Bell Digest vol02p09.txt

Subject: Back from the Grave and Ready to RQ,  Volume 2,  Number 9

This issue:

	Alternate characteristic generation system 	(Charles C. Allen)
	Combat Results Modification			(Charles C. Allen)

Ed's note: My apologies to Charlie for being so long in getting this out.
(There's enough from him for another issue)  Hopefully,  my penance of
getting out of bed in the middle of the night to send it out will absolve
me.  The other issue will have to wait until tomorrow.


From: (Charles C. Allen)

Subject: Alternate characteristic generation system

Here's a short writeup of an alternate characteristic generation
method.  Hope it gives some people ideas....

		Characteristic Generation in RuneQuest

			    Charlie Allen


In RQ2 and RQ3, the limit a characteristic may be trained to is
determined by the starting value of the characteristic (or a related
characteristic) or some racial maximum.  Why not choose what a "maxed
out" character will look like, just like you choose what it starts out
like?  The procedure is:

    *	Start out with 14's in STR, CON, SIZ, INT, POW, and DEX (I
	prefer to ignore APP).  Swap one for one until you're happy
	with what these ultimate characteristic values are.  Keep all
	characteristics between 6 and 20.  Write these "ultimate"
	characteristics down on your character sheet.

    *	Now start out with 11's in the 6 characteristics, and swap
	until you're happy with the character's starting
	characteristics.  The starting SIZ must be the same as the
	ultimate SIZ.  You'll want to write these down on your
	character sheet as well.

That's it!  When you want to increase a characteristic, you are
limited by the "ultimate" value.  It works best if POW is increased
like other characteristics, and not via the normal RQ "power gain"
roll.  Personally, I always thought that was a little too gross.  Even
the best roleplayers used to throw Disruption at trollkin so they get
their chance at a POW gain.

This has the added benefit (in my opinion) of differentiating more
between "fighters" and "magic-users".  If a character has high
ultimate STR and CON, he probably won't have high ultimate POW.


In the following discussion, only STR, CON, SIZ, INT, POW, and DEX (6
characteristics) are considered.  APP is ignored (author's personal
preference).  The racial minima and maxima referred to can simply be
the corresponding minimum and maximum values obtainable from the dice
given in the monster description, or may be twiddled for playability.

Let	L = racial minimum for a specific characteristic
	M =   "    maximum  "  "    "           "
	S = starting value for the characteristic
	C = current    "    "   "        "
	U = ultimate   "    "   "        "

Basically, when a character is created, the ultimate values determine
the best that character will be (characteristic-wise).  The current
values start at the starting values (gosh, imagine that), and can
increase up to the ultimate values through training.  The current
values are what get used in play for calculating bonuses, etc.

Define		s  =  (S - L)/(M - L)
		c  =  (C - L)/(M - L)
		u  =  (U - L)/(M - L)

These numbers are all fractions between 0 and 1.  The s's vary in
[0,u], the c's in [s,u], and the u's in in [s,1].  The only exception
is that the SIZ must always be the same.  When determining starting
characteristics, 6*0.4 = 2.4 points may be distributed among the s's.
Similarly, 6*0.6 = 3.6 points may be distributed among the u's.
Obviously, the 0.4 or 0.6 can be twiddled to what you think is

The numbers used in play are the S's and C's and U's, which are
obtained by inverting the above equations:

		S  =  L + s*(M - L)
		C  =  L + c*(M - L)
		U  =  L + u*(M - L)

In "paper" games, S, C and U are integers for playability.  The
incremental cost for one point of a particular characteristic is

		ds = du = dc  =  1 / (M - L)

For humans, judicious choice of the limits, such as:

	STR, CON, DEX	[6,18]
	SIZ, INT, POW	[8,20]		M - L  =  12 for all

results in the same cost for all characteristics, so they can just be
swapped one for one.  If the costs aren't all the same (ducks, for
instance), then a spreadsheet can be used, or approximations for the
costs calculated.  Personally, the author has used the following for
some of his RQ3 characters.

	STR, CON	[6,18]
	POW, DEX	[6,21]
	SIZ, INT	[8,18]

All characteristics except SIZ can be increased only by training.
This includes INT and POW!

Training time should be based on the relative current value c and the
incremental cost:

	training time  =  c * dc * T	(to go from C to C + 1)

where T is something like 10000 hours (that's a guess, this has not
been playtested extensively).

Charlie Allen


From: (Charles C. Allen)

Subject: Combat Results Modification

			 Combat Roll Results

			    Charlie Allen

Ignoring the effects of magic and fatigue, two characters with high
weapons skills can fight each other a long time with no result.  If
you think this should be changed, two possibilites are:

    *	Require a special parry roll to parry a special attack, and a
	critical parry roll to parry a critical attack (Dodge is
	treated this way normally).  This results in no more "simple"
	attack successes, but many more specials and criticals.

    *	As above, but a normal parry versus a special attack results
	in a normal hit, and likewise for other combos (normal parry
	versus critical attack results in special hit, etc.).

The second method can be summarised in an attack vs. parry matrix:

		 parry		results:
	       C S N M F	    c	critical hit
	a    +-----------+	    s	special hit
	t  c | * n s c c |	    n	normal hit
	t  s | N * n s c |	    *	"clash"
	a  n | S N * n s |	    -   miss
	c  m | C S N - n |	    N	normal parry
	k  f | C C S N - |	    S	special parry
	     +-----------+	    C	critical parry

How does this affect the combat?  I'm glad you asked :-)  I just
happen to have some numbers for you to peruse:


old       0.01  0.01  0.08  0.90  	0.10  0.07  0.14  0.80
new       0.01  0.05  0.18  0.76  	0.24  0.03  0.21  0.76
new/old   1.00  3.85  2.36  0.84  	2.47  0.40  1.56  0.95

where	CRIT	means critical hit
	SPEC	means special hit
	SIMP	means simple (normal) hit
	MISS	means any "non-hit" (clash, miss, normal parry, etc.)
	HITS	is 1 - MISS
	A90	means the attack % is 90%
	P90	means the parry % is 90%

The first 5 columns of numbers are the probabilities of the named
result for the standard RQ3 system, the system described above, and
their ratio.  The last 3 columns shows the the relative numbers of the
various types of hits.

The bottom line is that the overall number of hits goes up by a factor
of almost 2.5 for this attack-parry combination.  The effect is less
significant at lower parry percentages, but still quite noticeable
with low attack vs. high parry.  At the end of this article are some
further tables for 75%, 50%, and 25% attacks versus 90% parry.  These
are obtained by a simple program which I'll be happy to send to
anybody who asks.

The result matrix really isn't that hard to get used to.  If you use
standard RQ3 rules, you have to worry about this sort of thing anyway
for dodges, special parries with axes, etc.  This solution simply
regularizes (is that a word?) things.

Charlie Allen

More charts for those who like to play with numbers:


old       0.01  0.01  0.06  0.92  	0.08  0.07  0.14  0.79
new       0.01  0.04  0.15  0.80  	0.20  0.03  0.21  0.77
new/old   1.00  3.57  2.40  0.87  	2.47  0.40  1.44  0.97


old       0.00  0.01  0.04  0.95  	0.05  0.06  0.15  0.79
new       0.00  0.03  0.10  0.87  	0.13  0.03  0.23  0.75
new/old   1.00  3.75  2.32  0.92  	2.45  0.41  1.53  0.95


old       0.00  0.01  0.02  0.97  	0.03  0.04  0.20  0.75
new       0.00  0.01  0.05  0.94  	0.06  0.02  0.19  0.79
new/old   1.00  2.32  2.58  0.96  	2.46  0.41  0.94  1.05


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