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levels of success


TheophilusCarter

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So, just to name a couple of examples, and I think most BRP games fall into these two camps:

 

The BGB does critical > special > success > failure > fumble; criticals are 1/20 the chance of success.

Legend skips the special and just does critical > success > failure > fumble; criticals are 1/10 the chance of success.

 

Preferences?  Pros and cons?  I'm especially thinking in terms of melee combat, attacks rolls v. parry or dodge.  Does one way or the other speed up or slow down combat?  What are your experiences with all that?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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From a player perspective, I have no problem with it either way. However from a game designer perspective, I kind of like having just two levels of success to go with the two levels of failure. It just seems more balanced. But for the most part, I don't have a problem when "playing" using either system.

 

Edit: Also, with Legend/RQ6, multiple levels of success are handled differently then first appears, You have to also take into account that with Special Effects being directly related to the difference between skill rolls, its possible to get as many as three different Special Effects on your opponent. So if you get a Crit and your opponent Fumbles their roll, you could choose three different Special Effects. Impale, Choose Location, and Bypass Armor is just one nasty example.

 

Rod

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I prefer multiple levels of success both as a player and as a designer.

 

Pros & Cons? 

Well more degrees of success allow for more variation in the outcome. It's also handed if you use any sort of "extended" tasks that would require multiple rolls- such as a race. 

More degrees of success may or may not slow down combat, depending on the mathematical acumen of the players, and if they write down the crtical/special/fumble ranges on their sheets. I can do crtit, special and fumble chances in my head pretty quickly so it's not an issue. But some people have problems doing the math. So I supposed it would depend on your players. 

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

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I'm with Atgxtg.

Whenever a player is required to make a roll, as a chronicler I always ask for their skill rating before and can figure it out in my head before the bones hit the table.

It's a dangerous game so having multiple success possibilities doesn't bother me in the least. And the players surre get big smiles from even special successes. Smiles =fun.

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Simpler is better for me, I prefer the Legend method. Threedeesix mentioned the other reason I like Legend/RQ6, the special effects table. That got me thinking about the non combat skills, why not have special effects for those too.

If you create it I'll download it. :)

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One thing I has considered was adding more levels of success! The James Bond RPG was %-based, and did just that. The numbers were easy to do in your head, too. The best results were 1/10th os skill, the next best 1/5th, then 1/2, then full skill. Pretty much every thing in the game used the Quality Ratings (success levels) to determine the result. 

 

One of the things I liked about it, in comparison to BR, is that the damage inflicted by a weapon was tied heavily to the Quality Rating (success level) of the attack roll. That allowed for small weapons to be consistently lethal in the hands of an expert, and big weapons could inflict minor damage on a marginal result. That made damage a little less random, and tied better to the success level. Critical hits and specials couldn't wimp out with a low damage roll. 

 

I've considered trying something similar in BRP. Say halve the damage die for weapons and just add another die per success level -either as the defualt or as one of the specials for RQ6 type system.. 

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

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[...] damage inflicted by a weapon was tied heavily to the Quality Rating (success level) of the attack roll. That allowed for small weapons to be consistently lethal in the hands of an expert, and big weapons could inflict minor damage on a marginal result.

That sounds very interesting. One of the most oft-qoted truisms I used to hear in the gun world was that calibre didn't matter nearly as much as shot placement (i.e. weapon size vs. skill). I must peruse that book again.

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That sounds very interesting. One of the most oft-qoted truisms I used to hear in the gun world was that calibre didn't matter nearly as much as shot placement (i.e. weapon size vs. skill). I must peruse that book again.

Yeah, the BOND RPG was one of the few where that held true. Probably because in the books, Bond prefers a .25 caliber Beretta, -which is just about the weakest firearm available. So in the RPG the Beretta in Bond's hands is usually deadlier that a .44 magnum  is in the hands of a novice. Not only will Bond hit more often, but he is going to have much better shot placement. It would be pretty neat to port over the idea to BRP. 

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

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Yeah, the BOND RPG was one of the few where that held true. Probably because in the books, Bond prefers a .25 caliber Beretta, -which is just about the weakest firearm available. So in the RPG the Beretta in Bond's hands is usually deadlier that a .44 magnum  is in the hands of a novice. Not only will Bond hit more often, but he is going to have much better shot placement. It would be pretty neat to port over the idea to BRP. 

This could be handled pretty simply using the rules suggestions from the Pathfinder thread.  Characters could sacrifice 5% of their chance to hit, in order to increase their base damage by +1.  So Bond shooting with a pistol that does 1D8 damage, uses 20% or his skill for damage, his pistol will end up doing 5-8 points of damage per hit.

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All great ideas listed above. The idea from Pathfinder is not bad, but the way the James Bond game handled was were very cool.

 

However if you were wanting to create a mechanic that is in keeping with the current BRP rules then perhaps looking at the Arete options are the way to go. That's the only mechanic I can find (beyond the success levels) that rewards exceptional ability in a skill.

 

New mechanics are certainly fine, but the home rules I tend to import to my games these days are ones that are extensions of pre-existing published rules. Otherwise I run the risk of new mechanics unwittingly tripping over other mechanics, sometimes with quite unforseen results.

 

That said, I'll be watching this thread with keen interest.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I use an extra level of success (as below) and it has been, ummm, quite successful

Fumble-Fail-normal success-good success (below 1/2 skill but above 1/5 skill)-special-critical success

We use it both for combat and non-combat, one advantage is that for contested rolls much of the time the contestants get different results so there is no need for another mechanic

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That got me thinking about the non combat skills, why not have special effects for those too.

You're certainly welcome to try, but I think it'll be quite a tough job for several reasons, and, perhaps, not really a necessary one. Here's why.

 

1. If you read the skill descriptions (page 57 onwards) you'll see that each has the Critical, Success and Fumble consequences outlined. These tend to generate their own kinds of special effects anyway, so a separate system isn't necessarily that important.

 

2. Special Effects in combat result from differential levels. Non combat skills often don't need a differential comparison (it's just a straight roll, or an opposed roll) - and what I've described in point 1 handles the different success grades very well.

 

​3. Diversity. All the skills are diverse, so you'd need to work out a HUGE list of effects. And the attendant mechanics. Some Special Effects rely on comparing dice results in an opposed roll to see if a particular effect is successful: how would you replicate that if a skill relies on a standard, unopposed, non-differential roll?

 

4. Use the Existing Combat Special Effects and tailor. I do this when running Spirit Combat sometimes, rewording the effect and its consequences to take into account the nature of the contest. You could do this for non-combat contests too. For example, two characters are in a debate using Influence and Willpower. The Influencer scores a critical success and the resister fails the Willpower roll. The Influencer chooses 'Blind' and 'Disarm'. The Blind simulates the Influencer completely dissembling the resister's arguments, and Disarm simulates completely rubbishing the resister's evidence or point of view so that there's no come-back. Not all Special Effects can be used in this way, and some or more useful than others, but there's no reason why you can't port across the SE mechanics for certain situations where effects and consequences would add value.

 

I'm not trying to dissuade you from starting a thread on Special Effects for non-combat skills; I'm simply pointing out that a) it could be a very involved job and B) you actually already have some of the tools in the Combat chapter and all it takes is a little creativity tailored to the circumstances.

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This could be handled pretty simply using the rules suggestions from the Pathfinder thread.  Characters could sacrifice 5% of their chance to hit, in order to increase their base damage by +1.  So Bond shooting with a pistol that does 1D8 damage, uses 20% or his skill for damage, his pistol will end up doing 5-8 points of damage per hit.

Eek! No, that would cause far more problems than it would solve. 

 

First off BRP already suffers from weapon "over-penetration" - that is, some weapons can damage APCs and tanks that really shouldn't be able to. Just trading off skill for damage would just make that even worse. People with high skill rating could trade off skill for damage and carve up a tank with a butter knife. 

 

Secondly, trading off skill for damage would completely alter play at high skill levels. Especially if magic is factored in. Someone at over 100% skill boosted with something like Bladesharp and Fanaticism who trades off skill for damage could be doing 20-30 points of damage on a "average" roll!

 

I think the "Pathfinder Options" should be restricted to D20 games, where characters can end up with dozens of hit points. 

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

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All great ideas listed above. The idea from Pathfinder is not bad, but the way the James Bond game handled was were very cool.

 

However if you were wanting to create a mechanic that is in keeping with the current BRP rules then perhaps looking at the Arete options are the way to go. That's the only mechanic I can find (beyond the success levels) that rewards exceptional ability in a skill.

 

New mechanics are certainly fine, but the home rules I tend to import to my games these days are ones that are extensions of pre-existing published rules. Otherwise I run the risk of new mechanics unwittingly tripping over other mechanics, sometimes with quite unforseen results.

 

That said, I'll be watching this thread with keen interest.

There were also the Ki skills in Land of the Ninja. Basically they let player up their critical chance.

 

Another possibility would be to do what Flashing Blades did. In FB most weapons did only a couple of points of damage (usually 2) on a hit (plus db). But if the attack roll was half the chance of hit or less you added 1D6. This was nice because it allowed for minor nicks and such which armor could prevent, while still allowing for crippling or lethal hit. 

 

Importing any new mechanics runs the risk of tripping over other game mechanics. The BGB is a showroom of various alternate game mechanics that Chaosium came up with over the years - mechanics that are semi-compatible with each other, at best.  

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

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I agree.

BRP is a great game to tinker with, but experience has taught me to leave the core combat system alone. I envison that the authors have playtested the combat mechanics more than any other rules, and I trust their judgement.

Not to say that the combat system cannot be used creatively (such as a re-trapping it for portraying 'social combat', for instance).

However I feel that there are just too many variables that imported combat rules could disrupt in regards to physical combat. Tweaking is fine, but I am reluctant these days to make major combat rules changes.

'Proceed With Caution' is the best advice I can give...

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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Perverting pre-existing alterate rules is the safest way to tweak. For instance the way spells like Truesword used to work is that they let you roll extra damage dice, but you were still capped at the weapon's normal max. Now something like that would be much less disruptive. Somthing like sacrficing 35% to get a +7 and max out sword damage at 9 points would seem a bit better. 

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

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You're certainly welcome to try, but I think it'll be quite a tough job for several reasons, and, perhaps, not really a necessary one. Here's why.

 

1. If you read the skill descriptions (page 57 onwards) you'll see that each has the Critical, Success and Fumble consequences outlined. These tend to generate their own kinds of special effects anyway, so a separate system isn't necessarily that important.

 

2. Special Effects in combat result from differential levels. Non combat skills often don't need a differential comparison (it's just a straight roll, or an opposed roll) - and what I've described in point 1 handles the different success grades very well.

 

​3. Diversity. All the skills are diverse, so you'd need to work out a HUGE list of effects. And the attendant mechanics. Some Special Effects rely on comparing dice results in an opposed roll to see if a particular effect is successful: how would you replicate that if a skill relies on a standard, unopposed, non-differential roll?

 

4. Use the Existing Combat Special Effects and tailor. I do this when running Spirit Combat sometimes, rewording the effect and its consequences to take into account the nature of the contest. You could do this for non-combat contests too. For example, two characters are in a debate using Influence and Willpower. The Influencer scores a critical success and the resister fails the Willpower roll. The Influencer chooses 'Blind' and 'Disarm'. The Blind simulates the Influencer completely dissembling the resister's arguments, and Disarm simulates completely rubbishing the resister's evidence or point of view so that there's no come-back. Not all Special Effects can be used in this way, and some or more useful than others, but there's no reason why you can't port across the SE mechanics for certain situations where effects and consequences would add value.

 

I'm not trying to dissuade you from starting a thread on Special Effects for non-combat skills; I'm simply pointing out that a) it could be a very involved job and B) you actually already have some of the tools in the Combat chapter and all it takes is a little creativity tailored to the circumstances.

 

I'll revisit the Special Effects table in the combat chapter.  Now I'm considering rather than having a table of non-combat Special Effects, I may end up creating a couple of special effects tailored to each skill.  That is a little more work intensive, but I think it would be easier that creating a chart that tries to encompass all skills.  There are the descriptions in the various skills for such circumstances, but I'd like to have some mechanical effects in place that can be used as a guideline for other effects.

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