Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Allowing Double Attacks

One of the interesting rules in one of the old Rolemaster Companions (I can’t remember which, possibly No. III), was the idea of a “wraparound attack”. You see, attack rolls “maxed out” at 150 over the opponents defense bonus. For example, if your opponent had a Defense Bonus (DB) of 40 and you rolled a 240, you were capped at 150 for your attack roll, even though you rolled 200 over his DB. That’s normally as far as the chart went.

Let’s say, though, you open-ended your attack roll multiple times, and ended up with a 310 to their 40, or some 270 above their level, normally you’d still be capped at 150, meaning 120 of that roll would go to waste. Under the optional rule, though, that 120 can be used for a second attack. If the remainder above 150 is also a hit, you get to roll that critical on the chart as well.

It’s a fun rule, and allows for grievous hits to do both a D-level and an A-level critical, for example. Even if you miss on one critical hit roll, you still have another waiting in the wings. The highest attack roll I ever saw using this method in a Rolemaster game ended up doing 3 separate criticals!

It wouldn’t come up often in D&D and its cousin (unless you’re using a d30 rule), but if you did cap damage at 15-20 above someone’s Armor Class, would it work to allow any remainder on the roll to be used as another potential attack? If it beats the AC, it can also be used to roll damage as well.

I think this rule works much better in games such as HARP or Rolemaster, though. I just don’t seeing it happening as often in games without open-ended attack roles. Games with open-ended rolls play to the sense of variety and uncertainty, and this rule definitely fits in with that mindset.

5 comments:

Zanazaz said...

Rolemaster is the coolest, crunchy game there is.


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Zachary The First said...

You’ll hear no arguments from me!

No problem on the plug—we’re here to help, so long as it’s relevant to tabletop gaming. :)

vortimax said...

I really like the idea and might use it for a testdrive in pathfinder or 4e. It might be interesting with an exploding d20 instead of using the simple max damage mechanic of 4e...

Greyaxe said...

I Rolemaster every chance I get. I have given consideration to that suggestion a number of times and I very recently decided to use it. But with modifications:
The overage gets applied to the "next attack or Overage attack" but I also reapply the non magical DB. I apply that result to the AT1 column, why you ask? Because the initial attack defeated the armor and the Overage attack has already been penalized by the natural DB of the target. This works very well for monsters who should a harder fight than humanoids who depend on armor. So effectively big hits simply deliver more hits but not a new critical. I find the combat works well and the players do tend to be satisfied increasing their hits delivered but not killing off trolls like they were goblins.

I do not apply a secondary critical. I find additional critical rolls far too deadly; and when secondary criticals are necessary (lightning bolts etc) I only roll once and apply the same result across all criticals. You should hear the awws when you get a huge hit only to roll a low result on the crit. But that the value of the d100 system.
Game on!

Zachary The First said...

Thanks again for the comments, guys!

@Greyaxe: Interesting! I may need to try that variation out...