Re: RQIV, Comments

From: Robert Smith (
Date: Tue 11 May 1993 - 17:43:43 EEST

This is the first time I've posed to the Digest, since I don't play in Glorantha and there is very little here with regards to rules. However, I think that it is important to keep the rules debate alive. RQIV is in the works and I think we all want it to be the best system that it can be.
(They are NOT going to reprint RQII no matter what you say, so you might
as well forget that and make some constructive comments about the new system.)

I've been reading through RQIV in preparation for our next campaign (I run Tekumel with RQ rules). We want to use RQIV modifications where they make sense. So I have taken a pretty close look at some of the stuff.

Previous Experience
Well, this is better than RQIII, but not by much. 1) Why are we messing around with 1/4 and 1/2 points here. Just multiply everything by 4 so that 1 is the minimum cost for anything. 2) Primary attack and defense is a basic skill for almost everything, including entertainers, crafters, healers, merchants, missionaries, scholars, and sorcerers. OK, many will say that these are player characters, but that doesn't cut it, since the GMs will use these templates to create NPCs as well. Very few entertainers (actors, musicians), crafters (jewelers), or scholars
(academic types) that I know are well schooled in the martial arts
(except as hobbies, which are optional). I know this is not a modern culture,
but do we imagine Socrates, Homer, Thomas Aquinas, Shakespear and others out practicing their primary weapon skills as a "basic skill"? The martial skills should be optional for these professions. Otherwise, *ALL* NPC Master musicians will have a primary attack skill of 75% (after all, we all have heard of the prowess with pistol or epee of the likes of Bach, Beethoven, and Handel).

Skill Difficulty
Hurray for skill difficulty rating! We had already adopted a system strikingly similar to the one presented in RQIV.

New fatigue rules look pretty good.
1) Finally, fatigue affects movement! But why only when exhausted? This
means that if I run 3 or 4 times around the block and get tired (or weary if I'm out of shape), then a fresh runner joins me and we run at the same rate, even though he is not even tired. True, we may jog at the same rate, but I bet he could now out sprint me. This is not relfected in the rules. I think a bit more incrementalism would be in order. I would suggest that instead of dropping to 1/2 move at Exhaustion, one should drop to 2/3 rate when Weary and then to 1/3 rate when Exhausted. This would also be easier to calculate, since most creatures have a movement rate of 3m.
2) Another thing that has also always bothered me about RQ is leg armor. It does not hinder movement nor add to fatigue. Historically, extensive leg armor was used only by mounted fighters. Even these would generally remove their leg armor to fight dismounted (except maybe the French, but look what happended to them). The develpment of sophisticated leg armor  coincided with the development of the mounted knight. The decline of the  knight was accompanied by the decline in the use of leg armor.

Leg armor may be OK when you are simply fighting on foot, but long term marching or running is out of the question. As a mundane experiment, buy some running weights. Strap them to your upper arms and run a mile; time yourself. Now do the same thing with them on your legs. What's the result? Which caused greater fatigue? In which case did you have a better time? Now imagine this with armor all up and down your leg!

It seems to me that leg armor should cause 2 to 3 times the usual ENC. One might consider reducing the movement rate for those wearing leg armor as well.

1) Statement of Intent
Good. We've been doing this for a while too. High INT people usually wait to see what the enemy is doing. But since we restrict conversation in melee situation, high INT characters may act first to force other characters into certain actions. It's a good system.

2) Melee
Over all OK, but not a spectaular breakthrough. I do like the special options (what are the difficulty levels of these skills? It is implied in their costs and training time but not stated explicitly.).

However, like all systems that I'm familiar with, there is too much attack, parry, attack, parry, attack, parry, etc. This may simulate a practice session, fencing, or a SCA battle (all of which are highly formalized simulations of combat), but I doubt that life and death stuggles look like this. Where is the kicking, scratching, hitting with shields and weapon butts, etc.? The combat system lacks feeling and excitement. I guess I want my combats to look like the Michael York "Three Musketeers" rather than the Gene Kelly version.

It seems to me that a system incorporating differing styles of fighting, from formal (fair fighting) to brawling (dirty tricks) has been discussed in the digest. I have seen no specific rules, however. Any info out there?

3) Dodging Missiles
How do you dodge at ranges greater than point blank?

4)Armor and Use of Missile Weapons
OK, back on my hobby horse.
If one looks at the historical use of armor by archers and other missile users, I believe that one will find their arms rather lightly armored. Thrown weapons and bows require a lot of fine arm movements with rotation in many directions for loading and firing and throwing. Such soldiers tended not to use extensive arm protection. I would, therefore, suggest a simple rule: characters that have soft armor on their preferred arm suffer a -10% off the attack skill of bows and throwing. Those wearing hard armor would suffer a -20%. This would not affect the use of guns or crossbows.

I think such restrictions on leg and arm protection as I have outlined would make PCs wear armor that reflects the cultures of GLorantha as well as historical cultures. How often have we seen PCs up their leg armor to the detriment of other armor? Within the system, I makes since, but I don't recall such armoring historically, except for mounted warriors.

Well, I guess that's all. But I do suggest that you read and comment on RQIV. If you have a copy and are not making suggestions now, don't grouse later. Even if you don't have a copy of RQIV, you should still make your preferences known, but be specific. I don't think it's very productive to say "I hate this" or "that's a stupid rule" if you don't present solutions. So come on! Time is running out. Your ideas are neeedd to make the system the best that it can be and the type of system that all RQ players can enjoy, even those of us who don't use Glorantha as the setting.


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