[Runequest] Highlevel combat

Tom Cantine tcantine at incentre.net
Wed Nov 17 11:59:38 EST 2010

Ah. Actually, the sorts of suggestions I had in mind, and which usually 
are brought up with the INT checks, are not necessarily elaborate 
technical gimmicks, but simple insights or even disclosed facts that 
the PC in question may actually have forgotten. ("What was the name of 
that guy we were supposed to be looking for, again?") I'm not terribly 
concerned about the suggestions being based on technical ignorance, 
because there's no rule requiring the player to ACCEPT the suggestions, 
and if it's based on misconceptions, no INT check is required to allow 
another person at the table to give a lecture on real-world physics.

But you DO raise an important point about the imbalance with the GM not 
having access to the collected wisdom of the other players, and thus 
being at a cognitive disadvantage relative to the PCs. This is 
generally balanced by the omnipotence of the GM over the gameworld, but 
it can still be pretty unsatisfying if the GM is an ignorant dope. One 
of the most frustrating moments I had in a game was where the GM was 
scientifically illiterate, and apparently distrusted all that thar 
fancy-pants booklarnin' stuff, so no MacGyver solutions ever worked. We 
had to stumble upon the arbitrary solutions prescribed in the written 
module for EVERYTHING. (It was a modern-day setting, in which our PCs 
were assumed to have some general education.)

On 16-Nov-10, at 5:32 PM, Bjørn Are Stølen wrote:

>  The problem with theese kind of solution is in the opposite 
> situation, when the GM has a lower IQ than the players. That's a bit 
> silly put, what I'm trying to say, is that sometimes you have GM's 
> that have a quite rudimentary knowledge of how things work (like 
> riding, use of certain types of equipment, etc). It can be 
> quite trying to be a player that happens to know quite a lot of some 
> skill, and have the players do something utterly stupid and be 
> rewarded by it, because the players have successfully rolled an idea 
> test, and the GM have supplied the players with advise he believes to 
> be smart. The best thing in theese situations have been for me (as 
> player) to keep quiet, but I must admit that it makes me a bit weary 
> of Idea-rolls.
>  We played CoC-dark-ages once, with a gm that knows as much about 
> horses as I do about Pebbel-sizes in the town of Bismarck in USA 
> (which isn't much), It was not very fun to be given "advise", but I 
> didn't want to tell him to shut up, because I didn't want to ruin the 
> game for my fellow players, I didn't want to embarras the GM, and my 
> character did succeed thanks to the utterly stupid things he did with 
> and on that horse, on GM advise :D
>  From: tcantine at incentre.net
> Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2010 21:23:04 -0700
> To: runequest at rpgreview.net
> Subject: Re: [Runequest] Highlevel combat
> On 13-Nov-10, at 2:42 AM, Dale Long wrote:
> (snip)
> If we take purely simulationist roleplaying, we would also need to 
> consider removing the smart input from players, the good results 
> derived from role-playing and other similar factors. These elements 
> also operate at the same "story telling" level as Hero points, but 
> Hero points do it in a measured mechanical way, that can also be used 
> to complement those elements.
> Actually, I stumbled upon a trick for that (i.e. PCs coming up with 
> ideas beyond their IQ capacity) that worked really well in my gaming 
> group. Whenever you want to make an OOC suggestion to another player 
> as to what their PC should do, you ask them to make an INT check. If 
> they don't make it, you keep quiet; if they do, you can tell them your 
> idea.
> I found that my players bought into the concept quite eagerly, because 
> they like sharing ideas but they also like an IC rationale for why 
> their party member didn't think of it in time (i.e. that darned low 
> INT). And if the INT check is failed, they really enjoy watching the 
> PC struggle through without the suggestion.
> And in the big picture, since all the players are entitled to make and 
> receive suggestions by the same rule, statistically it ends up making 
> a very nice simulationist result: smarter PCs act smarter (with a 
> greater chance at benefiting from the collective wisdom of the 
> players) while dumber characters generally have to make do with only 
> the intellect of their own player, and even if the player of a 
> slow-witted PC is very bright, all the other PCs have access (on a 
> successful INT check, of course) to that same bright player's 
> insights, so the slow-witted PC is still at a comparative 
> disadvantage.
> Also, the more obvious ideas get another kick at the can for each 
> player who individually comes up with it. If I think of a suggestion 
> for the PC, but he misses his INT check, I don't get to share that 
> suggestion and that's the end of it for me. But if someone ELSE comes 
> up with the same idea independently, she CAN invite another INT check.
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