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Paul_Va

Rules Questions for a Neophyte

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I'm working my way through the Basic Roleplaying rulebook, and I have some questions. I just finished reading the chapters on "System" and "Combat," and some things struck me as very odd.

First, if I understand the initiative system correctly, it seems that characters can only either move or attack, not both. Furthermore, if they choose to move, they act at a later time in the combat round due to their DEX rank being lowered. This seems like it could really take some effort to track such dynamic DEX ranks, especially if more than one character is taking DEX modified actions. Furthermore, it seems odd they couldn't move and take an action since the combat rounds actually represent a larger amount of time (12 seconds) than in most other RPGs.

Secondly, from what I've read, it seems that the only time a character can take multiple actions in a round is if the GM has either implemented the optional rule that allows skill points to rise above 100%, or if his character is using a firearm with a rate of fire. Moreover, in those special cases, the added action will occur at a later point in the round due to a lowered DEX rank. Again, isn't this kind of dynamic initiative difficult to track during play? I've always found initiative to be somewhat cumbersome even when it's static in games such as Pathfinder and Savage Worlds.

Lastly, I don't understand the function of the "Statement" phase in the combat round. I don't see what benefit this grants, and it seems to me that it would interrupt the flow of the encounter terribly.

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I'm working my way through the Basic Roleplaying rulebook, and I have some questions. I just finished reading the chapters on "System" and "Combat," and some things struck me as very odd.

First, if I understand the initiative system correctly, it seems that characters can only either move or attack, not both. Furthermore, if they choose to move, they act at a later time in the combat round due to their DEX rank being lowered. This seems like it could really take some effort to track such dynamic DEX ranks, especially if more than one character is taking DEX modified actions. Furthermore, it seems odd they couldn't move and take an action since the combat rounds actually represent a larger amount of time (12 seconds) than in most other RPGs.

No, you may move your full MOV in lieu of any other action such as attack, skill or spell use. This occurs on your DEX rank. You may choose to move a portion of your MOV and perform another action if you have a high enough DEX that allows you to act multiple times in a round, but the action suffers a penalty to the skill used as well as occuring DEX-5 ranks later.

Secondly, from what I've read, it seems that the only time a character can take multiple actions in a round is if the GM has either implemented the optional rule that allows skill points to rise above 100%, or if his character is using a firearm with a rate of fire. Moreover, in those special cases, the added action will occur at a later point in the round due to a lowered DEX rank. Again, isn't this kind of dynamic initiative difficult to track during play? I've always found initiative to be somewhat cumbersome even when it's static in games such as Pathfinder and Savage Worlds.

The number of actions are based on DEX. You can choose to make multiple actions at DEX -5, DEX -10, and so on. Each action gets the DEX rank penalty, and subsequent penalty to the roll. For combat, either you can have two weapons and attack twice (missile weapons and firearms have their own rates of fire/shots per round), or you can use the optional skills over 100 to attack multiple times with the same weapon. Note, parrying and dodging are free actions.

Lastly, I don't understand the function of the "Statement" phase in the combat round. I don't see what benefit this grants, and it seems to me that it would interrupt the flow of the encounter terribly.

The Statement phase is used for tactical decisions. You announce your "action" for the round in reverse DEX rank order, to reflect the characters with better reaction times (higher DEX) ability to read the slower characters and adjust. One can dispense with it and just announce as you go, but this penalizes the quicker characters somewhat, and hands an advantage to slower ones.

Ian

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No, you may move your full MOV in lieu of any other action such as attack, skill or spell use. This occurs on your DEX rank. You may choose to move a portion of your MOV and perform another action if you have a high enough DEX that allows you to act multiple times in a round, but the action suffers a penalty to the skill used as well as occuring DEX-5 ranks later.

Where is this rule? I'm asking because it seems to contradict what it says on p. 190 under Combat Actions, where it says the following:

During a combat round your character can perform any one of the following actions on his or her DEX rank: move, attack, non-combat action, disengage from combat.

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Lastly, I don't understand the function of the "Statement" phase in the combat round. I don't see what benefit this grants, and it seems to me that it would interrupt the flow of the encounter terribly.

On the contrary, if used correctly the Statement of Intent phase speeds up combat because it prevents "tactical thinking". Strange as it may sound, players waste more time thinking before declaring their action if they can do it immediately before doing it. The fact that you are not aware of the exact tactical situation - including the position of opponents - at the DEX rank when you will actually act forces you to choose instinctively, like you would in a real fight. Once it is their turn, players must do what they have stated, and not pick the exact square that will give them the best combination of bonuses or avoid opponent reaction, using up to twenty minutes to think tactically.

If you compare a round of BRP with a round of D&D, where you use initiative but decide everything on the spot, you will see that the BRP round flows more smoothly. You just needs a GM who knows he must enforce the "you do what you declared, no matter what" rule very strictly.

Also, be aware that dropping the statement of intent phase - as BRP has no attack of opportunity rule - will allow quick fighters to walk around slower ones and attack undefended targets - or hit the "self destruct" button - without any opposition.

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On the contrary, if used correctly the Statement of Intent phase speeds up combat because it prevents "tactical thinking". Strange as it may sound, players waste more time thinking before declaring their action if they can do it immediately before doing it. The fact that you are not aware of the exact tactical situation - including the position of opponents - at the DEX rank when you will actually act forces you to choose instinctively, like you would in a real fight. Once it is their turn, players must do what they have stated, and not pick the exact square that will give them the best combination of bonuses or avoid opponent reaction, using up to twenty minutes to think tactically.

If you compare a round of BRP with a round of D&D, where you use initiative but decide everything on the spot, you will see that the BRP round flows more smoothly. You just needs a GM who knows he must enforce the "you do what you declared, no matter what" rule very strictly.

OK, well I'll definitely give it a fair try and see how it works for my gaming group.

Also, be aware that dropping the statement of intent phase - as BRP has no attack of opportunity rule - will allow quick fighters to walk around slower ones and attack undefended targets - or hit the "self destruct" button - without any opposition.

I'm still confused about this because in the Basic Roleplaying core rulebook, it says that characters who are engaged in combat cannot move more than 5 meters and take an action. If they want to move their full amount, they have to disengage from combat, and it lists specific rules for how this is accomplished (I'm not at home with my book in hand, so I can't give the page number). Am I misunderstanding something? I fear I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage because I never played Runequest or Call of Cthulhu, so some of these rules are very new to me.

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Where is this rule? I'm asking because it seems to contradict what it says on p. 190 under Combat Actions, where it says the following:

No, it doesn't. You may do only one thing on your DEX rank. However, if you have a high enough DEX, you may have "multiple" DEX ranks (DEX -5, DEX -10, etc.) However, multiple actions in a round are penalized.

Ian

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No, it doesn't. You may do only one thing on your DEX rank. However, if you have a high enough DEX, you may have "multiple" DEX ranks (DEX -5, DEX -10, etc.) However, multiple actions in a round are penalized.

Ian

Strictly speaking, Paul is correct (that is what it says on page 190) - however Paul, re-read that section, paying close attention to the example.

My character of DEX14 with hand axe 75% can attack ONCE in a round (weapon can only attack more than once if skill exceeds 100, which it doesn't), but can take THREE actions (at DEX 14, 9 and 4, subject to the affect of choosing a move as one of those) as they have sufficient DEX. On any of thos DEX ranks they can ONLY perform ONE action (they can either attack OR move on DEX14, not both).

Cheers,

Nick

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Strictly speaking, Paul is correct (that is what it says on page 190) - however Paul, re-read that section, paying close attention to the example.

My character of DEX14 with hand axe 75% can attack ONCE in a round (weapon can only attack more than once if skill exceeds 100, which it doesn't), but can take THREE actions (at DEX 14, 9 and 4, subject to the affect of choosing a move as one of those) as they have sufficient DEX. On any of thos DEX ranks they can ONLY perform ONE action (they can either attack OR move on DEX14, not both).

Cheers,

Nick

Sorry - perhaps I should have been more clear. It doesn't contradict what is written on page 190. You may only perform one action on your DEX rank. However, you may have multiple DEX ranks.

Ian

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I see. Thank you for explaining this everyone. So, if I understand correctly, you can perform an action for every 5 DEX you have? So, if you have 16 DEX, does that mean you can attack twice and move once?

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I see. Thank you for explaining this everyone. So, if I understand correctly, you can perform an action for every 5 DEX you have? So, if you have 16 DEX, does that mean you can attack twice and move once?

With a single weapon you can only attack once, unless your skill is over 100% with that weapon. You could punch, kick, etc though.

SDLeary

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I'm still confused about this because in the Basic Roleplaying core rulebook, it says that characters who are engaged in combat cannot move more than 5 meters and take an action. If they want to move their full amount, they have to disengage from combat, and it lists specific rules for how this is accomplished (I'm not at home with my book in hand, so I can't give the page number). Am I misunderstanding something? I fear I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage because I never played Runequest or Call of Cthulhu, so some of these rules are very new to me.

Yes, but what if Assassin A is not engaged in melee at start of round, and he is quicker than Guard G? on his DEX rank he can move around Guard G and attack Beautiful Princess B without the guard retaliating as his DEX rank is lower. So the game is all about making sure that Guard G moves first and engages Assassin A so that he cannot move freely - in other words, it is the mechanics of the rule that drives action

With Statement of Intent, it is enough for Guard G to state "I screen Princess B from Assassin A and if he comes close I attack", and this is what happens. No "tactical thinking" about "the best route in order to avoid engagement by the pesky guard" (as in That Other Game version 3.x). DEX rank determines who rolls first, but it is INTENTION (i.e. what your character WISHES to do, as in "roleplaying his/her priorities") that drives action, not tactical rules.

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First, if I understand the initiative system correctly, it seems... like it could really take some effort to track such dynamic DEX ranks... it seems... "Statement" phase... would interrupt the flow...

Yeah, it's poop. Me, I dump the lot and use a bare-bones variant of D&D 3.x initiative. More fun, less brain-strain. <Cue purists to slam me... Rosen?>

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This seems like it could really take some effort to track such dynamic DEX ranks, especially if more than one character is taking DEX modified actions.

I agree, by the way. I drop the Statement of Intent and just call out Dex ranks (or INT ranks if people are using magic). I also just bundle everything up into the Dex ranking. If you are drawing a weapon, moving and attacking and you have a DEX 16 than your movements take place at DEX rank 16. If you split your attacks too, they both happen at DEX rank 16. That's what having a Dexterity of 16 means in my games.

Then I have something kind of based on the Careful Aim rules called Holding and Rushing actions. Holding an action means that for every Dex rank you wait before taking your action, you get a bonus of 2%. So if you hold for 5 Dex ranks you get a 10% bonus to your skill. When Rushing, you act quickly at the expense of your skill. For every 1 Dex rank you act before your actual Dex rank you get a -5% bonus. A character with a DEX 16 who Rushes to act on Dex rank 18 gets a -10% bonus.

It's a system that I don't have to think much about and works well enough. :D

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Yeah, it's poop. Me, I dump the lot and use a bare-bones variant of D&D 3.x initiative. More fun, less brain-strain. <Cue purists to slam me... Rosen?>

We understood several years ago that you play your own variant of the rules. So nothing you write here can surprise or upset anyone. What still puzzles me (and not only me, I suppose) is how much effort you put into persuading authors to "officialize" rules that suit your taste, given that you seem to use NO official rule at all :)

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I see. Thank you for explaining this everyone. So, if I understand correctly, you can perform an action for every 5 DEX you have? So, if you have 16 DEX, does that mean you can attack twice and move once?

Base rules with no options - you can perform one action for every 5 whole DEX ranks, so with a DEX 16, you get an action at DEX 16, DEX 11, DEX 6 and DEX 1. Again, with base rules, you can only attack once per combat round, or you may take your full MOV without any other actions. You may take a partial move and attack in the same round, as well as take any other non attack/non move action such as skill use.

With various optional rules, you may attack more than once.

Ian

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The number of actions are based on DEX. You can choose to make multiple actions at DEX -5, DEX -10, and so on. Each action gets the DEX rank penalty, and subsequent penalty to the roll. For combat, either you can have two weapons and attack twice (missile weapons and firearms have their own rates of fire/shots per round), or you can use the optional skills over 100 to attack multiple times with the same weapon. Note, parrying and dodging are free actions.

and

With a single weapon you can only attack once, unless your skill is over 100% with that weapon. You could punch, kick, etc though.

:?

I still don't see that the rules as stated in the book, will allow for multiple attacks unless the GM has implemented the "Attacks and Parries over 100%" rule. On p. 190 in the second paragraph it states, "if your character can perform more than one action in a round (some weapons allow for multiple attacks, and combat skill levels in excess of 100% also allow multiple attacks), each attack should be separated by 5 DEX ranks." While this does clarify the issue of when these actions occur, starting at full DEX and at a -5 DEX rank for subsequent actions, it seems to imply that most characters cannot attack more than once in a round. Furthermore, on p. 198 in the "Combat in Different Genres" optional rules box in the "Attacks and Parries Over 100%" section, it states, "The gamemaster may choose to allow your character to have skills in excess of 100%. While this might seem like overkill, [...] it allows for greater chances of critical results, special successes, and allows for multiple attacks in a round." Again this seems to imply that characters can only attack once in a round unless the character has a weapon that allows multiple attacks, which would all be taken at subsequently reduced DEX ranks, or the GM has implemented the Attacks and Parries over 100% rule, and the character has a weapon skill over 100%.

Lastly, in the chapter on "Spot Rules" on p. 233 under "Two Weapons," it says the following:

  • Using two weapons in combat does not automatically grant a second attack, or more parries than are normally allowed.

  • If
    your character has a skill of 100% or more in each weapon used, he or she can split the attack as per the optional rules for skills over 100%... . In this case, each attack is considered
    Difficult
    , with the other attack for each weapon ignored.

This also seems to indicate that barring weapons that grant multiple attacks or the "Attacks and Parries over 100%" rule, characters only get a single attack per round. Am I wrong?

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What still puzzles me (and not only me, I suppose) is how much effort you put into persuading authors to "officialize" rules that suit your taste, given that you seem to use NO official rule at all

Not bothered about "official", but I will always strive for the best.

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Hello,

Ive been following this thread and agree completely with previous post. The rules on pg 233 are very clear on this, only 1 attack per round unless being 100+ in the weapon skill/skills, regardless if u are using one or two weapons. Weapons with rate of fire are the exception. This is how I play it, and I wouldn like it if all of my players would attack with a 1h sword, followed by a punch 5 DEX ranks later and then a head butt at DEX-10 :)

Hasse

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I somewhat wish my reading of the rules was wrong, however, because 12 seconds is a long time for a character to only take a single combat action. I think that is part of the reason I was confused. From any kind of simulationist perspective, this doesn't make much sense. It's as if the character swings his sword and then just stands there and stares at the enemy for a few moments before doing something else. Moreover, even if the gamemaster implements Attacks and Parries over 100%, it will be a long time before any of the PCs have attack skills over 100%, particularly if the GM caps new skills at 75% as the book suggests. I may have to give some of the optional rulesets a more careful going over before deciding which version I like best.

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I somewhat wish my reading of the rules was wrong, however, because 12 seconds is a long time for a character to only take a single combat action. I think that is part of the reason I was confused. From any kind of simulationist perspective, this doesn't make much sense. It's as if the character swings his sword and then just stands there and stares at the enemy for a few moments before doing something else. Moreover, even if the gamemaster implements Attacks and Parries over 100%, it will be a long time before any of the PCs have attack skills over 100%, particularly if the GM caps new skills at 75% as the book suggests. I may have to give some of the optional rulesets a more careful going over before deciding which version I like best.

For starters, a single combat action in a round does not mean what you think it means. Basically, as in almost every other RPG, a combat round involves a lot of jockeying for position, probing for openings, defensive posturing, etc. The actual roll represents an opportunity/opening has been made, now let's see what you can do with it. It is not "swings his sword and then just stands there and stares at the enemy for a few moments before doing something else."

Having attack skills rise above 100% represents becoming masterful at the weapon, which allows the splitting of attacks. In Stormbringer 1st through 4th, skills were capped at 100% (unless sorcery was involved), and mastery was achieved when attack and parry were above 90% (this is where the separate attack/parry option comes from, older editions of Stormbringer and RuneQuest). In the old Stormbringer, you gave your left hand separate attack and parry skills, so you could have Broadsword (RH) attack 95% parry 95% and Broadsword (LH) attack 90% defense 90%. This allowed you to make two separate attacks in addition to the free ripostes (which you could only get as a master). In Elric! and Stormbringer 5th, where skills over 100% became the norm, I believe if you had two weapons, you could attack twice as long as you had a high enough DEX. I'll have to check to be sure.

Ian

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has anyone looked at the Combat Example in the BRP Quickstart rules? It doesnt use the -5 DEX action rules at all. Characters move and attack on their DEX ranks. Call of Cthulhu does things that way as well, with a few tweeks, such as ready to fire firearms going first regardless of the weilders DEX rank. My group was used to CoC so when we started using BRP to play diffrent genres we kept certain things the same, DEX rank was one of them, we never used the -5 DEX action rule or statements of intent. Since CoC Movement's description was vague and movement in combat was never discussed we made up our own rules. A character could move up to half his movement rate and still perform an attack or action...anything more than that and he cannot attack/act. If something didnt make narrative sense the GM(me) just disallowed it. "no you cant run around that gaurd and stab the princess, you can try but the gaurd gets to attack as you run by....etc" having a higher DEX makes the character faster and more agile, it doesnt make him superman......unless he has DEX 40 or something....then i guess it does.

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What good Vagabond said. Adding that two weapons in SB5 and Elric! doesn't give you two attacks, I believe, but allows for a Riposte should certain criteria be met. The Riposte rules did not make it in to the Big Gold Book though.

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If something didnt make narrative sense the GM(me) just disallowed it. "no you cant run around that gaurd and stab the princess, you can try but the gaurd gets to attack as you run by....etc" having a higher DEX makes the character faster and more agile, it doesnt make him superman......unless he has DEX 40 or something....then i guess it does.

This too. Also, if a PC says that they want to try something and I (as GM) think it really cool I'll tend to give them a bonus to pull it off.

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I somewhat wish my reading of the rules was wrong, however, because 12 seconds is a long time for a character to only take a single combat action.

Gosh, the same old problem we had back in the days of AD&D minute-long rounds! No worries, just say your rounds are 2 seconds (or whatever).

Don't get hung-up on the rules - do what's right. :)

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