[Runequest] RQ6 questions... again

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Sun Jan 27 14:52:27 EST 2013

On 27/01/2013, at 8:39 AM, Asher Royce Yaffee <ashersensei at gmail.com> wrote:

> David Cake,
>    If I may be so forward as to put you personally on the spot, I have follow-up questions.  (If you are uncomfortable about being put on the spot, just ignore my questions and I'll pretend I never asked.)

	Nope, happy to chat. 

>    My players are my kids and, being kids, would adapt very quickly to any change in the rules.  It is middle aged me that is having trouble wrapping my head around new ideas.  My understanding is that RQ6 moves away from specific weapon skills and instead has "fighting styles".  Is that correct?

	Yes, a single 'combat style' skill covers attack and parry etc with several different weapons, and also has a 'trait' that makes the style somewhat distinctive. 

>    If so, how does that work out?  This is an unclear question, I know.  But I mean how it works out in several senses:
> 1.  When making characters, did players right away clearly see what they were getting when they chose fighting styles?  Or does it take a little practice for players to see how the various styles will work out "in the field"?

	It was fairly clear, yes. There are different approaches to what goes into a combat style, and there aren't fully developed styles specified in the rules book, but they are pretty easy to improvise, IMO. When you define a combat style, you specify weapons you can use and a distinctive trait, which, together with the name, gives you a pretty clear idea of how it works. So something like Knight (1H sword, 2H sword, 1h mace, 1H axe, knight shield, bow, 2H spear, trait: mounted) or Berserker (2H and 1H axe and sword, target shield, dagger, trait: intimidating shout) or Krarsht Assassin (dagger, crossbow, net, trident, shortsword trait:Assassination), or Nomad Horde Cavalry (1H spear, 1H sword, bow, dagger, trait: Mounted). 
	Most of the time in my game, I'd define combat styles on a profession/cultural/position in society basis (ie  Barbarian Warrior, 1H sword, 1H spear, dagger, target shield, javelin, bow trait: Throw Weapons, or Barbarian Hunter, 1H spear, shortsword, bow trait: skirmishing or trained beast, with some variation for cultures that field multiple distinct kinds of troops (ie Peltast 1H spear, target shield, javelin, shortsword trait: skirmishing or Hoplite 1H spear, hoplite shield, shortsword trait: shield wall, both different types of professional warrior from the same culture). That way you can reflect how that specific culture fights, which can be a pretty important factor for helping make it seem real and distinct for your players. But a lot of the time the character will just have  a combat style that reflects the character concept as much as anything else, and that can be very much specific to your game and that character -- does your character who is considered to be a wise and learned sage with knowledge of past cultures have Subtle Scholarly Self Defense (staff, dagger, trait: Hidden Weapons) or Adventurous Archeologist (bullwhip, sword, crossbow trait: Swashbuckling)? Pretty much up to the GM and the player to decide. 

	It is definitely easier in play. If you want to, you can usually just give each character a combat style that reflects whatever the player sees that character doing most of the time, and not worry too much about the detail. 

> 2.  When making a character, do players feel that they have to make a choice between character types they want and fighting styles their party wants?  (You know, like when joining a D&D game and the party asks you to take a cleric.)  Or does this never come up?

	I guess in very basic terms - there are fighting styles better suited to sneaking, or front line combat, or missile combat - but generally those are kind of inherent in the character. Generally, I think it makes it less of an issue rather than more - compared to previous editions, you don't need to worry about choosing between missile and melee weapons, or worry about choosing between a heavy weapon and a light weapon that you can more plausibly carry around. 
	Generally, my characters for the most part didn't really choose a combat style as such, rather they just gave the character a combat style that suited the character as already defined (eg Nomad Horde Cavalry for a character that was a nomad shaman) and we went from there. 

> 3.  When in melee, do different players feel equally happy with their chosen fighting styles?

	Pretty much. I pretty much let players choose their combat styles, with a bit of guidance so that nothing is too inappropriate or overpowered. I'm fairly generous, though. Some weapon styles are more useful at various times, but that usually stems from character concept (and equipment) - a sneaky thief type who only uses a shortsword and dagger is going to be in a lot of trouble against a fully armed and armoured knight, obviously, and at some disadvantage even without the armour, but is also going to be able to sneak up and take out enemies quietly which the knight cannot, and both options are probably working the way the player wanted. 
	I think there are some things that could cause problems - if one character had their main melee weapon and a good missile weapon in one combat style, while another had to separate the same two weapons over two different combat styles, that would make a big difference between the two characters, and I think that would be frustrating. I generally try to arrange it so the important skills for a character are in the one combat style, though there are some odd cases where it isn't appropriate. 
	I can imagine some specific campaign styles where you would have to think carefully about combat styles for game balance (for example, one where unarmed combat was very important), but for the most part, it would be fairly rare. 
	The distinctive traits usually only make a difference in some specific situations, which is often one that applles only to a smallish subset of combats, or to one or two actions in a combat, so they really aren't a big deal as far as game balance. Players seem to be treating the traits as mostly a 'flavour' factor that helps customise characters, rather than worrying about which ones are better than others.  Choice of arms and equipment makes more difference - which is good, as, surprisingly professional warrior types often have the least 'useful' in game traits for their fighting style, as professional warriors may likely have a combat style with a trait that depends on fighting in a similarly trained group (such as Shield Wall or Formation Fighting), which in practical terms is unlikely to be a common situation in most games. 

> 4.  I read that, depending on fighting style, a character might have either two or three Action Points.  

	That has nothing to do with Combat style. It used to make more difference in MRQ (where you got an extra point for a 2 weapon style), but that rule was removed for RQ6. I agree with the removal of the rule - there are plenty of other reasons to have a shield or two weapon style, especially if you use the weapon length and closing rules. 

> If that is so, then how does that work out in melee combat?  Do your players find the difference between 2 and 3 action points to be significant?  

	I really do find that difference to be significant, and it is one of my quibbles with the RQ6 system, but it has nothing to do with combat style now. It is now attribute based - and I think a character that wants to be a really effective fighter will pretty much want to have three combat actions rather than two. 

> And, when judging what sorts of antagonists to throw at the party, does the GM need to think carefully about how many action points the bad guys will have, or is it not such a big deal in your planning?

	Well, a bit, though of course you also have to judge weapon damage, armour, etc, and I find that a bigger factor. I'd certainly give a 'serious' opponent 3 combat actions, and an opponent that is supposed to be fairly easy (like an easy mook henchman) 2 combat actions. 



More information about the Runequest mailing list