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Ringworld Impluse system


SDLeary

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Hey all. I have a lot of time on my hands these days, so I've been pulling things off the shelf that I haven't looked at in some time. This week, I came to Ringworld.

The Impulse system always interested me as a counterpoint to the Strike Ranks from RQ. Back in the day I only played in a short campaign that used Ringworld, and in the few combats that I remember, it didn't seem too cumbersome, but I've heard this as a complaint. Anyone with more experience in this like to comment? It certainly seems to fit firefights a bit better, and melee seems a wash, based on my reading.

Also, has anyone done anything with the Root/Branch skills system? The Root Maximum seems somewhat broken, but how could this be done another way? Obviously under current BRP you could simply start a related advanced aspect of a skill at X% (half current skill?) and call it a day. If you do this, would you simply say that someone who has specialized wins in a contest where both are successful? Impose success based on differences in Levels of Success?

Thanks!

SDLeary

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Hello SD Leary. I found the article, Expert Skills by Bo Rosen, in the magazine, Uncounted Worlds, vol 2, to be very interesting. The expert skills rules kind of have the flavor of the Root/Branch skills system without being cumbersome. I replaced the Root/Branch skills system for Expert skills in my Sci-fi games.

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Hello SD Leary. I found the article, Expert Skills by Bo Rosen, in the magazine, Uncounted Worlds, vol 2, to be very interesting. The expert skills rules kind of have the flavor of the Root/Branch skills system without being cumbersome. I replaced the Root/Branch skills system for Expert skills in my Sci-fi games.

Thanks much! I totally missed this. Hit the Stress Rules and sort of stopped! :)

How well do they work in play? Any issues that you have come across?

SDLeary

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If you didn't mind Strike Ranks then Impulses won't seem cumbersome. THe major difference is that rather than resetting every round, you just kept adding in the characters' modifiers and rolling into the next round. My only complaint is that essentially it winds up being all DEX.

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

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If you didn't mind Strike Ranks then Impulses won't seem cumbersome. THe major difference is that rather than resetting every round, you just kept adding in the characters' modifiers and rolling into the next round.

Yes, I remember that. In general though how well did it work with multiple players. It seems to me that it could be something of a management nightmare if more than a couple of players.

My only complaint is that essentially it winds up being all DEX.

That was my other reaction. It seems like the system could be melded quite well with the more traditional Dex ranks.

SDLeary

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Yes, I remember that. In general though how well did it work with multiple players. It seems to me that it could be something of a management nightmare if more than a couple of players.

Not really. I could see a GM doing up a time sheet with 10 rows per round and putting all the PC impulses on gthe sheet in advance. Then adding in the NPCs. Or some sort of speadsheet that automates it.

That was my other reaction. It seems like the system could be melded quite well with the more traditional Dex ranks.

SDLeary

I don't think so. The thing that was nice about the Ringworld system was that those with higher DEX scores acted faster and got more actions in over a period of time. The "traditional DEX ranks system," (ironic name, since it isn't traditional, but new to BRP) lets those with a higher DEX act first, but doesn't let them get in more actions, or factor in for reach, weapon use or much else.

One thing that I liked about Strike Ranks and Impulses is that a guy with a pistol will most likely shoot a guy wielding a melee weapon before he can close, whereas just going by DEX lets someone run 30 meters and slash with a sword before the other guy can pull the trigger.

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

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I haven't had much problems with the expert skill rules. I could see how GM would want to consider carefully How narrowly you want the expert skills to be defined. I am not sure how well it would work in Ring World to create an older character. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

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I personally am not crazy about 'impulse' systems. While I concede that they might be mechanically more realistic, they tend, in my opinion, to lead to 'gun-slinger' characters who completely dominate any combat they're in.

Of course, if you're all right with that outcome...

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I'm not familiar with the Ringworld impulse system. In particular:

  • Is there a random element to a character's first action?
  • Do different types of actions have different costs in impulses?
  • Does combat time consist solely of impulses? Or are there also rounds which sync everyone back to 0?
  • Does the scale of character impulse bonuses dwarf other impulse costs? Is there a huge disparity between DEX 8 and DEX 18?

For example, Aces and Eights has a gunfighting system in which every character has a Speed modifier in the range of -3 to +3, with smaller being better. At the beginning of combat everyone rolls a d10 Initiative die and adds their Speed; that's the first number in the Count Up in which the character can act. Each action adds to the Count in which one can act, from Firing a Cocked Weapon (1) through Aiming (4) to Loading a Pistol (10). (in advanced rules, movement also takes up Count.) Note that characters only add their speed once, not for every action. The first shot can decide the whole battle, but over time cocking, aiming, and reload times dominate. Pistols have less accuracy and damage than rifles, but they're faster to cock than rifles or shotguns.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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I'm not familiar with the Ringworld impulse system. In particular:

[*] Is there a random element to a character's first action?

Not that I recall. It's like Strike Ranks.

[*] Do different types of actions have different costs in impulses?

Somewhat. It's kinda like (wait for it) Strike Ranks. The delay between actions is usually the same, but can be adjusted, depending on what you are doing.

[*] Does combat time consist solely of impulses? Or are there also rounds which sync everyone back to 0?

There are rounds, but you don't sync back to zero. Your action roll over into the next round. It's kinda nice because if your character was just about to finish something but ran out of Impulses, he gets it early in the next round.

[*] Does the scale of character impulse bonuses dwarf other impulse costs? Is there a huge disparity between DEX 8 and DEX 18?

There is a disparity, but it isn't huge. I think it's about a 2 point difference between 8 and 18.

What makes it important isn't that the DEX modifier is greater than the other factors, but that the other factors only count for the initial action. Frankly, I think I'd rather try to use the SR rules and just let actions roll over into the next turn. .

For example, Aces and Eights has a gunfighting system in which every character has a Speed modifier in the range of -3 to +3, with smaller being better. At the beginning of combat everyone rolls a d10 Initiative die and adds their Speed; that's the first number in the Count Up in which the character can act. Each action adds to the Count in which one can act, from Firing a Cocked Weapon (1) through Aiming (4) to Loading a Pistol (10). (in advanced rules, movement also takes up Count.) Note that characters only add their speed once, not for every action. The first shot can decide the whole battle, but over time cocking, aiming, and reload times dominate. Pistols have less accuracy and damage than rifles, but they're faster to cock than rifles or shotguns.

The Impulse system in Ringworld, if I remember it correctly (it's been years since I've read through those rules) is mostly like the SR system, except that the stat based values are bigger, and the "strike ranks" roll over into the next round. You get to act again something like each DEX SR. So someone might act on Impulse 7, Impulse 12 (i.e. Impulse 2 of the next turn), Impulse `7 (i.e Impulse 7 of the second turn), Impulse 22 (i.e Impulse 2 of the third turn) and so on.

Edited by Atgxtg

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

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E-GADS Atgxtg, what did you do to that last post?! Looks odd on both Safari and Chrome.

Anyway, back to Impluses.

Yes, its somewhat like the Strike Rank system. You have an Action Ranking, from 7 down to 1. Lower DEXs have a higher Action Rank, like an expand DEX SR listing. During Melee, Impulses are counted up starting at 1.

You also have Major and Minor action types. Major Actions are melee combat, drawing or putting away a weapon, aiming a missile weapon, using perception based skills, getting up after being knocked down, etc. Minor are things like firing of a ranged weapon, falling, rising from a kneeling position (these are really the only three they seem to show; no list of action types that I can find).

So, if you have a DEX of 13-16, you have an Action Rank of 4. A character who needs to draw their weapon would start on Impulse 1, and finish on 4. To Aim your missile weapon, you add another 4 Impulses. Pulling the trigger or releasing is a Minor Action, so you now add 1. The character would shoot on Impulse 9 in this instance. If they are using a firearm and wish to continue shooting at the same target, they could pull the trigger again on Impulse 10, 11, 12... and so on until their weapon was depleted. A bow would need to be reloaded, so after firing would add another 4 impulses.

Because of the nature or Ringworld, only minimal attention is paid to Melee combat, so its unclear if there would be any other variables in this system.

SDLeary

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If they are using a firearm and wish to continue shooting at the same target, they could pull the trigger again on Impulse 10, 11, 12... and so on until their weapon was depleted. A bow would need to be reloaded, so after firing would add another 4 impulses.

Notably in Aces & Eights each subsequent shot takes extra Counts based on the type of firearm: 5 for pistols, 10 for a rifle, 14 for a shotgun. (You can shave Count off the latter two by not aiming.) Then again, these are 19th century firearms. Ringworld guns IIRC are lasers with no recoil and no cocking needed.

BTW, I'm working off "Showdown", a 56-page extract from the rest of the rules. Notably, it doesn't list reload times for bows, cost of swinging an axe or club, etc. I haven't read the full Player's Book yet, so the rules might differ a bit in the full system.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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Notably in Aces & Eights each subsequent shot takes extra Counts based on the type of firearm: 5 for pistols, 10 for a rifle, 14 for a shotgun. (You can shave Count off the latter two by not aiming.) Then again, these are 19th century firearms. Ringworld guns IIRC are lasers with no recoil and no cocking needed.

Exactly. If using this in other genres you would have to come up with Impulse times for differing weapons. Semi-Auto, RAW. Bolt or Lever a penalty of 1 impulse... etc.

SDLeary

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E-GADS Atgxtg, what did you do to that last post?! Looks odd on both Safari and Chrome.

I don't know. Sorry. It looked horrible on my preferred browser (Opera) too, but I thought it just looked that way on my computer.

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

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I don't know. Sorry. It looked horrible on my preferred browser (Opera) too, but I thought it just looked that way on my computer.

It looks as though you have a hanging [ /LIST] tag, which somehow seems to make the rest of the post transparent.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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It looks as though you have a hanging [ /LIST] tag, which somehow seems to make the rest of the post transparent.

Yup, I got rid of the list and the background returned!

Now, how the list made it transparent is a mystery. Maybe something about have a quote within a list?

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

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But, on the good side, you have found out how to make transparent postings,

I don't know if I can reproduce it.

which can only be a god thing.

Is that a typo, or have you promoted me to deity status? Let me know before I figure out my rune associations and special divine magic spells.;D

Now if I could only make some other people's postings transparent....:P

Edited by Atgxtg

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

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