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Tywyll

Is Sword Trance broken?

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I suck at ax, I am not big enough.  But the figure 8 can work unless some butthead like me sticks a big shield in the way and your partner thumps him on the head at the same time.

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18 hours ago, Kloster said:

It is not a problem in itself. I don't like it because for me it evokes Stormbringer, not Runequest, but it is not a problem. It becomes part of a problem when mixed with rules that are not coming from Stormbringer, i.e. the reduction of others skills when yours is above 100%. It is also, as you pointed, a disadvantage for people using shield and weapon vs people using a single weapon, but for me, this is counterbalanced by the advantages of the shield (more HP, protection vs missiles, passive cover).

Sure, but if I remember correctly, not all shields provide good missile protection and have more HP than weapons.

Edited by Mugen

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If you make a coordinated weapon-swinging drill, have some boken-swinging guys bellow their attacks... If a kendoka is facing a men, do and kote attack from three coordinated attackers, how many is he going to parry, and how?

We are not talking about coordinated attackers. We are talking about people who happen to have similar DEX and SIZ. They could be bumbling incompetents with no notion of coordination, but the happenstance of their SR being the same should not give them an advantage. Having a similar action speed does not give coordination bonuses, there is no such rule, and nor should there be!

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

I do think that coordinated simultaneous attacks are a valid tactic against parry monsters, and I do think that it has a place in small group melees.

Fine, so introduce a mechanic for that, maybe something similar to the aimed blow rules (as in delaying the attack, maybe at a penalty, but with a larger parry penalty), but it should have nothing to do with the Strike Rank conincidence.

Personally, I think that such things should just be a function of skill. Your higher skill might be a reflection of your ability to time your attacks more effectively. A mechanic that requires people to figure out whether the "coordinated attacks" option is better or worse than the straight -20 per parry isn't something that I feel would add to the flavour of the rules.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

Sure, but if I remember correctly, not all shields provide good missile protection and have more HP than weapons.

Correct, but even when they provide bad missile protection and have less HP, they at least provide some missile protection and passive cover, and even a Medium Shield as 12 HP (as many as a Broadsword for around  half the cost).

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We are not talking about coordinated attackers. We are talking about people who happen to have similar DEX and SIZ. They could be bumbling incompetents with no notion of coordination, but the happenstance of their SR being the same should not give them an advantage. Having a similar action speed does not give coordination bonuses, there is no such rule, and nor should there be!

RuneQuest being RuneQuest, a set of bumbling incompetent spear-kin can get lucky and bypass the 150% parry of Rurik.

People mentioned the "wall of whirling blade" defense like the eights of the axe, and what happens if the weapon makes a significant contact - breaking that wall of whirling blade for long enough to make parrying the next incoming attack a challenge, to say the least.

Several bumbling incompetents in the 30% range should be a severe challenge to a mere 80% attacker/parryer in my book. The same character doubling his sword skill through magic (and that's a cap I would suggest for any single magical enhancement) would be slightly inconvenienced, little more, even if his third parry has a 20% chance of missing.

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Fine, so introduce a mechanic for that, maybe something similar to the aimed blow rules (as in delaying the attack, maybe at a penalty, but with a larger parry penalty), but it should have nothing to do with the Strike Rank conincidence.

I usually err on the side of opponents being intelligent and somewhat competent. Bumbling morons or demoralized food trollkin are a different issue, and one that I wouldn't really take to the attack/parry dice. Not even in simulationist mode in RuneQuest.

 

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Personally, I think that such things should just be a function of skill. Your higher skill might be a reflection of your ability to time your attacks more effectively. A mechanic that requires people to figure out whether the "coordinated attacks" option is better or worse than the straight -20 per parry isn't something that I feel would add to the flavour of the rules.

Maybe it's because I have never shied away from on the fly calculations, but in RQ3 I knew the fractions of general hit points for a hit location, not the actual value until I needed it. RQG has taken that nice math from me, but if in the heat of action and away from my sources, I probably still will wing it using the RQ3 method and nobody the wiser. Opponents may have bruises and lesser injuries, too.

 

If a character makes Swordplay the focus of his character, I think that giving him challenges to the Swordplay like dealing with coordinated attacks and using some maneuvering to avoid such disadvantages is more productive than letting him yawn through any kind of opposition in sword trance. But that's me. Your GMing style will be different.

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24 minutes ago, Joerg said:

People mentioned the "wall of whirling blade" defense like the eights of the axe, and what happens if the weapon makes a significant contact - breaking that wall of whirling blade for long enough to make parrying the next incoming attack a challenge, to say the least.

You miss the idea of the sweeping and circular parry. The idea is for the blade to "make significant contact" with the other weapons and brush them aside. Now, yes, it can easily go wrong, especially if one weapon is missed in the sweep as it would probably leave the defender exposed. But, the point is that parring multiple weapons at once is not only possible but it was practiced. So it's not just something from the movies.

Now that said, combatants in a real fight would rpobably try to maneuver to avoid just this situation.

 

24 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Several bumbling incompetents in the 30% range should be a severe challenge to a mere 80% attacker/parryer in my book. The same character doubling his sword skill through magic (and that's a cap I would suggest for any single magical enhancement) would be slightly inconvenienced, little more, even if his third parry has a 20% chance of missing.

Well that's very different from every version and variant of RQ until now. In old RQ several bumbling opponents were always a threat to a single character, even if his skill were 160%. In RQG they really aren't.

 

24 minutes ago, Joerg said:

If a character makes Swordplay the focus of his character, I think that giving him challenges to the Swordplay like dealing with coordinated attacks and using some maneuvering to avoid such disadvantages is more productive than letting him yawn through any kind of opposition in sword trance. But that's me. Your GMing style will be different.

I agree with you, somewhat. I don't believe every opponent could or should have a detailed plan and approach to challenge a 160% skill character. I don't think every opponent would being able to come up with or implement such a plan.  Most probably wouldn't know that they needed such a plan unless they had previous knowledge of the skilled swordsman. Plus, from a role playing standpoint, what is the sense of improving the character is every improvement is mean with a counter action by the GM? 

But, there should also be times when the opponents are aware of the skilled character and try to do something to negate or minimize his advantage in skill. Since these NPCs would be putting their lives at risk facing such a formidable individual, they would most likely take steps to try and protect themselves, if they could. Coordinating attacks to hit at the same time is, frankly, probably harder to pull off than it is to defend against, and I think the characters would need something like MIndspeech to pull it off without telegraphing it. Still, there are lots of other things they could try to do to make things difficult for their opponent. Speading out to get on the flanks, getting in close, or using missle weapons or magic all come to mind. 

If I were one of the opponents and I knew the guy I was going to fight was a skilled swordman or a Humakti with Sword Trance or some such, I would do everything I could to avoid melee. I probably want to hang back with bows and use spells like firearrow, mutimissle, and speeddart to take the guy down at range. Why fight his fight?

 

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But they dont need to be aware of this particular sword swinger.  They just need to have heard of Humakt, and know what his runes look like.  There are storys all over the place about those nasty humorless sword trancers.  and have a plan deal with them.  Just like they have a plan to deal with ZZ great trolls, or crazy assed Stormbullys.  If they dont have a plan, they are likely already in the stew pot.

 

This is supposed to be a real functioning world.  With magic everywhere.  These are not strange almost legendary ability's, they are the normal way these cults deal with enemys.  I mean, your uncle sorg was a humatki, he told us all storys about what it is like to broobash whole trancing.  And your crazy cousin came to visit that one time and brought his Zorak Zoran buddy, and remember how they kicked the shit out of that bars when they said "we dont serve your kind here".  Which may have been true, but still a remarkably stupid thing to say to a couple of half drunk Berzerkers.  And they didnt serve anybody at all after the throw the bar out in the street.

 

Maybe my group just plays different, but no matter what game or who is GMing, we expect the opposition to react within thier capabilitys.  Which certainly means having somethig to deal with really killer things like sword trance.  Maybe he pops trance with only 2mp, let the dismiss blow it down, then pop it again.  Nature of the beast.  Move counter move, action reaction.  And my group is not going to be butthurt because somebody figured out a way to handle their pet super zap.  They are going to heal up, and try and come up with a new way to do things.    Its called tactics.  

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6 hours ago, Zozotroll said:

Maybe my group just plays different, but no matter what game or who is GMing, we expect the opposition to react within thier capabilitys.  Which certainly means having somethig to deal with really killer things like sword trance.  Maybe he pops trance with only 2mp, let the dismiss blow it down, then pop it again.  Nature of the beast.  Move counter move, action reaction.  And my group is not going to be butthurt because somebody figured out a way to handle their pet super zap.  They are going to heal up, and try and come up with a new way to do things.    Its called tactics.  

I've been reading this thread with growing confusion, not because anyone here is saying anything that is wrong for them -- but I couldn't be sure if the game was "broken" in some concrete way objectively. 

Now, I've only played any version of RQ once -- when I ran the RQG Quickstart for some friends. Had a good time, but we clearly never got into the intricacies of the game, and how all the rules interact with each other over time. And clearly I have no perspective of RQ from one edition to the next.

But reading this thread, I was also thinking along the lines of the passage I quoted from Zozotroll above.

Sure, there's a dude who has Initiated himself to the CULT OF DEATH -- and so he is a nightmare in a fight. The question isn't "Can he kill a lot of people?" (He can. He is an Initiate of the CULT OF DEATH). The question is "What is going to do with this?"

Because if he pisses off certain people with power and resources they are going to use their power and resources to come after him.That isn't a punishment against the Player. It is a response to a choice the player made for his PC. (An informed choice, if I'm running the game, so the Player knows he risks consequences.) I wouldn't be out to "get" the PC. I would have no idea how things would fall out. But it would be the story we are building. 

RQG is built, as far as I can tell, for the PCs to be the Baddasses of the Land. Legends will be written about them. They should be performing acts and deeds that are extraordinary and that get talked about and building up reputation. Perhaps even from the start of their careers. But this also means they are trouble magnets. And trouble magnets are awesome for story driven RPG play.

This might not be everyone's cup of tea. (In fact, let's be up front -- a lot of people don't want this!) But it does seem to be part and parcel of the rules as they stand. 

I know in years past I would have been loathe to hand the PCs powers like the one described in this thread. But I'll tell you, I've been running another game of late (a D&D retro-clone called LotFP) and the PCs have accumulated a few magic items and spells from certain modules that I thought, "This is going to break the game." And I thought, "Well, let's go with it and see what happens." And you know what? It's been great. My PCs have gotten themselves into as much trouble as they've gotten out of; they've done astounding things that have created memorable moments they loved; and it has allowed the campaign to grow in strange and astounding ways that I never could have anticipated. 

Reading this thread has been great. It has taught me a lot about the effects of the system and how the "pieces" of the game interact with each other. I'm better prepared for some extraordinary and outlandish results. But I'm not sure I can define such results as "broken." They are, by definition, exceptional, and my reading of RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha seems to suggest the exceptional is what the game is built to engender in play.

Edited by creativehum
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On 1/23/2019 at 10:02 PM, Pentallion said:

Just to be clear, I'm speaking as a GM who games RQ once a week for the past 12 years and started gaming in '82 and gamed regularly since.  So I'm speaking from extensive experience with the 100% rule as well as Sword Trance.  In one of our games, the Humakti settled down in a doorway and since there are no longer any fatigue rules (sadly, while they kept the horrible 100% rule from RQ6, they dumped the excellent fatigue rules from RQ6), he was able to hack and slash all day long.

Similarly, I have also been playing since 1982 and have GMed once a week for the past 15 years and I find that the 100%+rule works.

Yes, you can have every single combat encounter meaning that the Humakti hunkers down and defeats everyone. Great, so the NPCs back off and pepper the Humakti with arrows, or cast fear and Madness at him, or send undead after him to lure him into a place where someone can have a go at him, or make him face Thanatari with Sword Trance or whatever. There are lots of ways to handle combat with a very skilful PC.
 

On 1/23/2019 at 10:02 PM, Pentallion said:

So, good GM doesn't want to ban Humakti so doesn't design specific encounters meant to kill any Humakti who uses Sword Trance.  ie, archers all targeting the Humakt.  Archers, cool, still use 'em, just not to specifically kill Achilles.  And doesn't want to ban sword trance so sparingly uses dispel to bring it down.  Here we are, at the doorway of the never tiring Humakt with Sword Trance.  While the others all unpack the lunches and discuss what movies they've seen recently, the Humakt goes about his business of Death.

I think this is more of a problem with the GMing style than with the rules.

In my last Gloranthan game, we had a shaman. Did we spend hours tracking down spirits, while the rest of the Players were bored? Yes, twice, then agreed not to do it and found a different way of getting spirits, one that didn't bore the pants off everyone.  Also, the PCs could work themselves up to having a couple of hundred % as skills and most combats lasted a couple of rounds. They could lightning bolt or firelball or whatever to scores of opponents, so that just meant that combat was downplayed a lot and we concentrated on HeroQuesting and politics.

In a previous campaign, one of the PCs could double skill and double skill again against Broos, his raw skill was around 200%, so with a high Bladesharp he had something like 900% attack against broos and just cut them down like a whirling dervish. Was that boring? Not at all, as he only used the ability against really powerful opponents, such as Ralzakark or the Son of Thed. 

Heroes stand out because they are so gross and over-powered. 

All in my opinion and my experience, of course. I enjoy playing and running high-level RQ games and have done so for a very long time. Other people hate them with a vengeance, which is fine.

But, a spell that gives you a high skill does not break the game, it just makes the game different.

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On 1/24/2019 at 5:15 PM, Atgxtg said:

I think the problem here isn't with Sword Trace, Humakt,or anything like that. It is with how powerful weapon skill over 100% has become is in RQG compared to every other related game (RQ2, RQ3, Stormbringer/Elric!, Pendragon, BRP, etc.).

It was like this in RQ2.

RQ3 dropped the rule, which, for me, was a big mistake, so I have usually brought it back in RQ games that I play.

Elric with Stormbringer makes a Humakti look like a kid with a wooden sword, but is that over-powered? Demon Weapons do so much damage that they dwarf almost anything in RQ, except a big Slash or Crush.

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On 1/23/2019 at 11:24 PM, Tupper said:

I *think* what should happen is that the parrying penalty gets applied before the adjustment for being over 100:

Case 1 (sword vs 3 opponents)

First opponent attacks.  Parry at full 150.  This is over 100, so reduce it to 100 and reduce the opponent to 5.

Second opponent attacks.  Parry is now at 130.  Still over 100, so reduce it to 100 and reduce opponent to 20.

Third opponent attacks.  Parry is now "only" 110.  Reduce it to 100, and reduce opponent to 40.

Case 2 (sword and board)

When attacking, you attack at 150.  This is over 100, so reduce to 100, but reduce the target's parry to 5.

If you parry with the shield, your first parry would be at 80.  This is not over 100, so the opponent still gets his/her full attack of 50.

And this is what breaks RQ, to an extent.

In RQ2, you had to split your Parry against multiple foes, so a 200% Parry against two attackers means having 2 100% parries, against 4 foes means 4 50% Parries.

In RQG, you parry at 200%, 180%, 160% and so on, which means you are probably unstoppable. 

I can see why this rule was added, I think it originally came from Stormbringer/Elric but I am not sure, in that it gives lower-skilled PCs a better chance against multiple opponents.

Personally, I would drop the "Parry again at -20" rule and stick with RQ2's "Split Parry amongst opponents" rule.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

It was like this in RQ2.

While high attack did reduce parry in RQ2, I don't recall a high parry reducing the opponent's attack, let alone multiple opponents attacks. Not could they parry a half dozen opponents.

In RQ2 characters were limited in how many attacks they could defend against. In RQG having a 150% skill knock 50% off all the oppoent's attacks, and then the character can actually attempt to parry all of those attack too. It wasn't anything like that in RQ2.

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RQ3 dropped the rule, which, for me, was a big mistake, so I have usually brought it back in RQ games that I play.

 

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Elric with Stormbringer makes a Humakti look like a kid with a wooden sword, but is that over-powered? Demon Weapons do so much damage that they dwarf almost anything in RQ, except a big Slash or Crush.

Not really. Stormbringer doesn't do a lot of damage in the Stormbringer RPG, compared to other demon weapons, and a Humakti has a ton of magical boosts that don't exist in Strombringer. In SB1-4 Elric would have been capped at 100% plus the bonus from Strombringer, which would put Elric at a big disadvantage.

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

In RQ2, you had to split your Parry against multiple foes, so a 200% Parry against two attackers means having 2 100% parries, against 4 foes means 4 50% Parries.

In RQG, you parry at 200%, 180%, 160% and so on, which means you are probably unstoppable. 

Yes, I also think this is the Parry part that causes problem.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

I can see why this rule was added, I think it originally came from Stormbringer/Elric but I am not sure, in that it gives lower-skilled PCs a better chance against multiple opponents. 

The rule was in Stormbringer, but IIRC, with -30% per Parry. It is not bad by itself. The problem comes from the fusion of Attack and Parry in a single skill + the above100% rule + the multiple parry rule. If you remove 1 of those, the unstoppable becomes stoppable again.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

It was like this in RQ2.

RQ3 dropped the rule, which, for me, was a big mistake, so I have usually brought it back in RQ games that I play.

My memories of RQ2 are far away (and my copy is 200km away) but IIRC, the Anti Parry effect for attack above 100% was concerning only Rune Lords. If this is the case, having (because of a spell) a Sword of Humakt that becomes a true embodiment of Death does not bother me.

Whatever the case, this rule added to RQIII should not (in my opinion) break the game because you can parry more than 1 attack only by splitting a score above 100%. Even if you were boosted to 300% Parry by a spell, with 6 opponents, you have only a 50% score!

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5 hours ago, Kloster said:

Yes, I also think this is the Parry part that causes problem.

It's a huge change in how the game runs. Before, a guy with 200% skill would have a tough fight against two guys at 100%. Now they both get bumped down tot minimum and he just walks all over them. Now if that is a problem or not is a matter of opinion, but that is is a major change from before isn't.

5 hours ago, Kloster said:

The rule was in Stormbringer, but IIRC, with -30% per Parry. It is not bad by itself. The problem comes from the fusion of Attack and Parry in a single skill + the above100% rule + the multiple parry rule. If you remove 1 of those, the unstoppable becomes stoppable again.

It did, but in old Strombringer combat skills were capped at 100% (plus any bonuses for a demon weapon) so there was a upper limit to how many parries one could reasonably get off, plus the opponent's attack skills weren't bumped down to the gutter. 

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5 hours ago, Kloster said:

My memories of RQ2 are far away (and my copy is 200km away) but IIRC, the Anti Parry effect for attack above 100% was concerning only Rune Lords. If this is the case, having (because of a spell) a Sword of Humakt that becomes a true embodiment of Death does not bother me.

Yes it did only apply to Rune Lords, but that was because only Rune Lords could get a weapon skill above 100%.Now spells like bladesharp could get attack above 100% but they were temporary. 

 

5 hours ago, Kloster said:

Whatever the case, this rule added to RQIII should not (in my opinion) break the game because you can parry more than 1 attack only by splitting a score above 100%. Even if you were boosted to 300% Parry by a spell, with 6 opponents, you have only a 50% score!

Yes, the fact that the character had to split the skill is what kept the character in check. Same happens in Pendragon. A character with a 40 skill is unstoppable in one-on-one, but not if he gets double or triple teamed. But in RQG a character with a 200% skill is virtually immune against practically any number of characters  with a skill below 100%. That's a huge change from earlier versions of the game.

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I would just allow anyone to split their skill, not only those above 100%. That way, someone with 60% Sword could parry twice at 30%, rather than once at 60% and once at 40%. It's worse, but works better at high levels.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, I also think this is the Parry part that causes problem.

Right.

6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

It did, but in old Strombringer combat skills were capped at 100% (plus any bonuses for a demon weapon) so there was a upper limit to how many parries one could reasonably get off, plus the opponent's attack skills weren't bumped down to the gutter. 

Also right. I forgot about the cap. Thanks.

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8 hours ago, soltakss said:

I would just allow anyone to split their skill, not only those above 100%. That way, someone with 60% Sword could parry twice at 30%, rather than once at 60% and once at 40%. It's worse, but works better at high levels.

I think you're missing  the key point here, the fact that the guy with a skill above 100% won't need to parry much at all. because he is reducing all of his opponent's chance to hit him. For example:

Let's say we have a lone fighter with Sword 150%. He get's attacked by a group of dark troils, each of whom have maul at 50%. Now, from what people are saying about RQG, the swordsman, due to his high sword skill, reduces the maul skill of all of the trolls by 50%. So the trolls are now attacking at the default of 5% and do not pose much of a threat.

If that is indeed how it works in RQG, then it is in stark contrast to every over version of RQ, including RQ2.

 

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It makes splitting your attacks a tricky choice. If you split your 180% skill into two 90s, then find your opponent has an unexpectedly high parry of 150%, you find your first attack chance reduced to 40%, and the second to 60%, and both very likely to be parried. I think that's fair enough though. Don't split until you know what you are up against.

And yes, this thread has become more of a general discussion on the mechanics of high skills and I think that's ok.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I think you're missing  the key point here, the fact that the guy with a skill above 100% won't need to parry much at all. because he is reducing all of his opponent's chance to hit him. For example:

Let's say we have a lone fighter with Sword 150%. He get's attacked by a group of dark troils, each of whom have maul at 50%. Now, from what people are saying about RQG, the swordsman, due to his high sword skill, reduces the maul skill of all of the trolls by 50%. So the trolls are now attacking at the default of 5% and do not pose much of a threat.

If that is indeed how it works in RQG, then it is in stark contrast to every over version of RQ, including RQ2.

 

Not really, because this is the Ability over 100% that counts, not the skill. That means that if the ability is reduced because of splitting, it is (or at least can be) below 100%. In that case, it is less a problem because the attacker's ability is either not reduced or much less reduced. I think the rule can be understood both ways.

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2 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

And yes, this thread has become more of a general discussion on the mechanics of high skills and I think that's ok.

Yes, you are right. This is more a problem of the way high skills are working than the effect of sword trance (this spell being only one of the ways of having a very high ability). There is no difference (except duration and not being dispellable) in effect between a 200% skill and a 100% skill plus sword trance boosted by 10 magic points.

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Reread the rules on skills over 100% reducing the opposing skill (RQG p144 & p201)

it only matters in opposed rolls, and only affects that contest (for purposes of this conversation, this means not the whole combat, but only that particular opposed roll)

so a defender with a 200% weapon skill does not reduce the chance of every attacker by 100% - only the first attacker against which they declare a Parry. If the defender does not declare a Parry, then the attacker’s skill is not affected. 

For each subsequent declared Parry, the attackers’ skill would be reduced by 20% less. 

TL,DR: against defenders with weapon skills over 100%, only DECLARED Parries reduce attackers’ chance to hit. 

PS - I still believe that the (Melee Weapon) Trance spells are under-costed compared to their benefits, but let’s at least establish a common understanding of the rules context for that conversation. 

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19 minutes ago, Thyrwyn said:

so a defender with a 200% weapon skill does not reduce the chance of every attacker by 100% - only the first attacker against which they declare a Parry. If the defender does not declare a Parry, then the attacker’s skill is not affected. 

That's right.

 

19 minutes ago, Thyrwyn said:

For each subsequent declared Parry, the attackers’ skill would be reduced by 20% less. 

TL,DR: against defenders with weapon skills over 100%, only DECLARED Parries reduce attackers’ chance to hit. 

Also right. This is why Soltakss's idea to split (even under 100%) instead of a flat -20% is a changer.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

It makes splitting your attacks a tricky choice. If you split your 180% skill into two 90s, then find your opponent has an unexpectedly high parry of 150%, you find your first attack chance reduced to 40%, and the second to 60%, and both very likely to be parried. I think that's fair enough though. Don't split until you know what you are up against.

Opponents. Unless they've changed things even more that I thought, by RAW you can't split attacks against a single opponent. But other than that, yeah, it does. In fact I would say that it makes splitting attacks undesirable, as it will severely impair  your defense, and a character facing multiple opponents is much better off not splitting.

 

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

And yes, this thread has become more of a general discussion on the mechanics of high skills and I think that's ok.

That seems to be where the problem lies, with the effects of the high score, not with the method of achieving it. What ever problems might exist from Sword Trace would appear to become permanent with characters with combat skills over 100%

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