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Basic roleplaying combat system


axe-elf

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Because it is all-out defense (or total defense, if you prefer; sorry, I used the gurpsish term). So it prevents from attacking.

Oh, if you are allowing in in place of attacking then I have no objection.

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

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BRP, RQ and similar systems work well with the "I hit you and you hit me and we dodge about a bit" way of fighting. I.e. the kind of thing that I would do if I wanted to work a combat out.

It doesn't handle all the intricacies of martial arts.

That's why I always say that any rule in roleplaying games will satisfy most people, but experts will say that it is rubbish.

Look at all the debate over unarmed combat - Experts in judo, ju-jitsu and aikido don;t like the throwing/grappling rules as they are too limited and don't reflect real life. Experts in taekwondo, karate and kung fu don't like the moving/blocking/parrying/flurry rules as they don;t reflect real life. Experts in fencing or the various martial arts that use weapons don't like the combat rules for the exact same reasons.

It all depends on what level you like. RQ/BRP still reflects what I see in my head when imagining combat, even with the little bit of martial arts that I did when I was younger. For me, that is fine. For experts, it will never be fine.

A roleplaying system that handles all the intricacies of fencing, kendo, aikido swordplay, kung fu weaponplay and all the other martial art forms out there would be far too complicated for my tastes and, I think, would not work particularly well.

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BRP, RQ and similar systems work well with the "I hit you and you hit me and we dodge about a bit" way of fighting. I.e. the kind of thing that I would do if I wanted to work a combat out.

It doesn't handle all the intricacies of martial arts.

That's why I always say that any rule in roleplaying games will satisfy most people, but experts will say that it is rubbish.

Look at all the debate over unarmed combat - Experts in judo, ju-jitsu and aikido don;t like the throwing/grappling rules as they are too limited and don't reflect real life. Experts in taekwondo, karate and kung fu don't like the moving/blocking/parrying/flurry rules as they don;t reflect real life. Experts in fencing or the various martial arts that use weapons don't like the combat rules for the exact same reasons.

It all depends on what level you like. RQ/BRP still reflects what I see in my head when imagining combat, even with the little bit of martial arts that I did when I was younger. For me, that is fine. For experts, it will never be fine.

A roleplaying system that handles all the intricacies of fencing, kendo, aikido swordplay, kung fu weaponplay and all the other martial art forms out there would be far too complicated for my tastes and, I think, would not work particularly well.

I think it is quite possible to create a system that is reasonably realistic but also playable. It all depends on game design.

The combat system I like best is that of WFRP 2nd ed. Its fast, quite realistic, with parry, dodge and feinting (and good shield rules!) and very playable. WFRP is in fact a "spiritual descendant" of RQ. I´ve read through rules for combat in RQII and RQ mongoose, and they are much too clumsy for my taste. Too much calculating kills the flow. BRP designers were right in simplifying, even if they did not succeed making a good combat system.

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I think the RQ too lethal thing is more a factor of using hit points, hit locations, and weapon damages with adds. It turns some situations into kills simply by addition. For example, no one in RQ can survive having two locations disabled as the damage required to do so it would exceed their total hit points. But in real life people can surviving with four limbs disabled. THe whole hit point attrition concept is erroneous. Two 5 points wounds do not equal one 10 point wound.

Agree. Limbs are not pieces of wood that are chopped off after a certain number of blows. I will use hit locations for armour, but not for HP. Major wound table can be used to hurt and chop off limbs (just roll until a suitable result for the hit location appears).

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Agree. Limbs are not pieces of wood that are chopped off after a certain number of blows. I will use hit locations for armour, but not for HP. Major wound table can be used to hurt and chop off limbs (just roll until a suitable result for the hit location appears).

I tend to learn towards a Wound THreshold Approach. THat is you compare the damage rolled to the character"s ability to soak wounds (say hit points), and the severity of the wound is based upon the difference between the twom or the ratio, or some such. That way you can't "paper cut" somebody to death.

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

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That's why I always say that any rule in roleplaying games will satisfy most people, but experts will say that it is rubbish.

I think it is more along the lines of what a particular set of people want. And that is why there are so many differernt RPGs - and why we aren't all playing D20.

BRP, RQ and similar systems work well with the "I hit you and you hit me and we dodge about a bit" way of fighting. I.e. the kind of thing that I would do if I wanted to work a combat out.

I think I'd prefer a little more movement is my melee combat than BRP provides, but it wouldn't be hard to add in. Something like a dodge character has to move at least 1 pace, unless he gets a special or some such.

A roleplaying system that handles all the intricacies of fencing, kendo, aikido swordplay, kung fu weaponplay and all the other martial art forms out there would be far too complicated for my tastes and, I think, would not work particularly well.

I don't think it is as cut & dried as that. In fact, that was the old argument for why D&D was so abstract and what led to RQ being more detailed than D&D. There is always a bit of a tradeoff between simplicity and accuracy. The simpler a game is the easier it is to learn and play, but at the expense of accuracy. A game that is very accurate in how it handles things, become more complicated. Just where to draw the line between the two is a personal thing.

Even when we do go simple and keep things abstract, just how and where we simplify can make a difference. D&D abstraced defense into AC. RQ used parries, armor points, and, later, dodges. And both appeal to different players.

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

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BRP, RQ and similar systems work well with the "I hit you and you hit me and we dodge about a bit" way of fighting. I.e. the kind of thing that I would do if I wanted to work a combat out.

It doesn't handle all the intricacies of martial arts.

That's why I always say that any rule in roleplaying games will satisfy most people, but experts will say that it is rubbish.

Look at all the debate over unarmed combat - Experts in judo, ju-jitsu and aikido don;t like the throwing/grappling rules as they are too limited and don't reflect real life. Experts in taekwondo, karate and kung fu don't like the moving/blocking/parrying/flurry rules as they don;t reflect real life. Experts in fencing or the various martial arts that use weapons don't like the combat rules for the exact same reasons.

It all depends on what level you like. RQ/BRP still reflects what I see in my head when imagining combat, even with the little bit of martial arts that I did when I was younger. For me, that is fine. For experts, it will never be fine.

A roleplaying system that handles all the intricacies of fencing, kendo, aikido swordplay, kung fu weaponplay and all the other martial art forms out there would be far too complicated for my tastes and, I think, would not work particularly well.

I do not really agree with that.

OK, I'm not an expert (though I am ni-dan, and though my traditional karate also uses a lot of judo and aikido techniques, and also teaches kobudo - which makes it very long to learn)...

Indeed, the BRP could work very fine with a game master able to improvise depending on what the player exactly does. The attack vs. parry/block/dodge works exactly like GURPS does. So the principles are good.

The only thing which is not is the length of the turn.

Martial art decisions, as I said it above, are done in the 1 to 2 second scale. If you don't think so fast, you are hit. So, martial artists who want to "feel" in the game what they feel during their training just want to be able to take more decisions than one "generic strategy" for the next 12 seconds.

Something like: I parry his right arm with an open hand and grapples (1 second). Then I grapple his left hand (1 second). And since I'm just in front of him now, I strike him in the belly with my right knee while pulling his two hands very strongly and quickly to unbalanced him in my direction.

It can be done with the D100 system. But it requires to make several rolls in the same turn. One to parry, one to grab the first hand, one for the second and one for the knee strike (which then become an easy action because the foe is pulled during the same time). But the foe also have to make several roll to try to avoid all that: he can avoid to be grappled two times and also try to avoid the dodge the knee strike (which is hard in his position). Of course, if he prefers, he can also strike while the first character is trying to grapple him, with his free hand when it is free, or with his foot or his head...

Brief, it requires to be played second by second...

Doing so is not BRP rules, but it still can be done with the rules as they are written. One action, one roll, one reaction, another roll, and the usual rules to compare attack and defense.

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Oh, if you are allowing in in place of attacking then I have no objection.

This is the rules as they are written. At least in the second edition of the big golden book. "Fighting defensively", pages 191 and 202. Ok, sorry, the right name was neither "all-out defense" nor "total defense", but "fighting defensively". Sorry to have been so confusing...

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This is the rules as they are written. At least in the second edition of the big golden book. "Fighting defensively", pages 191 and 202. Ok, sorry, the right name was neither "all-out defense" nor "total defense", but "fighting defensively". Sorry to have been so confusing...

It's not your fault. I just know too many versions of this game, and the rules are slightly different in each incarnation.

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

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It can be done with the D100 system. But it requires to make several rolls in the same turn.

"Classic" BRP does not support this approach. The damage value of weapons and martial arts attack is not balanced to support multiple attacks per round. Your grapple example does not highlight this because... well, you chose Grapple! But if you do this with swordfight, you will realize that allowing multiple rolls per round can cause a character to go to -20 or -30 HP in just one round if he fails the first parry (broadsword is 1d8+1+1d4 so it does 8 pts. on average: 2 blows is guaranteed incapacitation, three blows guaranteed kill).

It does, however, work with RuneQuest 6, where an Action Point represents between 1 and 2 seconds of actual time. But please note that damage, too, is balanced very very differently in RuneQuest: your average sword slash does 2 less points of damage, and your average location has 1 more hit point. And there are no general hit points, so damage is not always cumulative unless you use "Choose Location".

Doing so is not BRP rules, but it still can be done with the rules as they are written. One action, one roll, one reaction, another roll, and the usual rules to compare attack and defense.

No. It will break the system. Believe me. If you want to play with this model, use RuneQuest or GURPS.

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"Classic" BRP does not support this approach. The damage value of weapons and martial arts attack is not balanced to support multiple attacks per round. Your grapple example does not highlight this because... well, you chose Grapple! But if you do this with swordfight, you will realize that allowing multiple rolls per round can cause a character to go to -20 or -30 HP in just one round if he fails the first parry (broadsword is 1d8+1+1d4 so it does 8 pts. on average: 2 blows is guaranteed incapacitation, three blows guaranteed kill).

It does, however, work with RuneQuest 6, where an Action Point represents between 1 and 2 seconds of actual time. But please note that damage, too, is balanced very very differently in RuneQuest: your average sword slash does 2 less points of damage, and your average location has 1 more hit point. And there are no general hit points, so damage is not always cumulative unless you use "Choose Location".

No. It will break the system. Believe me. If you want to play with this model, use RuneQuest or GURPS.

Thank you very much for this frank and clear answer. I didn't at all think about damage. And, as you noticed it, my example would have work because it was two grapple techniques and only one strike.

I already noticed that sword damage were very high in BRP. I just thought that combats were very lethal. And indeed, they are very lethal... when considering that this amount of damage is done by a single blow!

But as soon as we think that an attack roll is something more abstract, something which can represent a series of blows rather than just one (or a very decisive strike after several maneuvers to unbalance the foe and make him lowering his guard), then things becomes much more logical.

Yes, the BRP system is much more abstract than the GURPS... And I have to stop thinking in the first with the habits of the second.

Edited by Gollum
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Yes, the BRP system is much more abstract than the GURPS... And I have to stop thinking in the first with the habits of the second.

I think RuneQuest 6 is the d100 variant that best fits your bill. It is less detailed than GURPS, but closer to the second-per-second tactical decision model.

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I think RuneQuest 6 is the d100 variant that best fits your bill. It is less detailed than GURPS, but closer to the second-per-second tactical decision model.

Yes. According to your description of this game (and the one of others), it seems to be the best choice for me...

Now, the problem is that I don't play in the RuneQuest world... I don't hate him. To the contrary! It looks interesting and appealing. But I'm an old roleplayer now, with a job and a family... So I play quite rarely (once or twice a year, plus a couple of games via internet). And the world in which I play are Call of Cthulhu and Mega (a french SF universe)... I won't have time (and players) to begin a new campaign in a new world...

Thus, I'm hesitating a lot. Buying RuneQuest 6... Returning to GURPS... Going on with Call of Cthulhu and the BRP rules... Not so easy to choose.

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Thus, I'm hesitating a lot. Buying RuneQuest 6... Returning to GURPS... Going on with Call of Cthulhu and the BRP rules... Not so easy to choose.

You can start with Legend, which is RuneQuest 6's ancestor and has approximately the same rules, just with some bugs not yet fixed. The PDF is only $1. If you develop an addiction to the combat system, you can eventually invest the $60 needed for RuneQuest 6.

Where are you exactly in France? Perhaps we can arrange some game at some time.

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You can start with Legend, which is RuneQuest 6's ancestor and has approximately the same rules, just with some bugs not yet fixed. The PDF is only $1. If you develop an addiction to the combat system, you can eventually invest the $60 needed for RuneQuest 6..

That is great advice! Get 90% of the rules for $1!

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

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Then you are in luck - RuneQuest 6 is setting neutral, it does NOT tie the core game to any particular setting.

Sure. But it is still oriented. I downloaded the review of the game, and the list of skills is typically medieval... My games, to the contrary are high-tech or even ultra-tech ones...

Having said that, I like the way skills are calculated in RQ6. Making them directly depend on attributes is something I find more interesting (and more easy to use than the optional skill bonuses rule in BRP).

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You can start with Legend, which is RuneQuest 6's ancestor and has approximately the same rules, just with some bugs not yet fixed. The PDF is only $1. If you develop an addiction to the combat system, you can eventually invest the $60 needed for RuneQuest 6.

Great! Thank you for this hint.

Where are you exactly in France? Perhaps we can arrange some game at some time.
In Eyliac. Just nearby Périgueux.
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Gollum, Take a look in the downloads section of the Design Mechanism site where a PDF with rules and stats for weapons from black powder muskets to laser rifles has been posted. Pete Nash has promised a guide to doing Star Wars using the RQ6 rules which might aid you in playing a less medieval game.

Nigel

Nigel

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Gollum, Take a look in the downloads section of the Design Mechanism site where a PDF with rules and stats for weapons from black powder muskets to laser rifles has been posted. Pete Nash has promised a guide to doing Star Wars using the RQ6 rules which might aid you in playing a less medieval game.

Thank you very much. I downloaded Legend and will take the time to read it carefully. Then, I will follow your hint... Very interesting. Thank you again to everyone.

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Gollum, you have to know, there is a french version of Openquest, MRQI, MRQII and Legend (Légende) and a french version of Runequest 6 is in preparation

OK. Thank you... Now, even if my written English may sometimes be strange, I didn't have any problem to read it - and french versions often have very surprising translations.

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I´ve made this alternative combat system for BRP, mostly based on WFRP 2nd ed. It may look more complex, but I think it is actually less complex than genuine BRP, in real play.

It fixes the shield-issue, makes rules for two weapon use more streamlined, and also makes swords the fast weapons they are in reality, if you choose to add the DAR-rules.

Parries and dodges

In a round you can parry once and dodge once. Only one defensive action can be done against any one attack. If you parry, you loose your attack that round, and if you have already attacked you cannot parry. Shields and weapons in off-hand give you an extra free parry which does not count towards your attack - but this parry has to be done with the off-hand.

Shields and off-hand weapons

Shields and off-hand weapons give an extra parry each round, but no extra attack. You may attack with the shield or off-hand weapon though, after or before parry with weapon in your primary hand. Parrying with off-hand weapons except shields is difficult. Attacking with shields and off-hand weapons is difficult, except for bucklers and parrying daggers.

Double action rating (optional)

Most weapons give the ability to divide skill rating in two (or more) attacks when skill rating is at least 100% (BRP p.198). These weapons are therefore are said to have Double Action Rating (DAR) of 100. Some weapons are faster, such as swords (except great swords) and have DAR of 70. More attacks in fractions of at least 35% can therefore be done with swords. Rapiers are even faster and have DAR of 50. The fractions can also be used for parries. With sword skill rating 75% you could for example parry at 35%, and attack at 40%. For the dodge skill, humanoids and most other creatures have DAR of 60.

(Good discussion about axes and swords:Axe vs Sword - NetSword Discussion Forums

Yes, swords may do less damage, but they are faster.)

So what do you think?

Edited by axe-elf
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That it makes shields overpowered. You simply cannot parry effectively with a weapon unless you forfeit your attack, as having anything but a shield in your off hand means you parry at half %ile. With these rules, Joe the Average Shield Wielder would beat the crap out of Miyamoto Musashi.

Remember, shields fell into disuse after 1600, and generally they lasted less than armor in general use. There must be a historical reason for this. If they were THAT good, armies would not have abandoned them.

How is the DAR rule useful? I would not exchange a single 70% blow with two 35% ones.

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That it makes shields overpowered. You simply cannot parry effectively with a weapon unless you forfeit your attack, as having anything but a shield in your off hand means you parry at half %ile. With these rules, Joe the Average Shield Wielder would beat the crap out of Miyamoto Musashi.

Remember, shields fell into disuse after 1600, and generally they lasted less than armor in general use. There must be a historical reason for this. If they were THAT good, armies would not have abandoned them.

Shields are powerful, as anyone who have tried one will know ;)

I think your example that shields were used until 1600, actually proves you wrong. Shields were standard equipment until the development of gunpowder. And that is because they are powerful in hand to hand combat.

In game terms I don´t think they are to powerful either. I´we played a lot of WFRP, whit quite similar rules, whithout problems. Anyway, I will playtest these rules soon. That is the true test.

How is the DAR rule useful? I would not exchange a single 70% blow with two 35% ones.

I would, if I felt lucky. Remember you get a chance to do double amount damage in the same round. And even if you miss, you have a chance to normal damage. This also can also be used tactically, depleting opponents for defensive actions.

Mathematically you trade a 70% chance for doing a normal hit, for a chance of (1-(1-0.35)^2)*100% = 58% chance of doing normal or double damage. I´d call that a good deal.

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