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RosenMcStern

Strike Ranks: initiative order or action allowance?

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I'm inclined to agree that MP's needed to punch through Countermagic are in addition to any desired effect. So to cast Heal Wound to cure 6HP against CM 4 would need 4MP's to Boost (Rune Magic for 2 plus 4) plus 6MP to heal for a total of 10MP's and would go off on SR 11. 

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7 hours ago, Psullie said:

I'm inclined to agree that MP's needed to punch through Countermagic are in addition to any desired effect. So to cast Heal Wound to cure 6HP against CM 4 would need 4MP's to Boost (Rune Magic for 2 plus 4) plus 6MP to heal for a total of 10MP's and would go off on SR 11. 

If the 6 hit points healed are an effect of the spell, then the 6 mps converted into hit points won't count against casting time.  The mps used to boost the spell are a separate issue, but the spell converts the healers magic points into the recipients hit points and that has nothing to do with casting time, that's the spell effect.

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8 hours ago, Pentallion said:

If the 6 hit points healed are an effect of the spell, then the 6 mps converted into hit points won't count against casting time.  The mps used to boost the spell are a separate issue, but the spell converts the healers magic points into the recipients hit points and that has nothing to do with casting time, that's the spell effect.

page 194 suggest that they both add up:

"If more than 1 magic point is used to boost a Rune magic spell, or otherwise increase its effects, 1 strike rank is added for each additional magical point after the first."

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1 hour ago, Psullie said:

page 194 suggest that they both add up:

"If more than 1 magic point is used to boost a Rune magic spell, or otherwise increase its effects, 1 strike rank is added for each additional magical point after the first."

I was just about to quote that (although it's now been quoted three times so far in this thread, excluding this re-quote), and say, if this clause does not apply to Heal Wound, then what spells does it apply to? Axe Trance & co have a similar "extra MP for extra effect" mechanic; if it applies to them then where is the difference in wording that gives this away?

As I've said earlier, I will probably houserule it that the MPs used for healing are not part of the spell, and are not lost if Countermagic happens. But I am of the opinion that this is a houserule, and that the RAW mechanic is that they are part of the spell, take time, and count against Countermagic.

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Somethings can be both a waveform and discrete photon simultaneously.  Perhaps if you think of strike ranks the same way instead of trying to shoehorn it into one or the other you will see the light.

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On 10/28/2018 at 5:11 AM, PhilHibbs said:

I don't think that is the way that it is supposed to work. I think the MP used for healing count against Countermagic.

Edited by Thyrwyn
Nothing to see here...

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On 10/17/2018 at 3:07 AM, RosenMcStern said:

Bulky Bubba the Uzdo gets to do more "things" (spells, missiles, etc.) because he is big and wields a maul, whereas Quicky Quacko the Durulz can only fight in melee because his puny SIZ and short gladius give him a very high SR. Notwithstanding the fact that Quacko has possibly twice as much DEX as Bubba. Honestly, this completely destroys my personal suspension of disbelief. 

After reading the different chapters on SR this immediately bothered me too. I can maybe understand that someone with a giant, bulky, 2 handed Greatsword will connect earlier than someone with a little dagger (and even then, I'm not convinced... the Greatsword is longer, but also takes longer to swing)... but I can't believe that, given high enough skills, the Greatsword fighter might be able to swing successfully twice before the little guy with the dagger can get anything done.

On 10/19/2018 at 2:29 PM, creativehum said:

I thought the SR in melee was the order of the combatant's most effective strike. There are all sorts of bits of footwork, feints and stuff, but only one blow is going to be landed, and if I am quicker than you (in any number of ways that keep my SR low) then I can kill you before you land your effective blow on me.

I tried to explain it this way (the little guy with the dagger is having a hard time reaching the big guy with the Greatsword because it's hard to find an opening when there's a giant blade swinging your way), but I think it mostly started making sense when I realized that the granularity of movement in RQG is 3 meters! For people using battlemats, usually, a hex or square is 1m, so that's what I had in mind originally when reading the combat rules... but if you imagine that a round of melee involves 2 fighters doing footwork as far as 3m wide, then it makes a bit more sense, at least for me.

Now, it still bothers me that SR mixes melee combat initiative order ("how fast can you get your first opportunity at a good strike") and action points ("how long a strike takes before you can strike again"). The way SR seems to be computed in the RQG book seems to be entirely based on the weapon's reach, which applies to the first aspect, but (in my opinion) not the second aspect -- I think the second aspect is mostly driven by "bulk".

So a dagger-using fighter with a 150% skill will take longer to get into close combat (i.e. get a good opening) against someone with a Broadsword, but, once she does, she should be able to use this one opportunity to land multiple stabs (3 stabs at 50%) during that round. I think the rules assume something else, which is that she just lands one hit and then the whole footwork/evading/feinting dance resumes between each of her 3 stabs... she effectively has to find 3 good openings! I'd love to get feedback from the designers and from people who did play RQG, but I get the feeling this makes smaller weapons way too weak against big bulky weapons, instead of making it more of a compromise: "I'm going to stick to daggers and short swords... it's going to be very risky against someone with a bigger weapons, but if I can get past their first hit, I can land more blows than them", vs. "I want a big ass hammer. I'll only strike once a round or so but, by the Gods, they won't even reach me with their puny little weapons". I'm actually not sure what is the advantage of using small weapons with RAW, except for maybe having less encumbrance and carrying more other stuff.

So as a result, I'm thinking of using these house rules, and I'd love to get feedback on them:

  • Start with a simple rule like: when splitting attacks, your first attack happens on your normal SR, but subsequent attacks happen every (2 + DEX SR) (so every 5 SR for some average human).
  • If I want to get fancy, I might modify the above interval to be (DEX SR + Bulk SR) to model weapon "bulk"... maybe: 0 for daggers, +1 for most swords, +2 or +3 for most 2-handed weapons.

The good thing with that second point is that, once you have some "bulk" modifiers, you can also apply them in other situations. For instance, I assume it is common for fights to happen in confined spaces, like an underground tunnel or small room. I would apply the bulk modifiers above in those cases so that characters with smaller weapons have some tactical advantage when leading lance-wielding enemies there.

 

Edited by lordabdul
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On 10/29/2018 at 10:22 AM, Pentallion said:

Somethings can be both a waveform and discrete photon simultaneously.  Perhaps if you think of strike ranks the same way instead of trying to shoehorn it into one or the other you will see the light.

Runequest: Roleplaying in Quantum Physics

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

... but I can't believe that, given high enough skills, the Greatsword fighter might be able to swing successfully twice before the little guy with the dagger can get anything done.

You can come up with fairly extreme cases where this happens, if Big Bob has high DEX and SIZ he might have SR 1 in each giving him SR 3 with his greatsword, and Tiny Tim might have lower stats giving him SR 2 in each leaving him to hit on SR 8, so Bob can split his attacks and go on 3 and 6. I think that's fairly unusual. If Bob is a Troll (or a huge Humakti with many gifts) with SIZ 22 and DEX 19 then he hits on SR 1 and 2, but that's getting into an extraordinarily imbalanced fight. Poor old Tiny Tim will never be able to split his attacks, as you need a total SR of 6 or less to do that.

I don't think it's going to be common though.

RQ3 had rules for closing against an opponent with a longer weapon, but that didn't make it into RQG. I think the general consensus of SCA people was that it was fairly unrealistic.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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One of the first systems against which I took the houserule machete was the SR system.

First, it's entirely backwards counting up...having the modifiers structured as-is means it 'caps' at 0....there's NO SR difference between Dex 23 and Dex 100, nor between SIZ 26 and SIZ 300.  IMO, that's silly.  Second, (and I realize this is entirely personal preference) I don't like the predictability of fixed SR with no variability.  Knowing ''oh that trollkin went on SR 11 last round, and my melee SR is 6, so I always have 4 SR of doing whatever I want before he can strike" (or from the other side: I'm always going to strike after him, so the 'wait until last SR for called shot' doesn't impact me at all!') seems entirely too predictable.  Finally, statements of intent - while we used it for more than a decade- just slowed everything down, for little benefit.  After 5e came out and we played some of that "just do what you want to do at the moment your init comes up" makes the fights go faster, simpler, more intuitively, no need for 'change of statement of intent' cruft, and we don't feel we lost anything.

Boiled down to essentials, ours gives players a quickness-based initiative, and when two melee combatants FIRST engage, the one with the longer reach (a simplified combination of SIZ and weapon size) strikes first.  That's it.  Once two combatants are in melee, it's quickness based in which big-heavy-long weapons are at a disadvantage.  However, as our movement is simultaneous, as long as the person with the longer weapon can keep backpedalling they can force the smaller weapon to keep 'closing' and thus suffering striking second..

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11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Now, it still bothers me that SR mixes melee combat initiative order ("how fast can you get your first opportunity at a good strike") and action points ("how long a strike takes before you can strike again"). The way SR seems to be computed in the RQG book seems to be entirely based on the weapon's reach, which applies to the first aspect, but (in my opinion) not the second aspect -- I think the second aspect is mostly driven by "bulk".

I would love if Chaosium would provide more options and guidance on melee combat in the Gamemaster Guide. The SR system can work really well in my opinion but by desig they kept it very basic in the core book. I believe the "one attack roll per MR per weapon" (unless you split your attack), is meant to be an abstraction of all the attacks you have made in the round and that a player could decide that a successful attack roll in the abdomen really represents 3 rapid strikes. Still it is all very abstract and suspension of disbelief can be difficult at time.

As for SR representing reach, again I think the idea represents the idea that a longer weapon fighter can keep ashorter weapon fighter at bay. A mechanic where the shorter weapon fighter can slip within the guard of their opponent would be nice (again in the Gamemaster Guide perhaps). We used something like this:

An adventurer with a shorter weapon can try to get the advantage by slipping inside their opponent guard who in turn could try to reposition to stay at or regain optimal distance.

There were three situations for someone with a short weapon to slip inside the longer weapon fighter's defense:

  • if the short weapon fighter succeeds their attack and the long weapon fails their defense (even if no damage penetrates the armor)

  • if the short weapon fighter gets a special or better on their defense and get a better success level than their opponent

  • if the short weapon fighter would spend a MR successfully defending against the longer weapon fighter (the opposite of disengaging)

Once inside the defense, the short weapon fighter automatically attacks before the longer weapon fighter (use longer weapon SR). Once closed, the longer weapon fighter can only choose one of the following options (use shorter weapon SR):

  • Attack (including strategies like Splitting Attack, Aimed Blow, Disarm, Subduing, Shield Attack, Knockback)

  • Defend (including Parry or Dodge)

  • Disengage (including Retreating, Fleeing, Knockback). If they succeed, they can choose to regain their optimal range or truly disengage.

  • Drop their weapon in favor of a shorter one (or fight barehanded).  If the chosen weapon SR is equal or higher to the closing weapon, combat resumes normally in the next MR (the close attack is ended)

The longer weapon fighter can regain their appropriate reach in the following ways:

  • if the long weapon fighter succeeds their attack and the short weapon fails their defense

  • if the long weapon fighter get a special or better on their defense and get a better success level than their opponent

  • if the long weapon fighter successfully disengages (as described above)

 

11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

So as a result, I'm thinking of using these house rules, and I'd love to get feedback on them:

  • Start with a simple rule like: when splitting attacks, your first attack happens on your normal SR, but subsequent attacks happen every (2 + DEX SR) (so every 5 SR for some average human).
  • If I want to get fancy, I might modify the above interval to be (DEX SR + Bulk SR) to model weapon "bulk"... maybe: 0 for daggers, +1 for most swords, +2 or +3 for most 2-handed weapons.

The good thing with that second point is that, once you have some "bulk" modifiers, you can also apply them in other situations. For instance, I assume it is common for fights to happen in confined spaces, like an underground tunnel or small room. I would apply the bulk modifiers above in those cases so that characters with smaller weapons have some tactical advantage when leading lance-wielding enemies there.

 

That would work. We used something similar but to keep it really simple, only use straight DEX SR between attacks. We also used a lower threshold for splitting attacks (80% with 40% minimum in each attacks instead of 100% and 50% in each attacks).

Both add a bit of complexity but we believed more interesting back and forth.

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10 hours ago, styopa said:

Second, (and I realize this is entirely personal preference) I don't like the predictability of fixed SR with no variability.  Knowing ''oh that trollkin went on SR 11 last round, and my melee SR is 6, so I always have 4 SR of doing whatever I want before he can strike" (or from the other side: I'm always going to strike after him, so the 'wait until last SR for called shot' doesn't impact me at all!') seems entirely too predictable. 

Finally, statements of intent - while we used it for more than a decade- just slowed everything down, for little benefit.  After 5e came out and we played some of that "just do what you want to do at the moment your init comes up" makes the fights go faster, simpler, more intuitively, no need for 'change of statement of intent' cruft, and we don't feel we lost anything.

We also ended dropping Statement of Intent. As for predictibility something I never tried is a house rule like this:

Rush the Attack – A fighter can rush their attack to act earlier in the MR by taking a -20% penalty per SR.

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I was thinking closing maneuver ala Call of Cthulhu (to keep it simple) but -20% per SR might work too.

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2 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

An adventurer with a shorter weapon can try to get the advantage by slipping inside their opponent guard who in turn could try to reposition to stay at or regain optimal distance.

One thing I miss from the Nash/Whittaker RuneQuest (I won't use the other "M" word) is the Manoeuvre skill. Although I don't miss trying to get the spelling right.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

One thing I miss from the Nash/Whittaker RuneQuest (I won't use the other "M" word) is the Manoeuvre skill. Although I don't miss trying to get the spelling right.

Maybe you could use the Battle skill for maneuvering tactically.

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3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

One thing I miss from the Nash/Whittaker RuneQuest (I won't use the other "M" word) is the Manoeuvre skill. Although I don't miss trying to get the spelling right.

Outmanoeuvering in Mythras is a combat action (not a skill) where the fighter uses the Evade skill in a opposed roll against their opponent. The same could be recreated in RQG with Dodge or even with the weapon skill itself. I guess it would take 5 SR to perform.

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19 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

You can come up with fairly extreme cases where this happens

Sorry, bad phrasing on my part... I meant to say that yes, I know it can happen in extreme cases, and that this feels unbelievable to me, as in "the fact that this is possible under the rules as written breaks my suspension on disbelief".

Thank you for the suggestions everyone! I think I'll still try to go with the slightly more crunchy weapon bulk modifiers house rule (my players generally like crunchier rules), if only because I plan to have one of the early adventures have a fight in a temple, with a possibility of fights in small spaces (less than 3m wide). This would force players to use smaller weapons.

The whole "statement of intent" also sounds to me like something that would slow down combat a lot, for not much gain. I believe ORE games like Godlike also do something like this -- players declare what they do from lowest to highest initiative (so that "faster" characters can decide what to do based on what "slower" characters said they were doing), and then everybody rolls. We ended up going with a more conventional mechanic because it felt more like "going around the table twice as much per turn", which I'm afraid would be the case here too, so it's good to know that several of you already dropped it.

I'll also check back on the closing maneuver in CoC, thanks!

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12 hours ago, jps said:

I was thinking closing maneuver ala Call of Cthulhu (to keep it simple) but -20% per SR might work too.

How does the closing maneuver work in CoC?

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An interesting discussion. We too had queries about SR and your thoughts are giving me ideas on how to resolve them. Anyway, my thought is that some empirical evidence is needed as much conversation about how weapons were used is conjecture. How many of us have been in the sort of fights being talked about? Certainly not me, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of you have done some re-enactment. IIRC, the original RQ combat rules were created by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, re-enactors who did simulate such fights (and a quick search show's they're still going strong https://www.sca.org). They presumably created the rules to match their actual experience of wielding weapons, so lets assume the rules model that to their satisfaction.

But what evidence do we have? Well, 40 years or so on, YouTube comes to the rescue. The following video pitches spearman against swordsmen in various combinations – without shields, with shields, in groups, great sword use, etc. – and does enough trials to give us an acceptable answer*: 'Spears are better than swords' (but shields make a big difference).

https://youtu.be/uLLv8E2pWdk

Interestingly, Lloyd (Lindybeige) on the video has played RQ and D&D and prefers the mechanics of RQ. Alas, the video makes no attempt to test how spell casting works in real life, so we're on our own there ;) It's arguably just of bit of fun, but informative fun nonetheless. The big take away for me is how good long weapons are at getting a strike in first and keeping a shorter weapon at bay. This matches what we see with long weapons having a faster SR.

 

* The pedants amongst us can argue whether or not it's statistically valid, but  at least it's over the magic number of 30, even if the test cases aren't strictly controlled and vary a bit in set up. 

 

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15 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

How does the closing maneuver work in CoC?

As a general rule maneuvers work by opposing an attack roll to a dodge roll: if the maneuver succeeds no damage is inflicted but you put your opponent at a disadvantage, you pin him down, you make it fall off a cliff, etc.

In this case, we could oppose an attack roll to a dodge roll to see if the character manage to stay at a close distance (not dealing any damage) or alternatively, an opposed Battle skill or even a DEX versus SIZ on the resistance table.

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10 minutes ago, jps said:

In this case, we could oppose an attack roll to a dodge roll to see if the character manage to stay at a close distance (not dealing any damage) or alternatively, an opposed Battle skill or even a DEX versus SIZ on the resistance table.

I'm not keen on changing Battle to that extent, making it cover individual melee as well as large scale engagements. Dodge is better, but extending the skill to cover this would require some adjustments to the occupations. None of them get the skill and this makes it a must have for individual melee, so maybe Light Infantry should get Dodge. 

You could also justify an attack or parry roll, "I knock his weapon aside and dart back / close in whilst he can't use it".

Edited by PhilHibbs

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3 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I'm not keen on changing Battle to that extent, making it cover individual melee as well as large scale engagements. Dodge is better, but extending the skill to cover this would require some adjustments to the occupations. None of them get the skill and this makes it a must have for individual melee, so maybe Light Infantry should get Dodge. 

I still believe it should be covered by the weapon skills themselves (they include all the positioning and footwork after all) or dodge.

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On 5/27/2019 at 6:50 AM, jps said:

Maybe a simple resistance roll would avoid these adjustments

Our approach deliberately removes the need for any other skill or roll.  Closing, fending, etc all just flow naturally from the mechanics of movement and initiative.

When 2 opponents close, the one with the longer reach gets to strike first.  Thereafter, it's based on who has the higher initiative (with longer/heavier weapons being penalized, everything being equal the shorter weapon person will strike first as long as they're in close).  If the person with the longer weapon does get init, they can step back a hex (as long as they have the space to do so) forcing the shorter-weaponed person to close again.

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