, a living planet is in the same size category as an elephant, which is frankly stupid.

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The formula is 2^(SIZ/8)*25kg.

That's 2^(SIZ/8) x 4 stone in real money (and 4st=56lbs, or approx 50lbs).

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