Author Topic: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat  (Read 154 times)

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Offline Eirvit

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MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« on: January 17, 2018, 10:28:59 AM »
Hey, all. I’ve recently started an old school MERP game. After our second session last Monday, we wanted to tinker with the system. I’ve been talking this through on the MERP Facebook group and am wondering if anyone here has some insights for me. I expect later iterations of Rolemaster discuss these topics at length (I am using MERP and the 1985 editions of Rolemaster), but my group and I want to “think our way up” to the complexity that those other systems might offer.

(Some of the following has been “over-explained” for my players.)

RATE OF MISSILE FIRE. Arms Law & Claw Law pontificates on “abstracted combat time,” saying that it expects characters to make multiple swings (usually 3-4) during the 10-second combat round and that the single roll resolution reflects the one attack within this time that might have succeeded. Ironically, there is no comment (at least in 1985) on the incongruity of a single missile attack during these ten seconds followed by another entire ten seconds to reload (or rush this reloading and fire again with penalty). Therefore I’m considering the following: in the first round two missiles may be shot penalized by the 0-round reload value, in the second round only one missile may be fired, likewise penalized. Repeat as many times as desired. This penalty can be removed and missile fire can be conducted as written by taking a full round to reload.

CHARGING INTO COMBAT. A moving maneuver must be successful. If the result isn’t 100% or more, the maneuver is considered successful by rolling under the percentage (e.g., if 40% is achieved rolling a d100 under 40 is considered a success). At this point an attack can be made with -30 to the roll. If the maneuver is more than 100% successful, the excess percentage is applied to attack penalty (e.g., 110% moving maneuver result would mean -20 to the attack roll).

Offline Hurin

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 11:27:00 AM »
More complex systems like RMU have reduced the length of the round to solve some of the problems you mention. Dungeons and Dragons for example has gone from a 1 minute round (which was ridiculous, but that's what it essentially was when MERP was in its heyday) to a 6 second round. Rolemaster has gone from a 10 second round (RM1, 2, and RMSS) to a 5 second round (RMU). So basically all systems have reduced the length of the round somewhat.

You can of course simply increase the number of missile attacks characters can make in a round, but that will have a major effect on game balance. Missile weapons will become much stronger than they currently are.
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Offline Tolwen

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 12:31:16 PM »
Hey, all. I’ve recently started an old school MERP game. After our second session last Monday, we wanted to tinker with the system. I’ve been talking this through on the MERP Facebook group and am wondering if anyone here has some insights for me. I expect later iterations of Rolemaster discuss these topics at length (I am using MERP and the 1985 editions of Rolemaster), but my group and I want to “think our way up” to the complexity that those other systems might offer.
I have not exactly what you were asking for (RM rules), but the MERP Supplemetary Rules published in Other Minds Magazine, Issue 7 (July 2009) might be of help for you (see my signature for links). Included are additional options for archery.
The latter is based on historical evidence for English Longbowmen in the Hundred Years War. Back then an experienced archer was expected to fire about 12 arrows per minute! Of course this assumes some conditions that are mostly not met in a typical small-scale RPG combat:
First, a ready and easy-to-access supply of ammunition (e.g. stuck in the ground before the archer and not in a quiver on the back) and second at this rate of fire individual arrows were not shot at a specific individual (i.e. an aimed shot) but as a barrage into a pre-defined "killing zone" against a mass of charging enemies.

In that context it might interesting to note that at longer ranges (i.e. 50+m) the arrows generally were not able to pierce plate armour. At these ranges, those mainly affected would be the horses of the heavily armoured knights. The deadly shots against heavily armoured enemies were generally possible only at closer ranges (i.e. up to ca. 15 or so metres).

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Tolwen
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Offline Raizenbrayne

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 12:37:15 AM »
If you stick with a 10-second round, which is what I'd do (though in a game where a round is a round, I don't really think it matters too much whether you call it 5, 10 or 20 seconds), I would definitely heed the advice above that you should only change the rate of attack for missiles if you are okay with that greatly changing their effect in the game.

Old school D&D games have the same issue about rationalizing missile attacks, and in that world one fairly common house rule is to have each shot take up a random number of arrows, quite often 1d6. This way missile attacks are exactly like melee attacks: you take a few individual shots and somehow they add up to the overall damage roll, however you rationalize it.

However, it does has the side effect of wasting arrows much more rapidly, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I like games which stress resource management, and anyway, even with that rule I've rarely ever seen anyone run out of arrows in an RPG combat. If losing 1-6 arrows each attack seems excessive, you can make it 1-4 or 1-3, or do my favourite thing and roll a 'weighted' d6: say, 1-3 = 1 arrow, 4-5 = 2 arrows, 6 = 3 arrows.

Regarding the charge rule, that looks like it would work just fine. It's refreshing to see a charge rule that actually penalizes the attacker. Physically running into melee in any martial sport is usually suicide, especially if you try to go in swinging. But at the same time, this is fantasy and it's fun to leap into the fight swinging like Conan! Allowing the MM roll to mitigate the penalty and even tip it over into a bonus is a good touch.

Offline Hurin

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2018, 10:07:17 AM »

Regarding the charge rule, that looks like it would work just fine. It's refreshing to see a charge rule that actually penalizes the attacker. Physically running into melee in any martial sport is usually suicide, especially if you try to go in swinging. But at the same time, this is fantasy and it's fun to leap into the fight swinging like Conan!

On that, we are in full agreement!
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline OLF, i.e. Olf Le Fol

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 06:49:25 AM »
The AC has the Trick shot skill, with two tricks about the matter: quick shot, that allows to fire twice as fast, and lightning draw, that allows more shots but with a higher penalty.
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Offline Eirvit

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Re: MERP Rate of Missile Fire and Charging into Combat
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 09:09:44 PM »
If you stick with a 10-second round, which is what I'd do (though in a game where a round is a round, I don't really think it matters too much whether you call it 5, 10 or 20 seconds), I would definitely heed the advice above that you should only change the rate of attack for missiles if you are okay with that greatly changing their effect in the game.

Old school D&D games have the same issue about rationalizing missile attacks, and in that world one fairly common house rule is to have each shot take up a random number of arrows, quite often 1d6. This way missile attacks are exactly like melee attacks: you take a few individual shots and somehow they add up to the overall damage roll, however you rationalize it.

However, it does has the side effect of wasting arrows much more rapidly, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I like games which stress resource management, and anyway, even with that rule I've rarely ever seen anyone run out of arrows in an RPG combat. If losing 1-6 arrows each attack seems excessive, you can make it 1-4 or 1-3, or do my favourite thing and roll a 'weighted' d6: say, 1-3 = 1 arrow, 4-5 = 2 arrows, 6 = 3 arrows.

Regarding the charge rule, that looks like it would work just fine. It's refreshing to see a charge rule that actually penalizes the attacker. Physically running into melee in any martial sport is usually suicide, especially if you try to go in swinging. But at the same time, this is fantasy and it's fun to leap into the fight swinging like Conan! Allowing the MM roll to mitigate the penalty and even tip it over into a bonus is a good touch.

Genius! Thanks! I’m playing (not running) some D&D, too, and honestly I’ve never heard of this common house rule (outside of a decreasing ammo track in Black Hack). Now I’m wondering where I’ve been.

And I’m pleased you approve of my Charging ruling.

 

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