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Good examples of Strike Ranks in action


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I ran my first RQ game in ~20 years yesterday and I have the distinct feeling that I am totally misusing the strike rank system. The mix between move (one strike rank per Movement Unit) and other actions turned the whole thing into some sort of strike rank-based chess match. 

Is there a writeup or actual play somewhere of how this is supposed to work?

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The idea is to use it as a “simple” initiative system. I don’t think it’s intended to use it as a more complex tapestry tacticle movement. Broader brush strokes are better. Once your engaged in melee then movement no longer matters in terms of SR

IIRC RQ3 encouraged a more involved use of SR for movement, but RQG is inline with RQ2, which uses a broader brushstroke.

You just want to know who goes first, if they’ve got a bit further to go before they enter melee, then add the appropriate SR penalty. 

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In my experience, nearly all combats come down to a simple are-you-engaged-or-not, and if there is any ambiguity then it only affects the first round.

In some ways I miss the MRQ2/Mythras Manoeuvre skill, which helped figure out who could influence the melee landscape in their favour. As it is, if a player says "I want to back away slowly, and draw them away from my wounded colleague so the healer can get to him", there's no clear way to roll that. Maybe Battle could be used.

The way in which I don't miss the skill is in having to remember how to spell it.

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14 hours ago, EpicureanDM said:

I would love to see a full, proper example of play describing the mechanisms of combat instead of the piecemeal illustrations of individual rules we see in the corebook.

Wasn't Jason supposed to post something like that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to various people for their comments.

I guess my fundamental question is: should we be using D&D style turn order in RQ:Q - where basically we just decide who acts in what order, and each person in turn takes their complete action?  Or are we supposed to be counting off strike ranks?

Each approach seems to have issues.

Somehow we didn't seem to have this issue 25-30 years ago when playing RQ3, but maybe that's just because we didn't try to apply the rules too closely.

 

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9 minutes ago, Hyperlexic said:

Thanks to various people for their comments.

I guess my fundamental question is: should we be using D&D style turn order in RQ:Q - where basically we just decide who acts in what order, and each person in turn takes their complete action?  Or are we supposed to be counting off strike ranks?

Each approach seems to have issues.

Somehow we didn't seem to have this issue 25-30 years ago when playing RQ3, but maybe that's just because we didn't try to apply the rules too closely.

 

RQ combat classically has been 

  • Statement of Intent (before anything else in the round; we used to have players state their actions in order of lowest INT characters first)
  • Count down through the strike ranks, where players take their actions in pursuing their Statement; everything that happens on SR6 happens on SR6 for everyone simultaneously (or highest dex first, if it matters)

It's an impulse-based quasi simultaneous system.

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2 minutes ago, styopa said:

RQ combat classically has been 

  • Statement of Intent (before anything else in the round; we used to have players state their actions in order of lowest INT characters first)
  • Count down through the strike ranks, where players take their actions in pursuing their Statement; everything that happens on SR6 happens on SR6 for everyone simultaneously (or highest dex first, if it matters)

It's an impulse-based quasi simultaneous system.

So basic question: can things change from the Statement of Intent, as played out on a per strike rank basis?

E.g. let's assume that both Player 1 and Player 2 declare their SoI to be 'I'm hitting Enemy 1'.  Player 1 strikes first on SR5 and drops SoI; then on SR6 Player 2 comes up - can he/she change their action or does the whole action get invalidated?

You can imagine many other similar examples.

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12 minutes ago, Hyperlexic said:

So basic question: can things change from the Statement of Intent, as played out on a per strike rank basis?

E.g. let's assume that both Player 1 and Player 2 declare their SoI to be 'I'm hitting Enemy 1'.  Player 1 strikes first on SR5 and drops SoI; then on SR6 Player 2 comes up - can he/she change their action or does the whole action get invalidated?

You can imagine many other similar examples.

This can be boiled down to the core question: Do we need the SoI-step at all?

Or should we keep the SoI simple like "I'll fight on" or "this round I'll try to disengage" and so on.

Edited by prinz.slasar
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15 minutes ago, prinz.slasar said:

This can be boiled down to the core question: Do we need the SoI-step at all?

Or should we keep the SoI simple like "I'll fight on" or "this round I'll try to disengage" and so on.

Right - I'm just wondering what the rules as written really mean, and going back to my original question - any example of how this really plays out.

Is there a good actual play recording?

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1 hour ago, prinz.slasar said:

This can be boiled down to the core question: Do we need the SoI-step at all?

Or should we keep the SoI simple like "I'll fight on" or "this round I'll try to disengage" and so on.

Some people dislike the SoI.  Some think it's a good thing.

I think it's meant to emulate the confusion-of-battle, wherein if your Intent is foiled by intervening actions (e.g. your declared Foe drops) it takes a few seconds to reorient and take a NEW action (in any meaningful, decisive way)... and, whoa! those few seconds are... the rest of the melee round.

I allow a single "conditional" extra action in the SoI -- "I fight Foe1 until/unless they drop, then engage Foe2".

I am considering allowing players a (RQ3-esque?) change of SoI (at a 5SR cost).

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2 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

Right - I'm just wondering what the rules as written really mean, and going back to my original question - any example of how this really plays out.

Is there a good actual play recording?

We did SoI (basically because we didn't really even question it) for a good 10 years.  I'd built up some reasonably smooth change-of-statement mechanics.

Then I played some 5e, and saw that I really wouldn't lose anything as a DM by letting people just decide what they were doing when they did it and dumped the complications.  Combat hasn't been one whit less 'crunchy' and goes significantly faster, actually.

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I don't recall seeing any statement that such a thing was slated; but I could have missed it.

It was something a looooong time ago (last fall I think). Something mentioned shortly after the video example of play, to kinda clarify some of the stuff he glossed over for his players. 

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Ok so, just to wrap up this thread:

- There isn’t a good example / actual play that anyone is aware of

- The basic approach in rules as written is:

* Declare Statement of Intent at the beginning of the round - including the SR count (eg “I’ll fire and arrow on SR 3 at Enemy 1 and again on SR 11 at Enemy 1)

* Over the course of the round the GM counts up the SR’s and events unfold

* If a declared SoI becomes invalid, the round is wasted (though apparently this is commonly houseruled)

Is this all correct?

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Hyperlexic, that seems reasonable, though sometimes the GM will adjust the SR based on the situation.

 

There are a at least a couple of people working on SR examples, so hopefully soon there will be some good documents available.

 

However what will probably happen is that a couple of brave people will release a set of examples.  They will contain errors, some of which will be easily corrected, others which will have no clear answer and result in long debates.

I know the examples I'm working on have shown me how much I really don't understand, despite having played for many years.

 

I think that many of us have often played in isolation from other groups and have merrily played using our own house rules or incorrect interpretations.  This is Ok.  But hopefully if RQG proves to be successful it may make more appearances at gaming conventions and it would be good to turn up at the table knowing the correct rules.

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4 hours ago, Mechashef said:

I think that many of us have often played in isolation from other groups and have merrily played using our own house rules or incorrect interpretations.  This is Ok.  But hopefully if RQG proves to be successful it may make more appearances at gaming conventions and it would be good to turn up at the table knowing the correct rules.

I am increasingly of the opinion that much of what we're debating is stuff that Chaosium does not intend to "fix;" that they see strong opinions held in favor of good (but incompatible) arguments, and think their correct stance should be "rulings not rules," allowing most interpretations and corner-case HRs to stand.

That said, I too think the SR system wants a bit of clarification and to have a few specific issues pinned down.

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5 hours ago, Mechashef said:

However what will probably happen is that a couple of brave people will release a set of examples.  They will contain errors, some of which will be easily corrected, others which will have no clear answer and result in long debates.

Boy you have that right.

To be clear I'm totally comfortable adapting my own version of this to run at the table.  I just usually want to understand the rules as written first...

I think in total - I don't really love this initiative system.  The whole Statement of Intent system seems really cludgy.  And the fact that we're missing reach (size and weapon length) and speed lead to some pretty odd results (e.g., a really large fast fighter with a long weapon could possibly attack 3x in a round; a really small fast person with a small weapon couldn't).

I'm going to look back at RQ6/Legend and see what that has.  I seem to recall the Action Point system and thinking 'wow that's interesting... complicated but interesting'.

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13 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

Ok so, just to wrap up this thread:

- There isn’t a good example / actual play that anyone is aware of

 

That seems to be the case, but that is partly because RQG, is fairly new. There are probably examples of the earlier iterations of RQ or other BRP games, but things are considerably different in RQG for such examples to be counterproductive. 

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2 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

I think in total - I don't really love this initiative system.  The whole Statement of Intent system seems really cludgy.

I actually think the SoI is kind of brilliant, for doing what it does.  It captures the chaos of melee, with stuff from OUTSIDE your own little 1:1 miniduel reaching in and unexpectedly messing with what you meant to do, leaving you in WTF?!ville for an action.

It's the "fog of war" writ small.

The question of whether that SHOULD be modeled into a GAME that is meant to be fun to play is an entirely different consideration...  And whether it should be in YOUR game is not even really a consideration -- it's there if your table likes it, but you're equally free to get rid of it (our jackbooted rule-thugs are too busy to raid your gaming table for at least the next 8-9 years).

It's been a long time since I regularly played RQ.  I'm going to have to see how my group reacts to it, given their "modern" sensibilities.

 

2 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

...  And the fact that we're missing reach (size and weapon length) and speed lead to some pretty odd results (e.g., a really large fast fighter with a long weapon could possibly attack 3x in a round; a really small fast person with a small weapon couldn't).

A common HR -- that I think(?) got published in one version or another of some BRP-related game (or maybe a 'zine article?), but maybe was only ever a (very common) HR -- was to limit long-weapons' SR-advantage to the 1st melee round.  Someone with a spear may have an extra chance to stick you, as you tried to close with your shortsword; but after that, they would choke up on their spear a bit to re-balance for close-in fighting, and it was no longer an extra 3' of reach vs. a closing foe...

Another rule -- again, not recalling if "just" a HR or if it was ever published -- is to set some minimum number of SR's of weapon-reach (say, 3+ for this discussion, but you could do 2+), and require any weapon shorter by those 3+ SRs to make a successful "attack" just to close the range, doing no damage... but similarly, the longer weapon then needs to succeed in an attack (doing no damage) just to increase the range again; parries apply, so the person wanting to change ranges must make an unparried successful attack!  So at the beginning of combat, the long weapon gets an attack-for-effect, while the shorter may only attack-to-close; thereafter, it depends on who is inside/outside the other's range.  If the weapons are only 2 (or fewer) SR's apart in reach, THEN their engagement ranges are similar enough that you just give the longer one that edge in strike-first, but they are within one another's engagement ranges.

 

2 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

I'm going to look back at RQ6/Legend and see what that has.  I seem to recall the Action Point system and thinking 'wow that's interesting... complicated but interesting'.

It is very interesting, yes.  Not actually "complicated" as such -- it's one of those derived characteristics you do at character-creation and then use as a fixed number at the table.

In use, it offers some interesting options & tactical considerations; as a group, there can even be strategic considerations!   I guess that can be considered "complicated" but given the APs are usually 2 or 3, very occasionally 4 (except for some multi-attack monsters, supernaturals, and superheroic scale characters) I find it to feel like "interesting options" more than "complicated."

But maybe I am wrong; I'm pretty sure one of Mythras Imperative's quickstart "simplifications" is to just set all PC's to 2 AP's!

 

Edited by g33k
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