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Reach, Attacking Weapons and Combat Stats

posted Apr 07, 2013 10:12:29 by Snoof
I was running a couple of sample combats the other day, and I had a couple of questions:

I've got a shortsword, my opponent has a spear, so I can't actually hit them. Can I continue to attack normally, hoping for a special effect that will let me do something effective, like Disarm Opponent, Damage Weapon or Close Range? If I'm doing this, I suppose that if I succeed on an attack without getting SFX I won't do any damage because I can't reach them.
Alternately, if I attack their weapon, how exactly does that work? I make an attack roll, and do they try to parry? Evade? What happens if I get SFX?

On a related note, is there such a thing as a "typical" combat skill rating? The sample character Anathaym has 42% in her Meerish Infantry style after the career step, which she could raise with free points to 57%, which seems a decent baseline - she's a professional warrior, so (STR+DEX+30)% looks suitable. On the other hand, the thugs in the first adventure in the GM Pack have 75% in their style, and it suggests that there be at least an equal number of thugs and PCs. It seems like the PCs would get handily thrashed there, especially if some of them aren't in combative careers. Can someone explain the logic in NPC skill ratings?
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9 replies
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DanTrue said Apr 07, 2013 12:14:35
I've got a shortsword, my opponent has a spear, so I can't actually hit them. Can I continue to attack normally, hoping for a special effect that will let me do something effective, like Disarm Opponent, Damage Weapon or Close Range? If I'm doing this, I suppose that if I succeed on an attack without getting SFX I won't do any damage because I can't reach them.


No, you need to close the range before you can attack them. However:

Alternately, if I attack their weapon, how exactly does that work? I make an attack roll, and do they try to parry? Evade? What happens if I get SFX?


You can attack the weapon, as you say say. The attack is rolled as normal, the opponent can evade (rather.... stupid in this situation, but there may be certain times when it's necessary) or parry (either with the attacked weapon or some other weapon). Any damage is applied to the weapon instead of the opponent.

The above is RAW, but as you say additional questions arise. What if I get an SE? Can I close the distance with it? Sure, you bash the spearpoint aside and step into range. Can I trip with it? Hmm.. You could grap the spear and yank him to his feat. But wouldn't that give him a bonus to his opposed check?
What about the original attack against the weapon. Does that carry any modifiers? It likely should, since it's a smaller targets that's whirling around.

All of these, the GM will have to handle on the spot. The answers will depends a lot on the circumstances of the fight, and the style of the setting. If's Heroic Fantasy or gritty Sword & Sorcery means a lot to these rulings, which is why they have been left as loosely defined, to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

On a related note, is there such a thing as a "typical" combat skill rating? The sample character Anathaym has 42% in her Meerish Infantry style after the career step, which she could raise with free points to 57%, which seems a decent baseline - she's a professional warrior, so (STR+DEX+30)% looks suitable. On the other hand, the thugs in the first adventure in the GM Pack have 75% in their style, and it suggests that there be at least an equal number of thugs and PCs. It seems like the PCs would get handily thrashed there, especially if some of them aren't in combative careers. Can someone explain the logic in NPC skill ratings?


75% does seem high. On the other hand: 1) They only have 2 AP, so the party will likely be fine (thought their +1d4 dmg mod is rather scary) and 2) They have a horrible weapon selection.

Combat-oriented characters often get somewhere around 55-75% in their chosen combat style at the beginning.
But remember that the combat skill rating only means the change that they are going to be succesful at what their combat style is good for. Theirs' is "beating people of" - which a shortsword and cudgel is good for. But if it came to a straight fight, against people in armour and with shields... their 75% will mean squat, they will be slaughtered.

How powerful a warrior is, of course depends on his skill level - but more so on his AP, Dmg. Mod and the content of his combat style(s). A warrior with a good trait 4-5 weapons (including a shield) to select from and 55% combat style, will be more powerful than a thug with 30% more in this combat style.

So, the logic is rather fuzzy (and depends again, on the setting). A hunter with Huntmans(Longbow, Dagger) 100% is still a worse warrior than a knight with Knight of The Realm (Heater Shield, Swords, Axes, Maces, Lance, trait: Mounted Combat) 65%.

- Dan
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mixster667 said Apr 08, 2013 19:13:19
A warrior with a good trait 4-5 weapons (including a shield) to select from and 55% combat style, will be more powerful than a thug with 30% more in this combat style.


I really really doubt that the above is true.
A thug with 85% in his combat style would have a very easy time of simply disarming a warrior with only 55% combat style, almost no matter what weapons he was wielding. The first time the 55% guy fails while the other succeeds the thug has a better than average chance of disarming him.
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DanTrue said Apr 08, 2013 20:08:39
A thug with 85% in his combat style would have a very easy time of simply disarming a warrior with only 55% combat style, almost no matter what weapons he was wielding. The first time the 55% guy fails while the other succeeds the thug has a better than average chance of disarming him


But the warrior with the weapon selection might have a spear or a longsword - so the thug can't hit him. He might have a shield which passively wards most of his locations. Maybe he has higher evade, brawn and/or athletics. He might have a trait which enables him to fight very effectively in some situations, where the Thug has no particular advantages.

I'm not saying that the Thug in the fight circumstances can't win, because he might succeed in disarming him initially as you say - this might end the fight quickly, or it might result in a multitude of other scenarios depending on location, armament , armour and secondary skills.

My point is that the percentage of the combat style does in no way tell the whole story. And as an adventurer I'd be more afraid of someone with a good weapon selection, armour, perhaps a shield, a good spread of his skill over endurance, athletics, brawn and some CS trait at 55%, than a Thug with a club with 85%. Simply because combats are not static, can be won by ranged attacks, by sneaks, changing the game of the fight etc.

But of course I don't mean to say that having a high combat style is not an advantage, because it is and it should be ;) There's just more to it than that.

- Dan
[Last edited Apr 08, 2013 20:17:11]
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Snoof said Apr 09, 2013 03:14:29
75% does seem high. On the other hand: 1) They only have 2 AP, so the party will likely be fine (thought their +1d4 dmg mod is rather scary) and 2) They have a horrible weapon selection.


I note that roughly 60% of PCs will only have 2AP as well, unless you're using point-buy or non-standard rolling.

Come to think of it, it seems strange that while skills and gear can change over time, you're basically stuck with however many AP you get at chargen. If your INT+DEX are 23 or 24, you might be able to sacrifice a learning roll (permanently!) to bump up to 3AP, but anything else will hamstring your progression elsewhere.
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bluefenix42 said Apr 09, 2013 03:45:51
I note that roughly 60% of PCs will only have 2AP as well, unless you're using point-buy or non-standard rolling.


Point-buy is an extremely common way of doing stats, at least among the groups I associate with. Do you consider "Roll 7 numbers and assign them to whichever stat you want" to be non-standard? Because that's probably the second most common way of doing things I've run into, and it's pretty easy to arrange your stats to get 3 AP that way, even if you rolled fairly average numbers.

There's also the alternative stat improvement option that permanently spends a flat number of Advancement Rolls to increase an attribute, but of course not all GMs will use that. And magic can change your AP (either directly, with Mysticism, or indirectly through spells that increase your DEX or INT).
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Snoof said Apr 09, 2013 03:59:10
Point-buy is an extremely common way of doing stats, at least among the groups I associate with. Do you consider "Roll 7 numbers and assign them to whichever stat you want" to be non-standard?


I don't know. I'm entirely new to RQ so all I've got to go on is the core book, and the one character creation example uses entirely random roll.
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Skoll said Apr 09, 2013 06:09:11
Personally I can't imagine a situation, where I would use the "standard" method. It simply restricts the character creation too much. On the other hand I don't like the point buy system either, because my group min-maxes too much. Every stat is set to be just a threshold. So we are also using the system of rolling five times 3D6 and two times 2D6+6 and assigning them freely (though the 2D6+6 rolls need to go to INT and SIZ). Also, I allow the player to reroll everything if the total is under a certain amount (I think last time it was 83).
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DanTrue said Apr 09, 2013 06:20:11
I note that roughly 60% of PCs will only have 2AP as well, unless you're using point-buy or non-standard rolling.


Isn't Roll and assign standard anymore? That's what I've always used and I have never had a player with 2 AP. Because either they want to play something that fights, something that sneaks or something that's clever - and INT is important for them all, and DEX also to some degree. So (my) players have a tendency to favour that.

- Dan
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bluefenix42 said Apr 09, 2013 17:52:54
I don't know. I'm entirely new to RQ so all I've got to go on is the core book, and the one character creation example uses entirely random roll.


Beware of assuming Example = Standard. One of the great things about RQ6 is that it presents multiple options for many things (character creation, how magic points recover, combat styles) and allows the GM to pick whatever option is most suitable for his or her table, setting, and campaign. If the book presents options, then uses one of them for an example, that is all it is - an example - not a statement that a certain option is the "preferred" or "standard" way of doing things.
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