[Runequest] Runequest II

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Sat Nov 6 06:29:12 EST 2010

At 9:11 AM -0500 5/11/10, Styopa wrote:
>On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 6:17 PM, Simon Phipp 
><<mailto:soltakss at yahoo.com>soltakss at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  > But I'm definitely interested to hear your relatively high
>>  opinion of MRQ2. Particlarly interesting to me because MRQ always
>>  seemed to make quite an effort to extend to high level play, a
>>  traditional weakness of RQ2 especially - do you think MRQ2 would make
>>  for a good high level game?
>No version of RQ has been very good for high level play.
>Partly it's the essential nature of the beast, and the 'flip side' 
>of the reason some of us like RQ generally.
>1) RQ is famous for its realistic combat systems - rather than 
>rationalizing "hittability" and "damageability" into tables or 
>single rolls, RQ breaks this into discrete pieces.  This means that 
>it's VERY easy to modify or insert mechanics to simulate what you 
>want/expect, whether it's the behavior of a certain weapon/armor, or 
>the results of a type of attack.  In fact, I find it almost too 
>easy/interesting to tweak this and that, and regularly have to step 
>back and ask - OK, this is more accurate, but is it FUN?  Does it 
>slow down an already-slow combat process for some minutia of realism 
>that nobody but me cares about?

	Always a good thing to remember.

>2) the flip side of this is that "high level" play is inherently 
>less realistic, meaning the system strains because what we're doing 
>is basically more fanciful.  A swings a sword at B, B parries, and 
>part or all of the damage is deflected.  Simple, realistic.  But if 
>A is a 12m-tall giant, ANY non-glancing contact with B (parried or 
>not) would in reality simply kill/cripple B instantly.

	Given a 12m tall giant does around 15d6, or over 50 points of 
damage, and a parry will generally stop less than 20 points of that, 
a blow at that level is still crippling.

>  Realistic, but not very fun.  Even if we postulate that B has some 
>sort of 'magic' defenses preventing injury, a solid hit (not a 
>"special", just a normal good strike) would send B caroming away 
>into the distance like a Titelist off a tee.  Realistic, but again, 
>not terribly fun when the PC's are typically B.

	RQ3 had knockback rules, which simulated this fairly well, 
including special 'overhand smash' rules for being driven into the 
	Realistic, but agree, not terribly fun.
	But this was never, to me, where the problems with high level 
RQ3 lay. Sure, very huge things were devastating to oppose directly, 
but daring players could try to dodge (and have a Heal Body around 
for the inevitable occasional failure), or fly out of their way, or 
whatever, and a normal giant could still be taken down by a lance 
charge or a lucky critical from a speeddarted arbalest or whatever. 
And taking on huge things was seldom the focus of high level play - 
taking on human level opponents of equivalent skill was more common.

>For another example: ever try to figure out the effects of a breath 
>weapon in RQ?  *Incredibly* lethal in real terms - when you consider 
>that the area damage should rightly be applied to multiple hit 
>locations (or, if large enough, ALL) simultaneously?  It's the sort 
>of issue that only comes up in high level play.
>My experience at higher levels of play is that everyone gets quite a 
>bit more brittle - the amounts of damage being thrown around (in 
>proportion to the tiny, squishy, vulnerable bit of hit points) mean 
>that if a parry is missed or a defense overcome - even though this 
>is exceedingly rare - the result is catastrophic for the target. 
> Luck, ironically, seemingly becomes dominant in the results.

	This is very much my experience, too - a missed parry can be 
quite a game changer. And as in most cases armour increases 
drastically, and weapon damage increases significantly to try to 
punch through it, while hit points increase only mildly at best, 
criticals became a very big deal.
	But the real problem with high level play for me was it often 
became about waiting for that 5% missed parry or that fumble. Round 
after round of hit parry hit parry hit parry was DULL. It was also 
very arbitrary, in that same 5% chance of a missed parry for 
everybody became perhaps the single biggest factor in determining 
ultimate success in battle.
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