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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Does Size Matter?  (Read 7709 times)
Durgil
Member

Posts: 306


« on: June 17, 2003, 06:58:04 AM »

I've been working at putting together a Middle-earth campaign using my favorite rule system, TRoS, for some time now.  A while back I picked up a copy of Decipher's LotR RPG for a little inspiration and for some ideas.  I think that they did a far better job than ICE's MERP at recreating Tolkien's world, but I'm definitly NOT going to buy anything else from them.

One rule though that I came accross the other night that did make a lot of sense to me had to do with size.  Now this isn't going to be of much interest to those of you who, for the most part, play in a world of all human size creatures, but in a world consisting of 3' - 4' hobbits, 4 1/2 - 5' Dwarves, 6'+ Men of the West and Elves, and 10' - 14' Trolls, I could see how this could be important.  Essentially, the rule is for each size difference between opponents, there is either a +1 or -1 to eachother's Target Number.

Example:  A dwarf, which is considered small, gets into combat with a Hill Troll, which is considered large.  The Dwarf reduces his TN by 2 and the Troll increases his TN 2 (since there is two size differences between them).  I'm sure that the Dwarf would still have to overcome the range penalty just due to the diffence in reach that the two would have.

Basically, the way that this rule is rationalized is that it is far easier for a relatively smaller creature to make contact with a larger, and the reverse of this is also true.  A relatively larger creature has a harder time hitting a smaller one.  I like to think of it as the "broad side of a barn" affect or the "trying to kill a mouse with a baseball bat" affect.  This also affects other situations where two or more creatures of considerably different sizes are interacting physically such as when one is trying to perceive another that is actively hiding from him.

I know that since that essay from John has been posted on the RoS website, most posts here on the forum seem to be praising simplicity, but I just thought this rule made a lot of sense to me in this specific situation, it is easy to import to the RoS rule system, and I was just wanting to know what you all thought about it.
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Tony Hamilton

Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2003, 07:06:23 AM »

I'm not one of the 'system monkeys' here.  Maybe a theory, setting, or other form of monkey, but not system. :)

With that being said, the more I read TROS combat rules, the more I believe that the terrain rule is the single most important thing.  The terrain rules try to gives rules for everything Jake doesn't explicitly give rules for.  I've seen it talked about here for getting higher ground, scaring horses, and using people as hostages/cover.

I'm not completely sure where to go with it, but my guess is that the terrain rolls would somehow include what your talking about with different humanoid races having different sizes.
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Durgil
Member

Posts: 306


« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2003, 07:25:15 AM »

I didn't think about using the terrain rules.  I'll have to take a look at those later today.

Thanks,
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Tony Hamilton

Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2003, 08:00:18 AM »

The way I'd handle this (and I have been meaning to ask for opinions on this very subject!) is to give larger creaters extra steps of reach. An Ogre with a club might be treated as using a Pike, for reach advantage. Once the little guy gets underfoot, the ogre now has trouble attacking the little guy with his weapon, so a stomp may be in order.

The trick is to figure out how much reach. I think an easy rule of thumb is for every 2' of height advantage, you gain +1' of reach. TROS weapons have reach as follows:
1. Hand (<1')
2. Short (<2')
3. Medium (<4')
4. Long (<6')
5. Very Long (<8')
6. Extremely Long (>8')
+1 per 2' Reach.

Since TROS weapons usually alter reach by 1 step every 2', you could have a simple rule: for every 4' of height advantage, you gain 1 step of reach. (possibly rounding to the nearest, so 2'-5' = +1, allowing dwarfs to be penalised if desired).

So, an 18' giant armed with a medium (for him) club fighting a 6' human has +12'/4 or 3 reach steps added to his weapon, making it Extremely Long.

A tree trunk for our giant might be treated as a spear (L) due to relative size, then modified up to a step beyond Extremely Long!
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2003, 08:11:03 AM »

This question might have been (I hope!) addressed in Of Beasts and Men. Does Jake want to drop any clues?
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2003, 08:37:34 AM »

Had another, simpler idea.
Higher Footing grants 2 CP at the start of the round, so greater height could have a similar effect.
I prefer the reach approach since it can be turned against the tall guy, and is implemented on a per action basis, but it's something else to consider. It might work more easily with the Use Terrain approach:
Our giant gets, oh say +4CP each round, but the small guy can duck under his reach.
Then again, that sounds like a Duck and Weave or partial Evasion rather than a Use Terrain.
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Durgil
Member

Posts: 306


« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2003, 09:23:27 AM »

Now that I've read over the "weapon length"  and "higher footing" rules, I agree that those need to be considered in the situation that I originally described, but I don't see anything that accounts for the "broad side of a barn" and "trying to kill a mouse with a baseball bat" affects that I described.  A giant would use the broad side of a barn for target practice with a bow (provided of course that giants have access to giant sized bows), but as a human archer, you'd be considered pathetic if you were to miss the same target.

In creating this house rule, I wanted to make it easier for the dwarf or hobbit to hit a troll (provided they can get in close enough), not raise the potential of the damage they cause.  I also don't want to lessen the potential damage the Troll or Giant would normally cause; I just want it to be harder to hit the little guy.  Can't you just imagine little Pippin Took ducking and weaving by that Hill Troll's attacks and then disemboweling him?

Basically, it is harder for a larger creature to cause an affect on a smaller one, but if they happen to connect, it's lights out for the little guy (like swatting at a fly).  It's that idea that keeps those little running backs in American Football from getting a good solid hit on them.  Every once in a while it happens (typically when they're not looking) and it's lights out time for the running back.

On the other hand, it's fairly easy for a smaller creature to have an affect on a larger one.  The problem is that the smaller one has to get in close enough to cause the affect, and the affect is relatively small due to the size and strength of the larger creature.  All of those things should be already taken into account like with the Giant with a 20 ST and a 13 TO.  Maybe a higher HT would also be warrented for larger creatures?

That's just my 2 cents worth.
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Tony Hamilton

Draigh
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2003, 10:04:37 AM »

Durgil... I once ran TRoS in Middle Earth, and have alot of notes about the game, house rules and such... If you're interested, let me know, and I'll dig them up for ya.  Also, if you've got the cash, pick up a copy of the Lord of The Rings roleplaying game (I believe it's by Decipher).  If you can't find it, I can get you a copy.
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Drink to the dead all you, still alive.
We shall join them, in good time.
If you go crossing that silvery brook it's best to leap before you look.
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2003, 10:38:45 AM »

Quote from: Durgil
Basically, it is harder for a larger creature to cause an affect on a smaller one, but if they happen to connect, it's lights out for the little guy (like swatting at a fly).  


I'm not sure this is true, but the only examples from the real world would involve creatures of drastically different shapes. For example, the elephant or rhino v. a human: I think it's far more likely that the large beasts mentioned would get a solid hit on the human than vice-versa (and then the splat happens). An analogy from the Clements essay: size and damage-dealing capability, like a good weapon, can be a potent defensive capability.

I like the image of little halflings darting about under the reach of ogres and trolls, but this - to me- is only viable if big = slow, which isn't necessarily the case. Of course, Middle-earth giant-types might be slow and clumsy, but not judging by the scene in the Mines of Moria in the first film :)
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2003, 11:03:49 AM »

Actually, realistically speaking, Tony is right. Whenever size or mass is an issue in gaming, see: http://www.io.com/~tbone/gurps/GULLIVER/

Mike
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Durgil
Member

Posts: 306


« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2003, 11:39:46 AM »

Thanks, Mike!  I knew there was an article out there that I got some of my ideas from; I just couldn't remember where it was or what is was called.  If I can find it I'll post the link later, but there was another article too the discussed the "Squared - Cubed" Law and its implications on giant creatures of all kinds.
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Tony Hamilton

ruusu
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2003, 11:52:24 AM »

The game already features the flaw Little, so why not use that as a starting point? The flaw as written inflicts a length category penalty when fighting larger opponents. If necessary, instead of Little, you might have "Hobbit-sized" and "Dwarf-sized", each granting a different penalty.

Then a racial packet for hobbits and dwarves and such is needed. For dwarves, the one for Rock Dwarves (p.195) should work as written. Perhaps something like this for hobbits:

Must take the flaw Little (or Hobbit-sized). -2 ST, +1 AG (hobbits are quite agile and good at throwing things), +1 WP (hobbits are surprisingly tenacious and quite capable of resisting even the most powerful magic), -1 MA (most hobbits do not want to leave their homes and prefer a simple rural life).

Quote
In creating this house rule, I wanted to make it easier for the dwarf or hobbit to hit a troll (provided they can get in close enough), not raise the potential of the damage they cause.


Well, instead of tinkering with TNs, I'd rather just make the troll the slower and more clumsy of the two (meaning less CP). The hobbit facing a troll would have a bigger CP of the two and would probably hit more often, but would not usually cause too much damage. The troll on the other hand would miss quite a bit, but on a hit, the poor hobbit would go splat.

Well, that's my take on this anyway.

Juho
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2003, 03:28:47 PM »

As before, I like Tony's suggestion on this, but unlike before, it's much easier to implement. It's a simple addition to the reach calculation, and is actually quite similar to what D&D3E does (which is NOT a point against it!). I think Demi's suggestions, as requoted below, are a workable option:

Quote
Since TROS weapons usually alter reach by 1 step every 2', you could have a simple rule: for every 4' of height advantage, you gain 1 step of reach. (possibly rounding to the nearest, so 2'-5' = +1, allowing dwarfs to be penalised if desired).

So, an 18' giant armed with a medium (for him) club fighting a 6' human has +12'/4 or 3 reach steps added to his weapon, making it Extremely Long.


On this same note, I'd just say to add a die for defense for each step of size for the little guy. This will mean that the little guy is harder to hit, but will give them no advantage at all to strike the larger critter.. Once they've gotten within the reach of the larger creature, they'll already have that advantage due to reach, which makes a certain amount of sense to me.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Durgil
Member

Posts: 306


« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2003, 07:27:27 PM »

I haven't thought about giving the smaller guy an extra dice when defending.  That seems workable.  Maybe just an extra dice when attempting some type of evasion; that would be even a smaller change to the system.

Thanks, Lance.
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Tony Hamilton

Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2003, 07:10:50 AM »

...yeah.

Evasion only works well, IMO. When you think about it, the little guys don't survive by turning the big guy's weapon aside, but by simply not being there when it comes. If the little guy is totally backed into a corner, as was Frodo when the Cave Troll nailed him with the spear, he's not going to have a good chance of turning the bigger guys weapon aside.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
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