Is it time to lose another table?

I had sort of made a bit of a commitment to not rules bashing so much this year. I want to concentrate on adventure creation, with an aim of assisting new players and GMs when RMu arrives, and highlighting really cool tweaks that could be learned from other games. That is where my Zwei series is coming from and HARP before that.

It was Hurin talking about 3d10-15 on the superior power level thread, over there, that made me think. Hurin finished one post with “and it gets rid of another chart” or words to that effect.

Now I was thinking about skills a lot in the last couple of weeks. Gabe’s VsD contributed a bit, Spectre has been proofing and editing my Wild West game and that contributed a bit and of course Hurin as contributed a bit.

The standard Absolute Maneuver chart looks like this.

But I cannot think of a single Absolute Maneuver. Perception rolls? Well you will hear it eventually if the thing is getting closer, or not if the sound has passed. If you are looking for something then you will find it eventually if you keep looking or not if you run out of time and give up.

Picking Locks? Well given enough time you will pick that lock it is more just case of can you pick it in the timeframe of the adventure, the approaching guards or before the fighter smacks the hinges in with a mace.

I did think that adrenal moves may be absolute but it makes so much sense that sometimes you may need more than 5 seconds to get in the zone or for things like balance or adrenal landing it could take more than 5 seconds to recover your equilibrium after the event.

The Percentage Maneuver table has the same pass mark and the Absolute but without the grade boundaries of success, partial and failure etc.

But this the real insight. The Percentage Maneuver table makes starting out characters MORE capable.

Think of it this way…. There is a locked door (lock quality Medium +0) at one end of the corridor, the PCs are trapped in front of it and approaching them from the other end are a bunch of Goblins.

The thief sets to work on the lock and has a skill of +17, he is afterall 1st level. He rolls a 50 the first round, total 67. Under the old rules the result is:

You fail the maneuver and must pay the consequences. Hopefully this wasn’t a life or death situation.

Actually it was life or death and the entire party dies. The End.

Under the Percentage Maneuver idea the result becomes 60% complete so the GM tells the player that a couple of tumblers fall into place, keep working. The Goblins arrive and the fighters start a desperate defence.

Round 2 the thief makes a second roll and any roll over a 24 will open the lock. The thief throws open the door and ushers some of the other characters out. The fighters fight on for another round and then in the third round, risking opportunity attacks, turn and flee.

That is a much more dramatic situation. Maybe a character died in the three rounds of combat, maybe they didn’t. Is the thief the hero for getting the door open?

Percentage Maneuvers just mean that everything takes longer if you are not very good at it but you will get there eventually.

If there is an Absolute success/failure skill test that I have not thought of it doesn’t make a difference the pass/fail threshold for Absolute and Percentage are identical 101+.

We do not need the Absolute Maneuver table. Also for most things we don’t need to use the Percentage one either at the actual gaming table. The result is your total roll rounded down to the nearest 10. It is only when you need to over achieve, results over 100%, or critically fail, that the actual roll is important.

I have started a thread on the forums about this table. I also think that the results over 130 should be more in line with Action Points so if you spent 4AP picking a lock but roll phenomenally then the result should leave you with some APs remaining. The table results of 110 or 120 etc do not translate well into APs.

12 Replies to “Is it time to lose another table?”

  1. I always liked the “Jumping across a chasm… 80% Success. Try again!”


    I always reworked that table to one more additional roll. Jumping across the chasm… 80%. The player has an 80% chance to make it across. Roll again, 100UM. 01-80 the player makes it across the chasm. 81+ the player falls.

    This Absolute Maneuver table could very easily go away, especially if I’m resolving Success/failure with my method, Peter is using his method, others are using their methods. I actually use Peter’s method as well because it’s functional and clean. Picking a lock… 80%. You’ve almost got it. You can feel the cylinder turning, maybe 1 or 2 tumblers left to fall into place, try again.

    1. You have mentioned your treatment of the percentage success a few times and it has always made me smile the way you go to a roll under mechanic to get a final result. If you took the 80% and made that a +80 on a d100, a result of 101+ equals success would feel much more like native RM rather than flipping from roll over to roll under.

      You are kinder than me as a GM. If you jumped a chasm and only got 80%, then you made it 80% of the way across and probably 100% of the way down. If there was someone on the far side who decided to try and grab the falling Spectre then I would use the 80% to decide on the difficulty factor to grab your shirt front or an arm to save you. The better you roll the less of a penalty for the person saving you.

      1. Even if I use your method of 80+d100, there is still 1-19 roll where the player falls to his death… maybe. RM2 would make you roll to see what percentage of the way down you made it.

        You still require the second roll… Your failure range is the 20 numbers from 1-19. My failure range is the 20 numbers from 81-100. Either method has 20 numbers that result in a messy outcome. You say potato, I say vodka.

        * – And for the record… Spectre wouldn’t try to jump across a chasm. Spectre invested in Grappling Hook, Rope Mastery, Tightrope Walking, and Adrenal Balance! Spectre knows what the Maneuver Table looks like! LOL

  2. Thankfully what is long behind us is the (optional) Static Maneuver Table of RM2/MERP: PARTIAL SUCCESS: You have figured out part of the lock/trap and have an intuitive feel for the rest. Do something else for 10 minutes and then you can try again.

    In my playtest of VsD, I kind of miss the percentage table. I think those results are a neat and useful measure. After what I keep hearing about the “full rules” of VsD, though, I won’t be surprised if such a table will be made available after the KS.

    I think VsD’s table as written is slightly more helpful than what RM has for Partial Success. VsD has Success with Complication, so I think that the dramatic simulation you describe could happen here, as well: you pick the lock but trigger secondary restraints. You have to spend one more Round disengaging those while your companions face the attackers… Or anything like that. The door is unlocked but still stuck in its jambs for a Round. You unlock the door but alert guards on the other side.

    1. I used to really like the expanded static maneuver table which had colourful descriptions of how different skills we failed, partially succeeded or successful but over time I have fallen out of love with it to the point now where I can propose removing it.

      You see in my example a 10 minute lag between attempts is a death sentence and TPK. RMU has put an action point cost on these sorts of actions and I quite like that, the thief is working and fighters trying to protect them. The AP cost of a lock picking is 20AP or 5 rounds. I can see good thieves taking penalties to complete the attempt faster. I am not entirely sure when the player would be expected to make the skill test though.

  3. I dunno Gabe, I like that about the MERP table – well OK I modified it a bit for sense. It makes sense that as Peter says to look at it as a percentage; I always use that partial zone as a roll again and depending on the skill the how close to success determines how long and how much of a bonus you might get. Spectre’s idea of a saving throw is nice for MM and I would go with Peter’s flip the result so that it is still a roll above for success. Of course, 80% of the way across the chasm is you realise in mid-air that you aren’t going to make it always more fatal than you don’t run as fast as you planned (80%).

  4. Yes, you’re probably right that you don’t really need either the Absolute or the Percentage maneuver table! You can just eyeball those ones easily.

    1. I guess the one thing I do like about the tables is they give new GMs a point of reference for what partial success looks like or can look like. They’re good as a teaching tool, and over time you just cut down how often you use them. And I’m not a fan of assigning blanket AP costs to things, but I know I’m a minority viewpoint here. APs don’t take into account the individual ability of characters, at least as they’re currently done in RMU. And as far as skill checks go, I’d be inclined to do one at the halfway point (10 seconds into a 10 second action, for example) if it’s something like lock picking or a more passive lore-type skill.

      1. I have two thoughts in this and I think we are on the same page.

        The idea of the table giving new GMs an idea of what the different levels of success and failure is good but it would be equally good to have that in a How To GM chapter where you can cover things like how and when to ask for maneuvers and what partial results actually mean. If you have all that in one place then if we can unify percentage action and APs then that can be explained with examples.

        If we stick with APs then I think the mid point is the best place. For a 20AP action the Player has to wait until the 3rd round not the 5th round before getting to do their roll. At that point I can adjust the actual duration based upon the result of the roll, faster or slower without actually revealing the end point to the task.

        At my table I am more inclined to do what JDale suggested and abandon APs for longer tasks and just have a total percentage threshold such as 500% of a medium lock. That would still take 5 rounds but equally a couple of opened rolls could significantly speed that up.

        The percentage threshold also allows for the GM to set up tense situations working against the clock and not have everything work in 5 round 20AP blocks.

        1. I think we are pretty much on the same page, but this does point out one of the issues with APs: they don’t work especially well when you get into actions that take more than one CR to complete or may have varying completion times. Combine that with my pet rock (everyone shouldn’t have the same number of APs) and I like them even less. I understand the appeal, but I’m just not sure the benefits outweigh the costs.

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