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Some more Combat questions

posted Dec 03, 2012 11:11:28 by StreetBushido
My first post here!

I've recently started a sandboxy campaign using Runequest 6 and things have gone fairly well. However, I have met a bit of resistance from players who I feel are nostalgic about a system we used to run way back. In actuality that system was pretty crappy and when I ran it I pretty much just ignored huge chunks of it.

I really like RQ6, and it has a really good combat system. I do have some questions that need clarification if I am ever to truly convert my players to this system.

1. Imagine this situation: character A and character B are 4 meters apart. Both have a movement rate of 6. A wins the iniative and wants to attack B. To get into range A has to spend an action point to move towards B. This would leave A at the "mercy" of B who then gets to attack because A has just moved into range. Is this correct? As one player put it: "Going first is crap!". In this situation, charging doesn't seem to be an option as the distance is so very short. Also, charging requires a full round of movement before connecting with the target. During that round, it seems as if the enemy could just run away or throw something at the charger, which would be reasonable at longer ranges, but seems very odd at short ranges (which is why I'm guessing charging isn't used at short ranges! :P).

1b. I think this reaction is due to the players not yet grasping that a Combat Round is very short time, and that a Turn in a combat round is thus an even thinner slice of time. Any advice on how to get it across that a Turn is a very limited amount of time?


2. A shield can passively block a number of limbs. A weapon (not a shield) can be used to passively block one limb. If a weapon is used to passively block something, it cannot be used for anything else until the wielder's next turn. Is that the case for shields as well? Or does a shield passively block a number of limbs AND can be used to actively defend?

3. Aside from Impale, what other Special Effects can a Bow really use? Rapid Reload is always available as long as the ranged attack was succesful, right?

4. Reloading a bow takes 2 turns, unless Rapid Reload was used which brings it down to 1 turn. Does reloading cost action points?

Example: Character A and B. A has 3 action points and B has 2 action points.

Round 1. Cycle 1. A uses 1 action point to fire at B. The attack is succesful and A uses Impale to really stick the arrow in his opponent. B attempts to pull the arrow out but fails.

Round 1. Cycle 2. A starts to reload his bow (does this require an action point?). B tries again to remove the arrow but fails. B now has no more Action Points (bonus question: does it cost action points to try to end Impalement?)

Round 1. Cycle 3. A continues to reload his bow. B cannot do anything further.

Round 2. Cycle 1. A has finished reloading his bow. Can he fire now or must he wait until Cycle 2?

4b. When "reloading" a thrown weapon, is it a question of drawing a new weapon?

Example: Same A and B as above.

Round 1. Cycle 1. A throws a spear at B but misses. B moves a bit.

Round 1. Cycle 2. A draws a new spear. B. moves a bit.

Round 1. Cycle 3. A throws the second spear at B. B can't do anything as he is out of action points.

This seems faster than reloading a bow?

I have probably misunderstood a few rules, and I look forward to gaining clarity on these issues! Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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13 replies
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DanTrue said Dec 03, 2012 12:13:10
1) No, because when B is spending his AP, A is still moving and not yet in contact. Else the few seconds A is moving, B would not be "spending" any time? ofc not. So A moves in, B can react in some way (move away, move towards A and meet him halfway, brace himself for impact etc.) but when it gets to blows they both have 1 AP left (assuming they both had 2 from the start).

2) When passively blocking you revoke the ability to parry and attack with it. Regardless of it being a shield or a dagger.

3) Trip, maximise damage, negate parry (is this the right name? Not with my book atm).. likely others

4) Anything not a free action costs Action Points. The reload value of a bow is the number of Action Points it requires. Pulling an arrow out also requires an action point.

4b) Yes, it is the same as drawing a sword or likewise and thus costs an Action Point (perhaps more if the thingy is stuffed far away). It is faster than a bow but throwing knifes do less damage, and larger ones (javelins) are more bulky and weigh more. You also run out of ammonition faster.

- Dan
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jjwdrake said Dec 03, 2012 13:30:45
In respect of 1, if the distance is close (within 6m/round standard movement rate for humans) would you not allow a move and attack in the same action? The initiative should be decisive - ie if you are the defender and go first but choose to delay, ready to move away from the incoming attacker if he closes or hit him when he does so, that's one thing. But if you go second by rights, but can still act as if anticipating the situation, that doesn't look right, and you should be forced to parry or evade. Just my opinion.

For reloading, transferring a thrown weapon from off hand to throwing hand is a free action (see page 161). So if clutching a reload in the left hand, you can make javelin throws in consecutive turns.

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DanTrue said Dec 03, 2012 14:33:41
In respect of 1, if the distance is close (within 6m/round standard movement rate for humans) would you not allow a move and attack in the same action?


No. An action is roughly 1½ seconds, so moving 6 meters and attacking seems unrealistic. I would perhaps allow it within 1 or 2 meters, but then they are likely already engaged.. Unless they both fell down beside each other or couldn't see each other on the approach.

Besides, the rules put a certain weight on being "engaged". Meaning that when you move up to an opponent to strike him, it is not merely a matter of moving x number of meters to get within melee distance. You move the first y meters rather straightforwardly, but then pace your approach to make sure he simply can't stick out his weapon and hit you, to move into his melee range without providing an opening etc.

All this is what you pay that AP for.

- Dan
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RudyBoe said Dec 03, 2012 14:37:37
We allow 2m movement every CA. So one could move 2m and strike, or move 2m and wait, move 2m while preparing a sword, loading a bow, casting a spell, all the normal actions. It is used a lot for repositioning, and it makes combat a bit more moving, I think it works very well. We use miniatures, don't know if that makes a difference.
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StreetBushido said Dec 03, 2012 16:26:26
Thanks for the replies!

I would like som further clarifications, though.

Regarding my first question: So we can say that while A is moving to engage B, B is not yet engaged and can thus not attack A? And should B just choose to wait until he is engaged with A, the only advantage B would have is that he would have saved his action points for defense against A's coming attacks?

Regarding my second question: If a shield is strapped to a character's left arm, that at least must be passively protected at all times? What happens in the case of a huge shield, like a scutum? That's like a portable wall covering the character's whole left side! If I roll that the left leg, or even the chest, was hit, how does that gel with the fact that there was a huge shield in the way? Sure, I can imagine the attack sort of getting around and so on, but it seems a bit awkward.

In a somewhat related situation, if a character has a shield on their back would that mean passive blocking for their chest and abdomen from attacks from behind? How about being being struck by projectiles from behind?

Finally, further clarification regarding my fourth question: if a bow has reload value of 2 then that requires 2 action points (spent on two turns)?. But if it also costs an action point to draw an arrow, then the reload value is actually 3 action points? So that's basically one arrow every second round for a character with 3 action points? Is that really correct? Could somebody please explain firing and reloading a bow with an example?
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DanTrue said Dec 03, 2012 17:06:05
Regarding my first question: So we can say that while A is moving to engage B, B is not yet engaged and can thus not attack A? And should B just choose to wait until he is engaged with A, the only advantage B would have is that he would have saved his action points for defense against A's coming attacks?


Yes. While A is moving toward B, B is still too far away to attack A.
If B simply waits until A has reached him, he spends his AP to dither. He can also Brace, throw something at him, shoot an arrow or move to intercept him. Regardless of what he does, he does not get to do a melee attack at him, as A is too far away when B's turn comes (because A is still moving).

If it simplifies it, try reading the tactical rules for miniatures at the back of the book. They specify that when using miniatures, all move actions ae only applied to the game board at the end of each turn. This way there is no confusion as to who can reach each other when their turn comes - and this signifies that all actions and movement happen in a very short time span and seemingly at once.

Regarding my second question: If a shield is strapped to a character's left arm, that at least must be passively protected at all times? What happens in the case of a huge shield, like a scutum? That's like a portable wall covering the character's whole left side! If I roll that the left leg, or even the chest, was hit, how does that gel with the fact that there was a huge shield in the way? Sure, I can imagine the attack sort of getting around and so on, but it seems a bit awkward.


No. If you are using the shield to actively parry, it means that it's to some degree waving around and moving. Then if you fail a parry, it may mean that the attack has bashed your shield aside and can thus reach the backside of it and the arm holding it.

The same is true for a large shield like the Scutum. If used actively to parry, you might get unlucky and the attack can side-step to get behind the shield, bash it aside, pin it etc.

If it's
like a portable wall covering the character's whole left side
it's because it's used to passively block. Else it would actively be meeting the opponents blade, moving around, possibly used to bash with (or in case of no action points left, either simply holding still uselessly or engaged doing what it did on the last spent AP).

That being said, if you have a Scutum it is a very worhtwhile strategy to simply passively block everything but your right arm and head. Especially if you're in a trained shield wall, then you can block anything but your head - and hopefully your head has a 6 AP plate-helmet :) It's what the Roman Legions did.

In a somewhat related situation, if a character has a shield on their back would that mean passive blocking for their chest and abdomen from attacks from behind? How about being being struck by projectiles from behind?


I would say so. If the shield is strapped to the back, I would give cover. I would however provide some penalties like make it count against initiative just as armour (the straps will likely hinder you a bit) and perhaps give a skill penalty to manoeuvres in cramped conditions, depending on shield size.

I might also reduce the effective AP of the shield, to give into account that it's pressed against your body. If you passively block an arrow with a shield, even if it penetrated the shield it will likely simply hang in the shield without reaching your body (unless he does high damage, then it has either penetrated fully or struck the arm behind). But, if a shield on your back is penetrated even the slightest, if starts going into your body.

So, I would likely apply Initiative penalty as if it were armour, and perhaps reduce the AP of it by 1/3 or so...

Finally, further clarification regarding my fourth question: if a bow has reload value of 2 then that requires 2 action points (spent on two turns)?. But if it also costs an action point to draw an arrow, then the reload value is actually 3 action points? So that's basically one arrow every second round for a character with 3 action points? Is that really correct? Could somebody please explain firing and reloading a bow with an example?


Hmmm.. I think you're right. If drawing the arrow from a quiver, it would take an extra AP. If however you stuck the arrows in the ground beside you, I would say drawing an arrow was a free action (as archers used to do).

However, it may be that the reload time takes drawing it from a quiver into account. Pete or Loz may need to clarify this. It would make sense to introduce a reload value that took it into account.

- Dan
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PatHenry said Dec 03, 2012 17:59:30
1) As one player put it: "Going first is crap!"


Per the guidance on page 438, “all movement is considered to be occurring simultaneously. Thus movement
doesn’t occur in a jerky concertina but is resolved between all moving characters at the same time, extraneous to their actual Turn.”

Thus for the purposes of initial engagement, A does have the initiative to choose to close on B. B must respond to A, but B can choose to withdraw and for practical purposes these happen simultaneously. B must respond to A, but B is not helpless to whatever A wills.

I think you’re also missing the usefulness of rules on weapon length, and that will have some factor on whether it is wise for A to close on B. For simplicity of bookkeeping, my group uses those rules for closing and engaging, then drops them once engaged in melee.

A also has the option to Delay, then Interrupt B’s action. So “going first” does not mean you are compelled to “go first.” You merely have the initiative to drive and pace the round’s combat actions. In fact, if A has 3 CAs, he would be wise to frequently choose Delay as first response, because he can always choose to use Interrupt when he sees what B is preparing to do and go ahead of B.

"If unable to still achieve his original declaration, the opponent’s Action Point is wasted." Powerful.

2) Dan is correct that Passive Block and Parry are either/or situations. But you can always Block with the shield and Parry with the active weapon (except you cannot parry ranged attacks thus), so this is a very potent combination. Shields are useful!

ADD: I would also agree that a shield of sufficient size in passive position (strapped to back) would also provide passive cover to that location, within reason. Might assign a penalty.

...

4) if a bow has reload value of 2 then that requires 2 action points (spent on two turns)?. But if it also costs an action point to draw an arrow, then the reload value is actually 3 action points? So that's basically one arrow every second round for a character with 3 action points? Is that really correct?


I would not get too fiddly with this and would consider the APs spent reloading / readying the weapon as including all actions related to that, like drawing the missile, whether arrow or sling stone.

...

P.S., to clarify, I believe the Reload number is the amount of Turns it takes to perform the action, not Active APs spent, yes? You are engaged in readying and aiming and cannot do anything else, unless you break off readying and aiming, but you are not burning APs. Or is this a distinction without a difference?

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[Last edited Dec 03, 2012 19:57:22]
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PeteNash said Dec 03, 2012 20:25:02
"However, it may be that the reload time takes drawing it from a quiver into account. Pete or Loz may need to clarify this. It would make sense to introduce a reload value that took it into account."

Reload times assume that drawing the ammunition from its storage container is already included.
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StreetBushido said Dec 03, 2012 21:32:23
I think I much prefer the idea that the Reload number is the number of Turns required to reload the weapon, and not the cost of Action Points.

When do you start counting the turns until a complete reload though? The turn after you fire?

For instance:
We have the characters A, B and C. Each has 2 action points.

Round 1, Cycle 1. A fires an arrow.
Round 1, Cycle 2. A starts to reload.
Round 2, Cycle 1. A has completed his reload and can fire(?).
or
Round 2, Cycle 1. A has completed his reload but cannot fire(?).
or
Round 2, Cycle 1. A is still reloading (or has completed his reload but cannot fire).
Round 2, Cycle 2. A has completed his reload and can fire(?).

I apologize if I seem obtuse, but I've been putting off coming to the forums to seek clarification because I've tried to figure it out on my own. Somewhere along the line I got tangled up, though, and realized that some help would be welcome. And it has been very welcome, and I really appreciate the input!
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DanTrue said Dec 03, 2012 21:40:21
P.S., to clarify, I believe the Reload number is the amount of Turns it takes to perform the action, not Active APs spent, yes? You are engaged in readying and aiming and cannot do anything else, unless you break off readying and aiming, but you are not burning APs. Or is this a distinction without a difference?


I believe you're right. But yhis seems to me to be a distinction without difference. If you spent your turn doing it, you effectively use that AP. Then again there is a difference, as I would say it should be the number of AP, as the round only ends when no one has any AP left... So if you spent 3 turns loading without spending your 3 AP, you would have 3 AP when everyone else has spent all their AP :P

So, if it's turns then we need to make sure the rules cover that if you spend your turn doing something, you also spend your AP... Else the above can happen with annoying players ;) Which is what hardback books are for ofc.

Thanks Pete!

- Dan
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DanTrue said Dec 03, 2012 21:45:23
I think I much prefer the idea that the Reload number is the number of Turns required to reload the weapon, and not the cost of Action Points.

When do you start counting the turns until a complete reload though? The turn after you fire?

For instance:
We have the characters A, B and C. Each has 2 action points.

Round 1, Cycle 1. A fires an arrow.
Round 1, Cycle 2. A starts to reload.
Round 2, Cycle 1. A has completed his reload and can fire(?).
or
Round 2, Cycle 1. A has completed his reload but cannot fire(?).
or
Round 2, Cycle 1. A is still reloading (or has completed his reload but cannot fire).
Round 2, Cycle 2. A has completed his reload and can fire(?).

I apologize if I seem obtuse, but I've been putting off coming to the forums to seek clarification because I've tried to figure it out on my own. Somewhere along the line I got tangled up, though, and realized that some help would be welcome. And it has been very welcome, and I really appreciate the input!


To me it clearly seem to be:

Round 1, Cycle 1. A fires an arrow. Costs 1 AP.
Round 1, Cycle 2. A starts to reload. Costs 1 AP.
Round 2, Cycle 1. A continues to reload. Costs 1 AP. This finishes the reload.
Round 2, Cycle 2. A has completed his reload and can fire(?). Costs 1 AP.

In fact reloading is simply the use of the "Ready Weapon" action as per page 138. So it clearly takes up 1 AP to use that action.

- Dan
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PatHenry said Dec 03, 2012 21:52:01
When do you start counting the turns until a complete reload though? The turn after you fire?


Yes, IMU, the Turn after... and it can carry into the next combat round. Obviously, some weapons like crossbows can only discharge every other round.

As I mentioned, Turn/AP may be a distinction without a difference. If you, with 2 APs, spend two Turns reloading and readying a weapon at your SR, then you are at the end of the combat round and any APs you did have are lost as if you’d dithered.

But I think there may be some conceptual utility to the distinction, for example should you break off the reload cycle. Someone charges you mid-reload, and you can throw down your bow (free action) and receive that attack. I dunno; maybe it’s not much of a distinction, or maybe there’s a better example.

EDIT: Oops, sorry Dan. Our posts crossed in the mail ;-)
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Skoll said Dec 04, 2012 08:46:36
Round 1, Cycle 1. A fires an arrow. Costs 1 AP.
Round 1, Cycle 2. A starts to reload. Costs 1 AP.
Round 2, Cycle 1. A continues to reload. Costs 1 AP. This finishes the reload.
Round 2, Cycle 2. A has completed his reload and can fire(?). Costs 1 AP.

Assuming the character has 2 AP's, this is how we have interpreted the rules.

Regarding tactical movement in battle (question #1)... In the last session we took into use a whiteboard and miniatures to make the fights more tactical. As it's been said in the rulebook, RQ6 isn't designed for tactical fights, and I found the optional rules in Appendix 1 a bit complicated. So we have ruled, that an unengaged character can move up to his movement rate (6m. for human) in one Turn OR move half of his movement rate (3m) and attack on the same Turn. (Just in case, here's RAW: Movement of 6m means, that the character can walk 6m, run 18m or sprint 30m in a Round (5sec). And of course if the character spends the whole round running or spriting, he can cover the distance as defined in the rules.)

In your first example, where the distance between the combatants in 4 m. I'd either rule that, as both combatants are actively trying to engage, they both move 2m. and can both attack on their first action, OR, that they can both attack only at their second turn.
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