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Author Topic: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)  (Read 624 times)

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Offline Raizenbrayne

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MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« on: June 02, 2016, 09:11:08 AM »
Hi all,

I'm rereading MERP, and it all still makes perfect sense except for two things. Sorry if these are easily answered by looking at RM; I've got the RM2 books but I'm not too familiar with them and don't have them with me at the moment:

1. The encounter table in 2nd edition has an activity roll modifier "-10… Perception." This isn't in the 1st edition table (and I think it's the only difference between the two). What exactly does that mean?

2. In the skill descriptions of 2nd edition, it says that no M&M skill can have a skill bonus higher than +10 beyond your AG bonus. However, it seems like the pre-generated characters ignore this rule: Balí has AG +0 but gets as much as +15 in his chain M&M. Is the rule a typo/oversight, or am I not understanding how it works? It's notable that I can't find this rule anywhere in the 1st edition book, though I could've just missed it.

Offline Witchking20k

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 09:36:40 AM »
1. In think the idea behind the -10 Perception is that you subtract -10 from the encounter roll when someone has made a successful Perception SM.  You would likely make a Perception SM modified by the Stalk & Hide of the potential encounter; if it is successful than you award -10 to the Encounter roll.

2. Chain armour is based on Strength not Agility.  So, it likely is an over-sight.  However, most actions that you would use the MM bonus for are more logically AG based; like the example of flipping a chest over to hide in it in one of the Tactical Action examples.  YOu could house rule it.  Doesn't seem worth the effort to me though.

As a note- one of my very clever players used back grounds to add +10 to DB and +10 to the MM bonus of Chain Armour- a good idea.
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Offline Raizenbrayne

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2016, 02:05:23 PM »
Ah, okay. Those make much more sense now. Extrapolating from that, a dwarf with AG -5 wouldn't be able to have more than 1 rank in any of the AG-based M&M skills, and a hobbit with ST -20 wouldn't be able have any skill ranks in Chain or Plate (unless a ST limit doesn't apply). I never caught any of that before in all the years I played.

The Perception SM sounds reasonable, too. I imagine it's only applied in pursuit or hue & cry type situation (basically, when the party is actively stating that they're trying to hide).

On the topic of MM skills, those were some of the first things we always house-ruled, since it seemed unsatisfying that a power-gamed PC could have a chain MM score that was higher than the soft leather MM score. We tried all sorts of things, including:

1. Combining them down to only three MM skills: none, soft armour types (leather or chain) and rigid armour types (leather or plate).
2. No add ranks can be added to one MM skill until the previous skill is maxed out.
3. Each rank purchased adds 1 rank to all MM skills, but the costs are stacked like normal skills (1:1 rank, 3:2 ranks, 5:3 ranks), and the cost is doubled (that makes 30 pts. to max out all MM skills as quickly as possible, which isn't too far from the 26 pts. it would take normally).

I don't think I ever found a house rule that seemed really satisfying though, and honestly I doubt the rules as written would have caused much of an issue in play 99% of the time. When I run MERP again this year I'm tempted to just stick to the rulebook and see how well they run in practice.

Offline Witchking20k

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 03:02:17 PM »
Here is the way MM skills in MERP work. 

Rigid Leather has a max rank of 5, uses AG for its stat bonus and has a MM penalty of -30.  So, assuming you purchase max ranks you can reduce the MM penalty to -5 before any stat bonus is applied (5*+5=+25-30=-5).

Characters stat bonuses further reduce this or can even result in a MM bonus.  So, using the above example, and Agility bonus of +15 would result in a +10 MM bonus.  These bonuses are applied to Movement Actions (like running, leaping, or tumbling for example) that are not covered by climbing or swimming or a relevant secondary skill (if you use them).  The MM bonus is also your characters Intiative within one of the Tactical Action phases.  This means that light armour characters usually act first in a phase.

Simple and effective.
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Offline Raizenbrayne

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2016, 03:26:41 PM »
I see. I'm misreading what it says. The text is, 'No MM skill bonus may exceed the character's AG bonus by more than +10', but I've been interpreting that as 'No MM skill rank bonus may exceed…'. So the maximum possible ranks, plus the special modifiers of -0 to -60, generally take care of the issue anyway. A character with AG -5 would be limited to a No Armour MM skill bonus of +5, but for each of the other skills the character would have to have an AG/ST of -15 or even less before the limit even becomes an issue.

Offline Witchking20k

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 08:00:08 AM »
Yes.  I actually prefer the way MM is interpreted in MERP than in RM.  Over-all its simpler and has an clearer in game purpose.  As with many things in MERP actually.


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Offline Raizenbrayne

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2016, 07:07:30 AM »
I read through MERP once every few years and then run a couple of games for whoever is in my group at the time, and it seems that with each new reading I learn something new about how cleverly MERP is put together. The majority of the RM-isms have been pre-baked into the tables and the character sheet, so most of the time all one has to do is tick the box, roll the dice and look at the table. It really is an elegant system.

Offline Witchking20k

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Re: MERP questions (Encounters, M&M skill bonus)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2016, 08:09:01 AM »
Exactly.  I think the only thing that is a little wonky about MERP is the DP system.  But, over-all, the major benefit of MERP is that it gets you into the actual game quickly and presents all of the strengths of RM in a condensed format.  Based on my playing style I greatly prefer some of the rules in MERP and often port them into RM.  Specifically Spell Casting & MM rules.

I periodically run what we call a "classic" adventure game using MERP.  This is a game where we use travel, weather, geographical encounters etc. as major obstacles in our adventures instead of random combat encounters.  Basically, we try to recreate the Man vs. the Environment elements that were common in Pulp era adventure novels & comics.

I find that the DP system in MERP (for all it's flaws) actually aids this style because you have some DPs pre-allocated to certain categories. 
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