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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:34 pm
  

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EDIT: I'm making revisions from the suggestions in the replies


I've been thinking lately about how to make melee combat characters more distinctive and give their players more interesting choices about how they approach the game. I have three goals for this approach:
1. Keep all existing stats, so there's no need to alter character sheets or book values.
2. Make armor and weapon choices more interesting.
3. Keep things as simple as possible.


Hotrod's House Rules for Melee Combat in 2nd Edition:

Skills:

W.P. Shield automatically grants the ability to dual-wield any 1-handed weapon with a small shield similar to Paired Weapons (simultaneous strike/parry, simultaneous strike/bash).
W.P. Paired Weapons is exclusive to Men-At-Arms, but now it starts out as a single combination of weapons (sword and sword, whip and knife, axe and short spear, et cetera), and it adds a new combination of weapons every other level. W.P. Paired Weapons also now allows you to entangle with one weapon and strike with the other. The Paired Weapons that comes with some hand-to-hand skills is for a single specific combination of weapons only (chosen by the player), and does not allow for additional combinations as the skill does.

Armor:
AR now serves two purposes:
First, AR gets added to parry and dodge rolls. If an attack with bonuses is 5 or less, or less than the natural AR, or less than the parry/dodge roll with normal bonuses, it still misses. If there is no parry/dodge, then a strike roll must exceed the armor's AR, or else it gets absorbed by armor. If the strike roll exceeds the parry/dodge, but not the parry/dodge + AR, then the armor takes damage.
Second, AR is the maximum amount of damage the armor can absorb per hit. Any damage in excess of the AR goes through the armor to the wearer. Once the SDC is gone, the armor provides no further protection.
SDC remains unchanged, but it's only tracked in combat under certain circumstances:
Light armor is not damaged by blunt and staff weapons, but edged weapons will rip and tear it, and fire weapons will burn it.
Heavy armor is not damaged by normal melee weapons of any type or normal fire. Some magic weapons and supernatural attacks will damage heavy armor.
If someone is deliberately targeting armor as an object (like a displayed suit) then its SDC is tracked like a normal object (treat the AR like a natural AR, treat the SDC as the item's 'hit points').
Size matters more. Regardless of the weapons they use and the armor type of the opponent, true giants will damage armor's SDC.

Initiative:
In general, the weapon with the longest reach automatically gets initiative.
Missile Weapons > Lances and Spears > Other 2-handers > large 1-handers > knives, throwing axes, and unarmed combat.
Exception: If combat suddenly begins at short range between opponents without weapons drawn and ready (two enemies suddenly round a corner and nearly bump into each other), this order reverses, and the shortest weapons go first.
Exception: A successful sneak attack automatically gets the initiative.
Exception: A failed save vs horror factor automatically loses the initiative.
Initiative rolls only matter when the same classes of weapons come into play. Since 2-handers generally reach farther, they attack before 1-handers do. Long 1-handers attack before knives and small axes, but knives and small axes can be thrown, which allows them to go before 2-handers.
Simultaneous attacks are only possible against weapons with the same reach unless a paired weapon is used for a simultaneous parry/strike.
Size matters more. True giants get bumped up two categories, large races get bumped up one category, gnomes get bumped down one category, and tiny faerie folk generally go last in melee combat. So a human with a 2-hander is in the same category as an ogre with a 1-hander, a true giant with a knife, and a gnome with a spear.

Weapon Damage:
Skilled 2-handed weapon wielders (except spears) automatically do x2 damage with each successful hit (this applies to all damage bonuses as well). Wielders of bastard swords and other weapons designed to be wielded with one or both hands can choose to 2-hand their weapon for double damage.
Size matters more. Large races keep their extra die of damage. True giants do double their book damage with every true-giant-scale weapon. Thus, a true giant with a two-handed claymore does x4 base damage, and the damage bonuses are doubled since it's a 2-hander and this bonus includes the large race bonus die, so that even a weak giant with no strength bonus will do 4D6x4 with a giant claymore. Ouch!

Shields:
Skilled shield users can parry arrows with a shield without penalty, can dodge/cover behind a shield to auto-block arrows and thrown weapons from a single direction (giving up their next attack to do so), and attacks around the front of a shield require a called shot (not for the side/back).
Small shields require a lower called shot(10) to attack around. They can be used with a 1-handed weapon as a paired weapon, and the shield W.P. automatically includes paired weapons with any weapon the character is skilled with.
Large shields require a higher called shot (15) to attack around and can shield one other person from incoming missiles, but they can't be used with any simultaneous Paired Weapons attacks (no simultaneous strike/parry, no simultaneous bash/slash).
Size Matters more: Only true giants can parry melee attacks from other true giants. All the smaller folk (to include wolfen and ogres) can only dodge.

Dual-Use Weapons
Some specific weapons can be used in more than one way. They generally aren't quite as powerful as the best dedicated two-handed weapons of their class.
Bastard Swords can be used as one-handed Long Swords (2D6 damage) or as two-handed swords (double of 2D6+2)
All Spears can also be used as Staves, either the one-handed short staff (1D6 damage) or the two-handed long staff (Double of 2D4) depending on the length of the spear.
Beaked Axes can be used as 2-handed Pole Arms (double damage) or as Spears (normal damage)
Bipennis (2-Head) axes can be used as one-handed or two-handed weapons.
The Morning Star can be used one-handed or two handed.
Both the Ball and Chain and the Mace and Chain can be used one or two handed.

Benefits of Hotrod's House Rules
+Armor grants significant advantages that stay relevant at all levels, and armor can be overcome by bypassing (through a great strike roll), striking through (by exceeding the AR with each hit's damage), or smashing it (reduce SDC to zero).
+Heavy armor confers bigger combat advantages (due to AR) over light armor, and it requires far less repair and maintenance than light armor.
+Shields are vital for fighting archers and very useful in melee.
+Paired weapons is a viable skill choice that doesn't become redundant with experience.
+2-handers have the best overall damage rating and strike earlier, but they give up the protection of a shield and the flexibility of dual-wielding to do so. This is great for people who don't care so much about taking hits and want to do damage, like rich people in armor and berzerkers.
+Wielding a large 1-hander and a large shield makes you harder to hit, but your damage is less than half of a 2-hander's, and you aren't as flexible as a dual-wielder. This is great for more common soldiers who want to live and aren't rich. It's also great for fighting multiple opponents by making the shielded character intrinsically harder to hit.
+Dual-wielding with a small shield provides some defensive perks while keeping things flexible, allowing simultaneous strikes/parries, which are very effective against a single opponent, This is great for people who want to adjust their style on the fly.
+Dual-wielders remain as written, with great flexibility. They can dual strike with almost as much damage as a 2-hander, but give up their auto-parry to do so. They can simultaneously strike and parry against a single opponent. They can attack two opponents at once.
+Bastard swords and other 2-hand optional weapons become more interesting, since they can be used with 1 or 2 hands. This gives bastard swords more flexibility, but they won't do as much damage as most specialized 2-handers since their base damage is lower. This is great for people who want to adjust their style on the fly.
+Any weapon that can be used as a spear, pole arm, and/or staff becomes more interesting. If the character has the appropriate weapon proficiencies, they can gain the initiative by using it as a spear, but give up damage to do so. Then they can swing it like a pole arm or staff for double damage.
+Knife and throwing axe wielders gain an additional perk: they can seize the initiative with a thrown attack. This is great for putting enemies without great protection on the defensive.
+True Giants are terrifying in melee combat.


Drawbacks of Hotrod's House Rules:

-Each hit requires a little more number crunching to determine whether the armor takes some/all of the hit.
-The defensive boosts of armor and shields are likely to make combat with opponents wearing armor and shields take longer.
-This rule set makes character sheets slightly more complicated, as paired weapons require specification by type of weapon.

Examples Hotrod's House Rules in action:
Scenario 1: Using Armor
An attacker swings a battle axe and rolls a 15 to strike with bonuses. The defender in full plate chooses not to parry and instead counterattacks (essentially a simultaneous action), since his armor has an AR of 17, and his practiced eye can tell that the blow is heading to a well-protected area. The attacker gets a lucky damage roll and does 20 points of damage. The armor negates 17 points, while the defender takes the other 3. Since this is a conventional melee attack, the armor takes no damage. At the same time, the defender is launching his own counterattack, which the attacker cannot parry or dodge.

Next round, the attacker swings again, rolling an 18 to strike with bonuses. Since the defender sees the swing coming at a vulnerable area, he parries or dodges and rolls a 9 with bonuses. This means the defender gets hit. However, 9 + the defender's armor rating of 17 = 26, so the defender's armor again reduces the damage. This time, the attacker does only 8 points of damage, so the armor negates all of it.

Scenario 2: Defeating Armor
A thief in full cloth armor gets attacked in the street by a soldier with a sword. The soldier rolls a 12 to strike. The thief rolls a 6 to parry. Even adding in his armor rating of +5 makes it 11, which is not enough to overcome the strike roll. The soldier has bypassed the thief's armor, and the thief takes full damage.

The soldier attacks again, rolling a 15. This time, the thief rolls an 11. Adding in the armor rating of +5 is 16, enough for the thief's armor to absorb some damage from the attack. Since the cutting attack of the sword will tend to rip and tear cloth, the thief's armor will take damage. The soldier rolls 7 to damage, and so the armor takes 5 damage, reducing its SDC to 1, and the thief takes the other two points. The soldier has struck through the thief's armor.

The soldier attacks a third time, rolling a 14. The thief rolls a 13. Adding in the armor rating of +5 is enough for the thief's armor to take damage, and the soldier rolls a 5 to damage. However, the armor only absorbs 1 point, because it only had 1 SDC left. The soldier has effectively destroyed the thief's armor. The thief takes the other 4 points, and is now completely unarmored.

Although the thief has been hitting the soldier during this time, too, the soldier's half chain does not take damage from the thief's weapon, so it's still in good shape (no damage).

Scenario 3: Initiative and Damage:
An unarmored ogre mercenary with a 1-handed battle axe charges a human soldier with a beaked axe. The human soldier has W.P. Spear and chooses to wield his beaked axe this way. Although the size of the ogre bumps his reach up to that of a human with a 2-handed weapon, The human soldier takes initiative, as spears strike before 2-handed weapons. For the full duration of this melee round, the human will use his W.P. Spear bonuses to strike and parry, and he will do the normal book-value damage for a beaked axe.

The human soldier decides he wants to hit the Ogre harder next round, so he switches to a pole arm 2-handed weapon style. However, now he and the Ogre are effectively fighting at the same range with their weapons, so they must roll for initiative. The human will use his W.P. Pole Arms bonuses to strike and parry for the full duration of this melee round, and when he hits, he will automatically do double damage.

Later, the same human soldier is attacking an unskilled (no blunt W.P.) giant peasant wielding a large 1-handed club. The soldier throws his beaked axe using his W.P. Spear skill and automatically wins the initiative, since the giant is equal to a human with a spear in melee. The giant tries to dodge the spear, but fails, and the beaked axe does its normal book-value damage. The human spends his next action drawing a, 2-handed sword before attacking. The human retains the initiative for the rest of the round and keeps attacking. The giant attempts to parry each attack, and these parries cost the giant its subsequent attacks, since the giant is unskilled and doesn't get an automatic parry. The soldier does double damage with his attacks against the giant.

The following round, the giant automatically wins the initiative due to his size. The angry giant lashes out with his club, and the soldier must dodge each attack, because only a true giant can parry a true giant's attacks. When the giant hits, he will do double the book value base damage due to his size, but his damage bonuses due to strength will be at their normal values. If the human's armor absorbs any damage from the giant's attacks, that damage also reduces the human's armor SDC, regardless of its type. When the giant runs out of attacks, the human has two left, and the human strikes with his two-handed sword. The human (due to using a 2-handed weapon) doubles both his base damage and damage bonuses.

Scenario 4: Sneak Attacks and Initiative at Short Range:

A gnome assassin works his way through a crowd to his prey, making tailing skill checks to follow and get close without drawing attention. With a quick paired thrust of two enchanted daggers, he delivers poison to his victim, an elf in chain mail. The gnome automatically wins the initiative and rolls a high enough strike to bypass the armor. Since this is a surprise attack, the elf cannot dodge or parry, and the daggers' potent enchantments and poisons combine to knock out the victim, who succumbs to the poisons shortly thereafter and dies. The gnome activates an invisibility ring and vanishes, but quite a few people see him before he disappears.

Later, a human soldier with a spear notices the gnome brushing by and recognizes him as the murderer, calling him out as combat begins and bringing his spear around to stab the assassin. Since combat initiates at close range, the normal initiative order reverses. The gnome again wins initiative automatically, since a gnome with knives has a far shorter reach than a human with a spear. Shortly thereafter, a more experienced sergeant encounters the gnome, again at short range. Thinking quickly, the sergeant opts to punch the gnome instead rather than try to bash or stab the murderer with the spear. Now the human (unarmed punch) and the gnome (knife) must roll for initiative, because the gnome's small size knocks its knife down to the equivalent of an unarmed human.

The gnome assassin manages to escape from the city and gallops away on a pony. A knight charges up behind him with a lance. The gnome opts to throw his knives at the knight. In this case, the small size of the gnome works against him, as a human with a lance/spear is equal to a gnome with a thrown weapon, and the two combatants must roll for initiative.

Anyway, those were my thoughts on making melee combat, and specifically selecting equipment, more interesting. Any thoughts or suggestions for improving it?

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Last edited by Hotrod on Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:42 am, edited 21 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:05 pm
  

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I like the concept. Have you run any live tests to determine playability?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:38 pm
  

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I would be interested to see how this goes. I might try to use this for Heroes Unlimited.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:43 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
I would be interested to see how this goes. I might try to use this for Heroes Unlimited.

Yeah, I was thinking PFRPG and HU2 would benefit most from this system. I would be willing to try it out and see how it works.

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taalismn wrote:
Hey, you came up with a novel, attention-getting idea, you did the legwork, you worked it through, you made it fit the setting, even though initial thought might be 'nah, it can't work, it's too silly/stupid/lame', and you posted something that only required a little adjustment, yet can be added to, without diluting its original concept. How can we not give you due support and credit?


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:35 am
  

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As an aside I did a house rule change to paired weapon previously.
Men-at-arms could buy it as normal.
Everyone else could buy it... but they bought it in the "specific paired sets" set up.
I added a few other things (Fencing for example allowed the use of a fencing off hand weapon, but only if you were using a fencing sword main hand)
And a W.P. Main Gauche (W.P. Knife, off hand only, -1 strike +1 parry, can be used paired with any other short weapon)
That sort of thing.

I like your idea though for the 'level up pairs' and may use a variation of this.
I am definitely eyeing that two hander rule though.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:29 pm
  

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Well, I like all of these. I know Levi Johnstone ran his PFRPG games with the characters having a paired weapons expertise. It makes sense as it should take some practice to use any combination of weapons successfully. And if a PC comes across a particularly powerful weapon that he or she doesn't have a lot of experience using, there should be a skill used to learn it. Although, you'd have to ban Non-Man-at-arms from using Paired Weapons as the 2nd edition just makes it a WP skill that most anyone can take.

I particularly like the shield aspect. With the dwarven made weapons having the bonuses to parry, they are often better for parrying than a shield, which is preposterous.

I don't know if I'd give all two handed weapons a bonus on initiative. For the poking ones like spears, halberds, polearms, and lances, I agree. But for the chopping/slashing ones, they're a bit more difficult to bring around for an attack. However, I'd give the double damage to the 2-handed weapon chopping/slashing weapons and not the poking ones. I'd also add that you can't parry a 2 handed attack with a 1 handed weapon.

With the double damage, would you just double the weapon damage, or double everything? It makes sense to double the strength damage, but what about things like OCC or H2H skills? i could see either argument.

Bastard swords become much more interesting a weapon. I'd throw in a strength requirement to use it 1 handed, but it gives you the flexibility of using it in different ways. What about hafted weapons like axes, maces, flails, etc? Would you let them be used 2 handed and receive the bonus damage?

Having distance weapons go first is a great idea. Would you have people who are throwing weapons roll initiative against each other? I guess that question goes for every initiative grouping.

-Vek
"We need a Forums house rules compendium"

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:12 pm
  

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I'll be editing the original post as I revise.

Father Goose wrote:
I like the concept. Have you run any live tests to determine playability?
Not yet; I'm not in a gaming group at the moment. I might try out a few test cases using some of my fantasy NPC generators. If I get REALLY motivated, I might try programming an algorithm and using the Monte Carlo method to see what the average outcomes are for a few thousand fights.

eliakon wrote:
As an aside I did a house rule change to paired weapon previously.
Men-at-arms could buy it as normal.
Everyone else could buy it... but they bought it in the "specific paired sets" set up.
I added a few other things (Fencing for example allowed the use of a fencing off hand weapon, but only if you were using a fencing sword main hand)
And a W.P. Main Gauche (W.P. Knife, off hand only, -1 strike +1 parry, can be used paired with any other short weapon)
That sort of thing.
I like your idea though for the 'level up pairs' and may use a variation of this.
That seems like a reasonable approach, too. I rather like keeping paired weapon abilities out of the hands of people who don't specialize in this kind of combat, unless they get it from their hand-to-hand (and how many non-men-at-arms O.C.C.'s can even take Expert, anyway?).

Veknironth wrote:
Although, you'd have to ban Non-Man-at-arms from using Paired Weapons as the 2nd edition just makes it a WP skill that most anyone can take.
I might have confused 1st and 2nd edition rules there, but yes, that's my intent. Non-men-at-arms might get a single Paired Weapons combo if their hand-to-hand and level include it (does Basic include it? I suspect no, but I'm not sure). I've edited the OP to specify it as Men-at-arms only.

Veknironth wrote:
I particularly like the shield aspect. With the dwarven made weapons having the bonuses to parry, they are often better for parrying than a shield, which is preposterous.
Agreed! The fact that several W.P.'s provide identical parry bonuses as shields seems wrong to me.

Veknironth wrote:
I don't know if I'd give all two handed weapons a bonus on initiative. For the poking ones like spears, halberds, polearms, and lances, I agree. But for the chopping/slashing ones, they're a bit more difficult to bring around for an attack. However, I'd give the double damage to the 2-handed weapon chopping/slashing weapons and not the poking ones. I'd also add that you can't parry a 2 handed attack with a 1 handed weapon.
That's a reasonable critique, though it could add a lot of complication. Take, for example, pole-arms: many are very choppy, like the voulge and the beaked axe. My intent was to make choices interesting, not necessarily to go for realism. There's a clear dividing line between using one hand or two hands with a weapon. There's not such a clear divide between weapons that chop and weapons that thrust. I suppose we could break up 2-handers into spears/lances and everything else. In that context, a beaked axe (which falls under both spear and pole arm) could either be used as a spear (with W.P. Spear) and do its normal damage, but gain an initiative bonus, or it could be used as a pole-arm (with W.P. pole arm) and do double damage, but give up initiative against spear-wielding opponents.

I've removed the double damage bonus for spears (long reach = less leverage. Not totally realistic, but this introduces an interesting trade-off and makes a line of spearmen really tough to charge, since a group of spearmen all automatically take initiative over most melee opponents, and they can gang up on individuals)

Veknironth wrote:
With the double damage, would you just double the weapon damage, or double everything? It makes sense to double the strength damage, but what about things like OCC or H2H skills? i could see either argument.
I'd double everything, mostly because I'd want them to be high risk/high reward weapons that can shorten fights. I've edited the OP to specify this.

Veknironth wrote:
Bastard swords become much more interesting a weapon. I'd throw in a strength requirement to use it 1 handed, but it gives you the flexibility of using it in different ways. What about hafted weapons like axes, maces, flails, etc? Would you let them be used 2 handed and receive the bonus damage?
Kind of? I'd prefer to keep 2-hand-optional weapons in their own category. Just because there's room for two hands to grip doesn't mean that the weapon is weighted or proportioned to use the added strength behind it. Bastard swords are one example, but perhaps we could pick out one type of otherwise-underpowered 1-handed axe and blunt weapon and say that it's designed to be used 2-handed as well? I'll look at the weapon chart later.

Veknironth wrote:
Having distance weapons go first is a great idea. Would you have people who are throwing weapons roll initiative against each other? I guess that question goes for every initiative grouping.
Yes. I'd also roll initiative if combat initiates and everyone is already in close quarters. Edited the OP to specify this.

Veknironth wrote:
"We need a Forums house rules compendium"
That'd be nice, but keeping it game-specific is fine, too.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:56 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
With the pole arms I give them first strike, so initiative is still rolled as normal but if anyone moves into the front while they are readied they get to attack first, and if they hit and wound the charging person stops and cant move forward again until his next action that he can move, and if he gets hit and wounded when he tries to move forward he gets stopped again, until he parrys and moves forward. He can also Take it like a man™ but the attacker automatically does triple damage (*6 damage if a critical) and in second edition the attack ignores sdc on the humanoid races and goes straight to HP.

WP Ball and chain weapons users I also give at level 3 a damage rerolls if you roll a 1 on any of the damage dice (once only, have to keep second roll) then at level 6 2's become 3's and level 9 3's become 4's and 12 4's become 5's. This is for base weapon damage only, so if your weapon doesn't do base weapon damage (rune weapons etc) it isn't effected, also it doesn't effect bonuses to damage from magic either so it doesn't work with thunder hammer enchantment damage (but still does on the base weapon damage)

I have variations of this for axes and blunt as well, but at high level with wp blunt, blunt weapon damage is changed from d6's to d8's


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:28 am
  

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This is really good stuff! I have tried a few times to make combat more interesting and been mostly dissatisfied. The proposals here are exactly what I have been looking for!

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Hey, you came up with a novel, attention-getting idea, you did the legwork, you worked it through, you made it fit the setting, even though initial thought might be 'nah, it can't work, it's too silly/stupid/lame', and you posted something that only required a little adjustment, yet can be added to, without diluting its original concept. How can we not give you due support and credit?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:46 pm
  

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One thing that Hackmaster does is make Reach important on the first strike... if two people are closing and aware of each other, the first strike goes to whoever has the greater reach (usually longer weapon, but short characters get a reach penalty).

Using two weapons at once impacts your defense rolls; using a weapon and shield is ideal, a two-handed weapon, one-handed weapon, or two weapons with one on defense is OK, and using two weapons to strike with throws your defense into the toilet.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:44 pm
  

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I edited in some considerations for combatant size today. Large races get bumped up one category in initiative. True giants get bumped up two. Large races retain their bonus die of damage, while all true giant weapons/attacks do double their book damage. A giant using a 2-hander does x4 book damage, and bonuses remain doubled. Outside of giant vs giant fights, giant attacks cannot be parried, only dodged.

This makes fighting a giant in melee a very daunting prospect that should press players to reconsider their approach and weapon selection for these opponents.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:04 pm
  

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Some options I would look at (great ideas all around).
Instead of making paired get additional options as you go up each level, make each one it's own skill. Paired is pretty damn powerful as it is.
Initiative. I think I would give a bonuses to longer weapons, instead of just set initiatives. That way a really fast person could still work past the longer weapon for a first strike if they are good enough.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:27 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Some options I would look at (great ideas all around).
Instead of making paired get additional options as you go up each level, make each one it's own skill. Paired is pretty damn powerful as it is.
Initiative. I think I would give a bonuses to longer weapons, instead of just set initiatives. That way a really fast person could still work past the longer weapon for a first strike if they are good enough.

It's very reasonable that someone could work their way past a longer opponent's weapon; I'd model such a move as a dodge or parry on the way in, but your approach would work fine, too.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:59 pm
  

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Ninja's and Superspies has combination parry/attack that isn't too bad for this situation either


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:25 pm
  

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Looking for a point of clarification:

Hotrod wrote:
EDIT: I'm making revisions from the suggestions in the replies


W.P. Paired Weapons is exclusive to Men-At-Arms, but now it starts out as a single combination of weapons (sword and sword, whip and knife, axe and short spear, et cetera), and it adds a new combination of weapons every other level. W.P. Paired Weapons also now allows you to entangle with one weapon and strike with the other. The Paired Weapons that comes with some hand-to-hand skills is for a single specific combination of weapons only (chosen by the player), and does not allow for additional combinations as the skill does.
...
+Paired weapons is a viable skill choice that doesn't become redundant with experience.


Maybe I'm missing something, but where does your change do away with the auto-parry for dual wielders, and for what purpose? If the vagabond can attempt a parry for no action, clearly a trained Man-At-Arms deserves similar.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:00 pm
  

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I wouldn't give shield's bonuses to parry at all.

Other than a buckler (which is a very distinct fighting style), you dont really move a shield much.

If a shot is coming in low, and might hit your thigh, you dont move your shield to block it; you move your leg. If you move your shield, you're opening yourself up far more than any potential block is helping you. The idea is you position the shield so that it provides the most cover possible to begin with, and you use footwork and your weapon to account for the rest.

Shields should be either cover, or add to AR, or both.

Giving shields an AR based on their coverage would also work, and then, if your armor provides a better AR already, have it add a flat bonus to AR, and have all of the parry bonuses convert to AR bonuses.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:19 pm
  

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MT_Juicer wrote:
Looking for a point of clarification:

Hotrod wrote:
EDIT: I'm making revisions from the suggestions in the replies


W.P. Paired Weapons is exclusive to Men-At-Arms, but now it starts out as a single combination of weapons (sword and sword, whip and knife, axe and short spear, et cetera), and it adds a new combination of weapons every other level. W.P. Paired Weapons also now allows you to entangle with one weapon and strike with the other. The Paired Weapons that comes with some hand-to-hand skills is for a single specific combination of weapons only (chosen by the player), and does not allow for additional combinations as the skill does.
...
+Paired weapons is a viable skill choice that doesn't become redundant with experience.


Maybe I'm missing something, but where does your change do away with the auto-parry for dual wielders, and for what purpose? If the vagabond can attempt a parry for no action, clearly a trained Man-At-Arms deserves similar.

Dual wielding stays pretty much rules as written. The automatic parry only goes away if the dual wielder decides to do simultaneous attack/parry against an attacker or a dual strike.

So if someone attacks you, a dual-wielder, with a single weapon, you can elect to simultaneously parry the attack with one weapon and attack with the other. You get a non-automatic parry, while your attacker has no chance to dodge or parry. This gives you a defensive and offensive advantage against one opponent. However, if someone else attacks you while you're playing the simultaneous attack game, you have no parry or dodge available.

At least, that's how I understand dual-wielding to work. It's been a while since I read through those rules, though.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:43 pm
  

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
I wouldn't give shield's bonuses to parry at all.

Other than a buckler (which is a very distinct fighting style), you dont really move a shield much.

If a shot is coming in low, and might hit your thigh, you dont move your shield to block it; you move your leg. If you move your shield, you're opening yourself up far more than any potential block is helping you. The idea is you position the shield so that it provides the most cover possible to begin with, and you use footwork and your weapon to account for the rest.

Shields should be either cover, or add to AR, or both.

Giving shields an AR based on their coverage would also work, and then, if your armor provides a better AR already, have it add a flat bonus to AR, and have all of the parry bonuses convert to AR bonuses.


Excellent points, and very much what I'm trying to go for.

My house rules don't give shields bonuses to parry over what's in the books. They remove penalties to parry arrows, allow wielders to duck and cover against arrows from one direction, and effectively give the wielder a rules-as-written natural AR. Small shields have a smaller natural AR, but they can be used with the paired weapons skill to bash, simultaneously parry/strike, or dual bash/strike (this is how I try to model a buckler fighting style). Large shields can't be part of the special Paired Weapons simultaneous actions, but they provide a higher natural AR.

I'll re-look how I describe this in the OP to ensure I'm actually saying what I mean to say. Thanks!

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:14 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Will your shields still have sdc?


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:39 am
  

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kiralon wrote:
Will your shields still have sdc?

Weapons and shields breaking is certainly realistic, and there is some precedent for having shield S.D.C. I might include it, but I dislike excessive book-keeping. Right now, a melee character has to keep a running tally of hit points, physical S.D.C., and armor S.D.C. Adding shield S.D.C. would mean that blocked attacks roll damage, so that means more rolls, more time, and more book-keeping.

To me, this question depends on some further questions:
1. Does shield destruction make melee combat more interesting?
2. How should shield damage work, mechanics-wise, during combat?
3. How expendable should shields be, and how often should they need repair/replacement?
4. Are the book S.D.C. values appropriate to satisfy questions 2 and 3?

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:26 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
kiralon wrote:
Will your shields still have sdc?

Weapons and shields breaking is certainly realistic, and there is some precedent for having shield S.D.C. I might include it, but I dislike excessive book-keeping. Right now, a melee character has to keep a running tally of hit points, physical S.D.C., and armor S.D.C. Adding shield S.D.C. would mean that blocked attacks roll damage, so that means more rolls, more time, and more book-keeping.

To me, this question depends on some further questions:
1. Does shield destruction make melee combat more interesting?
2. How should shield damage work, mechanics-wise, during combat?
3. How expendable should shields be, and how often should they need repair/replacement?
4. Are the book S.D.C. values appropriate to satisfy questions 2 and 3?

The way I run Shield SDC is that on a normal parry the shield takes no damage. After all it is a successful parry and should no more damage the shield than a successful parry damages a sword.
On a *failed* parry with a shield though... I assign shields an AR number as well. If the strike roll doesn't beat the AR of the shield, and the shield was used to parry, then the shield catches the blow, but the damage comes off of the shields SDC.

And yes, this does make the indestructible rune shield sickeningly effective as a shield. And no, I have no problem with a Rune Shield being the last word in defensive hardware on the Palladium World. :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:25 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Hotrod wrote:
kiralon wrote:
Will your shields still have sdc?

Weapons and shields breaking is certainly realistic, and there is some precedent for having shield S.D.C. I might include it, but I dislike excessive book-keeping. Right now, a melee character has to keep a running tally of hit points, physical S.D.C., and armor S.D.C. Adding shield S.D.C. would mean that blocked attacks roll damage, so that means more rolls, more time, and more book-keeping.

To me, this question depends on some further questions:
1. Does shield destruction make melee combat more interesting?
2. How should shield damage work, mechanics-wise, during combat?
3. How expendable should shields be, and how often should they need repair/replacement?
4. Are the book S.D.C. values appropriate to satisfy questions 2 and 3?

First and second ed both have the sdc stats for shields, and in second ed shields only take %10 of the damage that a normal blow would do, and unlike everything else with sdc, the shield is still in one piece once all the sdc is gone and will shatter on the next blow.
1. I think so, except for magical shields
2. %90 Damage reduction does make them last a lot longer in standard rules.
3. Depends on what they are made of, wooden ones i'd say 1 - 3 combats combat, steel ones would lastt much longer and would be repairable at blacksmiths so could last indefinitelyish.
4. The way second ed has them is wooden shields effectively have 600 sdc for parrying and a large iron one has 1300 (no mention of steel for some reason???) So probably a bit too much for wood, and fine for iron.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:48 pm
  

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I had toyed with the idea of certain weapon types doing more damage to hit points than SDC.

Bashing types (clubs, staffs, etc) damage SDC mostly.
Piercing types (arrows, bullets, spears, etc) damage hit points mostly.
Slashing types (knives, swords, etc) do a 50/50 split. And then if you wanted to thrust your sword into your opponent it would damage hit points more, but you'd open yourself up to attack/counter attack and therefore lose your auto-parry (unless you had a shield or the WP Paired skill and another sword, etc).

But beyond that I haven't worked on the idea.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:43 pm
  

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Well, I've seen the blunt weapons do SDC and piercing/bladed weapons do HP but I never liked it. First, it makes blunt weapons obsolete. Why would any adventurer choose a blunt weapon over a piercing one? I know there might be times when you want to not hit someone for HP, but it's not like reducing someone to 0 SDC has any benefit. They don't lose consciousness or anything. It just takes longer. Also, if you hit someone with a bat, that's doing internal damage. You might break a bone, cause internal bleeding, or do damage to an organ. Those don't seem like SDC injuries to me. You also have to figure out what difference, if any, magic and psionics do regarding HP or SDC. You'd also need to factor in armor damage with something like a slashing/stabbing/blunt attack.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:52 pm
  

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Comment: You probably think this comment is about you, don't you?
Well those are most of the reasons why I never went beyond what I posted.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:24 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Unarmed attacks (kicks, punches etc) do damage to sdc first
weapons go straight to hp.
Is the way I tried it when second ed came out, worked ok.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:38 pm
  

D-Bee

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Hotrod wrote:
kiralon wrote:
Will your shields still have sdc?

Weapons and shields breaking is certainly realistic, and there is some precedent for having shield S.D.C. I might include it, but I dislike excessive book-keeping. Right now, a melee character has to keep a running tally of hit points, physical S.D.C., and armor S.D.C. Adding shield S.D.C. would mean that blocked attacks roll damage, so that means more rolls, more time, and more book-keeping.

To me, this question depends on some further questions:
1. Does shield destruction make melee combat more interesting?
2. How should shield damage work, mechanics-wise, during combat?
3. How expendable should shields be, and how often should they need repair/replacement?
4. Are the book S.D.C. values appropriate to satisfy questions 2 and 3?


If it helps you to decide "dont bother keeping track of Shield SDC most of the time" - in most cases, shields didn't take appreciable damage during combat.

Its raining outside right now, or id get my wife to take some (admittedly bad, i dont really have great camera equipment) pictures of me with my Norse round shield. The way you hold most shields, they are angled to cause blows to glance off without inflicting appreciable damage. You can also twist your hips to redirect the angle of your shield vs an incoming strike without using your arms to move the shield around. Remember, an attacker isn't TRYING to hit your shield - he's trying to hit YOU. Any attack that ends up landing on the shield didn't do so at the intention of the attacker, so its highly unlikely it was on-line in a way to cause appreciable damage to the shield.

Now, if someone IS trying to break your shield, then yes, its quite susceptible to damage. A great example of this, if you have seen it or can find a link to the fight scene - there is an excellent fight scene in The Thirteenth Warrior between Herger the Joyous (Bulwyf's second) and the champion of the arrogant son of King Hrothgar ("Angus")

Angus makes deliberate attempts to destroy Herger's shield - and, as you can see, its quite easy if that's your intent and you have the right weapon for it. The movie was slightly exagerated in how easy it is (the shields werent properly constructed, they had no metal rims or leather coverings, but for dramatic license, you let things go). But when you see the blows that were intended to strike a person strike a shield.. they glance off without inflicting appreciable damage. Some shields lasted decades. Or more. And metal shields? (which were not all that common, at least not all-metal) Forget it. You're not going to destroy one with anything short of a heavy-headed pole weapon, and even then, you're going to bend it and make it unusable until it can be fixed... but you're not going to destroy it.

That fight also has a great example of "making a called shot to avoid the protection/cover offered by the shield" - Herger, after basically allowing the champion to think he was a drunk incompetent, baits him into a bad attack, and beheads him with a feint and passing cut. (And then makes a great quote about misdirection; "Deception is the point! Any fool can calculate strength. That one has been doing it since we arrived. Now he has to calculate what he can't see.")

So id go with the "shields dont take damage unless you're trying to destroy them". Same with weapons. Yes, weapons broke in the medieval era - but it wasn't as common as you'd think, at least not for all-metal weapons. Pole weapons or weapons with wooden hafts, moreso, if they werent maintained.. but even then. I personally own a German Halberd from ~1550-1600AD. The wooden haft has never been replaced, as far as we can tell), and i can brace it across two strong objects and do pull ups on it. It was hard to break weapons, even on purpose. For the most part, anything made of steel has quite a bit of bend to it.

Now, weapons would often break if the quality of the steel was poor (English steel wasn't that great until much later when metallurgy knowledge allowed them to cook out the impurities that weakened it), or if the temper or heat-treat was off (if you over-temper/heat treat steel, it can become quite brittle).

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:54 pm
  

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Veknironth wrote:
Well, I've seen the blunt weapons do SDC and piercing/bladed weapons do HP but I never liked it. First, it makes blunt weapons obsolete. Why would any adventurer choose a blunt weapon over a piercing one? I know there might be times when you want to not hit someone for HP, but it's not like reducing someone to 0 SDC has any benefit. They don't lose consciousness or anything. It just takes longer. Also, if you hit someone with a bat, that's doing internal damage. You might break a bone, cause internal bleeding, or do damage to an organ. Those don't seem like SDC injuries to me. You also have to figure out what difference, if any, magic and psionics do regarding HP or SDC. You'd also need to factor in armor damage with something like a slashing/stabbing/blunt attack.

-Vek
"But there is probably a working system in there somewhere."


Blunt weapons are every bit as deadly as sharp ones. Particularly any blunt weapon with a head that concentrates force, like a mace or hammer.

They cause different kinds of wounds, sure, but they aren't any less deadly. I may not decapitate you, but if put the 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" flanged head of my warhammer into your skull..

you're still dead.

Remember, Palladium's system, like most RPGs, is an abstract damage system. Just because you rolled to hit doesn't mean the hit was perfect. It doesn't mean you just walked up and ran the guy through with your sword for (2d6 damage). You made an effective attack.. but exactly what wound you caused isn't specified or necessary to the mechanics.

SDC, in particular, represents the ability of the person being stuck to "turn at the last moment" and turn the blow into a flesh wound, or similar non-specified ways to turn what would otherwise be a deadly attack into a glancing one. Once the pool of SDC is depleted, wounds stop being superficial (HP).

Overthinking the mechanics (Well, sharp weapons are super dangerous and should do HP damage!) just causes problems.

Remember, just because your attack roll was successful doesn't mean you impaled the guy; it just means you caused SOME kind of harm.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 pm
  

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kiralon wrote:
Unarmed attacks (kicks, punches etc) do damage to sdc first
weapons go straight to hp.
Is the way I tried it when second ed came out, worked ok.

That's pretty hardcore, compared to the rules as written.
That said, I did try making aimed shots with a bow go straight to hp, and aimed called shots to the head were auto-critical, direct to hp. Made archers more interesting and helped make taking 3 actions to snipe a headshot worth the reduction in action economy.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:14 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
SDC, in particular, represents the ability of the person being stuck to "turn at the last moment" and turn the blow into a flesh wound, or similar non-specified ways to turn what would otherwise be a deadly attack into a glancing one. Once the pool of SDC is depleted, wounds stop being superficial (HP).


Thing is if you are hit from behind and didn't know the blow was coming the damage comes from sdc still, so the blurb that explains sdc isn't really correct. I found level 1 characters with sdc and HP have way too many health points to begin with. If a group of guys ambushed you while you were going along a path and had their weapons out and were in striking distance and said touch your weapon and die, would you grab your weapon, the pc's always have because the damage that can be done to them isn't enough to be scary because they can take 3-6 blows before getting worried. And if you hold them up with crossbows or shortbows, unless you outnumber them massively they tend to walk up to the bowman and feed him his weapon because they can just laugh off damage from ranged weapons and the bowman has to change weapons once they get their first shot off.

and saying that the first 6 shots from the archer just grazed you is a bit ridiculous so it only comes from sdc.

Arrows should do persistent damage, if you get shot, until the arrow is removed you should take 1d6 damage per action you take as you move and the arrow does more damage.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:21 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Father Goose wrote:
kiralon wrote:
Unarmed attacks (kicks, punches etc) do damage to sdc first
weapons go straight to hp.
Is the way I tried it when second ed came out, worked ok.

That's pretty hardcore, compared to the rules as written.
That said, I did try making aimed shots with a bow go straight to hp, and aimed called shots to the head were auto-critical, direct to hp. Made archers more interesting and helped make taking 3 actions to snipe a headshot worth the reduction in action economy.

SDC in second ed is one of the reasons I don't like it, it gives starting out characters way too many health points. First ed had no sdc for people and still works fine, and the kicks and punches did way too much damage. You can kick for way too much damage
"Jump Kick: Critical strike inflicting 6D6 damage!"
and a power roundhouse kick is 3d6*2


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:06 pm
  

D-Bee

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kiralon wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
SDC, in particular, represents the ability of the person being stuck to "turn at the last moment" and turn the blow into a flesh wound, or similar non-specified ways to turn what would otherwise be a deadly attack into a glancing one. Once the pool of SDC is depleted, wounds stop being superficial (HP).


Thing is if you are hit from behind and didn't know the blow was coming the damage comes from sdc still, so the blurb that explains sdc isn't really correct.


I dont see how it isn’t correct. You’re still overthinking it. SDC doesn’t always have to represent something that the person being struck did on purpose, or even that something the person being stuck did at all.

You snuck up and stabbed the guy from behind. You beat the armor’s AR (if any), so you’re going to hit the person. At the last second, without even knowing you’re there, he moves slightly, turning your deadly trust into a grazing blow across the ribs. Or maybe you just didn’t hit the soft flesh. If you hit a guy in the ribs with a slash, or even a stab, and you’re not DEAD ON, its going to graze off and just cut him. Same with a fore-arm cut or slice, or lower leg. Anywhere that is bony, you have to be super precise or you’re just going to cut the guy. Nothing fatal.

Quote:
I found level 1 characters with sdc and HP have way too many health points to begin with.


Unless im mistaken... average man-at-arms might have, what, 50 combined? Roughly 11-16HP and about ~30 SDC? (Nope, this was wrong - Men at Arms get 3D6 SDC at lvl 1, so... 11-16HP and about 10 SDC + maybe physical skills). So lets call it 40 combined.

Thats not really that much.

Quote:
If a group of guys ambushed you while you were going along a path and had their weapons out and were in striking distance and said touch your weapon and die, would you grab your weapon, the pc's always have because the damage that can be done to them isn't enough to be scary because they can take 3-6 blows before getting worried.


Average hit from bad guys is going to be about 8 damage (2D6 damage “long swords”; dont get me started on how Palladium’s sword categorizations are all sorts of wrong). Thats 5 hits to -dead-.

Im not seeing a problem here.

Quote:
And if you hold them up with crossbows or shortbows, unless you outnumber them massively they tend to walk up to the bowman and feed him his weapon because they can just laugh off damage from ranged weapons and the bowman has to change weapons once they get their first shot off.


Unless the bowmen are at point blank range, they should be able to get off 2 shots. If thats 5 guys with bows, shooting twice.. someone’s dead.

Quote:
and saying that the first 6 shots from the archer just grazed you is a bit ridiculous so it only comes from sdc.


You’re tunnel-visioning on the only explanation for SDC being “it just grazed me”. It may hve hit me dead on. Unless you’re firing a cranequin (cranked, super-heavy crosswbow) at fairly close ranges or direct-firing a yew longbow into me at point-blank range, if it hits bone.. its likely to glance off. Or (despite beating the AR) maybe my armor got a piece of it. How you choose to visualize the fact that you did damage to my SDC and not my HP is up to you/your table.

Quote:
Arrows should do persistent damage, if you get shot, until the arrow is removed you should take 1d6 damage per action you take as you move and the arrow does more damage.


Really depends on where it hits you. If you’re talking close-range, its quite likely the arrow would go straight through you, if it hit soft flesh. Nothing but a longbow or heavy, spanned or cranked crossbow is going to penetrate bone, particularly the ribcage. Assuming every shot somehow sticks in you is just silly. And assuming that they just continue to cause damage is also silly. Not every arrow is tipped with a bladed broadhead - in fact, most werent. Those are garbage/worthless against any kind of armor, even a Gambeson. A pile arrow that would defeat plate armor doesnt actually cause a lot of damage on its own. The main thing it does is bind you up with your armor, making it difficult to fight. A spike-pointed arrow meant to penetrate maille links and spread them is useless against plate, and is easy to remove. The “middle of the road” arrowhead type (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodkin_point) doesnt cause a lot of internal trauma. There are hundreds of records of guys fighting with 3+ arrow wounds for hours afterwards. (Again, depending on where you were struck. If you got hit in an organ or a blood vessel... yeah, you’re doneski). Sometimes theyd have them stuck in them for DAYS until the chiurgeons could get to the less wounded.

Arrows not doing enough damage, though, id likely agree with (guess ill go look that up in the book..) The simple solution there is just up the damage. Lookng at the book.. eh, the i-actually-have-a-degree-in this part of me is just like wanting to pull my hair out.

A “short bow” is just as deadly over its effective range as a “long bow”. The only time a long bow should do more damage than a short bow is if you are at VERY close ranges where the extra draw weight might actually transfer into more damage. (D&D 2nd Ed actually represented this fairly well, oddly enough). Once you get passed point-blank range, the arrows are already traveling at terminal velocity regardless of what kind of bow you fire them from (provided its a “war bow” meant to kill people, and not a hunting bow which might be SIGNIFICANTLY ligher draw). Otherwise, damage should be by the type of arrow. Id go 1D6+3 for needle-tipped arrows, 2d6 for bodkins, 2d4 for a “pile” arrow (basically a heavy type of bodkin designed to bend and pierce armor) but have it do double damage if it hits armor, and 3d6 for a broad-head type arrow, but have broad-head arrow types have a penalty to defeat AR.

Or, to follow the KISS principle, and not complicate the issue.. just add 1D6 to both bow/crossbow types. (So raise Short bow to 2d6, longbow to 3d6, same with X-bows) and just call it a day.

You seem to be arguing for ultra-realism on how weapons hurt people... but if thats your goal, then you should logically be OK with ultra-realism with armor...

Which basically means, for the weapons presented in the Palladium Fantasy book (roughly Middle-ages to early Reniassance)... Everything from a full suit of riveted maille (and dear god, there is no such thing as “double mail”) upwards (Brigandine, coat-of-plates, early plate armor to fully articulated plate) should basically make you invincible.

I dont care how hard you stab me with your sword from behind, if im wearing a maille hauberk with the proper padding (a gambeson) under it, you’re not going to unduly hurt me. Bruise me, at best, if you’re a real brute. If im in plate? Forget about it. Only way you’re going to hurt me is to use very specific weaponry and get lucky. Or bear me over and hold me down and stab me somewhere unprotected.

Even bows aren’t going to help a lot - they didnt magically penetrate armor. If you want to see some examples, go watch Skallagrim’s channel on YouTube. He does real-world weapon testing vs real armor with real weapons.

Even with an 800lb crossbow (which is a ~70lb longbow) at fairly close range, it would only penetrate a breastplate if it struck dead-on, otherwise it would glance off and just crease the metal some. The few times it penetrated, it did NOT penetrate the gambeson to get into the ballistics gel.

I dont think he’s had the opportunity to use a heavier war bow or crossbow yet (draw distance is important; 800lbs sounds impressive, but when its 800lbs over 14”, it only translates into about the same force as a 60-70lb longbow with a 30” draw), but it wouldn’t be a lot better.

At the end of the day, its about playability and fun, and trying to get “as realistic as possible” while still not having the game be too lethal and not having things like armor be so overwhelmingly good that everyone is invicible.

Considering the relatively low SDC amounts (3D6 for a man-at-arms.. thats not much), i dont see the issue.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:24 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
But the fact that every hit is a mere flesh wound until sdc is gone is stupid. OOh look, you shot me with a ballistae while I was standing still looking at the sky.
mere flesh wound.
Humans start with no sdc
elves start with 10
dwarves start with 15
OCC fighter give 3d6
OCC non fighter gives 1d6
all the fighters I have ever dm'd in second ed have always taken running 1d6 sdc, boxing 3d6 sdc, but wrestling also adds 4d6 and body building 10, soldiers get the last 2 as occ skills, mercs get athletics which is another 2d4 (Merc class is pretty much the favourite as it has so many skills, basically the equivalent of ranger from first ed), so that averages out to about 43 sdc + 14hp. That's 57 (67 if elf, 72 if dwarven) points of damage before getting ko'd. Average damage from a longsword is 7 points of damage. That's 8 blows on average to ko.
And that's without armour or parry/dodging.
So that is, on average, 8 guys to every 1 needed to be threatening enough to take a pc out in the first blows.

I understand that it is fantasy, but a little realism is good (Ultra realism not required), and having that much damage taking capability at level 1 makes the fights drag out too long in real time.

And yes, people have continued fight with 3 arrows in them, but also 1 arrow has also been enough to drop someone. SDC presumes the former and doesn't take into account the latter.

And if mail hauberks afforded that much protection full plate would never had been needed, and people wouldn't have been injured in combat.

If you don't believe me get a line backer friend, give him a flamberge, you dress up in your hauberk and let him smash you 8 times from behind while you just stand there and take it and see how you feel, and see how often there are glancing blows.

And yes it is about playability and fun, and having fights take 4-6 hours in real life because there are 10 combatants makes combat boring as hell.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:39 pm
  

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Well, the other problem with SDC is it's the Structural Damage Capacity. It's what doors, tables, ship hulls, etc. have as damage. It's not "Maybe dodged an attack a little". It's how much damage a thing can take before it is no longer that thing. If you hit a door with an ax, you roll damage. It's probably a solid hit, unless you rule that the wind blew the door open and the blow glanced off. That would be beneficial as the door was now open. The other problem is that the game already has mechanics for a lot of the damage reducing or evading actions. Dodging, is getting out of the way of the attack. Parrying is deflecting the blow. If you want to limit damage, you can roll with something. HP represents the damage a person's body can take. Why do we have SDC for people? It's literally just extra HP, but with a different name. Sure, it allows PCs more leeway to survive attacks and make up for errors in judgement in engaging combat, but it just seems superfluous.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:09 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
I will say I don't mind people having sdc if they have something like an exoskeleton (like humanoid ninja turtles for example).
@vek +1
Combat should be deadly, maybe not dragon warriors deadly, but more deadly than it is. People should worry that death is a possibility especially with beginner characters.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:20 am
  

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There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:33 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.

Some, not most. If you roll according to the book, you're not going to see exceptional stats very often without taking physical skills. So yes, PS can change the damage values, but it's not a guarantee.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:29 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.


the average roll on 3d6 is 9.5. Round that up to 10.

"Most characters", if youre obeying the rules, are unlikely to have a even a single exceptional attribute.

Only exceptions might be races that get an exceptionally large dice pool for PS.

I always giggle when i glance around the table at everyone's characters with 3+ exceptional attributes. Its about as statistically likely as getting hit by a car while walking backwards down a set of stairs.

Strictly speaking averages, the only damage bonuses the average character, especially NPCs, are likely to have is from WPs.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:54 am
  

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I've yet to see a character that doesn't take multiple physical skills to boost PS. I cut my NPCs from the same mold. And generally speaking, the PCs AREN'T average. They're exceptional individuals cut from a more heroic cloth.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:15 pm
  

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.


the average roll on 3d6 is 9.5. Round that up to 10.

"Most characters", if youre obeying the rules, are unlikely to have a even a single exceptional attribute.

Only exceptions might be races that get an exceptionally large dice pool for PS.

I always giggle when i glance around the table at everyone's characters with 3+ exceptional attributes. Its about as statistically likely as getting hit by a car while walking backwards down a set of stairs.

Strictly speaking averages, the only damage bonuses the average character, especially NPCs, are likely to have is from WPs.

In Palladium games, that is why the majority of GMs that I played with had people roll 5d6 drop lowest 2 (one guy had you reroll ones as well), with the caveat that you had to keep the highest of the other two dice if you got an exceptional result, and only if that was also a 6 did you get to take the last die. That skewed our stats up quite high combined with physical skills, but still kept the truly exceptional ones fairly rare.

Note everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for us.

Edit: Should have clarified that the 5d6 was a final form. It evolved there after several permutations of different things like 4d6 drop 1 and such.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:45 pm
  

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
the average roll on 3d6 is 9.5. Round that up to 10.


Trivial nitpick here: the average roll is actually 10.5.

The average roll for a single six-sided: (1+2+3+4+5+6)/6 = 21/6 = 3.5

Therefore the average 3D6 result is 3.5x3=10.5

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:57 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
I've yet to see a character that doesn't take multiple physical skills to boost PS. I cut my NPCs from the same mold. And generally speaking, the PCs AREN'T average. They're exceptional individuals cut from a more heroic cloth.


In general, most named N.P.C.'s that I roll up aren't designed to be major physical threats. Rather, they tend to use non-melee abilities. My favorite N.P.C. villain doesn't even have a hand-to-hand skill and is totally nonviolent.

I've created about a half dozen disposable NPC generators for Palladium Fantasy (similar to the ones I've made for Rifts, linked below) that don't take any stat-boosting skills other than what comes from their O.C.C. skills; if I want an NPC pirate that's a more physical threat, I just dial up the level on my pirate N.P.C. generator, and the increase in combat bonuses, hit points, and equipment take care of the rest.

Of course, with the approach I'm taking to house-rules, I could also make an average N.P.C. more of a threat by having them use 2-handers or a weapon combo that's particularly effective against the melee style of one or more of the characters.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:12 pm
  

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For a few years, I've been contemplating something in the back of my head: creating a computer script that uses random number generators, character stats/bonuses, and some loops for resolving 1-on-1 combat in Palladium Fantasy. Originally, I was thinking of doing this to determine how much of a difference an extra +1 to strike, parry, damage, or attack per melee makes on the odds of victory/defeat (and how close the fight ends up being). Having a computer run the script 20,000 times should provide some decent statistics on what statistics make the most significant difference on the outcome of a fight.

Applying this script to this set of house rules would be an interesting way of virtually play-testing to see if the outcomes match my expectations about what happens when, for example, a 2-hander fights a sword-and-buckler fighter.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:18 pm
  

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dreicunan wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.


the average roll on 3d6 is 9.5. Round that up to 10.

"Most characters", if youre obeying the rules, are unlikely to have a even a single exceptional attribute.

Only exceptions might be races that get an exceptionally large dice pool for PS.

I always giggle when i glance around the table at everyone's characters with 3+ exceptional attributes. Its about as statistically likely as getting hit by a car while walking backwards down a set of stairs.

Strictly speaking averages, the only damage bonuses the average character, especially NPCs, are likely to have is from WPs.

In Palladium games, that is why the majority of GMs that I played with had people roll 5d6 drop lowest 2 (one guy had you reroll ones as well), with the caveat that you had to keep the highest of the other two dice if you got an exceptional result, and only if that was also a 6 did you get to take the last die. That skewed our stats up quite high combined with physical skills, but still kept the truly exceptional ones fairly rare.

Note everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for us.

Edit: Should have clarified that the 5d6 was a final form. It evolved there after several permutations of different things like 4d6 drop 1 and such.


Given how many exceptionally-statted canon NPCs there are, and given how many N.P.C.'s flagrantly violate character creation rules, I can't blame players who want to fudge their characters' attributes. Even if you stick with rolling as written, there are ways you can fudge things. For example, do you allow players to assign their rolls to their desired stats? If so, melee characters will load their best rolls into P.P., P.S., and maybe I.Q. They'll dump their worst roll into Spd, where choosing the running skill will make you fast no matter where you start, and P.B., which is redundant with M.A. and permanently fixable.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:20 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Because humans are supposed to be adaptable (and don't have nightvision or 4d6 on pp etc), I let players who take a human move their stats around.
If players have a PB or MA under 10 they tend to get charged more for things (up to double or triple the prices of things), or outright refused service (low MA) because they irritate people just by breathing. A low MA will have the law pick on you, and arrest you first for crimes and get you lower paying, crappier jobs.
Also the lower you stats the more I have to work with to give bonuses. A player with 20 pp and 18 strength will generally end my game with 20 pp and 18 strength, A player whose highest stat is 11 might end up with 2 20's and a 30. I DM'd 1 player whose highest stat was 9 initially (I allow 1 reroll in character creation) and he ended up with a PS of 50 (Supernatural) for 7 years (First Ed palladium Healer).

As I tell my party members, with me combat tends to scale, so no matter how tough you are, there is likely a bad guy who is tougher, and we tend to have combat a lot less then times when we use skills and abilities, so loading up on combat skills is fine, but loading up on non-combat skills and perks works too. Then if you need someone tough you can hire em.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:52 pm
  

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dreicunan wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
There is a leveler in combat though, and that is PS. Most characters and NPCs will have a +5 - +10 on their damage. That can take the average sword blow to 12-17 ph ts of damage. At the high end that's only three successful hits to take a person down.


the average roll on 3d6 is 9.5. Round that up to 10.

"Most characters", if youre obeying the rules, are unlikely to have a even a single exceptional attribute.

Only exceptions might be races that get an exceptionally large dice pool for PS.

I always giggle when i glance around the table at everyone's characters with 3+ exceptional attributes. Its about as statistically likely as getting hit by a car while walking backwards down a set of stairs.

Strictly speaking averages, the only damage bonuses the average character, especially NPCs, are likely to have is from WPs.

In Palladium games, that is why the majority of GMs that I played with had people roll 5d6 drop lowest 2 (one guy had you reroll ones as well), with the caveat that you had to keep the highest of the other two dice if you got an exceptional result, and only if that was also a 6 did you get to take the last die. That skewed our stats up quite high combined with physical skills, but still kept the truly exceptional ones fairly rare.

Note everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for us.

Edit: Should have clarified that the 5d6 was a final form. It evolved there after several permutations of different things like 4d6 drop 1 and such.


Sure, if you change the character creation rules, anything is possible. I was referring to characters rolled according to the rules in the book.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:10 pm
  

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Just for fun, here are two quick humans rolled with 3D6 straight rolls.
IQ 11 - 12
ME 11 - 9
MA 15 - 12
PS 12 - 10
PP 11 - 7
PE 11 - 10
PB 8 - 12
Spd 12 - 8

One below average, all the rest average or higher, the other 5 below average, 3 above average. Genetics favours the first person. :)


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:49 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Just for fun, here are two quick humans rolled with 3D6 straight rolls.
IQ 11 - 12
ME 11 - 9
MA 15 - 12
PS 12 - 10
PP 11 - 7
PE 11 - 10
PB 8 - 12
Spd 12 - 8

One below average, all the rest average or higher, the other 5 below average, 3 above average. Genetics favours the first person. :)


But no exceptional attributes (nothing in the Bonus range).

Kinda rest my case there.

On a related note - thats why d20/D&D 3.0 droped the bonus-level for attributes to 12. So that there was actually a point to rolling your attributes. In my (slowly) ongoing re-write, i’ve done something similar to the Palladium rules, dropping the bonus range to 13 or 14. Not set in stone yet. Im also experimenting with point-buy systems (which, honestly, i think is quite a bit better way to build characters as it doesn’t allow you to go too crazy-go-nuts but does allow you to build characters you want to play) that give you a pool of points to spend based on the number of dice you get in each attribute.

As it stands, though, RAW, Palladium is Super Old School. 90% of your characters are likely to have no attributes that give bonuses.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:25 pm
  

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
Just for fun, here are two quick humans rolled with 3D6 straight rolls.
IQ 11 - 12
ME 11 - 9
MA 15 - 12
PS 12 - 10
PP 11 - 7
PE 11 - 10
PB 8 - 12
Spd 12 - 8

One below average, all the rest average or higher, the other 5 below average, 3 above average. Genetics favours the first person. :)


But no exceptional attributes (nothing in the Bonus range).

Kinda rest my case there.

On a related note - thats why d20/D&D 3.0 droped the bonus-level for attributes to 12. So that there was actually a point to rolling your attributes. In my (slowly) ongoing re-write, i’ve done something similar to the Palladium rules, dropping the bonus range to 13 or 14. Not set in stone yet.

I have looked at this before but it changes all the NPCs in the game and just makes too much work. In the end it was just easier to make it more likely that the player will have a few higher attributes.

Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Im also experimenting with point-buy systems (which, honestly, i think is quite a bit better way to build characters as it doesn’t allow you to go too crazy-go-nuts but does allow you to build characters you want to play) that give you a pool of points to spend based on the number of dice you get in each attribute.

My original gaming group in high school played a lot of West End Star Wars before Rifts came out. When we were creating characters for Rifts one of the things we noticed is just how varied the characters were. Point based systems really do lead to cookie-cutter characters. It also takes a lot of randomness out of the character creation. They only get high attributes for the attributes they choose.

Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
As it stands, though, RAW, Palladium is Super Old School. 90% of your characters are likely to have no attributes that give bonuses.

I think rolling the attributes during character creation is the biggest areas of house rules. I have never seen a group just roll the number of dice without some kind of chance to improve the attributes. weather its rolling one extra D6 and throwing out the lowest, re-rolling 1's, Being able to re-roll your attributes a set number of times before you are stuck with the last set.

I really love how the attributes were changed in the new Robotech where players chose the attribute track they wanted and would get one super attribute that is usually 20 or above, another that is 16 to 20 area and then all the others are just above average 9 to 15 range. I have started using this basic set up for all of convention pre-gen characters just to make them more interesting to play.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:10 pm
  

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I generally prefer the point-based design of the Star Wars D6 system for its simplicity, efficiency, and accessibility. Seriously, you could create a character in about a minute and a half. On the flipside, though, I remember my Palladium characters far more than my Star Wars characters.

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