[Runequest] House Rule Question

Gary Sturgess gazza666 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 9 02:30:48 EST 2009

2009/8/9  <royce at efn.org>:
> Hi, All,
>   Yes, it's me again.  :-)
>   I really like the concept of strike ranks, but find the application
> difficult.  As others have observed, strike ranks serve both as an
> initiative system and as something you spend to do stuff.  But what if
> my players spend something else to do stuff?
>   Introducing the "strike buck".  I've got a bunch of poker chips sitting
> in my old Axis & Allies box.  I can quickly sketch a player aid sheet
> with some labeled boxes for allocating ("spending") chips on movement,
> fighting, readying, casting, etc.  Each melee round, characters
> starting on strike rank 3 get 8 chips to spend; strike rank 2, get 9
> chips; etc.  Beings with more chips can start spending first.
>   Just an idea for a house rule.  Sound workable to you?  Any
> complications come to mind?

It isn't immediately obvious to me in what fundamental way this is
actually different? You're still using strike bucks for both
initiative (people with more can go first) and actions, are you not? I
grant you that using the chips is a neat way to track this sort of
thing - I've used similar techniques to make tracking spell durations
and so forth myself - but I'm missing where this is actually different
mechanically (barring superficial changes - obviously you could say
that actions "cost" more or less SR than Strike Bucks, but that's
obviously something you could tinker with in either case).

If your intention is to divorce initiative from actions-per-round, it
isn't really clear to me how this achieves that. Not that this is
actually necessarily bad, or even unique to RQ (Shadowrun uses
initiative to determine both actions and order, at least in editions
up to 3rd; the Hero system more or less does as well, though
technically Dex is used to determine order and Spd for number of
actions, most characters with a high Spd will also have a high Dex in

The danger I see with such systems is "lock out"; slower characters
are potentially getting doubly punished both by going last and going
least often. Attempts to "solve" this "problem" (scare quotes because
it is arguable that this is neither unrealistic nor problematic) can
be seen in systems like White Wolf's WoD, where initiative and number
of actions are effectively divorced. That ensures that slow guys (slow
as in "number of actions") might get to act before fast guys, but less

In my opinion it wouldn't necessarily hurt to have some sort of
randomiser added in as well; it kind of bugs me in systems like
Champions or RQ that you can essentially predict the order of combat
every time, as it is entirely deterministic. I'm not really convinced
that this is dramatically appropriate or necessarily realistic, but
hey - the system does work.

More information about the Runequest mailing list