This is just a short post today as I am still thinking about whether I am going down the right road or not.
Do we actually need a Body Development skill?
Every race has a racial maximum so it is a bit of a development tax, every character has to buy it, on low level characters. Once you have maxed out your #hits you can just forget about it.
It is one of the more complex calculations and I have seen people posting on the forum getting the calculation for total hits wrong when it comes to a negative Con stat bonus.
The more #hits a character has the more leighway a GM has and the greater the staying power of a party. So more #hits is better than less.
So why not just use the characters Con stat + Racial Con bonus as their Total hits? It will still go up over time for most characters as their temp stat improves through stat gain rolls.
So I ask, do we need a body development skill that costs DPs? Can the non #hits elements of body development not be rolled into an Athletics meta skill?
5 thoughts on “Body Development”
We’ve been flirting with a “level less” RM for some time, where only the awarding of DP’s occurs with level advancement. With a skill based system the only real issues were “Hit Points” and “Saving Throws”. While HP’s are tied to a skill it really doesn’t make much sense. How do you train to take more damage? It’s just another rule artifact from D&D–ostensibly HP’s increase with levels but it’s rolled into a skill system.
Under RM or RMU hits seem to max out around 150-180 depending on CO and race. That’s about 3-5 serious hits w/crits in RM combat. Once you divest of the idea that amount of damage taken is related to power level than it makes perfect sense. Plus, RM is less abstract combat than D&D–specific crits and injury results are much more concrete.
It’s certainly a divergence from deeply ingrained RPG norms (like professions) so many people will dismiss it outright. I don’t think it’s unbalancing and it gives lower level groups a better chance to survive. Plus we use size rules for damage so giving a 1st level PC 120 hits won’t matter much if they take a solid hit from a 3x size opponent.
So Constitution on its own would be a little low. Con + 1/2 Self Discipline but with the racial maximums still in place would give characters maybe 100+ hits on day one but Dwarves would still be tougher than halflings.
Hits still increase with power because of the progress of temp stats towards their potentials.
My group in NZ are currently transferring our entire Greyhawke campaign from my own skill based system to a classless/level-less system, to recapture the buzz we had when we played RM in the 80’s, 90’s all the way till now, but with a few commonsense tweaks to fit our group. We are also looking to break the connection between BD/hits and a conventional skill. Most skill based house rules have the (to us anyway) desirable result of making beginning to middle range characters more capable, with diminishing returns taking care of runaway skill development. In respect of BD hits, I’ve used an ad hoc measure based on the CO, and a half measure of SD, and modifiers for mass and race. I aim for a range of 50 to 120 hits with this method, with permanent changes to this being rare but not out of the question. Massive creatures (of which there are very few in my campaign) have hit totals in an order of magnitude beyond humans, which fits my relatively low magic/fantasy setting. Apologies for the filler intro.
I find Body Development useful as an indicator of a character’s ability to deal with shock and pain as well as physical damage, so to me it’s a useful skill. Of course I also use RM for more than fantasy, so I tend to think about different things when I look at skills and the like.
Do you use athletic games skills to represent one specific sport or game or to cover general athleticism, spacial awareness and hand/eye coordination?