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A five percent solution?


Conrad

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On page 170 of the BGB, under the title Skill Rolls, it says that " Any skill that has a base chance of 5% or higher will always have 5% chance of success, even if difficulty, conditional modifiers, or other factors would reduce the skill rating below 5%." And then on page 191, under the heading Parry, it states that "Each successive parry attempt after the first is at -30% modifier to the skill rating, cumulative. If the chance to parry the attack falls below 1%, your character cannot attempt to parry." How would you resolve this apparent contradiction? Ignore it, or allow a character a base chance of 5% with a weapon despite parry mods taking his skill below 1%?

Edited by Conrad
http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
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I kind of like the idea that a player gets a miniscule 5% parry after his skill has been modified below 1% by the -30% rule. It adds a desperate dramatic roll for a player overwhelmed by attacks. Since there is an obvious contradiction, weapon skills are often of a base chance of 5% or higher, I hope that in future editions of the BGB some clarification of these two rule sets is offered, so that newcomers to BRP aren't confused by it.:)

Edited by Conrad
http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
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Anyway, giving extra parries at 31%, 61%, 91% etc seems an awful kludge. Remind me, please - what problem is that supposed to solve? Isn't there a better way?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Anyway, giving extra parries at 31%, 61%, 91% etc seems an awful kludge. Remind me, please - what problem is that supposed to solve? Isn't there a better way?

I suppose the problem was that in RQ3 you couldn't defend agaist multiple attacks unless you had a skill over 100, and then only against two, divided evenly. Stormbringer was probably intended for more heroic/cinematic play where experienced fighters could take on multitudes of foes. And the SB rule ended in the BGB.

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I suppose the problem was that in RQ3 you couldn't defend agaist multiple attacks unless you had a skill over 100, and then only against two, divided evenly. Stormbringer was probably intended for more heroic/cinematic play where experienced fighters could take on multitudes of foes. And the SB rule ended in the BGB.

That is exactly what the purpose of the rule was.

The BRP rule book was designed with a cascading list of sources, in the following order of authority:

First Tier: Stormbringer/Elric! Call of Cthulhu

Second Tier: RuneQuest (3rd edition)

Third Tier: Worlds of Wonder, Ringworld, ElfQuest, Superworld

All throughout the playtest and development I was quite clear that it was never intended as a generic version of RuneQuest.

Edited by Jason Durall
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Cheers, gents (and no blame, Mr.D). The rule just lacks a certain elegance, so I can't help hankering for another solution...

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Certainly the rule works. That makes replacing its arbitrariness with elegance a worthy challenge!

Say - as many parries as you like but halving chance each time, perhaps...?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Certainly the rule works. That makes replacing its arbitrariness with elegance a worthy challenge!

Say - as many parries as you like but halving chance each time, perhaps...?

How is that any less arbitrary or more elegant? I happen to think the RAW is an elegantly simple solution to the problem, that has been used by groups for decades so that it is thoroughly playtested for balance. And it works. No point in fixing something that is not broken, no?

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How is that any less arbitrary or more elegant?

It builds on the "Difficult is half chance" principle. That's elegance.

Why should the RAW say every 30%? Why not 25%, 20%, or whatever? That's arbitrary.

We should always aim to make things better.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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It builds on the "Difficult is half chance" principle. That's elegance.

But the decision to make difficult to be half chance is as arbitrary and nonelegant as any other way.

Why should the RAW say every 30%? Why not 25%, 20%, or whatever? That's arbitrary.

It is not necessarily arbitrary. To say it is would require intimate knowledge on the process that lead to this design decision. Perhaps the original designers tested different values and decided 30 was the best value considering game balance. Or perhaps not. In the end all rules can be said to be arbitrary.

We should always aim to make things better.

No argument there, but like I said, I like the way this particular rule has been implemented and it has been rigorously tested for decades. The fact that no better solution has yet been presented for consideration is—at least for me—proof enough that this particular thing doesn't need fixing.

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I beg to differ. "Magic numbers" seem arbitrary to me. The 30% breaks are like D&D-style multiple attacks, gained at certain levels just because they're listed on a table. Yuk.

And I'm hurt. Doesn't my stating the "extra parries halve chance each time" idea above count as 'presented for consideration'?

(It was straight off the top of my head, but seems to hold up under scrutiny - probably only down to 5%, the standard minimum, though).

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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I beg to differ. "Magic numbers" seem arbitrary to me. The 30% breaks are like D&D-style multiple attacks, gained at certain levels just because they're listed on a table. Yuk.

On the contrary, actually - if you bother to consider the mathematical framework they operate within, 30 point penalties make a lot of sense. The "break points" fall in good positions (91+ skill to get 4, 120+ to get 5) for typical skill ranges but aren't too frequent, are generally easier for players to calculate on the fly and remain linear, unlike halving, which isn't linear, rapidly and sharply penalise subsequent defences and are generally harder to calculate on the fly...

Regards,

Nick

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Why isn't the 5% magic number inelegant and arbitrary, I wonder?

Of course it is too, but we're already stuck with that one. No sense in exacerbating the problem though.

...bother to...
Oy! Stop that.

The same case could be made for other percentages, I'm sure. 25%-breaks frex, which better match the standard BGB skill ratings (Neophyte, Amateur, Professional, etc). So 30% is arbitrary. Even players don't have too much trouble with halving. No need to be linear that I can see. Not clear what you mean by 'rapidly & sharply penalise subsequent defences', but I reckon the calculation is probably easier, given you only have to remember how many parries you've had (and halve that many times).

I guess people feel the number of extra parries gained is about right with 30% breaks. So next I'll see how the Halving method numbers compare...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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You guys can understand Frogspawner? Don't you know he only speaks gibberish and writes gobbledegook?;)

The gibberish is reserved for frogs, as per the fuller quote: "Frogspawner usually only speaks gibberish to his frogs, ...". As to the gobbledegook - you have no evidence I can write at all, so there!

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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OK, as promised, a comparison of numbers/chances of extra parries gained by each method (-30% Chunks v Half Chance)...

Skill 25%: Chunks - None; Halves - 12%, 6%. (0 v 2)

Skill 50%: Chunks - 20%; Halves - 25%, 12%, 6%. (1 v 3)

Skill 75%: Chunks - 45%, 15%; Halves - 37%, 18%, 9%. (2 v 3)

Skill 100%: Chunks - 70%, 40%, 10%; Halves - 50%, 25%, 12%, 6%. (3 v 4)

Skill 125%: Chunks - 95%, 65%, 35%, 5%; Halves - 62%, 31%, 15%, 7%. (4 v 4)

Looks to me like the chances are quite similar. But Halving gives a greater number of extra parries (until high %).

The underlying problem is the unfairness of having no chance to parry multiple attacks after the first. However, it's apparent that the "-30% chunks" method doesn't solve that at all for skills up to 30%, only partially (just 1 more parry) up to 60%, and still not as fully as the alternative up to 120%. Therefore the "Halving" method seems to me to be a better solution all round.

PS: And no "levels"-style quantization, either! :-)

Edited by frogspawner
PS

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Errol Flyn, Rapier Skill 184%: Chunks - 154%, 124%, 94%, 64%, 34%, 4%; Halving 92%, 46%, 23%, 12%, 6%, 3%. The former is linear, the latter is exponential.

Also note that the original intent of the halving / doubling rule (from one of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper's Companions) was that they be applied ONCE, not repeatedly. That is, make an overall assessment of ALL factors that apply and then either halve (because it's HARD) or double (because its EASY); not halve it for this reason, double it for that, then halve it for the other reason and halve again for that additional dis-benefit.

The flat penalty per defense (originally IIRC only available to masters i.e. skill 90+) was explicitly designed so that high skill combatants against low skill opponents have a substantial advantage, which halving reduces significantly (third defense for Errol RAW is 124% - with halving its 46%; fourth defense is 94% vs 23%).

Its BRP, it'll forgive most changes - but Elric! (now Magic World) and the BRP BGB are the two most considered and polished iterations of it Chaosium have ever produced and the numbers in the system were arrived at after substantial testing to deliver a consciously chosen result. Some debatable and ill-defined notion of "elegance" seems a poor reason to change something that already works well.

And the last time I checked the general consensus and majority of evidence was that division is the basic arithmetic operation people find hardest / most time consuming: which certainly corroborates my experience in nearly 35 years of running and playing BRP games.

Regards,

Nick

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Consensus would have us all playing D&D. Or, a wider form, not playing any RPG at all. In fact that would probably be best for... Public Safety. No telling what dangerous subversive ideas might occur to the citizens otherwise. You are quite right to brutally crush any dissent, Comrade Middleton.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Consensus would have us all playing D&D.Or, a wider form, not playing any RPG at all. In fact that would probably be best for... Public Safety. No telling what dangerous subversive ideas might occur to the citizens otherwise. You are quite right to brutally crush any dissent, Comrade Middleton.

So, explaining the terms I used; explaining the original rules contexts of the specific rules we are discussing (including highlighting some subtle features you appeared to have missed); pointing out the work that had gone into developing these rules; querying the exact criteria the change you were proposing is supposed to satisfy; explaining that I believe there is a large body of evidence supporting the assertion that division is more "difficult" than subtraction... This is "crushing dissent" is it?

Here's the thing: one could easily justify using the halving rule more generally iff the exponential decay rate was what one wanted - and in some cases I can absolutely see that being the case. In part the arête rules I've done for Magic Wold I use the exponential decay as a deliberate design choice: but simply saying "it looks like another unrelated bit of the rules" doesn't strike me as a compelling reason to do so. Especially when your previous statements suggested you didn't see any significant differences between the two methods of successively reducing the defenders skill.

People disagreeing with you is not "crushing dissent", nor is suggesting that revising rules needs a somewhat more robust and quantified criteria than "frogspawner thinks it should be different".

Cheers,

Nick

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