Irregular Resolutions

Copyright Tim Dugger © 2006

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"This option may change the inherent balance of the game"

The core rules for HARP require the use of one maneuver table, and 14 critical tables for combat. However, there are those folks who dislike using tables at all as they feel that it slows down the flow of the game. This option will allow a GM to run a game without the maneuver table, and the companion article, Irregular Combat, will provide another option for handling combat with the critical tables.

At this point, the GM should be warned that this option may change the inherent balance of the game slightly, especially in regards to Resistance Rolls. This warning is given so that the GM is not caught unawares.

All-or-Nothing Maneuvers

As with the normal rules in HARP, this type of maneuver does not require the use of the maneuver table, therefore there are no changes in how this type of maneuver is resolved. Stat-based Maneuvers also do not change as they are essentially All-or-nothing maneuvers.

Percentage Maneuvers

This type of maneuver is used for complex actions and/or actions that will require a lengthy amount of time to accomplish. Accordingly, this is used to determine the percent of an activity accomplished rather than its success or failure.

To determine the percentage of the action that is accomplished, the player rolls and adds in any modifiers, including any applicable skill bonus and the difficulty modifier. If more than one skill bonus can apply to the action, then use the one that is most appropriate to the action, and give a +1 bonus for each skill rank in any other applicable skills, up to a maximum bonus of +25.

Once the player has rolled and added in any bonuses, he takes this total, subtracts 100, and rounds off the remainder to the nearest multiple of 5 to determine the percentage completed.

Example: Jeff wants his character, Rollo, to attempt jumping up onto a table, leaping up to grab a chandelier, and then swinging from it to get to the upper floor of the manor house that the characters are in.

The GM decides that Rollo would have no real difficulty accomplishing any of those tasks individually, but since Jeff wants to accomplish them as quickly as possible, the GM determines that it will require a Percentage maneuver to see how long it actually takes him to perform these actions. The GM also decides that the primary skill for the maneuver is Jumping, and that Jeff can get a bonus to his maneuver equal to +1 for each rank he has in the skill, Acrobatics.

On the first round, Jeff rolls a 59. To this he adds Rollo's Jumping skill bonus of 65, and a bonus of +15 for the 15 ranks of Acrobatics that Rollo has. The GM has also decided that this action is a Hard maneuver overall, so Jeff gets a -20 modifier as well. This gives Jeff a total roll of 119 (59 + 65 + 15 -- 20 = 119). Jeff subtracts 100 from this, leaving 19, which rounds up to 20, which means that Rollo is able to complete 20% of the action this round.

On the second round, Jeff rolls an 87. This gives Jeff a total roll of 147 (87 + 65 + 15 -- 20 = 147). After subtracting 100, and rounding off to the nearest multiple of 5, Rollo has accomplish 50% of the maneuver this round, for a result of the maneuver being 70% (50% + 20%) complete.

On the third round, Jeff is hoping to roll high enough to finish that last 30%.

As you will have noticed, this option is not as powerful for lower rolls as the core rules are. This is known, and was done on purpose, to give a more even spread of the percentage that an action may have completed since the maneuver table has ranges of different sizes.

Bonus Maneuvers

Bonus maneuvers are primarily used to have one skill aid in the completion of another skill, such as using Mundane Lore: Locks to aid the Locks & Traps skill. To use this maneuver, the player rolls and adds in all modifiers, including skill bonus and difficulty modifiers.

He then subtracts 100 from this total result and for every full 10 points left he gains a +5 to the use of the complimentary skill. If the total result was less then 100, the process is still followed, and the character receives a negative modifier to his complimentary skill.

Example 1: Jeff is going to have Rollo attempt to pick a lock. Rollo has the skill, Mundane Lore: Locks (65) as well as the Locks & Traps (43) skill. The GM determines that the lock is a very common sort, so the Lore maneuver is going to be of Light difficulty. Rollo rolls, and gets 57 for a total result of 142 (57 + 65 + 20 = 142). Jeff subtracts 100 from this, leaving 42. This will give Jeff a +20 bonus (4 x 5 = 20) to Rollo's Locks & Traps skill roll.

Example 2: Having come upon yet another lock, Rollo is going to attempt to pick it as well. The GM rules that this lock is unique; having been made by an unknown craftsman. However, since it follows the basics of several other well known types of locks, it is only of a Very Hard difficulty.

Jeff rolls a 14 giving him a total result of 79 for Rollo's Mundane Lore: Locks maneuver. Jeff now subtracts 100 from this giving him a result of -21. This means that Jeff gets an additional -20 modifier to Rollo's Locks & Traps maneuver, in addition to the difficulty modifier of -40.

Resistance Rolls

This option does not change how Static or Cascading Resistance Rolls work, only the Variable Resistance Rolls since they require two rolls, one by the attacker and one by the defender, to resolve. For this option, the attacker is defined as the attacking spell, poison, or effect. The defender is the character that is trying to resist the effect. This option makes heavy use of the Difficulty Modifiers, so the GM should make sure that he is familiar with them.

The attacker makes his roll, adding in any modifiers or skill bonuses that are appropriate to the attack to be resisted. The GM then looks at the result and determines what the highest Difficulty Level the attacking rolls could have accomplished, as if this were an All-or-nothing maneuver. The defender must then make his Resistance Roll and succeed in a roll against that Difficulty Level plus 1.

When using this option, the GM should think of the Difficulty Level as a Target Number to beat, rather than a modification to the rolls. Difficulty Levels that are easier than Medium would then reduce the Target Number by 20 for each level, while harder Difficulty Levels would increase it by 20. Thus, a Light maneuver, normally giving a +20 to the roll, would require a roll of 81 or higher to succeed and a Hard maneuver, normally giving a -20 modifier to the roll, would require a 121 or higher to beat.

Example: Rollo is adventuring with his buddies when they come across a nasty little Cleric. The Cleric, disliking the interference just when he is about to sacrifice the people he has captured, is understandably a little upset. He decides to cast an Arcane Bolt at Rollo.

The Cleric has a skill bonus of 57, and the GM rolls a 72 for a total roll of 129 for the attack. Looking at the result, the GM sees that it is more than enough to pass a Medium maneuver, and more than enough to pass a Hard maneuver (129 - 20 = 109 > 101). However, the total result is not high enough to succeed in Very Hard maneuver (129 - 40 = 89 < 101). Therefore, the Cleric cast the spell as if it were a Hard Maneuver. The GM now increases this Difficulty Level by 1, to a Very Hard Maneuver and this is what Rollo must meet or beat with his Magic Resistance Roll or receive the effects of the Arcane Bolt.

Utility Spells

Using this option, casting Utility Spells will be slightly harder than in the normal rules. To be able to cast a Utility Spell successfully, the caster will have to succeed at a Light Maneuver (+20 modifier to roll with success being 101 or higher, or no modifier and success equaling an 81 or higher).

Utility spells may still have a natural scaling for extremely high casting rolls. When casting, if the total result is enough to succeed against an Extremely Hard maneuver (-60 modifier to roll, or target number of 161 or higher), then he may double one attribute of the spell at no cost. A success at an Absurd maneuver when casting would allow the caster to double 2 attributes for free, and an Absurd maneuver with an additional -60 modifier to the roll would allow for the caster to triple one attribute.