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Strike Ranks in RQ2 and RQ3


Jeff

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Just continuing a discussion started on G+ (check it out here). 

How do you find that the original RQ2 strike rank rules hold up compared to that of RuneQuest 3? I'm curious not just conceptually, but how easy are they to apply in game? Do players have difficulty understanding them? Are there elements of them that don't make sense to you?

 

 

 

 

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The RQ3 Strike Rank rules always seemed a bit complicated to me. Not really sure why, and my current point of reference is the just BRP core rules so maybe it's just lost a bit in translation. However, on reading through RQ2, these seem pretty straightforward. I'm not really sure there is any real advantage to converting from 12 ranks to 10 either.

I'd stick with the original rules.

 

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I liked the 10 strike ranks in RQ3 much better for some reason. Not sure why.

However I felt that I preferred the way they were presented in RQ2, and I really like the actual RQ2 Strike Rank chart. Again, I'm not sure why.

 

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I found 10 no easier to use than 12, and 12 are much more versatile (especially if you go from 0-12 rather than 1-12). Allows for more variation in combat, without any increase in complexity. Makes weapon choices more meaningful.

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I do think 12 works better than 10.

As for explaining how to use SR, I think that RQ2 over explains it and the explanation in the book does not flow very well. So if going that route, a revamp would definitely be in order. And not just changing words, actually working out the flow of SR  and everything that goes with it so that explanation = desired effect.

Does anyone know why the changes from RQ2 to RQ3 were made in the first place?

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I used RQ3 Strike ranks but with 12 SRs per round, so each SR was 1 second.

For me, it made complete sense, each action takes a set time to complete, creatures with a longer reach can hit earlier, as can quicker creatures. It takes smaller weapons longer to reach the target. Spells take time to work up and cast.

I tended to use RQ3's 3SR gap between actions, rather than RQ2's adding the Weapon SR, as RQ2 could have a very fast troll with a troll maul split attacks at SR1,2,3,4, then sitting around doing nothing for the rest of the round. Better to hit at SR 1,4,7,10

 

Edited by soltakss
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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

I tended to use RQ3's 3SR gap between actions, rather than RQ2's adding the Weapon SR, as RQ2 could have a very fast troll with a troll maul split attacks at SR1,2,3,4, then sitting around doing nothing for the rest of the round. Better to hit at SR 1,4,7,10

 

unless the Troll has >100% with the maul, he is anyway limited to one single hit per MR.

1SR is not 1 second: it is a rank, not a time, or it would have been called a Strike Time :P. 12 or 10, it is not so important. It only depends on how much granularity is requested. You get more with 12.

Jeff, do you intend to keep the SR mechanics for the coming Runequest?

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I had no problem with either, but I preferred the RQ3 version. Like many I'm not sure why.

To put it in perspective though, I've never had an issue with any reaction timing in a game. I was fine with the countdown in Superworld and the Actionranks in Ringworld as well. 

The only action timing that I seem to have an issue with these days is RQ6's, as it feels to me to be a bit less structured and lacks a tempo.

SDLeary

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I played RQ3 almost exclusively for about five or six year. Strike Ranks were a fiddly mechanic that made sense if characters were standing still but if they weren't meant to measure the passage of time then they make even less sense. Take charging for example. If a combatant runs nine meters to stab his opponent with a spear, it doesn't make sense that he spends three strike ranks moving then 6 more strike rank in before his spear tips reaches his opponent. I played them by the book and appreciated the attempt but eventually stopped using them.

While I do fondly remember the authors citing their experience in tourneys at the SCA being justification for the rules, I have since watched many combats both real and mock, with weapons and  without and find them to be a lackluster mechanism for pacing combat. They don't work for me. They add unnecessary math to calculate action times and quite often waste time as the referee rattles off strike ranks where no one is doing anything except still swinging there sword.

It's almost like they predicted bullet time as an entertaining construct in an action sequence, however there's just not enough going on in a round of combat to make SRs fun for anything except watching slow motion action sequence in movies.

Lastly and leastly I often find myself mentally comentating on my actions as if I'm being a referee in my own game. If I fail to do something, i will often state that i failed my skill check. It's a culture reference ingrained in me and I'm sure many of you do the same.

Not so with melee. I haven't been in a fist fight in about five years. In fact, the days of expecting fisticuffs as a matter of course in my day to day are far behind me. Still, I have a hard time performing a mental playback of actual fights in game terms and just prefer a more general mechanic like performing actions in DEX order and working through the list of participants until everyone has resolved their actions. It seems fair and adequately describes the sequence of events I've witnessed or participated in without being overly simulationist.

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Out of the contemporary systems, I really like the stat + stat for skill base chances, and the fact that the skill list has been trimmed. Passions or Personality Traits are a good addition. These are things I would like to see remain in some form in a new edition if possible.

However I don't mind if Combat Order is on the table for review.

The current RQ6 model does work quite well and it is more or less consistent with BRP BGB, except it also takes ENC into consideration as well as weapon length; it was a good revision in itself.

Despite such, there was an interesting flavour to the old Strike Rank model in earlier Chaosium editions of RQ. I really liked that it felt very different to how combat order was calculated in other RPGs.

I would certainly be enthusiastic to see a revised version of the Strike Rank system in the new RQ, and it probably would be good if it can be used with the RQ2 stat block considering the popularity and availability of RQ Classic and the Gloranthan Classics.

I really liked the Strike Rank model from the earlier editions of RQ, however it was a little cumbersome for the GM at times in regards to record keeping, especially if there were a large number of combatants. Not sure if newer audiences will think it's worth the hassle unless some of it can be streamlined.

It will no doubt be a challenging revision,  but I think it could be worthwhile for the new edition.

 

Edited by Mankcam
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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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To stick purely to the question asked: I don't think there's much to choose between RQ2 and RQ3 strike ranks. They have the exact same overall strengths and weaknesses.

  • I personally preferred 12 SRs per round over 10 as it led to slight extra variability. 
  • Didn't like the idea of SR 0 or spells that could take 0 SRs to cast and preferred 1 SR as a minimum.
  • I preferred 3 SR (out of 10) as the default action length rather than 5 out of 12
  • Had no real preference for the exact breakpoints of weapon SR, SIZ SR and DEX SR.

All in all then I had a slight preference for RQ3 but I would say that both iterations are equally viable. 

To go beyond the original question: these days I find RQ2/3 SRs to be an awful lot of fiddling about for relatively little gain in actual play and to be a pretty clunky system in general.  

 

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28 minutes ago, TrippyHippy said:

The main thing I picked up as an extra idea in the RQ2 book, is the way in which you can delay SR standing in order to target HP locations more specifically. It's in the optional rules in the Appendix. Does this make it through to RQ3?

Option 2 makes it thru to RQ3.

SDLeary

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8 hours ago, deleriad said:

To stick purely to the question asked: I don't think there's much to choose between RQ2 and RQ3 strike ranks. They have the exact same overall strengths and weaknesses.

  • I personally preferred 12 SRs per round over 10 as it led to slight extra variability. 
  • Didn't like the idea of SR 0 or spells that could take 0 SRs to cast and preferred 1 SR as a minimum.
  • I preferred 3 SR (out of 10) as the default action length rather than 5 out of 12
  • Had no real preference for the exact breakpoints of weapon SR, SIZ SR and DEX SR.

All in all then I had a slight preference for RQ3 but I would say that both iterations are equally viable. 

To go beyond the original question: these days I find RQ2/3 SRs to be an awful lot of fiddling about for relatively little gain in actual play and to be a pretty clunky system in general.  

 

For what it is worth, I have no problem with the idea of spells that take effect on SR0 (they just happen before anything physical is possible). And I greatly prefer 12 SR to 10, for purely aesthetic reasons. 

But my interest in feedback is not for "rules fixes" or mechanical preferences - just which approach was easier to understand or grasp as presented in the rule books.

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4 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

The main thing I picked up as an extra idea in the RQ2 book, is the way in which you can delay SR standing in order to target HP locations more specifically. It's in the optional rules in the Appendix. Does this make it through to RQ3?

We used Option 1 with RQ3 as it was easy to use and to understand.

 

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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On 1/30/2016 at 9:04 AM, Jeff said:

Just continuing a discussion started on G+ (check it out here). 

How do you find that the original RQ2 strike rank rules hold up compared to that of RuneQuest 3? I'm curious not just conceptually, but how easy are they to apply in game? Do players have difficulty understanding them? Are there elements of them that don't make sense to you?

 

5 hours ago, Jeff said:

...

But my interest in feedback is not for "rules fixes" or mechanical preferences - just which approach was easier to understand or grasp as presented in the rule books.

I think that RQ3 was conceptually simpler to understand because they unified everything into the SR count. In RQ2, melee action, non-melee action and movement all acted in subtly different ways. The problem RQ3 had is that SR were never meant to be a tick system; they sort of drifted that way.

I taught a lot of RQ3 back in the day. I ran a uni rpg society with a lot of members and was always the person who ran intro RQ scenarios. SRs were always one of the bigger problems. They were ok as long as no one tried to do anything unusual and could be treated as an initiative number - as it were. They tended to be more of a problem for D&D players trying out a new system as opposed to complete newcomers for whom it was just a mysterious number.

For what it's worth, when MRQ1 came out I started to run it with mostly ex-D&D types. I didn't like the initiative system so tried switching back to RQ3 SRs. That was not popular and I quickly switched back. 

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I prefer having 10 SR per round just because that makes it easier to track casting time for long spells (25 MP = 25 strike ranks = 2 full rounds + 5 SR). But then, I started on RQ3, so I may just be preferring the version I first learned.

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On 1/30/2016 at 1:04 AM, Jeff said:

How do you find that the original RQ2 strike rank rules hold up compared to that of RuneQuest 3? I'm curious not just conceptually, but how easy are they to apply in game? Do players have difficulty understanding them? Are there elements of them that don't make sense to you?

Strike Ranks have always made perfect sense to me, and for the players that I've introduced them to. I prefer them to the (very boring) d10+[value], and a little bit more than DEX determining initiative order. I think that they're a very intuitive mechanic - pretty much the best initiative mechanic I know of.

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The randomiser, a la D&D, doesn't need to be there for sure. I take issue with it anyway, as it required the GM to write down an order each time. If the speed is pre-calculated it streamlines the process. I do think that the option to shift your SR, in order to gain more control over hit location is a good one though. I could even see it being used to add to the accuracy of the shot in 5% increments also. Eg Add +2 to your SR for a +10% accuracy on your attack roll.

This makes the fighting order less predictable, but also gives some tactical control to the players.

 

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2 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

I do think that the option to shift your SR, in order to gain more control over hit location is a good one though.

Agreed. I prefer the Aimed Blows (optional) rule in RQ2 over the RQ3 version. (The first option on page 113 of the 'classic' RQ2 pdf; the second option looks identical to RQ3's).

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On 30 Jan 2016 at 11:04 AM, Jeff said:

Just continuing a discussion started on G+ (check it out here). 

How do you find that the original RQ2 strike rank rules hold up compared to that of RuneQuest 3? I'm curious not just conceptually, but how easy are they to apply in game? Do players have difficulty understanding them? Are there elements of them that don't make sense to you?

 

 

 

 

I prefer the RQ II SRs. 12 good 10 bad. I've used them for so long it is set in stone for me.

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