RQIV draft notes

From: Burton Choinski (burt@ptltd.com)
Date: Wed 12 May 1993 - 23:44:56 EEST

My notes on the entire RQ-IV draft. If I could get a more recent version, if one has been made, that would be great. Might as well grouse now. :)


  What is the purpose of the "Average STR + SIZ" column? For creatures?   and shouldn't that be "Average STR and SIZ"?

  I'm of the mind that required dice should be reduced. Why 1d4 rather   then 1d3 (i.e. 1d6, 1-2=1, 3-4=2, 5-6=3, or half a d6 roll, round up)?   d2 is equally easy (1-3=1, 4-6=2).


  I think Formulae are easier to work with for new people, but thats a   personal preferance. In case it was missed or lost:

  Agility       = DEX + STR - SIZ - 10
  Knowledge     = INT + POW/2 - 15
  Stealth       = DEX + INT/2 - SIZ/2 - POW/2 - 5
  Communication = INT + POW/2 + APP/2 - 20
  Magic         = INT + POW + DEX/2 - 25
  Manipulation  = INT + DEX + STR/2 - 25
  Perception    = INT + POW/2 + CON/2 - 20


  I agree with someone who resently posted that we chuck the 1/4 and 1/2   points. I think we can all handle numbers 4x as large, and fractions   just make it look messier. Besides, this could provide some sort of spell   mechanic hook (i.e. 1 point of "Train <skill>" spell transfers 1 background   point of skill from the teacher to the student.) All costs described   henceforth are 4x those given in the original draft.

  So, 1 Background Point (henceforth 'BP') is worth 25 hours (half a week)   of training.    

  Overall, pretty good. I think that "Experienced" is a better term to use   then "Average", but I will use "Average" in all my following notes.

  Also, I feel that the maximum limit on training be dropped. After all,   you could have a game of players starting at "Average" level, but if they   want to purchase up to Expert level (and they can afford it), let them do   it. So you could have "prodigies" whose training is better then their age   implies.  


  Altering BP costs by x4...
  It costs 4 BP's plus 1 POW to join, or POW BP's. So, Arlia (noted in the   draft as having POW 11) could chuck 4 BP and 1 POW, or 11 BP to become an   initiate.


  Looks good, although as someone noted, not all musicians need be master at   arms. I suggest that the basic skills be looked over. Details to follow.

  I disagree with the limit to training. If you want to pump the points into   it on your own time, why can't you be average overall, but with expert   training in a few skills. This applies to the Basic skills as well.   Perhaps this should cost double to go "above your rating" in those skills,   or limit you to one level higher but at the listed cost. This second way   seems to work good with my group, where if you take two professions, you   can combine the points in skills common to thw two. For example, one   character had a Foot Soldier and Thief. The Foot Soldier gave him "Scan"   to Average. When he got thief at Average, the two average levels combined   to give him "Expert" in scan, even though he was rated as average in   both professions. The ability to specifically purchase up to one level above   is just an extension of this. If Two careers are taken, and skills overlap,   the added points must be enough to reach the next level or they are lost   (optionally, these points may be suplimented from your BP reserve to make   the level).

  No prblems here, other then tweaking it to be consistent with my above notes   (limited to one level above overall experience rating)


  Keep it simple. The BP's are already an abstraction, why limit increases   to certain professions when one can justify it anyways with creative   description fo your background. Perhaps Joe Farmer was constantly fighting   off evil spirits that drifted in from a nearby swamp while he plowed his   field. Maybe Fred Priest lifted weights.

  Increasing STR, CON, DEX or APP costs 16 per point to 1/3 max increase,   32 per point to 2/3 max increase, and 64 per point up to max. POW costs   its current value in BP's for each increase. Thus going from 10 to 12 would   cost 10 (taking to to 11) plus 11 (taking you to 12) or 21 BPs.


  The combat options you can buy should be here, or at least, their costs   and basic description should be here...it's quite a pain to have to keep   flipping back and forth.

  BP's into mony or goods at 100L each or 1/2 week of training (more detail   on this later).

  The need to tweak the cost of the background points, and thus the basic   career cost, etc, is for the birds. Easier to just to add 15% to the   skill if easy, and subtract 15% if hard (and subtract 30% if very hard).   If a skill, plus mods, is less then 15%m you can't take it at that level   or training. So, a Footman learning Primary Attack at 75% could choose   Dagger as that primary skill, and get a 90% skill, or some hard weapon and   have a 60%.


  Overall, very good. Once those tweaky fractions are gone I'll like 'em   even better. :) Some careers do need to be looked at to see what REALLY   is basic and what is optional (i.e. the previously mentioned ninja   pianists. :)


  I take it in more recent drafts this info is present? Like I said, I would   like a more up to date draft, pretty please? :)


  This info should be was up with the other cultural tables, rather then   hanging at the bottom, IMHO.

  Nice addition. How many of the exotic careers will be pre-figured for   us (i.e. Elf Plant Tender, Troll Insectherd) or those odd careers given   in the Genertala Player's book?  

>>SKILL VERSUS SKILL, replace with:

  This is tricky. I'm not sure I like the "resolve with tie" system given   in the draft. Why not simply use the greater distance of success when   both have rolled? Using the example provided:

     Example: Arlia tries to sneak past a sentry. She has a 65% Sneak
     skill, and the sentry has a 44% Listen skill. Both roll. If Arlia
     can achieve a greater level of success than the sentry (i.e., special
     where the sentry only succeeds), she can successfully sneak past
     him. If the sentry achieves a greater level of success, he spots 
     her. If both fail, Arlia makes a noise, and freezes, but the sentry 
     does not notice her. If Arlia fumbled, she would make so much noise 
     that the sentry would not fail to notice her unless he fumbled as well.
     Both roll. Arlia's player rolls a 58, the GM rolls a 37 for the 
     sentry. Both have achieved a normal level of success.

  In this case, the sentry succeeded by 7%, Arlia by 8%. Arlia has   the advantage. Degrees of difference (within 5% -- minimal, within 25%

  I think, to borrow a Torg-ism, that checks should take place at the   end of an 'act', where an adventure may take several 'acts' to complete.   An act can be defined as a single, identifiable adventure sesson.

  I also feel the following "freebies" should be given to players:  

    Language: 2 checks per week if immersed in a language, 1 if it is

      very complex.  For example, our heros must travel through Ralios
      and know nothing of the language.  They might be able to hire
      scribes and Issiaries to translate for them, but that does get
      expensive.  As they travel, they will slowly pick up the language.

    Long-term travel: Riding, marching, boating, etc. 1 check per week.

    Survival: If you need to live off the land, 1 check per week.

  I think very hard skills should increase by 1d3-1%, or 1%.

>>SKILL TRAINING AND RESEARCH, replace most of with:
  Keep track of hours used during the week for skill training? aaiieeeee!   (Visions of "You used 18 of your 50 hours, 32 left")   Simpler to just say that every "degree" of skill (every 25% or fraction)   requires half a week. So, Joe Adventurer plops his butt down in a town to   do a bit of training. He would like to work on his Sword skill (62%) and his   Sneak skill (20%). He will need 4 half weeks (62% = 3 degrees, 20% = 1   degree) or two weeks of training.

  If this is too gross a number system, use tenth-skills and 5 "training   points" per week. (i.e. skill/10, hours/10, round up). So the above   training would take 6.2 (7) and 2.0 (2) training points, just under two   weeks.  

  Personally, I think this table should be up at the front with the others   (Dex SR, Damage bonus, etc).  

>>RESULTS OF DAMAGE, replace with:

  And this section should be within the combat section. IMHO, of course.   

  At this point I would lke to suggest that all this info, such as damage   results, and the like, be avaiable as a seperate pack of charts that   can be removed and layed out seperately, rather then needing to constantly   flip through the rules book.  

>>FATIGUE, replace with:

  I find fatigue to be such a pain to use, that I don't. I think this   entire section should be grey-shaded as optional. This system is better   then the old one, however.   

>>Exposure, Hunger, Sleeplessness, Thirst, and Other Slow Deaths
  This stuff is good, but I think it belongs in the "world" section along   with fire damage, cold damage, exposier, asphixiation (sp?)

>>Consequences of Encumbrance

  I think this needs to be reworked. At present, Joe Strong (SIZ 13,   STR 18) is equally affected by full plate as Fred Weak (SIZ 13, STR 3)   with regards to skill loss.      

>>COMBAT, replace most of with:

  Looking over old books, I liked the strike rank system used in   _RingWorld_, where there was a table of 100 phases and there were no   real set rounds, just SR times setting your next action farther up the list   then wrapping back to 0. I have not used this in RQ...I may try it with   my next game and see how it feels.    

>>Special Hits
>>Critical Hits

   The damages done seem so odd, since they are all so different. This    should be on the pullout tables as well.


  Like I said, the basic description and costs should be up with background   generation, with the detailed effects here.  

>>Acquiring Special Options

  This info should be in the training/experience section, not in the middle   of the combat rules.

>>SKILLS, replace and add to as appropriate:
  Some note of how bases will vary by race (i.e. Ducks and Swimming)   should be made.  

  One comment, can we dispense with the seperate skills for Fist, Kick,   Head butt, etc? Perhaps wrap it into Brawling Attack and Brawling Defense   with a higher overall skill difficulty? I somehow cannot concieve of a   person with 105% Head Butt, but only 25% fist and 15% kick.

  Likewise, Wrestling attack (allows grapple, hold, throw) and Wrestling   defense (escapes, breakfall against throws, etc).

  MARTIAL ARTS suggestion:
  How about this simple change: Martial arts skill adds to basic attack   skill. So a guy with Fist 57% and Martial Arts skill of 34% attacks as   if he had a Fist skill of 91%. Nice and simple, but beware those   Runelord Ninja Masters with MA 500% and Kick 500% :) You're gonna die. :)

  I think this provides for the "danger" that the original rules intended   and is simple enough for use. It's difficulty should be bumped to "Very   Hard".


     "Missing a skill roll by 10% or less is not a serious failure,  
      missing a skill roll by more than 10% is a more serious failure,"

  10% real? or 10% of the actual skill? If I have a skill of 56%, is a   serious failure rolling in the 57-66 range, or 57-62 (10% of 56, rounded   to 6%)   


  I like this. Makes Bargain and Evaluate less generic.


  This is such a bother, I don't even use it. Anyone else?  

   "A shamans mundane perception skills (Scan, Search, Track, Taste, and so     on) are halved when not dealing with spirits."

  Why? They don't become shamans until they are in their teens...what,   their eyes glaze over or something? :)

>>SPELL LIMITS, add to first paragraph:
  I like the idea that High Initiates can reuse reusable spells of 1pt,   Acolytes can reuse reusble spells of 2pts or less. (This was suggested on   the list some time ago)

>>PRICES, replace most of with the following:
  I like, but want more. :) Look at Harn. Granted, that goes a little too   far, but on the line of Powers & Perils, with the costs for glass or skin   containers, other materials, etc.

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