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House Rule: Attack Penalty in exchange for reduced SR


Thyrwyn

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Simply stated: I am considering allowing characters to take a penalty to their attack in order to resolve that attack sooner. I was considering -20% per SR.

Since the attack roll represents a series of maneuvers, not a single swing/stab, this rule would represent the character rushing their blow, rather than waiting to create or exploit the best opportunity.

(by character, I mean PC or NPC)

Does -20% seem appropriate? How frequently would you, as a player, use that rule?

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Not sure. The problem with bringing attacks forwards is that in certain combat situations I suspect it would be nonsensical, so there would be a good deal of interpretation involved (and therefore potentially arguments). Would there be a limit on how many strike ranks you can deduct?

Also, if my sword skill is 200% I could effectively attack before anyone else every time, with little effect on my actual chance to hit. This means that higher weapon skill level means you can be faster without much in the way of a penalty - but that should be the role of DEX improvement.

It merits some thought. Personally, I'm not sure that skill with a sword should directly translate to being faster - that should be down to DEX and SIZ. I think problems could arise from muddying the waters on that.

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Just a suggestion but instead of someone being able to adjust their SR directly this way, maybe they could only adjust their DEX portion of it? The reason being is that while they could act faster, they would still be under the limitations of the weapon and their reach (SIZ).  Otherwise you could have a duck with a dagger get first strike against a giant with a tree. 

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3 hours ago, Sumath said:

...1) Would there be a limit on how many strike ranks you can deduct?

2) Also, if my sword skill is 200% I could effectively attack before anyone else every time, with little effect on my actual chance to hit. This means that higher weapon skill level means you can be faster without much in the way of a penalty - but that should be the role of DEX improvement.

1) The only one I've considered addresses @PhilHibbs concern as well: the character would have to have the 20% to surrender. Narratively, I see this representing circumstances or an over-matched opponent preventing one from having an earlier opportunity.

2) You could act earlier, but because of the way combat skills over 100% work in RQG, you would be sacrificing other benefits. A superior combatant should be able to act more quickly and more decisively than an less experienced one. In my mind (and in my experience), the static SR system overvalues SIZ and Reach. I am considering this rule to allow skilled combatants a measure of adaptability in the face of larger or faster opponents, or longer weapons. But at a reasonable cost.

3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

It's an interesting idea but it would have the odd effect that anyone with a skill of 5% or lower can always attack on SR1 with no penalty.

I would include "must have at least x% skill" so that it is actually an exchange.

23 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Just a suggestion but instead of someone being able to adjust their SR directly this way, maybe they could only adjust their DEX portion of it? The reason being is that while they could act faster, they would still be under the limitations of the weapon and their reach (SIZ).  Otherwise you could have a duck with a dagger get first strike against a giant with a tree. 

A reasonable point, and one I've considered. But the current SR system really only makes sense - either narrative or simulationist - in the first round of melee. Once the duck with the dagger gets close to the giant, they should be attacking first. I could introduce rules for closing (similar to other systems and previous editions of RQ), but they are inevitably cumbersome, and introduce their own set of problems, edge cases, and inconsistencies. I'd like the rule to be as succinct as possible.

Thank you all for joining the conversation! While I understand that not everyone would be open to this kind of rule, your feedback is helping me figure out what will work best for our table. Keep it coming!

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Well, to "keep in coming" what is probably need is some sort of reach rule for weapons, where you could give each weapon a reach in meters. Then maybe your idea could be worked into a lunge attack that added reach. 

I did something like that for a BRP variant I'm working on awhile back, where the strike order was determined by opposed skill rolls, with each meter difference in reach worth an extra 100% to the skill for strike order purposes. It worked out nice for me because I could break is down to about 1% per cm, or 5% per 2 inches, 33% per foot, etc. 

 

 

Another take on your idea would be to reverse engineer the old RQ aimed blow rules namely:

1. Allow someone to attack on SR1 at half skill. Yeah, it still a "freebie" for the 5%ers and not much of a peanlty for anybody below 20%, IMO, but let's face it, at that point going first might be the only chance they have.

2. You could let the target shift hit location by 1 per SR boosted. So the attacker gets to attack faster, but the defender has a better chance of seeing where the blow is going to land (the attack hardly has a time to feint or try to misdirect) and could move to shift the point of impact-probably to the shield arm.  

 

14 minutes ago, Thyrwyn said:

A reasonable point, and one I've considered. But the current SR system really only makes sense - either narrative or simulationist - in the first round of melee. Once the duck with the dagger gets close to the giant, they should be attacking first. I could introduce rules for closing (similar to other systems and previous editions of RQ), but they are inevitably cumbersome, and introduce their own set of problems, edge cases, and inconsistencies. I'd like the rule to be as succinct as possible.

Kinda. You assuming that the duck can get close to the giant. That's easier said than done. It's hard to get in close against someone with a longer weapon,  unless you're willing to get hit to do so.  That's also why shields and formations are so useful. Spearman versus Swordsman tends to go to the spearman unless you add shields, which shifts things in favor of the swordsman, unless you are fighting in formation, which shifts things back to the spearmen. . 

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13 hours ago, Thyrwyn said:

Does -20% seem appropriate? How frequently would you, as a player, use that rule?

How about an increasing penalty per SR?

  • 1 SR sooner @ -10%
  • 2 SR's sooner @ -10 + -20 = -30%
  • 3 SRs sooner @ -10 + -20 + -30 = -60%
  • 4 SRs sooner @ -10 + -20 + -30 + -40 = -100%

So you can go a LITTLE sooner at not much penalty, but going a LOT sooner gets into hefty penalties.

I can see the 1-2 SR's being routinely chosen; hitting the foe FIRST is a huge advantage!  But you've got to have a HUGE advantage -- or be very desperate -- for 60%/100%/150%/etc penalties to look like a good choice...

 

Also, I'd want to look at the way this interplays with splitting attacks, and with two-weapon fighting and the "You have to have the SR's to fit all the attacks into the 12-SR round" rules.  I don't actuall SEE the exploit off the top of my head, but my gut suggests the odds are high for a "loophole" (aka unintended consequences) in the way these work together.

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Just now, g33k said:

How about an increasing penalty per SR?

It makes a lot of sense to me. Obviously the advantage here isn't really how many SR one attacks earlier, but if the can attack before their opponent can attack, or cast a spell. 

 

Just now, g33k said:

Also, I'd want to look at the way this interplays with splitting attacks, and with two-weapon fighting and the "You have to have the SR's to fit all the attacks into the 12-SR round" rules.  I don't actuall SEE the exploit off the top of my head, but my gut suggests the odds are high for a "loophole" (aka unintended consequences) in the way these work together.

IMO, with the way melee skills over 100% affect the opponents' melee skills, splitting attacks really isn't such a great tactic anymore. 

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There are a few edge cases that you might need to hand-wave with a rule like this. Please don't think I'm having a go or being snide, any rule like this needs to go through the Baths of Nitpick. Best to get the potential problems known early.

So you resolved my "5% attack" case, if there's a -20% penalty then you have to have at least 20% or 25% skill. Fine.

Lets say I have 80% skill, and I declare an early attack, taking my chance down to 60%. My opponent declares a parry at 160%, which I didn't expect, so can I still make my early attack at 5% chance? And it doesn't have to be a 100%+ thing, it could be a circumstantial modifier such as someone casting Dullblade, Demoralize, or dispelling my Coordination or Sword Trance spell.

This is probably the main reason why there isn't a mechanic for deliberately reducing your skill in return for some benefit. The skill might get reduced for some other reason, so by the time the attack happens, you can't take the reduction.

But it's an unusual situation, you could probably play with this rule for years and never come across it.

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4 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

any rule like this needs to go through the Baths of Nitpick. Best to get the potential problems known early.

Yeah, we never know if something innocuous ends up opening up Pandora's box. 

Oh, another method of doing somthing like this would be to use the success level. RQ3's Land of the Ninja did something along these line with it's Iaijustsu skill. On a critical the attack went off on SR1. 

I see the basic idea being okay until one gets past 100% and then becoming somewhat dangerous, as a skilled opponent could now strike before his opponent could cast combat (and skill enhancing) spells. 

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

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11 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I see the basic idea being okay until one gets past 100% and then becoming somewhat dangerous, as a skilled opponent could now strike before his opponent could cast combat (and skill enhancing) spells. 

I think that's the intention. Great skill overcomes any deficiency in DEX or SIZ. I must admit, it always did seem odd to me that a an untrained kid with slightly higher stats would act before a master swordsman.

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10 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think that's the intention.

Yes, but I think it might end of being too good of a benefit for the penalty.

10 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Great skill overcomes any deficiency in DEX or SIZ. I must admit, it always did seem odd to me that a an untrained kid with slightly higher stats would act before a master swordsman.

Yeah, the master swordsman with 200% skill who can split his attacks, acts before the 20% skill novice because the novice has a higher SIZ and DEX. It's why I used an opposed Skill roll with modifiers for reach in my variant. 

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54 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think that's the intention. Great skill overcomes any deficiency in DEX or SIZ. I must admit, it always did seem odd to me that a an untrained kid with slightly higher stats would act before a master swordsman.

That’s exactly where I’m coming from. 

41 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but I think it might end of being too good of a benefit for the penalty.

It could be. We’ll try it out and I’ll let you know how it goes. 

I’m satisfied that everyone’s seeing the same potential interactions this would have (even if we disagree on the merits). Only testing it out will tell if the penalty is appropriate or not. If anyone else tries out this or a similar rule, please keep us posted. 

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6 hours ago, Sumath said:

Also, if my sword skill is 200% I could effectively attack before anyone else every time, with little effect on my actual chance to hit.

I'm pretty sure this is an argument in favor.  This is IMO what a ridiculous skill of 200% would mean, they could lash out pretty lethally without anyone really even getting to react.

6 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

It's an interesting idea but it would have the odd effect that anyone with a skill of 5% or lower can always attack on SR1 with no penalty.

Only if you believe everyone always has a 5% chance to hit?  I mean, I think he's talking about -20 percentiles, not -20%.

 

It's one of the enduring issues with a fixed SR system...once you're behind, you're always behind.  Might as well go for that called shot if you're going to always swing after the other bloke.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

I'm pretty sure this is an argument in favor.  This is IMO what a ridiculous skill of 200% would mean, they could lash out pretty lethally without anyone really even getting to react.

Only if you believe everyone always has a 5% chance to hit?  I mean, I think he's talking about -20 percentiles, not -20%.

Well, with high skill reducing the opponent's ability this does become more common.  

1 hour ago, styopa said:

It's one of the enduring issues with a fixed SR system...once you're behind, you're always behind.  Might as well go for that called shot if you're going to always swing after the other bloke.

Mostly. Land of the Ninja did have a work around, as did RQ3 "Attack on the Run" option. So there were ways around it.

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

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10 hours ago, Sumath said:

Also, if my sword skill is 200% I could effectively attack before anyone else every time, with little effect on my actual chance to hit. This means that higher weapon skill level means you can be faster without much in the way of a penalty - but that should be the role of DEX improvement.

It merits some thought. Personally, I'm not sure that skill with a sword should directly translate to being faster - that should be down to DEX and SIZ. I think problems could arise from muddying the waters on that.

From personal experience, I can attest that SIZ and DEX in combat are vastly over-emphasised in all editions of RQ rules. Skill is the most important factor in who strikes (effectively, which is what an RQ attack roll purports to represent) first.

I have fought in knife-fights with a guy a foot taller than me, who played squash really well (indicating decent reflexes and coordination, i.e. DEX), and he couldn't get first hit on me, or even hit me on the way out. I did a lot of knife fighting. I'm rubbish at squash and he beat me seven ways from Sunday at that. He was new to the lines and angles of stabbidj.

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20 minutes ago, womble said:

From personal experience, I can attest that SIZ and DEX in combat are vastly over-emphasised in all editions of RQ rules. Skill is the most important factor in who strikes (effectively, which is what an RQ attack roll purports to represent) first.

I have fought in knife-fights with a guy a foot taller than me, who played squash really well (indicating decent reflexes and coordination, i.e. DEX), and he couldn't get first hit on me, or even hit me on the way out. I did a lot of knife fighting. I'm rubbish at squash and he beat me seven ways from Sunday at that. He was new to the lines and angles of stabbidj.

Of course SR isn't everything. Your superior skill means that, while he gets to roll first, he has damn all chance of actually making contact. That doesn't necessarily represent a literal swing-of-the-arm that you are aware of, your "dodge" or "parry" might simply represent the fact that he had no opportunity to land a blow on you. You then knock him on his arse, giving the impression that you are faster than him and should have a better SR because he had no chance to hit you before you hit him. He has a chance, but it seldom works out.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a problem to solve, the appearance of a problem (that can be explained away) does not feel satisfying.

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9 hours ago, styopa said:

It's one of the enduring issues with a fixed SR system...once you're behind, you're always behind.  Might as well go for that called shot if you're going to always swing after the other bloke.

Basically, you give up one melee round for always acting first, and with an aimed blow, as that is what going last in the previous melee round means. Little different from spending the first melee round getting ready and magicked up, really.

There is the issue with having to deal with all manner of attacks before that action, but that would be the same if you placed that action as the very first action of the next melee round. It really is a question of perception.

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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11 hours ago, styopa said:

one of the enduring issues with a fixed SR system...once you're behind, you're always behind.  Might as well go for that called shot if you're going to always swing after the other bloke.

Except that the called shot is at half %. 

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

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Sounds a good idea, I might suggest it to my gaming group. We are using Revolution D100, but with Traits/Bonuses giving +10 and Penalties at -10, so I might just say one Penalty (-10) per SR.

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14 hours ago, womble said:

From personal experience, I can attest that SIZ and DEX in combat are vastly over-emphasised in all editions of RQ rules. Skill is the most important factor in who strikes (effectively, which is what an RQ attack roll purports to represent) first.

This may be the case IRL and therefore from a simulationist point of view you may want to change the combat system to reflect this. But if you were to do so, surely you'd change the basis of SR order altogether rather than bolting an amendment ruling on top of what you consider to be an imperfect system?

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11 minutes ago, Sumath said:

This may be the case IRL and therefore from a simulationist point of view you may want to change the combat system to reflect this. But if you were to do so, surely you'd change the basis of SR order altogether rather than bolting an amendment ruling on top of what you consider to be an imperfect system?

I don't see why, a tweak like this addresses the problem without needing to rewrite existing stat blocks.

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46 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I don't see why, a tweak like this addresses the problem without needing to rewrite existing stat blocks.

Exactly. It allows an option without having to change a core mechanic. Since the current system is neither narrativist nor simulationist, the option I’m proposing satisfies both drives without negating the current rules set. 

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The big problem is that, with RQG, this option is less convenient than it seems. Yes, striking first is useful, but once you are above 100%, that amount you subtract from the parry tends to be more useful. And when you are not above 100%, a potential miss means your weapon takes damage. In most tactical situation, skill trumps speed.

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53 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

The big problem is that, with RQG, this option is less convenient than it seems. Yes, striking first is useful, but once you are above 100%, that amount you subtract from the parry tends to be more useful. And when you are not above 100%, a potential miss means your weapon takes damage. In most tactical situation, skill trumps speed.

Yeah, that precisely why splitting attacks isn't such a great tactic in RQG either. 

Bumping SR only seems to be worth it when you know the opponent is going to cast a powerful Battle Magic spell and you need to prevent them from doing so. In other words this would be exactly the tactic to use to stop something like Bladesharp 10. 

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