[Runequest] MRQ II - Combat

Trevor Ellis trevor.ellis at pobox.com
Sat Aug 20 21:51:37 EST 2011

I love the concept of the MRQ II Combat rules - I just think that they got
the math a little wrong.  So, as Lawrence suggested, I tried it a few times.

Fast Fred (3 CA + all skills at 60%) vs Slow Sam (2 CA + all skills at 80%)
- each gets a +1 CA for the Shield, each has Longsword & Heater Shield, 1d4
db, and 3pt armour.  Fred won the Initiative.


1.1 Fred attacks Sam Parries.  Fred rolls 03 critical Sam rolls 54 Success.
Fred's damage is blocked but his obvious choice for manoeuvre is Disarm
[this is 92% certain to succeed because Sam needs a critical from 80% to
beat the original attack roll].  Sam rolls 23 - he has dropped his sword.
Sam now has a problem - pick it up and receive two free hits whilst doing so
or continue to parry and receive 1 free hit. F=3CA S=2CA left.
1.2: Sam picks up and readies his sword  - Sam has no CA left. Fred is now
hoping for a critical in his next attacks (3 * 6%).  F=3CA S=0CA left.  
1.3: Fred attacks - 34% success.  5 damage (2 through) to Sam's left leg -
manoeuvre is Bleed Sam resist roll of 79% succeeds F=2CA S=0CA left.
1.4: Fred attacks - 56% success.  Manoeuvre Choose Location (left Leg) 7
damage (4 through) Sam is on the ground. Sam rolls 65% Resilience and stays
standing, but for stunned rolls 2 rounds in which he cannot attack CA. F=1CA
S=0CA left.
1.5: Fred attacks (0 CA left) - 87% fail.  F=0CA S=0CA left.

Note Sam has dropped his weapon, picked it up, has a leg on -1, and is
stunned (no attack) for 2 CA.  BTW  this is a heck of a lot to happen in 5

2.1: Fred attacks & Sam parries - both fail so no effect.  F=3CA S=2CA left.
2.2:  Sam tries to heal his leg - 49% for 2 points.  F=3CA S=1CA left.
2.3:  Fred attacks & Sam parries - both succeed.  F=2CA S=0CA left.
2.4:  Fred attacks 37% Manoeuvre = Bleed - 7 pt damage to Sam's Chest (4
through). Sam 58% Resists. F=1CA S=0CA left.
2.5:  Fred attacks 57% Manoeuvre = Choose Location. 8 pt damage to Sam's
Chest (5 through).  F=0CA S=0CA left. Chest is negative Sam fails his
opposed Resilience 42% and so is unconscious.

I have run this combat 6 times Fred won 4 and Sam won 2.  Had it been a
group of 3 Freds vs a group of 3 Sams then, I believe, the Freds would win
EVERY time.  So, if offered a choice between "CA=3 + 60% in every skill" or
"CA=2 + 80% in every skill" I know which I'd choose.  Strangely, when I
tried a couple of combats with 2h Spear Fred seemed to do better when he
lost the Initiative roll.

IMO the problem is the all-or-nothing/sudden death nature. If both succeed
then absolutely nothing happens, if attack succeeds by one step or more then
it gets damage plus a manoeuvre.  With critical at 10% of skill this happens
more than RQ2.  Until Resilience etc is built up to a high-level the
manoeuvre outcome can be really dangerous. The first person to get a
one-step attack success will probably go on to win the fight - unless the
skill levels are really very, very different. 

It is the scale of the affect that I have problems with - try a RQ2 battle
with 60%/80% skills and only the 60% with a 1d4 damage bonus and you'll see
what I mean.

Unless anyone has MRQ II house rules with a better math.

More information about the Runequest mailing list