Bell Digest vol01p07.txt

Subject: A Mote in Orlanth's Eye, Volume 1, Number 7

This issue:
	RQ Armor problems         (Elliot Wilen)
        RQ Fatigue		  (Mark Abbott)
        Re: Elliot's comments     (Andrew Bell)
        Re: Mark's fatigue system (Andrew Bell)

Subject: RQ Armor problems  (Elliot Wilen)

Incidentally, in the sorcery article, when I
said 'you' I was actually talking to Steve Maurer, to whom I
referred later. He actually sent me his own fix for the rules,
which I have somewhere but haven't looked at very closely.

[Ed:  Oops.  I also sent you something suggesting penalties for casting
higher point spells,  but probably after Steve did.]

I'll ask him if I can submit them as an alternate, but I think my
fix is better (at first glance) since it's simple and involves
very little change from the standard rules.

I have gotten a letter from someone which raises a couple of
points against my approach, though, so I may have some
revising to do. The revising might involve changing
my system, but I'm hoping (in spite of the work it would
involve) it will be preferable to write a new sorcery spell

Here's another problem with the rules which I don't think you
mentioned: the armor rules. Maybe a fix to the fatigue rules
will handle part of the problem, namely the fact that some
types of armor weigh too much for someone really to
wear them. Imagine a knight in plate armor! I also
think that the new approach to helmets is a bad one. It
doesn't really define helmets the way they should be defined--
by construction, not material. Actually, neither is ideal,
but there's no real good way (or is there?) to distinguish
between an open helm made out of plate and a visored one
except by adding a point or two of absorption to the

Besides, some of the armor types seem to be just plain incorrectly
defined/rated; and many of them shouldn't be available for
use as pieces on every part of the body.

In sum, I like the old (RQ II) approach to armor much better, and
I think I might go back to that and try to elaborate it for
use with RQ III. Maybe other people have ideas/opinions on
the topic.

Far away, I have an idea to make the weapon damages in RQ a little
more GURPSish (conversely, I've already decided the GURPS hit location
system needs to be more RQ-ish). This would mean distinguishing
between crushing, edged, and pointed weapons effects and how
they interact with armor. GURPS does this in a non-complicated manner.

In the meantime, maybe someone can provide a ready-made method of
getting rid of those breakpoints in the damage bonus chart.

For specialization: treat it as follows: if you learn a skill basically
in one environment, and you have to use it under conditions with
which you are unfamiliar, your skill is halved until the GM decides
you've gained familiarity with the environment. This isn't a big
penalty, but then again, hiding behind trees and under piles of
leaves isn't all that different from hiding behind corners and
under tables.

I'd use the same approach when someone picks up a new weapon
and immediately has to fight with it before getting used
to its balance. If half skill seems harsh, maybe just -20 (-10?)
*or* 1/2, whichever is the smaller penalty.

For similar skills, I'm not sure what you're talking about. I thought
you might mean something like a default system, in which a high
skill in one area will help other related skills 'default' to
a semi-decent value. But RQ's skills are quite distinct for the
most part, except the weapon skills. I do think that someone with
a 90% skill in 2H Hammer should also be pretty decent with a Maul.
For that matter, I don't see how a person can be 90% with a
one-handed Bastard Sword, yet 15% with it two-handed. (I could
be very wrong there, though--two-handed fighting style
might be a lot different from one-handed.) I could go on...there
must be a similarity between fighting with a shortsword and a broadsword,
for example.

While we're on weapons, I think it a bit odd that the only only advantage
derived from using certain weapons two-handed instead of one-handed is
that they require less strength. Either they should do a bit more
damage (which might confuse the relationship between a long spear and
a short spear, for example), or weapons should get a bonus for the
amount by which the minimum strength is exceeded. (This also
has problems.) Maybe instead, damage should be set by strength, and
only *modified* by weapon. This is what GURPS does: a strength of
12 does a basic d6-1 with a thrusting weapon, or d6+2 with a swung
weapon. This is then modified by the particular weapon.

But I think the above paragraph is getting rather far afield. One last
tangential point, though: there should be a penalty for parrying
a flail. Right now, flails have a chance of entangling opposing
weapons. This is colorful, but not the real advantage of that
sort of weapon. The real advantage is that they could be swung so
that they'd swing around an interposed object and still hit.
I think a minus or halving for weapon and shield parries would
be appropriate.

For skill increases: I'm in favor of eliminating the learning
by experience system altogether and just using training during
off-time. This is more realistic. To reward good role-playing,
though, you could award e.p. and use your method. To be
hyper-realistic, you could award training time for skills
used during adventure; typically, this would only be worthwhile
for things like riding, shiphandling, and some lores, which might
be considered to be being used all the time.

Incidentally, if the experience-by-rolling method is dropped,
then weapon parry skills should be expressly connected to
attack skills in some way. This might be sticky, though, since
there's actually a complex relationship between shield parries,
weapon parries, and weapon attacks (not to mention Dodge). But
if something isn't done, people will have widely disparate
weapon attack and parry skills. Maybe that's realistic.
I doubt it. So here's another long-term project: rework
the entire relationship between attacks, parries, shield parries,
and dodges. I'll think about it.

You might want to just include this piece of rambling in an upcoming
issue. Probably starting with "Here's another problem..."

[Ok,  but I start it earlier,  I'll admit it when I make a mistake.]



Subject: RQ fatigue
From: (Mark Abbott)

Concerning the fatigue problem, here's a rulesfix I'm about to try.
It hasn't been playtested yet but it should help some of the problems.
With these rules, STR determines how much you can carry and CON determines
for how long.

Fatigue/Encumbrance:  Max ENC = 6xSTR in kilos.  FP=2xCON.
	Normal FP expenditure is 1FP/round.
	At each 10% of Max ENC, +1FP expended/round.
	At each 20% Max ENC, -1/2 move with a minimum move of 1.
	Each 10% Max ENC reduces Sneak, Swim, Dodge, and all Magic
	skills by 10%.  (Actually, each 1% of ENC reduces these
	skills by 1% but players may round to nearest 10% for
	ease during play.)

	Mark Abbott
	{ihnp4, decwrl, sun, hplabs}!ucbvax!dean!abbott

Subject: Re: Elliot's comments

From:  (Yep,  me again)

Regarding helmets:  it would also be nice to make up a system where they affect
perception skills.  I agree with you on armor though;  I liked the old system
except that they rounded weights to the nearest ENC point.  I'd prefer a
smoother system without "breakpoints,"  i.e. the armor for some 5'6" weighs
slightly less than the armor for someone weighing 5'8" and so on.

Incidentally,  I'm considering trying to map normal distributions so that I
can generate results from 2-12 and 3-18 with a bell curve shape and potential
infinite resolution.  Not a real important project,  but it could be fun.

I'm still waiting for Keith to send me his system for smoothed damage bonuses

As for similar skills,  I mention that idea because I would like to have the
option of specializing skills somewhat more than the straight rules.  For
example, devise and sleight cover a variety of actions.  If you've looked at
the huge list of skills for Rolemaster in the Companion II,  you 've seen a
huge list of potential skill breakdowns.  I don't think this is always
necessary,  but if it can be created as an extension to the game,  it could be
beneficial for precise character development.

I agree with you,  it's hard to learn attack and parry separately.  I make them
related skills simply because you can't train one without training the other.
I'd like to come up with a system where you learn fighting *styles* -- one-
handed weapon and shield,  two-handed weapon, fencing,  florentine, etc.
instead of learning a specific weapon,  and within a fighting style you might
learn how to use a specific type of weapon.

I believe I mentioned that training with a particular weapon (not weapon type),
like a favorite shortsword or grandfather's old morningstar,  ought to give
you skill with that particular weapon.  That way,  the penalty for using a
weapon of a slightly different weight or balance is that you haven't that
extra bit of training in it.  Perhaps 10% of training could be counted as being
with the particular weapon,  and thus with another weapon you have only 90% of
your training effect.

I don't like extremes like half skill or even -20%,  except when the weapon or
whatever is substantially different from the one you're used to.  Although I
like the idea of being better with a weapon that is specially made for one's
physique,  and I'm not sure how to fit that in the grand scheme of things.

I agree with you that two-handed damage should be higher than one-handed,  and
larger people should be able to use larger weapons.

Re: skill increases:  I think battlefield skill use should be significant, to
the point of actually being a method of learning.  It's the old heat-of-battle
training idea.  Lore skills are actually unlikely to go up because you use
them,  but in adventuring you may learn something new which would increase

   -Andrew  (

Subject: Re: Mark's fatigue
From:  (Your friendly editor)

I like your idea of fatigue being directly related to Con,  with strength
determining what ENC is fatiguing.

Let's play with some numbers and see what happens:

Typical soldier has, say, 13 strength.  His maximum encumberance is 78 kilos,
or about 172 pounds.  That's a bit light for maximum lifting ability,  but
lifting more than that should make most other actions well nigh impossible
(other than slowly moving).  Our typical soldier will be able to carry this
78 ENC for a little over 4 rounds,  assuming negative your fatigue is still
the point of exhaustion.  Perhaps you could elaborate on what you wish to do
regarding when you are exhausted?

    The only objection I have is that you make no distinction between various
actions in terms of their effect on fatigue,  saying merely that you spend one
fatigue point per round.


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