Runequest - Adventures in Prax

Category: House Rules

Nov 14
An update to the combat rules

So far we have been playing combat using the rules found in the original core rulebook i.e. no opposed rules, just use the combat tables as they stand. Last week's game demonstrated just how powerful Precise Attacks are under those rules when used by high level characters. Every attack bypassed armour, so even a successful defense was rarely good enough to prevent considerable damage and the loss of combat actions. The result was that the first player to take even a minor wound was doomed, as that player never managed to regain the initiative and just kept losing more and more combat actions.

The upshot is that I'm going to use the opposed roll system as found in the players update and the deluxe rulebook, in addition to the original rules. This is a very simple house rule - here's how it will work.

The players will have 4 defense options rather than 2...Parry, Block, Dodge, Evade.

Parry - use the opposed roll rules. If you succeed with a parry and win the opposed roll, you'll take no damage, if you lose the opposed roll your parry is downgraded to a failure. Use this against targets with huge damage bonuses, against precise attacks, if you only have a very weak weapon, or if you have a significantly higher skill than your opponent.

Block - no opposed roll, use the table only. Even if you succeed with a block, you could take damage through the parrying weapon. This is a good option if you use a shield.

Dodge - use the opposed roll rules. If you succeed with a dodge and win the opposed roll, you'll take no damage, if you lose the opposed roll your dodge is downgraded to a failure. Use this against targets with huge damage bonuses, against precise attacks, or if you have a significantly higher skill than your opponent.

Evade - no opposed roll, use the table only. A successful evade will still suffer minimum damage against a successful attack.

So in other words, the defending player has a choice whether to use opposed rolls or not. Doing so is a much better option against very large opponents with overpowering damage bonuses, particularly if they have low combat skills, and those trying Precise Attacks. In fact, Precise Attacks are very difficult when using the opposed roll system, and rightly so.

gamesmeister • House RulesPermalink
Nov 6

The Spirit Combat rules included in the Companion work fine as a generic set of rules i.e. under normal circumstances, the only thing a character can do against a spirit is a) cast defensive magic, b) try and hit it with a sword in the hope of doing some damage, or c) run, and hope it can't follow (aka a Ghost).

The problems arise when you introduce spirit specialists into the mix e.g. shamans, as found in Cults of Glorantha 2. These are taught from a very early age the nature of the spirit world and how to interact with its inhabitants, and should therefore have a fourth option available i.e. the knowledge of how to control spirits through bargaining, coercion and other techniques. Binding a spirit is generally covered by the Create Charm/Fetish spells, but controlling a spirit in the first place without resorting to combat should be a skill that can only be learned by Shamans or those who worship the spirits. That way most PCs still have to fight spirits the hard way, but those skilled in their ways have an alternative.

This will be handled through the following skill:

Control Spirit(POW)

Can only be learned by a Practitioner of a spirit cult or above.

Used by a shaman to bargain, threaten, trick, or otherwise coerce a spirit into submission. When in spirit combat, make an opposed roll vs the spirits Persistence. If successful, the spirit will not attack the shaman for a number of rounds equal to the shaman's POW, during which time it can be dismissed or bound in the normal way. Like Possession attempts, magic points can be spent by both the shaman and the spirit to improve their chance of success. If the shaman has any companions, they are still subject to attack by the spirit in the normal way.

gamesmeister • House RulesPermalink
Nov 3
Variable Combat Actions

I consider the fixed combat actions of the Mongoose core rules to be one of the systems greatest flaws, as a character with a Dex of 13 will have 50% more attacks and parries/dodges than a character with a Dex of 12. This places far too much emphasis on getting that all important Dex of 13, which seems such an arbitary cut off point anyway.

I use the following rules in its place.

1. A character has a Combat Actions attribute equal to his Strike Rank x 5%
2. At the start of each round, all players roll against their Combat Actions attribute, with the following results:

  • Critical = 4 CA's for the round
  • Success = 3 CA's for the round
  • Failure= 2 CA's for the round
  • Fumble= 1 CA for the round

3. To avoid rolling too many dice at the start of each round, Strike Rank is now only rolled once, at the start of the combat. This makes it easy to keep track of who's action is next.

One significant benefit to this approach is that it helps to avoid the endlessly repetitive combat rolls that can occur as characters become master warriors. Now a poor Combat Actions roll will leave a combatant short of reactions, and exposed to an attack that he is unable to parry or dodge. For this very reason, I don't allow the transfer of Combat Actions to Reactions.

gamesmeister • House RulesPermalink
Nov 3
Spellcasting for members of a cult

Members of a cult cast their cult spells using Lore Theology as opposed to the appropriate runecasting skill, and are not required to integrate the rune in order to cast their spells. This is to ensure the basic spells of a cult are always available to an initiate or higher, and he or she is not prevented from learning them simply because they can't get access to the appropriate rune.

A cultist has access to both this own cult's spells, plus those of all associated cults. He still casts all the spells using his own Lore Theology skill, regardless of the originating cult.

N.B. I still use runes, both for integration and for spellcasting. In fact if a player does not have access to a certain spell, either from his own or a related cult, then acquiring the appropriate rune is the only other way he is likely to be able to learn it.

gamesmeister • House RulesPermalink
Nov 3
The Mongoose ruleset

In general I am trying to use the Mongoose ruleset as written, however there are what I believe to be some fairly serious flaws in the game design, and so my houserules will be listed in this category.

gamesmeister • House RulesPermalink

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