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Author Topic: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering  (Read 1745 times)

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Offline damilano

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The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« on: October 07, 2014, 06:20:35 PM »
Rules lawyers are welcome to post their corrections, opinions, and suggestions to this thread.  However, the GM's ruling must be considered final, and a ruling is posted here, all debate must discontinue.  Those ruling will be copied into the Rules and Rulings thread for later reference.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »
Friends, we are about to enter a rather complex combat scene.  That's good, because it should serve to help acquaint us all - myself included - with some of the subtleties of the MERP rules.

Judging by my performance so far, it occurs to me that I am likely to make some mistakes.  To those of of you have have helped spot some of my past mistakes and correct them -- Funkmaggot, Throk, and others -- I thank you.  I hope you will continue to check my work and offer timely corrections, as you've done so far.  I find this enormously helpful, as I want to work within the rules and remain consistent.

Your personal threads are fine for offering such corrections.  If you have a point that you think is particularly instructive, I hope you'll feel free to offer it in this Rules Lawyering thread so that other players may learn from it.

Thank you again.  I'll endeavor to do my best.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jacinto Pat

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 08:37:53 PM »
Ruling request.  Healing spells require "touch" to be used.  Does the caster need to be touching the target the whole time, or could they prepare the spell while approaching and then cast it when they touch the target?
Thanks

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 08:48:53 PM »
Table ST-11, posted in the rules thread, allows a spell user to prepare and then take 10' movement later.  In this terrain, normal movement is halved and running movement is resolved as a Very Hard maneuver, which is why characters keep falling down.  I've previously ruled that in this terrain, the minimum non-failure running result and the minimum normal movement result are both one square.  So a caster could conceivably prepare AND move one square simultaneously.  But maneuvering while casting or preparing, or maneuvering and preparing in the same round, or preparing and casting in the same round are forbidden.  Hope that helps.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jacinto Pat

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 04:43:44 PM »
Clotilde wants to determine if its a waste of time to try to save the Dunaden before she uses her power points.  The only skill I'm seeing that might be relevant is perception.  Would a perception role potentially give her the information she needs, or does she just guess?
Thanks

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 05:04:53 PM »
That's a good question.  Under ordinary circumstances, Clotilde would have to decide whether to place her attention on her comrades or on the Dunadan without this kind of information -- rather, using only the GM's descriptions to make the determination.

Some things to consider:

1.  Your friends are taking 3 hits per round in total.  Untreated, these wounds will cause them to lose consciousness within half an hour or so.  From there, death, and then stat deterioration.  Hits per round are intended to represent serious bleeding that will not heal by itself.

2.  With your spell adder and 2 power points, you could conceivably cast your first-level Clotting spell 3 times, thus sealing up those wounds.  That's if all three spell attempts are successful (very likely).  And no more power points or spell adder usage until tomorrow.  Even so, Throk will be in a very perilous state, badly hurt and sadly depleted.

3.  Clotilde has not yet learned first aid, and is not presently carrying any herbs.  She could search for herbs, but it would be in the dark and it would take time.

On the other hand, the Dunadan is much more badly hurt than either Throk or Jorg.  He is, in fact, at death's door.  Could you save him, or delay his death?  Perhaps.  But where would that leave your friends?

However, since you had the intelligence to ask the question, and since your character is a medicine-woman (though a fledgling one) I think in this case it would be all right for you to make a perception roll at -10 (Hard) to attempt to gain a better sense of what's wrong with the Dunadan.  But you will have to get close to him, and it will cost a round, during which Throk and Jorg continue bleeding.  If you choose that course, please feel free to declare that action and take your roll.


« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 05:45:54 PM by damilano »
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jaeru

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2015, 09:44:13 AM »
 Opposed skill check suggestion

I’d like to get your opinion on the following rule suggestion I’ve been toying with for my own game (HARP), but is equally applicable for MERP

Background

To better understand where I’m coming from it helps to sketch a little background first. I believe that the skill check system (especially static maneuvers) for the ICE games are too hard for PCs. A typical maneuver roll is a hard skill check (+0) that requires 101+ for success. Now take a PC with 10 ranks in a certain skill. I’d call that a very skilled/experienced person in that skill (a master even). Yet (assuming an average stat bonus of +5 and no prof. bonuses) that PC then only has a skill rank of 55. Which means, he/she only has a 55% chance of succeeding at a difficult task. I have problems with that in terms of realism.

It also means that low level characters are ridiculously weak compared to real life. The rulebook suggests you get skill training during adolescence which provides you with the ranks at lvl 1. How poor that training must have been! Suppose you had horse riding training during your youth. In game terms let’s say 3 ranks (which is a lot for lvl 1)…that gives you (assuming stat bonus of +5) a skill bonus of 20. Or in other words, you’ll fail 80% of the times you’re given a hard task to do on horseback. I’d certainly demand my money back as a parent!!! Suppose young Funk is sent out by his Guildmaster to practice his pickpocketing skills in the real world…with these fail rates, he’d be in jail after one day…guaranteed!

I haven’t found the solution to this yet. I’m currently being more generous with situational bonuses as a GM to compensate for this. As I see it ‘Hard’ in ICE terms is ‘Very’, or even ‘Extremely’ Hard in real life…otherwise I can’t wrap my head around it.

Now for opposed skill checks I did find a solution

Opposed skill check

The rules adjudicate opposed skill checks in the following way: The difference in skill is added as a modifier to the skill check of the PC

I have an issue with that and it boils down to the difficulty threshold mentioned above. If a PC has to go up against someone that’s equal or better than him, then the chances of success are just too low. Take the example of Funk trying to grab some cards without anyone knowing (tradiotional Hard maneuver). The innkeeper had a perception of 40 and Funk trickery of 20 (he’s only a lvl 1 thief). Going against someone of equal skill yields a fail rate of 80% and going against this innkeeper a fail rate of 83%. Conversely going against an unskilled person (perception +0) yields a failure rate of 75%...in all cases the fail rate is very high. The relative skill difference doesn’t really add significantly.

That just doesn’t make sense to me. Going against an opponent of equal skill in a hard task should not disadvantage the PC so much.

Now I read an alternative one the ICE forums that I quite like. It assumes you have a 50% chance of winning a contested battle against an opponent of equal skill level (which makes sense to me) and then modifies that with the relative skill level.
The formula is: PC skill + 50 – Opponent skill=adjusted skill bonus. Adj skill + dice roll must achieve 101+ for success.

In an example where you’re up against an equal opponent, then chances are 50%. In the above example, Funk’s adjusted skill bonus would have been: 20+50-40=30. Giving him a 70% fail rate. Still high but fair given that the opponent is twice as skilled. Conversely his adjusted bonus against the unskilled person would have been: 20+50-0=70. Giving him only a 30% fail rate. Also fair.

Now young Funk can go out and practice his pickpocketing skills, as long as he picks the right target.

Issue of course is that it makes opposed skill checks relatively easy to unopposed skill checks, unless you adjust situational bonuses.

In any case…love to hear what everyone thinks

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2015, 02:21:56 PM »
Thank you for this interesting post.  However, I don't wish to change the rules for skill checks.  Let's not forget that the possibility of Near Success and partial success exist for Static and Moving maneuvers respectively.  I am also eager to preserve the challenge of the game, forcing players to consider their actions and development choices, and to remain motivated to find or purchase items or enchantments to enhance performance.

I cannot deny that this particular feature of MERP -- and indeed many others -- come up short in terms of 'reality.'  But then again, reality is not the primary goal here -- rather, it's fantasy.  And balance, and simplicity, and challenge.

As for opposed checks, many of these are precluded in the tactical environment by the round-sequence principle.  Some actions take place before others and some are considered simultaneous.  For actions outside this round-sequence environment, there is section 6.7:  Conflicting Actions.

Thank you, though -- a thoughtful post and a good read.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 11:23:26 AM »
Gambling and Cheating

Games of chance where cheating by sleight-of-hand is possible will be resolved as follows:  Each participant will declare at the beginning of the game or the round or hand of the game whether he is gambling, cheating, or throwing the hand.

Throwing the hand requires no roll, unless all participants are throwing the hand, in which case a simple, unmodified d100 will determine the winner.

Gambling requires a d100 roll for each participant, modified by his gambling skill bonus.  The highest total roll is declared the winner of the game or hand.

Cheating requires a d100 roll for the cheater, modified positively by his Trickery skill bonus and negatively by the highest perception skill total among his opponents.  This is resolved on the Static Maneuver table with a difficulty assigned by the GM.  Success means a win for the cheater, whose cheating has gone undetected this hand. 

"Near success" means that the cheater takes the hand, but someone suspects something funny, and future cheating rolls will be modified by -10; these are cumulative, and for each "near success" result, another -10 is applied.

Failure means that the cheating is detected by one or more opponents.

In the event that there is more than one successful cheater, the higher total roll wins.

Different games require different stakes; these may either be specified by the GM or rolled randomly, depending on the situation.


« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 11:26:19 AM by damilano »
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jaeru

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 12:52:21 PM »
If I may, I'd like to point out that with this resolution it really doesn't pay to cheat...(it's good for gambling though  :mellow: )
 
If Funk gambles he has a 50% chance of winning against an equal opponent. If he cheats against an equal opponent (same perception skill as he has in trickery) he only has a 9% chance of winning (91+ needed for a near succes) and a 91% chance of being discovered as a cheat!
 
If Funk gambles against a weaker opponent (assuming 0 skill...its a secondary skill, so chances are high an opponent has no skill in it), he has a 70% of winning (50% +20 skill bonus). If he cheats against a weaker opponent (again assume 0 skill, in this case for perception...though highly unlikely to occur), he has a 34% chance of winning (9% + 25 skill bonus) and a 66% chance of being discovered as a cheat.
 
The Maggot likes the gambling odds  :yes: , but really doesn't like them odds for cheatin'... ???
 
 

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2015, 01:06:42 PM »
Not following you.  If you cheat, your honest opponents don't get a roll -- you roll against the Maneuver table.  It's a question of skill.  And that's something that must be cultivated -- as noted previously, that's part of the balance and challenge builit into MERP.  Clearly, the Trickery secondary skill is intended within MERP to be a static maneuver.  The ruling stands.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 01:08:21 PM by damilano »
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jaeru

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 01:33:34 PM »
If both people roll, both have equal bonuses and the highest roll wins, then you essentially have 50% chance of winning that dice rolling contest (its like flipping a coin).
 
If Funks opponents don't have a skill bonus in gambling, then Funk has a 20% advantage in rolling the highest roll, giving him a 70% chance of succes (50% base chance + skill bonus advantage of 20 => 20%)

What I'm trying to show is that rolling against an opponent (who gets to roll too) is easier than rolling against the static maneuver table (with the opponents skill as a difficulty modifier)

The consequence for Funkmaggot is that it probably never pays (in terms of odds) to cheat compared to gambling fairly (unless he massively improves his trickery skill vs his gambling skill)

That's all... :mellow:

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2015, 01:38:25 PM »
Actually, with gambling, you only have a 50% chance of winning against a single opponent of equal skill.  Your chance of winning is decreased with every opponent you add.

The ruling stands.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jaeru

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2015, 01:41:30 PM »
Ah...I missed that little tidbit of crucial info  ::)  must...revisit...calculations  :yes:

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2015, 01:46:41 PM »
Yes, there is that.  I think if you review that first hand of the Old Cripple's daughter, it will serve as an illustration.
No, the RED is tens.

Offline Jaeru

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2015, 02:56:56 PM »
Nkay...did the calculations...
[Disclaimer: not sure if the calculations are 100% correct, but I know Hayek can correct me if I'm wrong  :yes: ]
 
Assumptions:
  • 7 opponents
  • one has gambling skill of 10, the others 0.
  • Funk has a gambling bonus of 20
  • the highest perception bonus is equal to Funk's trickery skill
  • Loss per round 5cp
  • Total money in Funks pockets: 1sp = 100cp

Chances of success when gambling honestly for Funk: 70%^6*60%=7,1%
Chances of success when cheating: 9% (see calculation above)
 
So at first glance it seems to pay off to cheat vs honest gambling...however we also have to look at the potential monetary gains and losses: Funk has a 92,9% chance of losing 5cp => expected loss each round = -5cp *92,9% = -4,6 cp. Expected gain = 40cp*7,1% = 2,8...net expected result = -1,8cp (chances for an 8 way tie are negligable)
If he cheats however, he has a 91% of being discovered and losing all his money (if not his life as well, but we'll value that at 0 for the moment  :mellow: ) => expected loss each round = 100cp *91%= 91cp. Expected gain each round = 9%*40cp=3,6cp...net expected result = -87,4cp
So cheating still appears the least attractive option for Funk (if calculations are correct)...then again, unless he loses one of his opponents, or increases his odds by getting his opponents drunk...with honest gambling he's also better off going upstairs with the waitress  :yes: :D
 
Its also interesting to look at how his chances at playing fair increase as the number of opponents drops to six opponents, his chances for success already climb to 10,1%, thereby defeating cheating (in this situation). @ 5 opponents, chances increase to 14,4%...perhaps he can get Jorg to chase one away  ;D
 
Ok, will stop now...before it gets too annoying  :mellow:
 
 
 

Offline damilano

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Re: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Rules Lawyering
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2015, 03:02:04 PM »
Yes, the subject is closed now.
No, the RED is tens.

 

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