Ever seen the scene in Yojimbo where Toshiro Mifune cuts his way through a room of opponents?
Or the scene in Unforgiven at the end when William Munny shoots down a room of opponents knowing who is a threat and when they are?
I am quite happy to have a game that models heroic combat to the extent of allowing the outnumbered opponent to choose the correct blows to parry/dodge. Remember that your dodge skill is reduced by -20% per additional opponent as well.
Yeah. But that should be "heroic" combat. Not "anyone with a high enough dex can do this" combat. Munny was able to do that because of decades of practice (and a bit of natural ability/luck). The problem with allowing triggers for dodge/parry to be *after* the attack is rolled and is successful is that every character will be able to do that. Any PC with a decent skill (which wont take long given the starting skill levels), will effectively be able to defend against a relatively large number of opponents easily (as long as the opponents aren't as skilled as he is).
To put this in relative perspective with earlier editions of the game. A 100% skilled character facing two 50% skilled NPCs was reduced to an "even chance" of winning/losing the fight. He could split his parry into two 50% parries, and basically have the same odds as his opponents against each one (and could split his attacks as well). Effectively, he fought exactly the same as the two opponents, except he's only got one set of hps, and they have two.
In MRQ, that same exact situation gives the 100% fighter almost a guaranteed win. Assuming equal CAs, he's going to be able to block the average number of hits from his opponentts with a 95% chance on every defensive action. Statistically, he's in no great danger at all. Meanwhile, he's going to get half of his attacks through each round unopposed (cause his opponents have only a 50% chance to parry/dodge, right?).
This is a *huge* difference. This could very well be intentional. Perhaps in MRQ you're supposed to take on "hordes" of peon level bad guys when fighting. I don't know. It's a balance issue, and can certainly be dealt with by the GM when balancing a fight, but it is a pretty radical departure.
Also, note that it's a -20% *total* if one is facing a large number of opponents. Not -20% for each extra one.
There is evidence that a supremely focussed/skilled warrior can move through combat and take out the ones who are a threat to him ,and maneuver others into a position where they cannot. Allowing people to block only the blows hitting them is a fair way of reflecting this.
Yeah. But I'd rather that be tied the the character's actual skill with his weapons. Older varients allowed you to split your skills among multiple opponents. Now, it doesn't matter if your character has an 80% skill, or a 180% skill. You still can make the same number of attacks and parries/dodges. I have nothing against allowing "heroic" level characters to perform heroically (chewing through numbers of bad guys), but I do find it strange that in MRQ, this ability is flattened signfificantly. Effectively, once you've got a 120% skill with parry/dodge, you can effectively defend yourself from a maximal number of possible attackers. There's simply no "better" then that. Given a system in which most combat focused characters are going to be starting around 80%, this seems like a very short range of effective growth for your character. Had they stuck with some form of skill based determinant for number of attacks/parries/dodges, then the game system would scale upwards with that skill, allowing more skilled "heroic" characters to perform more impressive feats in combat.
It's a scaling problem IMO. Something you might not notice at first glance, but I can guaratee you that players *will* notice that their characters really stop being more effective in combat once they reach a relatively easily obtained degree of skill. The game system as written simply does not award charactes adequately for obtaining high skill levels. RQ2/3 had this problem as well, but at least you got increased crit/special *and* increased ability to split skills as your skills increased over 100%. In MRQ, all you have is the increased chance to crit. This is a step in the wrong direction IMO.